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First pages

I watched mom wash the dishes meticulously. She was always very focused on ridding each item free of food spots and stains. I had been watching her clean up around the house, helping when I can but still finding myself sitting in boredom.

“Is there anything else I can help out with mom?”

She shook her head. “No you helped enough today, thanks sweetheart.”

I sighed and looked around the room. The kitchen was the last thing being cleaned up in the house. Mom had already vacuumed and packed things away. Remembering that she was packing things, I looked by the stairs to see that brown box mom had out.

“Can I take the box upstairs for you mom?”

“No that box is going to the attic and your dad doesn’t want you up there.”

“Dad barely goes up there. You go up there more anyways. Why can’t I take it?”

“Aimee, it needs to go in a specific place.”

“Come on mom. The last time I was in the attic was when I was eight, I’m sure I can place a box up there and leave.”

She leaned back from the sink, trying to keep the suds from sliding down her arms in the tub. “Fine. I don’t want you touching anything up there. Try not to damage anything up there. We have some antiques from your grandparents and I don’t want them getting broken.”

I stood up from the chair with a smile. “Yes mom. I will set the box down and leave.”

“Thank you Aimee.”

She gave me a smile but I could sense she was really worried I was going to destroy everything we owned up there. I gave her a reassuring look before walking over to the stairs and picking up the medium sized box. I trekked upstairs and set the box down to reach for the ring on the ceiling. I had to jump before grabbing it and pulling it with the force of my fingers. The hatch opened and released the folded stairs which extended once I pulled them apart.

My feet carried me up the steps once I picked up the box again. I sat it down on some random tub and let out a breath looking at all the random junk we had up here. The place still looked the same with only ten years of stuff that had been added and collecting dust. Along with that there were like a thousand spider webs. I shivered finding a few camping out on their webs in the corners. I did my best not to freak out and began wondering where mom wanted this thing. Everything was unorganized and it was annoying so I decided I could make Mom’s day by organizing things up here.

Tying my blonde locks up in a ponytail, I got started. I shifted things around and pulled others out of the way. I wasn’t sure what Mom wanted and didn’t want so I did the best I could. Ten minutes went by and I had most of everything in an orderly fashion. I was on my knees when I pulled out a silver case.

“Oh this is fancy,” I said tilting my head to inspect it.

The box seemed rustic. The silver reflecting in the dim lighting had a slight hue of aged turquoise about it. Intricate patterns adorned the corners and the handle was black worn leather as if it was used well in the past. The lock was a simple small padlock but no key attached to it. Grandma Beth had a similar case identical to this, so I assumed this must’ve been hers.

I hummed in confusion. “Now how can I open you?”

The box was too heavy to lift so I slid it to the open space on the attic floor before scanning my eyes around for a possible key. I looked at the various sized boxes and calculated what the possibilities of me finding the stupid key would be. I tried the corners of the room first, steering clear of the spider one. The sound of paper and objects clinking together from their years of storage filled the air until I found Grandma’s sewing supplies. Grandma always loved to sew. She was very crafty and said it was one of her favorite past times besides collecting rarities overseas. I shuffled the sewing books, and pieces of fabric around before lifting up a tiny sewing container. I popped it opened and saw the small ring of keys.

I spun the small ring on my finger. “One of you better open this stupid thing.”

I walked back to the silver case and knelt in front of it. The first key didn’t work nor did the second. The third key fit in it and I sucked in a breath. I twisted it and I heard the lock click.

“Yes! Third times the charm,” I cheered.

I finished unlocking the box and then set the keys aside before using both hands to lift the lid. Inside were a bunch of plush looking cloths that my grandfather used to have. My grandma’s perfume wafted into the air and it took me back to when I was a kid and she would walk around smelling like a bouquet of flowers. I moved one of the cloths away to reveal a bunch of small looking glass balls, the size of tangerines. There were two shelves that lifted up and extended over the main part of the box. This was pretty deep and too many glass balls to count. I leaned my head to the side as I picked up one of the small orbs.

The glass was dusty and the inside looked like a murky gray color. In small black letters there was a name. All the little glass balls had cursive names on them. Wiping away some of the dust, I looked at the name in the dark room.

Jade.

Jade? Was there a gem inside? I was really confused. Were these the things she used to collect on her trips—these strange tiny looking snow globes? I went to reach for another when I saw this black blob sprint past the side of the box.

