Woman shocked by 20-year journey of missing cabbage patch doll

Even into adulthood, we cherish the stuffed animals, dolls, and toys that accompanied us through childhood, adolescence, and beyond. These cherished companions, like the beloved Cabbage Patch Kid of a young woman, hold a special place in our hearts, serving as silent witnesses to the milestones of our lives.

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Despite the passage of time, our attachment to these childhood treasures remains unwavering. Yet, for this woman, there’s a dilemma surrounding her beloved toy.

Is in my possession

Mary Ellis’s attention was abruptly drawn away from her laptop as she heard the assertive statement uttered in a strained voice. Surprised, she glanced up from her secluded corner table in the quiet coffee shop, realizing she hadn’t noticed anyone approaching.

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With no other patrons in sight, she directed her focus towards the tall, dark-haired woman standing before her, her expression intense and unwavering. “Pardon me?” Mary inquired, her tone laced with confusion, prompting the woman to take a decisive step closer, her gaze piercing.

No words were spoken

The woman motioned towards Mary, but it appeared she was struggling to articulate her thoughts. “Excuse me?” Mary pressed on, “Is there something you need?” She glanced under her table and around her seat, searching for any misplaced belongings. As the two women locked eyes, a tense silence enveloped them.

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Mary sensed the watchful gaze of the barista behind her, observing the interaction intently. The woman’s hands were tightly clenched, and her expression hinted at impending frustration. However, when she attempted to speak, no words emerged from her lips.

Vanessa Edmonds

As Mary felt her cheeks flush with embarrassment, she couldn’t help but wonder what the woman meant. What did she have that belonged to her? The intensity in the woman’s dark eyes suggested a blend of anger and uncertainty, leaving Mary feeling unsettled.

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“It’s mine,” the woman hissed, her words cutting through the tense silence before she abruptly turned and strode out of the coffee shop, the door slamming behind her with a decisive bang. Mary watched her exit, puzzled by the encounter. Little did she realize, this was just the beginning of her interactions with Vanessa Edmonds, a mysterious figure whose presence would continue to weave in and out of her life in unexpected ways.

Mary Ellis

Mary Ellis found solace in her unremarkable existence, taking pride in her ordinary life. With a nondescript apartment and a steady job in data entry management, she preferred the comfort of the familiar.

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Her steadfastness extended to her childhood keepsake, a Cabbage Patch doll with a distinctive tuft of hair, which had occupied a prominent place on her bed since she was ten. Resistant to change, Mary had remained rooted in the same place since her youth, finding security in the predictability of her surroundings.


The encounter at the coffee shop left 30-year-old Mary unsettled, causing her to lose her appetite for the once-enjoyable green tea latte and cinnamon roll. Despite the bemused look from the barista, she requested a to-go container for both items and hurriedly made her way back to her apartment.

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As she sat down at her laptop to tackle the remaining four hours of work, she found it difficult to concentrate. Her mind kept drifting back to the image of the intense woman from the coffee shop, whose wild-eyed gaze seemed to harbor a strange mix of animosity and apprehension towards her. Try as she might, Mary couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that lingered long after their brief encounter.

The Mistaken Individual

Mary sat at her desk, absentmindedly nibbling on the coffee shop cinnamon roll, her thoughts consumed by the woman’s cryptic words: “You have something that belongs to me. It’s mine.” Glancing around her cozy apartment, filled with books, plants, and her chubby tabby cat perched on the windowsill, Mary couldn’t fathom what the woman could be referring to.

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“What could that possibly be?” Mary mused aloud, her mind eager to dismiss the unsettling encounter and return to her mundane routine. Concluding that the woman must have mistaken her for someone else, Mary attempted to push the incident to the back of her mind and focus on the simple comforts of her everyday life.

It Wasn’t

“As I do the dishes from this morning,” Mary murmured to herself, recalling the encounter at the coffee shop, “if I ever cross paths with her again, I’ll make it clear she got the wrong person.”

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Last night, she opted for Thai takeout to avoid these chores, and now she kept up this internal dialogue while sweeping the wooden floors and wiping the windows. Tidying the cat’s litter box and making the bed, Mary reassured herself that it was simply a misunderstanding, not realizing the truth lurking beneath the surface.

Trail Her

That evening, Mary Ellis tossed and turned in her bed, plagued by a sense of unease. It was the woman’s demeanor that lingered in her thoughts – the intensity of her anger, the sharpness of her words. “It’s mine,” she had hissed, a stark contrast to Mary’s gentle nature. Mary, who hadn’t engaged in a confrontation since her ex-boyfriend’s departure from her life, couldn’t fathom getting into a fight in a public coffee shop.

