Prologue

It's a sad thing to say, but many people don't have an original thought in their head. That's why so many children adopt their imaginary friends these days, they just don't have the imagination or the gumption to come up with one on their own. Natalie, however, had more of both of those things than ten kids put together. She was sweet, talented, clever, and funny but most of all . . . She was my friend. My creator.

Natalie wanted to be a fashion designer. Her mother, a dressmaker herself, supported her decision full force, buying her all the sewing supplies she asked for. By the time she was eight she could make full outfits. That's why she made me.

I was a dressmaker's dummy in a way. Made to the image that Natalie wished she could have. Though we looked nothing alike, I always knew I was her dream self. A marvelous recreation of her without the limitations of genetics, species, and logic.

She was constantly making beautiful things for me to wear, never for herself, always for me. When I said she should try them on she would politely disagree, saying they 'wouldn't look right' or 'wouldn't fit right' even though we were the same size. It was as though she were afraid that by wearing them she would make them ugly, lessen them in some way. But she could never have done that because she was so beautiful.

I came into being when Natalie was six, when she first realized her fabric dreams. I still remember those eyes . . . Those dazzling brown eyes that looked on me with wonder as I appeared. Those little hands that stroked my fur with a gentle touch. That little nose spattered with freckles. That little face looking up at me. And that tremendous smile.

I speak of her as though she is dead when she has not yet left my side.

But I must do this. I must commit her to memory.

Before I lose her forever.