Anna and Hannah each sat on a little footstool, with a footstool between them like a table. The bowl of cheese curds was resting in the exact center of this footstool. The sisters faced each other, forks in hand.
“Isaac, watch and tell me if she eats more than I do,” Anna said.
“If she eats more, let me know,” Hannah said.
They glared at each other. The lilies behind Isaac made a crackling sound, and then trumpets blared again, and the girls started eating. More accurately, they shoveled the curds into their mouths until their cheeks bulged.
“Time out,” Isaac said. “You need to chew and swallow your food or you’ll choke.”
Watching each other warily, the girls put down their forks. They chewed and glared. Suddenly, Anna snatched up her fork. Her hand darted out and she took one of the cheese curds from the bowl and popped it into her still full mouth.
Hannah jumped up and grabbed a handful of cheese curds, completely ignoring her fork. Anna grabbed the bowl and twisted away from Hannah, keeping the rest of the cheese curds out of her reach.
“This means war,” Hannah said, waving around her handful of cheese curds as she yelled. Read More
“Do you both live in this house?” Isaac asked, once the song was over.
“Of course we do, it’s our house,” Hannah said.
Anna nodded. “It’s our house, so we live here.”
“So who lives in the other house?”
Hannah and Anna looked confused. “What house?” they asked in unison.
Isaac unfolded the map and showed the picture of the two houses. “I could only find your house, though. I didn’t see any signs leading anywhere else.”
“Oh, that house.” Hannah jumped up and grabbed Isaac’s arm.
Anna jumped up and grabbed the other arm. “We’ll take you there.”
Isaac stood up and allowed the two girls to lead him through the bushes and down a steep hill. They stopped in front of a wall of overgrown rose bushes.
“She doesn’t do much yard work,” Hannah said.
Anna nodded. “She mostly just sleeps. She’s the queen of dreams, you know.”
Isaac, who had been contemplating the sharp thorns on the nearest rosebush, turned to look at the little girls in horror. “You mean she can’t go home?”
Hannah shrugged. “She is home.”
Isaac shook his head. “No, I mean the home she had before she came here, where her family is. She can’t go back?”
“She is home.” Anna put her hands on her hips. “Hannah told you that. They’re all in her dreams now.”
“What do you mean? What happened?”
Hannah stepped closer to Anna and put her hands on her hips too. “She became the queen of dreams and took a nice nap and then went back.” She looked at Anna.
Anna continued the story. “But too much time had passed. Her parents and her sister and brother had all grown old and died. Her baby cousin was a great-grandpa. So, she couldn’t go back, not really.”
Hannah smiled. “So she came back here and she dreams about them, and in her dreams they’re real. So she doesn’t want anyone to wake her up.”
Anna smiled. “She has a great big sword and would probably kill anyone who tried. She’s really scary.”
The girls continued smiling, but Isaac frowned. It was an awful story. He hoped it wasn’t really true. Isaac looked at the wall of rose bushes. “So, no one would throw a party anywhere near her house if people are scared to wake her up, right?”
“We could check, but we’d probably hear them screaming from here if they did,” Hannah said.
“She wakes up if people are too noisy?”
“Doesn’t everybody? I do,” Anna said. “Especially when Hannah snores.”
“I don’t snore, you do.” Hannah glared at Anna.
“Yes, you do. I wish I had a giant sword too.”
“Can we see over the rose bushes from the top of the hill?” Isaac interrupted. He didn’t like where this argument was going.
The girls turned to glare at Isaac, then looked back up the hill. “Maybe,” they said in unison.
Isaac hurried back up the hill. He walked along the top of the hill until he found a spot where he could look across the rest of the island. There was an empty overgrown garden, the red roof of a far away house, and a deserted beach beyond it. The party wasn’t on this island.
Hannah and Anna trudged back up the hill. “Time for cheese curds,” Hannah said happily.
“Yay!” Anna said.
“Wait, can you tell me the best way off this island?” Isaac asked. The girls were already pushing their way through the bushes back to their yard. Isaac chased after them and tried not to worry about the story they told. He would get home and see his family again. He got home last time, after all.
Timmons led Isaac back to the beach. A narrow bridge of sand snaked across the water to a smudge of land on the horizon. “There it is,” he said. “You’d better hurry.”
And so Isaac hurried over the sandbar, worried that any moment the water would come rushing back to cover it back up again and wash him out to sea. Luckily, he made it across just fine. But when he stepped on the beach and looked back, the middle of the path was already underwater again. Scary.
Isaac looked around. It looked like there was a sign next to a path leading up the sand dunes at the edge of the beach. Isaac walked over. There were two signs. The top one said “Anna’s House” and pointed to the right. The next sign said “Hannah’s house” and pointed the same way.
Isaac unfolded his map. There was a red X on the island with two houses. Well, that made sense. He wasn’t sure who to visit first, but he didn’t need to decide yet. There was only one path for now. He followed the path off the beach.
He continued following the path as rocks and ferns and palm trees were replaced with rose bushes and bunches of bright orange lilies and magenta hibiscus flowers. There were sign posts every so often along the path, but they kept pointing the same way.
He reached a white rock path that led to a white house with a red tile roof. Both signs pointed to the house. Did Hannah and Anna live in the same house? Then why were there two houses on the map? Read More
Ethan watched his mom go through the mail and sort it into piles. “Did I get anything?” he asked. “Not today,” she said. Ethan frowned. “I never get any letters.” Mom tossed all the junk mail into the recycling bin. “You have to send letters to get letters,” she