The most difficult chapter for me to write is the first chapter in each book. "A Light Shines Forth" was no exception. I have worked on this for two days. It may change as I write the other chapters but the basics are there. I already love Ellie and Isabella.
With eyes filled with wonder, best friends Ellie Emerson and Isabella Miller peered through the window. Several feet below the frothy white waves curled through the icy blue waters of the Great Lake Huron. It didn't matter that they had looked out this window hundreds of times, the majestic view took their breath away each time they stopped at the window.
Their heads close together Ellie whispered, "Do you think she looks out this window at night after everyone leaves?" Her best friend answered with a silent nod.
They pulled away from the window and continued their trek up the last of the eighty five steps twisting toward the sky.
After they reached the top of the winding staircase they entered the glass enclosed tower. Both of them broke into smiles a mile wide. As always they felt as if they could reach out and touch the clear blue skies.
April was their favorite time of year to camp at the Tawas State Park in East Tawas, Michigan. Even though it could be chilly, their families usually had the campground to themselves. Ellie and Isabella pretended the vast park was their kingdom; the lighthouse their castle. They may be eighth graders, but years ago they pinky promised never to grow up too much for their shared kingdom.
Ever since Ellie was two years old her parents had taken her camping at Tawas Point State Park during spring break. That was twelve years ago after a Christmas potluck at their church, St. Mary Cathedral. The Miller and Emerson families sat by each other for dinner. By the end of the night Mr. and Mrs. Miller had convinced the Emerson's to come camping with them.
Isabella's father, Jerry, started volunteering as a lighthouse keeper every spring break, as soon as he turned eighteen. After college he married Kay and they continued the tradition. When Noah, Isabella's big brother was born, Kay and Jerry pulled grandpa's trailer up for the family to camp in while volunteering. Only adults could be lighthouse keepers. Jerry slept in the lighthouse each night while the rest of the family camped in the trailer.
Each year since that potluck the families camped all week. They made minor repairs, painted and landscaped around the lighthouse in preparation for the first visitors. They always came back for the Point Celebration Days, held annually on the second weekend in June. The celebration was filled with fun events offered for the entire family.
All these years Ellie and Isabella had been best friends. They looked like they were complete opposites. Ellie never had to think about how much she ate while Isabella thought about food a lot. Ellie had long blonde hair braided down to the middle of her back. Her mother agreed to let her keep her hair long with only a trim twice a year to keep the ends nice, under one condition. Ellie was not supposed to fuss about getting her hair fixed each morning. No crying or whining that her mother was hurting her with the hairbrush as it worked its way through the snarls. It had been a small price to pay to be able to keep her long hair all her life. Now she brushed her own hair of course.
Isabella on the other hand had short black curls that framed her face. That is to say that today she had short curls. Her Aunt Susie was taking classes to become a hair stylist and whenever she learned something new she tried it out on her niece. Isabella's mother put her foot down and refused to let her sister, Susie color the 9th grader's hair. Isabella's mother had told her daughter several times, "Until you are out of high school there will be no hair dying."
But when it came to the important things in life Ellie and Isabella could have been twins. They both loved being outdoors, especially camping. They loved writing and reading. But most of all they loved to spend long summer days riding their bikes together. They hated doing dishes, folding laundry and history class.
This spring break was going to be extra special. Mr. Miller had received permission to have Isabella and Ellie spend the last night in the lighthouse. The girls were so excited, but very scared. What if they saw her?