8. Madison took my fairy

        Madison has the fairy.  My fairy.  She took my fairy.  She stole my little fairy and won’t give her back.  It was stupid of me to take the fairy out of the house.  We went searching for the meadow where I found and captured Bonnie at.  It’s out back behind Madison’s house and Madison saw us.  I shouldn’t have taken the fairy there.  How was I to know Madison would get hold of her, or that Madison would be so stubborn as to try and keep her?  I have to get the fairy back.  I have to get her away from Madison.  I never should have let the fairy talk me into taking her out of the house.
        While I was away at school today something scared the fairy and first thing upon my arrival back in the room she insisted I immediately shut the bedroom window.  Something spooked her real bad.  She was pacing along the edge of her desk, agitated and shaking, her face taut and eyes fixed, the hair on the back of her head and neck bristling, and wouldn’t calm down until the window was down and the latch secured.  Then she went straight to her Barbie Doll vanity dresser, which has a mirrored back, and sat herself down in the matching doll chair with her back to me, and began grooming her hair.  Usually she wants my attention any time I’m in the room, especially first thing coming home, and I have a hard time getting anything else done, like homework or studying the playbook for our next game.  I didn’t ask what spooked her, probably a crow, which we have a lot of around here, or maybe an owl.
        I decided it was time for a little present, which I’d picked up at a garage sale on the way home from football practice.  “Look at this Bonnie,” I said, and set an old toy Jack-In-The-Box on the corner of her desk.
        The fairy glanced over her shoulder at me, saw the bright circus decorations on the metal box, and turned her chair around.  She was wearing a Barbie tennis dress, and even had matching head and wrist bands on.  She hates the pant outfits Madison gave her and only wears shirts or dresses, and none longer than her knees.  I think it’s because she doesn’t like having anything on her legs that might constrain her in flight, for she uses her legs a lot, especially during takeoffs and landings.
        My Jack-In-The-Box had the fairy’s interest.  I begin turning the little handle on the side of the box and the familiar Jack-In-The-Box tune started up.
        The fairy brightened and rose from her chair.
        I turned the handle quicker and the music quickened also.
        The fairy clasped her hands in front of her and approached to stand right before the brightly decorated box.
        I was anticipating the clown at any moment.  The thing was taking forever to pop out.
        The fairy rose up on the balls of her feet, totally enthralled, and reached out to touch the metal box. 
        Suddenly, with a loud pop goes the weasel, the Jack jumped out of the box on its spring, clown face and silly grin and all, little arms and funny hat waving.  It made me jump and I knew it was coming.
        A look of absolute terror contorted the fairy’s little face, for which I did feel a moment of guilt.  She cried in a shrill little voice and tumbled over backwards and fell right on her bottom again, frantically scooting away from the silly clown as fast as she could go, until she heard me laughing.  I couldn’t help it, she looked so crazy in her little tennis outfit.
        The fairy kept glancing from me, to the clown, back to me, back to the clown, her mouth open in utter astonishment.  Then she actually turned bright red in the face, and I learned fairies can get embarrassed, really so.  Her eyes narrowed and she jumped to her feet.  “Not fun!!” she shouted, and she folded her arms across her chest and stuck her face out at me.
        I smiled at her good naturedly to disarm her.  “Hey little pixie, it’s just a joke.”  I stuffed the clown back into the box and pushed the lid down.  “Funny.  Now you turn the handle and try it.”
        Her eyes grew wide and she shook her head.  “No,” she squeaked definitively.
        I thought the fairy might start to cry then, so I whisked the Jack-In-The-Box off her desk.  “Look here Bonnie, here’s your real present,” I said, and placed a portable DVD player on the desk in place of the scary Jack-In-The-Box.  I scooted it over between her bedding and Barbie Doll vanity dresser.  I bought it to keep her occupied when I’m away at school or football, and thought it might help her learn to speak English quicker.
