Hi All!

Thanks for dropping by today.

I sometimes challenge myself to write quickly, and for this exercise I wanted to write a complete story arc in one sitting, let my imagination flow. Below is the story that emerged. I liked it, so I thought I’d share!


Secret of the Blue Marble

If Kate could find the blue marble she might see, once more, the tiny mountain inside. At the base of the mountain was a door. It had dazzled her for exactly three breaths, until the mean girl next door knocked the marble out of her hand. The marble bounced on the slate pathway, then rolled into the garden. Kate thought it would be right in front of the gray-flecked stones guarding the foxgloves—how far could it have rolled? But it wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere. It had vanished.

Every day Kate looked for the blue marble with hope in her heart. Her deepest desire was to find a way through the tiny door at the foot of the mountain.

On day she grew tired of looking and sat down on one of the larger stones. Next to the stone an elf held a strawberry-colored mushroom like an umbrella over his head.

“You’d better find shelter for you will soon be drizzled upon,” he said.

Kate crinkled her nose. “The sky is bluer than my lost marble. It won’t rain.”

“Suit yourself,” said the elf, just as a dark cloud settled in front of the sun. A drop of rain sploshed over his mushroom.

Kate covered her head with her hands. “Make it stop!”

The elf said, “I have nothing to do with it!” He rubbed his beard. “I’m curious. How blue is this thing you call a marble?”

“Well,” said Kate, keeping her hands over her head. “It’s almost as blue as the bluest sky, but maybe it’s more like the blue of a cornflowers. It’s possible it’s as blue as a mountain bluebird or maybe it’s blue like the blue of an eye, but I’m pretty sure it’s as blue as truth. It’s pretty blue,” she said.

“I think I got it,” said the elf. “I may have seen your marble. Come back tomorrow and I’ll bring it to you.”

Then the elf disappeared, and after Kate checked behind all the rocks in the garden, she ran inside, dripping wet.

The next day, Kate sat on the same stone and ate her ice cream cone. She waited for the elf, but he never came. She waited all day until the sky yawned purple. But before she went back inside, she cracked off a piece of the cone and left it on the stone for the elf.

Kate came back the very next day and searched for her blue marble. She poked among daffodils nodding in the breeze. She searched among lily-of-the-valley, dizzied by the bell-like flowers’ sweet perfume. She peered under the rose bushes, which pricked her fingers, drawing a bit of blood. She searched until the late afternoon shone with golden sun. When, she grew hungry she flopped upon her favorite stone again and crunched an apple. The day was warm against her skin. She felt contented, and sang an uplifting tune. Enchanted by her earnest voice, the flowers turned away from the sun and bent their faces towards her. But the elf never showed.

On the third day Kate arrived with a piece of paper and a crayon. She drew a round circle. Inside the circle she drew the mountain she’d seen inside the marble. She drew the door at the base of the mountain. She yearned for her blue marble, and before long tears slipped down her cheeks. They dropped onto the paper leaving dark, flower-shaped stains. “How I wish I never lost you,” she said to the drawn marble. The elf was nowhere in sight. Maybe he’s still searching for the marble, thought Kate. Maybe this drawing will help. After her mother called her for dinner, Kate left the picture, in case the elf needed it for reference. She left the crayon, too, for fun.

Every day throughout the summer, fall and winter, Kate returned to the garden. She searched for her marble. She planted new flowers, weeded and tilled the soil. She raked leaves in autumn, and in winter, she shoveled the slate pathway. Sometimes she built snow people where once the flowers bloomed. Every day she left a gift, something of herself, in the garden.

One day, when winter finally melted away and the temperate breezes of spring arrived once more, Kate ran out to her favorite stone, glad she wouldn’t need her hat and coat. She paused, sucked in her breath. There on the stone stood the elf. In his arms shone the bright blue marble.

“You found it!” She jumped up and down, unable to contain the joy in her heart.

The elf cocked his head. “This is more than a toy. But before I show you its secret, thank you for all the gifts you left me and the garden. Even your tears helped the flowers bloom.”

Kate could hardly contain her excitement, but in her most grownup and polite voice she said, “It was no trouble.”

The elf gave a little bow. “Now let me show you what your marble can do.” The elf turned the marble in his hands. He blew on it and kissed it three times. He twirled it on his index finger, and as it twirled, it grew in size. The marble plumped into the size of the stone he stood upon. It became heavy and the elf placed it into a dip in the earth. He cupped his hands around its smooth surface, but still it grew. When it was the size of Kate, the elf stepped back, all the while directing his hands towards the stone. The marble continued to grow, and as it did, the mountain inside became clearer as did the door at its base. Soon the doorway was large enough for the elf, and then it was tall enough for Kate to walk through. After patting its glossy exterior for a while, the elf backed away. He wiped his brow with a gossamer hanky, then, hands on hips, admired his work.

“What do you think?” he asked.

Kate stood dumbfounded, but only for a moment. “Can I go there?”

“Of course!” the elf waved her inside. “You were the one who made this possible. You can go anywhere from here. But take this for when it rains.” The elf handed Kate a strawberry-colored mushroom.

“Thank you,” said Kate.

Kate passed through the membrane of blueness, and soon she was surrounded by a strange and wonderful world. She gazed upward. The mountain towered above her, so tall, it disappeared into mist. A path surrounded by flowers wound towards the doorway at its base. Her pretty shoes tapped upon the pathway as she stepped, slowly at first. Then, feeling more confident, she skipped, then ran all the way to the door. Before she opened it, she waved to the elf. He blew her a kiss and vanished into the garden. Kate smiled. It was a beautiful day for adventure. With all her strength, she pushed through the door.

When Kate returned home, she was a woman. The rain fell hard, but her strawberry-colored umbrella kept her dry. She told her parents the world was full of magic.

“The secret ingredient is love. With love,” she said, “the world fits in the palm of your hand.” Kate opened her fist. In her palm was the toy she’d loved, lost and found in childhood. She wondered what happened to the mean girl next door, and hoped she'd found her own blue marble. Kate carried hers with her wherever she went as a reminder of the magic she’d shared with the elf.

Kate hadn’t seen the elf in many years. But whenever she visited her parents, she left a gift in the garden, just in case.


*Copyright 2022 Jan M. Alexander. All rights reserved.