Chapter 1:

ONE – The Sleeping Boy.

The Girl With A Secret

The girl was humming as she was walking down the mountain path. She was heading towards a town. A town that was well-known as the miracle town. It was also her home. The girl was carrying a bouquet of flowers in her hands. It was her mother’s birthday and she wanted to surprise her with her favourite flowers as a gift. The sun was peeking through the mountains and lighting up her way. A gentle breeze was making the grass and flowers dance around her. Fumes were coming out of the chimney. A sign that her parents were already awake and had started working. The girl’s family ran a small bakery in the middle of the town’s heart. The wind was carrying the buttery and sweet aroma of the pastries that were baking in the oven. The small, golden bell chimed whenever customers would enter but this time it was the girl. She placed her finger on her lips to signal her father to keep quiet.

“Honey, did someone just come in?”

The mother stepped out from the kitchen and was greeted by a rainbow of flowers.

“Oh, sweetheart, they are beautiful.”

The girl received a soft kiss on her forehead. Nothing made her happier than to see her mother smile. She went up the stairs into her bedroom.

“Belle, wake up. It’s mother’s birthday. Let’s have breakfast together.”

She tapped her younger sister’s shoulder and left the room after seeing her honey-coloured eyes open. Her younger brother was already running up and down the hallway. His eyes were filled with excitement. The girl picked him up out of fear he might slip and fall down the stairs as he was fidgeting around too much. The mother had placed the flowers in a yellow vase and in the middle of the table. The small room was drowned in the warm, orange sunrays coming in from the two big windows.

“Hana, can you pass me the strawberry jam please? Your brother is impatiently waiting for his breakfast.”

“Here you go, father.”

The young boy took a big bite out of his bread roll. It was soft and crunchy at the same time. The red, jelly-like substance stuck to his already rose-coloured cheeks. The mother wiped it away with her white, embroidered handkerchief. The people in the town were slowly waking up as the noises outside were getting busier. It was time to open the bakery.

“Hana, how are you? What a delightful surprise to see you working even on a Sunday. It warms my heart knowing that you help out your parents even though you are already so busy teaching the children in school.”

It was indeed a surprise as most girls her age were married, and some had already become mothers. It was not very common to see a young woman working, especially in education. The girl was well aware of that. Her parents were very understanding and left the gift of choosing her own happiness to their daughter. They trusted her fully. It was a hectic but familiar morning to the family. The young boy kept running around and sure enough bumped into his mother who was carrying a tray full of freshly baked goods. The father caught it midair and started laughing out loud. It was a deep, loud laugh that echoed through the bakery. He passed the tray over to his oldest daughter, Hana who assorted them into groups. The second-oldest daughter, Belle helped her out.

“Are we going to display them in the windows?”

“Yes, Belle. That way passers-by will know about the new pastries and can see the variety of baked goods that we have.”

The mother had created an array of muffins with different flavours and various toppings. Belle’s interest was piqued after seeing one that was decorated with strawberries, blueberries and cherries. The sweetness of the fruits complimented the fluffy dough and the sour apple jam in the middle. The curious, youngest child, Dewey grabbed one that had chocolate icing and colourful bonbons all over it. The girl had finished her chores and made her way through the bustling town. She was carrying a drawing pad and a single pencil in her hand.

The little town near the mountains and the sea was always cherished by its people. Even the neighbouring towns and villages were envious of it. It was peaceful and quiet. The opposite of what it was in the past. It was around six years ago where small miracles had started happening. At first glance, you would say the people in this very town were lucky or blessed but surely over time, it came apparent that something else was causing this effect. You could say, a small flower blossomed from underneath the snow. One that brought miracles to life. It had been a change for the good. One that protected and shielded them from harm and bad luck. Like someone being cured of an illness or the town not having a bad harvest for several years in a row. But the town’s people had recently noticed another change. They were unsure if it was a good or bad omen. It made them uneasy. The town was more and more getting accused of witchcraft and black magic. The king had sent his men to investigate. Men in uniforms and with guns.

“Hana, my dear, where are you going?”

The girl looked up to see an elderly woman inside an open window. They knew each other well.

“Grandmother Eleanor, I am going to where the snowdrops, bluebells and wild daffodils bloom.”

It was a place hidden away from stranger’s eyes. A place where the girl’s heart rested.

“My sweet child, be careful of the armed soldiers. My heart tells me that they have come with evil intent.”

