Kids on Fire – Free Sci-Fi/Fantasy Chapter Book Excerpt: The Sapphire Prism Cave

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Last week we announced that Peter M. Leschner’s The Sapphire Prism Cave is our Kids Corner Book of the Week and the sponsor of our student reviews and of thousands of great bargains in the Kids Book category. Now we’re back to offer a free Kids Corner excerpt, and if you aren’t among those who have downloaded this one already, you’re in for a treat!

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The Sapphire Prism Cave (A Journey Through the Space Vortex)

by Peter M. Leschner

4.6 stars – 7 Reviews

Kindle Price: 99 cents

Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled

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Here’s the set-up:
The Sapphire Prism Cave takes you on a soaring journey of the heart and imagination. James and Julia, spirited, fun loving 11-year-old twins, stumble upon an incredible cave filled with multi-colored, magic crystals which endow them with special powers that touch and transform their childhood in wonderful ways. Everything changes when James is mysteriously drawn through a hole in the cave’s ceiling and transported through a space vortex to a planet in a distant galaxy. There he uses his newfound powers to surmount challenges he encounters in the enchanted kingdom he discovers. Back home, Julia and her family attempt to unlock the mystery of James’ disappearance. Will James and Julia be reunited after being separated by time and space? Join them on their adventures and find out!

The Sapphire Prism Cave is Book 1 of the A Journey Through The Space Vortex trilogy.

* * *

And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:


Chapter 1

At Play



With a single leap, James landed on the balcony adjoining the room in which Princess Julia was being held captive. His light saber drawn, he pressed it menacingly against Robert’s throat.

“Let her go! Release the Princess! RELEASE HER NOW!” snarled James. Robert froze for a second and then, with a single movement drew his own light saber.

“Let’s duel!” James shouted as he cartwheeled away from Robert and sprung to his feet, cutting the air with his light saber like a true Jedi Master.

Robert and James dueled for the better part of a quarter of an hour, neither boy quite getting the advantage over the other.

“James,” deadpanned Julia, “with the time this is taking, I’d be dead by now.”

“Come on, stay in character,” James replied. “Act like a real Princess.” With that he lunged at Robert and knocked the light saber from his hand.

“Hah, hah. I won! Let’s play again,” shouted James bursting with enthusiasm and twirling the light saber in his hand.

Robert sighed and pleaded, “Let’s do something else. How many times can we play Star Wars? ”

“Alright. Come downstairs. There are always video games we can play.”

“Hey James, what about me?” cried Julia. “Can I join in?”

“You need more practice Julia. You never know what you’re doing on these games. Come on Robert, let’s go.”

Julia shook her head. James could be so annoying. Well, aren’t all brothers? she thought to herself. But that was James – always running a mile a minute. Annoying, charming and charismatic, but he was, after all, her only brother and, truth be told, she loved him. In fact, though she was loath to admit it, at times she was crazy about him.

Although twins, Julia took on the role of the “wiser, older sister.” Technically, she was older, having been born 35 minutes before James. Both siblings had straight, shiny golden blonde hair and blue eyes. Dimples dotted their cheeks. Hints of freckles were sprinkled beneath their eyes and over their noses. Laughter came easily to them and with genuine enthusiasm. Julia was more thoughtful and calculating. James, well, he lived for the moment. His mind caught up with his fast moving body eventually – although sometimes a little too late.

Julia shrugged off her brother’s temporary rejection and headed for her room filled with posters of her favorite singers and animals, horses and dogs. She put on the headphones to her iPod and got lost in her music.

The Wyatts lived in a spacious two-story colonial situated at the end of a cul de sac, in Norpine, New Jersey, a picturesque town in the northeast corner of the state. James’ and Julia’s bedrooms, their parents’ master bedroom and a guest room were on the second floor. The master bedroom and guest room each had small balconies facing the back yard and woods beyond. A large staircase led from the front door entryway to the second floor. On the first floor was a formal dining room adjacent to a bright kitchen with a skylight and a cozy living room.

