Thursday, December 1, 2022

"Kiss Me Beneath the Mistletoe," A MERRY CHRISTMAS CAROL


I've trimmed the Christmas tree

And hung the stockings above the fireplace.

I’ve bought the holly wreaths

And wrapped the gifts with tiny candy canes.



Santa’s elves have begun to call,

But there’s something missing after all.



I’m waiting for you to hold me close,

And kiss me beneath the mistletoe.

Put your arms around me; never let go,

And kiss me beneath the mistletoe.



If I stand under a doorway,

And feel the magic of this festive time,

Will you stop and adore me?

Will the love of my dreams will finally be mine?



Snowflakes have begun to fall,

But there’s something missing after all.


I’m waiting for you to hold me close,

And kiss me beneath the mistletoe.

Put your arms around me; never let go,

And kiss me beneath the mistletoe.



As the season passes,

My heart races faster

For happily ever after. 


I’m waiting for you to hold me close,

And kiss me beneath the mistletoe.

Put your arms around me; never let go,

And kiss me beneath the mistletoe.



Kiss me beneath the mistletoe.

Kiss me beneath the mistletoe.

Copyright 2023 Jennifer Waters

"Written in the Stars," A MERRY CHRISTMAS CAROL


One winter night in ages past, 

The sky shone with the light of eternity, 

Leading the way for three wise kings

To the babe who would die on Calvary. 


His love was written in the stars.

Now it's written on my heart. 

Inscribed in the heavens,

It will live in me forever. 



This child was surely God with us.

All creation sang forth His praises.

The sun and moon bowed in place.

The earth rejoiced with the angels.


His love was written in the stars.

Now it's written on my heart. 

Inscribed in the heavens,

It will live in me forever. 



Aries and Hercules pale in comparison 

To the brilliance over Bethlehem

That first Christmas Eve.


Virgo and Gemini fade with the sunrise, 

But the radiance of the Christ child

Extends through all who believe.


His love was written in the stars.

Now it's written on my heart. 

Inscribed in the heavens,

It will live in me forever. 



It will live in me forever.

It will live in me forever.

Copyright 2023 Jennifer Waters

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Science Fair: The Story of Curious Experiments

My name is Professor Harlin Haddock.

I teach about the sciences. 

I’m not the best at clothes and fashion,

But I can fix broken appliances.

I work at the School of Scholarship

In Ottawa of the Canadians!

I’m told I have a French accent.

Not at all like the Arabians.

Each spring I hold a savvy contest,

The World’s Largest Science Fair, 

Where students’ dreams are my guest

With boldness, love, and flair.

I give ribbons to the top three winners

Who designs the best projects. 

There are so many interesting ones

That come in all subjects!

Some students build flashing lightbulbs

While others explode volcanoes.

I’ve judged robotic moving hands

And how to float potatoes. 

Spaceships built for Venus and Mars.

Egg drops to prove Newton’s laws.

Sketches for flying electric cars.

Rollercoasters and swinging seesaws!

Then there is fingerprint analysis

And understanding your DNA.

There’s also how to cure paralysis

And blocking the sun’s UV ray. 

You could brew up bubbling root beer

Or grow a carbon sugar snake.

Whatever my students decide to do

I require that it not be fake!

So, learn your chemistry equations well.

Make sure to pass your physics test.

Mathematics is more than numbers alone.

Scientists have a lot to digest!

If you’d like to make an entrance,

Postmark it by the fifth of May.

I don’t take any late entries, 

Not a single solitary day. 

You must be under 18-years-old.

No adults are allowed to enter. 

I hope that doesn’t seem too cold, 

I’m trying to find the young inventor.

You can’t cheat your way to winning.

Be an original who thinks for themselves.

I know that I’ll soon be grinning, 

Looking at my entries on the shelves.

The future of tomorrow is at hand. 

We can create solutions together!

Wisdom and knowledge understand 

That geniuses are birds of a feather. 


Copyright 2023 Jennifer Waters

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Purple Paper Airplane: The Story of Flying High

Purple paper airplane

Is a spaceship to the stars. 

