TITLE: The Great Woods
GENRE: MG Fantasy
It began with the fireflies, as magic often does. Jenny was out in the field behind her grandparents’ house with her younger brother, chasing fireflies. She spied a good one, low-flying and lackadaisical, and followed it past the shed and into the darkening woods.
“Jen-ny!” Billy called, his voice echoing through the trees. Jenny laughed, but kept running, eyes on that flashing yellow light. Her grandparents were inside watching TV, her parents back home in Chicago. It was Maine in early July and the day had been humid and heavy. It felt so good to run in the cool night air, the ground soft under her feet.
The firefly flashed on her left. She lifted her jar and launched herself toward it, but missed. It flared just beyond a wide oak. She crept toward it. The firefly, though, had vanished.
With a sigh, Jenny tucked the jar into her skirt pocket. She was farther into the woods than she’d thought. She spun to get her bearings and her skirt tore on a low branch. As she bent to inspect it, Jenny heard a low voice, croaky but urgent, coming from the bush to her right. “Aha, you came! Knew you would. Come along, no time to waste.”
Jenny froze. Eyes wide, she looked up to see a person. Sort of. She was small, maybe to Jenny’s waist, though solid and strong. She had messy gray hair that fell in thick ropes past her shoulders and dark clothes that blended in with the branches and leaves.