Dad was raking leaves, Mom was in the house, baking. The smell of cinnamon filled the air. I was playing in the woods. Just before Mom called us in for dinner, I heard a whirring of wings near the Message Tree. I looked up and saw a flash of iridescent blue; I blinked and it was gone. “I saw a hummingbird in the woods,” I announced at dinner. “It’s November, Savannah. Hummingbirds are gone for the winter.” Mom’s voice sounded strange.
I woke, trembling. The dream was so real. The crisp feel of autumn, a golden afternoon, the blue shimmer of wings. Except the family in the dream were strangers. “And I’m not Savannah,” I muttered.
“Excuse me, what did you say?” I opened my eyes to see a young girl sitting beside me on the bench. What was wrong with me, falling asleep in a public park? This was the third time this week. And the dream was always the same. Behind the girl I could see swirling yellow leaves, like the ones in my dream.
“Oh nothing,” I stammered, embarrassed.
“I’m Savannah,” she said. “It’s an unusual name.”
“Sure is.” I avoided her eyes. She looked so much like me it was frightening.
“Why did you say you’re not Savannah?” She wouldn’t let me leave. I blurted out the dream, ending with the hummingbird.
“It was a fairy, not a hummer!” Savannah suddenly realized, and grabbed my hand. “I don’t know why, but you’re part of all this. Come on!!”
We ran through neighborhoods I’d never seen and finally came to the house in my dream. The pile of yellow leaves was there, the smell of spices still strong. Behind the house was a tree with a small hidey-hole.
The Message Tree,” Savannah explained.
She climbed up onto a branch, reached down into the hole and pulled out a package wrapped in shiny paper. We ran into the house.
When Savannah’s mother saw me, she almost fainted. “Sabrina?” she whispered, carefully opening the package.
Inside were two tiny gold christening rings, inscribed “”Savannah” and “Sabrina”.