You can fly around the moon, 

And then visit Jupiter and Mars.

Once you land back at home, 

Place it deep within your pocket.

It will be safer than a vault,

Where you would have to lock it.

Pull out the paper airplane

When you decide to take a trip.

Fold all its creases twice

And make sure it doesn’t rip.

Then jump on board the flight

And chart your course anew.

If you’re riding in the cockpit, 

There’s nothing you can’t do!


Copyright 2023 Jennifer Waters

Monday, September 19, 2022

"Kisses" in KISSES

Milton Hershey sings "Kisses" to Kitty Hershey, his wife. 


Some people make curses. 

Some people make wars.

I can’t change all hardship. 

I can’t fix the scores

Of problems today, 

But I can make kisses.



Kisses for sisters. 

Kisses for mothers. 

Kisses for fathers.

Kisses for brothers.

But most of all, my love, 

I can make kisses for you. 



Most people know trouble. 

Most people know pain.

I can help the heartache

With a sweet refrain

And mend broken hearts,

‘Cause I can make kisses. 



Kisses for aunties. 

Kisses for cousins. 

Kisses for uncles.

Kisses for dozens. 

But most of all, my love, 

I can make kisses for you. 



One kiss at a time,

Such a simple thing.

A whistle and a chime

Makes me feel like spring.



Kisses for sons. 

Kisses for grandmas. 

Kisses for daughters.

Kisses for grandpas. 

But most of all, my love, 

I can make kisses for you. 



Oh, most of all, my love, 

I can make kisses for you.


Copyright 2018 Jennifer Waters

"Home Run" in KISSES

William Murrie, Milton Hershey's right hand man at his chocolate company who loves baseball, sings "Home Run."


Step up to the plate.

Swing, batter, batter swing!

If you make it to first base,

Then try to run the ring.

Second base is much 

Farther than first.

Third is almost there.               

Your heart wants to burst,

And hit a home run.

Hit a home run!



When I get my chance

To knock the ball out of the park,

You’ll try to strike me out,

But I will make my mark.

Nine innings in a game!

So much old-time fun! 

My baseball will fly

As far as the golden sun,

And hit a home run.

Hit a home run!



I’ll go all the way,

And stop for nothing less

Than victory today.

Yes, I will have success!



The fans in the stands

Eat cotton candy and soda pop.

Cracker jacks and hot dogs

Peanuts thrown at Shortstop.

We’re in the major leagues.

The minors are behind.

Chocolate baseball supreme.

Kiss me, and be kind.

Oh, hit a home run.

Hit a home run!


Copyright 2018 Jennifer Waters

"Taste and See That the Lord is Good" in KISSES

The congregation members sing the hymn "Taste and See That the Lord is Good" with Milton Hershey during church service. Milton is the only one singing on key. 


Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.



Mercy and truth have met together. 

Mercy and truth have met together. 

Mercy and truth have met together. 

Righteousness and peace have kissed.



Rich blessing will come upon us.

Rich blessing will come upon us.

Rich blessing will come upon us.

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.



Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.


Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters

Psalm 34:8, Psalm 85:10, Proverbs 24:25-26.

"Come Nigh" in KISSES

The orphan boys join Milton Hershey in singing “Come Nigh” around the tree on Christmas Eve. 


Come nigh the manger.

Come nigh the Savior.

A child is born

For all the world.

Hear the drummer boy play

On Christmas Day.

Come nigh the manger.

Come nigh the Savior.



Come nigh the manger.

Don’t be a stranger.

An angel sings

Of heavenly things.

A star lights the way

As wisemen pray.

Come nigh the manger.

Don’t be a stranger.



Come nigh the manger.

The world was in danger,

But peace has come

With joy and love.

Oh, what a gift!

Our song we lift.

Come nigh the manger.

The world was in danger.



Come nigh the manger.

Come nigh the manger.


Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters


 Middle-grade novel, 40,048 words

Chapter One of Twenty-Four Chapters:

The wind blew as I passed the old homes in the neighborhood. There were holes in the thatched roofs. Wind-blown, I could almost see the rafters that held up the straw. Many of the homes had windows without glass, fences with missing boards, peeling paint, or crooked chimneys. My parents told me when the rain stopped falling years ago that our land had turned into a desert. The river that ran next to me had been dried up for as long as I could remember.

As a gust of wind blew dust from the road into my eyes, I covered my face and blinked until I could see again. Mother had warned me that it would be an extra windy night, and I should come right home from the market. Travelers passing me in the windstorm hurried as fast as they could.

My whole body ached from a long day’s work at the market with Father. Selling shriveled vegetables was the last thing I wanted to do, but I was only ten and had to obey my parents’ wishes. I didn’t want to get thrown in the dungeon. Besides, everyone in Zur felt discouraged because of the poor harvests. The whole land looked dry as a cracker in Mother’s cupboard. 

Then my foot bumped against a stone in the road. 

When I looked down, the light from the setting sun caught a violet crystal. It was the most beautiful stone I had ever seen—bright and bold. As I bent down to pick it up, it shimmered and sparkled in the evening light. It felt smooth as glass. 

While I examined the stone, the winds blew harder. I closed my eyes and then squinted to look at the crystal. Its edges were sharp and perfect, almost brand new. I twirled it in my hand, watching it catch the light.

Before I knew what happened, a gigantic whirlwind as tall as the trees shot out of the stone. The tip of the whirlwind sat in the gem, and the winds tugged at me as the whirlwind spun. My feet floated above the ground. 

“Someone help me!” I yelled. “Help me!” Then I realized that I was alone. The people on the road with me had disappeared. 

As I hovered above the street, the wind blew so hard that I finally lost my grip on the gem. I bounced and floated through the air, higher and higher, until I was at the top of the trees.

“Oh, oh my!” I yelled, as I went flying through the sky. I tried to grab onto a nearby tree, but missed and flew straight into the center of The Whirlwind.

As The Whirlwind sucked me into its spiral, I tossed to-and-fro. My hair blew in my face. I thought I was going to die! 

“Priscilla, Priscilla,” a voice called. 

“What do you want with me?” I called back. “Someone help me!”

Then I heard the music, a gorgeous melody that made me want to sing along. I had always loved to sing, but I made sure to never tell anyone, or they might make fun of me. 

The music grew louder. The drums shook me, and the blast from the trumpets knocked me back and forth. 

“Help! How long will this beating last!” I yelled. “I’m not sure how much more I can take!”

I gasped for air and held my head.

Then when I almost lost my breath, it ended.

I flipped out of The Whirlwind with my hair blowing in my face. My entire body shook with fear as I flew through the sky. Then the wind thrust me on the dirty road. 

“Ouch!” I yelled, as the violet crystal slipped itself into my pocket. “Why me?”

As the crystal rested in my pocket, people appeared on the road with me again. A certain man with a blue-winged horse stared at me for a moment and then trotted into the night.

“Wait a minute!” I said, wondering how long I was inside the tunnel. “Can anyone tell me where The Whirlwind came from?”

The other passersby kept on their way as though nothing strange had happened. No one had seen the magic but me. I ran home as fast as I could, but it still took me forever because The Whirlwind’s song rang in my ears.

As I hurried up the stone walkway of my house, Mother stood at the broken door, slapping a long wooden spoon in her hand. Hopefully, she would only use it for cooking.

“Where have you been?” she asked. “I told you to come straight home. The winds have been blowing up a storm! I was worried that a dragon got you, or you got trapped in quicksand!”

I stumbled through the kitchen and sat down next to Father at the wooden table. Mother scooped mush for me from the kettle, and I quickly ate it without saying a word about The Whirlwind.

“It was another horrible day at the market,” Father said. “No one bought any vegetables. Tomorrow will probably be worse.”

As he complained, I noticed Grandmum’s old cookbook that Mother hid in the fireplace. King Miobe had banned cookbooks years ago. I doubted Mother had ever made a dessert. 

