In celebration of the release of Jane Yolen’s THE EMERALD CIRCUS, Tachyon presents glimpses from some of the volume’s magnificent tales.
by Jane Yolen
isn’t fair!” Darla complained to her mom for the third time
during their bedtime reading. She meant it wasn’t fair that Wendy
only did the housework in Neverland and that Peter Pan and the boys
got to fight Captain Hook.
I can’t change it,” Mom said in her even, lawyer voice. “That’s
just the way it is in the book. Your argument is with Mr. Barrie, the
author, and he’s long dead. Should I go on?”
No. I don’t know,” Darla said, coming down on both sides of the
question, as she often did.
shrugged and closed the book, and that
was the end of the night’s reading.
watched impassively as her mom got up and left the room, snapping off
the bedside lamp as she went. When she closed the door there was just
a rim of light from the hall showing around three sides of the door,
making it look like something out of a science fiction movie. Darla
pulled the covers up over her nose. Her breath made the space feel
like a little oven.
fair at all,” Darla said to the dark, and she didn’t just mean
the book. She wasn’t the least bit sleepy.
the house made its comfortable night-settling noises around her: the
breathy whispers of the hot air through the vents, the ticking of the
grandfather clock in the hall, the sound of the maple branch
against the clapboard siding. They were a familiar lullaby,
comforting and soothing. Darla didn’t mean to go to sleep, but she
that or she stepped out of her bed and walked through the closed door
didn’t feel at all like a dream to Darla. The details were too
exact. And she could smell
things. She’d never smelled anything in a dream
before. So Darla had no reason to believe that what happened to her
next was anything but real.
minute she had gotten up out of bed, heading for the bathroom, and
the very next she was sliding down the trunk of a very large, smooth
tree. The trunk was unlike any of the maples in her yard, being a
kind of yellowish color. It felt almost slippery under her hands and
smelled like bananas gone slightly bad. Her nightgown made a sound
as she slid along.
she landed on the ground, she tripped over a large root and stubbed
cautioned someone near her.
looked up and saw two boys in matching ragged cutoffs and T-shirts
staring at her. “Shhh! yourselves,” she said, wondering at the
same time who they were.
it hadn’t been those boys who spoke. A third boy, behind her,
tapped her on the shoulder and whispered, “If you aren’t quiet,
will find us.”
turned, ready to ask who He
was. But the boy, dressed in green tights and a green shirt and a
rather silly green hat, and smelling like fresh lavender, held a
finger up to his lips. They were perfect lips, like a movie star’s.
Darla knew him at once.
she whispered. “Peter Pan.”
swept the hat off and gave her a deep bow. “Wendy,” he countered.
Darla, actually,” she said.
Darla,” he said. “Give us a thimble.”
For more info on THE EMERALD CIRCUS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story