Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Word Count: 51,000
Crummings’ Home for the Dispossessed is no ordinary orphanage. When Emma Winters discovers the porcelain dolls that strangely resemble her friends, she knows they aren’t being adopted. They’re disappearing. What secret is Viola Crummings hiding?
It rained the day of my mother’s funeral. A hard, soaking rain. I remember leaning over the deep grave hole, her casket down below, surrounded by four walls of red, slimy, muddy earth, and thinking how much I missed her.
How much I wanted her back.
I tossed a single white rose and watched it fall onto the casket’s wooden lid, now soaked with rain. It lay there, resting, the last gift I’d ever give my mother.
I wiped fresh tears from my frozen cheeks. The late October wind blasted raindrops into my face, like tiny shards of ice. I was soaked to the bone, but I didn’t care. I was determined to stand by my mother until the very end. My social worker, Delores Dickenson, stood beside me in her black, satin dress and held a dark umbrella over my head.
I was in Delores’s hands now. I had no family to turn to, no one to take me in. When you’re an orphan, you become a piece of property to the State. They decide what to do with you. And I guess they decided to pass me off to Delores. It was her decision now.
Delores’s face was hidden behind a stylish, black-netted veil, and even though I couldn’t see clearly, I was sure she was pursing her lips impatiently behind that curtain, just itching to check her day planner and make a few hundred phone calls. Delores was a very busy woman. Or so she liked to say.