1 Chapter One

"Come on and get me, Melanie! On guard!" Hannah yelled, raising her plastic sword.

"Oh, yeah? Bring it!" Melanie rushed forward and pounced onto the ten-year- old and they went rolling down the hill, their swords forgotten on the top.

Laughing, Hannah scrambled up and pushed Melanie back down before tripping herself on her own foot. Two more voices filled the air, running down the slope.

"Dog pile!" Katelyn yelled and she flung herself onto the two girls.

"Wait for me!" little Sharon yelled, running as fast as her little legs could go, then adding a cherry to the human ice cream sundae.

"mmfff—ok, ok, off, off!" a muffled command came from the bottom of the pile and Hannah squeezed out.

"Girls, get up and wash up for supper!" a voice came the hilltop.

"Coming Mrs. Foster! Last one up is a rotten egg!" Hannah jumped to her feet and ran up to the house tripping and watching Melanie yell her way past.

"No you don't! No you don't!" Hannah got up, brushed her overalls off and ran, screaming to the back porch.

"Hush, child, you'll wake the neighbors!" Mrs. Foster shook a finger from the doorway.

"At seven o'clock?" Hannah shouted even louder. Mrs. Foster fought a laugh.

"Yes, child at seven o'clock, the night comes earlier now remember? It's October. And you have school tomorrow. Another full day of fifth grade."

"How could I have forgotten?" Hannah gave a sarcastic look.

The girls assembled around the table in the tiny kitchen. They all scrambled to get nearest to the stove because there it was the warmest. It felt really good after a play in the frosty twilight especially during the winter. Melanie "Foster" sat down next to Hannah, grabbing a fork from the counter. Katelyn and Sharon climbed into their seats across from the two ten-year-olds.

Hannah was an orphan as far as she knew and she had been living with Mrs. "Foster" and her daughter Melanie since she was four years old. The funniest thing that Mrs. Foster always used to tell her is that when Hannah first came to live with them, she asked,

"Are you Mrs. Foster?" and Mrs. Foster would look confused and said,

"Who?"

"Mrs. Foster. The orphanage said I'd be living with foster parents. So are you Mrs. Foster?" and laughingly the mother would reply,

"Yes, dear."

And so it stuck. Mr. and Mrs. Foster were the only parents she ever knew. They had lived in a little apartment on the outskirts of Manchester, England for six years and Hannah had been like their other daughter. The two girls, Melanie and Hannah, were like twins, both being the same age and both were quite adventurous talkative folk.

Hannah was always getting into mischief. She lived for tormenting Mrs. Foster's life out. She could talk a hind leg off a mule, as Mrs. Foster would say. But that wasn't all Hannah was interested in. She also lived for books and was a brilliant child from very young. Her 'classics' as she called them, were The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and Robin Hood and The Many Adventures of Sherlock Holmes as well as many others. She longed to be those beloved characters and to be able to go to distant places to fight off evil and solve mysteries. She pretended once that she was Peter Pan and broke both her ankles falling off the shed roof, believing she could fly. Her vivid imagination got her into strange situations. Once in fourth grade, a math teacher asked her a question that she didn't know the answer to and Hannah imagined her nose turn all spotty for the embarrassment. And it did. The teacher's nose grew little purple spots, so that the teacher had to rush from the room with a handkerchief over her face. Another time, Hannah got angry at Melanie and wished her far away and Melanie ended up sitting on top of the house. Hannah gave no explanation for that which was odd because that was her nature, giving explanations that nobody really understood. Mrs. Foster always thought her a strange little girl.

So life went on and Hannah almost forgot that she was an orphan. She pretended that the Foster family was like in the novel Little Women where the four girls were all sisters in reality and not just one daughter and three others thrown in along the way. Katelyn and Sharon were the eight- year-old twins and were also brought into foster care. They had never been separated from each other and had been brought from a number of different foster care homes.

"Pass the salt, please," Sharon said.

"No I can't," Hannah explained, "Miss Salt is right in the middle of her wedding ceremony to Mr. Pepper. And see, look, the parmesan cheese is her bridesmaid."

