Sunday, January 29, 2012

32. Final struggle with the fairies

        The fairies did come for Madison’s little sister last night.  I’ll lay out everything that took place.  Nothing ever works out the way you planned and hoped.  Don’t know what we’re going to do now?  Don’t know there is anything we can do.
        If you can believe it, I fell asleep again after Bonnie and I got back to the house from our day together in the park.   I must of been really really tired.  Anyway, Madison woke me with a text, bunt as usual, “WHERE ARE YOU!”  I glanced at my watch.  We were only five minutes late.  The plan was to meet at her house by nine.
        “I texted an answer, “On my way.”
        “Don’t let me down!!” she texted back.  I couldn’t blame her for being worried, it’s her baby sister the fairies are trying to steal.
        I glance up to find Bonnie was standing in the middle of the floor, alert and watching my every move.  Her brows were furrowed and her mouth puckered in a circle.  As I began to pull on a pair of tennis shoes, she spoke, and there was a tremor in her voice.  “Don’t go Michael.”
        That surprised me, after all our planning, and all the precautions we were taking.  We had nothing to worry about.  “What’s the matter?” I asked.
        She rung her hands a little, her emotions were always so easy to read.  “Bonnie don’t want Michael to go.”
        I stood up and faced her, and spoke reassuringly.  “Bonnie, don’t worry, everything’s under control.”
        “Yes, but if Michael stay here, then Michael safe for sure.”
        I grinned.  “Nothing’s going to happen to me.”  She frowned and looked downcast, so I took her hand.  “Hey, Bonnie, everything’s going to be okay.”
        She looked pleadingly into my eyes.  “Do you have to?  Madison has plenty of others to help.  It would be safer for you to stay away.”
        Of course I wouldn’t even consider not going.  Bonnie was right, there were going to be a lot of our friends there, and Madison surely would do fine without me, and we really didn’t expect the fairies to try anything with so many people about, but I’m not one to run from trouble.  I remembered Madison’s text.  “Don’t let me down!!”  What would she think if I didn’t come.  I would never let Madison down like that.  “I have to go,” I spoke firmly to Bonnie.
        Bonnie nodded solemnly, “Then we will go.  Michael, do you have the powder Bonnie made just for you?”
        “Oh yes,” I said.  Looking in the top drawer of my dresser, I retrieved the small pouch of powder she’d made for me.  I stuffed it in my pants pocket, although I didn’t expect to need it either, but just in case.  It was some new fairy dust concoction Bonnie had mixed up to counter any lasting effects from the dust Haerviu and the fairy prince had given me in the woods that day I negotiated for Bonnie’s safety and got into a fight with the warrior fairies.
        Bonnie followed me out of the house and down to the car.  Mom and Brian were in the kitchen and both saw us as we passed down the stairs and through the living room, so we hurried on out the front door before they could say anything.  Bonnie was unusually silent on the drive to Madison’s house.  She didn’t even want me to play any music on the radio.
        Natalie and Tosha answered the front door at Madison’s house.  Beyond them I could see Madison, who caught my gaze and looked pointedly at her watch, reminding me I was late.  Natalie and Tosha were staring at Bonnie and I in amazement, and we had to push past them.  Once inside, I tried to disentangle Bonnie from my arm, but she caught hold of my hand and held on tight.  I led Bonnie into the living room.  Jessica Boxer stood up and folded her arms in front of her and she frowned at me too.  What was the matter with them?  Were they mad at me about something?  No one was introducing themselves to Bonnie and I was starting to get a little angry myself.
        I saw Natalie and Tosha mouthing ‘sorry’ to Madison, who got an exasperated look on her face.  One of them tried to give her a hug.  I realized what was bothering them and let go of Bonnie’s hand.  Girls.
        Fortunately Ms. Weaverspell came into the room from the kitchen and broke the ice.  “Oh, who is this?” she exclaimed, and started across the room towards Bonnie.  She halted mid-way and a startled expression came over her face as she recognized the fairy, now life size, the same little fairy I showed her in chemistry lab a few weeks ago, only now big as any normal girl.  Fortunately Ms. Weaverspell got a hold of herself, and adjusted, and came on over and shook Bonnie’s hand.  “I’m Ms. Weaverspell, glad to meet you.”
        Bonnie shook her hand shyly.  “Glad to meet you.”
        “This is Bonnie,” I said.  “She’s new to the area.  She’s a foreign exchange student.”
        Ms. Weaverspell cocked her head, but went on, “Well then, come in Bonnie and sit with me for a while, I’d like to get to know you better.  I have a million questions.”  Ms. Weaverspell drew Bonnie reluctantly into the living room after her.
        I was more than a little concerned, Ms. Weaverspell was stealing the fairy away from me, and I was about to follow, but Madison interceded and drew me to one side.  “Everyone is here,” she said.  “The boys are all outside.”
        “Any sign of trouble?” I asked.
        Madison shook her head.   “Nothing yet.”
        “Upstairs, asleep already.”
        “No, as planned, my little sisters are all in the room with her.”  Madison let out a big sigh.
        I took her hand, and she didn’t pull it away.  “Everything’s going to be fine,” I said.  “Nothing to worry about.”
       Madison sighed again.  “Was it a good idea to bring Bonnie with you?”
        How could I leave the fairy behind?  “I take Bonnie with me everywhere now,” I said.  Tosha happened to be passing by and heard my remark, and got such a hurt look on her face, and then hurried on.
        I grinned.  “They think you and I … “
        “I know!” Madison interrupted, her eyes flashed. 
        I shrugged.  “Don’t you get it, they’re offended, they think I brought a new girlfriend to your house.  They think I dumped you and …”
       “I know!” Madison interrupted again, and took in a deep breath, causing some of the other girls to look our way.
        I squeezed Madison’s hand.  “I’ll set them straight.”
        “No,” Madison gripped my hand before I could break away.  “Keep your mind on protecting Amie.  Nothing else matters.  Don’t worry about stupid things.  I need you Michael.  I need you to stay alert.”
