I swung my leg over the last rung of the rope ladder and pulled myself, panting, into our tree house. My two best friends, Hailey and Zoe, were already inside. As the oldest, it was customary for me to go last. I sat down cross-legged in the middle of the floor.
“BlackNight killed more fairies yesterday,” I announced, in a very fake forlorn voice.
“Well we have to do something!” Hailey replied. “We are the queens, after all.” True. We were the queens of Fairyland, and BlackNight was the terrible enemy who killed everyone. Of course it wasn't real. We insisted it was, but knew it was only a silly game.
“Come on!” Zoe dropped out the door onto the ladder.
“Really?” I said exasperatedly. “I just climbed all the way up here for nothing?”
Hailey laughed, pushing me away and following Zoe down the ladder. I waited for Hailey to get down, then swung my legs around the ropes and slid to the ground. I stood up and looked across the uncut grass to the back door. Zoe and Hailey weren't there. Seriously?
I skirted the edge of the yard, checking all the bushes that surrounded our property. Both cars were locked. The patio was deserted. I glanced back towards the tree house. I saw a flash of hot pink disappear into it. I rolled my eyes. I ran back across the yard, up the ladder, and onto a neighboring branch. I climbed up four more branches, then reached the tree house roof, where Zoe was waiting.
“You know we really aren't supposed to be up here,” I informed Zoe. I ducked as Hailey dropped from a limb directly above my head.
Hailey shrugged. “So?”
Zoe rolled her eyes and said, in a very good imitation of my voice, “Because, if we get caught, we'll all be in big trouble and then you'll have to go home! If you go home, BlackNight will kill us all!” She laughed.
“Zoe, you are the only person who believes this is just a game! I'm telling you, this is real!” I cried.
Zoe only smiled. “You would think that, Alyssa, but-”
“Let's get off here before anyone, BlackNight or otherwise, finds us,” Hailey interrupted.
We climbed down not a moment too soon. Seconds later, my mother opened the back door and yelled to us.
“Zoe! Time for me to take you home!” Mom shouted towards the tree house.
“Gotcha!” Zoe called back.
The three of us scrambled down the ladder, said our good-byes, and then took our separate ways.
This was the way HAZ club meetings always ended. HAZ stood for Hailey-Alyssa-Zoe club. We were the only members so far, as well as the founders. We dedicated our whole lives to destroying our evil nemesis, BlackNight. We were the fairy queens.
That night at dinner we had spaghetti. Hailey and I slurped ours into our mouths until Mom told us to stop.
“You girls need a bath,” Mom commented.
I frowned. I didn't want to bathe tonight. Still, I went upstairs to the bathroom and ran water in the tub.
Ten minutes later I trudged down the hall to my room, wrapped in a towel. I changed into my pajamas and climbed up to my bed. Hailey was already in her bed, the lower bunk. I shut my eyes and tried to fall asleep. No matter how many times I moved to the other side of the bed or rolled over, I couldn't fall asleep. Something kept nagging in the back of my mind, telling me to stay awake.
I glanced up at the clock. It read nine-thirty. I slid out from under the covers and lay on top of them instead. The room was chilly. I yawned, shivered, and tucked myself back underneath the blankets. That was enough. My eyes closed and I finally fell asleep.