Billy and Em in Millefant

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two friends fall through the roof into an enticing new world, where things appear more magical than before. But will they hear the Marlo bird sing, and make it back to world they know?

Submitted: July 24, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 24, 2010



Em and Billy in Millefant
A story for children and adults alike

1. Home
Em and Billy stood on the roof and surveyed the town below.
“Look!” Billy pointed to the house next door. “You can see my whole garden from up here.”
Em followed his finger. “All your washing’s on the line. And is that Spiderman t-shirt yours?”
“Hmm. Pyjamas, actually. Don’t let my mum see us, she’ll kill me if she knows I’m up here.”
Em gazed at the view, taking in the other roofs, treetops waving in the breeze, and the vast blue and white sky that everything seemed to cling to, in an upside-down kind of way.
The roof of Em’s house sloped around them like a tumbling ship at sea. With the soles of their feet, knees slightly bent, they managed to grip to the roof tiles. The ladder Em’s dad had been using poked above the border between up here and down there like two slender eyes. In front of the ladder was the skylight. Em’s dad had been cleaning it and now gone in for some lunch.
“There’s the church spire,” Billy went on. “And the school oval.” He turned slowly, taking in the view. “And look at all the cars out on the highway! They look so tiny.”
“Like toy cars,” agreed Em.
She moved closer to the edge to glimpse her dad’s car, parked beneath them in the driveway. Would it look like a toy from up here, too?
“Careful, Em,” Billy grunted softly behind her. Shading his eyes, he looked off into the far, far distance. “Wow,” he breathed. “This is fantastic!”
Stretching her body out, almost as if she were about to take off in flight, Em lifted her head, trying to peer over the gutter. She imagined her neck was long and rubbery, shooting off down the wall and into the yard, twisting around the big tree down the back (two or three times!), then shooting back up and onto the roof again. Like one enormous snake.
Her neck wasn’t that long, though. The more she peered, the giddier she became.
Don’t be frightened, she thought to herself. I’m stuck fast to the roof here. Gravity has got me.
Her dad had told her all about gravity a couple of weeks before. How the earth was spinning around and around, and that out in space, everything just floated about.
But here on earth, gravity kept everything glued down. Just like her feet to the rooftop.
There it was! Their car, red and shiny, bonnet poking out from under the edge of the gutter. It was still pretty big, she thought, although maybe not as big as when down –
“Em!” She heard Billy’s voice cry out in alarm behind her. Then suddenly his arms were being flung around her waist. With all his might, he pulled her backwards.
Em’s feet slipped out from beneath her. She felt herself falling back, dragged by the (rather skinny) weight of Billy. Everything moved fast, although she still had time to notice the ladder-eyes, shiny, metallic, staring at her as she fell.
And then, as they hit the skylight, and the weight of two children aged seven and eight (Em and Billy, respectively) caused the surface to crack and break open, time suddenly slowed to a crawl.
An interesting device, time, that seems to bend and stretch as it likes. Right now, as they fell through the skylight, it was like a big elastic band, being pulled … puuuuullllled …
Reflecting on the picture of being caught inside an enormous elastic band, Em felt her body slip into plain, thin air (gravity certainly at work, there), the roof left behind, and her limbs slowly scrambling against Billy’s in an awkward dance that was a bit like swimming, but without any water.
Suddenly, the elastic band reached the end of its tether – snap! - and time sped up again.
There was solid ground beneath her.
Taking a deep breath of relief, Em put her hand down, and found herself not on the cool kitchen tiles of her house but –
Fearful for his life (or at least his bones), and wishing Em had not gone so close to the edge of the roof, Billy found himself hitting the ground of not Em’s kitchen floor but –
Grass. Green, lush grass. All around them, and blue sky above that.
Em and Billy lay on their backs, looking up. Billy’s breath was short and hard.
Without moving, he checked himself over for pain. Broken bones? Bruising, surely? Feet, legs, body, arms, head ... Nothing. It all felt fine. How could that be?
He decided to sit up.
Em rolled over to look behind them, and noticed something strange. Stranger than not being on the kitchen floor …
“Billy ...”
Rubbing his arms, checking for bruises, he murmured “Hmmm?”
“Billy, where’s my house?”
His face popped up, eyes scanning the meadow they lay in.
