Twelve-year-old Michaela Cochran still believes in enchanted mountains and fairytale castles, but her happily-ever-after will never happen if she can’t convince her mother to accept the magical gift Michaela has inherited.
Michaela Cochran and her family make the trip to her father’s ancestral home every year, but this year is special. Michaela is now twelve, the age when every girl in the family receives a special gift. When Aunt Sharon explains that Michaela’s gift is a magical ability to bring one of her drawings to life, Michaela begins making plans. What she wants most is a castle high on the mountain, where her family can live together. But if she can’t figure out how to resolve the growing hostility between herself and her mother, her gift is meaningless.
The light began moving toward the bedroom door. Michaela didn’t want to see any ghosts, especially ones with worms crawling through their empty eye sockets. But in spite of her best efforts, her eyes had a will of their own. They slowly turned toward the doorway on the other side of the room.
Michaela’s gaze inched toward the light, and then she nearly wet her pants. She yanked the sheet over her head as she squeezed her eyes shut and choked back sobs. The ghosts had found her. They stood just inside the door leading out into the hallway. Michaela had only seen two of them before covering her face, but the other one had to be there somewhere. She scrambled deeper under the sheet, trying to bury herself into the crack at the back of the sofa. She forgot all about the flashlight clutched in her numb fingers. She tried to call out to Mom again, but a cottony dryness filled her mouth. She wanted to climb into bed with Mom and Chloe, but her muscles had turned to mush. She couldn’t move. She could only lie on the sofa and hope the two apparitions on the other side of the room would leave.
A few moments passed and nothing happened. Michaela had to do something, but what? Finally, she remembered her flashlight. She had dropped it in her efforts to get as far away from the ghosts as possible, so it took her a few moments of frantic scrabbling to find it tangled up in the bed sheets. She wrapped her hand around the warm metal and wondered what would happen if she threw it at the ghosts. It might go right through them, but it would eventually hit the wall, or the floor, and maybe the noise would wake up Mom.
Michaela breathed in deeply to steady her nerves. She thought about Grandpa and how he had said that nothing in the house would hurt her. She could do this. After a couple more breaths, and with shaking hands, she slowly lowered the sheet from her face. The two ghosts stood in the same exact spot she had last seen them, and they stared right back at her. To her amazement, they were nothing like Sean had described.
Long and Short of It
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