Aunt Trina and Uncle Dale don’t know where to look. They aren’t as good at hide and seek as I am. They found my sister, Laurie, right away. She’s only five. I am going to be eight on my birthday.
My aunt and uncle have a pretty house in the country, by a lake. They have a big yard in front and a garden. Forest goes up the mountains in back.
“Come out, Kelli!” calls Aunt Trina. “You win, I can’t find you.”
I laugh and start climbing down from the oak tree. “You never remember to look up, Auntie.”
Uncle Dale has Laurie on his shoulders. “Let’s eat lunch,” he says, “and then we can go float on the lake for a while.”
“Yay!” I yell. When I jump down to the ground I see something shiny in the leaves. I pick it up. It’s small and heavy.
“Look at what I found!” I hold it up for Aunt Trina.
She takes it and turns it over in her hand. “Look at this, Dale.”
“That’s unusual, where was it?”
I show him the place I found it.
“Here you are, honey, finders, keepers,” says Aunt Trina.
I smile when she hands it to me. It’s a golden acorn shape and the top has sparkling little crystals in the pattern of an acorn’s cap.
“Maybe we can make it into a necklace,” says Uncle Dale.
“That would be pretty,” I say. I put it in the pocket of my jeans.
“I want one too,” says Laurie. She always wants what ever I have.
“Let’s eat lunch now, and we’ll go shopping tomorrow,” says Aunt Trina.
I wish we had lunch like this at home. Mommy only gives us peanut butter sandwiches. Aunt Trina is giving us roast beef and barley soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s so good, and after that we get a cupcake.
Aunt Trina and Uncle Dale are so much fun. They invited Laurie and me to visit for a whole month this summer. Their house is really pretty. Laurie and I each have our own beds and we share a bathroom. At home we live in a trailer. We share a bed and we only have one bathroom. Mommy has stuff we aren’t allowed to touch. She and daddy are divorced. Sometimes we see him on Saturday and he takes us to a movie.
Laurie makes a mess with her cupcake. Aunt Trina puts it on a plate and makes it into bite-sized pieces which she feeds Laurie with a fork.
“Now we’re ready for a boat ride,” says Aunt Trina. Uncle Dale has a little dock on the lake. He makes sure Laurie and I have our life vests buckled properly.
The boat is a small aluminum boat with a small motor. “We like to float on the water,” says Uncle Dale.
In the middle of the lake Uncle Dale turns off the motor. The boat has comfy padded seats. “Lay back and look at the sky and imagine you’re floating away to a magical land,” says Aunt Trina.
It’s great to float on the water and make up stories of other places. We float for a long time, until the sun starts going down.
“May we do that again tomorrow?” Laurie and I both ask.
“Tomorrow we’re shopping,” says Aunt Trina.
Our dinner is another awesome meal. At home Mommy usually makes potatoes and gravy. Aunt Trina made fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, a big salad and strawberry gelatin with real strawberries.
After dinner, Uncle Dale makes a fire in his fire pit by the lake. Aunt Trina puts mosquito repellant on us and we sit in the twilight.
“Look, the bats are out,” says Uncle Dale.
“Do they bite?” I ask.
“No, they’re eating mosquitoes.”
“That’s good, I thought they were mean. They’re always in scary movies.”
“Yeah, they get a bad rap. They’re actually the good guys.”
The sky changes from bright orange to purple as it gets dark.
“Tomorrow is a big shopping day,” says Aunt Trina. “How about you girls hit the bath tub and put on your ‘jams. I’ll be up to tuck you in.”
When I get ready for my bath, I remember the golden acorn. I take it out of my pocket and put it on the counter while I bathe. When I get into bed, I put it on the nightstand next to the lamp. Aunt Trina comes in to kiss us and turns out the light. Laurie and I fall asleep right away.
I don’t know what time it is, but it’s still night. There is moonlight from outside. On the nightstand something glows. I realize it’s the acorn. I notice the bedroom window is open. I reach over to pick up the acorn and my hand bumps something warm and big, but I can’t see it. “Oh!” I say out loud.
“Sorry,” I hear a deep voice whisper.
“Who said that?” I am scared, but curious. This house has always felt safe to me.
I see shimmering, like a mirror turning, and then I see a very large man standing in the room. He looks different from anyone I’ve ever seen. He is so big, and he’s wearing something that looks hard and black. His skin is a different color, but it’s hard to tell the tint of it in the moonlight. His hair is long and black.
“Are you mean?” I ask. I hold my covers tightly.
He smiles and squats down so he can look me in the eye. He has a nice face. I am not afraid anymore. “No, I’m not mean,” he whispers. “I lost my crystals and I saw you find them. I was waiting for you to go to sleep so I could get them back.”
“The acorn is yours? My aunt was going to make it into a necklace for me.”
“I need the crystals to get home. What if I give you something else?”
I have to think. The acorn is very pretty. “What else do you have?”
He opens a little flap on the side of his leg and takes out some sparkly things. “How about these? They are diamonds.”
“Where did you get them?”
“From a place far away. You wouldn’t know it.”
“What kind of clothes are you wearing?”
“This is my armor.”
“Why do you have armor?”
“I’m a policeman.”
I’m impressed. “What’s your name?”
“Rakasta, what’s your name?”
“Kelli, nice to meet you, Ras-ka.” I don’t think I said it right.
“Rakasta, I’m glad to meet you too, Kelli. I have to go now. Thank you for finding my crystals.”
Rakasta starts to shimmer, like a mirror turning, again.
“Good-bye,” I say.
“Good-bye.” The window closes.
In the morning I tell Aunt Trina and Uncle Dale about the man named Rakasta. They think I dreamed it.
“No, it’s really true, look.” I show them three sparkly, blue diamonds.