Emi: No (sigh) I just can't choose one. I don't know what to do, Thorne!
Thorne: I know. Here, sit back... and I will tell you a story. About someone you know. I'll tell you a story about Miranda. How's that?
Emi: Um, okay....
Once upon a time, Miranda was off visiting a strange place. She had had enough of being inside and one day, she went out hiking, exploring this strange world all by herself.
Miranda was fascinated by the plants all around her. The ground was soft and wet, not dry and sandy like at home. She saw plants she had never, ever seen growing in Colorado.
Hiking up into the gutted treestump she and Gage had found a few days before, Miranda distinctly got the feeling she was being watched, and the shiver down her spine told her, it might be time to head back inside.
As she turned to begin the hike back to the house, Miranda thought she heard something. She paused, to listen.
With a snarl and screaming "Loli's Forest! Loli's Forest!!" the little creature threw herself at Miranda from behind a piece of the fallen stump.
Years of play wrestling with her friend Taelyn had made Miranda a pretty tough opponent, and her tiny attacker had a hard time keeping a grip on her. Miranda kicked her legs out and flipped herself on top of the tiny creature attacking her.
Miranda wasn't trying to hurt the little thing, mostly just defending herself from the flurry of blows accentuating the repeated screams of "Loli's Forest! Loli's Forest!" Behind her, Miranda could hear the sounds of someone running, and then pleading "Please! Oh, please don't hurt her! Loli! Stop it!"
Miranda rolled off her attacker, who shot off to the side to scurry back into the stump. She turned to face the new voice which belonged to a kitty lady, who was now telling her "She doesn't mean anything. Loli's gone a little mad, I think... I'm very sorry." There was a pause, and the kitty lady continued "We haven't seen another doll in... who are you?"
Miranda stood up and brushed the dirt off herself. "My name is Miranda," she replied. "My friends and I are visiting for a few days and I thought I'd go for a hike." And looking into the pale green eyes of the kitty lady, she asked "So who are YOU?"
"Yes," said the Kitty Lady in a soothing tone. "Loli's Forest." The Kitty Lady sat on the stump with a sigh and said "The child who loved us called me 'Kitty Head' but I prefer Gossamer. Loli, you have already met."
"How long have you been here? Where's the child now?" Miranda asked gently.
"She's gone. We were left behind one rainy afternoon. We had all been playing together, and it started to pour rain. She ran to the house and... I tell Loli she looked for us after the rain stopped. She must have looked for us, right?" There was a hint of pleading in the question, and it made Miranda sad for them both. "We looked for her, and we've been wandering around trying to find her for... I don't know how long, really." Gossamer said, in a sad voice.
Miranda laughed a little before she caught herself and said "Oh, no one 'lets' me do anything. And she isn't a child, though I suppose that depends on who you ask." Miranda thought for a moment, "And I think that if I DID get lost, she would look for me in the rain. Not that I'll ever GET lost, but if something happened... she wouldn't stop looking for me, even if it was raining." Miranda said proudly.
Gossamer nodded, and with a sad sigh said, "Well, we must go find where we're sleeping tonight. We need a new place without spiders and where the cats who want to eat us won't find us." Gossamer and Loli turned to walk away, and over her shoulder Gossamer added "It was good to meet you, Miranda. Hug your girl hard when you see her. You are fortunate to have someone who would look for you in the rain. Goodbye," and she started to walk away.
Miranda found herself calling after them before she thought about it. "Wait!" she cried. "I know a place you can sleep. And it's completely free of spiders AND cats. There's a bunny, but he's pretty nice."
Gossamer and Loli both turned to look at her, and Gossamer asked hesitantly "Really? How is it you would know of such a safe place, Miranda?"
Miranda quickly thought it through, and realized what she must do. Nodding she said "Well, I was thinking, why don't you come inside and meet my 'girl'? I think you'd like her, and I'm sure she would like you. And I am ABSOLUTELY certain she'd let you sleep inside with us tonight.
Gossamer made a gasping noise, like she couldn't quite draw her breath. "Inside? Out of the rain, and away from spiders... Really?" she asked, in a choked voice.
"Yeah, it'll be great. If you want to. Please?"
Emi: Oh! But Thorne... what happened next? What did they do when they got inside? Wait a minute. Are you really just telling a story or did this happen? Do I know the lost dolls?
Thorne: (laughing) Well, I'll tell you later what happened next. And for now, it's just a story, and you do not know the lost dolls... yet.