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Despite her efforts, she couldn’t shake the woman from her mind. And unbeknownst to her, this encounter would continue to haunt her, as Vanessa Edmonds began to shadow her every move.

Encountered Once More

When Mary Ellis woke up the next morning, her senses slowly coming to life, she noticed her cherished Cabbage Patch doll, Mori, lying on the floor beside her bed. With a gentle sigh, she carefully retrieved Mori and proceeded to make her bed, tucking the doll back into its usual spot. As she went about her morning routine, throwing a load of laundry into the machine with Mori nestled among the clothes, and fixing herself a simple breakfast in the kitchen, her mind drifted to the events of the previous day.

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Stepping over to the window, Mary peered out at the tranquil scene outside, the quietude of the early morning enveloping her. Her gaze drifted downward to the street below, where the familiar figure of the woman from the coffee shop unexpectedly came into view, strolling along the sidewalk. An involuntary shiver ran down Mary’s spine as she watched, a sense of apprehension stirring within her.


Locking eyes with Mary, the woman’s presence outside her home sent a chill down her spine. How had she found Mary’s address? And why was she standing there, dressed in the same all-black attire as the day before, her coat appearing too large for her frame? As Mary gazed back at her, a flood of questions raced through her mind.

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How long had the woman been waiting for her? And most importantly, who was she? The intensity of their eye contact was unsettling, made even more so by the woman’s sudden smile. Without uttering a word, the woman’s silent message was clear: “Gotcha.”


Mary’s heart clenched in her chest, a surge of anxiety twisting her stomach. She was the type of person who never complained about a wrong order at a restaurant and always overpaid her taxes intentionally. And now, suddenly, she found herself facing what? An adversary?

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Startled, Mary leaped in fright as something brushed against her arm. Her initial shriek cut short when she realized it was just her cat, its green eyes reflecting confusion at her sudden reaction. With trembling hands, Mary hurriedly drew the curtains closed before retreating back to the safety of her bedroom.

During her journey

Clutching her phone tightly, Mary felt a surge of uncertainty wash over her. Who should she call in this situation? The police? It seemed absurd to report seeing the same intimidating woman two days in a row. Instead, Mary opted for a more familiar source of comfort and support.

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With trembling fingers, she sent a quick text to her best friend, Elena, using their secret code for moments of distress: “Coffee ASAP.” Almost immediately, Elena responded, affirming her understanding of the urgent message by confirming that she was on her way. Mary breathed a sigh of relief, grateful for the imminent arrival of her trusted friend.

Wrong Person

“The woman in black, you mentioned?” Elena inquired, her arrival bringing a sense of relief to Mary’s tense atmosphere. “Yes, I saw her outside,” Mary confirmed, her gaze searching Elena’s face for answers. Elena’s disheveled appearance indicated her hurried response to Mary’s SOS text.Mary wasted no time in recounting the unsettling encounters with the mysterious woman.

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As she finished her story, Elena’s expression turned thoughtful. “Mary, it’s a simple misunderstanding. We should confront her and clarify that she’s mistaken,” Elena suggested, her tone brimming with confidence.Mary hesitated, uncertainty flickering in her eyes. Confrontation wasn’t her forte, but with Elena by her side, she found a glimmer of courage. As they prepared to face the woman in black, Mary couldn’t help but feel grateful for Elena’s unwavering support.

Located It

Mary and Elena exchanged a glance, both feeling a sense of uncertainty creeping in. While Mary’s determination wavered, she sensed a hint of skepticism in Elena’s expression, questioning the credibility of her story. If the woman was truly determined to confront Mary, why had she vanished when presented with the perfect opportunity?

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After a fruitless few minutes of searching, the two returned to Mary’s apartment, their conversation lingering on the mysterious woman and her possible motives before shifting to other topics. Several hours later, Elena bid farewell and departed. It was then that Mary stumbled upon it.


As Mary entered her bedroom to start her morning routine, the sight that greeted her in the bathroom left her frozen in disbelief. On the mirror, written in what seemed to be her own eyeliner, was the word “MINE” repeated multiple times in bold, ominous strokes.

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Staring at the unsettling message, Mary’s mind raced with a mixture of fear and confusion. The repetition of the word echoed in her thoughts, amplifying her sense of unease. Unable to shake the feeling of being watched, Mary struggled to find her voice, overwhelmed by the chilling realization that she might not be alone in her own apartment.

Baffling to Her

Ten minutes later, the police arrived at Mary’s apartment. They conducted a thorough search, gathered a report, and patiently listened to Mary’s account of the events, despite her hysterical recounting during the initial 911 call. Assuring her that they would conduct a neighborhood canvas, the officers left.

