Friday, January 27, 2012

30. Never take a fairy to the mall

        Taking care of a human-sized fairy is not as easy as one might assume, definitely more of a challenge than a tiny fairy, which is easy to hide, which a person can whisk out of sight at a moment’s notice and put in one’s pocket.  It’s kind of hard to hide a full-sized girl.  Especially one that’s easily excitable and one that doesn’t know how to behave herself.
        I woke up ahead of the fairy that first morning after taking her home again, only now in human form, and I leaped out of bed and looked to the closet, worried it had all been a dream, my only thought to check and make sure she was still safe.  I half expected she would be gone again.  So I dressed quickly and jerked open the closet door.  I didn’t even knock.  Much to my relief, she was there, curled up in a tight little ball, sleeping on the floor snuggled in a nest of blankets, one draped over her delicate, but now very large form.  She was still wearing the black gothic clothes she’d been given by Winter, all but the combat boots, which were the first thing she’d kicked off last night when we got home and up to my room.
        Funny, when she was tiny it was easy to think of her as my fairy; not like a pet, but still like something that belonged to me.  Now that she’s full grown girl size, I can’t think of her that way anymore.  She’s like a real person now.
         I watched the fairy sleep for a moment, her mouth slightly parted, her eyes relaxed but shut, her arms hugging her legs to her chest, her wings folded.  She was sleeping so peacefully, so serenely, and seemed so at rest with the world - I hated to wake her.  The sun was shining in through the window and rays of sunshine fell upon her, causing her wings to sparkle.  She no longer looked so fragile or dainty.  Her skin’s very pale in color and very smooth in texture, but vibrant looking, and her chestnut colored hair is so thick and full I was tempted to reach out and touch it.
        “Bonnie,” I whispered gently.
        The fairy yawned and stretched her legs out, rolled over onto her back, and then those large brown eyes popped open and she gazed at me.  I saw a moment of bewilderment, then pleasure, as she recognized me.  She sat up and stretched her arms above her head and yawned again.
        “How do you feel?” I held a hand out to the large fairy.  She took my hand and I helped her out of the closet and onto her feet.  She’s very light and doesn’t weigh much at all.  She was a little wobbly at first but soon gained her balance.  Then she raised her hands really high above her head, almost to the ceiling, and really stretched, like I had seen her do every morning when she was tiny and first waking up.  Suddenly she uncurled her wings and I stepped back in wonder as they seemed to totally fill my tiny bedroom, the tips scrapping the ceiling and the side lobes almost touching opposite walls.  She smiled at me again and shook them out and turned around, exultant in being awake.  “I feel good, very good,” she exclaimed.
        “Good for you, Bonnie, much better than yesterday.  I suppose your body’s adjusting to being large.”
        “Yes, and the honey and fruit you generously gave me to eat was very good.  I was so starved.”  She curled her wings flat onto her back and faced me.  She stepped closer, eyeing me intently, and it made me nervous, her face inches from mine.  What was she thinking in that alien head of hers?
        I held her stare as long as I could, then grinned and stepped back from her.  “What?”
        She looked down demurely, much like any teenage girl.  “Nothing.  It’s just, you seem different to me.”
        “Yes, well, you certainly seem different to me also,” I said.  She looked up suddenly and caught her breath.  “In a good way,” I added quickly.  I walked over to the window.  “So what do we do now?”
        Again she stepped close, so close I could feel her breath on the back of my neck.  “Anything you want, Michael.  Do you have school?  Can I go?  Could I be a student?  Could I set in class?  Could I learn things like the other girls?”
        I grinned and held my hands up.  “Hold on, hold on, today’s Saturday.  There’s no school.”  She looked disappointed.  “Maybe on Monday,” I said.  “I suppose I could enroll you as a student?”  She perked up and nodded.  “How long will you be large?” I asked.
        “I don’t know Michael, maybe a day, maybe just a few hours, maybe for many days.  Oh, I hope for many days.  There are so many fun things we could do.”
        “Yes, well, I guess the first order of business is breakfast.”
        “Yes, Bonnie hungry.  If Michael wants to eat now, then Bonnie would like to also?”
        “Okay, but it’s going to be a little tricky keeping out of sight.  Now that you’re large.”
        “But why Michael?  Why must I?  I look like Madison.”
        “Not exactly.  Besides, my mother would never understand.  You wait here and I’ll bring us up some food.”
        She looked about cheerfully and grinned.  “Of course, Michael, whatever you say.”
        She didn’t sound too sincere, there was mischief in her eyes.  “Stay here until I return.”
        She nodded.
        Her shoulder fell a little and she signed.  “Yes!” she said reluctantly.
