REFLECTIONS IN THE MOONLIGHT
That night Phoebe sat up late by her open window, thinking over the events of the last few days. She realized she had taken on responsibilities, but had no idea how to fulfill them. She wanted to save the toy store, but that seemed very unlikely; she had already been turned away. Her father had asked her to help Abby and protect the secrets of the forest, but she didn’t know what kind of help Abby needed, or even what the secrets of the forest really were. And to top it off, she apparently had an important ability – a sensitivity to dreamstone – that she didn’t understand at all.
What did Penny tell me over breakfast? Something like: ‘People are looking everywhere for dreamstone, especially here in Middletown.’ My father says the Morphy people are searching, but why here? And where exactly, and how? They can’t just be digging random holes in the ground. No one explains these things.
The whole problem was very disorienting. After living in Middletown almost all her life, Phoebe now felt like a stranger. She couldn’t enter the toy store without feeling unwanted. Her mother’s painting of Middletown and the forest was full of areas unknown to her. And the whole county had a fascinating and frightening history she’d never heard of before. These new seeds and plants represented a heritage that had been forced underground, hidden deep in the forest. And dreamstone, an almost magical and incomprehensible wild card, was somehow a part of that heritage. Abby was clearly a part of that world, now coming to light as a source of hope amid the tragedy of climate change. The Protectors of the Wood had to be connected to these things. And she, Phoebe, was now a part of it too.
But what could she really do to help? She wanted to so badly it was painful.
She quietly climbed out of bed and peered down the hallway. The rest of the house was dark and hushed. Her sister had long since fallen asleep. Phoebe tiptoed her way down the stairs and out to the front stoop. The moon would be full in a day or two, and now was high and bright above the forest and the cliffs. She gazed out across her own wild wood and listened carefully, trying to hear the river in the distance.
It’s a wonderful world, she said to herself. What can I do?