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Feeling shaken and perplexed, Mary contemplated reaching out to Elena but hesitated, knowing her friend was likely at work. Sitting on her bed, she found herself staring at the haunting inscription of “MINE” on her mirror. Deep down, Mary was certain of the culprit behind it. Yet, she couldn’t shake the feeling of being entangled in something beyond her comprehension.


After grappling with fear and anxiety, Mary Ellis instinctively turned to the one person who could offer her solace: her mother. Leaving a brief voicemail detailing the unsettling events, Mary then proceeded to gather her belongings. Retrieving her laundry from the dryer, she carefully packed a suitcase filled with freshly-washed clothes and her cherished doll, Mori.

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Before leaving, Mary arranged for her cat to stay with a neighbor temporarily. With her essentials in tow, she embarked on a journey to her mother’s house, seeking refuge and comfort in familiar surroundings.

I’ll Clarify

En route to her mother’s house, which was a 45-minute drive away, Mary received a call from her mother. With tears brimming in her eyes, Mary recounted the unsettling events, beginning with the encounter at the coffee shop and culminating in the disturbing discovery in her bathroom.

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Anticipating her mother’s shock, Mary was surprised when Kara Ellis responded calmly, instructing her to hurry over and promising to provide explanations upon her arrival. With a sense of urgency, Mary hastened her journey, eager to find solace and understanding in her mother’s embrace.

Shaded Eyewear

Mary didn’t hesitate; she accelerated.Typically one to adhere closely to speed limits, Mary now found herself pushing 60 in a 45 zone throughout the entire journey. Her sole focus was reaching her mother’s house as quickly as possible, her determination overriding any concern for potential consequences. Amidst her urgency, she nearly overlooked the presence of a black car trailing closely behind her.

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As the car steadily closed the distance between them, Mary’s attention was drawn to the figure behind the wheel: a woman with dark hair concealed beneath even darker sunglasses. Despite the unnerving presence behind her, Mary remained steadfast in her resolve to reach her destination without delay.

Shortly After

The black SUV remained dangerously close to Mary’s tail. She piloted a modest sedan, no match for the bulk and power of a three-row SUV in a direct confrontation. Feeling her heart race, Mary decided to play it safe and gradually slowed down, pulling over to the roadside. As the SUV zoomed past her, veering onto a country road, Mary released a tense breath, grateful for the respite.

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Resuming her journey, Mary continued along the road, hoping to put the unsettling encounter behind her. However, her relief was short-lived as she soon noticed the same black SUV tailgating her once again, mere minutes later.

What Are Your Intentions?

Once more, Mary decided to pull over. With a sense of apprehension, she remembered the pepper spray nestled in her car—a precautionary measure bestowed upon her by her father, who had a knack for unconventional stocking stuffers.

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As the black SUV came to a stop in front of her, Mary’s heart pounded with anxiety. The door swung open, and the woman emerged, stepping out onto the pavement. With a trembling voice, Mary couldn’t help but demand, “What are your intentions?” Her words reverberated within the confines of her sedan, echoing the fear and uncertainty that gripped her.

A Scream

Mary Ellis considered herself a conscientious driver, always prioritizing safety and showing consideration for fellow road users—be they drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists.

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Yet, beneath her usual composure lurked a sense of unease. Though not entirely panicked, fear tinged Mary’s thoughts. She remained composed until the woman from the black SUV emerged and approached her sedan. Sensing a surge of adrenaline, Mary swiftly accelerated, peeling out and making her escape. As she sped away, a faint scream seemed to echo in the distance, further fueling her apprehension.

No Collision Occurred

“Oh, please, tell me I didn’t hit her,” Mary uttered, her voice tinged with panic as she glanced back at the SUV looming ominously at the roadside. Despite her frantic scrutiny, there was no sign of the woman she had encountered moments ago. While Mary doubted she had collided with her, the possibility gnawed at her conscience, leaving her with a sense of unease.

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Yet, amidst the turmoil of emotions, a peculiar sensation crept over Mary—a strange blend of relief and vindication. A newfound assertiveness surged within her, whispering words of self-assurance. With determination, Mary pressed down on the accelerator, navigating through familiar back roads with haste, her sole focus on reaching her mother’s house, fifteen miles away.


Arriving at her mother’s house, Mary swiftly raised the garage door by hand, a precautionary measure born from her newfound vigilance. As she maneuvered her car into the safety of the garage, a surge of determination coursed through her veins. Mary felt a heightened sense of awareness, a testament to her resilience in the face of adversity.

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Tears welled in her eyes as she pounded on her mother’s door, the emotions bubbling within her threatening to overflow. Her mother greeted her with open arms, enveloping her in a comforting embrace. Mary couldn’t help but notice the subtle hint of concern mingled with guilt in her mother’s expression—a silent acknowledgment of the distressing situation unfolding before them.


