Elizabeth lay in her bed, tucked between layers of soft cotton. Her eyes were closed, but her mind was wide awake, brainstorming.
After about twenty minutes, her eyes popped open.
“Amelia,” she said. “Are you awake yet? Amelia?”
Elizabeth threw back her covers and swung her feet around, bringing them down on the cold, stone floor. Quickly, she tiptoed across the room to her sister’s bed.
“Amelia, I’ve come up with the perfect plan,” she said. But Amelia’s bed was empty. “Amelia?”
Her eyes were drawn to the open balcony doors where her sister stood, silhouetted by the moonlight. She was wearing a long, elaborate dress that was blowing in the wind.
Elizabeth gasped and ran, shivering, to the balcony. “Amelia!”
“Lizzie!” Amelia squealed and spun around. “I thought you’d never wake up! How do you like my dress?”
“Amelia Clark, what have you done?” Elizabeth said, looking beyond Amelia. A cute little town lay sleeping under the stars, and the river that ran off into the night flashed a thousand little snapshots of the moon.
“I know I should have stayed in my pajamas and slept. But I just couldn’t. It was all too exciting. I had to try on the dresses. This one is my favorite. What do you think?”
Elizabeth whirled back toward the bedroom. “No,” she moaned, tracing the balcony doors’ frame to where it met the side of the castle.
“What’s wrong?” Amelia said. “You don’t like my dress, do you?”
Elizabeth looked back at Amelia. “Please tell me you didn’t wish for us to be princesses.”
“I thought you would like it. It was our favorite game when we were little.”
“We had one wish, Amelia. Just one,” Elizabeth said, looking back out at the kingdom before them despairingly.
“You don’t like it?” Amelia said.
“We could have gone back in time, Amelia. Could have seen what really happened in all those ancient civilizations. We could have written a book about it and made lots of money. But now . . . I don’t even think we are real princesses, are we? This kingdom looks suspiciously Disney.”
“It’s not Disney,” Amelia said defensively. “It’s fairytale.”
“You just couldn’t wait till morning, could you?”
“No,” Amelia said, guilty. “But you know what? I bet you’ll be able to write a really awesome fairy tale after this!”
“I don’t write fairy tales.”
“But . . .”
Suddenly, the world grew very dark and cold. A flash of lightning illuminated a tall woman dressed in a flowing black gown moving toward them. She held a glowing, green staff in her hand. Her skin was pale and cracking, and her lips were blood red.
Amelia’s eyes grew wide.
“There’s your villain,” Elizabeth whispered. “Didn’t think about that, did you?”
“Good morning, ladies,” the woman said. “May I have a word?”