The moonlight reflected on the beetle's carapace. It was fat, glossy black, and wonderful. Elizabeth's eyes shone with excitement as she caught it, its scrabbling claws tickling the back of her hands. Gently, she set it back down, giving it a head start before she went to catch it again. But before she could, a small booted foot stamped on it.
"Don't touch that! It's gross." Announced a little girl.
Elizabeth looked up questioningly, saddened by the loss of her plaything. "No it isn't." She retorted, her eyes welling with tears at the injustice of it all.
"Of course it is." The other girl said firmly. "Look at how oozy it is." She scraped the remains from her shoe with a blade of grass and stared at Elizabeth. "But you aren't gross at all. You're really pretty." Her green eyes snapped as she handed Elizabeth a doll. "You can play with this instead."
Elizabeth was lost in the girl's authority, she hesitated and looked hopefully at the woods where her father was hunting. He had made her promise to stay in the circle of trees while he was away. Not knowing what else to do she asked, "can I?"
"Of course," said the girl, shaking out her black hair for emphasis. "Daddy promised me that he would play, only then he fell asleep." She dropped her voice. "Can I tell you a secret?"
"Okay. I wished on that star for someone to play with. I wished it harder than anything I've ever wished for. And then… you came!" The girl smiled. "It's really exciting, even though you were playing with a nasty bug."
No one had told Elizabeth that stars were for wishing, although her mother had taught her some of their names. She didn't doubt the strange girl though. She copied the girl's motions, played with her doll, and watched the moon sail across the sky. Surely her father would come back soon.
A little while later, the strange girl looked at her again, pausing the game. "What's your name anyway?" she asked.
"Elizabeth, can I tell you another secret?"
The bold girl leaned forward, kissed her on the cheek and whispered. "I also wished for a sister."