“Perhaps we should consider contacting the authorities,” Mary suggested to her mother once they were indoors. “Again.”

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A fleeting expression crossed her mother’s features, too swift for Mary to decipher. “No, it’s not necessary. She’s already gone,” came the terse response. Mary’s gaze drifted to the cup of tea her mother had prepared, the warmth failing to soothe her racing thoughts. Despite the cozy familiarity of her childhood home, an undercurrent of tension pervaded the air. She studied Kara Ellis, sensing a hidden depth to her mother’s enigmatic demeanor.


“Mom,” Mary began, her voice tinged with urgency, “if you know something, anything at all, you have to tell me. My life has unraveled in just 48 hours… I need to understand.” It felt strange for Mary to assert herself in this way with her mother, but the gravity of the situation demanded it.

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Kara Ellis paused, her expression troubled. “You mentioned she accused you of taking something that belonged to her,” she recalled.Mary nodded, her brow furrowing with concern. “Yes, she insisted it was ‘hers,'” she affirmed, the memory of the woman’s accusatory tone sending a shiver down her spine.

You Kinda Did

There was a heavy silence before Mary urged on, “Mom, it doesn’t make sense. I would never steal from anyone. That’s just not who I am.”Kara’s gaze softened with a mix of emotions: compassion, regret, and sorrow.

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“I know, dear,” she murmured, her voice heavy with sadness. “But the truth is… you did.”Mary’s heart sank at her mother’s admission, disbelief mingling with confusion. This revelation shattered her sense of self, leaving her grappling with a reality she couldn’t comprehend.


Struggling to free herself from the muddy ditch where she had landed, Vanessa Edmonds couldn’t help but release a frustrated scream. Mary’s unexpected aggression had nearly caused Vanessa to lose control of her vehicle and brought her mission to an abrupt halt.

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Despite the setback, Vanessa refused to give up. She had invested considerable time, effort, and resources into locating Mary Ellis, and she was determined to achieve her objective. Nothing would deter her from obtaining what rightfully belonged to her.

Ended There

Despite her intense anger, Vanessa couldn’t shake the nagging doubts that lingered in her mind. The doubts were not as overpowering as they once were, but they still haunted her.

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What if it was gone? What if Mary had disposed of it, donated it, or thrown it away? Vanessa had managed to break into Mary’s apartment, but she had only a few minutes to search before hastily retreating to a nearby storage closet. The plan was supposed to end there.

A Knock at the Door

Vanessa’s frustration grew as she meticulously searched every nook and cranny of Mary’s apartment, but her efforts yielded no results. Despite years of relentless searching, the elusive item remained out of her grasp.

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The realization that Kara Ellis may have deceived her only fueled Vanessa’s determination. Undeterred by the setback, she resolved to confront Kara and unravel the truth once and for all. With a sense of urgency, Vanessa prepared herself for the visit to Kara’s house, her mind consumed by a mix of frustration, determination, and a gnawing sense of unease.


Equipped with a burner phone purchased with her last remaining cash, Vanessa dialed Kara’s number. The call went straight to voicemail, indicating that Mary was likely with her mother. Vanessa harbored no ill will towards Mary; after all, someone had to bear the consequences.

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Vanessa had endured a decade of hardship since leaving the foster care system at eighteen, enduring poverty, menial jobs, and cramped living conditions. This discovery would alter everything, offering Vanessa the chance to finally vanish into obscurity, a dream she had long harbored. With this newfound opportunity, Vanessa could leave her tumultuous past behind and embrace a future of anonymity and freedom.


“Mary,” Kara said with a hint of urgency in her voice, “I need to know, did you bring Mori with you?”Mori, Mary’s beloved Cabbage Patch doll, was a relic of her childhood, weathered by the years yet still retaining its endearing charm.

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With his chubby cheeks and unruly tuft of hair, Mori had been Mary’s confidant through thick and thin, a silent observer of her life’s journey. As Mary nodded in response to Kara’s question, a wave of distress washed over Kara’s features, draining the color from her face and leaving her visibly shaken. It was as if the mere presence of Mori held some profound significance, stirring emotions buried deep within Kara’s soul.


“He’s in my suitcase in the car, which I parked in the garage. Who cares? Mom, what does a Cabbage Patch doll have to do with this? This has been 2 days of hell. Tell me what’s going on.”

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Kara gazed at her daughter, her eyes mirroring the weight of a long-held secret. “I had hoped to avoid this,” she began, her voice heavy with resignation. “But deep down, I knew that eventually, we would have to confront this.” As Kara started to unravel the truth, Mary was overwhelmed with a flood of horror, shock, and, above all, guilt.