        “Sure, ahhh, of course,” I said.
        Madison looked at me strangely.  “You look different, your eyes are bloodshot and a little cloudy.  What’s the matter?”
        Her remarks surprised me.  “I’ve been getting plenty of sleep,” I said.  “In fact, I was taking a nap when you woke me to come over.”
        Madison was looking at me intently.  “You look strange, and your speech is a little slurred.  Is everything okay?”
        “I’m fine,” I said.
        She looked me up and down and then nodded.  “Okay.”  She leaned towards me and whispered, “But really, do you think it’s a good idea to have the fairy here, in the house with Amie?”
        “Of course.  Why would you think otherwise?”
        Madison held her right hand up to my face, showing the scar where Bonnie had cut her that one night with her tiny dagger.  Madison’s wound had healed over and all that was left was a thin white line across the back of her hand, but it was nonetheless a good reminder of what the fairy was capable of.
       “So,” I responded.  “That was a long time ago.  You scared her.”
        “Are you sure we can trust her?” Madison asked.
        “Of course.  She’s been an enormous help.  She told us everything we need to do to scare the other fairies off.  Look, she didn’t even want to come tonight.”
        “Oh, and why was that?” Madison asked.
        “She’s just worried about me, that’s all.”
        “I thought you said there was nothing to worry about?”
        “Madison, you’re being stupid?”
        “Would you take her home if I asked you too?”
        “Don’t be silly.  We might need her help.”
        “Well I’m going to be keeping a close watch on her,” Madison said.
        “Good, you do that,  I’m going outside with the guys.  Think she’ll be okay in here with you and the girls?  Your friends were being a little hostile.”
        “Yeah, Ms. Weaverspell seems to have latched onto her.  They’re having quite the conversation.”
        “Fine,” I said.  “It’s starting to get late.  Are all the windows secure?”
        “Locked and barred.”
        “Okay, lock the door behind me, and don’t let anyone in without the password.”
        “What password?”
        “We need a secret password.  Think of some word a fairy would not know.”
        “So it is, Mary Poppins,” I said.
        Madison smiled, the first smile I’d seen on her face for some time.  Then she said, “A key would be better.”  She fished a key out of her pocket and handed it to me.
        I gave her a wink for reassurance and took the key.  “Don’t worry, nothing will happen to Amie.  I promise you that!  You have my word.”
        Outside I found the guys had a small campfire going in an outdoor fire stand.  They were in the process of setting up tents and someone had set one up for me, probably Westley.  We were planning an all nighter in the back yard.  I found Westley bringing an arm load of wood around the house from Tim’s pickup.  He seemed glad to see me at least.  “Hey, any signs of trouble?” I asked him.  He was the only one of the guys that knew the real reason we were there.
        Westley looked around, his gaze sweeping the back woods “Nope.  All quiet.”
        “Everyone here.”
         “They didn’t sound too enthusiastic when I called and suggested we camp out in Madison’s back yard tonight,” I said, glad everyone came. 
        Westley grinned.  “Madison called each of us personally and also asked us to come.  She told us all the girls would be here and they’d make it worth our while.”
        “In what way?” I asked.
        “Food, I would guess.”
        I nodded.  “Food will work.”
        “You bring the fairy?” Westley asked.
        “Yeah, Bonnie’s inside with the girls.”
        “She’s still big?”
        “This I got to see, but is it wise to leave her in there with the Laurels?”
        “Probably not,” I said.  “Not much we can do about it though.”
        I surveyed the backyard with satisfaction.  Seven tents clustered near the back door, a healthy campfire, and the guys milling around.  Should do the trick.  I especially liked Westley’s idea to build a fire, regardless of any trouble Madison might have explaining any burnt spots in the grass to her dad.  Tim had run an extension cord to an outlet on the side of the house and was hooking up a portable TV to one side of the fire.  Ramiro was setting folding lawn chairs in front of the TV, getting ready for a long stay.  Leigalo and his buddies were putting tiki torches along the perimeter of the yard, filling them with oil, and lighting the wicks.  With those tiki lights burning, the back door porch light on, the campfire roaring, and a full moon - it hardly seemed dark in the yard.
        I clapped Westley on the shoulder.  “Thanks for setting up my tent.  You bring the things I asked for?”  We made our way to the tent and he showed me the flashlights, bug spray, tennis rackets, and my football gear.  All was good. 
        We joined the Tim and Ramiro around the TV and took seats by the campfire.  I noticed the Samoans were all barefoot.  Should of warned them to wear shoes, the gnomes have a tendency to carry hatchets and clubs; but no matter now, gnomes weren't that quick.  Tim got the TV going and put in a CD, first episode of Lord of the Rings.  It was going to be a long night.
        About that time the back door opened and three of the girls came out – Marie Vasquez, Natalie Landers, and Tosha Abby.  They passed around mugs of thick hot chocolate with whipped cream on top.  Marie said they would be bringing us something new every hour throughout the night, as long as we were awake.  The drinks were hot and good and everyone was in high spirits.  When the girls went back inside, I took Westley with me on a patrol around the perimeter.  We circled the house and yard and checked for any signs of intruders.  All was quiet and we rejoined the movie.
        Time passed slowly for me.  I couldn’t get into the movie and found my gaze constantly sweeping the dark shadowy trees that so thoroughly enclosed the back yard.  The tiki torches along the perimeter made the blackness beyond their light all the more impenetrable.  The moon was up and full and the sky was clear, two of the fairy’s superstitious conditions for opening the portal between realms.  All the conditions were just right tonight.  The fairies would be going home.  We just had to make sure they didn’t try and take Amie with them.
