ACROSS THE FOREST BY NIGHT
Abby led the way along a stone wall – really just a pile of stones that went on and on in the strange silvery world of the forest night under the stars. As they walked downhill through a glade of maple trees the wall ended, and by the sudden coolness and smell in the air Phoebe knew the river was ahead. Suddenly she saw a smooth glimmering surface through the trees. Near the end of the downhill slope Phoebe’s foot slipped on the leaves and her knee gave way with a stabbing pain. Down she went, sliding into a giant old tree on the riverbank. The thick roots bruised and scraped her forehead, but it was her knee that worried her.
“Are you okay?” Abby cried. “Please say you’re okay!”
“I think I’m all right,” answered Phoebe, but she knew it wasn’t true. Her knee wobbled like a loose table leg. Abby threw her arms around her. Phoebe smiled. “I’m really okay,” she said. “Let’s go.”
Abby led the way along the riverbank to an enormous old fallen tree, and pulled a very small boat, an old wooden dinghy, out from under the space made by the thick roots elevating the trunk of the tree. She slid it into the water.
“Go ahead, jump in,” she said. Phoebe limped carefully into the boat and sat in the bow. Abby handed her a flat piece of wood. “Paddle!” she hissed. “Paddle!” The boat picked up speed, heading toward the opposite bank at an angle. The water shimmered in the starlight. The twinkling sky opened up above them.
“Grab that branch,” came Abby’s urgent whisper, and the boat twisted in the current and slid sideways onto the bank.
After pulling the boat up the bank they sat and gazed at the water. The view before them seemed so spectacular, with the stars above and the stars reflected in the water. It seemed just like life, with the immensity outside and the immensity inside. There was something hypnotic and caressing about the dark and silvery water gleaming by, something so nourishing about the strange light, as if it were a kind of food with vitamins essential to life that you could rarely find. And so when you did find it you had to take out the time to fill up on it.
“I still don’t get it about tomorrow,” Phoebe said. “You’re taking too many risks.”
“Without some risk there’s no emergency.”
“Well, ‘fess up! How are you going to create this emergency?”
“Wendy’s helping me,” Abby answered.
“To do what?”
“I’m going to fly.”
They were silent for a long moment. The sweat dripped off their bodies.
“I shouldn’t have told you.”
“How are you going to do that?”
“Okay. Wendy has a broom like a pole with a spirit in it. She flies. I’m going to try it.”
“But why don’t other people do that?”
“Wendy is special,” Abby told her. “You should see the things that she can do.”
“I can’t believe it,” cried Phoebe in frustration.
“So don’t believe it… But you know, Wendy thinks dreamstone has been around for thousands of years. That explains a lot if you think about it.”
“But flying will be horrible. No one will ever let you alone after that. They’ll bring in police and scientists and reporters and God knows what…”
“Don’t you see,” Abby calmly replied, “Even if they did, there’d be nothing to find. It’s called soul-travelling. And it will be late dusk. They won’t get a clear view of me, and few will believe it.”
“But how can you be so sure?”
“It’s all happened before. I tell you, the world is full of bizarre things. They even have photos of them, but nobody believes it. Wendy’s been doing it for years. It’s happened since there were people on earth, usually in dreams. In fact, Wendy told me that you looked into dreamstone. Did you fly?”
Phoebe was shocked to hear that Abby knew. “But that was a dream,” Phoebe replied.
“Are you sure? Did it feel real? Wasn’t I there?”
“Yes,” whispered Phoebe.
“So can we go ahead and do this together? Please?” Abby was begging.
“I’m definitely absolutely for certain coming with you, no matter what,” Phoebe told her fiercely. “Nothing will stop me.”
Abby put her face in her hands. Her body shook with sobs.
PHOEBE COMES HOME (Book I)
PHOEBE BREAKS THROUGH (Book II)
And The Upcoming...GHOST GIRL (Book III)
by John KixMiller
Across The Forest By Night illustration
by Carlos Uribe
Learn More About Phoebe And The Players In Middletown!