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Chapter #1


It was late June and very hot in Greenville. The air felt moist and heavy. A few rain drops landed on the warm cement. Storm clouds had lazily moved into the small town.

Two sisters, Lea and Kyra, were walking through Greenville’s old downtown street on their way home when the clouds let loose. Lea, the oldest and quite precocious. She dashed into the closest store to avoid getting wet. Her impish little sister, Kyra, defiantly stood in the rain just to make her sister mad.

“Kyra get in here. You’ll get soaked!” Lea mothered. A bell rang when she pushed the door open startling her. Lea was tall and thin with long, thick, red hair.

“So,” Kyra simply replied with a large grin on her face and her purple shirt with a pink and green owl already damp at the shoulders. The water didn’t bother Kyra, but the wet shirt certainly would later. For now, it was worth the discomfort to annoy her sister.

Lea knew she would get in trouble if Kyra came home drenched. As the oldest, Lea was responsible while they were out to play. Reacting quickly, Lea dashed out into the rain and snatched Kyra’s thin wrist, yanking her in through the door. Kyra was barely half her sister’s size. She was very thin, with shoulder length straight auburn hair.

Once inside, the two bickered briefly just as the storm outside intensified. A bolt of lightning flashed in the street. Kyra jumped into Lea’s arms. Thunder rattled the window. The two realized that they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“You are such a brat, Kyra!” Lea whined as she dropped her little sister from her arms.

Kyra didn’t respond to her sister’s complaint as she landed cat-like on her feet, but instead began to examine a row of music boxes on the table at her side.

“What is this place?” Kyra wondered aloud. “We’ve never been in here before.”

“Monica’s Antiques,” Lea read the window sign. “I think mom took us here once.”

“Well, I don’t remember,” Kyra’s replied in a sassy voice. She usually spoke that way to her sister, especially when Lea was using the ‘mother voice’. Kyra hated that, just because mom isn’t here doesn’t make you the boss of me, Kyra thought. When in reality it did. Her mom had deemed it so.

The girls began to wander around the store looking at a variety of antiques; brightly polished bicycles hung from the ceiling off big red hooks, light fixtures of a variety of shapes and sizes shone brightly, dinnerware was displayed in glass cases. Kyra walked in the opposite direction from her sister toward a small room. Toys lined its back wall. The antique store was an old converted home that had become part of the city twenty years ago when Greenville’s downtown area expanded.

She passed through the archway which had clocks on either side. The first clock was round and fancy looking with letters in the place of numbers. What does ‘VI’ mean? Kyra examined the strange clock. It looked nothing like the ones at her house. The other clock was a frog’s face with its mouth wide open and the clock inside. The small room, probably once a den in the old home, was dark with only a single bulb in the light fixture above Kyra’s head. Why don’t they put the lamps in here? Kyra wondered. She felt taller in this room as the ceiling was far shorter than any room in the shop.

Kyra sneezed, “Holy moldy!” she yelped afterward. “It’s so dirty in here. Gross!” She said as dust floated around her up toward the light.

“Don’t touch anything!” Lea scolded. “These are antiques.”

The two were on their way home from the park when the storm surprised them forcing them into the shop for shelter. Lea was extremely uncomfortable in this place; she wished she had picked the ice cream shop three doors down instead. Now, she would be tortured every minute until the rain let up, wondering if her little sister would break something fragile.

“I didn’t!” Kyra barked back as she stopped her hand directly over a small crystal kitten. “What does antic mean anyway?”

“It means that these items are very old?” A woman’s voice startled them both.

Kyra’s hand bumped the crystal kitten, knocking it over. “It’s okay!”  She shouted, eyes wide with fear.

Lea’s heart pounded.

The shop owner had emerged from the back room…probably a kitchen, with a cup of lemonade in her hand.

“Can I help you girls with anything?” The shop owner politely asked.

“No, thank you. We just came in to avoid the storm.” Lea replied kindly.

“It’s really dirty in here!” Kyra bluntly stated as she continued her attempt to make the crystal kitten stand upright. Her tongue stuck out and a crease formed between her eyes while she concentrated.

The shop owner, Mrs. Monica Verbeek’s, eyes widened and her mouth dropped open in shock.

Lea slapped Kyra on the shoulder, “Be quiet!”

“Hey, don’t hit me! I dropped the kitten again!” Kyra shouted.

Lea’s cheeks turned a slight shade of red from embarrassment. Forcing a smile, she apologized for her sister and turned her attention to a table of artifacts hoping Mrs. Verbeek would forgive Kyra’s attitude.

“You are so embarrassing,” Lea mumbled.

“You’re not my mother!” Kyra barked back, not attempting to conceal her voice as she put the kitten back upright…again.

“The rain had better stop soon, because I can’t stay in here much longer with you!”

“Well, sissy, you dragged me in here,” Kyra reminded her. She reached out to touch another crystal animal further back, when she bumped into the table leg.

Lea gasped as the crystal figures shuttered on the old piece of furniture.

“Stop touching things!” Lea demanded under her breath in an attempt to not draw Mrs. Verbeek’s attention. “Come on. Let’s go before you break something.”

When the girls turned to leave, Lea’s foot nudged the table. A few of the crystal figures toppled over. Lea cringed. Kyra giggled.

