The house she lived in was an abandoned tower that her foster family had turned into a magical and elusive home, filled with fairies and forest creatures that spoke various languages. Amber’s foster mom was known for her kind heart—she could not help but take in abandoned creatures of the forest; in fact, Amber’s foster parents would share how lost Amber was when they took her into their Meridian Forest home. All the forest creatures (fairies included) became Amber’s closest companions, and Amber relished the moments she was given to play with them. She was the only person who could speak back to these magical creatures. This was a sour point for the ruling witch, Mrs. Hammerton, known to the forest residents as the most powerful magician in all Meridian Forest. Amber, however, was not one to notice evil or jealousy. Mrs. Hammerton’s personality dripped with honey—no one could detect a hint of malicious intent on her part. She was charming and managed to win over the hearts of everyone.
At particular times of the day, Amber’s foster parents, along with all the magical fairies and animal residents of the great forest, would go into the darkest parts of the woods for a meeting with the ruling witch. She was all alone then. Being as curious as Eve, in the Garden of Eden, when she ate the forbidden fruit, Amber ventured into the forbidden room. Upon entering the room, she noticed its charming qualities. A canopy bed, a dresser with a lit candle, and a rocking chair by the single window through which the moonlight sparkled, causing a beautiful glow to illuminate the entire room. It felt comfortable, and Amber was happy she had ventured into such a captivating space; this was despite a voice in her head warning her that she did not belong there.
Amber danced about the room with her companion and best friend, Annie, her welcome gift with great exhilaration. There was a fleeting moment, as Amber stood in front of the dresser, gazing at her reflection in the sparkling mirror, in which Amber thought she heard a squeak from the doll but thought nothing more of it. It was just her imagination; at least, that is what she thought. Amber stood in front of the mirror, gazing at her reflection when she heard a louder “Squeak!” coming from the doll.
With her eyes widened with terror and her heart pounding louder than a thousand African drums, Amber realized that the room called Guise was the very same meeting place her foster parents, fairies, and forest creatures were lured into for their daily meetings. But Amber had not been invited. Eight-year-old Amber could not move. Her paralysis was not just because of fright but because of the realization that life as she knew it was lost forever. Amber had entered an abyss called Guise. A shadowy gloom replaced the moonlight, and the magical home disappeared. This abyss was the place where all the evil of the forest was unleashed. Amber’s naiveté vanished, and so did her inability to discern goodness and evil.
Her eyes opened, and those who appeared before her were the family she had lost: her mother, brother (Andrew), and Mr. Sage, who was Amber’s teacher and mentor. They all exclaimed, “Welcome back, Amber! We thought you were dead, but you are alive!”