Tuesday, January 3, 2012

22. Portal to the fairy realm

        Something bad’s about to happen.  I have that feeling.  Something bad with regards to my fairy.  We haven’t seen any more of the gnomes since their attack, nor had any further visits by belligerent warrior fairies or jealous pixies, but I’ve spotted rats in the yard, hiding in the bushes and hedges, watching, waiting - like they’re keeping us under surveillance.  And crows too, always crows about during the daylight hours, in the trees, on the street lights, on the roof of our house, cawing and fussing and watching us with cocked heads.  Something is about to break and the waiting is hard to take.  The fairy prince wants my help with his expedition.  What and how and I have no idea, and Bonnie’s not saying.  The stress weighs heavy.  Something big is coming.
        Bonnie hasn’t been herself lately either, not the happy cheerful little fairy I found in the woods full of boundless energy and enthusiasm, and always a smile.  She insists on staying close by and I keep her with me always.  All through the Christmas break I didn’t go out of the house unless I had to, and when I did I took Bonnie along.  We didn’t have any company over the holidays and Mom was suffering from bouts of depression, so it’s been a difficult time for us.  We watched a lot of TV.
        I’m not complaining, I can take care of myself, but I worry about the fairy.  I think she misses her own kind.  I don’t dare leave her at home, what if the gnomes came back, or the warrior fairies, or the other pixies?  No telling what harm might happen if I’m not there.  Think if I hadn’t been home that time the gnomes attacked, or if I hadn’t rescued her from the rats in the woods, or taken her with me when the warrior fairies clipped her wings and wanted to do worse.  She needs me.
        She rides in my pocket and goes everywhere with me, to school, to scripture study, to the grocery store, or just hanging out downstairs.  She stays quiet, she’s learned the importance of not being discovered or making a commotion, and no one notices us.  At least no one I’m aware of, although I can’t help but imagine fairies watching from every tree and gnomes in all the bushes.  We do see rats about, and the crows everywhere.
        Madison cornered me at church after Scripture Study this morning and I finally relented and told her all about the gnome attack.  It felt good to tell someone.  She was totally astonished.  She’s been seeing rats in her parent’s yard too, especially the backyard, lots of them.  We decided to visit the fairy meadow and see if anything had changed.  We had to do something.  Bonnie objected, but we determined to go anyway.  I can’t stand the waiting.  We picked up Westley along the way, strength in numbers, and went directly there after school while the sun was still high, avoiding the hours of sunset and sunrise when fairies are known to be most active, or the night when gnomes come out.
        Everything at the fairy meadow seemed normal, at first.  The trees there are actually quite beautiful, in the day, in the sunshine, compared to last time we were there, at night, with crows chasing us after our confrontation with the fairy prince and battle with warrior fairies, when I was half delirious from poison tipped arrows and spears and eating the fairy dust concoction.  It seemed so much more peaceful.  The ferns and grass and meadow flowers and bushes were waving gently in the breeze, inviting us in.  I actually felt my spirits lifting, maybe all was not wrong with the world.
        Then Westley saw something ominous.  “Look at this,” he exclaimed, leading us to the middle of the sunny meadow.  Ferns had been cut back and dead fall removed to clear a distinctly circular path surrounding the pile of rocks nearly in the center of the meadow.  There were mushrooms growing all along the path, lots of them, like they’d been planted and cultivated there.   Bonnie flew along the path examining them in detail.  It was the strangest thing, mushrooms growing in this circular path around the rocks, forming a dense unnatural mushroom ring about 40 feet in diameter.  Westley approached a big one and kicked the fungus, sending sporeous white gunk flying across the meadow.
        “Don’t do that,” Bonnie chided, flying around his head.  She looked a little comical because she was wearing a Barbie Doll evening dress of purple velvet with sequins that sparkled, which she had cut short to free up her legs for flying, although she kept the high heels because she liked the way they looked on her, and had on dinner gloves that had sleeves to her elbows, and a plastic pearl necklace.