When Mary Ellis was 9 years old, her parents’ marriage fell apart. Signs of trouble had been brewing for some time, evident in the daily arguments and tension between them. As an only child raised in the rural countryside, Mary felt like her world was collapsing when her parents decided to separate.

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Like many children facing such upheaval, Mary struggled to cope. Her behavior became erratic, prompting her parents to seek therapy for her. Over time, Mary started to adjust to the new reality of her family situation. However, before reaching a sense of stability, an event occurred that would alter the course of everyone’s lives.

The Park

On a chilly day in May, Mary and her mother, Kara Ellis, decided to visit the park. Mary was on the brink of turning 10, and she had been moping around the house because Kara had initially refused to take her.

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“It’s only 50 degrees,” Kara had reasoned. “I can’t afford to take time off work if you catch a cold; I’ve used up most of my leave already.” However, confronted with the idea of spending the day cooped up with a disgruntled preteen, Kara relented.

Small Talk

Unexpectedly, there was another girl at the park, a cheerful child with dark hair and eyes, accompanied by her nanny. Kara was glad that Mary would have a playmate. Despite Mary’s occasional sullenness after her parents’ separation, the other girl’s presence encouraged her to join in the fun.

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Soon, they were giggling and playing together, oblivious to the adults’ conversation. Kara and the nanny exchanged pleasantries but mostly kept to themselves, engrossed in their phones while the girls enjoyed their newfound friendship.


All Kara gathered from their casual conversation was that the girl came from affluence. She did have a caretaker, after all. Her father was some prominent figure, perhaps a businessman or lawyer. Kara sensed a hint of darkness in Maria’s expression, suggesting that the father wasn’t particularly amiable.

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Although there was an air of mystery, Kara refrained from probing further out of politeness.However, there was one detail that stood out. The young girl’s name was Vanessa.

What’s That?

Vanessa showed unwavering kindness to Mary that day, displaying genuine sweetness. That’s what magnified Mary’s subsequent actions, causing embarrassment and shame for Kara.

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As they drove home from the park, Kara noticed Mary’s uncharacteristic silence in the rearview mirror. Her curiosity piqued when she observed Mary concealing something under her shirt. “What’s that?” she inquired, noting the swift shift in Mary’s expression from defiance to guilt.

In quiet

Mary attempted to reassure her mother, but the unconvincing tone in her voice betrayed her true feelings. Kara, ever perceptive as a parent, sensed her daughter’s discomfort. With a sigh, she veered the car into an empty lot and made a U-turn, heading back to the playground.

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This wasn’t the first time Mary had struggled with honesty, especially during therapy sessions aimed at addressing her emotional challenges. Kara understood that healing took time, and she was committed to supporting her daughter through the process. As they drove back to the playground in tense silence, Kara’s mind raced with thoughts of how to best help Mary navigate her inner turmoil.

Something surprising

However, much to Kara’s dismay, Vanessa and the nanny had vanished.Kara made an effort to locate them, leaving behind a handwritten note with her contact details. Yet, she soon realized she lacked crucial information such as last names, making the search fruitless. Googling proved equally futile; what search terms could possibly lead to a result? “Vanessa, girl, 9, wealthy, nanny?”

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Mary faced consequences for her actions. Kara imposed several sanctions, including confiscating the toy—Mary had affectionately dubbed it Mori. Initially considering donating Mori, Mary stumbled upon something astonishing while inspecting the doll.

All Right

As Kara lifted Mori into her car, intending to donate him to Goodwill, she felt a peculiar sensation. Upon closer inspection, she noticed a hard lump nestled in the doll’s stomach. With a furrowed brow, she gently pressed on the area, confirming the presence of something inside.

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Despite Mori’s familiar features—the tuft of hair atop his head and his endearing eyes—Kara couldn’t shake off the intrigue sparked by this unexpected revelation. It was as if the doll held a secret waiting to be unveiled, adding an unexpected twist to the situation.


It was a Saturday, so Mary was with her dad. That was for the best, as Kara knew her daughter wouldn’t approve of what she was about to do. Being a typical Midwestern mom, Kara’s initial thought was that Mori might be hiding something illicit.

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She shook her head, dismissing the idea as absurd. Yet, there was an undeniable sense that Mori was concealing something. Kara examined the doll’s back. There was no Velcro opening; someone had deliberately removed it and carefully sewn him back shut, suggesting a deliberate attempt to hide whatever was inside.


Mori remained silent, ruling out the possibility of a voice box. The stitching on his abdomen appeared expertly crafted, likely the work of an adult, thought Kara, who was skilled in sewing herself. Intrigued, she carried Mori to the kitchen and fetched a pair of sharp scissors.