Downstairs in the living room, James jumped up and down and moved vigorously in front of a large flat-screen television as he played his latest video game, “Space Intruders”, with Robert. His movements controlled a figure on the screen as he artfully tried to avoid the space aliens trying to capture him. When it was Robert’s turn, he tried his best but the aliens got the better of him.

“Jump and fire now. NOW! Or they’ll capture you!” warned James. And sure enough they did. Game over. Defeat wrote itself all over Robert’s face.

Jenifer Wyatt, James and Julia’s mother, looked in on the two boys and alerted them. “Remember we have to go in five minutes. Robert’s got to be home by six o’clock. Please start getting ready.”

Jenifer was a kind and caring mom with a strong spiritual core. She had left her career as an interior designer after James and Julia were born to focus on raising them and never looked back. She enjoyed her family, cooking, gardening, horseback riding and yoga. Jenifer stood about 5’7″ tall. She was slim and well toned. She had long blonde hair and soft green eyes.

“Come on, Robert. We have time for just one more game. You can do this!” prodded James.

“All right. All right,” replied Robert. “Put the game in practice mode for a minute. Then I’ll try again.”

After giving Robert a short practice run, James started a new game. He went first again and deftly evaded and defeated the aliens. With the confidence gained from his practice run, Robert was finally able to evade and destroy three aliens, but the fourth one got him. Just as this happened Jenifer popped in again.

“Come on boys. Please get into the car. We have to go. Robert’s mom will be annoyed if he’s late. Come on.”

“Just a minute, Mom. I need something from my room.”

“James. NOW. We have to go!” commanded Jenifer.

But it was too late. James had already bounded up the stairs and banged open the door to his room. James’ room was filled with posters of his favorite musicians and space heroes. It was also cluttered with space charts of planets comprising the solar system, a large telescope, Lego Star War models and all kinds of action figures. Just after putting on his coat, he grabbed two of his favorites, Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and headed downstairs as Jenifer waited impatiently.

“Julia do you want to come? We’re going to drop Robert off at home. Then, we are coming right back.”

“Mom, wait one second. Just finishing up a FaceTime chat with Isabel.”

“Julia, we’ll be in the car. Please hurry.”

Robert, James and Jenifer all headed to the car. Julia wrapped up her call and headed down. Finally, fifteen minutes later than planned, everyone was in the blue Lexus SUV and ready to go.

“What are you guys doing for winter break this year?” inquired Robert.

“You won’t believe this but we’re heading to Disneyland for the first time,” replied James with a smile on his face.

“Disneyland or Disneyworld?” asked Robert. “I’ve been to Disneyworld but not Disneyland.”

“Disneyland. You know, the one in California.”

“Awesome. I’ve never been to California.”

“Me neither. We leave next Saturday. Our cousins, June and Kevin are supposed to meet us there with their parents Uncle Harry and Aunt Susan, my mom’s sister. I can’t wait.”

“Sounds incredible. I wish I could go but we’ll probably just be staying around here.”

“I want to go on the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride,” chimed in Julia, “and see the castle where the Princess lives.”

“Are you serious?” interrupted James rolling his eyes and then glaring at his sister. “That stuff is for babies! I want to go on the new ‘Space Mountain Extreme’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ rides.”

“Guys, guys. We’ll do our best to get to everything,” interrupted their mother diplomatically. She saw a fight coming on and wanted to quell it before it escalated. A few minutes later, Robert’s house appeared on the left and Jenifer turned into the driveway. Robert and James exchanged a quick goodbye and Robert jumped out, turning around to yell a quick ‘thank you’ to Jenifer before running inside.

Jenifer pulled away from Robert’s house and headed home. James and Julia fell unusually silent for a moment as they gazed out the window to admire a full moon and numerous stars emerging in the clear evening sky. Suddenly, the heavens lit up with multiple fast moving streaks of beautiful celestial light. One giant trail tore through the night sky directly overhead and suddenly burst apart creating a large fireball flare.

