Prelude

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"Honey, I think it's time we should talk." The thin young woman took the hand of her small child and sat her down on the plush sofa of the dusty room.

"Yes, mommy?" The child peered up at her mother with wide, innocent eyes.

"Darling, you know that I love you very much and I would never lie to you."

The girl nodded.

"Your teacher told me that you got very upset today when someone told you something. Can you tell me what happened?"

An ineffable look crossed the child's face and she turned away from her mother, looking out the window at the night sky. "Bobby said magic wasn't read," the timid voice said. "He told me there was no such thing as fairies. I told him there was so, and he told me I was being silly." She turned and looked at her mother. "Mommy, tell him he's not right." Her voice broke and giant tears welled up in her eyes.

Her mother pulled her close. "Honey, I don't want to be the one to tell you this, but Bobby is right. Magic is real, but only in books, and in your imagination."

"NO!"

The girl rushed out the back door and fell to her knees in the long grass wet with dew. There was a tiny breeze, enough to chill the air. She looked up at the sky that was barely lit by the crescent moon. She clenched her hands tightly and listened to her mother far behind her, sighing.

The girl whispered to the stars, "I know Mommy never lies to me. But somehow, somewhere, there is a world with magic and fairies and elves and dwarves. And I'll find it. I gotta find it. And till I do, I'm always gonna believe. I really am."

And though her pale green eyes were filled with tears, she smiled, winked, and made a wish with all her heart on all of the stars in the sky. And the star that shined the brightest that night winked back.

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