Anne is a little girl with a big imagination. She loves fairy stories, growing things and old treasures. She finds a secret door to another world called Other Land, a world that can help hers. In this other world, Anne discovers wonderful things and new friends - and darkness too. The darkness is growing.
All is not well in her new fairy tale world and it threatens her own world. Will Anne find the courage and the answers to prevent the enemies of Other Land and the entire natural world from destroying everything?
There was a little gray shed in the woods, near a small neighborhood. A lonely little thing it was, sitting by itself in a clearing, not very far from a yellow house with white shutters. The shed was overrun with winding, withered vines and it sat in a sea of wildflowers. It had a green door and it had been standing there for as long as anyone who lived in the area could remember. If anyone actually remembered that it was there. Few did. Not far away, in the yellow house with the white shutters lived a little girl with long, brown corkscrew curls named Anne Greene. Anne loved trees, flowers, ladybugs and old, found things. She also loved stories about fairies, imps and other fairytale creatures. In fact, she was something of an imp herself and she always remembered things. You have the memory of an elephant! Mama would always tell her. The shed was there when her family first moved in to the yellow house, lonely and hugged round with ivy. With the green door. Green was her favorite color because trees and grass and plants were green. She would pass it by on her way to and back from school, always wondering what was inside. Of course, the door was locked. She had already tried it. Once, she even tried to peep through the keyhole. Her eye spied nothing but dusty darkness. A few boys from school had thrown rocks through its one window which was too high for Anne to climb up and see through. Dad said to stay away from it since it wasn't their shed and that what the boys did was wrong. It was very old and forlorn, and after the broken window, Anne thought it now looked abused. One night mama and dad had a big barbecue. The sun was beginning to sink down so dad lit the torches. The mosquito coils smoked. Smoke tendrils lifted themselves lazily around the torches and their burnt, sweet scent mingled with the scents of the roasted meats and the roasted corn they had all eaten. The sky was layered in violet, bright pink and gold swatches of color. Earlier, Anne and some of her friends next door picked blackberries and then climbed trees, especially their favorite one, the great walnut tree next door, but that was short-lived as the old walnut tree was full of webs and worms from leaf to root. In fact, until the barbecue it had been a year since they had climbed it because all the walnuts were now infested with tiny, white squiggling worms in the shells and gobs of cobwebs enveloped the tree. The neighbors didn't quite know why or what to do about it as nothing they did seemed to make the worms and webs go away. Anne hated cobwebs and worms and so did her friends. So they wiped the webs off, climbed down and contented themselves with picking dandelions, eating more blackberries, playing chase, eating ribs, hotdogs corn-on-the-cob and drinking bubblegum sodas. By late evening most of the guests, along with their children had left. Only a few remained and they had no children. Every now and then she could hear the relaxed twitter of laughter coming from the adults on the other side of the backyard. They sat with her parents talking about the woods. Anne was busy with something new she had found; new and wonderful, so she only heard snatches of conversation.
"The trees. Something's very wrong. They aren't healthy like they used to be."
"Too much ivy .... choking out the native plants and killing the trees...."
"Forests in trouble...have you seen lightening bugs? I've seen them around lately. I've never seen them on the west coast, though. Strange."
Anne was playing with these very bugs. She didn't find them strange in the least. They were new to her.Fireflies, dad called them. Their tiny bodies winked on and off like flashbulbs and they would light upon her hand or arm and fly off again. Anne loved it. She had never seen anything like them. She only knew them from what her mama had explained when mama lived in New York long ago. One thing everyone agreed on was that they weren't normally seen out west and it might be an odd sign, but of what, no one knew. In any case, Anne was delighted and hoped they would stay around. Such wonderful little bugs couldn't possible be a bad thing. She was fascinated with their little winking, blinking lights. The voices faded into the background. A little ginger cat came sauntering out of the tangled mass of blackberry bushes that separated their backyard from the rest of the woods. It waved its tail lazily, purring gently and pawed at her.
"Where did you come from!" Anne asked, surprised. The cat rubbed up against her leg and allowed her to pet its back. Suddenly, it ran and leapt into the bushes and mewled. Anne followed, first glancing back to see if her parents were watching. Many times they had warned her not to leave the yard. But just this once! It won't matter! Maybe I can keep the kitty! Besides, I AM seven years old! I'm big enough! she thought indignantly. I'll be back in a short while. Anne shifted her weight on to her tip toes and slid through the vines and bushes and through a hole in the hidden, blackberry entangled fence.
The cat mewled softly and pattered on to a trail in back of the fence and looked back at her as if to say: Hurry!
She followed, stumbling out on to the wide trail. Anne trailed the ginger cat down the main path and then on to a tiny, off shoot dirt path through tall grasses, sticky, prickly bushes and under the great fir and oak trees; their coats of green darkening under the shades of setting sunlight. The cat quickened its pace, approaching the clearing in the wood where the shed stood. Anne sneezed and brushed off twigs, crusty leaves and dandelion puffs from her shirt and arms. To her surprise there was a light coming from the shed, shining through it's broken window. The cat ran to the shed and then padded around to the back. Anne crept forward, staring at the light within. Who's in there? she thought. Anne gingerly pressed her hand against the door. It felt rough and tiny chips of faded paint flaked off and fell to the ground. She bent down and peeked through the keyhole. In the past she saw nothing but darkness but now there was light! Bright and yellow like sunlight but she could see nothing else. Only bright, yellow light. Nothing that indicated what the shed looked like on the inside. Surely, someone had to be in there! She knocked softly, her heart thumping heavily.
"Hello? Anybody in there? Hello?" She called out. No answer.
"Kitty? Kitty! Where are you?" Anne looked around for the ginger cat. She went around to the back of the shed but it had disappeared. Besides the soft, twittering calls of a few birds and a slight wind rustling the tree leaves, it was quiet. Anne pushed, then pulled at the rusty door handle but still it remained locked. She decided to hurry back home before her parents found out that she had gone. She would come out tomorrow and explore the shed and look for the cat. After all, it was summer vacation. As long as she did her chores she would have plenty of time for exploring and this was a mystery to be solved! Anne ran back home, wondering who had managed to get inside the shed and what, or who, was in there.