Monday, January 23, 2012

29. Changeling powers

        Bonnie’s back.  My fairy’s come home at last, but she’s changed, and she’s in trouble.  Apparently, no surprise really, fairies have powers I hadn’t encountered, as if I ever really understood fairies - changeling powers.  Bonnie came back to me in the only way could, and still maintain her honor.  She had to change herself, she had to transform herself, so that she was no longer a fairy, so to speak, since I told her that I never wanted to see a fairy again.  So Bonnie changed herself into something different.  She did it for my sake.  So she could come back to me, and at great risk to herself, for I think maybe now she can never go home, never return to her own kind in the realm of fairies.
        The first sign Bonnie was back came from an unexpected source.  Westley and I were heading for home after classes.  We were cutting across the grass to the parking lot when we saw the Goths.  Westley halted immediately.  “Rats!” he exclaimed.  There they were, loitering around my car again, just like the other day, evidently spoiling for a fight.  They saw us and it irritated me to see the mocking smirks, they don’t know how to smile, on some of their faces.
        I don’t like punks and I don’t like being hassled.  “Come on,” I spoke curtly to Westley.  “We’re going to put a stop to this right now, otherwise they’ll never leave us alone.”
        “There are five of them and only two of us,” Westley protested, but I was already ahead of him.  He had to trot a little to catch up as we reached the parking lot.
        I came up to their leader, Athos, and got in his face, “Well, well, if it isn’t Robin Hood and his merry band of followers.”
        He sneered at me.  “Very funny, Boy Scout.”
        That bothered me.  I am in the Boy Scouts, and have my Eagle in fact.  Typical of punks to poke fun of things that are decent and good.  “So,” I said.  “You here to join me in a Scout Pow Wow, roast marshmallows around the camp fire and tell ghost stories perhaps?”
        “What a jerk,” the big one, Aramis, grumbled to Athos.  “Want me to teach him some manners?”  Aramis is the one you have to watch, probably the only one of the group that would actually fight and not back down if things came blows.  He might even relish the idea.
        “Hey, hey,” Westley tried to intercede.  “We don’t want any trouble.”
        Athos looked up at me.  “That right?”
        “Sure, we’re just passing through,” I said, and winked at him, which made him scowl.  “Now if you don’t mind, my car,” I said, and started around him.
        Then the girl, Milady de Winter she calls herself, surprised me for the second time.  “We have your fairy!” she proclaimed unexpectedly.  Again that smug smile.  She’s related to my next door neighbor’s the Ungers.
        “What did you say?” I asked, trying to keep the sudden anxiety out of my voice.
        She shrugged like it was no big news.  “Your fairy.  We have her.”
        I was at a loss, and also alarmed.  “I don’t understand.  How?”
        Winter looked me in the eye, then averted her gaze.  “She’s staying with us now,” Winter said.  “But she won’t eat.  She wants to see you.”
        I glanced at Westley for ideas, but he had a dumbfounded look on his face.  “Where did you find her?” I questioned Winter.
        Winter shuffled her feet.  “She found us.  She appeared out of nowhere, came out of the woods, at dawn a couple of days ago.”
        “And you didn’t tell me?”
        “She’s sick and can hardly walk.  I took her home.  We’ve been nursing her and trying to help her get better, but she’s taken a turn for the worse.  She won’t eat.  She’s demanding to see you.”  Winter looked around at her companions for support, then said.  “I think she might be dying.  So, will you come with us?”
        “Yeah, of course,” I said immediately.
        And went off in a troop, Westley and I surrounded by the Goths, and the girl Winter leading the way.  They don’t have a car so we walked, nearly a mile, to a part of town with smaller older homes, some little more than shacks, built during World War II to provide temporary housing for the influx of factory workers for the armament factory.  After the war these homes provided low cost housing for migrant workers, and then the poor, and were now reaching the point of ruin.  Many had been condemned and a large number were boarded up.  Some were still occupied though, and it was into this neighborhood where Winter lived with her parents.  We approached a condemned house next door to Winter’s home.  There was a condemned keep-out notice from the city nailed to the front door.  The windows were all boarded up and the front door nailed shut.  We circled around to the back.  Athos produced a set of keys and unlocked the rear door, which was working, and a deadbolt, and we all trooped into the abandoned house, through a small dirty kitchen and into a dingy living room.   Winter removed a sheet of plywood off the living room window to let in some light.  It had been pried loose earlier and merely propped back in place.