        So I left her in my room and went down into the kitchen.  Brian was in the living room watching TV.  Mom wasn’t up yet.  I grabbed a kiwi, to my knowledge she hadn’t had one of those yet, some strawberries, the honey of course, and some pop tarts.  Then I rushed back upstairs.  Bonnie was standing in the window, not just in front of it, but actually in the window, standing with her feet perched on the window seal and her hands in the upper corners.  She stood there swaying in the breeze staring outside in wonder.
        “Hey, get down before the Unger’s see you,” I exclaimed.
        She leaped back, turning in mid-air, and landed in the middle of the floor.  “But I look like Madison now, don’t I Michael?”
        “Well, you do look like a girl now.”
        “Then what matter if Unger’s see me?”
        I signed.  “You don’t understand the social implications.”  I sat at my desk and laid out the food.  I opened a blue berry pop tart with white frosting and began to eat.  Bonnie came up behind me and reached over my shoulder and took some strawberries.  Then she set cross legged in the middle of the floor to eat.  I was keenly aware of her stare boring into my back.  I sliced the kiwi in half and tossed one half over my shoulder in her general direction.  She caught it and let out a sigh of delight at the sight of something new.  “Don’t eat the skin,” I turned to her, and bit into mine.  I watched her take a timid little bite into the kiwi, and saw the joy spread over her face.  She’s still fun to watch.  I noticed she has normal human teeth, and was glad of that.  If she had vampire shaped fangs it might have bothered me, but everything about her radiated goodness, and light, especially her eyes.
        I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with her all day though.  I considered just hanging out in the room, but that probably wouldn’t be wise.  Sooner or later Mom was sure to hear us talking and would no way approve of me having a girl in my room all day.  Bonnie was kind of noisy sometimes, to say the least, and there was no way to keep her presence a secret.  Also she wasn’t used to having human-sized vocal cords and was talking loudly in her sing-song versey way of speech, often hitting high notes on words at the end of her sentences, and occasionally making girly squeals of delight as this or that excited her.  Mom was almost always home all day on Saturdays.  Usually she slept until at least noon, we would have to be sure and vacate the house before she was up.  I did not want to add to Mom’s worries.
        Then the doorbell rang, startling me.  It was early in the morning for anyone to be visiting.  Bonnie was instantly on her feet and heading for the door to investigate.  She’s always curious about everything going on in the house.  “No you don’t,” I said, and hurried to get in front of her.  “You stay here and finish eating.”  I left a disappointed fairy in the room and moved quickly down the stairs to the front door.
        It was Winter, one of the Goths, and she did not look pleased.  I wasn’t happy to see her either, especially considering the way she and the other Goths had treated Bonnie, tying her up and keeping her a prisoner and all.  Who did they think they were?  Winter was dressed in all black as usual, which really looked out of place this early in the morning.  Porthos was standing by her side, no shirt, just black pants and a lot of small-linked chains.    I didn’t see any car at the curb.  “What hole did you two crawl out of?” I asked.
        “Where did you take the demon?” Winter responded with a dead pan face.
        Was she serious?  I couldn’t help crack a grin.  “Demon?  What are you talking about?”
        “You took her.  Is she here?”
        “Don’t call her a demon?  That’s not nice.  She’s just a girl.  Her name’s Bonnie.”
        Winter looked disgusted.  “We saw her.  She has wings.  She has pointed ears.  She has six fingers on her hands and six toes on her feet.”  That was a new one on me.  I hadn’t noticed the extra fingers or toes.
        I shrugged.  “That doesn’t mean she’s a demon.  She’s from Tibet.”
        Winter grew angry.  “She’s not human!  She came out of the woods in the middle of the night.”
        “You’re just imagining things.  She doesn’t have wings and she doesn’t have pointed ears.  I don’t know about her toes or fingers.  You fry your brains on drugs and then it surprises you when you hallucinate.  Now go away, she’s none of your business.”
        “We saw her first, she’s ours.”
        “You saw her first?”
        Winter scowled at me.  “We were playing with a Ouija board the other night and conjured her out of the dark, at midnight.  She came to us.  We summoned her from the mists of darkness.  She was sent to us from the great beyond.  She was naked and befuddled and we captured her and took her in.  She belongs to us.”
        I stepped out of the door and closed it behind me.  I leaned towards Winter and spoke in a hushed conspiratorial voice.  “You’re right, Winter, she is a demon.”  The two Goths looked at each other knowingly, then back at me.  I continued, “You two are playing with fire.  I can’t give her to you, she comes and goes where she pleases, and she’s going to eat your livers if you don’t back off.  She only tolerates your presence here because you’re beneath her notice.  She has powers you can only begin to comprehend.  She was out with her dark master the other night and was momentarily stripped of those powers.  But it was only momentary.  She’s not happy.  You held her prisoner in her weakness.  I would not do anything to provoke her further, or even remind her you’re here, if I was you.”
