Suddenly Jamie heard whispers. He froze, listening hard. There they were again! His heart beat faster. Was there someone else in the room?
He heard laughter – a girl’s laughter. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. His eyes searched the room, but he saw no one. More laughter, this time a boy’s. Jamie pulled the quilt aside and placed his stocking feet on the worn Oriental rug. Maybe Grandma and Grandpa’s house has ghosts.
The sounds seemed to come from the direction of the
. Jamie tiptoed
toward the table, his way lit only by the twinkling lights from the Christmas
tree. He studied the scene laid out before him, with its tiny cottages nestled
in the snow. Something seemed different, but he couldn’t quite put his finger
on what it was. Then he heard the voices again, much louder this time. Christmas v illage
“Christopher! If you do that again, I’ll … I’ll … I’ll!”
“You’ll what? Tell on me? Tattletale, tattletale, Kelly is a tattletale!”
Jamie’s jaw dropped and his eyes bulged. He knelt down and brought his face level with the top of the table. The girl skater sat on the ice, her tiny red and white striped legs and white skates protruding beneath her tangled red skirt. The boy skated around her, skidded to a stop and extended a hand. The girl grabbed it and pulled herself to her feet. She brushed bits of snow and ice off her skirt. Shaking a white-gloved finger at the boy, she scolded, “I’ll get even with you, Christopher Franklin Pennysworth, if it’s the last thing I do!”
The boy laughed and skated away. “You’ll have to catch me first!” He took two smooth strides and launched into an impressive double axle that carried him halfway across the pond.
Kelly leaned in and sped after him, her arms swinging from side to side with the aggressiveness of an angry hockey player. Christopher paused to let her catch up. Then, when she was just inches away, he peeled off again. She chased him, huffing and puffing and grabbing at his jacket, never quite able to catch up.
Jamie realized that he was holding his breath. It occurred to him that if he reached out, he could pick up the pocket-sized Kelly and Christopher with his fingers, dangling them like King Kong did in the movies. But he didn’t dare, because something told him not to cross the invisible boundary that separated his world from theirs. So Jamie stayed perfectly still, barely even breathing, afraid that if he moved or made a sound, he would break what seemed to be a spell that had made the village of Canterbury magically come to life.