“Hey Mom, James!” cried out Julia. “What are those incredible lights in the sky? What’s going on?”

“It looks like a meteor shower!” shouted James. “This is so awesome!” he continued excitedly scanning the sky.

“It really is a spectacular sight,” agreed Jenifer.

“Wow, look at the that big one. It seems so close. It almost looks like it’s on course to crash in the woods near the mountain behind our house,” James observed. “Mostly meteors burn up when they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere, but if they’re big enough and don’t fully disintegrate, they can create a crater when they hit,” he added.

The meteor shower continued for the duration of the trip back home. The colorful, mysterious streaks of light in the night sky mesmerized and enchanted James and Julia.

“We’ll have to tell dad about this,” James added excitedly. “I’ve never seen anything like it around here before. Only in movies or on TV.”

“Yes, it’s truly amazing. Almost magical,” added Julia softly.

By the time their father returned from work, the meteor shower had ended. Fortunately he was able to share in the excitement created by the extraordinary event based on his family’s enthusiastic description of the incredible light show which nature had provided.



Chapter 2




Two weeks prior to leaving for Disneyland, Julia pulled out a suitcase and started packing and organizing it. Julia was neat, meticulous and always wanted to be prepared. Not only was she sure to pack her iPod Touch but she also made sure she had a full set of her favorite fashionable clothes and some stuffed animals for company. As the departure date grew closer, she surveyed her suitcase more frequently to make sure that she had everything she would need for the journey.

Thursday night, two days before they were going to leave, James, Julia, their father, George, and Jenifer all sat around the dinner table enjoying a fine home-cooked meal. George had graduated from MIT and subsequently went on to become an aerospace engineer. George and Jenifer met in Boston while in college and fell in love on their first date. Three years after graduation they were married and five years after that they had the twins. George was a striking figure who stood 6’1″ tall and had straight, sandy brown hair and deep blue eyes. He had played soccer in high school and was on the swim team in college. George also enjoyed bicycling, tennis and an occasional round of golf. He was a devoted father who, despite his busy work schedule, always tried to make time for his children.

George looked around the table and, while stuffing a large piece of steak into his mouth, casually inquired, “So, are we all ready for our big trip to California and Disneyland?”

“I am!” puffed Julia. “My suitcase is just about packed and ready to go! What time do we leave on Saturday?”

“About 5:30 a.m. And you, James, how are things going?” inquired George.

“I haven’t started yet,” James stammered, trying to deflect his father’s question. He followed up brightly, “But I promise I’ll start tonight. Didn’t Mom pack for me?” James hedged.

“James, Mom will help you but you have to take responsibility for getting things going. Look at what your sister has already done.”

“James, I’ll help you,” offered Julia.

“Okay Julia. Thanks. I love you.”

Wow that James can be a real charmer when he wants to be thought Julia. Jenifer was heartened by such moments. Though they sometimes fought like cats and dogs, James and Julia were actually very close and loved each other dearly.

“Remember, the limo comes at 5:30 Saturday morning and we’re on our way. We’re staying at the Disneyland Hotel for four nights. We will meet June and Kevin with their parents at the hotel.”

Julia and James celebrated simultaneously, raising their hands in a high five exclaiming “Awesome!” in harmony. Well, reflected George, one way or another James will get ready, either alone or with the help of his mother and sister.


The radio alarm clock pierced the early morning darkness with a loud shrill tone followed by a rendition of the now dated song “Best of Both Worlds” blasting from the speakers. Julia could not believe it was actually time to get up. She pulled the covers over her head to try to make the noise go away. Then suddenly she bolted upright and remembered-Disneyland! Limo! She jumped out of bed and barged into James’ room.

“Come on, wake up! Wake up, James!” Julia repeated.

“Ugh, leave me alone,” moaned James.

“Limo. Plane. Disneyland. Come on. Did you forget? We have to get ready. The limo will be here soon!”

“Five more minutes,” pleaded James.

