TITLE: THE LUCK EXCHANGE
GENRE: MG Fantasy
In the elven afterlife, sleep replenishes magic. Twelve-year-old Madelece, an insomniac, desperately wants to fix what's broken about her, so she'll regain Mother's love. But when Mother creates a remedy, Madelece's friends go missing. Now she must decide if Mother's love is worth the gruesome price.
Madelece took a deep, calming breath before she climbed out of her canoe and pulled it onto the sand. She scanned the plain oak canoes anchored to the shore by Luck, until she spotted Mother’s.
Earthworms of anxiety knotted in Madelece’s belly. She'd been awake most of the night, so her Luck today was sporadic at best.
Mother would notice.
She turned back to her canoe. “Madelece says, Stay.” Her voice sounded strong and sure. Reaching down, she gave the boat a small test push, and it scooted back into the water. Jinx! Thank the Owls no one saw her failure. Quickly, she grabbed the edge before it floated away. Her maple tea was in there—and she would need every drop of sugary goodness to get her through this—along with the cloak her papa had made for her.
Father, she reminded herself. Not Papa. Mother liked her to call him Father.
Once she found the in-case-of-no-Luck rope she kept hidden under the seat, she tied it to a nearby tree, securing her canoe. She shivered and shook down her hair over her shoulders—it was cooler in the Valley than where her papa lived on the fringe of Ilfar Isle. A lance of sunlight turned copper strands to bright orange; she shoved them back, out of sight.
Madelece gathered her satchel and maple tea, then took a nervous sip. The healers had to cure her sleeplessness. They just had to. Then Mother would be proud of her.