New friend

When Matthew reached the dining room, Daddy was downstairs having his breakfast, but Mummy wasn't.

'Where's Mummy?' Matthew asked, and Daddy told him that Mummy wasn't feeling very well, and had to have a little sleep this morning to make her better.

'Oh.'

A servant brought in some porrige and jam for Matthew, and a mug of orange juice. Then he had some toast with the crusts cut off, and then he went back up to his room. Inside, Mandy was sitting on top of the impossibly high bookcase, looking through Matthew's private box.

'GET DOWN FROM THERE!' Matthew shouted, and the doll swung down ands landed neatly on the floor.

'That's my box of private things! You're never ever allowed to touch it! It's mine, OK?'

Mandy nodded, and suddenly looked very sad. 'I'm sorry, Matthew. I just wanted to look inside. It was a pretty box.'

'What did you see?'

'Nothing.'

Matthew huffed and puffed for a few minutes, but the doll apologised, and they hugged and became friends again.

'Mandy, come here. I have to tell you something.'

'What?' the doll said. She liked surprises.

'Youb are my friend... but you have to stay in this room. You're not allowed to go out and let anybody see you. OK?'

'OK,' Mandy said, wondering who else there was out there, and what the word 'OK' actually meant.

'And I've got a special place for you to sleep,' Matthew said, and showed Mandy the door. Matthew had a door next to his bed that led to the draughty old attic upstairs. It was dusty and dark, but it was an ideal hiding place.

Later on, after Matthew had had enough of playing with Mandy and having stories read to him, he decided to go to bed, again, without being asked.

'You'd better go to bed too,' Matthew said, pointing one chubby finger at the attic door. 'Mummy says all toys have to be packed away before bed.'

'OK,' Mandy said. She tugged at the door hard. It opened. There was a ripping sound. Mandy looked down at her arm to see a ripped stitch near her shoulder.

'Don't worry,' Matthew said. 'I can fix it tomorrow.'

Mandy nodded, and carefully folded herself into the impossibly dark and cramped space. She sneezed because of the dust.

'Goodnight Matthew,' she said, but he'd already shut and locked the door behind her.

The End

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