Want a glimpse of what’s coming in the sequel to SARAH & KATY AND THE IMAGINATION BLANKETS? Check out the full first chapter of SARAH & KATY AND THE BOOK OF BLANK below!
Chapter 1: No Ideas
Sarah’s mind was blank.
That was unusual, and not entirely pleasant. Usually she had all sorts of ideas to keep her and her younger sister Katy occupied. But not today.
She lay on her bed with her head hanging over the side. Everything in the room was upside down. From that angle, the floor became the ceiling and the ceiling became the floor. Across the bedroom, her younger sister Katy sat cross-legged on her own bed, but it looked like she was dangling from the ceiling.
Katy flopped onto her back. From Sarah’s vantage point, it looked like she was falling up.
“I don’t know why you lay like that,” Katy said.
“It helps me think,” Sarah replied.
She could feel the blood rushing to her head and hear her heartbeat pounding in her ears. She swished her hair back and forth over the carpet like a broom. The sisters were waiting for their friends to come over. Mom was babysitting Miss Teresa’s three children that afternoon — Milana, Indi, and Walter. Milana was Sarah’s best friend, Indi was in Katy’s class at school, and Walter was their little brother. When Mom told them earlier that morning that Miss Teresa would bring the trio, Katy insisted on inviting over her best friends, too. Unfortunately, Sophie was at home with a cold and Ryan was visiting relatives.
Sarah sighed. She knew she would have plenty of ideas once their friends arrived. After all, having visitors was fun. Waiting for them to get there was not fun.
Katy hung her head over the side of her bed, imitating her sister. “What are you thinking about?”
“What we can do until the others get here,” Sarah said.
“We can play one of the games we got for Christmas,” Katy suggested.
Sarah shrugged. Even though the holiday was only a few days ago, the newness already had worn away from all of their presents. All of the toys had been played with. All of the movies had been watched. All of the board games and video games had been played.
This was the worst time of year, Sarah decided. All of the glitter of Christmas was gone. Only the dreary gray days of winter were left.
Katy snatched a yellow blanket from her bed and waved it like a flag. “Let’s imagine a magic carpet ride to the Arabian desert.”
Sarah shook her head, causing her hair to swish the floor again. “Been there, done that. I want to do something we’ve never done before.”
“I know one thing we shouldn’t do,” Katy said, sitting upright again. “Hang around with our heads upside down. I’m dizzy.”
Sarah ignored her sister. She looked around the room. What hadn’t they done yet? What was new?
Her eyes swept over the pile of dolls on the dresser, the hammock full of stuffed animals, a doll house, a stack of board games, a book shelf, a plastic bin overflowing with Legos …
She sat up. Her attention returned to the book shelf. There was one gift left they hadn’t used. Their aunt and uncle had given them books for Christmas. They meant to start reading them during the family Christmas party — they had curled up with blankets and hot chocolate in Grandma’s living room, but just when they opened the books to start reading, Uncle Kevin had challenged them to a Mario Kart tournament. When he first asked if they wanted to play, they said no because they were going to read. But then he said he understood if they didn’t want to play just because they were afraid of losing. How could they say no to a challenge like that? They couldn’t resist setting aside the books to beat their uncle in a video game.
When they brought all of their presents home, they put the books on the shelf … and forgot.
Sarah slid off the bed and crossed the room. She grabbed both books and carried them to the middle of the floor, where she plopped on the carpet. Katy jumped off her bed and sat next to her sister.
“Are you going to read until they get here?” Katy asked.
“It’s worth a try,” Sarah said. “Maybe the books we got from Aunt Julie and Uncle Derek will be interesting.”
Sarah handed Katy the other book. The covers were identical. They were deep blue with gold foil decoration. In the center was a circular sun surrounded by squiggly rays. Vines swirled around the outside edges of the cover. Light glinted on the foil, giving the images a spark of life. If Sarah tilted the book at the right angle, the sun’s rays looked like they waved, and the vines seemed to twist and grow. It was just a trick of the light, though. It had to be.
The only thing the cover was missing was a title.
“What are these books even about?” Katy asked. When she turned hers over to read the description, she found no writing. The back cover was identical to the front.
“I’m not sure.” Sarah looked at the spine. There was no title there, either — just more gold trim. Even the edges of the pages were gold.
She opened the book. The first page was nothing but gold foil — it had no writing. She turned to the second page, which was normal paper. In bold letters it said:
THE BOOK OF ______________
“Weird,” Sarah said, holding up the page for Katy to see. “The title isn’t complete.”
Katy opened her copy to the title page. “Mine is the same.” She flipped through the book, fanning the pages quickly. Each page featured nothing but blank white space. The book was empty. She snapped it shut and tossed it aside. “I wonder if Aunt Julie and Uncle Derek know the words are missing.”
Sarah turned to the next page in her book. “Mine has some writing. Look.”
Katy scooted closer to her sister so they could read the page together.
Do not proceed with this book unless you plan to complete it from beginning to end.
Do not turn the page unless you have time to finish in one sitting.
The story does not end until you reach the last page.
Katy scrunched her eyebrows. “What is that supposed to mean? Isn’t the last page where every story ends?”
Sarah turned the page. “There’s more.”
If you turn this page, there’s no turning back.
“What do you think?” Sarah asked. “Should we turn the page?”
“It’s just a book,” Katy shrugged. “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Sarah turned the page. It was blank.
“What did I tell you? It’s just an empty book.” Katy stood up and put her hands on her hips.
Sarah couldn’t deny being disappointed. Even though Katy’s book was blank, she had hoped hers would have a story to distract them until Miss Teresa dropped off Milana, Indi, and Walter.
“Maybe this book isn’t made for reading,” Sarah suggested. “Maybe it’s made for writing.”
She stood and rummaged through the mess on top of their dresser — dolls, headbands, a wristwatch, a pair of Happy Meal toys, an empty DVD case — until she found what she was looking for. Under a lonely sock was a pink pen with a rose bloom at the end.
She returned to the book, tickling her chin with the rose petals on the pen while she thought about what to write. Finally she shrugged and bent over the blank page.
“Once upon a time …”
Before Sarah could finish writing the sentence, she uttered a surprised, “Oh!” The book grew warm in her hands. The blank page glowed gold, just like the planets and sun on the cover. Startled, she dropped it and scrambled away to stand beside Katy. They exchanged wide-eyed glances.
The light brightened. It spread off the page and filled the entire room until it became blinding. They squinted and shielded their eyes with their hands. A force like a wind pushed them toward the place where the book had fallen.
Except there was no book there any longer. Instead there was a hole in the floor shaped like the sun on the cover. Its rays inched out, reaching toward them like fingers. The circle at the center of the sun grew wider and wider, and the wind pushed them into it. They squeezed their eyes shut against the light and reached for each other’s hand.
“What do we do?” Katy shouted. Her voice was muffled by the wind and a sound of flapping pages.
“Hang on and don’t let go!” Sarah shouted back, squeezing her sister’s hand tighter.
Then they were falling.