“What do you mean, where’s your house ... ?” he began, but he knew. He knew just what she meant. Because there was no house. Not hers, or his next door, or the Lang’s across the street, or the washing on his line, or ...
“Where are we?” he breathed slowly.
“Are we in the park?” asked Em. “There’s lots of grass. Maybe we flew there. Or maybe a bird came and rescued us just as we were about to ...” She wasn’t sure why, but she couldn’t quite say it ... fall to the kitchen floor through the skylight.
“That’s ridiculous,” he replied. “That’s impossible. I mean … How … What …?” His eyes searched around for something familiar, anything to let him know where he was, how far they had fallen from Em’s roof.
“A big beautiful bird,” Em continued, “with white wings and blue feathers on its body. Lifting us up and carrying us to safety.” A dreamy smile sat on her lips as she imagined this. “Of course, we don’t remember it. Because you don’t believe, Billy. If you remembered it, your head might explode or something.”
“You’re being ridiculous,” he said. “This is ridiculous. Surely our houses are here somewhere. Maybe we just have concussion. Perhaps we’re just dreaming.” This seemed to satisfy him. “Dreaming. Must be.”
“It’s pretty nice, though. Isn’t it?” Em was gazing around, taking in the green meadow, gently rolling hills, and tall dark trees that waved to her from the meadow’s edge.
“Shall we take a walk and see where we are?” she suggested, wanting to see the trees up close.
“Um … Do you really think that’s a good idea …?”
Em jumped to her feet. “Come on!” she cried excitedly, and pulled his arm.
“Why do I let you talk me into these things? First the roof, now this …” he mumbled as together they plodded off across the meadow.
2. Milleffant
It seemed an eternity to Billy before they finally reached the edge of the meadow. And as he had feared, there was not a single familiar landmark in sight.
Running ahead, cheeks flushed with excitement, Em’s mind brimmed with curious possibilities.
“Maybe we’ve gone back in time,” she yelled over her shoulder to the lagging Billy. “Or maybe gravity gave up for a moment, and we’re on another planet!”
She laughed loudly (almost cackled, thought Billy, like a naughty child-witch), and ran on to the trees.
Broad-limbed and sporting a rough, dark-coloured bark up the trunk, the trees were similar, and yet somehow different, to the trees that stood in their own street at home. Here, as the breeze ruffled their small green leaves, the trees uttered a whispery, swishy greeting. Side-by-side, they marked the end of the emerald green meadow, and the beginning of a dusty road.
“People,” gleaned Billy, eyeing the gravelly, unmade road. “Where there’s a road, we can find people. And then we can find our way home.”
Determinedly, he strode forward, pulling up the shorts that were a little too big for him and flattening his unruly hair.
Em ran after him and fell into step beside his purposeful gait.
“Billy,” she said breathlessly. “This is so much fun! I’m so excited! Isn’t this place amazing? The sky looks so much bluer than at home. Maybe we really are on another planet … And the grass and the leaves on the trees are so much greener. The air even smells different … Don’t you think?”
Billy huffed silently onwards.
“Please don’t be angry, Billy. This is an adventure. I bet Spiderman wouldn’t be angry. I bet he’d be really excited.”
Billy choked. “When has Spiderman ever been dumped in a meadow?” he demanded. “Spiderman walks up buildings. He leaps across skyscrapers.”
The sound of feet on gravel filled the air.
“I’d just … really like to go home, Em. I’m …” Without finishing his sentence, he wiped at his cheek.
Trying not to stare (it was rude to stare at people when they were crying, wasn’t it?), Em slowed and put a hand on Billy’s arm.
“Are you really scared?” she asked softly. “I’m sorry I made us come here if you are.”
They walked on for a few seconds in silence.
“Next time, and the next, and the next, and the next after that, you can choose what to play ... okay, Billy?”
“I’m not sure,” he mumbled eventually. “I don’t know if I’ll be allowed to play with you after this.”
He shook his head.
“Nope. I’m sure my mum won’t let me ever play with you again.”
“What?” Em was struck cold. “But … Billy, you wouldn’t let that happen. Would you?” Her eyes searched his profile as she walked alongside him, pleading.
“Maybe,” he replied. “If you help me find our way home.”
“I will, we will. Of course, of course!”
Em tried to think about where home was, and how they might get there. But soon her mind was flooded with the new sights and smells, and she forgot to concentrate so hard on fixing the problem.