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With a hint of apology, she carefully sliced him open, revealing a tightly-wrapped paper parcel about the size of a quarter. Kara’s heart quickened as she unwrapped the paper, and when she finally saw what Mori had concealed, she was overcome with shock, her breath catching in her throat.


“Wait, let me get this straight,” Mary, now 30 years old, interjected, her brow furrowing in confusion. “So, I took Mori from a girl at the playground, and now you’re saying she’s orchestrating all of this just to get him back? I mean, I understand having a sentimental attachment to childhood toys, but this seems a bit extreme.

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Honestly, she can have him back. I’ll find her and return it to her.” Kara sighed deeply, her voice trembling slightly as she shook her head. “But, Mary, you don’t understand. Mori wasn’t just an ordinary doll. He was hiding a diamond.”


Glistening on a slender, golden chain, the clear, sparkling gem caught Kara’s attention. Concealed within the Cabbage Patch doll was a diamond, seemingly placed there by someone. Kara couldn’t help but wonder about its authenticity and purpose.

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Was it intended for the little girl who owned the doll? It seemed improbable that a child would possess such a valuable gem. Yet, here it was, a million-dollar diamond unknowingly carried around by a young girl in her stuffed toy.

Perpetually inaccurate

“Oh, my goodness,” Mary exclaimed, “Did you report it to the authorities?” However, she already had a sense of the answer.No, Kara hadn’t taken that step. Fearful for her daughter’s future amidst the chaos of divorce and their turbulent lives, Kara prioritized Mary’s well-being. She confided in no one, opting instead to safeguard her daughter’s innocence.

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Kara carefully resealed the diamond, reinforcing Mori’s stuffing with thicker materials from the craft store, and concealed the jewel within the doll. She allowed Mary to keep Mori indoors, forbidding him from venturing outside. Kara intended to disclose her actions to her daughter, but the opportune moment never presented itself.


Kara faced the daunting prospect of confessing to Mary that she had deceived and stolen a diamond, which rightfully belonged to someone else. Every passing year, Kara promised herself to reveal the truth about Mori to Mary, but she always faltered. She considered fabricating a story about how she acquired the diamond, but she knew Mary wouldn’t believe her.

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As she contemplated her mortality, Kara grappled with the idea of disclosing the secret hidden within Mori. However, she lacked the courage to confront the truth of her actions and the consequences for Mary. Now, the weight of her deception was catching up to both of them.


“Mom, why didn’t you tell me earlier? It’s been two decades,” Mary exclaimed, her voice trembling with a mix of frustration and hurt.Kara’s expression was pained as she responded, “I always planned to tell you when I got older, when my pride wasn’t as strong.

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I thought I’d do it right before I passed away, so you could use the money for your retirement. You have a job, and you never took Mori out of the house, so I didn’t think it would matter… until now.”She paused, then added solemnly, “And besides, it’s stolen. I don’t even know if you could sell it.”


Mary met her mother’s gaze with determination. “I’m retrieving Mori. This ends now.”Mary, inherently law-abiding, hesitated to involve the police, knowing it would only complicate matters for her mother. Despite the past, she empathized with her mother’s intentions.

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Times had been tough, and mistakes were made. However, she also recognized the truth in the adage that concealing the truth often exacerbates the situation more than the original offense.With resolve, Mary prepared to confront the situation head-on, determined to uncover the truth behind Mori’s mysterious contents.

During that moment

Kara nodded in acknowledgment, her expression grave as she retrieved a pair of sharp scissors from the kitchen drawer. The weight of two decades of deception hung heavy in the air, and Mary struggled to comprehend the enormity of it.

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Every night, for twenty years, she had slept beside a precious secret, unaware of its true value. Now, faced with the reality of its illicit origins, Mary couldn’t help but feel a sense of betrayal and unease.

Black Truck

As Mary swung open the door leading from the kitchen to the garage, she was met with the chilling sight she had hoped to avoid. The woman stood before her, bathed in the dim light of the garage, a menacing glint in her eyes as she gripped a crowbar tightly in her hands. Despite the tense situation, she wore a smirk that sent shivers down Mary’s spine.

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“Hello, Mary,” the woman greeted, her tone dripping with a twisted sense of familiarity. “Feels like it’s been ages, doesn’t it?”Mary let out a resigned sigh. “Only a couple of hours, actually,” she replied, her voice laced with weariness. “I’m guessing you were the one in the black SUV earlier.”


“Right,” Vanessa Edmonds interjected, her voice sharp with suspicion. “I overheard your mom, but she didn’t mention Co-Jack. Where is he?”

