Once upon a time, there was a little girl who dreamed houses. She moved a great deal, so she had many houses in her head. Sometimes the staircases in her dream houses would go on forever, sometimes it was the doors and hallways that multiplied. As she grew, she began drawing houses, then buying and changing houses, always looking for the elusive dream.

Then, one day, she found a very very large mansion, almost a castle. There were staircases inside the mansion and staircases outside the mansion. Orchards for fruit and six acres of gardens. Two for the solarium, the rest for the kitchens, and a treehouse for the children. There were staircases for the indoor sport court and the outdoor sport court; The outdoor sauna and the indoor sauna. And over the garage, there lived a raccoon by the name of Rascal, which should have been a clue.

One sunny summer afternoon, she discovered the house had a giant hidden octopus in the walls. A tentacle snuck out and her husband raced to chop it off. They improved the house where it had been. The next month another tentacle appeared. Soon they discovered there were so many tentacles in their house, they could not track them all down. Sometimes the tentacles in her dream house would go on forever, sometimes they could chop one off and it would never grow back. But, little did they know that it was spraying its ink through the middle of the house, and they would never be rid of it.

Finally, sick, exhausted, and out of swords, she escaped with her family to a little cottage. Heartbroken, her dreams wandered for two years in the forest before she was able to dream of houses again. Since then she has been learning how to live in the now, filling any house, big or small, full of dreams.

Angel Israel Achterbosch is a painter of fanciful architecture, watercolors, an illustrator, and occasional home stager residing in the greater Portland Metro area. Her background is in architecture and fine art. Her cover art work is featured on the Alaskan middle reader series by Patty Slack.