A bunch of gibberish and screams left my lips watching the spider crawl past. In the process of me jumping away and almost tripping over a tub, the ball in my hand dropped and shattered on the floor. I didn’t have enough time to react when a cloud of smoke erupted from it and suddenly a girl about my height was standing in front of me. I continued screaming from the floor as she looked around and patted herself down.

“Aimee! Is everything alright up there?”

“Mom, I’m sorry! I dropped this ball thing and now there is a girl standing in front of me!”

“Are you kidding me?” she said aggravated.

The girl took a nervous step towards me and I screamed again. I knocked down another box in the process and heard my mother start climbing up the stairs.

“What is scaring you so much?”

Still standing on the ladder she looked from me practically hyperventilating to the girl across from me. Mom and her locked gazes and the girl started shaking her head and mumbling nervously. My mother then saw the opened case and cursed incoherently under her breath.

“I want you to get downstairs this instant and leave her up here.”

“What? You want me to leave her!?”

My mom had an angry expression that meant I was going to be dead later if not now. “Downstairs. Five minutes.”

With that she disappeared and I turned my attention back to the girl who was crouching by a box of my dad’s sports trophies. I stood up slowly and let the questions just roll out of my mouth.

“Who are you? Why did you appear from that ball? Where did you come from? How did you-“

“Is she here?” She interrupted.

“Is who here?”

“Elizabeth.”

“Elizabeth?” My brain went searching for that name. “Elizabeth Carlson? As in my grandmother? Grandma Beth?”

Her erratic breathing signaled that she was close to falling into a panic attack unless it was currently happening. I contemplated comforting her but she didn’t appear to want me by her. I wasn’t sure how to console her since I was still thinking she could kill me as well.

“If it helps any, my grandma passed away three years ago.” I watched her shoulders ease some at the news. “Is your name Jade?”

“Yes. How did you know that?”

“It was written on that ball you were in. Speaking of which, how did you get in there and how do you know my grandma?”

“Aimee Lynette! I said get down here. NOW!”

We both jumped at the sharpness of her voice. I took in her appearance and something tugged at my mind. Why did she look familiar to me? I moved to the ladder and paused.

“I’m sorry to leave you here alone but if I don’t see my mom she will kill me and I don’t know what she wants with you. You are probably safer up here anyways. Please don’t leave.”

I said that last part more to myself hoping she wouldn’t leave and hurt us all. I climbed down the ladder and pushed the opening up to close the hatch. I began wondering how my mom was planning on killing her only daughter as I descended the steps and met her in the living room. A hand was on her hip and the other tightly gripping her hair. She wasn’t facing me but facing the pictures of my grandparents on the shelf on the wall.

“Mom what are we going to do with the girl in the attic?” I said immediately.

She turned around slowly. “What are we going to do with her? What am I going to do with you! What were you thinking about snooping through the stuff upstairs? I told you not to break anything and what do you do? Break the one thing I was hoping you wouldn’t find. This is why I kept you away from the attic all these years. How did you find that case? Why were you messing around up there anyways?”

I lifted my eyebrows in surprise. “I wanted to show you how organized I could get it so you didn’t have a lot of work to do. What do you mean hoping I wouldn’t find that box? You knew those things carried people inside them?”

We both didn’t speak but our stares were speaking a ton of emotions. Mom seemed like she wanted to continue to discipline me but didn’t want to speak to me anymore. I was appalled. Those things had people inside and I am just now learning this? Why was Jade in that ball in the first place?

She let out a tense breath, her hands finding her hair again. “Of course I knew. I grew up watching mom leave and come home with a new little snow globe each time. That’s what I thought they were for a while until she showed me. Her ‘prized possessions’ as she called them.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because Aimee, I didn’t want you growing up being a Collector like your grandmother and I. I stopped after I realized I didn’t want to risk your life at such a young age.”

It made sense as to why she took so many business trips. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing though. This all seemed like some sick joke but with Jade as physical proof upstairs reminded me this was all in fact happening.

“You did this too?” I said semi-quietly.

Mom sighed and I took a step back. I was flabbergasted at this new family secret. I knew the world was unique with sorcery being reinvented and schools starting to incorporate the history of magic more and more each year. I never knew collecting humans in glass balls was a common thing though. Mom pulled out her phone and gripped it tightly.

“I have to call someone, Aimee please check on our new guest and make sure she doesn’t have too much era shock.”

“Era shock?”

“Go check on her please.”

I closed my mouth holding a response and went back up to the attic. When I got up there, Jade was kneeling by the case I left open. She turned around and quickly scooted away from it. I finished climbing up and stepped over the mess I made.