        Suddenly one of the tiki torches, the furthest one away, clear out by the ponds, unexpectedly fell over - for no apparent reason, and was extinguished.  That got the dog Hunter growling, and the fur on the back of his neck all standing up.  Fortunately we had him on a lease or he would have gone tearing down there to investigate.  Westley and I looked at each other and I thought my friend turned a little pale.  The other guys thought it funny and were teasing each other about there being a full moon and it being a night for werewolves and vampires - when a second tiki torch fell over, and went out.  That got them to laughing all the more and daring each other to go and investigate.  I told everyone to stay put, but it wasn’t going to happen.  Ramiro got elected.  He took a flashlight and headed off across the yard.  From a distance we watched as he righted the first tiki torch, and then the second, and then re-lit them both.  He rejoined us in a hurry and said it looked like the bases of the bamboo torches had been chewed apart, and was much congratulated for his bravery in the face of lurking vampires.
        About that time a different group of the girls came out of the house – Madison Renard, Jessica Boxer, and Sarah Holmes.  They passed out cookies and lemonade this time, much to the cheering of the guys.  Madison looked like she wanted to talk, so I moved away from the fire and she joined me.  She was shivering a little in the night and I put my arm around her shoulder, but she pushed it off.  She looked up at the night sky.  “Full moon,” she said.  “Do you think they’re out there?”
        “I would expect so,” I said.  “The portal is probably open as we speak, and hopefully they are leaving.”
       We both looked towards fairy meadow hidden in the woods beyond the looming Douglas Firs.  “I hope so,” Madison shivered again, and I had to refrain from trying to put my arm over her shoulder.  “So you think they’re watching us,” she remarked.
        “Two tiki torches fell over a few minutes ago,” I said.  “Ramiro said it looked like animals had chewed the bottoms, but I expect it was the gnomes with those hatchets they carry around.”
        Madison looked at me with concern.  “Maybe it would be safer if you guys came in the house.”
        “Probably,” I concurred.
        She glared at me when I didn’t move, then said, “Well, come on then.”
        “Not yet, we will if any trouble develops.  Let’s stick to the plan for now.  We have to make our presence seen, make a big show, scare them off.”
        “I guess,” Madison concurred.
        “How’s Bonnie doing?” I asked.
        “Ms. Weaverspell is entranced with her, won’t leave her alone for a moment.  She’s showing the fairy how to make brownies.  I don’t like having the fairy here.  She gives me the creeps.  She asked for a tour of the house.  I think she wanted to find out what room Amie was in.  She seemed particularly curious about that.”
        I shook my head.  “Bonnie just wanted to make sure Amie was secure, I’m sure.”
        Madison grew serious.  “Doesn’t it strike you as maybe a little naïve, that we trusted a fairy to come up with our plan to scare the other fairies away?  Bonnie’s the one that suggested we don’t destroy the mushroom ring?  Bonnie’s the one that keeps telling us they won’t try anything if we just stay all around Amie and don’t leave her alone?”
        “Well, Bonnie’s rationale makes since, doesn’t it?  You got any better ideas?  I think we should be thankful.”
        “I don’t know,” Madison said.
        “The fairies aren’t going to try anything with all of us here.  They hate being seen by humans.  And they’ll see there’s no way they can get to Amie without being discovered.”
        “I guess,” Madison said.
        At that moment there was a commotion back at the fire and we quickly rejoined the others.  They were all staring off into the back yard out toward the ponds.  “What’s the matter?” I queried.
        “There’s something out there, in the dark beyond the torches,” Tim exclaimed breathlessly.
        “We all saw it.  Something small, scurrying about,” Westley echoed.
        “More than one,” Ramiro said.
        “Probably just raccoons,” Sarah postulated.
        At that point a chorus of animal sounding grunts and squeals came out of the woods from that general area.  It wasn’t just one, but dozens, shouting and carrying on in pandemonium.  Scared us all, but most especially the dog.  Poor Hunter went crazy with barking and lunging at his lease.  Then, to our surprise, the beagle pulled free of his lease.  We all watching in horror as the dog tore across the yard, lease trailing behind him, baying furiously.  We saw shadows fleeing and scattering at his approach.  Hunter disappeared into the woods and we heard him baying and chasing after something.  Then, suddenly, a dog squeal, and silence.
        “I’m getting back inside,” Sarah exclaimed, and took her friend Jessica with her.  Madison was reluctant to follow and kept calling for her dog, “Hunter, Hunter, here Hunter!!!” until Jessica came back and coaxed her inside also, leaving the guys alone with our imaginations.
        “What do you think’s out there?” Ramiro exclaimed.
        “Don’t know, but it sure took care of that dog,” Hemana remarked.
        “Let’s get back to our movie,” I said.  “As long as it stays in the woods and doesn’t bother us, I don’t care if it’s a raccoon or a wolf.”
        “How about vampires?” Tim remarked.
        “No such thing,” I exclaimed.
        We didn’t hear anything more over the next full hour.  All was unnaturally quiet.  Not even crickets.  No one was sleeping though, and there was a constant watch of the woods surrounding the back yard, which now seemed very ominous to us all.  Fortunately the camp fire, or the tiki torches, or the TV, or something kept them at bay.  No sign of the beagle though.  Poor Hunter.
        It must have been close to midnight when the girls ventured out of the house for our third refreshment run, to bring us freshly baked brownies.  Only two girls this time - Jessica Boxer and, much to my delight, Bonnie.  I was just coming around the house from making a security patrol and was happy to see Bonnie had gained at least some acceptance with one of the girls.  Bonnie kept glancing over to me and smiling as they made the rounds, distributing the brownies she and Ms. Weaverspell had made.  Jessica sat herself down in one of the chairs by the fire to talk with the guys, and I heard her say she was feeling a little light headed.  Bonnie came over and stood by me, but she didn’t offer me any of her brownies.  Madison came out the back door and was watching us from the back step, and looking out at the woods, probably worried about her dog.
        “Hey little pixie,” I spoke softly to Bonnie, and elbowed her in the side.  She gave me hug in return.
       “Michael,” Bonnie exclaimed, and wrapped her arms around my waist.
        “You think your friend are out there?” I asked her.
        Bonnie nodded.  “Yes.”
        “Think they’re going home?”
        The fairy shook her head.  “Bonnie not think so.”