        Porthos backed down off the steps.  “Come on Winter, let’s get out of here?”
        Winter was looking at me strangely though.  “You must be a vassal to her, a slave to her dark powers?”
        I looked down at me feet.  “Yes, it’s true.  There’s no hope for me, but maybe for you.  Get away while you still can.”
        “I want my dress back.”
        I looked up at Winter in astonishment.  Was she serious?  “I don’t understand girls, you have a demon watching you, pondering whether or not to squash your puny spirit out of existence, and you’re worried about a dumb dress?”
        Both Goths looked up past me all of a sudden.  I followed their gaze, and much to my astonishment, there was Bonnie up in my bedroom window again, staring down at them, and her hair was to one side and you could see a pointy ear.  All of a sudden Porthos shrieked with fright.  He stumbled backwards and ran out into the street.  Winter stood her ground though, staring up at Bonnie nervously.  Winter spoke softly to me.  “It’s my aunt’s dress, from when she was made a high priestess of her coven.  I have to get it back.”
        “Fine,” I retreated into the house and raced upstairs to my bedroom.  I grabbed Bonnie around the waist and pulled her back into the room.  “Stay away from the window please, I didn’t want them to see you.”
        The fairy looked at me contritely.  “I’m so sorry, Michael.”
        I turned my back to the fairy.  “Winter wants her dress.”  I held my hands behind my back until Bonnie undressed and placed it in my hands.  Then I hurried back downstairs and gave it to Winter. 
        “You’re so lucky to still be alive,” I exclaimed.  “Now go quickly while you have the chance.”
        Winter took the dress.  “Tell your demon mistress to remember us.  I would be honored to serve her too.  If she wants, my aunt and I practice Wiccan, we will serve faithfully.”
        I bowed to Winter and used my deepest most solemn voice.  “I will tell the demon.”
        I stayed at the door and watched until Winter and Porthos had retreated up the street.  They didn’t leave though, but went next door and knocked at the Unger’s house.  When the door opened they were admitted inside.  All our conversation was sure to be relayed to Mrs. Unger, and who knows who else.
        Getting back to my room, I was relieved to find Bonnie waiting for me, away from the window, wrapped in a sheet from the closet.  Good, I learned fairies have a sense of modesty.  But hanging out in a sheet would not do.  I rummaged about in my dresser and selected one of my larger sweatshirts and a pair of sweatpants.  I threw them to Bonnie.  “Put these on.”  Then I grabbed my phone and texted Madison.  “R U up?”
        Madison texted back shortly.  “Good morning, Michael, what do you want?”
        “I have Bonnie back!” I texted.
        “Thank God!”  She responded, and I was pleased.
        “Madison!  Madison!” Bonnie squealed all of a sudden.  She has such excellent eyesight she saw Madison’s picture on my phone and recognized her from across the room.
        “Shhh, you want to wake the house?” I exclaimed.  I put a finger to my lips and tried to look stern.  She backed away nodding, but she was smiling and I could tell it was all so funny to her.
        My phone buzzed.  “Where did you find her?” Madison texted.
        “We’re coming over, she needs clothes,” I texted back, and closed the phone.
        I don’t know if Bonnie could read or not, but the fairy suddenly through the sheet off herself and began struggling into my oversized sweat clothes.  I hastily turned my back.  It was going to be a problem getting her out the front door and down to the car.
        Suddenly there was a loud knocking on the door to my bedroom, which unfortunately caused Bonnie to squeal again.
         It was Mom.  “Michael, who do you have in there?  I heard a girl.”
        I leaped forward and slammed against the door before Mom could open it.  “Just a minute?”   I looked at Bonnie, and she must have seen the anguish on my face, for she got quite alarmed too, and began running about the room in circles looking unsuccessfully for a place to hide and making all kinds of tumult and racket.  She was wearing my oversized clothes and looked quite comical, if it weren’t for the seriousness of the situation.  Not only did I have a girl in my room, she was wearing my clothes.  I mouthed the word ‘Hide’ to her.  She was in a panic.  She ran to the closet, changed her mind and started to get under the bed, then changed her mind again and started to climb up on the dresser and reached for the bookshelf near the ceiling.  That might be the natural place a tiny little fairy with wings might want hide, but it wasn’t going to work for her.  She fell back, overturning the dresser with a terrible crash.  She shrieked and raced to the window, cranked it open, kicked out the screen, and leaped outside.
        Now I cried out in alarm.  We were on the second floor.  I got to the window just in time to see her hit the ground.  She’s very light for her size, but things of different weights all fall at the same speed, Newton’s laws and all, however they do hit the ground with different force.  With those long and exceptionally strong legs of hers, Bonnie landed like a cat, hardly breaking stride, and immediately sprinted across the yard like a blur, until reaching a large rhododendron bush along that side of the house.  She dove head first into the bush and disappeared from sight.