        “Leave the mushrooms alone Westley,” I said.
        “Bonnie, come here,” Madison held a hand up to the fairy.
        The little fairy flew over obediently and sat in the palm of her hand.  “Yes Madison?”
        “You know anything about these mushrooms?” Madison asked.
        “Yes Madison.”
        “Well, tell us what you know.”
        The fairy looked over at me, as if for permission.  “Go ahead Bonnie,” I said encouragingly.
        Bonnie glanced about at the trees, as if making sure she wouldn’t be overheard.  I thought probably we surely were being watched, but she seemed satisfied.  She spoke in a whisper nonetheless, causing us all to draw in closer.  “It means they will be doing it soon,” she said.
        Madison caught her breath.  She leaned in over Bonnie.  “Doing what soon?”
        The fairy looked thoughtful, then responded.  “Opening the portal, they will soon be opening the portal, the gateway between the realm of fairies and the human realm.”  Bonnie looked my way anxiously.  “Oh, Michael, you must be careful?”
        “What, why?”
        “They will come for you soon.”  Bonnie fished around in her belt pack and withdrew a small leather pouch.  She stood up in Madison’s hand and held it out to me.  “Here Michael, you must take this.”
        I accepted the pouch from her?  It was made of extremely thin and fine leather and wasn’t much bigger than a gum wrapper.
        “You must take this power,” Bonnie insisted.  “At the first sign of any other fairies, you must breathe it into your nose.”
        Madison frowned.  “What’s it for!” she questioned.
        “They come for Michael’s help,” Bonnie said.  “When the time is right, they will come for Michael’s help.  This powder will counteract any pixie dust they try to use on Michael.”  At that moment a crow squawked loudly, causing us all to crouch and turn towards the trees on our left.  “At least I hope it will,” Bonnie exclaimed.  “I have tried so hard to come up with a proper antidote.”
        I couldn’t help but remember how weak Bonnie’s pixie dust had been compared to the stuff that Harvey fairy had me eat that day in the woods.  “Bonnie,” I spoke to the fairy.
        She looked at me anxiously.  “Yes.”
        “What was that stuff the fairies had me eat in the woods?”
        She looked down.  “Rheoli.”
        “What does it do?” I insisted.
        Bonnie’s brow drew in and the hair on the back of her head ruffled.  “The rheoli you ate that day is still in your blood, and will be for a lunar cycle at least.  All they need do is blow a tiny trace of additional rheoli powder in your face to activate the effects, and then you will do whatever they wish.”
        “I can’t believe they can get control of a person’s mind like that,” Westley exclaimed.  “It’s not possible.”
        “Oh they can, they can,” Bonnie exclaimed.  “They proved it the other night.  They took Michael away from me and there was nothing I could do to stop them.”
        A chill went up my spine.  She was referring to the night woke up in the woods with no idea how I got there.  “Fine,” I tucked the small leather pouch in my shirt pocket.  “The first sign of any other fairies and I will sniff your antidote.”
        “You can’t be serious,” Madison exclaimed.  Then she raised Bonnie up to eye level.  “What do they want with him?  What do they want him to do?”  Bonnie looked down and wouldn’t answer.  So Madison gently blew on her, to get her attention, ruffling her clothes and causing her to stiffen the hair on the top of her head.  “We need to know.  What do they want?” Madison insisted.  “You must tell us what they want with Michael?”
        Bonnie looked defiant.  “I cannot tell.”  Then she rolled off Madison’s hand, fell a few feet, and went into a swan dive, gained some speed as she uncurled her wings, and gracefully pulled up, taking flight.  She flew up in the air between us.  “I cannot tell.  I am bound by oath.”
        I put my hands up.  “It’s okay Bonnie, you don’t have to tell us anything you don’t want too.”  Madison glared at me, so I added, “But what can you tell us?  What do these mushrooms have to do with opening a portal to the fairy realm?”