        At that moment Jessica put a hand over her mouth and got up from her lawn chair and headed for the house, like she was in a hurry to get to the bathroom before throwing up.  She was unsteady on her feet though, and stumbled, then caught herself and sat down hastily right on the grass.  Madison immediately left the back step and ran to her side.  She caught Jessica just as she keeled over onto her side.  Several of the guys ran over to see what was wrong.
        I was starting to go check myself, when Bonnie stepped around right in my path, bringing me to a halt.  She looked up at me with those beautiful brown eyes, and she stared right at me, with an expression of sudden anguish on her face.  Her eyes were peering deep into mine.  I was mesmerized.  I couldn’t look away.  She lifted a hand up to her mouth.  Her fist was clenched, and she was holding something.
        “Michael, get away from her!” I head Madison yelling.  But I couldn’t move, I couldn’t look away from those eyes.
        Bonnie opened her fist and I saw she had a handful of golden powder in the palm of her hand.  It sparkled in the moonlight.
        “Michael no!” I head Madison screaming.  In my peripheral vision I saw Madison rushing towards us.
        Bonnie pulled her hand close to her mouth, and I thought I saw a moment of hesitation, or a moment of pause, I definitely saw concern and love in her eyes, and then she blew the powder into my face.  At just that moment Madison reached us and she shoved Bonnie away, knocking the poor fairy, who doesn’t weigh very much, clear off her feet and tumbling in the grass away from me.
        It was too late though, I was momentarily enveloped in a small cloud of golden powder.  I stumbled back from it, coughing and swiping at the dust with my hand, but I couldn’t help breathing some of it in.  It burned my throat and I bent over double and coughed.  It stung my eyes, and my lungs.  I straightened up suddenly, and Madison caught me in her hands, one on each side of my face, as she stared into my eyes.  “Are you okay Michael?”
        I tried to talk, but I couldn’t.  My head was swimming.
        “Sit down Michael,” I head Bonnie say from behind me, and it sounded like a very good idea.  I sat on the grass and felt very much better.  I had enough presence of mind to remember the antidote dust in my pocket.  I was supposed to take it if the fairies tried to get control of me.  I reached into my pocket and drew out the small leather pouch.  I was starting to open it when Bonnie took it out my hand.  I looked up at her to protest, but the motion made me feel dizzy again.  I saw her throw it across the yard towards some bushes.
        Then I saw Madison whirl on Bonnie.  “What did you do?” she accused the fairy menacingly.  Bonnie backed away quickly.  She took off her jacket and uncurled her wings.
        Beyond the girls, I could see my friends sprawling out in the grass.  They were laying down as if to sleep.  First Westley and Tim.  They curled up like little kids and shut their eyes.  Why were they sleeping now?  I wanted to shout at them, but didn’t have the will.  Ramiro was weaving about unsteadily, then he too lay down.  The Samoans, being much larger, looked like they were trying to fight it, like they wanted to stay awake but were having such a hard time.  Kanake and Hemana set down all of a sudden with their backs to each other for support, and instantly dozed off.  Only Leigalo was left.  He stumbled over to the cooler and took out a can of pop, drained it in one drink, then he crushed the can in the palm of his hand.  Then he too lay down and went to sleep.
        “Did you not eat?” I head Bonnie asking, and turned to see.  She was speaking to Madison.
         Madison ran at the fairy like she was going to hit Bonnie.  Bonnie turned and fled, and Madison chased her off a ways, then Madison came to me and knelt by my side.  “Oh Michael, get up.  Come with me into the house.”
        Bonnie blew some dust into the camp fire and it flared brightly and burned blue with sparks.
        “Hurry Michael, get up,” Madison pleaded.  She took my hand and helped me to my feet.  Her hand felt warm in mine.  I followed her towards the back door.  “Hurry!” Madison cried.
        As we reached the steps, Bonne was suddenly at our side.  “Michael stop,” the fairy shouted.
        I halted.  It seemed like the right thing to do.
        Madison pulled on my hand.  “Don’t stop, Michael, we have to get inside,” she said frantically.  Her hand felt so warm, so nice.  I allowed her to pull me forward, and followed her up the steps.
       “Stop,” Bonnie shouted.  And again I stopped.
        Then the other fairies were upon us.  One of them flew in a tight circle around my head, one of the warriors I think.  Two of then swooped at Madison and she screamed and let go of my hand.  Madison fled from the fairies, left me alone with them, and retreated back into the house and slammed the door shut.
        In a second there were fairies flying all around Bonnie and I, maybe a dozen of them, hovering in the air, chattering with extreme excitement in that melodious stilted language of theirs.  I saw the fairy prince himself.  He flew up to Bonnie’s large human-sized face.  He spoke to her in their language, and her face lit up, and she bowed her head and nodded, like she was thanking him.  I could tell she was happy and grateful, and that made me happy too.  I got the feeling he was bestowing some great favor upon her, like perhaps accepting her back into their company.  I was glad.  He gave her something to eat that looked like purple play dough, and she ate it down instantly.  Instantly her eyes rolled back into her head a little, and she bent over like she was feeling nauseas, with her hand on her stomach like it suddenly pained her.  I wondered what it was they had given my fairy to eat.
        Then the gnomes reached us.  They had been moving up the lawn as a squad as fast as their squat little legs could propel them, but in good order and making rapid determined progress.  They immediately took up positions all along the house and back step and shrubberies.  They looked quite menacing with their protective armor and sharp axes and heavy war hammers.  A small contingent surrounded each of my fallen comrades and I hoped none of my friends would waken and have to face them.
        Suddenly, with a shout from the fairy Bricius, the fairies cleared away and Bonnie gathered herself together, stood on unsteady feet, and climbed the porch steps to the back door.  She reached for the door handle and the fairies swarmed behind and above her, prepared to fly into Madison’s house as a group once Bonnie opened the door.  They were hefting their bows and swords and looked ready for battle, or so it seemed.  Bonnie tried the door handle and a look of confusion came over her face.  She struggled with it again, and then tried to jerk it open, rattling the door.  It was locked.  She seemed unprepared for this and now much confused.  She kept trying to turn the handle, growing more disconcerted with each attempt.  Bricius flew down and examined the door knob.  One of the warriors tried the doggie hatch at the foot of the door but found it bolted shut from the inside and could not budge it.  They chattered incessantly, the pitch of their speech growing higher and higher, articulating wildly with their arms as they debated this new obstacle.