“We’re going to miss our flight. I won’t let you ruin our vacation! I just won’t!” insisted Julia.

“ALL RIGHT!” thundered James now very annoyed but fully awake.

James finally tumbled out of bed and started dressing. He could hear his parents in the master bedroom speaking, as they got ready. As James gradually became more alert, he started getting excited. He could hardly wait for the adventure to begin. After hearing so much about it, he was finally going to Disneyland!

Julia, equally excited about the trip to come, quickly put on the outfit she had carefully set out the night before. James rummaged through his drawers and pulled out a few items of clothing that surprisingly, matched.

After a slow start, James and Julia were finally ready. They headed downstairs toward the front door where the suitcases had been stashed. Glancing at the clock, Julia called upstairs.

“Mom and Dad, come on, it’s 5:15. The limo will be here any second! Let’s go!”

“Hold your horses, Mom and I will be down in a moment. Why don’t you and James grab some cereal while you wait?”

“Okay. But let’s go!”

A few minutes later the doorbell rang and the limo driver was at the door. He smiled and introduced himself as Steve. One by one he carried the suitcases and bags and loaded them into the waiting car. George and Jenifer gave the house one last once over making sure all lights and appliances were off. They had left their dog, Misty, with a neighbor the night before.

George was the last one out. He locked the door and stepped into the dark early morning chill. Everyone entered the waiting limo, which then proceeded to the airport. As they headed to New York’s La Guardia Airport, the sun began to rise. The grand adventure was about to begin.

Three hours into the flight, James got restless. He fidgeted in his seat and started to annoy his sister, who was sitting next to him in the window seat. His mom and dad sat across the aisle.

“Stop, James! Don’t pull my hair! Mom, how much longer? James is really starting to annoy me!”

“James! Knock it off. Come on. Time for a bathroom break,” said George from across the aisle. He got up and grabbed James for a walk through the cabin to the bathroom.

When they got back to their seats, George sprung for a movie. Peace and quiet was certainly worth the $10.00 price of admission. Thankfully, James settled down for the rest of the flight absorbed in the latest Star Wars movie.

After about five hours in the air, the plane finally descended into LAX airport. After disembarking, the Wyatts rented a car and made their way to the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. When they arrived, James and Julia were enchanted to see a giant replica of Mickey Mouse carved from a bush standing outside the hotel to greet them. The family checked in and went to their room to quickly unpack. With the preliminaries out of the way, they were ready to explore.

George pulled out his iPhone and called Uncle Harry. He wanted to see if the Silvermans had checked in yet and if they wanted to join them for a stroll down Main Street on the way to the park.

“Hello Harry, it’s George. We are all checked in. Where are you guys?”

“We’re done too – just sitting down for lunch at the Rainforest Café on Main Street leading to the park. Do you want to join us? We can hold off ordering for a few minutes.”

“Perfect, see you at the Rainforest Café in a few.”

After lunch, the two families made their way down Main Street to Disneyland. The cousins were very excited to see each other and actually be at Disneyland. Between checking in, lunch, and walking to the main entrance, the early afternoon passed faster than they had expected. The families decided to take in some easy, low key rides the first day and watch the fireworks and the Fantasmic show later in the evening.

After dinner, the families headed toward the lagoon to watch the Disney Fantasmic show. Julia and James were in awe as the colorful 3D holograms danced before their eyes. They stood with June and Kevin pointing at the spectacular holograms perfectly synched to music. After the show, the families stopped at an ice cream parlor before heading back to the hotel. Although the ice cream hit the spot as a late night treat, the travel and day’s activities had taken their toll.

“I’m tired,” sighed Kevin. Even James, normally a tireless bundle of energy, agreed yawning.

“Yeah, me too, but I can’t wait until tomorrow. This place is incredible. So much to see and do,” enthused James.

“Me too,” chimed in Julia.

The Wyatts and Silvermans clamored aboard the monorail and headed back to the Disneyland Hotel tired, yet filled with anticipation for what tomorrow would bring. Bright stars dotted the dark California sky as George peered out the window of the monorail. For a split second, Disneyland seemed like the sole place on the planet where childhood dreams could come true and reality with its everyday troubles could be forgotten. Pure fun was the order of the day.



