READ SAMPLE from Brooklyn's Fairy Tale
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 – Witch Rising
Chapter 2 – Lotus Tea
Chapter 3 – Magic Beans (read excerpt below)
Chapter 4 - Gingerbread House
Chapter 5 – The Witching Hours
Chapter 6 – Haunted
Chapter 7 – Cauldron Magic
Chapter 8 – A Gnome's Pious Robe
Chapter 9 – Shadows in the Castle
Chapter 10 - Rain Chant
Chapter 11 – Giants
Chapter 12 – Nettle's Sting
Chapter 13 – Winter
Chapter 14 – Breadcrumbs
Chapter 15 - Stone Soup
Chapter 16 – Aphasia
Chapter 17 - Mirror, Mirror
Chapter 18 - Spring
The Witch's Magic Bean Dream illustrated by Elisabeth Alba
Chapter 3 - Magic Beans
If you are a dreamer, come in/ If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar/
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
~ Shel Silverstein, The Invitation
“No, no. I can’t. I’ll never come up here again!” Brooklyn gripped the doorknob, but before she could turn it, she was caught in the silver snare of Valentina’s dulcet voice.
“Ahh, very well, dear. Then I shall do something for you just the same. It’s very economical to cook with magic beans. I couldn’t afford to give my boarders such fine meals without them. Tell me what you’d like for breakfast tomorrow. I’ll make anything you desire.”
“Magic beans? Like Jack in the Beanstalk beans?” she asked. That misty world of impossible things – of ghosts and jinn resting ever so gently over normal life frightened her, yes, but part of it stayed in her imagination. And it was bright. It was the shimmering part that meant what she saw wasn’t everything. There was more than the fact of things; there was magic. And in magic there was hope and possibility – even when it didn’t make any kind of sense.
Ever since her father went missing she felt closer to that misty world. She longed for it. Maybe Rubi knew it. Maybe now Brooklyn was ready for the book of FAIRY TALES. Ready to know what the people of Yamsville hadn’t seen right before their eyes for years.
Valentina laughed like a ribbon of popping bubbles. “Tomorrow morning, bright and early, Brooklyn. You’ll see why I keep boarders from snooping in my kitchen. Your mother thinks I’m locking up the caviar perhaps. I believe she’s quite offended.
"Give Brooklyn one magic bean to sleep on, Nettle.”
The gnome took a bean out of her pocket and held it to Valentina’s mouth for the kiss. Nettled pried Brooklyn’s hand open and put the bean in her palm. A wave of overpowering sandalwood from the she-gnome’s robe stifled Brooklyn’s breathe.
“A lima bean? What am I supposed to do with it?” Brooklyn asked.
“Put it under your pillow,” Valentina replied, “for sweet dreams.”
Brooklyn couldn’t swallow the air choking her throat. She clambered down the stairs and into her room. She needed to catch her breath, to lie down and think. It was nearly evening. She was glad her mother was on the verandah with Sargent Halladay. She’d be alone. She held the lima bean between her finger-tips wondering what made it magic – if it was magic, and tucked the bean under her pillow. She shifted and turned until her bedcovers were a twisted mess. The clock ticked louder, but soon her eyelids were heavy and she sank into a safe, watery place, warm as a mother’s amniotic sac.
Everything was dull and slow in water. If she kicked it was a graceful ballet arabesque. If she screamed it was a muffled gurgle. She was in the center of a giant lotus flower in a murky pond at night. Soft petals blanketed her, warm and soothing as tea cup’s steam. She floated north, then south, cutting a circle in the water, then back again. Spellbound by the soporific fragrance of the night-blooming lotus - more exotic and heady than any other flower, she fell asleep.
She wanted to stay safe and sleep for many nights, but before long someone was trying to wake her up. Jasmine called. “Coming, Mom,” she answered, stretching and yawning as she climbed out of bed, sorry her dream was interrupted. She made her way to the verandah and there found two cups of half-consumed tea were on the wicker table, but no one was there – neither her mother nor Sargent Halladay. A wicker rocking chair creaked and rocked as if a ghost sat in it.