        The interior was furnished with a couple of junky couches and a set of kitchen chairs and a rickety table, but it had a lived in look.  The Goths made themselves right at home, two went into the kitchen to raid the cupboards for food and the others slouched about on the couches, leaving Winter at the window, with Westley and I standing nearby wondering what was next.  Shortly Aramis emerged from the kitchen with a kitchen knife, which he used to pick his teeth, in a not so veiled threat.
        Winter shook her head at him and escorted us by the Goths lounging on the couches and down a short hallway, past a small bathroom and a bedroom, to a locked bedroom door.  It struck me as odd that an inside door had a locking doorknob, and one that locked from the outside rather than the inside.  She had a key on a cord around her neck, which she inserted into the doorknob, but then stopped before turning the lock.  She nodded at me, “You only, and just for a few minutes.  Tell her to eat.”  I nodded and Westley stepped back, so Winder turned the key and opened the door.  “I’ll knock when it’s time to come out,” Winter instructed.  “Then you and your friend must leave.”
        I stepped into the small shabby bedroom and Winter shut the door behind me.  It was dim inside, there was no light fixture and the window was boarded up, but let some light through cracks along the side.
        As my eyes adjusted, and I got the shock of my life!!  Bonnie, my little fairy, was standing in the middle of the room, next to a mattress that was on the floor with some sheets and pillows strewn about - and she was human size!!!  We stared at each other in mutual shock and amazement.  She was just as tall as me, and I gazed with wonder into those familiar, but now even larger, luminous brown eyes, Bonnie’s eyes, so familiar from past encounters, but now equally as large as mine, if not bigger, familiar yet now strange and alien seeming.  I knew it was my Bonnie, but I hesitated, frightened to see her so big, and so strange.  She was human size, but she was not human, she was alien.
        Bonnie was garbed in a black, gothic type dress that fell to just above her knees and was tattered.  It was bulky on her slender figure, probably been given to her by Winter.  It had long sleeves and a high neck, and lace frill on the hem and cuffs and around the neck.  The back had been ripped open to accommodate the budge of her folded wings.  She was barefoot and dirty and her hair was in disarray.
        Bonnie’s the size of a human now, but her proportions are different from a normal girl, not enough that she couldn’t pass for a human, but enough to make her seem foreign and alien to me.  Her legs are longer than a normal girl, her figure slim, her arms and shoulders a little more muscular.  She stood in a slight crouch, balanced on the balls of her feet rather than back on the heels like most people stand, her knees slightly flexed as if about to jump upwards, although she wasn’t.  The oddities of her facial features are more pronounced in human size, her face is elfin, her cheekbones narrow, her mouth small, but her eyes very large and round with luxurious eyebrows and long eye lashes.  Her brow was knit in confusion at the sight of my arrival.  Her ears are indeed pointed.  Her hair is so thick it’s like fur, and it extends from her forehead to the back of her head like a bush, and then down her neck and back like a mane.  Her hair was standing ruffled in alarm.
        She pursed her lips together and whispered, “Mee-el?”
        “Bonnie,” I said in shock.
        She let out a cry of relief and joy, and then she leaped upon me.  But it wasn’t in steps as a normal girl, but in bounds, in two bounds and she was on me.  I instinctively recoiled.  It caught me by surprise was all, and the fact she looks so strange now, which I hadn’t noticed so much when she was small, but now that she’s life size, is so apparent.  I saw the momentary look of perplexity on her face and knew she’d noticed by reaction.  She came onto me all the more fervently and caught hold of me in an embrace, and hugged me tightly, burying her face onto my chest.  She was breathing heavily and trembling, and maybe sobbing.  I hesitantly put my arms around the alien girl, to hug her back and provide comfort, but when my hands felt her folded wings, rather than the skin of a normal girl’s back, I dropped them to my side.  I tried to step away, but she hugged me all the tighter and would not let go.  I felt trapped for a moment, and almost panicked, I was in the clutches of something alien, but the feel of her body against mine was warm and soothing, and I soon felt a glow, like pure light, radiating from her spirit to mine.
