What is real, and what is not? What is magic, anyway? The shiny new coin plucked from behind your ear? The rabbit in the top hat? One of my guides (yes, I do have guides!) calls it “5th dimension science.” Science fiction is actually an attempt to address this question. But is it real?
For Alyssa and her friends, magic is definitely real and it surrounds us, all day, every day. We have only to be willing to see it. Starfriends, Book II of The Alyssa Chronicles, explores the nature of reality, the existence of magic, and the true meaning of love through Alyssa’s experience with an unusual visitor to our planet. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter:
Alyssa leaned back against the still-warm sand of the Earth Hole and looked up through the juniper’s scraggly branches. The first star winked back at her, brilliant in a pale opal evening sky. A little breeze skimmed along the surface of the arroyo, lifting damp hair off her forehead. Over to her right, Rosie sighed, a huge sigh that filled the St. Bernard’s sides like a bellows and collapsed them again into a giant shaggy dog rug.
“Okay, Rosie. I know you’re bored. C’mon—let’s go home.” The girl pushed herself up on one elbow and glanced briefly back up the arroyo towards the Sister Tree and then down towards the road.
Along the right bank, near a large rusted piece of metal, something, glowing faintly blue-green, moved ever so slightly. Alyssa shook her head and scrunched her eyes tightly shut, then opened them. The bluish glow was still there—she hadn’t imagined it. She picked up a pebble and tossed it at the metal. Again the hint of movement—almost imperceptible—the barest rearrangement of air molecules.
“What the—?” She looked at Rosie, who had risen to a half-crouch and was gazing intently at the glow. Rosie glanced at her quickly and then back at the glow, a low growl rumbling deep in her belly.
It wasn’t a flashlight—Alyssa was sure of that. The light was too vague, too diffused—kind of like the glow from a TV screen—so there probably wasn’t a person hiding in the bushes on the bank. Besides, if there were, Rosie would be barking. But if it wasn’t human, what was it?
Alyssa got to her knees, moving slowly and as quietly as possible. Again she saw a flash of movement—almost like something changing shape, the way things do in the movies for special effect. But from what and to what she couldn’t tell—it was too fast. Silently she summoned Rosie, signaling with her hand. The dog crept forward on her belly until her nose was almost touching Alyssa’s head where it cleared the top of the Earth Hole. Together the girl and the dog watched quietly while the twilight deepened around them and the phosphorescent glow grew brighter. Suddenly Alyssa saw it clearly—a human form—shimmering in the light. Rosie growled again, and the little hairs on the nape of Alyssa’s neck stood on end. The creature froze, facing them across an abyss of darkening sand.
“W-who is it?” Alyssa demanded, her voice quavering.
“It is I—Thar,” came the answer. The creature took a tentative step towards them and stopped. It was about five feet tall, just Alyssa’s height, and naked, with the hairless and flat-chested body of a young girl. Alyssa stood up slowly. So did Rosie, drawing back her lips to reveal two rows of gleaming white daggers.
“Please—I cannot hurt you,” the creature said softly. “Ask the animal to sit.”
“Rosie, down,” Alyssa commanded. The dog sank to her belly, eyes riveted on the glowing figure. Alyssa took a step toward it. “Are you real?” she whispered.
“Of course I am. As real as you are. But different.” Thar, if that was the thing’s name, took another step towards Alyssa. Each of them reached out a hand and the space between the two hands narrowed, glimmering.