"Hannah, please stop and hand her the salt." Mrs. Foster gave her a look. Hannah yielded meekly and murmured, "So goes another marriage, so sad. That's the fourth time in the last hour."

"Ahem," Mrs. Foster looked up, "Eat your potatoes, Hannah. And no questions or explanations."

When everyone had finished, Mrs. Foster sent them off to bed. Hannah skipped off to bed, explaining to Mrs. Foster that sleep was like the next best adventure to being awake. Mrs. Foster simply shook her head.

Hannah skipped up to her room that she shared with Melanie and changed into her nightgown. Then she scrambled under her covers and turned out the light.

"Hannah?" Sharon had slipped in and sat on Hannah's bed about twenty minutes later.

"I can't sleep."

"Why not?" Hannah turned over sleepily.

"I just can't. I'm tired, but I can't fall asleep."

"Ah, that happens to me often. Too much stuff in my mind." Hannah propped her elbow up on her pillow. "But you know what I do?"

"No, what?" the eight-year-old's eyes widened with wonder.

"I just think of Tomorrow."

"Tomorrow?"

"Yes, because in Tomorrow everything will be perfect. There'll be lots of sunshine and flowers and no icky school. I'll actually see a fairy and maybe a wizard with a long beard. And you know what else? My parents will be there."

"Mine too?" Sharon asked.

"Of course. In Tomorrow, everything is just as it should be. Now, you just dream of that and I can assure you, you'll go to bed in a snap!"

"Thanks, Hannah. I can't wait to go to sleep now!"

Sharon kissed her friend on the cheek and ran off out the door. Hannah smiled after her and wondered whether Tomorrow would ever arrive.

"Hurry up, Mum says she's having company today!" Melanie beckoned to Hannah.

"Oh, yay! Come on!" Hannah burst through the door of the apartment and ran up the stairs to their home. She ran in, throwing her shoes off on the way and skipped into the dining room, stopping short. Melanie bumped into her from behind.

A woman sat in the one of the chairs from Mrs. Foster, sipping tea from one of Mrs. Foster's best tea sets. She was short and plump with a jolly face and big brown eyes that smiled with her lips. Her dark hair was pulled into a clip on the top of her head with lengths of it falling about her face. Hannah arched her eyebrows at this strange woman.

Mrs. Foster came in carrying a tray of biscuits in from the kitchen. Any other day, Hannah would of marveled at the smell of baking biscuits and tea, but the sight of this woman made her uneasy, despite her cheerful face.

"Hannah? Could we see you alone please?" Mrs. Foster looked over at Melanie, telling her with her eyes that she had to leave. Melanie sighed and turned back out to run up to her room.

"Come sit down, Hannah and have tea with us." Mrs. Foster seemed strangely distant with Hannah and, yes, Hannah noticed, her eyes were rather misty. The mother sat down and offered Hannah a biscuit, which Hannah refused.

"Hannah this may come as a shock to you." Mrs. Foster began. "Do you know who this woman is?"

"Not at all. Though, I'm sure I will know you in Tomorrow, ma'am, will you be in Tomorrow?"

"Why yes of course, dear one." the lady smiled. Hannah was a little relieved by this, but didn't return the smile.

"Well, I will be glad to tell you that this your mother, Hannah." Mrs. Foster's eyes were definitely welling up now, Hannah thought. She gasped wide-eyed at the woman.

"Yes, dear, you are my daughter and I came here today to ask permission for you to move in with me in my home. I would love to have you."

"Yes, I'm sure you would." Hannah said. She meant it politely, but Mrs. Foster obviously took it as sarcasm.

"Hannah, speak nicely to your mother." At this statement, Mrs. Foster broke down and hurried off into the kitchen.

"Hannah, I wish to know," the lady inquired, staring with her soft eyes, "would you like to have a mother?"

"Oh, yes, more than you'll ever know!" Hannah exclaimed, clasping her hands together.

"Then it is only right that you must come and live with me."

Hannah nodded, totally bewildered, not knowing she had just made a huge decision.