[Note: Milo and Meg, my new book featuring a 13 and 12 year-old brother and sister, will be published in May, 2020. You can check out the two previous samples here at posts #'s 71 and 73.]
Milo and Meg stood on the freshly painted grass outside Nanette's hut. They gazed across the long valley that stretched out in front of them; the mountains sloping up on each side, the thick forest of trees at the far end of the valley.
Most of the trees and mountain-sides were painted with watercolors, but a few small areas were still black and white, pencil drawings, like Milo and Meg themselves, seemingly unfinished, but still here. They walked on the grass as if it were a solid world.
Behind them Nanette and Wolf stood together in the doorway of their hut, waving goodbye.
Meg waved back and together Milo and Meg began walking.
"Be careful," Nanette shouted. "If you smell anything wretched or foul, it's one of them Groots. Take cover."
"We'll be careful," Meg said. Then, quietly, to Milo, she said, "Where are the Groots, anyway? Why don't we see any?"
"Good question," Milo said.
"That's all you have to say? 'Good question'?"
"Hey, what else do you want?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe some kind of an actual answer."
They tried to walk as quietly as possible, but the steady 'scrunch scrunch' of their feet on the ground sounded louder than it ever had before.
This was different than their walks home from school, where they knew every detail without having to look. Everything here was new, and...oddly...changing.
"Was that tree there before?" Meg asked, pointing at a medium height scraggly, leafy tree.
Milo stopped and looked at it. Then he turned back behind them and gasped. Meg turned to see what made him gasp, but all she saw was the valley they had been walking through. "What is it?" she asked.
Milo blinked and rubbed his eyes.
"It was the weirdest thing." He blinked a couple more times and shook his head. "When I first turned around, nothing was there."
"It was blank, like...like it was blank white paper. but then suddenly it was all there again."
Meg look back at the valley behind them. It was beautiful. the greens of the trees were deep greens. There were yellows and oranges that seemed to jump off the page. She had to remind herself that this was not a normal world, that this beauty - this beauty that she was walking through, was a drawing, and an unfinished watercolor painting.
She turned back to her brother and said, "This is just a little bit strange."
"Yeah, I think."
"Wait a minute. What..." Milo was looking intently at something near the ground.
"Hm?" Meg followed his gaze. "What the - "
Together they bent down close to the ground. There, next to a tree root, barely readable, almost on the ground, but actually floating just above the ground, were letters, letters that spelled the word, "Phoebe."