Chapter 1: The Star
"I know what you're doing," said Willie.
"No, you don't," said Louise.
"Yes, I do. You're wishing on a star."
"No, I'm not. The sun's just going down -- look, it's red as fire."
"Red as a rotten tomato," said Willie. "SPLAT goes the tomato. SQUOOSH, the sky's all mushy." Willie pulled one of his sister's pigtails.
"Stop it, Willie."
"SPLISH, here comes the first star," said Willie. "PLOP, here comes Louise. Oh, please, says Louise, I wish for a kiss." Willie pulled Louise's other pigtail, and she jerked away.
"I do not, Willie, that's disgusting. And you don't even know how to make a wish, anyway."
"Neither do you."
"Yes, I do," said Louise. "Star light, star bright, first star I've seen tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight."
Willie's blond hair glowed white in the evening light. He was chewing on a sassafras twig. Willie was a hefty boy, always chewing on something. "Sunsets are boring," he said, "and so are you. I'm going to feed the pigs." He turned his back on her and walked away.
Louise felt a dark rage rising. "You ARE a pig."
Her voice had surprising power, but Willie didn't answer. He had already disappeared in the trees. The wind blew. The leaves whispered. The owl that haunted their hills called whoo.
Louise Tolliver watched the sky. Behind her loomed Old Giant, the mountain that shadowed their little house, barn, and garden. Tollivers' Hollow was said to be a peculiar place, even a perilous place, but it didn't feel peculiar or perilous to her. It felt like home. Between the last pink light and the blue night shone the moon, curving thin and white as the end of a fingernail. A new June moon. And sure enough, below it was the evening star, looking like a diamond ring on somebody's finger. Why not? thought Louise. Star light, star bright, first star I've seen tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.
"Beware of what you've wished for," glittered the star.
"I haven't wished for anything yet," said Louise.
The star was silent.
"Oh, well," said Louise. "Willie's right. It's silly to wish on a star, anyway."
Copyright © 2001 by Betsy Hearne