        I turned back around to see Mom, standing in my doorway, wearing her pajamas, staring at me in wonder.  “No girls here, Mom,” I said.  She came up to the window and I stepped aside so she could look out.  There was nothing to see.  Her eyes swept the yard, then my room.  I opened the closet for her.  “See, no one hiding here?”  She turned to leave, but was looking at me with such suspicion that I made her look under the bed too.  “No girls.  Don’t worry.”  She left shaking her head.
        I wasted no time getting dressed – jeans, t-shirt, tennis shoes, and hurried outside to look for Bonnie.  I found her crouched behind the roddies up against the fence that borders our yard.  She leaped out and threw her arms around my neck.  “Bonnie so sorry, Michael.  Bonnie so sorry.  Don’t make Bonnie leave.”
        “Hey, calm down, calm down.”  I took her arms off me and held them in front of her.  Then I looked her directly in the eyes.  “Bonnie.  I’m not ever going to ask you to leave again.  Do you hear me?  Not ever!”
        She gave a great sigh of relief and threw herself on me again.  I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into, but I was touched and I hugged her until she calmed down.
        On the drive out to Madison’s house I entertained her with a Taylor Swift CD and she sang along quite proficiently, note for note and word for word, having heard all these songs before.  We got to Madison’s house and pulled in the driveway.  I nodded for Bonnie to get in the back seat and she obeyed immediately.
        Madison apparently saw or heard us coming, and came out of the house before I even had to honk.  She had on a cute flowery sun dress and sandals, and was clutching a plastic grocery bag in her hand.  I could see it was full of Barbie Doll clothes.  Boy was she going to be in for a surprise.  She jumped in the front passenger seat next to me.  “Who’s this?” she said, turning around to face Bonnie.
        Bonnie leaned forward from the back so that their faces were no more than inches from each other and they both froze, staring at each other for what seemed like a long time to me.  Then Madison broke the stare.  She turned to me and paused like she was counting, then said, “How can this be?”
        “Madison!!” Bonnie shrieked suddenly, and threw her arms around Madison’s neck from the back seat, half strangling Madison before she could finally break loose.
        “Bonnie, you’re big.  How did you get big?” Madison exclaimed.
        “Magic,” Bonnie giggled.  “The fairy dust required to meta-size is very rare in my world, but I found an abundance at your school.  So much.”
        Madison and I exclaimed glances.  That confirmed our suspicions as to who had broken into Chem Lab last week.  “It’s only temporary,” I informed Madison.  “I don’t think the clothes you brought are going to fit.”  Madison looked at the Barbie Doll clothes in her hand, then at Bonnie, and they both broke into a fit of laughter.  I shook my head.  “Do you mind getting her some real clothes?”
        Madison looked at me dubiously.  “Is she my size?”  Madison looked Bonnie up and down.  “I don’t think any of my clothes would fit her at all.  She’s much more slender, and looks taller to boot.”
        “Well anything would be better than my sweats,” I said.
        Madison looked pensive.  “We should go to the mall.  Got any money?”
        I rolled my eyes.  There was no getting around it.  On the drive out to the mall the two of them chatted away non-stop like long time buddies.  I should have guessed.  Madison wanted to know how it felt to be big and also small.  Bonnie said everything felt so heavy to her now, and explained how her body was so sluggish now, even just breathing seemed an effort.  That wasn’t the way it seemed to me, back in my bedroom she was literally bouncing off the walls, and she seemed much lighter than a human of equal size.  Bonnie did not think she would be able to fly, she weighed so much now, and we resolved on a test when given the opportunity.  Bonnie said she was already hungry again and we promised her some food once we got her appropriately attired.  They both thought the clothes I had given Bonnie were ridiculous.  She looked like someone who had just lost 200 pounds and was still wearing the same old clothes.  She told Madison I said she could go to school on Monday, and Madison gave me a look.  Bonnie thought the car was such a marvelous way to get around, not as convenient as flying mind you, but much better than walking.  She was fascinated by the radio.  She wanted to know what all the dials and gauges on the dashboard were for?  She squealed with delight when I turned on the air conditioner and blew cold air in her face.  I was much relieved when we arrived at the mall and parked.
        We encountered our first problem then.  Madison pointed at Bonnie’s feet.  “She can’t go in barefoot!”  Bonnie looked down at her feet with a questioning look on her face.  Why hadn’t I given her shoes?  Madison held a hand out.  “Give me some money Michael, I’ll go in Target and get some shoes.”
        So I opened my billfold and gave Madison two twenties.  “I want the change back,” I called after her, as she got out of the car and started across the parking lot.  I looked at Bonnie and smiled at her.  She smiled back and then climbed into the front seat.  She slid to my side and took my arm, and sighed contentedly.  We sat together waiting for Madison, watching traffic and people coming and going.  Bonnie happy and all curiosity of course.