Chapter 3




James was the first to stir. He cracked open an eyelid and looked at the glowing red lights of a digital clock radio with an iPod dock on the hotel room night table. After a few moments, he remembered where he was and shook off the last semblance of sleepiness.

“Guys, guys, its 8:30! Wake up! We have to get going. We are going to miss everything.”

“James, are you nuts? Everyone is still tired. We had a long trip and a long day yesterday! Give us a break!” exclaimed Julia.

“I want to have breakfast and get back to Disneyland!” persisted James jumping up and down on the bed as he spoke.

Julia couldn’t stand James’ loud voice and bouncing, and in protest, threw a pillow at him half-crying, “Be quiet. We were all sleeping! You are so irritating James! Stop!”

George and Jenifer stirred but did not immediately enter the fray. Finally, George spoke.

“James, your sister’s got a point. Take it easy. We will get there, just give us all a few minutes to wake up and get going.”

James turned on the television and surfed the channels for some cartoons. He watched for a few minutes while waiting for his family to get up. Once he saw his father head for the shower he knew things would get moving. George quickly showered and dressed and once again called Harry. They made plans to meet at the hotel restaurant for breakfast.

“So, how did everyone sleep last night? Ready for some more action today?” George asked as the two families sat down for breakfast. He then pulled out a map and started planning the day with Harry.

“Why don’t we start with ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and then head to ‘The Haunted Mansion?’” asked George. “We can stop for some of the smaller rides on the way.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Dad,” interrupted James, “I want to go on the new ‘Space Mountain Extreme’ and the ‘Star Wars’ rides.”

“We have four days left, James. We’ll get everything in. I promise,” said George.

“Let me see the map,” insisted James, grabbing it out of his father’s hands impatiently.

“James! How about a ‘Dad-please let me take a look at the map?’ No grabbing!” barked George.

“Okay. Okay. I’m sorry, Dad. I just want to check out where ‘Space Mountain Extreme’ is.”

Breakfast finally came to an end and once again the families headed back to the park for another packed day. The weather was outstanding- cool, sunny and clear. The families talked as they lined up and waited for the rides. James was smitten with “Pirates” and the “Haunted Mansion” but he continued to push for “Space Mountain Extreme.”

As they were walking by some crowds, James spotted a Star Wars Jedi training session. He shouted excitedly, “Hey, let’s go over there. They have Jedi training and dueling with Darth Vader. I want to go.”

“James, the girls aren’t interested in that right now. We have to get over to the ‘Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage’ ride. You’ll like that too.”

“But Dad! I’ll miss it!”

“No you won’t. We have to save some of the rides and activities for another day.”

Frustrated, James gave in with a pout. As the Wyatts and Silvermans headed toward the submarine ride, James spotted a gift shop. Through the opening he could see that the other side led directly to the Jedi training pavilion that he wanted to explore.

“Could we stop in the gift shop just for a few minutes? Just to look around? Please?” James asked sweetly.

“That might not be a bad idea, George,” Jenifer offered. “I want to pick up some post cards and a few gifts for friends.”

“All right. Let’s take a quick look.”

James was elated. He led the way and kept his eye on the exit that led to the Jedi training area. George and Harry talked as they causally looked at some mugs and Jenifer and Susan perused the postcards. James spotted the rest rooms and turned to Julia.

“Julia, I have to go to the bathroom. Tell Mom and Dad.”

“Okay, but be quick. We don’t have all day.”

James darted into the bathroom, finished quickly and headed out a different passageway that brought him closer to the Jedi Training area. He headed to the exit and quickly stepped outside. Just one minute, no one will know, he rationalized. James drifted into the crowd angling to get a closer look at the Jedi training session. One by one, little Jedi went to the stage and did battle with Darth Vader, promising never to turn to the “dark side.” James was fascinated.