        I buried my face into her hair, which was kind of stiff but also soft, and put my arms around her waist, below her folded wings.  “Bonnie, how?” I mumbled.
        She started to really cry then, and began trembling all the more in my arms, and I so wanted to comfort her.  I held her until the tears subsided and she got control of herself.  She looked up at me, and her lips were not inches from mine.  “I’m not a fairy anymore.”
        She was not human either, but I realized instantly her implication.  “Bonnie, I’m so sorry I ordered you to leave.  I’m sorry.”
        She went limp in my arms and I thought maybe she fainted.  I had to catch her to keep her from falling to the floor.  I picked her up and carried her to the mattress.  She was light, amazingly light, surely not weighing more than half a human of her size.  I deposited her on the bed and sat next to her.  I stroked the hair on her head and she opened her eyes and looked at me imploringly.  She did look ill, very ill, so I took her hand, and she squeezed back.  Her grasp was exceptionally strong, despite her weakened state and the fragility of her body.  It felt warm in my hand and almost tingly to touch.  She was looking into my eyes worshipfully, which was a little embarrassing
        “Bonnie, what’s going on?” I asked.
        Bonnie blinked at me a few times.  Her eye lashes are incredibly long.  “Feidlimid helped me change,” Bonnie said.  “It was the only way.  A moments rest, and Bonnie be okay.”  Her voice had the ringing accent I was used to, sort of like bells, a rhymetic lyrical type speech, only now deeper with human sized vocal cords and not so high pitched.
        I felt ashamed and also alarmed.  “You are sick, and you did this to yourself so you could come back to me.”  I gestured with my hand.  “Is this permanent?”
        Bonnie shook her head and I was so relieved.  “No,” she said.  “Bonnie able to manifest in this size for only a short time.  Don’t know how long.  Feidlimid experienced with the powders, she apprentice to the great Haerviu, but Feidlimid never done changing magic before.  And we dared not ask Haerviu.  If he knew, it would be bad.”
        “But Bonnie, you didn’t have too.  I take back my orders.  I didn’t mean it.  I was just upset.  I want you back the way you were.”  Her eyes sparkled and she attempted to sit up, but was dizzy and I had to help her.  I remembered what Winter had said.  “Aren’t you eating?  You seem so weak, you must eat.”
        She nodded.  “Bonnie be okay.  Had to get them to find you.  Stop eating.  Insist.  It worked.  You here.”
        “Yes, I’m here, and I’m so sorry,” I said again.  “I lost my temper is all.”
        Bonnie smiled feebly.  “Michael not angry with Bonnie?  Michael take Bonnie back?”
        I felt a well of emotion.  “Of course I will.”
        “Michael take Bonnie home with him?” she asked.  “Take Bonnie back to our room?”
        That gave me pause.  I could just see my mom’s reaction if I brought a girl home to live with me.  There was no way Bonnie could stay unobserved in her present size or condition.  I couldn’t take her to the hospital either, she wasn’t human.
        She noticed the hesitation on my face.  “What wrong Michael?”
        “Bonnie,” I said to her.  “Are they mistreating you here?  You must eat the food they give you.”
        She looked confused.  “Why?  Bonnie go home with Michael?”
        “Well, ahh, not now, it wouldn’t look right.  Maybe you could stay her for a while, until I can make some other arrangement.”
        She looked so hurt I wanted to cry.  “Michael not want Bonnie?” she asked.
        “No, no, I want you to come with me, I just can’t take you home.  Maybe you should stay here for a while.  Maybe until you’re small again.  Then I can take you home.”
        “No Michael, please don’t leave me?”  She was starting to cry again.  “Don’t you want me anymore?”
        I stood up and Bonnie swung her feet around to try and stand up also and reached out for me.  Then I saw she was shackled at the ankle.  She had a cuff on one foot, which was tied to a rope that led to a ring that had been bolted to the floor.  “What in the world,” I exclaimed.  I took the rope and followed it to the ring and tried to untie it.  Then I jerked at it.  Unsuccessfully.  “They’re keeping you prisoner here against your wishes?” I said with disgust.
        At that moment the door knocked, and without waiting for us to answer, Winter barged in.  “Time to go.”
        I lifted the rope to her view.  “What’s the meaning of this?  You can’t tie people up and keep them prisoner.”