“Such pretty flowers,” she whispered to herself, noticing small red and yellow daisies lining the side of the road. “And such pretty bird songs,” hearing the flitter and calls of angelic bird voices coming from the trees.
Trodding up a hill, they reached the crest and beheld the view that unfolded before them.
“Ooooh,” breathed Em. “A town! And look, Billy – a market!” For at the bottom of the hill, indeed there was a market, the road lined with tables and baskets and colours of all sorts.
“Thank goodness,” Billy sighed. “We can ask where we are.”
“Do you think it’s like the one we have at home? The market?”
“The Farmers’ Market on the school oval, you mean? Well, who knows. We’ll see.”
“Why is it called a Farmers’ Market, Billy? Do they sell farmers there?”
“No, silly. Who’d want to buy a farmer? No, I went once with mum. All they sold was fruit and veg.”
Brightened by the idea of getting home now, and Em asking him questions about the world again, Billy felt everything to be falling back into its proper place.
“Look!” Em pointed. “Everyone’s wearing funny suits. Maybe this is a dress-up market. How much fun! I love dressing up.”
Billy had never heard of this type of market. Puzzled, he scanned the rows of approaching people. And just as Em had said, everyone seemed to be wearing a costume.
“Cats! And dogs!” she squealed.
“There’s a goose.”
“A mouse!”
“A duck and …”
“Ducklings!” cried Em. “This is the best market ever!”
She ran ahead of Billy and stopped where the market began, her eyes searching in wonder. Timidly, Billy came up and stood next to her, watching the market flow in busy action.
A duckling, covered by downy white feathers, stopped to tug at the ground with its beak. A juicy worm, or a glistening crumb, had caught its attention. Em watched the youngster scratch at the dirt with delight. Content, the duckling lifted its head, searching to rejoin its family.
But they were not to be seen. A crowd of market-goers – animals of many descriptions – thronged between the duckling and its family.
A squawk of despair escaped from its beak.
“Oh!” Em’s voice mirrored the duckling’s. “Billy, that duckling has lost its mother! We have to help it.”
She stepped forward and leaned down to the lost little duck.
“We’ll help you find your mother. Don’t panic. She can’t have gone far. “
With a hand, she waved Billy over.
“This is my friend Billy. And my name is Em. What’s your name?”
A pair of large eyes stared up at her.
“Quack!” it replied. “Quack, quack!”
“Oh no, Billy. It doesn’t understand.”
Em stood up straight and looked into the crowd, wondering what to do. Would anyone here understand her?
And right then a large cat was at her side.
“Don’t worry. This little one hasn’t learnt to talk yet. And I saw her mother head over to the bread stall. If you follow me we can restore her to her family.”
The large cat, grey with orange stripes, stood on two hind legs, wore a tiny red hat, and carried a yellow basket on one paw. A round piece of cheese, wrapped loosely in newspaper, lay in her basket.
Speechless, Em stared up at the cat and nodded.
Billy, however, saw his chance. “Please, can you tell us …”
“All in good time,” the cat interrupted kindly. “Let’s get this little one back to her mother first, then I shall introduce myself.”
The cat held out a paw to the duckling, who quacked hopefully and took the paw with its little wing. They went into the crowd, and Billy plunged after them.
“Come on,” he said, turning back to the wide-mouthed Em.
She nodded, closed her mouth, and followed.
“Billy!” she whispered loudly, hoping the cat wouldn’t hear. “That cat spoke to us. And she’s walking on two legs!”
“I don’t care. She has to know the way home.”
They pushed on through the market crowd, rubbing past fur and feathers and wool. Conversations flew past their ears, snippets of news and market talk.
“When Miss Black-Lamb came to tea this week - “
“- but this bunch here I can give to you for – “
“ – and only yesterday I was thinking – “
“ – such a unique aroma this time of year – “
“ – perfect shape and delicious taste – “
Eyes and ears wide as saucers, Em followed Billy, who followed the cat in the little red hat.
Finally they came to a stop.
“Here she is. Mrs Duck!” the cat called.
And following her gaze, Em and Billy saw a large white duck, surrounded by little white ducklings.
The lost duckling dropped the cat’s paw and waddled quickly to her mother, quacking excitedly.
“Thank you, Danna!” the mother duck called gratefully. “So easy to lose one in this crowd!”
The cat nodded, then turned at last to Em and Billy.