After I finished eating, I hid the violet crystal beneath my pillow in my bedroom. My tattered schoolbooks and worn black shoes sat beside my bed. Cold air gushed through the hole in my bedroom ceiling. Then I did my homework with my door locked. 

“Priscilla, it’s time to go to sleep,” Mother said, knocking on my door. “I hope your homework is finished.”

I hurried to open the door. It squeaked. 

“Crawl under the covers, Priscilla,” Mother said, as she pulled down my blanket and tucked me into bed.

“Grandmum told me people used to dream,” I said to Mother. “Do you think I can dream?”

“Priscilla, stop talking about dreams,” Mother whispered with a scared look on her face. “We don’t dream. We can’t dream. Dreaming is forbidden.” 

I reached under my pillow and felt the smooth violet crystal that lay there. Then Mother pointed her finger straight at me. 

“No one defies King Miobe!” she said. “The royal magicians might shrink you, or take your voice, or give you an itchy rash, or make you walk backwards forever. They once gave Father’s uncle a hump in his back for being late with his taxes. They might even execute you!”

She quickly blew out the candle on my dresser and closed my creaking bedroom door. I lifted the pillow Grandmum had made for me and peered at the sparkling violet crystal beneath it. 

Then I shut my eyes, yawned, and fell asleep, but I wasn’t sleeping. I found myself sitting at a long floating table filled with desserts. My chair hovered inches from the ground. Even the serving dishes floated above the table. Black smoke lingered across the marble floor. My friends Lucas and Effie sat next to me. Could I be dreaming? 

If so, Mother would be so angry with me.

There were high ceilings and arched windows. Colorful banners and flags decorated the room. The music of a lyre lingered in the background. On both sides of the long table, I could see other people that I didn’t know. 

“Lucas, where are we?” I asked him. 

“We are at a feast!” he said, staring at the desserts. 

“Did you see The Whirlwind in town, Effie?” I asked. 

“No, but a whirlwind would stir things up!” Effie said. 

As clouds of cinnamon filled the air, Lucas and Effie ate vanilla cake with raspberry icing from the floating dishes. Strawberries covered the top of the cake. As much cake as they ate, more always magically appeared in the serving dishes. Crumbs and icing covered their faces.

“Pass the blueberry pie,” I called to Lucas, leaning for the plate. He nudged the floating dish in my direction. I scooped a helping and shoved my mouth full. It tasted so good that I swallowed as fast as I could and scooped another serving. 

The blueberry pie in front of me tasted like a warm summer’s day, full of every good wish. I could eat it for the rest of my life with pure delight. Mother’s cooking usually gave me a stomachache, and sometimes I had no choice but to skip meals. 

I had only ever seen pictures of desserts in Grandmum’s old cookbooks. There was never enough leftover flour and sugar in the land of Zur for cakes and pies.

As I swallowed more blueberry pie, I had a creepy feeling that something was wrong. I felt an icy hand on my shoulder. I turned and found nothing but a shadow behind me. 

“I love this butterscotch pudding!” said Effie. “It tastes twice as good as chocolate and three times better than vanilla.” 

Effie swiped her hand across the bottom of her bowl and licked her fingers. Her red curls bounced on her shoulders.

Then I felt the icy hand again, this time on my ear. When I looked behind me, I only saw another shadow. 

Lucas gobbled an apple dumpling with honey and cream. 

The honey dripped from his chin.  

“Priscilla, I know where we are!” Lucas said. “This must be the Land of Milk and Honey.”

While I gulped another helping of blueberry pie, a gush of air rushed past me. The shadow blew across the room and became a woman with dirty black hair and a flowing black dress. She glared at me and pointed her finger, as the bracelets on her wrists jingled. It must have been her freezing hand that touched me. Her eyes felt like daggers.

“Priscilla . . . Priscilla,” Effie said, a spoonful of peach cobbler in one hand and a lemon tart in the other hand. Her shaking hand pointed at the lady. 