        Presently we spotted Madison across the parking lot coming towards us with a large sack from Target.  I quickly disentangled from the fairy before Madison could see us and got out of the car.  Bonnie followed me out my side of the car and then yelled to Madison and then leaped and raced across the parking towards her.  The fairy opened the sack with childish excitement, reminding me of a small kid at Christmas.  She got a pair of sandals, open at the toes, and some women’s underclothing.  Madison helped her put the sandals on, showing her how to insert her toes and work the straps.  I tried to be casual as I checked out the fairies toes.  Only five, what had the Goths been talking about?  The girls got back into the car.  I waited outside and watched some crows at the far edge of the parking lot.  The crows didn’t seem to be paying us any attention, more intent on scavenging scraps of food from people come out of Target.
        Presently Madison and Bonnie got out of the car.  Bonnie still had on Winter’s gothic dress, now with proper underclothes underneath I assumed, and was wearing the sandals.  Madison took a deep breath.  “Okay, I think we’re ready.”  She held a hand out to the fairy.  “Bonnie, we have to hold hands whenever crossing a street or in a parking lot.”  Bonnie took her hand readily.  Madison has experience working with young sisters and so I let her take the lead with Bonnie.
        They started across the parking lot and when I caught up with them, Bonnie held her other hand out to me, so I took it, and the three of us walked into the mall all hand in hand, Bonnie smiling with great delight.  Although Bonnie isn’t very strong for a human, and doesn’t weight half what a normal girl her size weights, she has an exceptionally strong grip.  As we walked through the parking lot and into the mall, we attracted more than a few stares, not just because we were all holding hands, but because of Bonnie’s oversized clothing, and more because of the way she kept trying to swing hands or was oohing and ahhing over sights in the store windows.
        Madison led us to an Old Navy clothing store, and once we were able to pull an astonished Bonnie past the life-sized mannequins, the two of them had a good time picking out a variety of clothes and trying them on in the dressing rooms.  Pants were no problem, and they got a couple of jeans, one with sequins on the back pockets.  Shirts were more difficult.  The problem was her wings.  Although they fold down very compactly on her back, they do bulge, and we didn’t want her to look like she was a hunchback.  Also, Bonnie complained most adamantly, she didn’t like having her wings covered, and what would she do if she needed to fly and couldn’t uncurl her wings?  Madison finally settled on the right idea.  She got Bonnie a black leather jacket, to wear over her wings and which could be taken off in an instant, and also several multicolored T-shirts.  Immediately upon leaving the store we found a restroom and Madison cut holes in the back of the T-shirts for Bonnie’s wings.  We decided to walk the mall and Bonnie noticed a store with scarves.  She was fascinated and Madison had to get her a bright pink scarf.  Or I should say, I got it for her, since I was the one paying for it all.  I had to use the credit card Mom lets me have for gas.
        Things were going well.  We now had Bonnie acceptably attired in sandals, jeans, yellow T-shirt with a picture of Tinkerbelle on the front, a shiny leather jacket, and a pink scarf.  I would have thought it was enough, but as we walked through the mall, Madison and Bonnie could not resist accessories.  First it was a hat, to cover and hide some of her bushy hair, then some bracelets, then a bead necklace, of course she had to have a purse, and finally some large-rimmed sunglasses.  She was making quite the fashion statement.
        It was nearing lunch time, and I remembered my promise to Bonnie, so we made our way to the food court and gave her the choice of places to eat.  We ended up with triple scoop ice cream sundaes from Baskin-Robbins.  Bonnie was enthralled and said she had never imagined such a delight.
        While the ice cream had Bonnie’s attention, Madison took opportunity to pull me away for a private word.  We left the fairy there alone at the table, which turned to be a big mistake.
        “Michael, what are your plans for her?” Madison asked, as soon as were out of hearing range.
        “Plans, plans, who said I need a plan?”
        Madison elbowed me.  “Get serious.  Where’s she supposed to stay?  We can’t just hang out at the mall forever?  Where will she go?”
        “She goes where I go?” I said.
        “You can’t take her home with you!” Madison said.  “Where’s she supposed to live?”
        “She lives with me.”
        “What will your Mom say?  Where will she sleep?”
        Madison looked so serious it was funny.  “I’ll rig up a human-sized hamster cage in the basement,” I said.
        “Get real!!”
        “Don’t worry so, Madison.  She slept in the closet last night.  It’s fine.  She told me the change to human size is only temporary.  She’ll be back to her normal tiny little self in time.”
        “You made her sleep in the closet?”
        “She wanted too.”
        “What if your mom had found her?  What then?”
        “Won’t happen.  Bonnie’s too fast and too good at hiding.  Just this morning, when Mom started to come in my room, Bonnie leaped out the window, from the second floor no less, and hid in the bushes before anyone could see her.”