“I heard you introduce yourself to little Edwina. My name is Danna Cat. And I must welcome you to Milleffant.”
“Milleffant?” Em and Billy repeated together.
Danna Cat nodded. “Milleffant,” she confirmed.
“But …” Billy rubbed his hair. “Where is Milleffant? We live on Saxon Road.”
Danna Cat smiled kindly. “My dear, you are a long way from Saxon Road. Should we,” she suggested, “go to my house for a nice cup of tea?”
As it turned out, Danna Cat lived right next to the market.
“The market’s on just once a week,” she explained. “The rest of the time it’s perfectly quiet here.” And she stepped behind a pile of oranges, through a little wooden gate, and up to a yellow front door.
“This is my house. Please come inside.”
She turned the door knob and entered.
Em and Billy lingered on the front step behind her.
They knew it wasn’t a good idea to go into a stranger’s house, because they’d been told this thousands of times both at home and school.
But was this, they wondered, a special situation? After all, she had taken little Edwina back to her mother. And she did seem especially kind and nice.
Billy looked nervously back out to the market.
“Why couldn’t she tell us out there how to get home?” he wondered aloud.
Em was looking up at the front of the house. A blazing trail of flowers grew over the pale orange stone wall. She stepped forward to sniff them, some of which were yellow, some blue, and some white.
“Oh, Billy. These flowers smell fantastic! Here, have a go.” She beckoned him to join her.
He shuffled to the wall and inhaled quickly. “Hm!” He sniffed again. “You’re right. Who would have thought?”
They did smell wonderful, although Billy couldn’t really compare them to other flowers. He wasn’t particularly in the habit of stopping to smell them.
Danna Cat’s head popped around the doorway.
“Coming in?” she smiled, her red hat gone.
Em turned and noticed how green her eyes were.
“Yes,” she nodded without thinking. “Yes, please.”
And inside she went, leaving Billy alone with the flowers.

3. Danna Cat
“Where is Milleffant, Danna?” asked Em. “I mean, it sounds an awfully long way from my house. And you see …”
She paused to take a bite of her chocolate biscuit.
“Yum. You see, we fell through the skylight in my kitchen. Or I think we did. Because we were up playing on the roof and then …”
Billy appeared in the doorway.
“Do come in, Billy.” Danna extended a paw in his direction and gestured for him to sit down. “Tea?”
He took a seat in a bulky arm chair covered in blue corduroy. There was a large window beside him, paintings of flowers and cats and blue skies all over the walls, and a red rug on a wooden floor.
“I don’t normally drink tea,” he admitted. “My mother says it will stunt my growth.”
“Well, would you like something else? Milk? Apple juice?”
Billy eyed Em, who was dunking a chocolate biscuit in her tea with obvious relish.
“Actually, I think I will have some tea,” he announced. “And a chocolate biscuit. Please.”
Happy to oblige, Danna Cat poured him tea from a spotted yellow teapot, and handed him the steaming cup. Balanced on the saucer was a mouth-watering chocolate biscuit – exactly Billy’s favourite food.
“So you are both wondering where on earth you have come to,” Danna said warmly. “Falling through Em’s roof and into Milleffant. And to be honest, Saxon Road is very much a stranger to us here, too.”
She took a sip of tea.
“Although I have heard of your little world. And most here have not. When I was very young – as young as little Edwina Duck – we had a visitor from a place called Willow Street.” She pronounced the name carefully. “A young man, much like yourself Billy, with yellow hair and brown eyes. There are no humans here, you see, so such visitors tend to stay in one’s memory.”
Billy’s hand ceased mid-air, chocolate biscuit half-way to his mouth.
“No humans, did you say? No humans?” He appeared flummoxed. The biscuit was laid back on the saucer.
“You mean only animals live here,” piped Em. “Cats and dogs and ducks and sheep?”
Danna Cat nodded.
“Wow! How fantastic! I love animals.” She dipped the last morsel of her biscuit in tea. “Can we go meet some more? You can’t talk to animals where we live. Can you Billy?”
He shook his head. “Em.” His voice gripped the words tightly. “Remember you promised?”
Em’s face fell. “Yes. I know, Billy. But … wouldn’t you like to meet some animals before we go back? I mean, can’t we go back any old …” Her words dropped suddenly like stones to the floor. “Danna Cat, we can get back … can’t we?”