Smoke surrounded the woman, and it smelled like rotten eggs. 

“Priscilla Trumble, who do you think you are?” she said, letting out a sharp cackle. “You are a brat! I am going to rule and reign in Zur!”

Then she pulled the navy tablecloth. It hit the floating desserts, and they went spinning through the air. Without warning, she slid down the table toward me, toppling every dish that stood in her way. She dove for my throat. 

While I clung to Lucas, we dodged a falling bowl of fudge that splattered in his brown hair. Chocolate cake spilled across my face and onto my nightgown. My tangled hair hung in front of my face, full of ice cream. Effie’s brown glasses were covered with butterscotch pudding. 

Lucas and I dropped to the floor and crouched beneath the table. I wanted to run and hide, but there was nowhere to go. I stuck close to Lucas, figuring he had a better chance of fighting off the ugly woman than I did.  

Then I felt the chilling hand slap the back of my head.

“Stop!” I yelled. “Don’t touch me!”


        Copyright 2013 Jennifer Waters


Middle-grade novel, 39,099 words

Chapter One of Twenty-Four Chapters:

"Spiridon, ride on the wind! Dig in your hooves, and push!" I cheered, running beside the brilliant blue-winged horse.

Dark pink flowers and grass from the meadow brushed against my legs. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The hills rolled along a quiet brook. Grasshoppers bounced through the field. 

I hoped my inspiration would be enough to help Spiridon fly for the first time. If he didn’t learn to fly by his fourth birthday, only five days away, he would lose his wings and be earthbound forever. 

I pulled my amethyst dream stone from my pocket and made one wish after another that Spiridon would take off. As I stared at the crystal, the wind started to blow. My dress blew above my knees. I quickly pushed it down. 

“You can do it!” I beckoned. As he leaned back on his hind legs, I bent my knees and stretched my arms at my sides. His nostrils flared, and he flattened his ears. 

Then all of a sudden, The Whirlwind shot out of my crystal stone. It spun and twirled, picking me up with its winds. I flew into the air and did a somersault into the center of its tunnel. It felt like I was caught in a tornado. The music in The Whirlwind grew louder as the wind blew harder. The last time this had happened, it was the beginning of a great adventure. After all, The Whirlwind does make all dreams everywhere. 

“What do you want with me?” I called to The Whirlwind. I felt seasick, bobbing up and down in the funnel. I swirled and whirled every which way. 

“Fly, Priscilla, you will fly!” The Whirlwind called, as its song blared with the demand. 

“I’m already flying,” I yelled. “Put me down!”

Through the winds, I could see Rafael, Spiridon’s owner, standing flat on the ground. He was obviously unable to see the magic taking place through my dream stone. I wondered why The Whirlwind didn’t ever visit Rafael this way. 

Then just as swiftly as The Whirlwind had picked me up, it put me right back in the field in Visus. 

“Did you see The Whirlwind?” I asked Rafael, getting my balance. I took a deep breath.

“Priscilla, you know The Whirlwind spins in the Templum on the other side of Visus,” he said. “It was just a little wind.” 

“Uh-huh,” I said, knowing that The Whirlwind had a special reason for communicating with me in such a dramatic way. 

So I tried to take my instructions from The Whirlwind seriously. I needed to fly, and if I would ever fly, Spiridon would need to fly first. I imagined what it must feel like to have wings, except that felt scary, almost like spinning in The Whirlwind.

“Fly, Spiridon, keep your head up!” I cheered as he galloped through the field. 

I ran until I could no longer keep up with him. Then Spiridon spread his blue silky wings and grunted with determination, and I tried not to stare at his bruised forelegs from his many failed attempts to fly. 

At least when he crashed, he didn’t hurt himself with a pointy horn. Unlike most unicorns, he hadn’t inherited his mother’s alicorn. He did, however, have his father’s wings.

As Spiridon charged ahead, Rafael covered his face and peered through his fingers. He could hardly watch Spiridon’s fifth endeavor to fly. 

