Mandy loved her new teacher, even though she kept calling her Amanda. That was Mandy’s real name, but no one had ever called her that. She told the teacher all about the doll house, and the dolls that talked. Her favorite one was Abby Ann, but she couldn’t find her.
“What do the dolls say to you?” Ms. James asked.
“Andy doesn’t talk to anyone but me, he told me so. Alice usually stutters, except when she talks to me. The Tony doll has real legs, but the real Tony has artificial ones. Abbie Ann is my favorite doll, she can hear, but the real Abbie is deaf. When she was here, she told me she missed the real Amanda, and she left to find her. I just got an Amanda doll. She says she’s fine and she wished Abby Ann would come back.”
“Hm,” Ms. Jameson said. ” Did the Amanda doll tell where the real Amanda is?”
“Oh yes,” Mandy said,”Can we have recess now?
Aaron hired a new attorney who was going to get a copy of my Grandparents will or at least find out if Charles and Beatrice were the legal owners. He also checked with the authorities regarding the imposters. He offered to try to find Uncle Charles’ doctor prior to Dr. Davis. We really needed to have my Uncle under a doctor’s care.
When we were having breakfast, Mandy mentioned she had a new doll named Amanda. My next order of business was to find out who the doll maker was, and what did they know. Another thought occured to me…The shadow I saw, of the person making dolls, was that of a person in a wheelchair. If it wasn’t Uncle Charles, how could anyone get up to the tower if they couldn’t walk and needed a wheelchair?
The children…two years before
At dawn the next day, Abby Ann woke up first. When the memories of yesterday came flooding back, she felt her eyes well up with tears. She looked at Tony, Alice, and Andy still sleeping, not aware of the dire circumstances. They had no food or water, or even warmer clothes and blankets. Worst of all, Abby had no idea where they were.
Soon the others woke up. There was no food, but Abby remembered passing by a stream. They could at least cup their hands and get a drink. The four of them walked in the direction they thought would get them to the water. A short distance away, they found it. They helped each other get a drink, then washed off their hands and faces. They were all hungry, but no one complained.
Abby thought it best to follow the stream. Surely it would lead them to safety. Were the bad men that ran after Amanda trying to hunt them down too? They walked in silence, each praying for a miracle. They had to stop and rest often. They all knew Tony had to be so careful with his prostheses.
Right before dusk, Abby thought she saw a little cabin, partially hidden in the trees. She signed the others to wait while she checked it out. Maybe someone lived there and would help them get back home.
She didn’t see any signs that someone was there or had been for awhile. She tried the weathered old door and it creaked open. Would they be safe here? They had no choice but to take a chance. They would pray that someone would come and it wouldn’t be the bad men.
She thought about her dear friend Amanda. Was she in a safe place? Did the men find her, or was she lost and alone.
The cabin had one big room with a fireplace, table, and bed. In one corner by a window, was a stand with a galvanized tub. There was a loft, with two smaller beds. You had to climb a ladder to get up there. Everything was dirty, but they didn’t care. They immediately started looking for some kind of food. They were in luck. A makeshift cupboard held several cans of fruit, vegetables, and soup. They even had a few cans of beef stew. They had flour, sugar, oatmeal, and a few other things needed for baking. The children all started looking for a can opener. They ate a cold meal, but it made them feel so much better.
After filling up, they got ready for the night. They were so exhausted, they all cuddled up on one bed. It wasn’t cold, so they didn’t attempt to start a fire. Tomorrow, they would investigate more, but for now, they let sleep come. All said a silent prayer of thanks.