“I’m sorry for everything. We are trying to figure it out. Um…how are you doing?”

Jade just looked at me skeptically. I moved towards her and she took a step back. “I won’t hurt you I promise. I am just trying to understand what’s happening right now. Do you want to go downstairs and talk?”

Her eyes were reading me for a moment before she nodded. “Can I finish looking inside the case first please?”

“Why?”

“I could know someone else.”

Know someone else? Was her family stuck in a ball or her even sillier her dog? I shook my head and moved away, watching as her dress skirted across the surface of the boxes around us. She sank down and spun the ring on her finger a few times before lifting a couple up and reading them silently. She looked to by my age or younger, it was hard to tell. Her dark brown hair seemed black with the dim light up here. As she did that, I began wondering about my grandma and her…collections. Mom said grandma was an antique collector. She has always been traveling when she was a toddler. She said grandma never took her on those trips but would introduce her to the business when she was older. Now I understand why.

“Oh my word,” Jade said quietly. “Nettie.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Nettie?”

“My best friend Raenetta. We grew up together and we lost contact a year before Elizabeth and I met.”

Jade stood up and raised her arm with the ball in hand. I quickly grabbed her arm and looked at her. “What are you doing!?”

“I’m setting her free!”

“You can’t do that!”

“I knew it! You work with Elizabeth don’t you? You must’ve set me free on accident or you did it on purpose to question me like she did!”

“What are you going on about? I dropped your ball on accident thanks to a stupid bug. Look I don’t know what my grandma did to you or why, but setting all these people free isn’t going to help them, you or me.”

Jade’s brown eyes got glossy and she bit her lip. I held my stare and slowly lowered her arm.

“I may not understand anything right now and I’m as confused as you, but maybe I could help you. Can we please go downstairs and talk this out before more things are broken up here?”

Jade seemed conflicted and I could see anxiety seeping through her. She was scared and she had a right to be. Being stuck in some thing for who knows how long and meeting a stranger in an attic is definitely not how your day should be going. She shook her head slowly.

“I’m sorry.”

She pushed me back and threw the ball down, letting more smoke fill the room and another girl appeared between us. I caught myself on the wall and stood up watching the girl whip her head around in confusion and terror. She started yelling before Jade grabbed her shoulders to calm her down.

“Nettie it’s me! It’s me Jade.”

The girl was still panicked but her eyes never left Jade’s. A faint smile hit her lips. “Jade?”

She started crying and leaned upon Jade who gave me a saddened look. Now I have to deal with two strangers up here in my attic. My hands covered my face and held it.

“Oh no no no, Mom is going to kill me for sure now.”

The girl leaned from Jade and then turned to me. “Elizabeth. Where is she? Is she a Collector like Elizabeth?”

“No Nettie. She set me free and Elizabeth is gone.” Jade said softly.

“She set you free? So she won’t put us back?” Nettie asked.

Jade looked at me as she held her friend’s hands. “No she won’t. She’s more of a Releaser I think.”

The girls turned to me with slight hope in their eyes. Nettie still shaken up looked at me questioningly and Jade had the most hopeful stare. A Releaser? A Collector? What exactly did my grandmother do? I didn’t want anything to do with whatever they were thinking. I was still worried about what my mom was going to do with me and them. Thinking of Mom, I leaned down the hatch hesitantly so she could hear me. We aren’t sure what to do with Jade, how are we going to handle her friend now?

“Hey Mom? We now have an additional problem to address.”

When I didn’t hear a response I looked at the two girls whispering to each other. I told them to stay up here and that I would come back. As I walked down the stairs to the living room, I heard her still talking on the phone but it wasn’t how she was sounding that concerned me. I crept slower and listened carefully to who she was speaking too.

“She is still in the attic and Aimee is watching her. I need you to bring me another set of the glass balls Leo.” She paused. “Yes I understand what that means but I can’t have her running around here. She knows what mom used to do and there is no need for me to interrogate her for anything so I need to put her back. No, Aimee won’t need to worry about Jade. Last she saw her she was a little girl so she will be fine not seeing her again. Please just get over here with them soon.”

I’ve seen Jade before? I tried thinking of when and where but hearing Mom pace towards me, stopped my thoughts for the moment. I tip toed up the edges of the stairs as fast as I could and opened up the hatch again. The girls jumped and turned towards me waving at them.

“Come on. We got to leave.”

“Why? Where will you take us?” Nettie said defensively.

“My mom said something about putting you guys back in the ball and even though I have no idea what I will do with you two, hiding you away is better than watching you both go inside those things.”