        Winter backed away.  “She’s not a person, she’s a fairy.”
        I stormed after Winter and she retreated into the hallway where Westley waited.  “You untie her immediately!” I exclaimed.
        My outburst brought the attention of the other Goths, and soon they were all crowding into the hall with us.  “Is there a problem?” Athos demanded. 
        “No, our guests were just leaving,” Winter exclaimed.  She pushed past me and shut the door to Bonnie’s room.  Then she locked the door handle and deadbolt and dropped the key inside the top of her shirt.  My last glimpse of Bonnie was of her putting her hands to her face to weep in.  Then Westley and I had Goths take us by the arms and escort us out forcibly out of the house.  I would have fought them, but that Aramis thug was waving his carving knife about and I wasn’t sure he might not actually use it.
        They threw us out the back door and slammed it in our faces.  “Did you see the fairy?” Westley asked.  “Was she in the room?  Is she alright?”
        “She’s in there alright.  They have her tied up like an animal!”
        Westley grew red in the face.  “Well what are we going to do?  We can’t just leave her?”
        Good old Westley.  “No you’re absolutely right,” I started back around the house heading for the Mustang, Westley following, and grabbed my phone out of the glove compartment.  “Come on,” I said, and led Westley back behind the house again.
        We took up positions in the far corner of the backyard where we could watch the rear door, yet were well hidden in the shadows of the fence and a dilapidated tool shed.  I dialed 911 and told the emergency operator there was a drug party at the abandoned house there and gave the operator the address.  Then Westley and I settled in to wait, but we didn’t have to wait long before a couple of squad cars showed up.  We watched them surround the house, and then move in.  The police knocked on the back door and demanded entry and said they had a search warrant.
        I was expecting the lights to go out and the Goths to run for it, but lucky for them they apparently didn’t have any drugs on them at the time, for once in their lives, and acted all innocent like.  The police went in to search the premise and I was expecting fireworks when they got to the back bedroom and saw Bonnie tied up with shackles, but the Goths were smarter than that and had managed to quickly untied her before letting in the officers, who mistook Bonnie for one of their party.  The police ordered everyone out of the condemned house, a K-9 unit had arrived by then, and they took the dog in to sniff around for drugs or guns.
        In the meantime, we watched as the Goths filed out of the house, Bonnie in tow, unsteady on her feet, being supported by Winter.  A pair of policemen set about questioning each of them in turn, Bonnie included, but none of the Goths were talking and the police apparently didn’t find anything incriminating, for they didn’t arrest anyone.  They did run yellow police tape across the back door and post several more no trespassing signs, under penalty of law, on the doors and windows, and gave strict instructions to the Goths to stay out, like it would do any good.  Then they escorted all of them out to the front street and told them to disperse and go home.  Winter was keeping hold of Bonnie’s elbow and had her arm around Bonnie’s waist to support her on her feet.  Bonnie looked bewildered by all the confusion, and cooperated with whatever she was told, and the Goths took her with them around the house and out to the street.
        Westley and I made our way to the Mustang unobserved.  I turned on the engine and pulled forward to shine the headlights them.  The Goths looked up and held their hands out to keep from being blinded.  “Hey, Bonnie, get in the car,” I yelled out the open window.  “Quick.”
        Bonnie shook Winter’s hand off and in a surprising, desperate, burst of energy, came bounding towards us.  She clambered into the back seat and collapsed.  The Goths didn’t dare interfere or chase after her, not with all the police there, and we pulled away unmolested and were soon out of there, with Bonnie safely in my Mustang.
        So I have Bonnie back at home with me once more.  I for sure won’t be able to keep her presence a secret for long, not at human size, I know that.  She made herself a little nest in the closet out of some sheets I gave her, and last night she slept on the floor in the closet.  Looks comfy enough.  Mom is already suspicious though.  I think she’s heard us talking.  I’m glad to have my fairy back, but I wish she was small again.  I liked her better that way.  Now that Bonnie’s large, she seems alien.  Also, it’s scary to think that if Bonnie is back, then the fairy prince and his warriors and his wizards might not be far behind.  The gnomes too.  And that means little Amie is still in danger.  The fairies will be coming for her.  We have to take precautions.

      January 23, 2013
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