disappeared behind the big tree. A sudden crackle made her
spin around, as a solid figure stepped out into view.
Kitty frowned. "Why, it's only a little girl. Your friend
is just a little girl!
"Remember what I told you, Kitty," the fairy said, his
hands folded imploringly. "This is important. Please don't
be rude, as a favor to me."
He leaped off the root and sprinted toward the creek. "I
have to go now! Sorry!" He dove headlong into the cold
water, leaving the two girls alone.
"Kitty, get the phone..." John Hastings said,
mechanically, groggily. The woman beside him shifted
position, but remained asleep. The phone continued to ring.
The man pushed back the covers and reached a long,
bare arm across his wife's body. He pulled the receiver to
"Hello?" He listened quietly for a moment, then said,
"Wait, Peter. Hold on. I'll get her."He placed the receiver
on the nightstand and switched on the lamp. He gently
shook his wife's arm. "Wake up, Sweetheart. It's your
Uncle Peter. He's calling from Missouri."
Kitty Hastings stirred gradually to life, rubbed her
eyes. "I was dreaming," she said, her voice small and
confused. "A little girl..."
"Honey, the phone."
She kicked free of the covers and took the
phone."Uncle Peter?" Her features pulled slowly tight with
worry; she bit her lower lip. "I see," she said finally. "I'll be
there by morning." She returned the receiver to its cradle,
rolled out of the bed, and began to dress.
"Honey? What is it?" John Hastings sat up in the bed,
rubbing his face.