Chapter 1 TextChapter 1: The Magic Flower
The day before it happened was one of those crystal clear days, when the sky is as blue as the Hawaiian ocean, and the puffs of clouds are sparse, but giant and fluffy, perfect cotton ball visions floating overhead – soft, slow and bouncy.
Janie and Jake were visiting Zia. They ran all over town – from park to park – playing pirates and sea captain and house and hide and seek and warrior and adventurer and army and tag and doctor and scientist.
They explored the alleys and the old town at the fairgrounds. They even went up to Lodge Hill, though they’d always heard it was haunted. The ground around the decaying, dilapidated building was barren – except for three bright green plants peeking through the golden dry grass of the impending winter.
“Look Zia,” Janie ran up to them. “Something’s growing.”
“Let’s pick one and take it home,” Jake said, bending to see a tiny purple bloom starting to bud.
“No, no,” Zia said, leaning over the plant to examine it closely. “That’s a special plant. It has to stay here.”
Zia took a deep breath. It was December 28 and these were the plants. She knew what that meant. She looked up to the sky. “I wonder if it will snow?” she asked aloud.
“Oh, I hope so,” Janie said, not knowing why Zia wanted it to snow but thinking it would be awesome if it did.
“It would be magical,” Zia said, almost to herself. She smiled at her niece and nephew. “And then you would know.”
“Know what?” they asked together.
“Never believe it. Not in a million years. We’ll just have to wait and see,” Zia said, walking back towards the house.
Janie had a hard time sleeping that night. The moon was gone and a deafening silence overtook the darkness. There were no nighttime sounds, no leaves rustling in the soft wintery wind. Just silence.
Jake was sleeping soundly next to her…as he always did when he was at Zia’s, all stretched out, covers wrapped around him mummy-like and, of course, hogging the bed.
“Oh well,” Janie sighed to herself. “I can’t sleep anyway.”
She climbed out of bed and lovingly flicked her little brother’s ear. He breathed a huffy puff and rolled over.
She pattered into Zio and Zia’s room. Both sleeping, she thought.
And then she noticed it, out of the corner of her eye, by chance because it wasn’t really that easy to see.
She walked to the big dormer window and tried to see over the fence to the tiny light glowing on Lodge Hill. She stood on her tippy toes and squinted, but she still couldn’t see it.
She walked to the French doors that led to the pool and opened them. She pulled on the pink Uggs, cast aside on the screen porch after a day’s play. They were cold. She shivered and grabbed one of the afghans thrown over the quilt rack.
She didn’t see it until she got to the gate by Zio’s truck.
Growing from one of the bright green plants, up by the lodge, was a beautiful, tiny purple flower that seemed to be emanating its own light.
She opened the gate slowly. It creaked and she jumped.
“Easy Janie,” she said to herself as she closed it behind her to brave the dark of the street alone.
She looked both ways, even thought it was one o’clock in the morning and most normal people were asleep.
She felt something cold fall on her nose, then on her head, and again. She looked up and let out an excited scream as thousands of fluffy white snowflakes drifted through the air.
It was snowing. Through the white curtain, the light seemed to get brighter. It seemed to be calling her to its glow.
She ran across the street and up the hill. The flower was beautiful, perfectly purple and fragrant. She bent down to get a better whiff and her tummy started turning. She felt like she was slipping. She looked down and her hands were shrinking, her legs where shrinking, her whole body was shrinking. Then she felt the sensation of falling, like off of the waterfall on Splash Mountain at Disneyland.
She landed hard on her bottom, but on soft mossy ground. Only she wasn’t in Plymouth anymore.
She was in a forest of sorts and standing above her were two very large men with eyes in both the front and back of their heads. And they had extra lips on the tops of their noggins. She’d never seen anything like it before in her life.
She was definitely not at Zia’s anymore.
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