Instead, he stared at the ticking jasper metronome in his hands. The metronome swayed slower and slower. When Spiridon’s time had run out, its magic pendulum would stop swinging. 

“Catch the breeze,” Rafael said, squinting through his amethyst glasses. His shiny outfit sparkled in the afternoon sun. He had been trying to teach Spiridon for days without success. Teaching me to dream took Rafael far less effort, and if I do say so myself, I know a lot about dreaming now. 

With great expectation, I brushed my long, dark brown hair from my face and fixed my eyes on Spiridon’s wings. I braced myself, believing he would fly.

“Jump! Soar! Fly!” I said. I leaped into the air, watching him charge forward. After gaining momentum, Spiridon finally jumped, trusting the wind to catch his wings. My heartbeat rose at the thought of his triumph. 

He neighed and coasted a few feet. Just when I thought he might take flight, he came to a crashing halt in the grass. He whinnied, skidding forward, only to stop inches from an apple tree in the meadow. Resting next to the trunk, he closed his turquoise eyes and buried his head in his left wing. He swished his white and green tail across the ground. 

I ran to his side and plopped myself next to him. 

“That’s enough for today,” Rafael said. A piece of his gray hair blew in his eyes. “Spiridon, we’ll try again another day.” 

“Another day?” I asked. “Oh, it must be so hard to fly! Isn’t there something else we can do to teach him?” 

“Not this afternoon,” Rafael said. He motioned to Spiridon that it was time to go home. “Priscilla, I know we both thought you might be able to help him take off for the first time. It’s not your fault. Spiridon needs to hear the song in his father’s wings to learn to fly. His wings even resemble black and white piano keys.”

“Where is Spiridon’s father?” I asked. “Why can’t Spiridon hear his father’s song?”

“His father, Mirabilis, and the other winged horses in Visus have been missing since the last time you visited us,” Rafael said. “They disappeared when grazing outside Visus. No one can find the horses. It’s been devastating to everyone.”

At the same time, I felt brave and upset. 

I ought to be qualified to help Spiridon locate the missing horses of Visus. I did bring dreaming back to my land, Zur. Quite an accomplishment for a 10-year-old girl and her friends! 

“Look, I learned this new dance step,” I said to Spiridon, dancing through the field. He raised his head for a split second, and then dropped it again in discouragement. 

Rafael brushed dirt from Spiridon’s side. 

“Sorry to put you through all this, Spiridon,” I said, walking through the meadow. The young horse meandered beside me, hanging his head. “I thought for sure that I would be able to encourage you to fly.” Then I looked at Rafael. “But what if time runs out, and his father doesn’t return in time . . .” 

Spiridon scuffed his hooves across the ground. I tried to imagine a melody beautiful enough to make him soar. 

“Do the unicorns have any idea where the missing horses might be?” I asked, hoping Rafael had already asked them. 

“Not one of them has any idea where Mirabilis and his friends could be,” Rafael said. “It’s as if the horses vanished.” 

“Vanished, maybe,” I said, wondering what really happened. 

“I just know that Spiridon’s mother has been very worried,” Rafael said. “She knows Spiridon needs to learn to fly now and that Mirabilis is the only one who can teach him.”

“I can only imagine how his mom feels,” I said to Rafael. 

“Now I don’t want you to worry about this, Priscilla,” Rafael said, as we arrived back on the golden streets of Halom, the capital city of Visus. “You need to stay focused on Zur,” he said. “Your people have just begun dreaming, and King Miobe will surely need your support.”

“Yes, of course,” I said, swallowing hard. I looked at the cuts and scrapes on Spiridon’s body. He sighed while walking. 

Although Halom has wide streets, there were too many nearby buildings to practice soaring. Spiridon could have easily damaged one of the ruby, emerald, or sapphire structures. He might have even crashed into the jasper wall that surrounds the land and really hurt himself.

“Glad to see you’re safe,” said one of King Miobe’s royal guards as we approached Rafael’s blue and yellow topaz home.

Just in case of any danger, King Miobe assigned a royal escort to me for this trip. Rafael had promised the guards he would look after me while we visited the meadow.