        She looked at me skeptically, as if to say - what now?  I opened up the DVD player and pushed the power button.  While it was powering up, I ran a cord to an electrical outlet to keep the batteries charged.  I’d borrowed some animated Disney DVD movies from Madison and thought the fairy might like them.  I put in Cinderella, which has a fairy godmother in it, and my little fairy was soon engrossed in her first Disney movie, the Jack-In-The-Box all but forgotten.
        I wasn’t planning to watch the movie with her, but it was so amusing seeing her reaction to each new scene - the animals helping Cinderella clean house, the scary step-mother and step-sisters, the prince charming, the grand ball, the glass slippers, it was all new and wondrous to her.
        When the DVD was over and I turned off the TV, the fairy turned and looked me with a curious pout distorting her mouth into an oval shape.  She stared at me, her large eyes narrowing, but didn’t say anything, just stared at me.  I got the feeling she was studying me, trying to understand me, trying to sort me out, like I was some great mystery.
        I squatted in front of the desk, giving her my full attention.  “Hey Bonnie, are you hungry, what do you want for dinner?” I asked her.
        She shrugged, then said, “Pop tarts.” 
        Of course, she always asks for pop tarts if given a choice, prefers them over fruit, or honey on toast even.  “Okay, be right back,” I said, and stood up.
        The fairy leapt to her feet also and bounced on the balls of her feet.  “Bonnie come with Michael to school,” she said trying to be assertive.  It wasn’t a question.
        “We’ve been all over this before.  I’m not taking you to school.  Besides, schools over for the day.  No more school today.”
        The fairy pointed out the window, her arm stretched to full extension.  “Michael take Bonnie outside.”
        “Why do you want to go outside, Bonnie?”
        She walked to the edge of the desk and placed her hands on her hips.  “Michael take Bonnie to waterfall.”
        “Back to the place where I found you?”
        “Yes, please,” she begged.  “Michael take Bonnie.”
        “But why?”
        “Please, please, Bonnie go.”  She bounced up and down on her feet.
        I was hesitant.  Not sure it was a good idea.  It would be the fairy’s first time out of the house.  I knew exactly where she wanted to go.  The waterfall she was asking to see had to be the one in back of Madison’s house, part of a small fountain by some ponds.  I’d captured her in the woods just beyond in a small meadow.
        I came up close to the fairy.  “Are you going to fly away?”
        “No, no,” the fairy insisted, and stepped back.  She nodded her head vigorously and looked up at me with those large brown eyes.  “Bonnie stay with Michael.”
        The fairy seemed sincere, and I truly believe was at the time.  She’s always wanting to come along whenever I leave the room, and her requests were becoming more and more persistent with each passing day.  I’d been thinking about this a lot and how I might take her out.  I hoped she wouldn’t fly away, she seems to really like being with me, and she no longer tries to fly out of the room whenever the door is open; but still, this would be the first time.  “Okay,” I agreed, “But I can’t let anyone see you.”  I was taking a big chance.  What if she did fly away?  I didn’t know.
        The fairy got so excited at my response she leaped into the air off the desk and then uncurled and flapped her wings to rise up until hovering a foot above my head, her hands clasped together expectantly.  Her excitement allayed my fears.
        “Wait a minute,” I grinned. “Let’s eat dinner first, and then we’ll go.”  She flew to her home on the desk and commenced rummaging through her clothes, while I went downstairs to get our food.  While the pop tarts were toasting, I dug up a large shoe box and some scissors.  I hastily cut several round holes in each side to give her light and a means to look out.  I figured that would do for a temporary travel case.  Returning to the room, I gave the fairy a strawberry pop tart and showed her the shoe box.  The fairy had changed into a yellow summer dress with puffy sleeves and had a yellow ribbon around her neck.  “Now Bonnie, if you’ll stay in here, I’ll take you outside,” I said in my most serious voice.
        The fairy looked at the box skeptically and rolled her shoulders, but nodded her agreement.  She munched on her pop tart.  We were going outside.  She was too excited to eat much, so as soon as I’d finished my pop tart, I took the lid off the shoebox and allowed her to climb inside.  I put the lid back on, stuck the shoe box under my arm, and headed downstairs.
