Millennium Magic: Magical Tales for a New Century
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by Roberta Gellis, Jane Toombs, Jackie Kramer
Category: Romance/Science Fiction Sapphire Award Winner, Sapphire Award Finalist
Description: Possibilities abound when strangers meet and fall under the exciting spell of a new year's eve, but when it's the change of a new century as well as a new millennium, the possibilities are boundless. Finding true love brings fulfillment to lonely lives, bridges the limits of time and space, and even brings happiness to a ghost. In a glance. In a heartbeat. At the stroke of midnight. Anything can happen when Millennium Magic fills the air!
eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, 2000
eBookwise Release Date: July 2003
11 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [249 KB]
Reading time: 159-223 min.
"The Colored World: This one has a futuristic feel about it. Enjoyed the kids being the lead characters. Black Satin at Midnight: A very quick sweet read. The Bride-Seeker: I'm a sucker for time travel. It matters to me how the character's travel through time, and it makes or breaks the story for me. In this case, it made the story. The First of Someday: I found this one to be an interesting high tech fairy tale. The Love Bug: Sometimes the workplace and love can work for the better. Ghost of Love: This was a great short story. I was sorry to see it end. Millennium Madness is a great New Year's read!"--MyShelf.com
"The dawn of a new century ties all these stories together, but each author interprets this theme in unique ways to create very different and memorable stories of love. No matter whether you're a fan of contemporary romance, time travel, the paranormal, science fiction, or mystery, Millennium Magic will satisfy your craving."--Simply Ebooks
The Colored WorldRoberta Gellis
Michael Curlew was totally color blind; he saw only gray.
When Una Teague called him awake in her back garden, he found himself in a colored world. He was fascinated, but he couldn't stay. He tried to go back partly because color made his life vibrant and partly because Una was more attractive than any girl in his gray world.
Sometimes he was successful, just often enough for him to learn that his presence might destroy both worlds as the century ended.
* * * *
"WHAT ARE you doing here?" the little girl asked.
Michael Curlew opened his eyes and felt them grow rounder and rounder. His mouth opened, too, but nothing at all came out.
"Get up," she said, looking anxious. "It's very early in the morning and the grass is soaked with dew. You're going to get all wet."
Michael ran his hand over the stuff he was lying on. It certainly was wet, as the girl had said, and it looked like grass, except it was...Michael's mind jibbed. It was...green. Yes, that was the word people used. "Green as grass," his mother said, but the word had never meant anything to him before. In all his ten years of life, grass had been gray, just as everything else was gray--some darker, some lighter, some almost bright, but always gray.
Now, the little girl looked more worried than anxious and she took a step backward. "Of course it's green."
"Yes," Michael agreed. "Everyone always said it was green, but I never saw green before or..." He caught his breath for a moment as he took in what the little girl was wearing and how she, herself, looked. "Or all those...those..." He sought wildly for another word that he had heard many times but had no meaning for him. "Colors," he burst out. "Yes, colors. Those colors on your dress."
"You mean you never saw colors before?"
"No," he breathed. "Never."
The little girl put out her hand. "Are you blind?" she asked softly. "Is that why you don't get up? Here. Take my hand. I'll help you."
"No." Michael smiled as he sat up. "I can see, but all I ever saw before was gray." He got to his feet, staring around in bemused and delighted wonder. "I didn't get up because I was so surprised. Colors," he sighed. "They're wonderful."
"Yes, but what are you doing here in our back yard?"
The question jolted Michael out of his delighted examination of the scene around him. "I--I don't know." He swallowed hard, his joy and wonder starting to be overlaid with panic. "The last I knew, I went to bed at home. Then, you asked what I was doing here and I opened my eyes and--And I saw colors."
Michael looked around and swallowed again. "I don't recognize anything, so I guess I am."
The little girl clicked her tongue in a very grown-up way, "Tsk, tsk," and shook her head. "Well, if you're lost, you'd better come in and tell my mother. Maybe she'll know where you belong."