Inside the gift shop, George finished up his conversation with Harry and started rounding everyone up to move on.

“Okay Jenifer. Ready to shove off? Julia, where’s your brother?”

“He told me he was going to use the bathroom.”

“How long ago?”

“I don’t know.”

“George, go check on him. He shouldn’t have gone in alone,” protested Jenifer.

“Julia, why didn’t you tell us?”

George came out with a panicked look on his face. “He’s not in there. I checked everywhere.”

“Are you sure? Maybe he’s walking around the gift shop?” Jenifer asked hopefully.

“All right. Everyone look around. He’s got to be here somewhere.”

Outside the last little Jedi was taking his turn on the stage with Darth Vader. James turned to see how he could get back to the shop, hopefully before anyone noticed he was gone. The crowds of visitors blocked his view. But as he turned to head back, he finally saw the “Space Mountain Extreme” ride in the distance. He knew he should just go back to the store by now but he couldn’t resist. He just wanted to get a quick, closer look at “Space Mountain Extreme” and check out how long the lines were. So he followed his heart, leaving reason unprotected to Darth Vader’s light saber.

Inside the gift shop, George, Jenifer and the others were starting to get seriously worried as they looked around and called out, “James? James?” Tears welled up in Julia’s eyes.

“Mom. He said he was just running in for a minute. It’s not my fault,” Julia said defensively.

George looked around and finally spotted the Jedi training session as it was ending.

“Ah huh! I bet the little rascal went to check out the Jedi training show. I told him ‘no’ but he still had to do it! Let me see. I’ll be right back.”

When George got there the show had just ended and the crowd dispersed. He scanned the area but he could not spot his son. Now he became even more concerned. Fear grabbed at his heart.

James ran his eyes up to the top of “Space Mountain Extreme” and knew he had to be on that ride. He could almost feel it as he saw the spaceships shooting out of the top of the mountain and sliding down so fast it looked like they were out of control. He was smitten, but he knew he should not have wandered off. He could no longer see the store. Now he was scared. He thought of his sister. Julia. Please help me. I’m at “Space Mountain Extreme.” In his state of panic he didn’t know what else to do. He should have approached some Disney employee and asked for help. Unfortunately, the obvious solution had not occurred to him and fear got the better of him. His impish smile vanished and he felt alone. Julia. Julia. Please help me. I’m at “Space Mountain Extreme,” he thought again.

George returned to the store, his anxiety rising.

“I can’t find him,” he exclaimed.

Jenifer approached the store checkout clerk and asked if there was a way to page James. Dark thoughts started rushing through her mind.

“Mom. Mom,” Julia cried, pulling on her mother’s arm.

“Not now. We have to find your brother.”

“But Mom, I know where he is.”

“How? What are you talking about?”

“’Space Mountain Extreme,’” she blurted out.

“’Space Mountain Extreme?’ What are you talking about? How do you know?”

“He told me!”

“Told you? What do you mean?’

“I heard his voice, in my head. I just know he’s there!”

Both families headed for the store exit. George checked his map but quickly saw there was no need for directions since “Space Mountain Extreme” was fully visible from the store’s exit. He pointed and said, “There it is! Let’s go. Jenifer why don’t you and Susan stay here just in case Julia’s wrong and he turns up.”

“Dad! I know he’s there. It’s almost as if he was calling to me,” Julia protested.

“Let’s not waste any more time. Julia, Harry, June and Kevin, come with me. Susan and Jenifer, you stay here. Keep your cell phone on and call me the second you see him. I’ll do the same.”

James was beginning to freak. He had followed the crowds to “Space Mountain Extreme” but now couldn’t seem to find his way back to his family. The ride had seemed like so much fun from afar, but now all he wanted was to find them. Desperation set in. Then he somehow sensed or heard Julia’s voice in his head “saying” James we’re coming.

Julia didn’t consciously send James a message. It just sort of sprung into her head as she and the rest headed toward Space Mountain Extreme. The lines to the ride were very, very long. George and Harry looked around scanning the twisting rows of people. Just when George was getting discouraged, he spotted James and shouted.

