Mya woke up with a jolt and looked around her room. It was dark. The middle of the night, perhaps.
She heard rustling across her room. Did it come from the closet? For a moment, she lay still, listening and trembling. Was someone in her room?
But then she heard giggling and her curiosity grew. She turned on the lamp on her bedside table, slid her feet into her slippers, and plodded across her room to the closet door. When she opened it, her eyes opened wide in wonder. "Wow!" Mya gasped. "Who are you?"
Her closet wasn't her closet at all.
She saw bright pink trees, purple flowers, and teal butterflies, all under a magenta sky and a bright, warm sun. Right in the middle of this whimsical forest were three friends playing ring around the rosy: a fairy, a bunny, and a boy.
The fairy looked right at Mya, glitter falling from her wings as they fluttered, and said, "Well hello, Mya! We've been hoping you'd come and play! I'm Stella!"
Mya curtsied and looked to the bunny next. "Oh, we're so glad to finally meet you, Mya! We thought you'd never come! I'm Gus!" He bowed and Mya giggled.
"Hello Gus!" She said and then turned her eyes to the boy.
"Mya! You're here! I'm James Zachary Jones the third," he said, extending a hand for her to shake. She took his hand in hers and shook it violently, laughing as she did so.
"Well, hello James Zachary Jones the third," she said in reply.
"Won't you join us?" Stella exclaimed, as much an order as a question.
"I most certainly will!" Mya replied excitedly.
The four of them played rings around the rosy.
They played hide-and-seek (Mya hid in the tallest pink tree she could find where she met a purple squirrel named Tipsy).
They played freeze tag.
They made tacos out of the leaves of the forest, using dandelion petals for cheese, and pretended to sell them to one another.
They sang songs,
recited their favorite fairy tales,
and danced to the rhythm of the forest.
And just as Mya began to miss her mom and her dad and her little brother Juniper, Gus said, "Mya, it's time for you to go home. Will we see you again?"
"Yes," Mya said. "Most certainly! How will I find you?"
"Follow the giggles," James Zachary Jones the third said. "You'll find us there!"
Mya waved to her friends and headed back to bed, slipping out of her slippers and back under her covers. Just as she dozed off, her mom woke her up for school.
"Oh, Mama!" Mya exclaimed. "I'm so happy to see you!"
Next story: Gus, the Mountain Grizzly Bear