Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 42,000
Pitch: Like Baba Yaga, the legendary Russian witch, Bony Legs imprisons, perhaps eats, “unwanted” children. Lisa, exiled by her stepmother, leads the children’s escape with help from a magic doll made by her dying mother.
Beyond thrice nine lands, in the thrice tenth kingdom, beyond a river of fire, lives Baba Yaga. Aleksandr Afanas’ev from Russian Fairy Tales.
“This doll is for you,” Mom said, her voice not much more than a whisper.
I sat next to her on the bed. She’d been too sick again to get up when I came home from school. She handed me the doll she held. It was only five inches tall and had curly red hair, just like mine.
I stroked the curls. “This is real hair.” I looked at her. “It’s yours, isn’t it?” I knew she’d saved some of her hair when it started falling out from the cancer treatments. All the other dolls she made had wool or yarn for hair. Their bodies were cloth like this one, with faces stitched and painted to look almost real.
Mom nodded. “Yes, it’s my hair.”
“And her dress. It looks just like that red one of yours, with the lace at the collar.”
“I won’t wear it again.” She paused to catch her breath. “I took it apart and used some of the material to make this little one.” With delicate fingers, Mom straightened the lace on the collar and turned the doll around so I could see how the sash tied with a bow in back.
She was an artist with her dolls’ faces. This one had blue eyes like hers, and even freckles, like me and Mom. Although Mom had given me dolls before, she sold most of them.