I listened to the leaves and twigs crunch under my feet as I walked through the forest; making my way to the lake. I wasn’t supposed to be out this late but I didn’t really care. My mom’s rules are irrational. When I tell her this she gets upset with me and gives me a warning. If she sends me to my room and I feel like it, I’ll just climb out my window and walk around these woods behind my house. We’re on Middle Straights Lake, that’s in Michigan. I’m Luna Callahan and I live with my Mom, Dad, my dog Scrabble and my annoying brother William. I’m 10 years old but my Mom tells me I act like a teenager when I do stuff like what was doing that night, sneaking out; or when I fight with Will about TV shows and toys. It’s not my fault he’s bossy! I didn’t wanna be in that house anyway. My Dad lost his job so we would have to move to an apartment in Waterford, and I didn’t wanna go, didn’t wanna leave my woods.
In this light it was hard to see much in front of me but I could see a tree jutting out blocking off part of the path. “Smells like Pear, but I don’t remember this tree being here.” I said to Scrabble “Want one?” Scrabble tilted her head and yelled “Ewoof!” I took that as a yes. I balanced my way over the big twisty roots that were popping out of the cool dirt. I know it was cool because on my last step toward the tree I fell face first into it. Scrabble danced around nervously “Ewoof, Efff, ewofff!” She was barking but it sounded like yelling. I lay there in the dirt watching scrabble, looking up into the branches of the tree, and off to the left I heard a high voice say “Luna! What you doin?” I gasped in surprise, my mouth dropped open in his general direction, and I breathed “William, what are YOU doing here?”
William’s big curly head and chubby face popped up from behind the tree where he stood staring at me for a minute. He knew now that he was in trouble and being 3 and all, he had to think about things before he could talk sometimes. After a while he said “I go outside with you an scrabble.”
“So that’s how scrabble got out!” I stood up dusting off my jeans. ” Will, you are in so much trouble! It’s dangerous for you to be out here by yourself at night you shouldn’t have followed me! Now we’re all gonna get in trouble!” I was yelling at him and he deserved it. But then Will started to cry, and I felt bad for hurting his feelings.
“Maybe trouble, maybe not” Said a voice from above, in the branches of the tree. Scrabble began dancing around and barking again this time at the voice in the tree. I saw a small person climb down from the lowest branch, and when he touched the ground, a blue ball of light came alive and hovered above his hand. He had orange hair like Scrabble’s, wore a green tie, white shirt with a collar and old jeans. He was my height but looked old, like a teenager or my dad. In the light I could see a door in the trunk of the tree behind him, with that same blue light coming out from under the cracks.
I looked at Will, his eyes wide and shining; the tears had stopped but still sparkled on his cheek. The man came forward and said “I just need one thing from each of you.” He pulled a small jar out of his back pocket unscrewed the lid and gathered one of Will’s last tears in the jar. “And you may never be in trouble, ever again.”
He replaced the lid, stored the jar back in his pocket, then reached into his shirt pocket, pulled out an envelope and a small pair of scissors, and walked toward me. I backed up and started falling down as my foot hit another tree root. “Hey, hey it’s ok” he said as he grabbed my arm to pull me back up. With the scissors he sniped off some of my white hair and put it into the envelope.
“I didn’t want a hair cut!” I said using my mad teenager voice.
The man looked past me and turned to open the door in the tree. “We must hurry, you must both follow me. ” I stared into the light and couldn’t see anything at all. It seemed like a really bad idea to follow this small man who gathers tears and hair, and I was thinking of how fast I could get away from him with Will, who would be so slow.
But…where did that door lead? What did the inside of that tree look like? I saw Will moving forward like he does when he’s excited to play a game, and I tried to grab for him. I heard Scrabble’s barking and I couldn’t stop looking into the light. Were those gumdrops on the ground in there? My Grandma always has gumdrops out for us when we come to visit. I saw Will disappear into the light, so I grabbed Scrabble’s collar and we ran right into that light after Will. And then I heard the door close behind us.