Nettie didn’t look too thrilled by this idea either. “Why do you care what happens to us?”

“Look, I know you don’t trust me and that’s fine, because I don’t trust you either. You can decide to live life in that orb again or you can follow me and I can attempt to get you both away from here safely.”

Jade grabbed Nettie’s shoulder. “Let’s just follow her for now. I am worried too but I don’t want to go back inside that thing.”

Nettie huffed and looked between us both but nodded and stayed close to Jade. I stood waiting at the bottom of the ladder, making sure they wouldn’t fall. Once they both were down, I whispered for them to stay up there and wait on my signal to go to the door. I walked down the stairs and still heard my mother on the phone. The only difference was she was in the kitchen, so the living room would be clear to walk past. I waved the girls down and they came noisily down the stairs.

“Aimee?”

I swore under my breath but shooed Jade and Nettie to the door. “Yes?”

“Why are you running down the stairs?”

“Just to ugh, let you know Jade is still fine in the attic.”

“I’ll come up and check on her in a second once I am off the phone with your uncle.”

“Okay…” I said a little more nervously. “Go!”

I hurried them through the door right as Mom came around the corner. She didn’t look too pleased.

“Open the doors to the black car right there!” I yelled to them.

“Aimee Lynette! What are you doing!?” My mom hissed as she threw open the door.

“Mom, I’m-I’m sorry but you can’t put them back into those things!”

I could feel the anger radiating off of her. The sound of doors closing indicated they were in my car and I slowly backed away. My mother wasn’t having it.

“You let another girl out? You get them back inside this house, NOW.”

“So you and Uncle Leo can trap them for the rest of their lives? Yeah, I heard part of the conversation on the phone. Mom this is inhumane.”

“What is wrong with you? Aimee these girls need to stay in the house. You don’t know what you’re doing and I swear if you don’t get those girls back in this house-“

“What? You are going to put me into an orb just like them?” I said lowly.

Mom pursed her lips and we stood watching each other, fire in both of our eyes. I rarely fought with my mom. This was out of character for me but literally two girls lives are at stake. Mom was good for helping others but I don’t see how kidnapping these girls will help them.

Mom just sighed and pinched her nose. “Aimee…please just get them back in the house and listen to me.”

I looked back to the girls who were peering out the window terrified. I turned towards Mom and took a step back. “No, I’m sorry mom.”

“If you leave, I’m calling the cops and saying my car is stolen.”

“Are you serious!?”

“Yes Aimee, I am serious! This isn’t some game! We are dealing with actual lives here!”

“Lives that you are stealing from them!”

I didn’t know what else to say so I ran to the car and opened the door. She moved closer and I stopped and stared at her.

“I will call the cops on you.”

“Go ahead.”

I sat down and started the car, quickly leaving the driveway. I saw Mom stand there before running back inside. There wasn’t much time if she really was going to call the cops. The two girls sat in the back quietly just watching. They were looking out the window in awe and utter confusion. I felt bad for them but I was more concerned about where the hell I was going.

The radio was playing some tune by Coldplay but I couldn’t focus. I was worried about taking main streets and getting pulled over and arrested. My grip tightened and retightened as I flexed my hands, letting my thoughts drive my actions. I was surprised and not surprised that Mom would get me in trouble to prove a point. I just didn’t understand why she was freaking out about putting these two back into those balls. What did the females in the family do?

I paused at a stoplight and held my breath scanning the area and looking into the mirror. I was trying to focus on the song but I could also hear tiny whispers from the girls. Looking in the mirror, I saw they were huddled next to each other, pointing at various buildings that were on the main street in town.

“Are you guys…um okay?”

Nettie still had distrust in her eyes and kept her lips shut. Jade nodded from them both and stroked her arm. I let out a sigh. It’s not like I wanted to be dealing with two girls from who knows where and apparently who knows when. I continued driving, still unsure of where to go and decided to go to a trail I liked hiking on my own. I couldn’t go to friend’s houses but maybe they could come to me. At the next stop light, I struggled pulling my phone from my back pocket and called my best friend.

“Hey!”

“Rose, I need you to go to the trail I go to.”

“Why? Is this about whatever your mom called freaking out about?”

“Did she call you?” I asked with a frown.

“She will as soon as we hang up.”

“How do you—oh wait never mind. Can you meet me please it’s an emergency.”

“Yeah, I will be there in like ten minutes. What should I say to your mom?”

“Anything works. Say you are with other friends?”