        Then Bonnie came back down the steps to me, in a great hurry.  Her hands on my chest, her mouth not inches from mine, she exclaimed in a frantic voice, “Michael, open the door!”
        I knew it would make her happy, so without further thought, I fished the key Madison had given me out of my pocket, stepped up to the back door, and put it in the keyhole on the door handle.  Bonnie clasped her hands with delight as I turned the key and heard a distinct click.  I grabbed the handle and turned it, and then pushed the door open.
        “Noo!” I head Madison scream from inside.  She slammed against the door and forced it back shut on me.  I turned the handle again and pushed and shoved against her.  She was pushing back with amazing strength.  Gnomes gathered at the foot of the door and helped me push, and slowly we forced the door open and shoved Madison back out of the way.
        Madison let go of the door and it slammed open.  She retreated into the house and took up a position half way up the stairs, to make her stand, where the ceiling was at the lowest before opening up into the stairwell.  She had a kitchen broom in her hands and stood with it raised like a weapon, a look of desperation and grim determination on her face.  I had to admire her bravery and courage.  The sight of her thus prepared, must have presented a formidable sight to the fairies, for they buzzed about into the living room, yet none dared try and gain the second floor against her.  Gnomes moved into the house also, but stayed back gathering at the doorway.
        I moved into the living room and was astonished to see all the other girls scattered about the living room fast asleep.  I remember wondering how they could be sleeping through all this commotion.  Natalie and Tosha were huddled together on the couch, wrapped in each other’s arms as if to provide comfort.  Marie was slumped in front of the fire place, her fists clenched.  Sarah was under the dining room table holding onto one of the legs as if she had fallen asleep during an earthquake.  Ms. Weaverspell was in the middle of the living room floor, on her back, with her arms and legs pointing straight up like a dead opossum in rigor mort us.  Only Madison was fully alert and left by herself to defend against the attacking fairies.
        Bonnie came into the living room also and stood by my side.  She took my arm and leaned against me.  She did not look well, her eyes were vacant and her skin pale.  She was unsteady and I put an arm around her shoulder to lend support.  Her hands felt clammy on my arm and I wondered if she had a fever.  She was sick.
        Suddenly there was shout from Bricius, and three of the warrior fairies made a dash for the upstairs, trying to avoid Madison, one flying low and two high.  Madison swatted them back with her broom, knocking one clear back out the front door and the other two off into the living room.  Bricius gave another command and three more warrior fairies attacked, all three flying high this time, with Cadeyrn, the smallest and most aerially gifted I think, flying slightly behind the first two.  Madison raised her broom and swatted the first two aside, then had to turn quickly to wave Cadeyrn back as he tried to get above her. 
        At that moment one of the pixies, Conobelinus, buzzed at Madison’s face and attempted to throw dust into Madison’s breath, but Madison swooshed her back.  It was quite a battle to watch and I was enthralled.  Madison had good reach with the broom and was on higher ground, and had thus far succeeded in knocking them back before any could even get close to passing her.
        Now the gnomes came into play and maybe a dozen charged at the stairs, but each step was a climb.  They had to throw their weapons ahead of them onto each next step, climb that step, and then repeat the process for the following step.  I saw the first reach Madison and she kicked him clean off the stairwell when he tried to heave himself up the step upon which she was standing. 
        The warrior fairies re-grouped and joined in the attack, the five who could still fly, with Bricius leading the way this time.  They swarmed towards Madison in a group, but this time dove towards her face rather than try to get past her, flinging powder at her face.  Drust did a suicide dive at Madison and got close, but she swatted him away.  It backed her up a couple of steps though, and that gave the fairies courage.  One by one the fairies commenced diving at her face.  Even the prince fairy joined the fray and attempted to dive past her broom and incapacitate her with their magical dust.  She backed up two more steps.
        “Michael, don’t just stand there!” Madison screamed.  “Help me!!”
        It seemed like a good idea, so I picked a book off the book shelf and flung it at the fairies.  I knocked Elisedd out of the air and caused the others to draw back, giving Madison a chance to kick the gnome Gyda away and sweep the others tumbling backwards down the stairs.  Madison regained her idea spot in the middle of the stairs.  I threw another book at the fairies, and didn’t hit any, but caused them to draw back even more.
        Then Bonnie was in my face.  “Michael, don’t do that,” she said, and took a third book out of my hand.  She swayed on her feet, and looked like she was about to faint, but managed to say, “Now Michael, sit on the couch and don’t move.”  I did, and Bonnie joined me, and we sat on the couch together watching Madison fight the fairies.  Bonnie laid her head on my shoulder and moaned.  She was feeling so sick.  I felt terrible for her and stroked her hair.
        I heard a loud thud from the stairs and looked up in surprise.  The couch provided  such a great view of the struggle between Madison and fairies.  I watched with interest as Madison took a tumble and lost her footing.  One of the gnomes had thrown a lasso and caught her foot, and then they pulled her off balance and she fell onto her rump, broom flying out of her hands.  She began to slide down the steps on her bottom.  I considered Madison might hurt herself, and wondered if I should see if she was all right, but Bonnie had said to sit on the couch and not move.  Madison put her hands to her sides on the stairs, and I was glad to see her halt the slide down the steps on her bottom.
        Pressing their advantage against Madison, the chief fairy Bricius, quickly and expertly re-grouped his forces and led the fairies warriors in a formation dive against Madison.  They swarmed about her momentarily unprotected face.  Madison swatted at them furiously with her arms but it was no use, there were too many of them.  As soon as she knocked one away, two more would take its place, and Madison was soon overwhelmed and engulfed in a small cloud of bluish pastel colored powder.  Her arms dropped helpless to her side, then her head waivered, and then she fell limp onto her back on the stairs, under the triumphant fairies, who begin buzzing about in exultation at their victory over the giant.