        Madison grabbed my hand.  “You listen to me, Michael Rigdon.  Bonnie will stay at my house tonight.  My parents and sisters are gone for the weekend to visit our grandparents.”
        I shook my head.  “No thanks.  Bonnie stays with me.”
        Madison took a deep breath, and she was already squeezing my hand harder than I thought possible for a girl.  “Michael, you are not thinking this out.”
        Suddenly we were interrupted.  “Hey look at you two.”  It was a couple of Madison’s friends from church – Natalie Landers and Tosha Abby.
        Madison immediately let go of my hand.  “We were just talking,” she said.
        Tosha and Natalie exchanged knowing smiles.  “So, you just happened to run into each other at the mall?” Tosha asked.
        Natalie stifled a giggle and Madison turned red.
        “No, we came together,” I said, and put my arm around Madison’s shoulder.
        Madison pushed my arm off.  “Don’t touch me.  So, girls, we have a new friend we want you to meet.”  We turned back to the table, and to our total astonishment, Bonnie was gone.                                      
         A quick search of the food court area revealed no sign of her.  We left Nathalie and Tosha gawking at us in amusement and hurried out to the main part of the mall.  With Madison on the right side and me on the left, we quickly made our way down the main corridor, doing a quick check in each shop as we passed.  Mid-way through the mall we saw her, at the escalators.  Of course something as foreign as escalators would attract her attention.  She was riding up the escalators from the ground level to the second floor, only she wasn’t on the steps, she had her sandals off and was perched barefoot on the rubber handrail, legs straight, bent over almost double so her arms were on the rail too, balanced with her butt straight up, riding it like some type of giant insect.  She got to the top, but instead of hopping off onto the second floor, she leaped clear across to the opposing escalator and began riding one of the handrails down.  Needless to say, she had attracted quite a crowd of spectators.  We raced to the foot of the escalators and got there just as she arrived back to the main floor, at the same time a mall cop got there too.
        Bonnie saw me and let out a hoop and leaped from the escalator handrail towards me.  The move caught me so unexpected it bowled me over backwards and we both went tumbling on the floor.
        “What do you think you’re doing?” the mall cop came charging up, as we stumbled back to our feet.
        Madison got between us and the irritated mall cop, who was hardly more than a teenager himself.  “We’re sorry,” Madison said.
        He was all red faced and hot under the collar, like he had been personally offended.  “I can’t have her climbing on the escalators.”  He tried to go around Madison to confront Bonnie, but Madison stayed in his way.
        “Yes, of course not,” Madison spoke soothingly, her hands on his chest.  “We’ll take care of our friend.  No need to be concerned.”
        “I’m going to have to ask you to leave the mall,” he sputtered.
        “We will, we will, thank you,” Madison took my hand, and Bonnie’s hand, and pulled us away from the mall cop.  The crowd parted and we made our way towards the nearest exit.
        “Bonnie, why did you wander off without us?  You can’t do that.” Madison scolded.
        The fairy got teary eyed.  “Bonnie not see you,” the fairy said.  “Bonnie look for you.”
        “See Madison,” I patted the fairy on the shoulder.  “It wasn’t Bonnie’s fault, it was yours for calling me away to talk in private.  She didn’t know where we went.”
        So we got out of the mall right quick and returned to the Mustang, Madison and I taking the two front seats and Bonnie climbing into the back again.  “So where too now?” I asked.
        “I think any place with people would be a mistake,” Madison said.
        “We can’t go to my house,” I said.  “Mom will be up by now.”  At that moment a car honked at us.  We looked up to see the Vasquez family drive by in a Camry, looking for a parking spot.  Ramiro and Marie waved at us from the back seat.
        Bonnie returned their wave with great enthusiasm and they stared at her with curiosity.
        “Just go somewhere!” Madison exclaimed.
        “Fine,” I fired up the engine and backed out of our parking spot.  “We’re going to your house.”
        “What?  My parents are gone for the weekend.”
        “Exactly,” I said.
        Madison slumped back into her seat.  I could just hear her muttering under her breath.  “I can’t have boys over when my parents aren’t home.”  But she didn’t object as I drove down the streets to her house and we pulled into the driveway.  She had a key in her purse and let us inside, but not without glancing about uncomfortably at the neighbor’s houses.  I slumped into a comfy old recliner and turned on the TV.  We could relax now, no problems here.  How could Bonnie get into trouble with just us around?  The fairy was already entertaining herself, meandering about the living room, gazing at various family pictures on the wall, of which there were a lot - aunts, uncles, grandparents, and the children in all stages of growing up and on various camping vacations.    Madison was standing in the middle of the room looking at a loss, obviously unsure of the wisdom in allowing this intrusion into her home.
