The Story of Abby Ann…part 18

Belle

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Mandy’s teacher, Ms. James, heard Andrea say she was meeting with her Uncle’s new Doctor in the parlor. She decided it was time to reveal her true identity. she asked a he358045e05f0f53bd1fecefa64426ec7ousekeeper to stay with Mandy and went to join them. After all, it was her Father they were discussing.

Years before, Belle had accompanied her Mother to Europe. She was only 16 at the time, and hadn’t been told they would not be going back to her Father. Nevertheless, she continued her education, and eventually met and married Joseph Jackson, a wealthy businessman.

 

It was sometime after Amanda was born that Belle discovered her husband was involved in several illegal and unethical business dealings. She advised the authorities, and her husband was prosecuted and found guilty. His prison term was 10 years. He threatened Belle with retribution, and was especially furious when she divorced him.

Belle had long since been estranged from her mother, so she sent her daughter and a governess to her Father, and she herself went into hiding. Even though Joseph was in prison, his influence was far reaching. When Amanda became school age, Belle returned to her Father’s estate. She had been very well educated, and wanted to teach her father’s little group of children. She changed her hair color and style,and became Ms. Jameson. Amanda was only 3 the last time she had seen her Mother and didn’t recognize her. Belle thought it best to keep her true identity a secret until she was absolutely sure she and her daughter were safe. Her Father was the only one who knew. Even Aunt Bea was clueless. She hadn’t seen her niece since she was 16.

Charles had shown his granddaughter photos of her Father. She knew what he looked like and was told he could be dangerous. It was a precaution, but in all the years Amanda had been with Charles, her Father had shown no interest in pursuing her.

The Dolls

Mandy was upset that she wouldn’t be spending the morning with her  teacher. She asked the housemaid to take her back to her room so she could play with her dolls. When she entered the beautiful room, Mandy ran toward the dollhouse. She’s back! The Abby Ann doll is back,” Mandy screamed with delight. “Now all five of the dolls are back. See Amanda, I told you Abby Ann would come back. Where have you been?” she asked the little doll.

“I had to go look for all the missing children,”she said.

“I thought you went to find Amanda?” Mandy questioned. “Did you find any of the school children?

“I didn’t find any of them, but I know Amanda is sick, and Tony needs bigger artificial legs and feet,” the Abby Ann doll said. “They all need to be found soon.”

“Mandy,” the Amanda doll said. “The dollmaker made a doll in your likeness at the same time I was made. I saw it. We need to get it. It should be here with us.”

Mandy grew excited. ” Is it in the tower? Where all the dolls are made?”

The Amanda doll confirmed that it was.”I’m going to get her,” Mandy said, “I’ll be right back.”

“I think Mandy is in danger,” The Abby doll said. “She knows too much.”

 

Mandy ran up the circular staircase that led to the tower. Her mother didn’t know she knew where the dollmaker worked. She probably shouldn’t go without permission, but she had to see the doll. Let’s see, she thought, it’s the door on the left.

Mandy pushed on the door, but it was locked. She was about to leave when she heard a shuffle on the other side. She quickly hid in the shadows of the dark landing and watched. The door opened and someone wearing a dark cloak with a hood came out. It must be the dollmaker, Mandy thought. Whoever it was took a key out, locked the door, then put the key in the cloak pocket. The dark figure started down the stairs, and Mandy was about to come out of her hiding place, when she saw the figure turn around, go back to the door, unlocked it and go back in. Apparently they had forgotten something. Moments later they came back out, but this time the key was left in the door.