With considerable relief, for mothers always seemed to know everything, Michael followed the girl across the clipped lawn, and into a neatly graveled path bordered by flowers. He nearly got left behind as he slowed, then slowed more to look at the glorious colors, for most of which he had no names. He should, he thought, have been able to recognize red--from "red as a rose"--but there was no single colored rose. There were lots of roses, all different colors. The little girl came back and took his hand and tugged him along.
"You can look at the garden later," she said, opening a screen door and pushing him out onto an untidy porch. "You have to tell my mother about being lost before she has to leave for work." She opened another door and shouted, "Mom! I found a boy in the yard, and he says he's lost."
A tall woman in a brightly colored suit with a white blouse--Michael knew white; that was when there was no gray at all--came to the door and opened it wider. She looked down at him, and Michael could feel his ears get hot. He thought he would be in his old, torn, Superman pajamas. He looked down, too, and he felt his eyes get round again. He was wearing short jeans and a striped T-shirt and a jeans jacket. He didn't remember having anything so nice. Usually, he wore gray pants, a white shirt with a striped tie--he didn't know what colors the stripes were; they looked gray to him, and everyone wore the same tie so it didn't matter--and a dark-gray jacket.
The woman came out the door and stooped down. "What's the matter child?" she asked. Her voice was kind; her face wore the same anxious look as the little girl's had worn.
"I'm really lost, ma'am," Michael said. "I don't even know whose clothes these are. They ain't--" he swallowed nervously "--aren't mine."
"Do you remember your name?" she asked.
Michael breathed a sigh of relief. "Yes, ma'am. My name is Michael Curlew, and I live at 10-02 Beach Street."
"And I'm Ms. Teague. This is Una." She gestured toward the little girl, who was standing beside him. Then she repeated, "Beach Street. Is that B-E-A-C-H or B-E-E-C-H?"
"Beach, like shore," Michael said, a little too loudly. He was getting frightened, again.
Ms. Teague stood up straight and stepped back into the doorway. She was frowning slightly as she said, "Come inside and have some breakfast with Una, Michael. I can't think of a Beach Street offhand, but I'll look it up in the town directory."
"It runs right down to the water," Michael said, his voice shaking. "It's the biggest street in town."
Ms. Teague came back and put an arm around him. "Come inside, dear," she said softly.
As she seated him at the kitchen table next to Una and put a glass of juice and a bowl and spoon in front of him, she asked if he remembered anything, like riding in a car or on a train or being in a big train station or an airport, before Una spoke to him. Michael shook his head and repeated what he'd told Una. He didn't see Ms. Teague's expression because he was looking at the cereal box she put on the table. Dragon Pops. He'd never heard of Dragon Pops or seen that box with little dragons toasting the little round balls of cereal. He wouldn't have forgotten that, and he knew all the kinds of cereal because his mother let him pick the cereal he wanted when he went shopping with her on the way home from school. She taught at the same school he attended, and didn't like him to be home alone.
Ms. Teague filled his bowl and Una's and poured milk over the cereal. The container was strange, too. It was wide and flat with a handle like a tea kettle, and he had to thumb back a little lid over a spout to pour. Michael picked up his spoon and cautiously tasted the Dragon Pops. His eyes opened wide. It was the best cereal he'd ever tasted, sweet and spicy and when he crunched one of the pops, it was just a touch "hot."
He heard Ms. Teague ask whether he was sure he didn't remember anything, even anything very small, but he couldn't resist putting a second spoonful in his mouth and chewing. She looked very worried and he chewed more slowly, trying to think of something that would be helpful. Then he shrugged.
"I don't know, Ms. Teague. Maybe I heard a man's voice call my name, but likely that was only a dream. Sometimes I dream about my father, but he's dead."
