While sitting at his bedroom window staring at the moon, a burst of green light whisks Mark Foy away to Planet Zoron, where Prince Zincor and Princess Zayla need Mark’s help to regain the prince’s throne from Blaylock and Fentar, two evil councilors to his late father.
Mark Foy, ten years old, tossed his books on the table beside the front door, shouted hello to his mother, and raced up the stairs to his bedroom, relieved another boring day of school had ended. What would usually be another boring evening at home loomed ahead. Not tonight, though, not tonight. Mark hurried straight to his bedroom window. The sky wouldn’t darken for another three hours yet, he knew, and even then the moon wouldn’t appear until an hour later. He rechecked his almanac. He didn’t want to make a mistake and miss it. The moon would rise in the night sky at seven twenty-seven, he read, and he would be there to greet it.
He found his library card in the pants he’d worn on Saturday, crumpled but not ripped. It wasn’t like him to be so careless with his library card, one of the few things that kept his boring life from driving him crazy. He’d planned to stop at the library on his way home from school, but when he didn’t find his card in his wallet, he had to retrace his steps from the weekend. Now, he’d have to make another trip, because he needed something interesting to keep himself occupied until the moon rose tonight. Mark tucked the library card into his wallet and headed out.
After dinner, Mark went upstairs to his room. He angled his digital clock so he could see it with barely a twist of his head. He would not miss seven twenty-seven. He moved his desk chair to the window, ready when he needed it. He plumped up a pillow and sat back in bed to look over the books he’d brought home from the library—two mysteries, two science-fiction, and a book about Robin Hood he’d never seen before. He chose Robin Hood and opened to page one.
As he read, Mark thought about what a great time that must have been to be alive. Robin and his Merry Men never had to worry about feeling bored. Living in a forest. Fighting the Sheriff’s men. Robbing the rich people stupid enough to travel through Sherwood Forest. Always winning. Never doing anything wrong. Good strong friends. If only his life would be so interesting. He glanced at the clock—six fifty-four. In about half-an-hour, it very well might be. At least for a little while.
When the clock clicked to seven-twenty-five, Mark turned his book upside down on the bed, turned out the light, and moved into his desk chair. He opened the window and stared into the dark sky from his dark room as the top edge of the moon slowly became visible.
A week ago, as he casually glanced from his bedroom window, Mark had noticed a strange green glow flash from the upper edge of the moon a few minutes after it appeared. He’d looked for it the next night and each night thereafter, and each and every night, for a few seconds only, the green flash appeared and disappeared as quickly as a lightning bolt slices through the sky and vanishes.
When he told his school friends about it, they weren’t interested. They laughed and said he was seeing things. Even after he told them the right time to watch the moon, no one ever came back to him and said they’d seen the green glow. No one believed him. He’d even mentioned the green glow to his teacher, but she merely smiled and said, “Interesting.” Interesting? What good was telling him it was interesting if she didn’t check it out for herself? Mark knew what he knew, though, and chose to ignore all of them. Now, as the blue numbers of the digital clock turned to seven twenty-seven, Mark concentrated on the moon as its white, shiny curve appeared.
Then, there it was! A tiny circle of green light sparkled like a tiny dancing leprechaun. What caused it? Mark wondered. He couldn’t possibly be the only person in the whole world to notice. He should have asked for a telescope last Christmas instead of the double volume 101 Arabian Nights.
He sat up straight. What was happening? The green light got brighter—brighter than ever before. Mark leaned forward. The shimmering light lingered. He heard his mother’s footsteps coming up the stairs. Suddenly, the green light froze and burned steadily. Mark heard his mother’s hand jiggle his doorknob. His bedroom light clicked on, and from the corner of his eye, he saw his mother’s leg as she stepped into the room.
“Mark,” she said, “can I . . .”
Then the room exploded in a flash of green light. A thousand bees buzzed in his ears, and he was gone!
Mark tumbled head over heels, and when he stopped rolling and sat up, he felt like he’d been whirled around at an amusement park. Dizzy, dizzy, dizzy. Sand! Sand? And so bright! Where had the night gone? And what was with all this sand? What in the world happened to him? Where in the world was he?
. . .