THREE LITTLE DREAMERS

This is a bittersweet story of modern girls and ancient gods, set on a make-believe tropical island. Please comment nicely!

The three girls clattered noisily up the wooden steps and waved and shouted and tapped on the glass.

"Cora? Baby doll, is that you?" The bald, fat little man with the hairy chest and the flashy gold chains immediately opened the sliding glass doors and hugged the raven-haired girl in the bikini.

"Uncle Sid, these are my friends, Margarita and Alicia. We're taking a little break from school and we got a fabulous deal on plane tickets so we thought we'd just come down and see you. We just walked up from the beach and we're really hungry!"

"You walked all the way up from the beach?" Fat little Sid gaped at the three gorgeous girls. "Come in, come in right away!"

All three girls were busy enjoying ice-cold drinks and sampling native delicacies from a huge platter in the den when Uncle Sid brought the ancient wooden idol into the cool, dimly lit room.

"Uncle Sid's a collector," Cora explained, making room for the primitive idol on the low wooden table. "He's always digging stuff up in the jungle and selling it to the museums for tons of cash."

"I'm not selling this baby," Uncle Sid said proudly, patting the fiercely frowning idol as though it were a pet. "Old Azatlamanu was the warrior god of his people."

"He looks really cruel and bloodthirsty." Alicia was a slim and delicate-looking girl with a shy smile and waves of pale gold hair. She shuddered as she studied the ancient object on the table.

"I'll bet hot-looking girls got thrown to him on every full moon." Margarita made the idea of human sacrifice sound almost sexy. She was the bold one, with flaming red hair and a husky laugh.

"Well, the island people believed Azatlamanu was their protector," Uncle Sid explained, pouring fresh drinks for all three girls. "Intruders often found themselves falling into his power. Now long ago there was a legend about how the god gained his powers . . ."

None of the girls meant to be rude. But as Uncle Sid talked and talked, all three of his beautiful guests began to yawn and rub their heavy eyes. Soon Margarita and Alicia and Cora were all fast asleep. And the eyes of the ancient god began to glow.

Cora woke up late the next morning, stretching and yawning and feeling fresh and rested. When she wandered outside, she saw Margarita and Alicia tossing a beach ball back and forth on the lawn, both laughing and squealing in the sun.

"They don't remember anything, do they?" Cora asked, bending down to kiss Uncle Sid lightly on the forehead before helping herself to a steaming cup of rich island-brewed coffee.

"Most of the girls who are chosen remember nothing afterwards." Uncle Sid was slumped in a beach chair, gazing sadly out to sea. "But sometimes, a woman is called to serve him forever."

"And you?" Cora gave her uncle a searching look.

"My time is almost up," he said, sighing. "I serve willingly, but I no longer dream. Nor do I always hear Azatlamanu when he calls. I didn't even know you were flying down here with your friends."

"That's funny," Cora said, slowly sipping her coffee. "I've been dreaming about coming down here for months."