Gazing out at the dark, starry night, Leah shifted her weight to get a closer look. The hard, wooden chair with its stiff back had been the only thing Leah could use. Her soft, pink beanbags were too low to the ground, and her panda shaped chair only made her level with the top of her nightstand. A few minutes earlier, Leah had tried sitting on the nightstand, which was only five inches shorter than her delicate 3’5’’ frame. As she climbed on, the nightstand wobbled and tipped away from the wall. Leah had stumbled away just as the nightstand fell onto the pink beanbag, the crash muffled by the soft, plush fabric.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Leah began walking backwards, away from the fallen nightstand. She tripped over a doll and hit her shin hard against the low frame of her bed. The bruise, which had formed almost instantaneously, had turned a shade of green.
Rubbing the 1 ½ inch long bruise, Leah sighed in anticipation. Tonight was like no other night. At exactly 11:59 P.M., Leah Katherine Trivue would be turning six years old. Forcing herself off the uncomfortable seat, she limped to her bedroom door and opened it. All was quiet. Leah could hear the quiet, steady breathing of her parents, who slept in the room next door, and she could hear the soft, quiet mews of her cat, Eve. Listening one last time, Leah carefully made her way down the stairs. Standing in the doorway to the kitchen, squinting in the darkness, Leah could just barely make out the time. It was 11:55 P.M. Good, she thought. I can read for a while! Limping to the bookshelf, she picked out a random book, hopped outside on her good leg, and flopped down on the hammock that hung from two maple trees.
The cool, September air was damp with mist, and a breeze blew through the trees sending a few leaves floating towards Leah’s face. As she brushed them away from her wavy, golden-honey hair, the hammock swayed and Leah dropped her book. Bending over to pick it up, Leah hung on to a tree branch for balance, slowly inching her way up. With a final heave, Leah dropped the book onto her lap, panting.
Looking down at the book she had chosen, she smiled. Leah’s sixteen-year old sister, Mariah, had made the book last year just for Leah. The black leather cover was fine and unscratched, and its fancy, gilded letters shone with a golden radiance. Leah ran a finger over the title, tracing every curve and every line. She gazed openmouthed, at this wonderful work of art and talent. The cover of the book had a rainbow on it, and Leah spent several minutes looking at it. The colorful stripes of the rainbow sparkled, and the clouds at the end reminded Leah of white snow melting in the sunlight. When she viewed the cover from different angles, Leah saw a rainbow, an hourglass, a unicorn, and a picture of a girl who looked just like Leah. Her favorite picture, of course, was the unicorn, with its sparkling white coat and clear, blue eyes.
Opening the book, Leah read the title page. The book was called The Rainbows of Time. Leah loved the title. It sounded so distant and faraway, yet mysterious and thrilling. Turning another page, Leah read, “This book is written and illustrated just for my little sister, Leah. Happy birthday, Leah! Love forever, Mariah.” She smiled, recalling all the times her older sister had cheered her up when she was sad, read to her when Leah couldn’t read yet, and cleaned Leah’s injuries when she fell off her bike. Seeing the dedication page made Leah very happy, and she began reading.
“Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a girl named Leah. When she read, Leah had the power to change the boundaries between fantasy and reality, fiction and truth. Leah – “Suddenly, she stopped short.
The sky was changing. Everything grew dark and pitch black. Leah tried to run back to her house, but she felt immobilized. She tried to scream for help, but her voice seemed to have stopped working. Leah had struggled to a sitting position, eyes wide with terror, hoping that Mariah could run forward to save her. But Mariah didn’t come. Instead, a beam of rainbow light appeared, shooting across the sky like a rocket. The light set off other light beams, which shot across the sky like fireworks, exploding at random moments. One of the beams exploded one foot above Leah’s head, and she screamed.
Suddenly, all the lights seemed to vanish. For one split second, everything was perfectly still. The next moment, all the light beams exploded simultaneously, filling the sky with whirlwinds of color. Leah started crying and sobbing, not knowing what was happening, but not wanting to know either. Something must be wrong, she thought. Terribly wrong.