Alisa's fingers were digging into the knees of her jeans. Her nails were turning white. "Is she mad?" she asked.
I looked at her, wanting to hug her but at the same time feeling a weird sense of responsibility, like I should try to be at least sort of parental. "Why would
she be mad?" I asked carefully.
Alisa looked at the letter in my hands. "Well . . . what did she say?" she countered.
Smart. I didn't smile, though. "Why would she be mad, Alisa?"
She paused and then crumbled. "She doesn't believe me."
"What doesn't she believe you about?"
"Narnia." Her voice was disappearing, so I reached out and took one of her hands to reassure her. Then it registered what she'd said: "Narnia." Narnia?
Was this about that letter? "What . . . ," I started, then stopped. I couldn't figure out what question to ask. "What are you talking about?"
That came out wrong. Alisa bit her lip but kept her head up. "I told her I saw the door to Narnia," she said, her blue eyes looking not quite at me but off to one side. "And I did.
In the woods. I was trying to get to it, but Miss Barnes came and caught me before I could. She ran faster than me. And she yelled at me and the door disappeared . . . because she made too much noise. She scared it away."
"The door to Narnia," I echoed stupidly.
Excerpted from A Door Near Here by Heather Quarles. Copyright © 1998 by Heather Quarles. Excerpted by permission of Laurel Leaf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.