Welcome to my stop on the Earth Day Blog Tour. Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule!
Today, I’m going to share an excerpt from the book, Eliza’s Forever Trees.
This is a Middle Grade Fantasy with Contemporary Issues, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading the excerpt.
Excerpt from Eliza’s Forever Trees
By Stephanie Lisa Tara
Where Had Mother Gone?
So cold . . . so cold . . . ,” whispered Eliza as northern California fog colored the morning gray. It swirled in from the sea, spilling, coating, and ﬁlling things up. It rolled and unrolled itself cleverly, sneaking under, through, and around, as was its way. Over the small house it tumbled like a blanket, though this blanket brought ice, not warmth.
The little girl shivered and tried to shake off the dampness. Her heart ﬂuttered in its wrong-way beat, and the terrible feeling came again — the one that made Eliza’s little head spin and her small hands go very cold. Her skin bunched up in bumps, and a loud buzzing noise rang in her ears.
She did the only thing she could, the thing that she always did: she curled into a ball on the ﬂoor. Arms wrapped tightly around her chest, she squeezed and squeezed, trying to squeeze her stubborn heart into the right-way beat once more. After a time, it worked.
Eliza looked around the cold, dim room. This was Grandfather’s house, not Mother’s. Mother’s home was right next door, yet somehow worlds away.
It took a lot of love for a house to become a home, and it was not as if the love in Mother’s home could jump next door to Grandfather’s house. Home had been like Mother: happy, warm, and magical — a lot like a storybook, in fact.
The ten-year-old let out a shallow, paper-thin sigh. In her mind’s eye she could see Mother. It hadn’t been that long since she’d seen her face. There she was, as plain as day, holding a storybook, with her long ﬂowing hair and long ﬂowing skirts. And there at her feet was a little girl. And there above them were the grand redwood trees forming their magniﬁcent, towering, secret cathedral.
Suddenly Mother jumped to her feet and ran to one of the trees, a three-hundred-foot-tall redwood.
“Forever tree! Forever tree!” she cried, smiling.
She swept the skinny girl up into her arms. The child’s pale skin shimmered in the golden forest light. “Forever trees, forever trees,” they sang, spinning in circles.
The memory melted into the fog, and Eliza felt very tired. The question came again to her. It appeared out of the gray, out of the damp, out of the cold corners of this new house. The question whispered — it always did — the kind of whisper that sounded very loud indeed:
Where had Mother gone?
Shadows appeared and disappeared in Eliza’s mind. Still, she couldn’t remember. She simply could not remember anything after that last story in the forest. For some reason, she wasn’t terribly worried. She was a little worried, for sure, but not terribly worried, because for some reason, a strange calm held the shadows and the question. It held Eliza, too.
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