One September night, about 30 years ago, a strong cool wind was swirling high above the hill country of Texas. It looked down and saw a lush, dark green meadow with dewdrops on every leaf of grass.
“Now that would make a nice place to land,” the wind whispered. “I could flutter the cottonwood leaves all night. And sing through the old boards of a barn. Or tickle some rancher’s wind chimes till everyone falls asleep.”
And with a push and twirl and a swirl the strong, cool wind rushed down into the dewy meadow. Sure enough the cottonwood leaves all fluttered as the wind swept by. Then it went singing through the cracks of an old, unpainted barn. And the boards rattled and shook loose a rusty, broken lock from the door. It flew wide open. Of course, the wind whooshed through…as any self-respecting wind would do.
Inside the old barn the wind saw lots of things to swirl through…a couple of horse stalls with dried, yellow hay…a shovel and a rake leaned on the wall…even some milking buckets hanging on rusty nails. Oh yes, they’d make a wonderful sound.
So up and down and round and round the wind swirled. The buckets clanged against each other. The shovel and rake smacked on the barn floor. And the dried, yellow hay filled the air. A horse in the back kicked its stall door open. And that’s when it got real interstin’ (as they say in Texas).
The stall door knocked another lock loose from a door on the barn floor. The swirling wind was having so much fun it didn’t see its tail open that door. And a cold, blue light shined up from somewhere deep down in the ground. Then some mysterious music began to drift up. No wait…it wasn’t just music…it was…singing.
The swirling wind stopped in mid air. The horse tilted its head to one side. Everything was quiet except for the singing…which got louder and sounded closer. That cold, blue light got brighter too.
Suddenly, two tiny, young girls flew up out of the ground. They looked exactly alike. Each had white hair that glowed like moonlight…and two sets of glittering, see-through wings…like you see on dragonflies. Their wings fluttered as fast as a hummingbird’s wings but didn’t make a sound.
A raccoon, three rabbits, and even a stray cat had all gathered by the barn door. The noises inside stirred their curiosity. When they saw the flying twins, none could even blink.
The twins flitted and flew all around the barn. Top to bottom. Front to back. The light from their hair lit up every dark corner as they passed. All the animals and the wind saw them smiling. Then, they heard them start singing again…
“Fading darkness…morning light…we don’t think either one is right?
Stop the clock at eleventeen…that’s the world wherein be tween.”
Eleventeen? Everyone had funny looks on their faces. Whoever heard of eleventeen? Now let’s see…there’s thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. Yes, and there’s sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen. But that’s it. After all…tenteen sounds silly. And eleventeen…well, that sounds just plain goofy.
The girls stopped singing and landed on the barn floor. They walked over to an old, dusty mirror and delighted in their own reflections.
“We know what you’re thinking,” said one twin as she twirled her hair. “Eleventeen’s not real. Right?” said the other as she winked at herself in the mirror.
“Well, I’m Keela, the keeper of night time,” said the first twin.
“And I’m Kyla, the keeper of day time,” said the other twin.
“I keep the night from turning into day. And Kyla keeps the day from turning into night,” said Keela. And Kyla said, “Then the world is in tween…not day and not night…just the way we like it.”
“Wait a minute…if there’s only tween, we won’t know when it’s bedtime,” said the horse.
“And we won’t know what time to eat,” the rabbits chimed in.
“And what about beautiful sunrises and sunsets?” asked the wind.
“And the cows won’t know when it’s morning. There won’t be any milk,” added the cat.
“You just don’t get it,” Keela started. “You won’t have to sleep and you won’t have to wake up either,” Kyla finished. “You can do whatever you want for as long as you want.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” the raccoon blurted out. “There’s no eleventeen, and you can’t make the world stay in tween.”
“So, you think not?” Keela asked. “Well, take a look at the moon,” Kyla insisted. “It hasn’t moved at all since we’ve been here.”
They all went to the barn door and looked outside. The twins were right. The moon was in exactly the same place in the sky as it was earlier. Uh-oh…this was not good.
“What about the people?” asked the wind. “They’re sleeping. What’ll happen to them?”
Keela said, “Well, they’ll just keep sleeping.”
“There’s no need for them to wake up,” Kyla added. And with that, the twins started flying around the barn again. They laughed and sang and did cartwheels and somersaults in the air. Every few seconds they’d fly by the dusty, old mirror to admire themselves…winking and smiling.
The animals and the wind still knew this wasn’t right. Since the twins weren’t paying attention they huddled together. The wind spoke up first…
“We need to get them back into the cave in the floor.”
“Yeah, that seems like the answer, but how do we do it?” asked the raccoon. “They seem to have a lot of power.”
“There’s only two of them,” whispered the wind. “And there’s a bunch of us. We’ll surround ‘em and take ‘em by surprise.”
“No, they’re too fast,” said the horse. “Even for me.”
“Wait a second,” the cat meowed. “They sure seem to like looking at themselves in the mirror. Maybe we could use it to get their attention.”
“Hey yeah,” one of the rabbits uttered. “Maybe, if we get the mirror by the door in the floor, we could…”
“Yeah, we could shut the door on ‘em!” the raccoon interrupted.
They all agreed it was a good plan. But how could they distract the twins while they moved the mirror over by the door in the floor? The wind came up with a great idea…
“l’ll swirl around and give the twins even more air to fly. It’ll feel like a roller coaster, and they’ll have such fun they won’t notice the mirror moving.”
Now, that was an excellent plan. They all took their places and watched the wind go to work. He huffed and puffed and swirled right up under the twins. Their wings caught the breezes, and they floated all the way up to the rafters. Then, they soared down through the stalls and all the way around the barn.
When the twins weren’t looking, the rabbits, the raccoon, the cat, and the horse grabbed the dusty, old mirror. Inch by careful inch they slid the mirror toward the door in the floor. Finally they put it next to the opening. And the raccoon took an old rag and cleaned off all the dust. That way the mirror reflected even better.
The animals got the wind’s attention. He saw the mirror was ready, and he swirled the twins right in front of it. They saw their shiny reflections and couldn’t resist stopping for a closer look…
“Oh Kyla, you’re so pretty this tween,” said Keela with a wink.
“And Keela, you shine better than ever,” Kyla replied with a smile.
“Now, wind…now!” all the animals shouted.
The twins started to look around, but the door came down on them in a flash. And they tumbled back down into the cave.
“Quick, get the lock!” shouted the horse.
“I’m on it,” yelled the raccoon. And as fast as lightning he hooked the lock on the hinge and snapped it shut. They all sat down and sighed with relief. They looked at each other but no one said a word.
After a few seconds the cat jumped up and pranced over to the barn door…
“Hey, everybody…come look. The sun’s coming up.”
They all ran to the door. Yep, the sky was starting to light up with yellow, orange, and red. It was beautiful. Somewhere, off in the distance, a rooster crowed.
“I’d better get back to my stall,” the horse spoke first.
“Yeah, I’d better get on over to the fishin’ hole,” the raccoon chattered.
“And we gotta whole batch of new lettuce to check out,” the rabbits giggled.
“And the cows will have fresh milk ready for me soon,” the cat purred.
They all said their goodbye’s and went their ways leaving the wind alone. He looked around the barn. All was quiet and back to normal.
“I think I’ll have one more swirl around the yard and through the wind chimes,” he muttered to himself. So he swirled through the cottonwood leaves and whooshed through the wind chimes. He could still hear their tinkling tune as he soared high into the sky and around the world.
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