“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.
Start at Chapter One