“Why don’t we take a walk,” Danna replied. “When we’ve finished with tea. I’d like to go see old Alberto Rooster. There are some lovely things to see on the way.”
“But – you do know the way back to Saxon Road,” Billy’s thin voice wavered. “Don’t you?”
“I was only very young when we had our last human visitor. Alberto remembers better than I.”
Billy and Em exchanged worried glances across the room.
“But I’m certain that you can return,” Danna Cat assured. “Because the young man from Willow Street … Well, he didn’t stay too long. Come, now, shall we go?”

4. Dancing Leaves
The market was winding down as Em and Billy followed Danna Cat, red hat perched once more on her head, into the village. The odd call came out to purchase half-price potatoes, end-of-market flowers, and last-minute oranges. The crowds had dwindled, and only a few now stood chatting and smiling as vendors packed up their goods.
They continued along the road they had first found at the edge of the meadow, and it appeared to travel right the way through Milleffant. Little stone houses, similar to Danna Cat’s, stood by the road, interspersed with green, meadow-like gardens. White flowers waved in the grass. Em was transfixed by their beauty.
“Things here seem much more …” Em paused, searching for the word. “Alive,” she said finally. “I can’t really tell you why, Danna Cat. I mean, it looks quite like our home. But …” Her eyes roamed over the houses and trees and flowery stretches of field.
Danna Cat smiled. “Well. I’m sure it is quite lovely in Saxon Road, too. Perhaps in other ways?”
Em shrugged, suddenly unable to remember.
“Now here is something to see.” Danna Cat stopped before a large tree standing in the middle of the road. The road seemed to part around the tree like a stream flows around an island.
The tree sported large flat leaves, as big as Billy’s hand. Many had fallen to the ground, browning and reddening as they cast aside their former green lives on the tree.
Stopping beside Danna Cat, Em and Billy watched the tree, letting their eyes wander over the rough bark, the tall trunk, the broad heavy limbs. At the base of the tree, the leaves were shuffling, stirring in a sudden breeze.
The leaves lifted quickly in a column, then glided towards the ground, one after another like a wave. It happened again and again, the leaves moving in unison as if connected by invisible thread.
“Dancing!” cried Em excitedly. “The leaves are dancing!”
And indeed they were, gliding up and gracefully down, then slowly turning around the trunk of the tree to begin all over again.
Danna Cat smiled. “Lovely, isn’t it?”
Em nodded enthusiastically in agreement, but Billy simply watched in astonishment.
“It’s like magic,” he said finally. “How do they do that?”
“This way to Alberto’s house,” Danna replied, moving on.
And Em and Billy followed, Em tugging Billy away by his t-shirt.
“Come on,” she said. “I do like it here. Don’t you, Billy?”
His eyes searched for hers. “It’s a bit strange, Em. I’m not sure my mum would like me being here at all.”
“Oh,” Danna Cat intervened, overhearing their conversation. “But you are most safe. And your mother isn’t here right now … is she?”
“Yes, but …She’ll be worried.”
Danna Cat gave a small, sympathetic cluck. “Don’t worry, Billy. Everything is fine.”
He shook his head, unsure, and plodded on behind her. Because what else could he do, but trust her?
After a little while, they came to a bridge. Wide and made of stone, it spanned a shallow, softly bubbling river. A little wall, also of stone, bounded each side of the bridge to stop travellers falling over the edge.
Em ran to a wall and leaned over, peering into the stream below.
“How beautiful!” she cried. “It looks lovely and cool. Do you ever swim in it, Danna?” Thinking for a moment, she turned and addressed Danna to her face. “Do you swim anywhere? Because where we come from - “
“Saxon Road,” cut in Billy.
“Where we come from,” Em continued, “cats don’t like to swim. Not usually.”
“Except remember that time that Mrs Draper’s cat fell in the pond because – “
“Because someone threw it in,” Em now cut in, rather darkly.
“ – And it swam to the edge and ran away.”
“Poor thing.” Em looked sadly to the ground.
“Oh, when I was younger,” Danna Cat replied. “Not for a long time now. Leave it to the youngsters to splash around in the water.” She peered down to the clear, flowing stream.
“Listen,” she said. “Do you hear it? The river is talking.”
Em and Billy both froze, ears turned up to listen.
The gentle bubbling of the waters met their ears. It was most soothing, but they couldn’t hear any voices.
Perhaps old Danna Cat was a little bit loopy, thought Billy.