        I noticed the house seemed picked up a little more than usual and wondered if we were having company.  Mom came out of the kitchen.  She was dressed in some slacks with a nice blouse and vest, and had the keys to our mini-van in her hand.
        I tried not to look surprised.  “Where are you going?” I asked.
        “Out,” she said.  “What do you have in the box?”
        I held the shoe box up.  “Sure you want to see?”  I had brought a snake home once before, when I was younger, and she screamed so hard I had dropped the frightened reptile and it had slithered under the refrigerator.  She had never forgotten that incident.
        Mom shook her head at me.  “That’s all right, Michael, I don’t need to see.”
        “Where are you going?” I asked again.
        “Just some shopping.”
        “Anywhere else?”
        “Michael,” she looked put upon.  “Are you checking up on me?  I’m going to Safeway for groceries, and then Wal-mart for some things and to fill a prescription, and then I’m going to stop at Major Unger’s house on the way home.”
        “What for?”
        “Michael, don’t take that tone.  We have business matters to discuss.”  With that she turned and exited the living room, heading into the kitchen, which has a door leading into the garage.
        Much as I disliked her going to see Unger, and she knew it, there wasn’t much I could do.  Frustrating.  I watched out the front window until her car disappeared down the street.  I considered following her, but I had the fairy with me, and Mom might be out all day running to different stores.  I couldn’t very well follow her all over town.
        I took the fairy to my Mustang, first time out of the house, got in the car, locked the doors, and carefully set the shoe box on the passenger seat.  All the car windows were secure.  I slid the top of the shoe box off, letting her out.
        “The fairy glanced all about in wonder, and then climbed out of the shoe box.  She balanced on the vinyl of the passenger seat, then hopped up and down a few times to test her footing.  She sat down and folded her legs, then turned to me and asked, “Who Major Unger?”
        The question surprised me.  There wasn’t much that escaped the fairy’s curiosity.  “He’s my enemy,” I replied grumpily.
        Bonnie nodded knowingly.  “Your enemy,” she repeated in all seriousness.
        “Yes,” I replied.  “Now hang on.”  I cranked the ignition to start the Mustang and vented my frustration with Mom by revved the engine, causing the Mustang’s 350 V-8 to roar.
        The fairy was startled by the noise, but didn’t seem alarmed.  So I put the old Mustang into gear and backed out of the driveway.  Then I put the car into first, released the clutch, and stepped down hard on the gas.  We accelerated down the street, burned a little rubber even, and I shifted into second and stomped on the gas again for a short distance, before having to brake to a stop at the first intersection.  There are stop signs on every corner in our neighborhood it gives me good excuses to gun the car and squeal tires while traversing each block.
        It’s only a mile or so to the neighborhood where Madison Renard lives. Her house’s in an area near the river on the edge of town, away from the new developments.  The houses there are older and not as large or well kept as the neighborhood where I live.  Madison’s is the last house on a cul-de-sac and there’s a wooded greenbelt running along one side of her home and then extending out beyond the backyard for miles and miles.
        I parked across the street from Madison’s house, hoping no one would notice us or recognize my car.  We were going to have to go past Madison’s house to reach the waterfall and the woods beyond, and I knew if Madison saw us poking around in her backyard she would come out to investigate and cause a big fuss.  It would be hard to explain what I was doing there with the fairy outside.  We would have to be careful.
        I took the shoe box, with Bonnie safely back inside, lid on again, and picked my way down a trail through the greenbelt alongside Madison’s house.  The trees and blackberry bushes were dense enough to mostly obscure Madison house from view, so I wasn’t too worried about being spotted while on the trail.  It led us along the side of her house and down the side of her backyard.  At the far corner of her backyard we had to deviate from the trail to circle around the back parameter of the Madison’s property. 
