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Soon, though, Fernando was banging frantically on the French doors. Maria jumped up. Mom came rushing at the noise. “It’s gone,” he stammered when Mom threw open the door.

“What are you talking about?” Maria cried.

“The Bonsai Room –it’s down the cliff!”


We were all running now, but when we reached the place where the hill had collapsed, the gash in the land brought us up short. Irrigation pipes were exposed like broken bones. Where our Garden dropped away most steeply to desert valley below, a large part of the hill had caved away, carrying the Bonsai room with it. Mom gave a little cry. She had been nurturing her Bonsais for years. Susie grabbed my hand. The Bonsai Room was one of our most enchanted spaces, where ageless elves slipped silently in silver slippers.


“I see one,” Maria called. “There!” She pointed down the cliff face at a miniature maple. Fernando saw it too, and was already easing himself down.

“I see another,” he called, having carefully set aside the first. He clawed at the dirt and rock with his hands.

“I’m coming,” Mom cried.

“I’ll get a shovel,” Maria shouted, already turning.

I turned to get a shovel too, racing ahead of Maria. Susie ran with me, still clutching my hand.

[Excerpt Landslide, Page 58]


“I see another,” he called, having carefully set the first aside. He clawed at dirt and rock with his hands.

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