The girl promised her to be careful and assured her with a kind smile. It did not take long for her to reach her destination where she was greeted by a boy. A sleeping boy. He was resting on the rock where she used to draw the flowers around her. The sunrays sneaked in through the leaves and bathed him in a glowing light. The wind was playing around with his black strands of hair. He was about the same age as her. His arm had fallen off his chest and was lightly grazing the bright green grass underneath. The girl shyly moved his arm back to his torso. The boy moved slightly. She could hear some mumbled words escaping from his lips. He was a boy the girl had never seen before. The girl sat down next to the rock and quietly drew her beloved white, blue and yellow flowers.

“You are really good at drawing.”

“Thank you. Are you a traveller? I have never seen you in our town before.”

The boy had sat down next to the girl. He waved his hands over the flowers. It seemed as so they were following his gestures.

“Yes, I am. I was looking for the postal service but ended up being lost.”

The girl offered to guide him. They engaged in some light conversation. The sun was vanishing behind the mountains. She told the boy to tell anyone who was vary of him that he was the girl’s friend.

“The town’s people are nice people but due to recent circumstances, their hearts have become a little heavy.”

The boy thanked her, and they parted ways. The town had become silent. The girl’s steps were echoing through the streets. The streetlamps flickered on, one after the other. The day had fleeted past the girl. An elderly man was sitting in one of the alleys. Another stranger, someone she had never seen before. The girl’s concerned heart did not let her ignore the frail looking elder. She approached him to have a closer look. He grabbed her by the arm.

“Where is it?”

The girl was at first startled but then kneeled down to face him.

“Are you lost?”

“You possess something that I desire. Give it to me.”

“What is it that I have that you want?”

The elderly man went quiet. The girl confused but calmly took out her coin purse.

“Is it money that you are after? It is not much but you can have all of it.”

He slapped her purse out of her hand. The golden coins scattered onto the cobblestone road. The elderly man’s eyes rolled back and reappeared with a different set of colours. They had changed from brown to red. His skin started to come off, and his body changed shape. The girl tripped backwards against a wall. The alleyway was narrow, making the melting elderly man seem very close to the girl. Two hands emerged from the wall behind her. They grabbed her and made her vanish into the wall in the blink of an eye. The girl managed to see a tall woman with long, blonde, silky hair exiting the elderly man’s body which had become a blob before she disappeared. It all happened within a couple of heartbeats.

“I’m glad I made it in time.”

The girl was in the arms of the boy she met not too long ago. He made the girl stand up and grabbed her by the hand. They ran through the streets. The sun had gone down, and the night sky was illuminated by stars. The boy abruptly stopped in his track and the girl stumbled into him. She rubbed her red nose.

“We don’t have much time. Griselda, the Cursed Enchantress is after you. You have to get away from here. From this town. It is too dangerous for you to stay any longer. Please believe me. I can help you. I will help you. Meet me at dawn where the snowdrops, bluebells and wild daffodils bloom. I will be waiting there for you.”

The girl nodded her head. Her heart was tranquil like the sea at a low tide. A feeling was growing inside her. The feeling that she could trust the boy.

“Run as fast as you can back to your home. Hana, do you believe in magic? If your heart wishes it, it can become real. If you think it, it will become true. Like going through walls.”

The boy placed the girl’s hand on a brick wall. The girl closed her eyes and started wishing and believing. And shortly after her hand went through the cold, hard wall. A push from the boy made the girl walk through it. She turned around to only see the brick wall again. Without giving it much thought, the girl made her way back to the bakery. Running through walls and houses. The thought of leaving her parents and siblings behind broke her heart. She swore to herself that she would return. The girl rummaged through the kitchen and gathered food for the journey ahead of her.

“Hana, what are you doing?”

The younger sister, Belle was standing in the door. Her curly, brown hair was a mess. She was holding the hand of their younger brother, Dewey. He was wrapped up in his fluffy, baby blue safety blanket. His black hair was a mess too. The girl’s heart felt heavy. She told them that she had to leave for a while but promised that she would come back home. The girl put her younger siblings back into their beds and gave them both a goodnight kiss. She made her way to the rendezvous place and spent the night sleeping on the rock. The girl was awakened by something tickling her nose. After opening her eyes, she saw a green fox laying down next to her. Its tail was covered in pink cherry blossoms. A rustling noise made the fox wake up alert. It was the boy. He had a relieved smile on his face.

“Let’s go.”

And so both, the girl and the boy walked through the fields of flowers and on the mountain paths, getting further and further away from the miracle town with each step. The little fox followed them. The girl prayed for her family’s and town’s safety. Her heart was fearless.