“Oh yes,” she was saying. “The river is reminding me to tell you about the Marlo bird. Have you heard it singing today?”
Billy shrugged. Em looked up, her memory triggered.
“A most divine song,” Danna Cat went on. “I’m sure you have heard it. Thanks to the river for reminding me.”
She nodded happily and continued across the bridge, her paws treading softly on the stone. Billy followed, but Em lingered, staring down into the water.
“I wish I could hear you talk,” she whispered to the stream.
Then before her eyes, the stream turned small white-capped circles just below her. In little waves, the circles swam round and round, and then merged into two white discs.
Just like a pair of eyes, looking up at Em.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, her own eyes bulging.
The eyes in the water dispersed, and more small white waves danced in the water. Slowly these formed a line and …
“A smile!” Em cried. “You’re smiling at me!”
Danna Cat heard her and turned. “This way, Em,” she called. “Nearly there, now.”
Em nodded, but before running to catch up, leant further over the bridge, as close as she could to the water.
“Thank you!” she whispered loudly, then ran over the bridge to meet Danna and Billy.

5. Diamond Butterfly
“Children!” Alberto Rooster crowed as Em and Billy entered his living room, their curiosity at a peak. “Human children! How marvellous. This must be the loveliest present you have ever brought me, Danna.”
Em and Billy peered around Alberto’s house. It was a spectacle of treasure and wondrous oddity. The rooms, from what they had seen so far, were peculiar shapes – triangles and diamonds - with the roof at different angles, higher this end and lower at that end. The living room floor was made of – what looked like, at least – the ends of up-turned bottles. On the walls (which seemed to be made, rather suspiciously, from one very large orange peel) hung newspaper cuttings, yellow, faded, and curling. Billy thought there must have been thousands of them, although, he considered, it might have been rude to count.
Directly across from the living room entrance were three windows. One was a circle, one a star, and one shaped like the moon. Swirling, multi-coloured glass lay in each, casting a strange, dreamy light into the room.
A tree was growing in one corner – straight out of the ground, as far as Em could see – and was heavy with a luscious pink fruit.
And hanging from the roof, in the middle of the room, was an enormous golden perch, large enough for ... well, for Alberto himself to sit on!
“To what do we owe this pleasure, Danna?” Alberto grinned. “Not an everyday occurrence. Not at all.”
“We fell through the roof,” Em tried to explain. “And we ended up here.”
She shrugged. Billy nodded vaguely in agreement, his eyes caught by the glistening gold perch.
“We wondered,” Danna Cat ventured, “if we might all be able to chat with you about this.” She paused, an eyebrow almost raised in Alberto’s direction. “Do you think I should put the kettle on?”
Then without waiting for an answer, she bustled off to the kitchen, being quite familiar with Alberto’s house, his kettle, and the whereabouts of his tastiest tea and biscuits.
“Well, indeed,” Alberto said. “It has been a very long time since we had human visitors. Would you like to sit down?”
Billy looked around and located a purple armchair. Several feathers were nestled into the fabric, and he joined them, glad for a chance to sit down and look about.
Em’s eyes travelled through the windows, out onto the garden.
“Do you mind if I take at look outside?” she asked, and started for a clear glass door she had just spotted beside the tree with pink fruit.
“Em …!” Billy wailed. She obviously had no concern for whether they made it home or not.
“I’ll just be a tick,” she said, not turning around.
Hand on the door knob, round and brassy, she opened the door, stepped into the garden ... and almost forgot who she was.
Cool, green trees surrounded beds of emerald lawn. The beds were divided by narrow, pebble paths and framed with bushes of rose, herbs, and lavender. Each path circled around and led to the bottom of the garden, where there was a softly sighing water fountain. The air was sweet and fragrant, the flower scents carrying to Em on the softest of breezes.
Mesmerised, she walked slowly towards the fountain. A ray of sunlight was falling through the droplets, making them glisten and shine with spectacular, diamond-like brilliance.
Suddenly, a butterfly dashed from the falling water. It fluttered in an energetic circle around the fountain, then crossed the garden, diving and dancing over the lawn and flowers. Moving with such speed, Em could not really see its wings, or tell what colour it was. Instead, it was like watching a diamond beam of light flicker through the air.
Danna appeared with tea for Em.
“Here,” she said, passing her a cup on a saucer laden with t

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