        Bonnie signed and looked about at the ring of mushrooms.  “They are a condition.  The portal may only be opened under certain conditions.”
        “Okay,” Westley said.  “So why don’t we destroy the mushrooms right now and be done with it?”
        Bonnie looked aghast.  “They would be very angry.  This is the only way they can ever return Prince Vercingetorix back to his kingdom.  If you destroy the mushrooms they would consider you a threat to his very survival, a threat that would have to be eliminated.”
        “They don’t scare me,” I said.  “And personally, I could care less if this Prince Vader fairy and his minions do get back,” I said.  “But what about you Bonnie, would you go with them?”
        We all looked to Bonnie, who faltered in her flight, then came to rest on my shoulder.  “No, Bonnie belongs to Michael now,” she whispered.
        “But do you want to go back?” Madison asked.
        The fairy shook her head.
        Madison persisted.  “What if Michael gave you permission?”
        “Okay,” I cut Madison off.  “This is really none of your business, Madison.”
        She glared at me again, harder, and paused as if holding back some smart remark.  She straightened her hair and took a deep breath, then said,  “Well, I do think we need to know what they want with you, Michael?  Don’t you?  What is the purpose of their expedition, we need to know?”
        “It won’t matter if we stay away from here,” Bonnie said.  “And we keep them away from us.”
        Madison backed up grudgingly, then asked.  “Can you tell us when they might be coming, or trying to go back home?”
        “It all depends on all the conditions being just right,” Bonnie said.
        “Tell us the other conditions then,” Madison said curtly.
        “Well, Bonnie not know them all, but it only works at night, with a clear full moon shining bright.”
        “Of course,” Westley chuckled.  “You have to have that full moon.”
        I scowled at him so he shut up.  “Go on Bonnie?”
        “Portals between realms are always located beneath the earth, below the surface, and surrounded by a magical ring of mushrooms, with falling water near.  These sites are most sacred and are maintained and protected by the gnomes.  Yet it takes both fairies and gnomes, acting in concert, to open a portal.”
        “But I thought gnomes and fairies were enemies,” Westley said.
        “Yes, we are, but to open a portal we must work together.  A holy truce is called and terms agreed upon by our rulers.  It must be for our mutual benefit.  Both to gain from the crossing.  No blood may be spilt or the truce is violated and the opportunity lost.”
        Westley interrupted.  “That’s why the fairies during the battle with the gnomes had covers over the tips of their arrows, and the gnomes too.  The drawing of blood would violate the truce.”
        “Yes, of course.”
        “Except,” I broke in.  “Bonnie you stabbed that one gnome with your dagger, the ugly one with the horned helmet and the axe?”
        “Bonnie an outcast now.  Not part nor portion of the fairy expedition.  Gnomes not know it then, but they know it now.  Gnomes will kill me now, if given the chance, and none would cry foul.”
        “I won’t let that happen,” I said quickly.
        The little fairy smiled at me appreciatively, then she continued, “Fairies must bring the sacred silver powder, the dust that burns.  Also the dagger of Goleuni Nefol, which is well protected by Little Io flying high.  The sacred dagger of Goleuni Nefol is struck against the hammer Golau Uffern, which I assume the gnomes have back now, although maybe Carl or Jose got to it first.  Goleuni Nefola and Golau Uffern must be struck against each other such that a spark is produced, which ignites the silver dust that burns.”  Bonnie raised her hands above her head reverently.   “The proper words of intonation are spoken.”
        “And then what?” Westley asked, his mouth open with wonder.
        “Then,” Bonnie drew up on her tip toes.  “If our God approves, then a portal opens and a passage from the Realm of Fairies and Gnomes connects to the sacred spot within another realm.”
        “Then the Fairy Prince and his expedition can return home,” Madison whispered.
        “Yes,” Bonnie’s eyes glittered.  “But, they want to go not without the object of their quest.”

      January 3, 2013
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