        “Hey, got any pop?” I asked.
        “Ahhh, I’ll check.”  Madison disappeared into the kitchen and returned with three cans of root beer.  I popped mine open and took a big gulp.  That got Bonnie’s attention and Madison had to show her how to open her own can.  The fairy was startled by the carbonation.  She took her first sip with trepidation and made quite a face.  Then she put it aside.  No accounting for taste.
        “She would much prefer some juice,” I said.
        “I’ll see if we have any,” Madison offered.
        “Got any chips while you’re at it?” I asked.
        Madison glared at me.
        “Never mind,” I said.
        Madison was just coming back from the kitchen, arms full with bags of potato chips and Doritos and some dip, when we were startled to hear the sound of car doors slamming shut outside.  Madison got a look of anguish on her face.  She threw the chips onto the couch and ran to the front window.  “They’re back,” she exclaimed.  “My parents are back?”
        “I thought you made arrangement for them to be gone for the weekend?” I exclaimed.
        “I did.”
        The front door opened shortly and Mr. Renard was the first one in, and he did not sound happy.  “Madison!” he called out loudly, before even looking around.
        She was right in front of him.  “Dad, what are you guys doing home?”
        “Your grandfather got sick and we decided to come back early.  Whose Mustang is in the driveway?  I thought you stayed home because you had homework to do?”
        Madison threw her hands up in the air.  “I do have a ton of homework and I’m way behind!”
        At this point her little sisters came crowding into the house past their father and the noise in the house took on new levels.  This was more like what I typically experienced at the Renard’s home – controlled chaos.  The sisters didn’t go far, discovering me sitting in their father’s recliner, trying to act nonchalant.  They gathered to observe their parent’s reaction upon catching their older sister with a boy in the house.
        Mrs. Renard came in last.  “Who does that Mustang in the driveway belong too?” she echoed.  “Madison, do you have that Rigdon boy over?  When your parents aren’t home?”  I stood up from the recliner at the mention of my name.  It was all kind of amusing.  Madison was looking so guilty.
        “Ohhhh,” Madison threw her hands up in the air and turned her back to her parents.
        Her father continued the interrogation, “You were so insistent we go see Grandpa and Grandma this week.  You even called and got us invited over.  Then you begged off saying you couldn’t come yourself, because of homework?  What was that all about?”
        Fun as this was, I had to rescue Madison.  It had all been part of the precautions we were taking with Amie, to get her out of the house whenever a full moon was approaching.  Madison had talked her parents into leaving town for the week and arranged for a visit to the grandparents, and that way we knew Amie would be safe from any malicious kidnapping attempts by the fairy prince and his warrior fairies.  Now that Amie and her parents were back, we would have to think of something else.  In the meantime, Madison was totally flustered and didn’t have an answer for her father.  She needed my help.  “Hello Mr. and Mrs. Renard,” I set my pop can down on the end table and called out cheerfully, and waved when they looked in my direction.
        Mrs. Renard turned on her daughter.  “A boy.  You were alone in the house with a boy?  I thought you knew better?”
        “Not just a boy, Mom, some friends,” Madison pointed to Bonnie, and now her parents finally noticed the fairy and turned their attention on Bonnie.  Now we would see how well Bonnie’s disguise held up under close scrutiny.
        Bonnie stepped out from behind a large rubber plant where she had taken refuge at the first sign of trouble and hidden herself.  Now that she had been pointed out, she moved silently to my side and took my arm, looking at me nervously for some hint as to how to act.  All the younger sisters abruptly swung their eyes from Madison to Bonnie, and an awful silence ensured.  I worried that Bonnie, although now dressed somewhat like a normal teenager, still looked quite exotic.  Her skin was so pale it was almost translucent, and this was darkly contrasted by the deepest thickest chestnut colored hair and the hugest brownest eyes you could imagine. Add to this the elfish shape of her face and she had a distinctly foreign look to her.
        Mrs. Renard caught on to Bonnie’s nervousness, started, and came forward with her hands out.  The fact that Bonnie had attached herself to me must have alleviated somewhat Mrs. Renard’s concerns about their daughter having a boy over.  Mrs. Renard came up to Bonnie and took her hand to shake.  “I don’t believe we’ve met, I’m Mrs. Renard,” she spoke in a soft friendly voice.  “And your name is?”
        I spoke for the fairy before she said something odd.  “This is Bonnie, she’s new,” I said.
        Mrs. Renard shook Bonnie’s hand, and I thought I saw Mrs. Renard flinch a little, Bonnie has an incredibly strong grip, but neither of them said anything.
        One of the sisters, Hannah I think, came up to Bonnie and broke the silence, “Want to see my snake?”
        Bonnie looked alarmed and shook her head vigorously.
        Mr. Rigdon came up and shook Bonnie’s hand also.   “I haven’t seen you around before, where are you from?”