"Could you have gone off with a man because you miss your father and...And decided to forget about it because you knew that was wrong?" Ms. Teague asked hesitantly.
"I wouldn't do that!" Michael exclaimed. "That's dangerous. My mama'd kill me. I swear, Ms. Teague, I was in bed, wearing pajamas and then Una spoke to me and I woke up lying on the grass."
"Do...do you hurt anywhere, Michael?"
"You mean from landing on my back?" Michael wiggled his shoulders and squirmed a little in his chair, then shook his head and started spooning up the Dragon Pops again. "Nope," he said between swallows. "Don't think I fell. I wasn't all crumpled up. I was all spread out, like I laid down."
Ms. Teague opened her mouth as if she were going to say something, but then she bit her lip and turned away to open a closet where Michael could see glasses. "How about a glass of milk?" she asked.
Una said, "Chocolate?" and Ms. Teague smiled, but then she looked back at Michael, and the worry lines came between her eyes again.
"I'm full," Michael said. "I don't think--" He stopped abruptly and cocked his head, then jumped to his feet, crying, "Oh, wait. I don't think I'm lost after all. I hear my mama calling me."
The voice was getting fainter, though, and Michael ran out of the room, calling back over his shoulder. "Oh, thanks. I can't wait. It sounds like she's walking away."
She must have been closer than he thought because he felt her hand on his shoulder as soon as he stepped out of the door. She was annoyed with him for wandering away, he decided, when she shook him and said, "Get up, Michael. I declare I don't know what's wrong with you this morning."
For a moment, Michael connected being told to get up by his mother with the fact that he had been lying on the grass in Ms. Teague's back yard. Then his eyes opened--and everything was gray. His mother's hair was dark gray, her face was a very light gray, her eyes were medium gray, and her mouth was medium too, but lighter than her eyes. Michael drew in a shaken breath, and his eyes filled with tears. It had been a dream, just a dream.
"What's the matter with you?" his mother asked.
"Nothing," Michael said. "Nothing. I was just dreaming. Such a lovely dream. It was wonderful. I saw--"
"I've got no time to talk about it now," his mother said, giving him a hug. "Get up right away or you'll make us both late. Your breakfast is on the table."
The hug was nice, and Michael felt the disappointment at losing a whole colored world, which had brought tears to his eyes, fade a little. In the bathroom, he found himself very reluctant to brush his teeth. His mouth didn't feel or smell 'icky.' In fact, it tasted delicious, just like the Dragon Puffs. Michael sighed and put the toothbrush and toothpaste back and picked up the soap.
As he washed he thought. It hadn't been nice at all, no matter how beautiful it was to see color, when he thought he was lost. What would Ms. Teague have done with him? It was a lovely dream, but it was better to be home, even if it was all gray. When he had dried himself, he went back to his room to dress, but he still tasted Dragon Puffs. He ran his tongue around his mouth. Between his teeth and his cheek, there was a fragment; he hooked it out with the tip of his tongue and bit it, and that sweet-spice-hot taste made him jump. While he took off his pajamas and put on his underwear, his gray pants, white shirt, and striped tie, he wondered whether one could dream so real that fragments of the dream cereal stayed in one's mouth.
He hadn't found any answer to that by the time he sat down at the table, but after he drank his juice he discovered another problem. He didn't want any breakfast. He felt as if he'd eaten already. As he put the cereal box back in the closet and the milk in the refrigerator, he wondered whether he was full now because the dream was so recent and whether he'd be starving by the time he got to school. He wasn't though. He began to get hungry just about the same time that he always started wanting his lunch, and he ate that and enjoyed it, just the way he always did.
In the supermarket on the way home, he looked hard for Dragon Pops, even in the section where they had the fancy food from foreign countries. He hoped that if he found the box he would see the little green and whatever other color dragons, but there were no Dragon Pops and the boxes of Cap'n Crunch, Cheerios and Frosted Flakes and all the others were just as gray as ever.