Chapter 1: Molly

It was the day after Christmas, and Jenny Berry could never have imagined what a strange day after Christmas this was going to be. All through the house everything had gone quite, because everybody was having a little sleep after Boxing Day lunch. Everybody, that is, except Jenny Berry.

Now, as everybody knows, Boxing Day is the day that comes straight after Christmas Day. Jenny’s Grandma Lily said that it was called Boxing Day because the day after Christmas used to be the day when people visited their families and carried presents to each other’s houses. And the presents used to always be in boxes. These days everybody gets their presents on Christmas Day morning and then after that they eat Christmas lunch. But people still visit each other on Boxing Day. And today Grandma Lily had been visiting for Boxing Day lunch, which was cold Turkey and ham and mashed potatoes and tomatoes and pickles. Jenny Berry loved Boxing Day lunch. But now lunch had been cleared away and baby Wills was upstairs asleep in his cot, and the grown-ups, including Grandma Lily, were asleep in the lounge in front of the television. Waiting for it to be teatime.

Jenny thought that sleeping was a waste of time at Christmas. In fact, Jenny was surprised that Grandma Lily had fallen asleep along with her mum and dad because Grandma Lily hated a waste of time. Anyway, Jenny was definitely not asleep. She was sitting quietly in the kitchen, playing with her new necklace-making set and eating chocolate buttons. It was very quiet indeed, so quiet that Jenny could hear the kitchen clock ticking away the seconds of wasted time.

TICK … TOCK …TICK … TOCK … TICK

Then, all at once, Jenny heard – she was sure that she heard – soft footsteps coming along the hallway. Perhaps Grandma Lily was coming to see whether she had finished her necklace. Jenny turned to see who it was. But Grandma Lily was not there. Nobody was there. Jenny got up from her chair to take a better look. Then suddenly someone spoke. It was a girl with a lovely voice. It was a voice that sounded almost like whispering to music:

‘Jenny, can I come in?’

‘But who’s there?’ said Jenny.

‘It’s just me,’ said the girl.

‘Just who?’ said Jenny. ‘I can’t see anyone.’

‘It’s Molly, of course. If you open your eyes properly you’ll be able to see me.’

So Jenny closed her eyes and then opened them as properly as she could. And there in the doorway, quite suddenly, was Molly. Molly looked a lot like Jenny, except for her eyes, which were Blue and Jenny’s were Brown. And she was wearing the same Christmas dress and Christmas shoes that Jenny was wearing. Jenny realised that she ought to be very surprised, perhaps even a little frightened. But she wasn’t. Not at all. Perhaps It was because looking at Molly was quite like looking at her own reflection in a mirror. And she could never be scared of herself, could she?

‘Can I come in?’ asked Molly.

Jenny nodded yes. So Molly stepped into the kitchen and walked over to see what Jenny was doing.

Jenny held up her necklace: ‘Grandma Lily gave me a necklace-making set for Christmas,’ she explained. ‘And I’ve just made this. I’ve used up all my Orange beads. But I’ve got to put the fastener on. That’s the difficult bit.’

‘Shall I help?’ said Molly. ‘My necklace set is almost the same as this.’

So Jenny picked a fastener out of the bead box and handed her necklace and the fastener to Molly. And in an instant the necklace was ready to wear. Jenny put it on then stuffed her chocolate buttons into the pocket of her Christmas dress and ran into the hallway to look in the long mirror. Molly followed her and they stood next to each other admiring the new Orange necklace. Jenny looked at Molly’s reflection and noticed how very much it looked like her own reflection, apart from the Blue eyes. Then she looked closely at her own reflection and gasped:

‘Molly, my eyes have turned Blue!’

‘Well, of course they have!’ said Molly. ‘That always happens just before you go to Raggedy Lyme.’

Jenny frowned: ‘Raggedy Lyme? How can I go to Raggedy Lyme? I don’t even know if Raggedy Lyme is real.’

Molly put her hand to her mouth: ‘Jenny, of course it’s real! Where would all the LOST things hide if Raggedy Lyme wasn’t real?’

Jenny frowned some more: ‘But if Raggedy Lyme is real, then where is it?’

Molly smiled and then she turned and pointed to the cupboard under the stairs.

Jenny laughed: ‘But that’s just a cupboard! It’s full of Wellington boots and coats and the vacuum cleaner. And my old doll’s pram. And my dad’s spare golf clubs.’

Molly walked over to the cupboard door and took hold of the brass doorknob: ‘Most of the time this is just the door to the cupboard under the stairs,’ she explained. ‘But once in a while, when the kitchen clock chimes four, it becomes the doorway to Raggedy Lyme.’

Jenny thought about that. Then she said: ‘But, Molly, the kitchen clock never chimes!’

 ‘Of course it does,’ said Molly. ‘But only once in a while. So we’d better be ready, because we have got some very important things to do in Raggedy Lyme.’

Molly held out her hand. So Jenny tucked her necklace beneath the collar of her new dress and hurried over. But as she took Molly’s hand in hers she glanced back towards the lounge: ‘Shall I tell Mummy that I’m going to Raggedy Lyme?’

‘There’s really no need,’ whispered Molly. ‘We’ll only be away for a few moments. Your parent’s will never know you’ve been gone.’

Then suddenly the kitchen clock began to chime:

ONE … TWO … THREE … FOUR …