        Bricius call them to order, and the fairies immediately rose higher into the air, unhampered by Madison and her broom, and ascended the now unprotected stairwell.  Bricius called to Bonnie also and she, although still feeling weak and dizzy, left my side to follow after her diminutive comrades as they flew upstairs towards the bedrooms.  Bonnie stumbled past Madison and disappeared from my view.
        I stayed where I was on the couch and watched Madison with sympathy, who was sprawled out on the stairs, but was not totally unconscious.  She appeared to be dazed and stunned looked like she didn’t have much control over her body.  She kept trying to rise up on her elbows, but was too weak, and unable to move much.  She kept shaking her head as if to clear her thoughts and gain control of her muscles.  It was no use, the powder the fairies had thrown into her face had incapacitated her good.
        The gnomes were regrouping too, but stayed downstairs and I was glad to see they made no move to harry or molest Madison.  Jarl Knutr, their leader, stationed two stout gnomes with large hammers by the back door and two with axes at the foot of the stairs.  Then he and his mate, Gyda, took up positions to oversee the path of retreat.
        Presently I heard Bonnie calling for me.  She sounded weak, very weak.  “Michael, come here Michael, come to me Michael, I need you Michael.”
        I rose from the couch and started up the stairs.  As I passed Madison, I noticed she was watching me and I was careful not to step on her legs or arms  She struggled to speak and mumbled something.  I bend down closer.  “Don’t,” she whispered.  This confused me.  Don’t what?  I bent even closer.  “Don’t go upstairs,”  Madison whispered.  “Stay with me.”  I could see Madison needed me, so I sat on the stairs next to her and took her hand.
        Bonnie appeared at the top of the stairs.  She looked deathly ill.  She clutched at her stomach with one hand and the banister with the other hand.  She bent over like she was going to vomit, then straightened back up and swallowed.  She was pale and very white.  She was in pain.  She moaned and I thought she was going to collapse, but then her pain seemed to subside momentarily.  She looked at me, and she whispered, “Michael, come to me.”
        I rose to do so, but Madison clutched at my hand.  I looked back into Madison’s eyes and saw pleading.  I sat back down next to Madison and she closed her eyes.  That was good, but then Bonnie called to me again.  “Come here Michael, I need you, oh please come to me,” she pleaded.   I could see Bonnie was ill and I let go of Madison’s hand and went to her.
        “Michael,” Bonnie said, as I reached the fairy and bent my face close to hers.  She spoke in gasps.  “Go and take Amie out of the crib,” she said.  Then she pushed me towards the bedrooms.  The effort caused her to stumble and fall to the floor.  She was clutching at her stomach again and her face was drawn with anguish.
        I wanted nothing more than to obey Bonnie’s request and hurried down the hall to the girl’s bedroom.  I saw Amie was awake and standing in her crib, but her sisters all asleep.  Normally Amie slept in the bottom half of a small children’s bunk bed, but this night Madison had put her to bed in a crib, knowing she could not get out by herself.  The fairies were stymied.  They were circling all about Amie and she was reaching out and cooing at them, but she could not go to them.  Her older sisters were all sleeping soundly in their beds, unaware of the mystical visitors flying about their room.  Amie raised a leg up as if she wanted to climb out of her crib, but she could not lift her leg as high as the rail top.  She wanted out.  The fairies wanted her out.  Bonnie had told me to take her out.
        I approached the crib and little Amie held her arms up to me.  I picked her up and lifted her out of the crib.  I sat her onto the floor on her feet and she stomped her little feet with delight and waved her arms.  The fairies descended and circled around her and she laughed with toddler delight.  Jennie and Courtney, two pixies, hovered in front of her face and started to sing, and little Amie was enchanted.  They led her slowly and carefully out of the bedroom and down the hall to the stairs.  I came out too and saw Bonnie was gone.  I watched in wonder as Jennie and Courtney coaxed little Amie down the stairs, sliding on her stomach like little children do when too small to walk down.  I followed, but stopped by Madison and took her hand.  She wasn’t able to speak but squeezed my hand feebly, like she wanted me to do something.
        Suddenly Bonnie was back, flying out of the bathroom in a blur that caught my attention.  She was small again.  She had shrunk down to normal fairy size once more.  She was a fairy again.  I was so happy for her.  She had tissue paper wrapped around her for clothing that was flapping in the wind as she flew.  She saw me and flew straight towards us and hit into my chest.  I caught her with my other hand and held her in one hand and Madison’s hand in the other.  We watched the other pixies coax little Amie back to her feet at the bottom of the stairs and around into the living room and out of our sight.
        We sat there quiet for a moment.  I remember being content, with Bonnie and Madison.  I still felt somewhat dizzy, but it seemed as if all was right in the world.
        “Why?” Madison whispered.  I looked at her.  She was starting to get some movement back, and was attempting to prop her head up.  “Why?” she said again, and I saw she wasn’t talking to me, she was talking to Bonnie.  Madison seemed to have her wits about her, even though she was having a hard moving any muscles.  “Why did you betray us?” Madison said.
        The little fairy in my hand looked at Madison and then up to me.  “I did it for Michael,” Bonnie proclaimed.  I saw tears forming in her eyes.  “Bricius promised me no one would be hurt if I helped.  I could not allow Michael to be hurt.  They said he would not be hurt if I helped them.  Nor his friends either.”  She dropped her head.  “And they said I could go home with them if I helped.”
        “But they are taking Amie?” Madison anguished.
        “It is a great honor,” Bonnie argued, but not with conviction.  She looked towards me to see how I was reacting.
        “Tell her,” Madison spoke to me.  “Tell her how you feel about them taking Amie.”
        “I won’t let it happen,” I said.  “I won’t let them steal Amie.”
