family..." She closed her eyes and enjoyed the simple act of
breathing without labored effort. "How much longer?" she
called to the driver.
"About another hour," the angel beside her answered.
"You all live pretty far out. Away from the city, I mean."
"Thank you," she said. She drifted into a light sleep.
Barbie doll in hand, Kitty Beaumont ran swiftly
through the cornfield, expertly avoiding the tiny seedlings
that had just begun to push up through the golden soil. She
reached the field's edge and switched to careless skip,
rocketing her small body down the grassy hill, toward the
creek below. When she reached the ancient willow tree, she
plopped herself down in a heap, fought to catch her breath.
"Now don't move," she ordered the doll, sternly. "He
won't cross over if you don't sit still."
With the slow care of ritual, she positioned the Barbie
on the largest exposed root of the tree, then turned to face
the water. She pulled her knees up under her chin and
became as motionless as her doll, utterly silent.
A faint shimmering appeared on the far shore. Kitty
held her breath. A soft plop followed as something landed
in the water. A ripple moved across the creek's surface,
until a tiny figure crawled up onto the shore at the girl's
feet. The creature shook itself furiously, throwing water in
"Hey!" Kitty cried, wiping the cold drops from her
"Sorry," the fairy said. He wrung the water from his
hair, then moved to the girl's side. He took a seat beside
Barbie on the big, exposed root.
"That's okay," Kitty said, snatching up the doll. "Let's