One day Lucy went on a train with Mom and Dad to visit Aunty Kitty in Culverton.
They had a great day walking in the woods and eating sandwiches and cake in Aunty Kitty's garden.
When it was time to go home they waved goodbye to Aunty Kitty and made their way to Culverton station. It wasn't long before the train pulled in.
Before they got in the train they waited for a man and lady to get off. Lucy noticed the lady was carrying a sleeping little girl about the same age as herself.
They found a nice seat and as Dad was arranging their bags Lucy noticed a dolly on the floor. The dolly had a sad face, but as Lucy bent down to pick it up it seemed to smile at her. Lucy fell in love with the dolly.
"Can I keep her, Mom? Please." asked Lucy.
Mom smiled and said, "yes."
"What are you going to call her?" asked Dad.
Just then Lucy heard a little voice say, "My name's Melissa."
"I'll call her Melissa," said Lucy.
Lucy held Melissa all the way back to their house, and even took her to bed with her that night.
"Goodnight," said Lucy. She heard a small voice whisper "Goodnight." back.
Next day before Lucy went to school she sat Melissa in her special rocking chair.
When Lucy got home Melissa was gone from the chair. Instead she was on the floor along with some of Lucy's toys. Again Melissa seemed to smile at Lucy.
Lucy asked Mom if she'd moved Melissa, but Mom said she hadn't.
She didn't say anything to Mom, but so it went on. Sometimes Lucy would speak to Melissa and hear her answer back. Sometimes Melissa would be in a different place than where Lucy left her. And sometimes Lucy's things would be moved.
One night Lucy had a strange dream. Melissa had become a real girl and she and Lucy were playing in a park. All of a sudden another girl called out to Melissa. Melissa asked Lucy to go and play with the other girl. The dream was so clear that next morning Lucy had to check to make sure Melissa was still a dolly.
Lucy started dreaming about Melissa every night. Sometimes they were playing in the park where Melissa met the other girl. Sometimes they were in a house having a tea party. And sometimes they were running along the beach. But always in the dreams Melissa met the other girl who seemed familiar to Lucy but she couldn't remember where she'd seen her before.
Then Lucy had another dream about Melissa. This time they were at a fair. They went on different rides, watched a motorcycle display, and ate hot dogs and candy floss. Lucy especially remembered the delicious smell of the fried onions. And then they made there way to a little striped tent over in far corner of the fairground.
Lucy kept having the same dream night after night, but each night the dream continued a little longer. First she could read the sign outside the striped tent, it said, "Dolly tent." Then she went inside. There were lots of dollies hanging up. People were trying to throw ping pong balls into goldfish bowls. If you threw a ball in the bowl, you could choose a dolly. Finally Melissa met her new friend. Lucy noticed one of the dollies in the tent looked just like Melissa.
One day when Lucy got home from school Mom told her Aunty Kitty had phoned.
"It's Culverton Fair on Saturday," said Mom. "Aunty Kitty asked if you wanted to go, but I told her it was your best friend's birthday party. I didn't think you'd want to miss that."
Lucy and Margaret had been friends since kindergarten, but somehow Lucy remembered the dreams she'd been having, and she thought her new friend Melissa might like to go to the fair.
Lucy told Mom she wanted to go to the fair instead of Margaret's party. Mom was surprised but she called Aunty Kitty back and told her they would be coming on Saturday after all.
After that, Lucy stopped dreaming about Melissa, and Melissa stopped talking to Lucy and moving about on her own.
Saturday quickly came and Mom, Dad, Lucy and Melissa got on the train for Culverton. Aunty Kitty was waiting to meet them at the station and they drove to the fairground.
They had a wonderful day. Lucy and Melissa went on some different rides, and then Aunty Kitty told them there would be a police motorcycle display. It was fantastic.
After the motorcycle display they stopped by the hot dog stand for lunch. The fried onions smelled delicious. When they finished their hot dogs Aunty Kitty bought everyone some candy floss.
Just as they were about to go home, Lucy noticed a striped tent in the only corner of the fairground they hadn't visited.
"Let's go over there," she said, and set off for the tent without waiting for an answer.
Mom, Dad and Aunty Kitty followed.
Just as she'd seen in her dream there was sign saying, "Dolly tent".
Lucy and Melissa went inside. There were lots of dollies hanging up, and in the middle of the room lots of goldfish bowls. A little girl was trying to throw ping pong balls into the bowls, but she lost. The girl seemed strangely familiar.
"Come on, Mary," said her Mommy, "I'll buy you a dolly in the toy shop".
Mary started crying. "Just one more try, Mommy", she pleaded.
As Mary was getting ready to throw her first ball, Lucy looked up and noticed a dolly that looked exactly the same as Melissa.
Mary missed with her first two balls, then her final ball landed right in a goldfish bowl.
She jumped for joy, and immediately chose the dolly that looked like Melissa.
Then she turned round and looked at Lucy and noticed Melissa. Mary's smile turned to sadness and she started to cry again.
"Mommy, that's Melissa." said Mary.
Lucy suddenly recognized Mary as the girl from her dreams.
She went over to Mary and asked, "Who's Melissa?"
Mary explained that she won a dolly like Melissa at Culverton fair last year. She was a very special dolly, but one day they'd left her on the train by mistake when they'd been to visit her uncle Bob.
Then Lucy remembered how she found Melissa, and she remembered the girl who was asleep as she left the train. It was Mary.
"This is Melissa," said Lucy, handing her to the little girl.
Lucy explained how she found Melissa on the train.
"Thank you," said Mary and her mother as Mary gave Lucy the dolly she'd just won.
Next: The Foolish Captain