        Madison’s house is two-stories high, but not very big considering how many people live there.  It’s painted white and has a plain square design.  Almost like a box with a roof.  The yard has minimal landscaping, not even a fence, but there is a large vegetable garden on the sunny side of the yard away from the woods, and a fountain and set of ponds that her father dug in one back corner.  The ponds are connected by a short stream and there’s a waterfall at the higher elevation pond tumbling over some small boulders.  A pump in the lower pond sends the water through a filter and back to the top of the small waterfall.  There’re some neglected bushes and flowers around the little ponds and koi fish in the ponds and a bench alongside.
        I circled along the edge of their backyard, approaching the ponds, when I was distracted by a ripping noise under my arm.  I looked down, too late to stop her, as the fairy emerged head first from one of the air holes.  She had her dagger in hand and had slit the cardboard, enlarging one of the holes enough to allow her exit.  She wiggled through the hole and pushed herself into the open air.  Her wings were out in an instant and she swooped to pick up some speed and then climbed in a spiraling pattern out over the ponds, in broad daylight.
        “Bonnie, come back here,” I hissed, worried, but trying to keep my voice down, not wanting to be heard in the house.  Madison has a pet beagle and I could just picture her dog rushing out to chase my fairy.
        The fairy flew back to me, much to my relief, and hovered before my face.
        “What are you doing?” I scolded.
        The fairy smiled at me mischievously.  “Come,” she said.  Then she flew out over the ponds again and into the woods just past the ponds. 
        I was relieved the fairy hadn’t taken this opportunity to fly away forever, but alarmed she had gotten out of sight.  The fairy was heading for the spot where I found and captured her.  I raced along Madison’s backyard to the place where Bonnie had disappeared into the woods and hastily followed into the shadows.  After pushing through some knee high bushes and over some deadfall, I picked up a deer trail, more narrow but still defined.  Suddenly the fairy flew back towards me and swooped before my face.  She pulled up, waving at me impatiently, and flew off down the trail again.  She was anxious for me to follow.  I chased after and presently the trees gave way to a small fern covered meadow.  This was the spot, and it was beautiful, the ground all covered with green ferns growing amidst fallen branches, leaves and pine needles.
        The fairy begin flitting about as if searching for something.  She paid particular attention to a cluster of moss covered rocks at the center of the meadow, some as big as a dog, but mostly hidden by the ferns.  There were mushrooms growing around the perimeter of the rocks.  I hadn’t noticed the mushrooms that other day, and it struck me as peculiar they’d grown in a pattern, a near perfect circle.
        Suddenly the fairy flitted over to a fallen tree trunk on the far side of the meadow.  She landed just short of a decaying log and started kicking through a pile of leaves and pine needles.  I caught up to her and brushed the leaves aside.  She let out a cry of delight, finding the object of her search - a little mallet, like a hammer, of curious workmanship.  She hefted little hammer, but could barely lift the thing with both hands it was so heavy.  She held it toward me and I took the hammer for a closer look.
        The little hammer had a medieval appearance to its design.  It was only about 3 inches long.  The handle was wooden and straight, but had Celtic looking symbols carved throughout and was painted gold and blue.  There was a leather strap.  The head was stone, square on the back end, but tapering to a point at the front.  It had impressive carvings chiseled into the stone, a dragon on one side and mountains on the other.
        The fairy flew up to my face, obviously excited.  She glanced about furtively and I got the impression she was suddenly worried.  There was nothing to be concerned about though, who would be out in the woods, away from the main trail?  She kept looking about nervously, definitely worried about something.  “Come, come,” she said.  “We go.”  Suddenly I got the feeling she wasn’t worried about being seen by Madison, or maybe any other human.
        “Whose hammer is this?” I asked.
        “Come, come,” the fairy implored me, and flew back towards the deer trail which led from the meadow back to Madison’s yard.
        I put the strange hammer in a pocket and we made our way back through the woods to Madison’s property.  We skirted her backyard and stayed out of sight in the woods until reaching the trail that led alongside her house and out to the street.   I had to almost jog to keep up with the fairy, she was in a real hurry, and it made me apprehensive.  She kept glancing back down the trail from which we had come, but I never did see anything to be alarmed about.