“You shouldn’t worry so much,” I replied. 

Spiridon moaned, drinking from his water bucket in front of the house. “I’m so proud of you for trying to fly,” I told him. 

I could only hope that Spiridon would take off before it was too late.

Copyright 2013 Jennifer Waters


Middle-grade novel, 37,416 words

Chapter One of Twenty-Four Chapters:

“Jubilee!” the crowd around me cheered. The people of Visus filled the golden streets for the annual Jubilee Festival Parade. “Rejoice, again rejoice!” they cheered. 

“Do you like my butterfly wings?” I asked my friend Effie.

She stood next to me in a bright yellow duck costume. 

“Almost as much as my beak, Priscilla,” she laughed. She adjusted her topaz glasses beneath the oversized headpiece.

Chocolates and gumdrops flew down sparkling conveyor belts on a parade float labeled: The Candy Conception Factory.

Paper streamers and silver sparks exploded from the floating factory. Jesters and clowns rode on flying magic carpets and threw candy and confetti at the crowds. 

As musicians played instruments and beat on drums, acrobats with painted faces floated above the street.

With all the excitement, my amethyst dream stone dropped from my pocket. When I bent down to pick it up, the wind blew until it knocked me over. All at once, The Whirlwind burst from my stone, as high as the treetops. The Whirlwind swirled and whirled, growing stronger by the second. 

Then it caught my butterfly wings, and I floated into the middle of the tunnel. I tried to catch my breath.

As I descended into The Whirlwind, loud claps of thunder cracked one after the other. Beneath the thunder, it sang a beautiful song. It sang louder as I reached its center. 

“Why me? Why not someone else? Haven’t I done enough already?” I called to The Whirlwind. Although the wind blew around me, everyone else was still standing on the ground. 

As I spun in a circle, the parade continued as though nothing special was happening. No one noticed The Whirlwind but me. 

“Why not you?” The Whirlwind called back to me. “I make all the dreams in the world. I made you. You did not choose me, but I chose you.” 

“What is that supposed to mean?” I yelled, holding onto my butterfly wings. If The Whirlwind tore my costume, I would be so upset. My wings crinkled in the blowing wind. 

Without answering me, The Whirlwind spit me out back onto the street and disappeared into the crystal. Then the crystal fell back into my pocket. Just like the last time this happened, I had a feeling an adventure was about to start. 

Just as I had this thought, the ground moved more than normal. The crystal city buildings with spires swayed back and forth. As they glistened in the never-ending sunlight, I hoped they wouldn’t crack. Someone might get hurt. 

“Don’t worry, boy!” I said to my golden retriever Solomon, dressed like a turtle, as he ran in circles and barked.

“Why is everything shaking?” Effie said, grabbing my hand. She stared at the moving buildings.

“Watch out!” Lucas announced. With his eagle wings, he caught a piece of flying candy that almost hit me in the head. 

“Thank you much,” I said to Lucas, snatching the candy from his gray wing and popping it into my mouth. The caramel melted beneath my tongue. Then the ground shook harder.

“Do you see Joshua?” Effie said, peering down the road. She held my hand tighter. “He would be so upset if we missed his float in the parade . . .”

“Why is the ground moving like this?” I interrupted. 

The electric lights in the nearby windows flickered and then blacked out. Shaking. Shaking. And more shaking. The entire land trembled. Solomon howled in circles.

I had never experienced anything quite like this, not even spinning in The Whirlwind. Even if Effie held my hand, I wasn’t sure it would do her any good. We might both fall down together. Maybe Lucas would catch us, if he were quick enough.

As I turned around, the sapphire building to the left of us crashed onto the Candy Conception Factory. The turquoise shop to the right hit the ground with a rumble. Splinters of glass shattered everywhere. Surely, The Whirlwind wasn’t causing this disaster. It had disappeared. This seemed to be evil magic. 

“An earthquake!” yelled the red-haired clown standing nearby.  