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“Who?” I asked innocently.”The Cabbage Patch Kid you renamed. Seems like theft runs in the family.” Vanessa’s disdain was palpable, her eyes narrowed in distrust as she scrutinized me.


Mary stood tall, her posture rigid, as she locked eyes with Vanessa. “Vanessa, if you seek conflict, you won’t find it here. You can reclaim your diamond necklace. You can even take Mori – I mean, Co-Jack. I adore him, but… he belongs with you.”

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Vanessa’s brow furrowed. While Mary entertained thoughts of using the money for her own early retirement, she faced a stark truth – the diamond wasn’t hers. Neither was the doll. They had never belonged to her.

After All

Vanessa gazed at the petite, redheaded woman before her, sensing a blend of resignation and weariness in her eyes. She had anticipated a different reaction. Tracking them down had consumed years of her life. Maria had been the key.

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The nanny, nearly forgotten by Vanessa, hadn’t forgotten her or the day Co-Jack vanished. It was the incident that led to her dismissal, after all.

To Do

Throughout her childhood, Vanessa had cycled through a parade of nannies. When her parents upset her or doled out discipline, there was no recourse for dismissal. Yet, her grandfather, mother, and father frequently terminated nannies.

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Vanessa harbored resentment. Sometimes, being told “no” was necessary, even for a child. She understood that much. Following the incident with Co-Jack, her father believed dismissing the nanny would rectify the situation.

Here She Was

Vanessa mourned Co-Jack for years, long after her nanny’s name faded from memory. It wasn’t until she inherited the responsibility of clearing out her grandma’s estate after her passing a few years back that Vanessa stumbled upon old payroll records.

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That discovery reignited something within Vanessa, sparking a chain of events she hadn’t anticipated. It was a single breadcrumb leading her down a path she hadn’t imagined possible. And now, here she stood, at the culmination of that journey.

Just Asked

“You hunted me down. You trespassed into my apartment. You nearly caused an accident on the road,” Mary remarked, her gaze meeting Vanessa’s with a solemn intensity. “And honestly? You could have just talked to me, Vanessa.”

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“You could have simply asked,” Mary reiterated. Vanessa felt a pang of remorse. She had presumed that Mary wouldn’t willingly part with such a valuable possession. Yet, Vanessa hadn’t truly known Mary Ellis.


Vanessa set the crowbar aside and met Mary’s eyes with a remorseful expression. “I apologize. I misjudged… I assumed you’d react differently.”Mary shrugged, brushing it off. “No worries. Let’s finish up so you can retrieve what’s rightfully yours.”

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With a click of her key fob, she opened her car’s trunk. Vanessa assisted her in carrying out her suitcase, and together they returned to the house.Inside, Kara greeted Vanessa as if they were strangers, oblivious to their previous encounter.


In truth, Vanessa had phoned Kara just two days prior. Surprisingly, Kara readily divulged Mary’s address with minimal persuasion, a swift betrayal that caught Vanessa off guard. But everyone has their own motivations. All happy families may appear alike, but their secrets tell different stories.

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At this juncture, Vanessa’s concern had waned. With bated breath, she observed as Mary unlocked her suitcase. A gasp escaped Vanessa’s lips when she laid eyes on Co-Jack. Without hesitation, she rushed forward and enveloped the doll in a tight embrace.


Co-Jack held more than just a valuable secret; he was a beacon of solace for Vanessa in a world overshadowed by a distant, unkind father, an indifferent mother, and a revolving door of nannies.

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“I’ve always pitied you,” her grandmother had confessed once, her eyes brimming with sorrow. “And I always will.” It was her grandmother who had bestowed Co-Jack upon her, concealing the diamond within as a means to safeguard an inheritance for her granddaughter amidst her parents’ tumultuous lifestyle.


It had been a clever scheme, destined for success if Mary hadn’t absconded with the doll and Kara held onto the diamond. Despite Co-Jack’s unchanged appearance, Vanessa couldn’t shake the faint resurgence of resentment within her.

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She reasoned that Mary couldn’t have anticipated the consequences. Vanessa redirected her frustration towards the guilty-looking older woman lingering in the kitchen corner.

As recalled

Co-Jack felt exactly as she recalled. Vanessa had been shattered and crushed when Mary snatched him away, her concern more for the doll than the treasure hidden within. With Co-Jack’s return, a sense of tranquility washed over her.

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The anguish and hardship hadn’t been in vain. The countless sleepless nights spent in pursuit of him had finally yielded results. As Kara passed her the scissors, Vanessa felt a surge of anticipation, knowing that the moment she had longed for was finally at hand.

Gleaming forth

Vanessa and Kara exchanged a meaningful look as Vanessa passed her the scissors. In that momentary gaze, Vanessa conveyed a silent message, hoping to evoke a sense of remorse in Kara. Despite her actions, Mary appeared genuinely kind-hearted.