“There he is! James! James! Over here.”

James heard his father’s voice in the distance and turned to see his sister, father, Harry, June and Kevin all running towards him. James’ smile returned to his face and he too broke into a run.

“James. Thank goodness you’re okay,“ said George. “What the heck do you think you are doing heading off like that on your own? Didn’t we discuss this a hundred times? Stay together! No running off!”

“Sorry, Dad. I didn’t run off. I just wanted to take a quick look. I was coming right back.”

“James, that’s it. No excuses. Don’t ever do that again!” George thundered but was relieved to be reunited with his son. “All right. We have to let your mother know. Let’s all get back to the gift shop and pick up Mom and Aunt Susan.”

“James. Thank goodness we found you! I got your message,” Julia exclaimed.

“What message?” said James brushing off for a moment the exchange of thoughts he and Julia had shared.

“You know. I’m sure you felt it,” protested Julia. “That’s how we, or should I say I, found you.”

“We’ll talk about it later. Come on, I want to enjoy the rest of Disneyland!”

“James. One more time, no wandering off! The next time you will be punished,” George warned.

“Okay Dad. I promise,” answered James.

James, his father, sister, Harry, and his children rejoined Jenifer and Susan. After another round of hugs and kisses and a good scolding, the families set off to explore the rest of Disneyland.

By evening, the Wyatts and Silvermans were tired and hungry. They stopped at one of the restaurants at the perimeter of a live band stage and dance area. People sat at tables along an upper ring. In the center, visitors tried their hand at dancing, clapping and singing. Whenever the band took a break, there were karaoke contests. James, Julia, June and Kevin sat at a table next to their parents and downed pizza, burgers and soda. Once they were done eating they started paying attention to the music. James bounded down to the dance floor and started demonstrating some incredible break dance moves.

“I didn’t realize James could dance like that,” marveled Susan.

“Yes. He surprised us with it too. He seems to have picked it up watching videos. He’s not taking any formal dance lessons,” Jenifer replied.

When the band left the stage for an intermission, Julia and June took the stage to sing a karaoke duet version of “The Climb.” Both girls made their parents proud with a moving version of the song. Julia’s voice soared with feeling carrying the melody while June chimed in to harmonize. Night crept up onto the stage and a bright moon appeared.

After dinner and the music, the families strolled through Disneyland, stopping at one last store before heading back to their hotel. James wandered through the aisles and spotted a space solar system kit that would allow him to organize and hang the planets orbiting around the sun.

“Dad,” he cried. “Can I get this? This is the only thing I’ll ask you for the whole trip. Please?”

George went over and looked at the box and description. “Well at least it looks educational. All right, James, but that’s it. You’re sure that’s what you want?”

“Yes Dad. That’s it.”


In the meantime, June and Julia were crowding around some beautiful rocks. Julia picked up a pink, purple and white one and gasped, “Wow. This rock is amazing. Dad can I get this one and one other? Please!” Jenifer stepped over for a look and agreed, “Yes, it really is lovely.”

Another day at Disneyland was coming to a close. As the families headed back to the hotel, Julia mumbled to herself “Wow, that’s two days gone. Only two more left. Vacation time always seems to move too fast.”

As Julia had observed, the remaining days moved quickly with a seemingly never-ending series of rides, meals and fun. On the third day, James finally got his wish to go on the “Space Mountain Extreme” ride. James, Kevin, Julia, June, Harry and George all lined up and finally after a long wait, took the incredible ride. Jenifer and Susan decided to sit it out. James and Julia were in awe as the mock spaceship rocketed by planets at breakneck speeds and comets swirled by. Enemy spaceships swooped down from nowhere and fired on them. They fired back with laser-like light beams. The ride soared, showcasing a combination of lights, speeding movements and hairpin turns. Before they knew it, the wild ride was over. Not too long thereafter, the Wyatts were back in New Jersey.

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