“What? That’s funny,” Kyra replied when Lea shot her a disapproving glare. “You just yelled at me for the same thing!” Kyra pointed out with a huge grin on her face.

Lea searched the table to see if anything was broken. She was relieved to notice nothing was damaged and only had to pick up the same kitten and a copy of colorful foxes. When she turned back around Kyra was gone. Her heart dropped into her stomach.

“Kyra!” She called out in a panic.

“I’m under the table.”


“I thought I heard something fall,” Kyra’s muffled voice replied. Only her butt and legs were visible to Lea.

“Please, get out from under there.”

“Wait. I think I found something, Lea!”

Kyra crawled backwards out from under the table. Her knees and elbows covered in dust. The little girl sneezed a few times before showing her big sister what it was she discovered.

“It’s a pen,” Lea said unenthusiastically. “You crawled under there for somebody’s old pen?”

“Maybe it’s antic!” Kyra retorted.

“Antique,” Lea corrected.

“That’s what I said,” Kyra replied with a roll of her eyes.

“Whatever, Kyra…come on let’s go. Maybe, it has stopped raining now.”

“Can I buy it?” Kyra questioned.

Lea nodded and watched as her little sister hopped over to the counter and asked to buy the pen. She quickly returned with the biggest smile Lea had ever seen on her face.

“Mrs. Verbeek said I could have it for free,” Kyra informed her sister and moved right out the door.

“Free?” Lea was shocked. “Why?” Lea shouted as she quickly followed Kyra out of the antique shop.

“Mrs. Verbeek said it wasn’t one of her antiques. Somebody must have just dropped it.”

The rain had stopped, but it hadn’t help the heat…or heaviness of the air. It felt like a monkey was sitting on her shoulders. Lea’s first breath of heated air into her lungs caught her by surprise. The air conditioned shop they had left was much cooler.

The two girls moved quickly through downtown Greenville toward their home. The sky was full of rain clouds and thunder rumbled in the distance. It looked like it would begin to pour again at any moment.

When they arrived back home, Kyra proudly showed off her new pen to her parents. She told them how she would draw the coolest pictures with it.

Lea figured it was so old it wouldn’t even work. She believed that was why Mrs. Verbeek had given it to Kyra for free in the first place. The pen was probably all dried up.

Kyra dashed up stairs and closed the door to her room. She pulled out a notebook she received for her last birthday. This was the place she kept her ‘special’ artwork. She was so excited. Kyra flipped through the pages to find a blank one. Her previous drawings consisted of creatures she hoped that her dad would write books about. They liked to create things together. That was why she had started the notebook. Inside were all sorts of characters; Swampy, a spiky-headed, red-skinned, yellow-eyed monster; An unnamed silly purple dinosaur; Spinja, an eight armed spider ninja; Manti, the yellowish-green bug-eyed insect-man; and her favorite; Frumpkin, a tall, skinny pumpkin-headed man.

Kyra pressed the pen against the paper and began to draw…but nothing appeared. She examined the pen’s tip. It was different from other pens that she had. This one had a pointed tip instead of a ball-point. She shook the pen. Kyra wasn’t sure why, but she had seen her dad do it and it had worked for him. Still nothing came out onto the paper. She began to grow frustrated and pushed harder and harder until she began to tear through the paper.

Finally, she gave up in disgust and slammed the pen down against her open notebook.

“Is everything alright, K-girl?” Her mother’s voice echoed up the stairs.

Kyra grunted for a moment and didn’t respond.

“K-girl, it’s time to come down for dinner.”

“Ki-ki,” Her dad’s voice startled her. He had opened the door and now stood in the doorway. Kyra resembled him. His hair had thinned and color faded, but it still showed in his short half-bread. His hazel eyes tried to gauge how to best approach her. “What’s wrong? Pen not working?”

“No, it’s broken,” Kyra replied with tears in her eyes. She fought hard to hold them back.

Her dad knelt beside her and gave her a hug.  Kyra, however, attempted to avoid his sight. She turned her face allowing her hair to block his view. She was afraid to cry in front of him.

“It’s alright. We’ll take it back to the store tomorrow, and then I’ll buy you some new pens. Better pens! Okay?” Dad tried to console her.

Kyra smiled.

“Now,” He stood up and exhaled deeply rubbing his bearded chin. “It’s time to come down for dinner.”

“I’ll be right down,” Kyra replied as she stared at the torn page from her notebook.

Kyra picked up the pen. She hadn’t noticed just how pretty it was. She held it up into the sunlight that was coming through the window. The pen was covered in thousands of tiny stones giving it the appearance of shattered glass, but it was smooth to the touch. It began to glow within her hand refracting the rays of sunlight. Kyra’s eyes widened as she watched the pen magically casting light into the bedroom almost brighter than the setting sun outside. It shown so brightly that Kyra didn’t notice that the pen had begun to drip ink.

A large drop of ink fell from its tip and landed on her notebook. When the pen’s light faded she immediately noticed a blotch of dark ink on the back of her Frumpkin drawing.

“Oh, what the what!” She yelled in frustration. She huffed in anger, closed the notebook and slammed the pen down on top of it. Then, Kyra left the room to go downstairs for dinner, but stopped in the hallway and gritted her teeth.

“Stupid pen! Ruined my drawing!” She returned to her room and threw the pen into the trash before stomping out and slamming the door.

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