Starfell Willow Moss and the Lost Day (Starfell #1) - Dominique Valente
The Girl Who Found Lost Things
Most people think being born with a magical power would be a bit of a dream come true. But that’s only because they assume that they’d get exciting powers, like the ability to fly, become invisible or turn an annoying relative into a pig. They think magic is a big feast, where everything is laid out, ripe for the picking.
However, in the world of Starfell, not everyone who is lucky enough to have a bit of magic up their sleeve these days gets the really good bits – like, say, the triple-chocolate fudge cake. Some just get those wilted carrot sticks that no one really wanted to eat anyway. This seemed to be the unfortunate case for Willow Moss, the youngest and, alas, least powerful member of the Moss family.
Willow had received an ability that was, in most people’s opinions, a little more magical scrapyard than magical feast. Useful, but not in a snap, fizzle and bang sort of way. Not even a little snap, or a low sort of bang, though there was almost a fizzle, when you squinted.
Willow’s power was in finding lost things.
Like keys. Or socks. Or, recently, old Jeremiah Crotchet’s wooden teeth.
That hadn’t been fun; the teeth had landed in Willow’s outstretched palm, covered in gooey saliva from the mouth of Geezer, the Crotchets’ ancient bullmastiff.
After the Crotchets paid Willow a spurgle – the standard rate since she was six – Willow decided that an increase was long overdue. She also made a vow from then on to keep a fisher’s net with her at all times to catch the more unsavoury items she was likely to find.
So, while it wasn’t exactly a profitable talent, it did put food on the table – usually a half loaf of bread most days. Which was something at least. Unless you compared it to her middle sister Camille’s talent. Camille had recently lifted a plough, donkey still attached, off Garron Jensen, with her mind.
Yup … Camille’s powers were a bit flashier.
It was at age six, when Willow’s power had finally surfaced, that her father had explained to her that the world was made of different types of people. ‘They’re all necessary, all important. It’s just that some attract a bit more attention than others. There are people like your mother, who commands respect the second she walks into a room. (The fact that she hears dead people speak helps with that a bit too.) Same with your sisters. And then there are people like me and you.’
Which hurt. Just a little.
Willow, despite her name, was short with long, stick-straight brown hair and brown eyes to match. She looked a lot like her father, while her sisters had inherited her mother’s striking looks – tall with flowing black hair and green eyes that were described as ‘emerald-hued’. Although Willow was pretty certain no one in the Moss family had ever seen an emerald close up.
When Willow complained to Granny Flossy that she didn’t look like her striking mother and sisters, Granny had harrumphed. She didn’t have patience for vanity. She couldn’t afford to with green hair. Granny Flossy had once been one of the best potion-makers in all of Starfell, but was now called ‘Batty Granny’ by most people due to a potion explosion in the mountains of Nach that had caused some rather interesting effects, one of which was the colour of her hair.
‘Tsk, child. Your eyes may not be “emerald” like the others, but they’re as good as, ’specially when it comes to spotting things that others don’ seem to see,’ she said with a sly grin, before she stashed a few of her dodgier potions beneath a loose floorboard in the attic that only Willow seemed to know about.
Granny Flossy was right about Willow spotting things other people seemed to miss. It had become a talent over the years. Like today, while she stood in the cottage garden in her usual position, looking at the small line of people that snaked round the low stone wall, all seeking Willow’s help to find their misplaced possessions.
‘I just can’t seem to find them. I’ve looked everywhere …’ said Prudence Foghorn from behind the open gate.
‘Did you try on top of your head?’ asked Willow.
‘Oh my!’ said Prudence, feeling the top of her head only to discover her missing rhinestone spectacles. ‘Silly me,’ she said with an embarrassed giggle before turning away.
‘That’ll be one spurgle,’ said Juniper, Willow’s oldest sister, coming out of the cottage and