Excerpt from a Childrens' Novel
The little girl awoke in her bed, her eyes still splotched and puffy, with lines of ice running down her cheeks onto the leather-bound book of fairy tales on which her head rested. She sat up in her bed, and the book came with her, still hugging her cheek. Wedging her delicate and pale fingers between her face and the pages, she tried to separate the two but the ice wouldn’t break. Her fingers slipped and the book snapped back to her frosted visage.
“Enough! Let go now,” she said as she began her second attempt. The ice refused to comply. With one had keeping the book at bay and the other on the mattress, balancing her weight as she shifted to get a foot on the book.
“I said enough!” and with one forceful thrust of her tiny leg, the ice shattered and a cloud of glittery crystals hung over the bed. Lying on her back watching the crystals dissolve into darkness, she realized for the first time since she had awakened that she and her bed were surrounded by an endless expanse of dark with a somber glow emanating from her white nightgown.
She pulled herself to the foot of the bed and looked over in search of the book of fairy tales with which she had just been struggling. The book hovered beside a large, grey rock, barely visible and diminishing more and more every second the girl watched it.
Just as the book was almost fully lost to the dark, the girl called out, “Wait! Where am I? What happened to my room? How did I get here?”
The glow spread to the rest of her surroundings. The dark faded just enough to reveal the bed’s surroundings, a large grey plane of rock and dust. She sat on the bed and the bed sat on the moon. She pulled the quilt on the bed around her and looked up at the cloud.
“I’m scared. Tell me a story!” she demanded of the remnants of the book floating above her head.
The particles remained floating without movement until she added, “please?”
At that moment precisely, the cloud of dust and glitter began to swirl about and formed the shape of a man and a woman standing hand in hand. The cloud froze again.
“I know this one! It’s my favorite,” said the girl.
The dust remained immobile.
“Should I tell it then?”
The constructed man and woman nodded.
“Ever since the beginning, when a man and a woman loved each other more than life itself…”
The man and woman embraced one another.
“They would profess their love to the new moon’s sky at midnight…”
The constructed pair began to dance below a starlit sky.
The book continued to fade out of sight. She looked over the side of the bed at the dark and, using one of her sockless feet, gingerly explored for the ground. When her big toe brushed against something rough and firm, she hurried a gulp of breath and planted her foot down. The icy ground sent a shiver up her body and forced a spasm of breath to be released. The warm, moist air leaving her mouth froze into a cloud of crystals, just as her frozen tears had done before.
Quickly putting her other foot onto the ground and fighting off the next shiver, she scurried over toward the book. She stretched out her hand and when the tip of her foremost finger touched the surface of the book it popped as if it were a bubble floating in front of her. The dust released by the book fell to a pile before the girl’s feet.
She bent down and scooped a handful of the once-book-now-dust and held it up to her face at nose level to examine it. Taking the pointer finger of her other hand she slowly poked at the pile in her palm and pushed until she was poking herself.
A spasm of shivering broke her concentration and she slipped the handful of dust into the pocket of her nightgown. She then ran back to her bed, which was being lost to the dark until she jumped into its warmth. Landing on the mattress sent a cloud of dust from her pocket into the space above her, where the clouds of crystals still hung partially consumed by the dark.
The clouds merged and began to hum with a lurid glow. The girl looked around for the source of the light and saw in the distance a glowing circle of light rising from the horizon. It was the earth.