        Bonnie started to cry.  “It not your fault, Michael.”
        Madison rose up on her elbows and spoke to me earnestly.  “Tell her how you feel!”
        “I will give my life rather than let them take Amie,” I said Bonnie.
        Bonnie was crying in earnest now, great wracking sobs.  “Oh Michael, it is too late.  They have Amie.”
       “Stop them,” I said to Bonnie.  “Go and stop them.”
        “I can’t,” Bonnie wailed.  “I am just one small pixie.  Any one of the mighty warrior fairies could easily overpower me.  There is nothing I can do.”
        “Go and get the antidote powder,” Madison said to Bonnie.
        The little fairy looked at Madison, and then to me.  “Yes,” I said, and Bonnie took off in a flash.  We watched her fly down the stairs and zip around the corner into the living room towards the back door.  I looked at Madison and saw determination on her face.  She was sitting up now, on the steps.  Bonnie came back immediately, struggling to fly while hauling the small, big to her, leather pouch of the antidote powder.  Madison reached a palm out to her and Bonnie dropped the pouch into Madison’s eager hands.  Madison emptied the power into her other hand.  She started to breathe it into her own mouth, then thought better of it and held it at me instead.  I opened my mouth and she blew the powder between my lips. 
        Immediately upon swallowing the substance, I felt a tingling go through my body.  My head cleared like a storm cloud dissipating.  As my thoughts returned to me, I realized with horror what had just happened.  The fairies had Amie!  I had helped them!  The fairies had stolen Amie!  They could never have gotten her without my help.  I had to stop them.  I bounded down the stairs and tore across the living room and kitchen and out the back door, leaping down the back steps onto the grass.  I paused to see which way they had gone, but they were nowhere in sight.
        Bonnie caught up to me and flew up before my face.  “Michael, they will kill you,” she exclaimed.  “You cannot stop so many.”
        “Stall them,” I cried, and raced towards the tent Westley had set up for me out on the lawn.  I saw Bonnie zoom off towards the trees and knew she would do her best.  Inside the tent, I tore open my gym bag and pulled out the football gear Westley had packed for just such an occasion.  I donned my football uniform in great haste, including gloves, pads, jersey, pants, cleats and helmet.  Then I grabbed a tennis racket and raced out across the grass.  Faster than I have ever run on any football field, I sprinted across the back lawn.
        I reached the trees and charged down the familiar path towards the fairy meadow.  I knew where the fairies were going.  I rushed through the trees, when suddenly a rope was pulled tight right in my way and I tripped.  The gnomes had tripped me up again, just like last time, only now I was in full gear and nothing was going to hinder my way.  I rolled and then crawled and climbed back to my feet without hardly breaking stride.  I saw gnomes on all sides of me and they were swinging their hammers at my feet, but I side stepped then and dodged around the angry little creatures, which was nothing hard compared to running a football past a defensive line of snorting 200 pound tackles.
        In a matter of seconds I burst into the fairy meadow.  Immediate I saw little Amie down by the rocks at the very center of the ring of mushrooms in the middle of the meadow.  She was on her hands and knees crawling into a hole between the rocks.  She was going down into a hole in the ground.  I shouted for her to stop at the top of my lungs and charged across the meadow of ferns.  I was aware of little arrows bounding off my pads and helmet and swung the tennis racket before me as if clearing the area of pesky mosquitoes.
        I squashed mushrooms as I crossed the ring and dove for little Amie, like I was diving for the goal line in the last seconds of a football game.  Head first and with arms outstretched, I just managed to grab her little ankle right as the last of her little body was disappearing down the hole.  I pulled her back out and drew her close to me in an embrace.  She squalled with fright but I didn’t care, I couldn’t let her go down into that hole.  I scurried back into a sitting position in the ferns and hugged her to my chest.
        Knowing the danger wasn’t past, I scrambled away from the hole until bumping against the rocks and sat with my back to a large stone.  Fairies begin swarming in front of me like a flock of angry birds.  I held the tennis racket in front of us to warn them off.  Several of the fairies were notching arrows into their bows.
        Suddenly the fairy prince flew up and hovered before my face and the others backed away.  Bricius flew up next to him.  They held up their hands and the other fairies backed away further.  They landed in front of me and Amie.  The other fairies began to land all about too, and soon we were surrounded by all the fairies, over a dozen of them.  The gnomes began to gather and were massing just beyond the fairies.  I didn’t like the looks of my chances.  It would be hard to get past all those swords and axes and hammers, little or not, football pads or not.
        Where was Bonnie, where was my fairy?  Then I saw her.  She was flat on the ground and one of the warrior fairies had her pinned down.  Elisedd was straddling her and had Bonnie’s face pushed into the dirt.  At a command from the Bricius, Elisedd grabbed Bonnie by the hair and jerked her upright.  The she pulled Bonnie by the hair and drug her over to Bricius and the prince.  Elisedd forced Bonnie down on the ground again, onto her hands and knees.  Drust stepped in and took Bonnie’s head in his hands, as if to twist her neck.
        “No wait?” I cried out, before he could kill her.  “Stop, please stop!”
        They looked up at me knowingly, as if they had expected my protest.  Then the Bricius spoke, in ominous ringing little tones,  “Release the human child or we shall kill Boadicea.”
        I couldn’t do that.  There was no way I would let them have Amie.  It would be unimaginable.  I could never forgive myself if I let them take the little toddler.  And Madison would hate me for life and I couldn’t stand that.  I think I might be in love with Madison.  I could not let her down.
        But neither could I let them kill Bonnie, not my little fairy, my little friend.  I love her too.  She could of gone home with them.  She could have returned to the realm of fairies and her own people.  But for me.  She gave up everything for me.  I ordered her to give me the powder antidote and to stall them, and she obeyed.  She must of known it was suicide.  She must of known they would overpower her.  She picked me over her own kind.  And she must of known they would never forgive her again.  She was willing to give her life to please me.
        I felt sweat forming all along my brow under the helmet and down my back under the jersey of the football uniform.  “No,” I pleaded.