“Okay well I will let you go but I will see you soon. I’m interested in what’s going on now.”

Oh yes you will be interested, I thought. “Alright bye.”

Rose was a Seer and could look briefly into certain moments in the future. I always forget she is. She doesn’t have too many future sightings around me but when they happen, they normally involve her favorite celebrities or really stupid stuff we get into. Jade leaned forward with a complexed face. “What did you just do?”

“I called my friend.”

“How? With a strange box?”

I guess she doesn’t have cell phones yet. Where are they from? “I am hoping she will help us.”

“Can we trust her?”

“Jade can we trust anyone? We don’t even know too much about her,” Nettie cut in.

Jade didn’t respond but I was actually agreeing with Nettie as I parked the car. “Just so you know, I still don’t trust you two, even if my grandma apparently trapped you for who knows how long.”

“Will your friend hurt us?”

“No no, she can barely hurt me when I get on her nerves. She is skilled in magic better than what I know.”

Both girls stared. I could see a buffering symbol above their heads. Nettie spoke first.

“Magic has been outlawed for two years now…”

I paused for a moment. “I don’t know when you are from but magic has been reinstated since 2014. Colleges and universities were the first to start the actual practice of it first. High school and elementary schools have incorporated the textbook versions of everything. Technically it is illegal for anyone under 21 to practice magic but Rosalie and I are college grads and legal. I even have an ID to prove it if you want to see it.”

“What about the war? Did they catch the Dealers who started it all?” Jade asked next.

I had to wrack my brain to facts I haven’t learned since sophomore year. Dealers…they were people involved with black magic on the Dark Market. Everything they did was inhumane and created a rift in society. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if Grandma Beth was one. The girls were waiting on an answer and I definitely got lost in my thoughts.

“Sorry I was trying to remember. Ugh, the war ended in 1972. The FBI and SIA cracked down on a chain of potions that were being involved with some political scams. That led to the discovery of much more.”

“The SIA?”

“Sorcery Intelligence Agency. They were created in 1965. The country was relieved yet still worried more of the Dealers were lurking around trying to ruin lives. It took a lot of debate before they brought it back officially.”

They stayed silent for a moment and I noticed Jade spinning her ring with her thumb. Nettie looked out the window perplexed. I took this opportunity to ask them questions.

“Do you remember the day you guys got…taken?” Nettie turned to me, eyes filled with pain. Jade looked in her lap. “That’s okay you don’t have to answer. What was the last year you remember?”

“Nettie went missing in April of 1953. The day Elizabeth took me was a Thursday. I think it was August but 1954.”

I was turned toward them still forgetting we could get out of the car. “You guys have been in there for 63 years?”

My voice was quiet and pressure grew against my chest. 63 years. They looked like they were my age or maybe a little younger but I just couldn’t tell. Their families could still be looking for them, that is, if they are still alive. I shook that eerie feeling from me and glanced back at the girls. Tears appeared or were already falling.

“We’ve been gone for 63—what year is it now?” Nettie asked.

I didn’t want to answer. “2017.”

A choked cry left her lips and she leaned into Jade who tucked her head into Nettie’s shoulder in return. I wanted to cry with them almost. They were robbed from a long life all because of my grandma being a Collector or whatever. A tap on my window made me jump. Rose waved slowly, trailing her eyes from me to the two in the back. I got out of the car and closed the door, rubbing my face.

“Aimee what’s going on? Your mom said if I saw you I had to tell her. Are you running away? Are you kidnapping people?”

“No, well yes, it’s complicated.”

“Who are they?”

I sighed. Rose looked at me expectantly but patiently. “That’s Jade and Nettie. I quite literally met them in my attic after the glass balls they were in shattered.”

Rose opened her mouth then closed it. “Why don’t we walk and you tell me everything. If you are on the run, sitting in the parking lot is going to look suspicious.”

I nodded and opened the door Jade was seated by. “Come on guys, we are going to walk this trail and not get caught.”

“Have they found us?”

“No, we just don’t want to look obvious and hiding is my plan.”

Nettie followed behind Jade and those two followed us. We began hiking and I told Rose everything. She would jump in with her usual reactions and facial expressions as I explained Jade appearing and then Nettie. Rose even questioned them here and there, but like me, they barely responded to her. Rose was calm but a spitfire at times. Nettie seemed a little more apprehensive the more Rose was here.

I reached a lookout point with some rocks and we sat down. Rose grabbed her backpack and pulled out Sorcery Roles and Purposes. I tilted my head at her.

