Here’s the latest chapter in Michael’s Middle Grade Light Fantasy.
Let me whisper in your ear
– Lennon & McCartney
CHAPTER THREE – Amazing Grace
“Holly,” the voice again whispered.
“Huh?” Holly answered, still half asleep and with her eyes still closed.
“Wake up sweetheart.”
As she floated in that hazy world where dreams are born, Holly thought it was her mother talking. But as the sleep began fluttering out of her head, she suddenly realized she didn’t recognize the voice. She opened her eyes and blinked several times, trying to focus.
In the darkness of her bedroom, Holly had some difficulty determining who was speaking to her, and she didn’t recognize the stranger now sitting on the edge of her bed. There was a soft light around the figure, and Holly thought for a moment an angel had come to take her away.
“Everything is all right, dear,” the visitor soothed. “Don’t worry. No one’s going to hurt you.”
Holly’s eyes were adjusting now, and they were looking into the face of the most beautiful lady she had ever seen. Even in the dim light, Holly saw that the lady was wearing a silvery-white dress that sparkled and glistened like a summer morning’s dew dancing on a spider web. The glow around her was like a firefly’s light, and she was giving Holly the most reassuring and comforting smile.
“Everything is quite all right, dear,” the visitor repeated.
“Who are you?” Holly whispered.
“My name is Grace, but that’s not important,” the lady replied, then glanced at the night table. “I see you found the golden box I left for you, and you left your window open like the note instructed. That’s why I’m here.”
Holly was more awake now, and she sat up in bed. She noticed her window had been closed, and the room was much warmer than it was when she had fallen asleep. As she pulled her hands from beneath the covers, her fingers felt the stitching on the bedspread. Her eyes glanced down to see that it was no longer in front of the bedroom door but back where it belonged.
Questions filled her head and spilled out. “Why did you leave the box, and why have you come? What’s this all about? I don’t understand any of it. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.”
Grace smiled. “I know. It’s very confusing, isn’t it? But it’s quite simple, really. We only visit the most deserving.”
“The most deserving?”
“Yes.” Grace nodded.
“You mean me?”
“Of course I mean you,” Grace replied. “You are a very deserving young lady, and I’m here to take care of that. I have been given the authority to grant you two wishes. Anything your heart desires – with a few stipulations.”
Holly’s eyes held another question. “Two wishes?” Holly could hardly believe what she was hearing. With two wishes she could wish for her mother to get well and have an extra wish for anything else she wanted.
“Yes. Two wishes.” Grace smiled. “Isn’t that exciting?”
Holly nodded, then thought for a moment before adding, “But I thought you usually get three.”
“Yes. I thought you usually get three wishes.”
Grace looked at her for a moment, then threw her head back and laughed so loudly Holly thought the sound would wake her parents. After putting her hand over her mouth and composing herself Grace whispered, “That’s only in stories and fairy tales, dear. In real life you only get two – usually. But since you’ve brought a smile to my old heart, I’ll make an exception in this case and give you an extra wish.” She winked at Holly before adding, “But don’t tell anyone I bent the rule.”
Holly shook her head and smiled. “I won’t say a word,” she whispered.
“Good. As I said, you are being granted two – correction, three wishes. But I must suggest that you choose very carefully what you wish for.”
“Can I wish for anything I want?”
Grace nodded. “Yes. But, as I mentioned, there are a few stipulations.”
“What kind of stipulations?”
“We have certain rules about wishes. And they must be followed precisely. So pay close attention,” Grace began.
“Okay.” Holly nodded.
“First,” Grace continued, “you can’t mention anything about this to anyone. This is your secret, and it’s one you must not reveal, at least not until after all three wishes have come true.”
“I won’t tell anyone. They probably wouldn’t believe me anyway.”
Grace replied, “You never know what people will believe, dear. Regardless, don’t mention it to anyone. Okay?”
“Second, you can’t wish harm on any other person.”
“I wouldn’t do that,” Holly said.
“I know you wouldn’t. But I’m required to tell you that.”
“All right.” Holly said. “What else?”
“Third, while you can’t wish harm on any other person, you also can’t wish for anyone’s illness to end.”
Holly’s heart sank when she heard those words. “I can’t wish for my mother’s illness to end?”
Grace closed her eyes and shook her head. “No, that’s not what I meant to say. Of course you can wish for your mother’s illness to end. I’m sure you wish it every day. Anyone would. But it’s a wish that can’t be granted because it violates the rules. Do you understand?”
Holly shrugged. “I didn’t know wishes had rules like that.”
“They do. I’ll give you a copy of the rules before I leave. And remember, the rules must be followed precisely.”
Holly nodded her understanding but didn’t reply. She was busy thinking about something else she could wish for to help her mother get well.
“Let’s continue,” Grace said. “Fourth, the wishes must be your own. You can’t ask anyone for advice or suggestions on what to wish for.”
“Not even my father?”
Grace shook her head. “Not even your father.”
“Well, that’s okay. I can think up my wishes on my own.”
“Of course you can.”
Holly looked at her beautiful visitor. “Is that all?”
“Almost.” Grace smiled. “Now, this is the one that upsets most people. You can’t wish for money or riches.”
Holly’s heart sank even deeper. Since wishing for her mother’s illness to end wasn’t allowed, she had been thinking about wishing for money so her mother could get the medical attention she needed, and maybe she could get well without wishing for it. Holly gave Grace a sheepish grin and admitted, “Money was the second thing I was going to wish for.”
“I know, dear. People have been wishing for money since time began. It’s a very popular wish. But wishing for it hasn’t been very effective so far. There are better ways to get money than wishing for it.”
“I guess you’re right. Are there any more rules?”
“Yes. There’s just one other thing I must tell you. And it’s perhaps the most important part of all.”