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With careful hands, Vanessa delicately sliced open Co-Jack’s back. Retrieving the small, rigid object hidden within, she unwrapped it to reveal her inheritance sparkling before her.


Vanessa experienced a surge of relief upon laying eyes on it, unchanged from her memory (a brief glimpse her grandma had granted before safeguarding it). The golden chain remained intact, cradling a diamond fashioned into a captivating, lustrous form.

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The moment overwhelmed her, offering a glimmer of hope for the future. She gazed at it for a moment longer before pressing her cheek against its cool, unyielding surface.


Vanessa secured the diamond in her pocket, closing the zipper of her cargo pants. Tears welled in her eyes as she embraced Mary, feeling the initial tension melt away as they hugged each other tightly.

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Together, they carefully restored the stuffing inside Co-Jack (or Mori, as Mary still referred to him in her thoughts). Kara swiftly took him away, assuring them she would mend him as soon as possible.

What next?

Mary glanced at Vanessa and offered an apology.Vanessa reciprocated with a nod. “I’m sorry too. I didn’t expect it to be this simple. I’ve never had many friends or encountered people who do what’s right.”

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The two women embraced once more.Mary inquired, “What’s your plan now? Where do you intend to sell it?”

Fresh Start

“I’ll head back into the city and search for a reputable place,” Vanessa stated. “As for Co-Jack…””Actually, you can keep him,” Mary’s eyes brightened.

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Mori had been a source of solace for her, and despite feeling guilty about taking him, she secretly hoped to hold onto that childhood relic. After another hug and exchanging numbers, Vanessa embarked on her journey to a fresh beginning.

What’s That?

“She didn’t bid farewell to my mom,” Mary mused quietly. She dismissed it, assuming Vanessa was likely pressed for time.

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Mary’s mother had taken Mori to mend his hastily repaired wounds. Retrieving her sewing kit from the basement, Mary descended the carpeted stairs to find her. Kara swiftly pocketed something upon Mary’s arrival. “What’s that?” Mary inquired, curiosity piqued.


“Tape measure!” Kara exclaimed, retrieving it from her pocket. “I needed to ensure I cut enough thread for Mori’s repairs.””Mom,” Mary began, “It’s alright, what happened. I comprehend your intentions from back then.

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Today, everything has been resolved, so I believe we should move forward, refrain from dwelling on it. It was a misstep, but… here we are. All’s well that ends well, isn’t it?” Kara nodded, reaching out for a hug from her daughter. “I’d like that.”

Jamming to the radio

With the diamond tucked safely in her pocket, Vanessa Edmonds sang along to the radio, relishing the freedom as the wind whipped through her hair with the windows down. This moment epitomized the life she had always yearned for. Reclaiming her precious jewel meant more than just financial gain; it signified a fresh start, an escape from her cramped studio apartment to a more comfortable dwelling.

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With the proceeds from selling the diamond, Vanessa planned to invest in her future. She envisioned returning to school to acquire the education needed for a rewarding career. This time around, she was determined to chart a different course. She held an unwavering belief that her life was on the verge of a significant transformation, fueled by newfound opportunities and her own determination to succeed.

Poor relations

Fairness prevailed, and Vanessa appreciated Mary’s rational reaction to the situation. Had it been left to Kara, who could predict? The woman had readily disclosed her daughter’s whereabouts at the mere mention of police involvement. Vanessa could have posed as a threat, yet Kara showed no hesitation in divulging Mary’s address.

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Vanessa’s threat of police involvement was a bluff. She had no intention of calling law enforcement, knowing it would alert her father, a volatile individual best left undisturbed. Their parting had been less than amicable, to say the least.


But none of that mattered now. Vanessa had everything she desired in this moment, finding contentment in it. Life felt promising. Even as a solemn, neglected child, she had been a responsible caretaker of the diamond. Now, she was headed towards her destiny.

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Speeding along the highway towards the bustling city, Vanessa carried her new life within her pocket. Perhaps she would reach out to Mary, extending an invitation to her new mansion.Mary had proven herself a generous friend, and Vanessa now considered her as such. She had undoubtedly earned a visit and a chance to enjoy the soon-to-be-installed pool.

A Profitable Commitment

After embracing her daughter, Kara retrieved a small Nokia phone from her pocket and dialed “1”. The call connected briefly before she ended it. Uncertain of Vanessa’s fate with the diamond, Kara had made a commitment to inform someone else once Vanessa departed.

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It was a promise tinged with potential profit.As events unfolded, it became apparent that Vanessa wasn’t the sole seeker of the diamond.