I am only a little rose... that grows in deep and difficult places.
~song of songs
The wind was ripping through the dandelion fields. The fence that stood alone shook but the blue flowers hanging off it stayed still. A pale girl walked on the dirt road through the fog and mud puddles towards the fence, her long brown hair slapping against her face, covering her green eyes that seemed blue when she turned them to the sky. She pushed her thin body through the wind, the black Rolling Stones t-shirt she wore as a dress blowing into her stomach. When she stood in front of the fence, the flowers finally swayed. Sprinkles of dew dying. Then she pulled them off, the crushed flowers in her hands, falling to earth. The wind never took them.
She sat on top of the fence watching the sky for rain. Instead she saw the faces that the clouds made morphing from evil to angel in one blink of her eyes. She ran her hands along the old brown wood, digging her fingertips hard in, crusted blood under her fingernails. She kicked her legs against the fence half wanting to knock it over and half wanting to fall with it, but it wouldn't fall. She rubbed her thighs with the splinters until they burned and then made a fist with her right hand and bit down on it. She bit hard enough to stop her own tears. Only cry when the rain comes, she thought. That way the rain would wash away her tears and no one would know. She saw a caterpillar sitting beside her and picked it up.
"No one knows you're here but me," she whispered. She laid the caterpillar where she found it. She opened her hands and kept waiting to catch the rain. She waited as the sky twisted around her, sealing her in a mist she wished only the sky could see through.
Inside the hole it was wet. And she got her whole body in there. She stayed inside the tree listening to the sounds of the leaves on limp branches brushing the ground. Fog formed a curtain over the hole she came through to help her in her hiding. She stood barefoot upon a mound of dirt and held onto the edges of the hole, soggy wood curled inside her hands, and fog seeped her face. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the hole, her knees pressing into the inner trunk and she wondered what was all the way under the tree. Was there a way to get deeper down? Or should she just stay there happy to be hidden away from the world? She was shivering in her white nightgown, her teeth chattering away, and she began to dig her feet into the dirt to cover them. A small part of the dirt she dug felt hollow, a small space where dirt didn't cling to itself, and she pushed her feet in harder, holding the hole, digging the mound like an animal. The space between the dirt fascinated her and she pushed one leg into it up to her knee. She dug her other leg in next to it and let go of the hole. She put her hands down by her sides and stood there. The fog entered and enveloped her. She took a deep breath of the beautiful wet wood and it was breath like she never felt before. It felt free, and powerful, this kind of hidden breath. And before she knew it, she was falling...
"Do you think someone can ask King Orphanos for someone else's wishes? Not that I'm gonna but I was just wondering."
"King Orphanos only allows for one wish to be granted," Princess Faegria said pinching Sadie's arm.
"Ouch! But I remember the book said that King Orphanos is the granter of wishes. Wishes is plural so it means more than one!"
"One wish is all you get, better make it truly what you want then."
"How come just one wish?" One wish one wish one wish.
"So there's enough to go around for everybody."
"Well one wish will be enough for me!"
One wish one wish one wish...in that one wish is everything.
"We must go now, Sir Alasdair Astigan," Princess Faegria said pulling Sadie by the arm. "I must take the child home."
"Home?" Sadie asked in a hypnotic state. "But I'm going to see King Orphanos-"
"Silence," Princess Faegria said as she tried to lift Sadie onto Mr. Needles, but Sadie wouldn't get on.
"I can do it myself," Sadie said, pushing Princess Faegria's hand away. "The fire's not all the way out yet." Alasdair was still smiling at Sadie in a way Sadie had never been smiled at before.
"Here, allow me," Alasdair said and he lifted Sadie up and put her on Mr. Needles.
When he touched her, everything tingled. When he touched her, everything fell apart. When he touched her, everything got put back together. His touch planted itself. Surrounding all the other things in her that were ever planted.
"I'm Sadie Sugarspear." That he might never forget my name. I wish she already made me beautiful. Why should a man like him see mud? "I meant to hide in my tree, but I fell here," she said, wanting to hide away with him, wanting to tell him every single thing about herself.
The Sugarspear Chronicles is a dark coming of age fantasy that takes the reader on a magical journey through a hidden underworld forest filled with witches and queens, curses and magic, monsters and hunters, love and lust. A girl's survival depends on her ability to fight, to love, to learn, to accept, and above all, to continue to hope
In a small town called Muddlewoods, a young girl named SADIE SUGARSPEAR survives the menace of her brutal stepfather. Sadie finds a sanctuary under a weeping willow and in the one thing her real father, SAM SUGARSPEAR, had left behind--a book about an imaginary land and the King that granted wishes, a book Sam read from each and every night to Sadie before he up and left.
But one day, when Ralph's cruelty reaches unimaginable depths, she runs away and hides inside a crevice in her beloved willow tree. To her surprise, the tree opens up completely, sending Sadie falling down into the abyss, into a Land she'd only known in stories, and into a long, terrifying and heartbreaking journey to find her way home.
After having fallen through her favorite willow tree, Sadie Sugarspear comes to in a forest in a Land called Thornesboggle. Frightened and confused, Sadie sets off to find her way back to Muddlewoods.
She thinks it's good fortune when she meets Princess Faegria, who tells her about the forest and the land and of a King Orphanos, who sounds very much like the wishing granting King of Sadie's childhood stories. But Faegria soon becomes a jealous monster that Sadie must fight off just to survive.
On the way, Sadie meets a handsome hunter on a black horse, Alasdair Astigan, who stirs in her something she'd never felt before in her hard young life: love & lust.
And as she tries to survive the attacks from Princess Faegria and the Evil Witch, she must also learn to control the desires blooming within her and continue toward the one thing that her real father, Sam Sugarspear, left behind for her: hope.