I rushed to find Mandy. It was hard to think that some unknown, sick, person had obtained a photo of my daughter and made a doll that looked like her. It was made even more frightening by the knowledge that five children were missing and had been for two years.
I found Mandy and the maid playing dress up in Mandy’s room, or should I say Amanda’s room. Uncle Charles had designed a little girl’s dream, for his beloved granddaughter. I felt the need to check on the dolls. Once again, they were all there, but the Abby Ann doll. I thought about the two newly completed dolls that hadn’t yet joined the others. What did all this mean?
I asked the young housemaid to have lunch with Mandy. I wanted to go check on Aunt Beatrice….She had apparently recovered quickly. She and Gladys were just leaving for bingo. Each had a motorized wheel chair. I reminded them not to sit in the smoking section. My goodness her room hurt my eyes.
I knew I shouldn’t, but I decided to have a look around Aunt Bea’s living quarters. I can’t even begin to describe her decorating style, but suffice it to say, it was “her.” I didn’t find anything noteworthy until I got to the seating area. There was a large antique showcase and in it was a collection of dolls. Most of them were not like the dolls made to look like the children, but there were two that made me smile. I took them out of the case. One was a hat decorated with dolls, and the other was an Aunt Bea doll.
“Well, did my patient recover or did she die?” It was the good Dr. Davis standing in the open doorway.
“Good afternoon Dr… you have caught me snooping. Thank you for stopping by to check on My aunt,” I said. “When I got here, she and Gladys were leaving to play bingo. I warned them to stay out of the smoking area.”
He was smiling when he commented that Gladys was a very healthy chain smoker. “At least for now anyway.”
I’m glad I ran into you today,”I said. “Tell me, have you checked on my Uncle today?”
“Not yet, I’m afraid I haven’t seen him for several weeks. Nurse Jones keeps me up to date on his condition, and according to her reports, there hasn’t been any significant change one way or the other. If you would like, Ms. Allen, I would be happy to go see him now, before I have to head back to the hospital.”
“Please call me Andrea,” I said. “I saw him this morning and in my opinion, he is stuck in limbo between too much, or not enough medication. I also filled the doctor in on Aunt Bea’s concerns that he might be leaving the tower to wonder around other parts of the estate.
He was frowning when he said he’d rather not comment until he had examined Charles. He left to do just that, promising he would let me know of his findings.
Monday finally got here and Aaron got home from his business trip. Having my husband around for awhile to help figure this mess out was a relief. I filled him in on everything I had observed and experienced while he was gone.
Aaron was thoughtful for awhile before he spoke. “Andrea, I am so sorry you’ve had to deal with everything on your own, but there are things going on that just don’t add up. “The school children disappeared without a trace two years ago right?” I nodded yes. “It sounds like your Uncle had an immediate breakdown, which would have made it impossible for him to be of any help in the investigation. I’m thinking out loud here,” He said, “So stop me if you have something to add, or you think I’m going in the wrong direction.” I nodded my head again. “According to the attorney, Aunt Beatrice was behind the offer to deed the property to us in exchange for managing your Uncle’s care and allowing them both to live here as long as they live. After two years had gone by, they… well, actually your Aunt all of a sudden came up with this solution?”
“I see where you’re going with all this Aaron. We were brought here for some other reason weren’t we, and what about the dolls appearing and disappearing? I have no idea where the Abby Ann doll went. I only know that she and Uncle Charles’ Granddaughter Amanda, we’re closer than sisters. Until now, there was no Amanda doll, and whoever is doing this, has added Mandy to the mix.” My head was pounding.
“Andrea, did you ever hear back from Dr. Davis after he examined Charles?”
“No, I didn’t”, I answered. That was yesterday, and he promised he would get right back to me.”
“We have to get to the bottom of this,” Aaron insisted. “You call the Doctor, and I’ll get in touch with the attorney. By the way, where is Mandy right now?