“Brandon, come help me put these books on the bookshelf,” his mom said.
Brandon came into the kitchen. His mom was pulling a pan of cookies out of the oven. An open box of books was on the counter. “These books?” he asked, pulling one out of the box.
His mom looked up. “Yes, those books,” she said.
“Did you get these in the mail?” Brandon asked.
“Yes, they came today.”
Brandon flipped the book he was holding so that he could look at the title. It looked like a book on gardening. “Where do they go?” he asked.
“Second shelf,” his mom said.
Brandon picked up the other three books and carried them into the living room. He put them on a chair and started to put them onto the shelf. There wasn’t quite enough room for the last book. He stacked it on top of the other books.
He went back into the kitchen. His mom was putting the last of the cookies onto a cooling rack. “They didn’t fit,” he said. “I put the last one on top of the others.”
“Oh dear,” his mom said. “I guess we’ll need a new shelf.”
“You could always give away a book you don’t need,” Brandon said. “Then everything would fit.”
“I guess I could,” his mom said. “I’ll have to think about it.”
“What do you want to do with the box?” he asked.
“Please take it out to the recycling,” his mom said.
Brandon picked up the box. Something rattled inside. He pulled out the brown paper that had cushioned the books and shook it. He didn’t see anything. He set the paper on the counter and looked in the box. He still didn’t see anything.
He tilted the box and shook it. The box rattled, but once again he didn’t see anything. He tilted it the other way, and something rolled out from under the flap at the bottom of the box and disappeared under the flap on the other side.
Brandon set the box down and lifted the flap. There was a little white seed stuck in the gap below the box flap. He picked it up and looked closely at it. It was similar to an orange seed, but it sparkled as though it was filled with glitter.
He tilted it back and forth and admired the shine. He rubbed it between his fingers. The seed was smooth. He’d never seen anything like it. “Mom, there was a seed in the box,” he said.
His mom was spooning cookie dough onto the pan. She looked up. “Hmmm. It must have fallen in at the garden store that I ordered the book from. You can keep it if you like,” she said.
“Do you know what kind of seed it is?” Brandon asked.
“I think it’s difficult to identify plants by their seeds,” she said. “You’ll just have to plant it and see.”
Brandon put the seed in his pocket. Then he took the box and paper out to the recycling bin. He went into the garage and found an empty flowerpot. It was green plastic with a large hole at the bottom for drainage.
He found a pebble to place on top of the hole so that his seed wouldn’t wash away. Then he filled the pot with soil and poked a hole inside for his seed. He pulled the seed out of his pocket. Even in the dim light of the garage, it sparkled. It almost seemed to glow with an inner light.
He dropped it into the hole in the dirt and covered it up. Then he went back inside to the kitchen. He watered the dirt and set the flowerpot on the windowsill. ‘Is it all right to leave it here?” he asked.
“As long as you set it on a saucer so that it doesn’t warp the wood,” his mom said. “Or wait, here, use this plastic lid.” Brandon took the lid from her and put it under the flowerpot.
Life moved on. Once a week or so, he’d remember to water the plant. It grew slowly. It was gray, with white fuzz all over. “Maybe it’s lamb’s ear,” his mom said. But, as it grew taller, she shook her head. “Not lamb’s ear,” she said.
It grew taller and taller. Two months later, a large bud appeared at the top of the stalk. Brandon checked it every morning and evening. Finally, one evening, just before bed, it looked like it was starting to bloom. The blossom was large and white. It smelled like lilacs or jasmine or roses.
His mom was out of town. He couldn’t wait until she got home and he could show her the blossom. Now that it had bloomed, maybe they could figure out what it was. He smiled and went to bed.
He woke up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. The moon shone brightly through the window. He stretched. Maybe he’d get a drink of water. He shuffled down the hall into the kitchen. The moonlight was bright enough that he didn’t need to turn on the light.
The curtains swayed and a breeze blew in. The flower’s perfume was carried on the breeze. He walked over to the windowsill to check on it. Something moved next to the flowerpot. He paused and looked more closely.
Two little doll-like people with wings on their backs were hugging his flowerpot. They flapped their wings and the flowerpot rose up out of its plastic lid. With a few more flaps they rose a little higher. Then they darted out of the window with his plant.
“Hey, wait a minute,” Brandon said. “That’s my plant. Bring it back.” He rushed to the window and looked out. He could see a dark shape fly past the tree at the edge of the yard, then it was gone.
The next day his mom got home. “Did your flower bloom?” she asked.
“Yes, but then the fairies stole it,” Brandon said.
“That’s too bad, dear,” his mom said. “Maybe you’ll have to grow something else. Why don’t you look at my new gardening books and see if there’s anything in there you’d like to plant?”
“Okay,” Brandon said. “Maybe I’ll find out what kind of plant it was. We never did figure it out.”
“That sounds like a great idea,” his mom said.