        As we got further down the trail without incident, the fairy finally.  She flew up to my chest, so I held a hand against my chest with the palm up and she alighted there.  “Well that was fun,” I remarked, as we made our way on down the trail.
        The fairy giggled.  “Fun.”
        “Who’s hammer is it, Bonnie?” I asked.
        “Gnomes,” the fairy replied, and nodded at me knowingly.
        I don’t think she was serious.  Gnomes?  She’s been reading too many comic books in my room.
        We exited the woods and were walking down the street to my Mustang, and I was just beginning to think we might get out of there without discovery, when Madison’s dumb beagle started barking at us from the house.  Then who should look out one of the upstairs bedroom windows, but Madison herself.
        She immediately opened the window and called out to us from across the street.  “Michael!  Is that you?”
        I almost dropped the shoe box fumbling to get the lid open and fairy back inside.  Then I turned to her.  “Oh, hi Madison, fancy seeing you here.”
        “What are you doing out here?” she called.
        “Just out for a walk.”
        “What do you have in that box?  Do you have the fairy with you?”
        Madison has no sense of discretion.    I put a finger to my lips and hissed.  “Would you be quiet!”
        Suddenly the fairy pushed herself out the enlarged hole in the side of the box again.  Madison,” the fairy exclaimed, as she caught flight, and then off she went, flying up high and across the street to see Madison.
        “Bonnie, get back here,” I called after the fairy, but it was no use.
        The fairy flew right up to Madison’s window.  Madison took the screen out, and then, leaving me dumbstruck, the fairy flew right inside Madison’s house.  I could not believe it.  I watched in amazement as Madison replaced the screen, shut the window, and pulled the blinds.
        That did it.  I was mad then.  I marched up to the house and rang the doorbell, which set the beagle to barking again.  Presently the door opened and there was Madison’s mother.  I spoke with hard fought constraint.  “Hello Mrs. Renard, can I see Madison?”
        “Why hello, Michael,” she chirped and grinned at me.  Madison’s mother is one of those people that seem always overflowing with happy.  They’re annoying.  She had a small toddler in her arms and I could hear other small children squabbling behind her back.
        Then her husband joined us at the door.  “Hello, Michael,” he extended a hand.  “What brings you here, don’t usually see you except at church?”
        I shook his hand.  “Can I see Madison?”
        “Ahh,” he said, and I hoped he wouldn’t wink at me.  All the parents at church with dating age young daughters always seem more than happy, almost anxious, to have their daughters date young men from church.  If only he knew.
        “It’s not a social call,” I explained.  “She has something of mine and I need it back.”
        “I see,” he frowned.  “Well, unfortunately, Madison’s grounded to her room at the moment.  What is it?  Can I get it for you?”
        “No, no,” I stepped back.  “Can’t she come down for a moment?”
        Her dad shook his head and seemed genuinely sorry.  “Afraid not.  We don’t make exceptions on punishments.”
        Mrs. Renard broke in.  “Come back on Saturday, will you?   She can see you then.”
        Saturday, that was two days away.  I walked back to the car and slammed the door shut as I climbed in.  Then I fired off a text, “Madison, open the window and let my fairy out.”
        She kept me stewing a few minutes before finally answering.  “What makes you think she wants to go out?”
        “OPEN THE WINDOW,” I texted.
        “No, I don’t think so,” she responded, at her leisure again.
        “What are you doing, that’s my fairy,” I texted immediately.
        She doesn’t belong to you,” Madison answered.
        “She doesn’t belong to you either.  LET HER GO!!!!”
        “Michael, calm down.  Come back Saturday and we’ll talk about it.  Bye.”
        I was so furious I couldn’t hardly see straight enough to text one final message.  “Now I know why your parents have to ground you like a little kid.  Because you are one!!!”  I drove home then, before I got any madder and stormed the house.
        Madison still has my fairy and she drives me so crazy I want to punch something.  How am I going to wait until Saturday?  This is crazy.  Who does Madison think she is?

     Octobeer 25, 2012
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