“What? I’ve been going over textbooks still and found this one.”

“Didn’t we get that sophomore year?”

“Yeah and it’s helpful. You said your grandma was a Collector?”

“Yep whatever that means.”

I looked over to the girls and they were silent. They didn’t want to delve into anything related to my grandmother right now or ever. Rose flipped through the pages quickly and plopped her finger down.

“Did you find it?”

She didn’t answer but kept reading. Whatever it was, it didn’t look good.

“Aimee, a Collector is a person who trades people or souls for magical knowledge or expertise.”

I blinked at her. Rose looked up to me before reading more. “Anyone who is a Collector, deals in the multi-realm system, hopping place to place which can involve any part of the time line to collect someone for a deal. Sometimes this magic is done with the law and other times on the Dark Market. Not to be confused with a Dealer, a Collector can work with Dealers if need be but prefer finding their own work and gain to various sources.”

Rose finished and I had more questions line up inside my head. I could feel a headache press against my forehead. Personal profit is what my grandma got involved with. Why? What was worth it to get so caught up in a system like that? Thinking of my mom dabbling in it made me feel ill and angry all over again. She definitely wasn’t getting near these two as long as possible but how was I to help them? All these thoughts were clouding in my brain but one word stuck out: Releaser.

“Wait. What is a Releaser?”

Rose looked at me. “What?”

“Jade mentioned that I could be a Releaser person back at the house.”

“I can look it up.”

“It is what their name is,” Jade started. “Those who are collected by the Collectors can be released by a Releaser. Though most seem to work in the Dark Market, there are few that choose to help others get back home.”

Rose and I shared a look as she continued. “A Releaser has more capabilities they can access than a Collector which is why Collectors only steal and deliver them. Some Collectors can temporarily release what or who is trapped but only for interrogation. I honestly thought they were wiped out once the country shut down magic. I was wrong once Elizabeth appeared.”

“Was she a Releaser too?”

“No, she can just manipulate. I thought every magic person was gone.”

All of this information was weighing on me and I could feel it physically. I was tired from emotions and all of this new knowledge. Jade and Nettie looked exhausted but still apprehensive.

“Maybe we should-“

“Hold on,” Rose cut in. She held a hand on my forearm and the other sprawled across her face. “You have to go. The cops are here not only because of your car but your phone.”

I swore as I pulled my phone out. I should’ve turned it off. Jade and Nettie were standing, ready to walk off and Rose was still in her vision state.

“They haven’t arrived yet but soon,” she came to and watched the three of us. “Do you remember the old elementary school?”

“Yeah?”

“Meet me there. I doubt they will look there as a place for you to run off too.”

“Is school in session over there?” I asked.

“No the building has been closed for a long time remember? Take the textbook with you and head that direction. I know it will take a while but this trail should take you to Washington St. and you will know where you are then.”

“What will you do?”

“I will act like I just found your car. I’m not sure but go now before they come.”

My heart seemed to be playing a new drum set as it picked up speed in my chest. Rose handed me the book and her iPod. Reminding me to turn my phone off, she told me to share our location once we were there or if things went awry. Not like they were already crazy.

“Follow me guys,” I said.

Jade and Nettie followed me as I watched Rose jog back down the trail. The unfortunate part of this hike was that it was hilly and full of gravel. Both girls had on dresses that hung above their knees. Jade was wearing inch heeled pumps and Nettie maybe two inches. I wasn’t sure how they were feeling in their attire. I figured badly since I was in Vans and jeans and I was a good five feet ahead of them.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Hi! My name is Ashlie and I am from Denver, Colorado! I graduated in December 2017 with my Bachelors in Anthropology and Minor in Creative Writing. I am currently going to graduate school at Western Illinois. I love soccer, music, I am teaching myself bass guitar, and drawing when I can. I hope to travel out of the country one day but visiting states I haven't been too is perfect for me. I love harassing my dad with bad jokes and spending time with my family and friends when I am able! :)

Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
Once Upon A Time. I love that series and the magical elements in that show. I had a thought of creating a magical world modern day but based in my home state. I never see Colorado in books and want to change that. The main character is based off my best friend of 16 years.
Q. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
A.
Creating the balance of setting and character development. I wanted the characters to be related to but also build the hometown they are in. I spent more time building the world around them so I was struggling with world building magic into present day life.
Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
A.
As I was writing this book, an idea for the grandmother in the story came to mind. I have this grand idea of a beautiful backstory for her as a prequel and I am excited to write that out. The books to follow will pick off where the end of this story leaves off!

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