        “You must decide,” Bricius ordered and the fairy prince nodded.  I could see the other fairies growing restless behind him, and the gnomes even more so.  There was no time to think.  I couldn’t let them take Amie.  I couldn’t let them kill Bonnie.
        “Wait,” I said.  “You want a human to take with you?  Take me instead.  I will go with you instead of this baby.”
        That created a buzz of heated discussion.  The fairies became quite animated.  Then the fairy prince nodded to me.  “It is agreed,” he pronounced.  Then he looked at me for concurrence.
        “It is agreed,” I said.
        The fairy prince waved his arm and spoke to Drust.  “Release Boadicea.”
        The fairy strongman let go of Bonnie and threw her aside.  Bonnie fell to the ground sobbing in despair and hitting her hands into the dirt.
        All their attention was on me now.  I struggled to my feet, cradling little Amie in my arms  “Bonnie,” I called.  “Come here Bonnie.”  My little fairy looked up and rallied to my call.  She took a few steps and lifted up into the air.  When she was before my face, I said, “Bonnie, you take Amie back home.” 
        “No Michael, you can’t,” Bonnie pleaded.
        “I have no choice,” I said.  “You take Amie to Madison.  Find Madison, she’ll know what to do.”  I set the little toddler on her feet.  The little girl was amazingly calm and was no longer crying, but was staring at the fairies with intense curiosity.  I turned to the fairy prince.  “I will go with you.”
       He pointed towards the hole that I just pulled Amie out of.  I didn’t much relish the idea of crawling head first down into a hole in the ground, but had no choice.  I got on my hands and knees in front of the entrance.  It was just large enough for me to crawl into on my belly.  It looked as if the hole widened a short ways in, and there was a glow emulating from down the interior.  I had to do it.  I gritted my teeth and started in.
        I was halted by a scream from behind us.  Bonnie.  Bonnie was screaming.  “Stop, stop!!”  I turned around and to my horror saw my little fairy take her dagger and raise it in the air and plunge it into her stomach.  She screamed again, this time in pain, and her face twisted in agony.  Then she dropped towards the ground like a dead sparrow.
        There was a rumble from within the hole, from the portal, and the light violently pulsated, and then contracted and almost went out.  Then it pulsated again.  I rolled away from the hole, blinded by the flashing light.  All the fairies had looks of horror on their faces.  Many of them drew their swords.
        “The portal is closing!” Bricius shouted.  Then all the fairies took flight.
        Bonnie looked at me in desperation from the ground, where she was still clutching the hilt of her dagger and blood was gushing from her stomach.  “Run!” she cried.
        I rolled to my feet and took off with explosive power, like the ball had been snapped and the quarterback was turning to hand me the pig skin.  I scooped up little Amie as I passed and tucked her under my arm for protection and sprinted for the opening in the trees that marked the path back to Madison’s house.  As I ran, I saw fairies flying about everywhere and gnomes scurrying about in great confusion.  They were racing for the portal which was pulsating and flickering on and off and causing rumbling noises like the ground itself was heaving.
        I raced through the meadow at full speed and into the trees and down the path and broke free into Madison’s backyard.  Then I accelerated even more as I headed for the house.  I had to get little Amie to safety, that was foremost in my thoughts, I had to get little Amie to safety.
        Halfway across the yard I saw Madison.  She was trying to follow, but had been too weak and had fallen in the grass.  Hunter was with her, licking her face, apparently having revived from being incapacitated by the fairies and founding his way home.  I raced towards them with little Amie still tucked under my arm.  The beagle saw me coming and started barking.  Madison looked up and her face flooded with relief.  I skidded up to her and threw little Amie into her outstretched arms.  They hugged and they were both crying with joy and happiness.
        I wasn’t done though.  My thoughts now turned back to Bonnie, my fairy.  She had stabbed herself to close the portal and give me a chance to escape.  I raced back into the woods towards the fairy meadow once more.  Hunter joined me to provide reinforcements and ran at my side, baying and barking like only a beagle can.
        We burst into the fairy meadow.  There was no one there.  The lights from the portal were out and the gnomes had dispersed into the woods.  The fairies were all gone, all gone back into their magical hole, back to the realm of fairies, all except Bonnie.  I found her nestled in a fern were one the other fairies had laid her, a soft spot close by the place where she had stabbed herself, but out of the way.  The front of her tissue dress was torn and all splattered with blood.  She was awake though.  She was alive.
        I carefully scooped Bonnie up into my cupped hands and she looked at me and smiled.  My heart seemed to leap for joy.  She was still alive.  I carried her back out of the woods, back to Madison.  We tended her wounds.  I learned later that her friends, Jennie and Fern, had flown to her assistance.  They removed the dagger from her stomach and staunched the flow of blood, and Fern had given Jennie a healing powder, which Jennie had applied liberally to Bonnie’s wound.  Two of the warrior fairies, Teutorigos and Seisyll, had come to carry Bonnie through the portal with them, but they were ordered off by Bricius.  They had all left without her.  Left her laying wounded in the ferns in the realm of humans.  It was probably the more humane thing to do, for she would have been branded a traitor in her own land, disgraced and disowned, and cast out as a fugitive.  Poor Bonnie.
        So I took my fairy home.  She is with me still.
        This will be my last post on this blog.  I’ve decided the only way to protect my fairy is to leave.  Too many people here, besides Madison, who is the only one I really trust to keep a secret, know about the fairy.  Too many people have seen her - my brother, maybe my mother, Westley, the Goths, Ms. Weaverspell, the Unger’s next door.  Word will get out.  I know I can’t keep her here, the authorities will come for her.  So we are leaving.
        I’ve enjoyed putting posts on this blog and sharing my great adventure with you, the events surrounding my discovery of the fairy and subsequent struggles to protect her.  There really are fairies.  They are real.  They exist.  I know.  I have one.  And what wonderful creatures they are.
        Take care and stay awesome, and thanks for all your comments,

      January 29, 2013
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