“Priscilla!” yelled Lucas, pulling me under his wing. Then he grabbed Effie with his other wing.  

The ruby bridge over the River of Delight cracked and sank into its bubbling waves. The river began to flow backwards and flooded Shelamim Boulevard. 

“Aaah!” yelled the woman next to me. She ripped her exquisite dove costume trying to run to safety.

“Cover your heads!” I said, looking up. 

“The world is falling apart!” Lucas said. 

“I think the sky is falling!” Effie said, looking up.

Solomon whimpered against my legs. 

While the three of us tried to stay calm, people in costume scattered through the streets. They hurried in every direction, avoiding the crashing debris. 

“Help me!” yelled a man in an apple outfit. Part of his stem was caught beneath a slab of stone. A bearded man in a candle costume rushed to help him.

I covered my head with my arms, watching people get hit by shattering rock. I felt so upset. I could do nothing to stop the quake. Then the golden street cracked down the middle. People fell over left and right. At this rate, the ground would soon open, and I would be swallowed up in it. 

“Oh no!” Effie cried, as a scared mob of people rushed in our direction. No one cared if we were standing in the way!

What I would have given for something solid to hold onto!

“Excuse me!” I announced, as a man stepped on my feet. 

People walked over us, pushing us hard. I would surely be black and blue. When I turned around, Lucas and Effie were no longer standing next to me. How could I have lost them? 

“Effie! Lucas! Where are you?” I cried, taking off my butterfly mask. Solomon still stuck close to my side. I picked him up and ran through the crowd looking for my friends. 

The emerald gate across the street collapsed, just missing a circle of people. In the distance, smoke loomed in the sky. Flames followed the growing cloud. 

The earthquake had started a fire! Oh, I needed to find Lucas and Effie. How could this happen in Visus, a place where it never even became night?

A man running for safety shoved me and stepped on Solomon’s tail. He bent my perfectly shaped butterfly wings. 

Then I caught a glimpse of Rafael Sigmaringen, the man who taught me everything I knew about dreaming. A black and white playing card fit over his body. 

“Rafael!” I yelled. The tip of his hat stood above the crowd. I snuck through the masses and pulled on the back of his cape.

“Priscilla,” he said. He had painted the left side of his face with a black spade symbol. “Stay near me.”

“I lost Lucas and Effie!” I said, almost in tears. Solomon barked and barked. “Where’s Glendalough?”

“She’s looking for her dolls,” Rafael said. “At least Lucas and Effie are probably together, but my wife knows enough magic to protect herself for now. We should go check on The Whirlwind in its home in the Templum. I hope the Templum isn’t destroyed.”

Even though The Whirlwind magically appeared from my dream stone from time to time, it normally lived in the Templum. 

“Without the Templum, how will The Whirlwind churn and create dreams?” I asked. “All life everywhere will be in danger.”

Rafael scratched his head and looked worried.  

“T’zila would like dreams to be destroyed,” I said. Most of my recent problems could be linked to the wiles of Countess T’zila Tzigane. I didn’t doubt for a moment that she would use an evil spell to send this earthquake. 

“Hurry!” Rafael said, holding my hand and leading us through the streets. Glass flew from the buildings, and the streets were cracked. I almost tripped every other step. Solomon followed behind us somehow.

An onyx spire teetered back and forth on the top of a nearby building. Portions of the jasper wall surrounding the land had crumbled, leaving openings for intruders. 

“Years ago, the founding members of the Council of Visus had dreams instructing them to build the Templum,” Rafael said, rushing through the streets of its capital city, Halom. “After the Templum was built, The Whirlwind descended and has been there ever since.”

As we stopped in the city square, I noticed that the shaking had mostly stopped. Solomon stood quietly next to me. 

“Do you think the earthquake is over?” I asked Rafael. 

“Maybe, but there still might be aftershocks,” Rafael said, staring at the destruction caused by the quake. 

The brilliant skyline sat in ruins. Pieces of the usually glistening buildings were broken and covered in ashes. I tried to be ready for anything.

Copyright 2013 Jennifer Waters