Elise gratefully clasps Maxzyne’s sturdy brown hand. Afraid of being seen in the open, the girls skitter in the direction of the weeping Japanese plum tree and its treasure of costume jewelry. The after-hours lighting gives the delicate tree a frightening air. Branches snake down around the eerily glowing, white trellis, casting long shadows underneath. The crystal gems nestle on velvet pillows in their boxes, unable to sparkle in the faint light.
“Oh, dear. I hope nothing has happened. Maman and Papa must be so worried!” Elise whispers.
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