        “She’s a new foreign exchange student staying with us,” I explained for Bonnie.  Then I popped off the most remote place I could think of, “She’s from Shangri-la.”
        “Shangri-la,” one of the little girls echoed in wonder.  “Where’s that?”
        “Somewhere in the Himalayas,” I answered.  I saw Mr. and Mrs. Renard exchange a glance and realized my mistake.  It would be odd for a female foreign exchange student to be placed in a home with a boy rather than a girl student.  “She doesn’t speak much English and is very shy,” I said.
        Madison came over, took Bonnie, gave me the look, and then began introducing Bonnie one by one to her little sisters.  When she got to Amie, the little toddler seemed totally delighted, almost like she recognized Bonnie, and came up and hugged Bonnie around the legs.
        “Why, she usually doesn’t take to strangers,” Mrs. Renard exclaimed.
        Bonnie stooped down and picked up the little girl and held her tight.  Amie cooed at Bonnie and Bonnie lit up and smiled with pure delight.
        Madison had a stricken look on her face.  She did not like the fairy holding her little sister.  The same little sister that the fairies had tried to steal that one night.  Everyone else in the room, except for Madison and I, thought it so cute the little toddler was taking such a liking to the shy foreign girl.
        Madison came to my side and whispered in my ear.  Her voice was a little shaky.  “What are we going to do now, you know there’s going to be a full moon Monday night.”
        “Don’t worry,” I whispered back.  “We’ll keep Amie in sight every minute of the night.  We’ll make it impossible for the fairies to get even remotely close.  They won’t even try.  We’ll meet tomorrow after church and make plans.  Don’t worry.”
        Madison didn’t seem that convinced.  “When?”
        “Come over to my house at three and meet with Westley and me at the tree house in my backyard.  It’s very private and no one will overhear us there.”
        “Are you kidding me?  Outside?  In a tree house?  With fairies all about in the trees listening to every word we say?”
        “Right.  We’ll talk in the Mustang.  I’ll pick you up.”
        Madison nodded concurrence and seemed somewhat mollified.
        “Hey, we need to be going,” I announced to the household.  Bonnie put down the little girl and returned to my arm.  Everyone said their good-byes and said how happy they were to meet Bonnie and how they hoped to see her again real soon.  Mr. Renard invited her to come to church on Sunday.  I was glad Bonnie kept quiet and didn’t say anything back, just nodded politely.
        Madison walked us out to the car.  “Gosh, that was close.”  Then she turned to Bonnie and spoke very directly.  “The moon is going to be full on Monday.  Do you think the fairy prince will come for Amie?”
        “Oh yes, most assuredly,” Bonnie said, all talk now.  “Feidlimid told me.  Prince Vercingetorix has decided to return home during this full moon.  The decision has been made.”
        Madison and I were in shock.  “What do you mean?” Madison questioned.
        “They are going,” Bonnie explained.  “They are going home.  All of them, all the fairies, they are going home at the next opportunity.  This coming full moon.  They are going back to the realm of fairies.”
        “That’s good then,” I interrupted.  “But, are you going with them?”
        Bonnie looked down at the ground.  “No Michael, I will not be allowed.”
        I suddenly felt very bad for Bonnie, but before I could say any more, Madison interrupted.  “What about Amie?” Madison exclaimed.
        Bonnie nodded.  “Yes, yes, they will take the little girl with them.  At least, they will try one more time.  If they cannot get her, they will leave without her.”
        I liked the idea of the fairies leaving, and Bonnie staying.  If we could just thwart them from getting Amie, they would be gone and out of our lives.
        Suddenly Bonnie clutched my hand, and her grip was fierce.  “Michael, you must not be here when they come for the girl.  They will not leave you unhurt.  You have seen them, you know their purposes, they will use you and hurt you.”
        “What do you mean, hurt me?” I asked in alarm.
        “You mean they’ll kill him?” Madison asked.
        The fairy shook her head.  “No not kill, I don’t think so, well maybe, but probably just give Michael powder that will hurt his mind.  So he doesn’t remember, so he can’t remember.”  The fairy looked perplexed.  “You will not be normal afterwards, Michael.  I cannot bear to think it.  You must go far away.  You must leave.  You must not be here when they come for the child.”
        “But, I can’t leave, not if they’re coming for Amie,” I proclaimed.
        On those solemn notes I took Bonnie home.  We’re making plans to stop them – Madison and Westley and I.  And Bonnie is helping us.  We won’t let them take Amie.  Monday night it’s do or die.  After that, we’ll be rid of them.  We’re not going to destroy the portal or the mushroom ring, because we want them to leave.  But we are going to make good and sure they don’t take Amie with them.  Our friends are coming to help.  We’ll stop them and then it’ll be over.
      January 27, 2013
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