Of course! Everyone was already eating dinner without her. Light poured out of the dining room as she turned the corner. The table was set with china and silverware, but there was no food on the serving platters. “Mom! Where are you? Sargent Halladay, are you getting dressed for dinner?” No one answered. Brooklyn ran to the library.
“River, where is everyone?” she cried out, but the library was vacant too. She watched the dust swirl in a beam of light from a floor lamp. Something was wrong. The moonstone ring warmed her chest. Panic pricked her skin and a needle of terror weaved through her stomach and tightened around her shrinking heart.
“He’s not coming back, Brooklyn. We’ll never find him. You must come out of Rubi’s garden of fairy stories. Father isn’t coming back,” said Jasmine’s mournful voice even as it trailed off into the hollow of an empty room down a long, long corridor.
Brooklyn bounded up the stairs. The skeleton key didn’t fit anymore. She thrust her shoulder into the door and shoved it open. “Valentina! Valentina! What have you done?”
Valentina’s bed was dressed in pressed white linens, and a grey blanket occupied its foot. The window was cracked open. Its gauzy white curtains waved and carried with it a nightingale’s lonely song. The music of a violin was coming from somewhere. Brooklyn fumbled toward the window and cranked the handle until the panes extended into the night.
A rampant wisteria vine choked the turret all the way up to the top of Valentina’s window. The vine’s flowers glowed fluorescent violet-blue, and its light hummed low like a light bulb’s last flash of energy before death. A flicker of wonder grew into a blazing flame in Brooklyn’s chest. She leaned over the window, inhaling the cool night air. It was a perfect spring night. The cricket lullaby eased her, and she forgot that she had to find the others.
Suspended in mid-air pink cherry-blossoms showered down from the tree’s laden branches. Brooklyn was victorious. She was new like spring. No longer the unlucky girl whose life was crumbling down around her. A crushing weight lifted from her shoulders. This beautiful, enchanted night was just for her, and it meant good things could be hers. But was it spring? So soon?
Someone in a uniform studded with brass stars stood on the lawn cutting a gallant figure. Romeo, his arm was outstretched to the window; he called to Juliet on her balcony. It must be River. He was tall enough to appear as a grown man from a distance. And it was be like River to engineer an elaborate prank. But no, even River couldn't manage this. Violins joined the cellos, and the men in tuxedos playing instruments on the lawn came into view from a ray of light breaking the darkness. A green fairy flitted across the sky leaving a glittery streak of star dust behind her.
A woody stem circled Brooklyn’s wrist, tighter and tighter until her heart throbbed under the red mark on her skin. She grabbed a sprig of bloom and tore the snaking vine. From within the broken stem, a bright lima bean rolled onto the window sill. Under moonlight, the wisteria’s glow ebbed to a sickly yellow-gray, but the bean still glowed and Brooklyn slipped it into her pocket.
Heat from the boiling cauldron in the room blew over her body like a backdraft from a raging fire. A hand touched Brooklyn’s shoulder. It was the Witch, standing tall, triumphant, splendid in her peacock blue cloak.
“You accepted my magic bean and thus we shared a dream. So, you see, there are beans just as magical as Jack’s. Remember, most incantations must have a vehicle to carry them. There are a great many spells with seeds and minerals,” she said, plucking an amethyst-pearl earring from her ear. She tossed it into the fire. “Oreesia-jemanna!” The Witch’s voice was hushed. Her words broke the jewel into pearly wings and the body of a silver-maned little horse flying off into the night scattered with glittering amethyst stars. Swiftly, the winged horse soared back into the Witch’s palm and dissolved into its former shape.
When you have mastered seeds and minerals, perhaps we’ll attempt a cauldron spell. There are spells so dense a channel is unnecessary. The most elusive, powerful magic of all is heavy in the mind and such spells are cast without spoken words. That magic cannot be taught, but someday, the mystery of it will unfold your darkest dream.”
Brooklyn sat on the iron bed, listening despite herself, leaning toward the crackling hearth. The Witch floated to the cauldron where the flames burned green, violet, and gold.
Chapter 2 - Addie Kim-Ly
Move and the way will open.
~ Zen Proverbs