Under the Starlit Sky:
A Tale of Fairies and Giants
(A chapter book for children 9 to 12.
Below is the beginning of the first chapter titled “The Beast”)
Roused from their beds by the scent of rain, two young sisters sat among the twisted roots of an old oak tree. Blue-eyed Laurel, her long wavy hair the color of cream, gazed up through the branches at thousands of twinkling lights scattered across the vast night sky. “Do you ever wonder what could be out there? Out there beyond the stars?”
Holly looked up at the sky, her eyes as dark as coal. The leaves began to stir and the scent of rain grew stronger. “Sometimes,” she answered, “but tonight my thoughts of what could be run closer to home.” Lifting the hem of her pale pink nightgown, she stepped out between the knobby roots and danced barefoot across the velvety moss. “Have you heard? Dane has been chosen as one of the three. He could be crowned the new king.” Bathed in the shimmery glow of starlight, she spun around on her toes, swirling her silky black hair through the breeze. Then, a wistful smile on her face, she danced back again, bowing to her sister before falling gracefully at her feet.
Laurel giggled. “And you, no doubt, would like to be crowned his lovely queen.”
“Ahhh, dreamers do dream,” Holly sighed. “He danced with me at the last gathering, you know. He came right up to our table and asked me to dance.” Leaning forward into the dappled starlight glow, she hugged her knees, revealing a deep rosy tint in her cheeks. “I would die if anyone knew I dream such a dream. You must promise . . . promise you’ll never tell a soul.”
“Sister’s honor,” Laurel vowed, trying hard not to smile. She kissed her thumb and touched it to her heart.
Holly gazed through the dark swaying branches. “Still, I can’t help but wonder if he’ll dance with me again. And if he’ll be crowned the new king.”
“Ah ha!” Laurel cried. “You ARE wondering what’s beyond the stars!” As her laughter rang out above the rising wind, a dark cloud slid across the sky, snuffing out the night’s magical glow. A heavy rain came crashing through the leaves.
As the girls huddled close in the wet, inky darkness, a cluster of flashing green lights floated into view. Rising to follow the lights through the falling twigs and blowing rain, the girls made their way around to the far side of the towering oak’s trunk just as a splintering bolt of lightning blazed across the sky. Seconds later, a deafening peal of thunder rattled the air as the night plunged back into blackness.
“Hurry, Holly!” Laurel screamed as she slipped down into a hole beneath an arching root. Wet strands of hair whipping across her face, Holly dropped down into the hole behind her.
Then . . . as quickly as they had come, the flashing lights of green vanished, leaving the night in total darkness as trickles of water slid over the roots and down into the hole.