9. Twelve realms of existence

        I got the fairy back from Madison.  It wasn’t easy.  I had to confront Madison in person at her house in the midst of her crazy family.  I did get the fairy back, but Madison learned some disturbing things about fairies and questions the wisdom of keeping one in my house, and of course immediately she had to tell me all about it.  I try not to let Madison bother me.  I’m not sure how much I believe her anyway.  Madison is a little bit paranoid.
        I returned to the Renard place shortly after noon on Saturday and parked discretely down the street.  They must of heard the V-8 engine of my Mustang anyway, for their dumb dog was barking like crazy before I could step off the sidewalk onto the Renard’s front yard, and two of Madison’s younger sisters opened the door before I could even ring the doorbell.
        “Get back, Hunter,” one little sister shouted at the beagle, while the other ushered me inside.  The two girls, who looked to be about 10 and 12 and were obviously excited by my arrival, led me from the entry right into a crowded living room where I soon found myself surrounded by what seemed like a whole gang of younger girls.  Their house is small, just kitchen, living room, bedrooms and bathroom.  No rec room or separate dining room.  They have a set of couches at one end of the main room, angled towards the TV, and a dining table at the other end.  The walls of their home are crowded with family portraits and photographs.  Beyond the dining table a large window provides a broad view of  the back yard and out in the distance I could see the waterfall and ponds of their water display and beyond that the trees where the fairy meadow lay.
        “Hello again, Michael,” Mrs. Renard came out of the kitchen, a bright smile on her face, her arms full of canning jars, which she deposited on the dining table and then came to shake my hand.  “I’m so happy to see you back,” she said.  Madison will be pleased.”  I wasn’t so sure about that.
        Madison’s mom pointed to a couch, directing me to sit, which I did, feeling much like I was there for a hometeaching visit.  The two sisters who had greeted me at the door immediately took seats on each side of me, acting like the presence of a boy in their house was a big event or something.  There was a slightly older sister at the dining room table looking at me from around a computer monitor.  A much younger sister was sitting at the piano along one wall and a toddler was standing in the middle of the room just staring at me.  That was Amie, she’s seen the fairy too, the night I caught Bonnie in their back yard.
        “Lisa, Hannah, keep our guest occupied while I get Madison,” Mrs. Renard charged the two sitting on each side of me.  “Would you like something to drink?” Mrs. Renard asked me.
        “No thanks,” I responded.  Did they think this was a social call?  I just wanted to have it out with Madison and get my fairy back.
        “Would you like to see my snake?” the sister on my right, Hannah, asked in all seriousness.
        “No thanks,” I shook my head once.  The dog, Hunter they called him, a typical beagle with beautiful brown and black colors on white, took up guard on a rug in front of the fireplace.  I’d briefly seen a cat too.  And what was that Hannah said about a snake?  This house was too small for so many people and pets, and I was beginning to feel very uncomfortable.  These people were weird.  I should of expected as much, it made sense Madison’s family would be as odd as her.
        The sister on my left poked me in the side.  “Are you Brian’s brother?”
        I recognized Lisa from Mutual then, a new Bee Hive that must have just turned 12.  “I have my doubts about whether or not he’s really my brother,” I told her.    
        “It’s a boa,” Hannah interrupted from my other side
        “That’s nice,” I nodded.
        Lisa poked me again to get my attention back.  “Can you tell Brian to stop bothering me?”
        “Brian does what he wants,” I said.  I didn’t tell her she wasn’t the only one complaining about Brian’s behavior.  Just last week the Deacons Advisor had me in for a talk to discuss how he might help.  Help with what?  There wasn’t anything anyone needed to be concerned about.  Brian was just Brian.  He was born disagreeable.
        “You sure you don’t want me to get her, you ever held a snake before?” Hannah persisted.
        “I haven’t, but no thanks,” I said.
        “Well I don’t like it,” Lisa complained.
        I turned quickly back to her before she poked me a third time.  “Don’t like what?”
        “I don’t like Brian pestering me and following me around, I don’t like him talking to me, I don’t like him being in the same room!”
        “He follows you around, does he?  He must be sweet on you,” I said.
        “Oh great,” she made a face.  Then she got up and went to join her sister at the dining room table, who I recognized now too, Ashley, one of the Mia Maids.
        The little one playing the piano must have seen her opportunity, for she immediately slid off the piano bench and ambled to the couch, taking her sister’s vacated spot at my side.  “I’m Nicole,” she announced proudly.
        All this chatter was making my head hurt.  Fortunately Madison arrived and rescued me, not that I thought it would be any more pleasant talking to her.  She came down the stairs acting all aloof, like she didn’t know why I was there.  She had on a light summer dress, the skirt about knee length, and the hem rode up her legs a little at each downward step.  She chased her little sisters off the couch and out of the living room with a few well aimed swats, all except the little toddler Amie, who apparently wandered where she would.  I was conscious the sisters hadn’t gone far, just to the dining room table or nearby kitchen, and were watching our every move.  Madison set on the opposite couch facing me.  She crossed her legs and then arms and just looked at me, her brow furrowed with disapproval.
        “So,” I said to Madison.  “Did you see that touchdown I made at the end of our game yesterday?  I must have broken five tackles.”
        “I don’t go to football games,” Madison remarked coolly.
        “Too bad,” I shrugged.  I leaned forward, resting my elbows on my knees.  I gave her my serious, no nonsense look, then I said to her, “You know why I’m here, Madison, I want my … ahhh ….”  I looked around the room and several of the sisters averted their eyes.  Then I blurted out, “You promised you’d go to a dance with me.”
        That through her off for a moment.  “I did no such thing,” Madison retorted, and there were suppressed giggles from the sisters.
        “Sure you did,” I said loudly.  “Don’t you remember our bet?  You lost, and now you owe me a date to the dance.”
        Her sisters were openly giggling and elbowing at each other now.
        Madison took a deep breath.  “What do you want, Michael?”
        “I want my hamster back,” I asserted immediately.
        “Your hamster?” Madison’s eyebrows went up.
        “You know what I mean,” I said.  “Give her back.”
        “I’m not sure she wants to go back,” Madison responded.

        That made me angry.  “Well let’s just go up and ask her.”
        “No way am I taking you upstairs to my bedroom,” Madison declared, causing some of the younger sisters to laugh out loud.
        I felt crowded under their attention.  “Okay, look Madison, you have something of mine and I want it back.  End of discussion.”
        Madison surprised me.  “I’ll go get her,” she announced.  “Hannah, take Hunter outside please,” she directed the sister who apparently likes snakes.  I watched with surprise and Madison strolled herself upstairs, leaving me alone under the watchful and curious gaze of her sisters.  Ashley and Lisa kept giggling about something and casting furtive glances in my direction from the dining room table.
        Presently Madison called down the stairs to see if Hunter was outside.  When her sister Hannah answered in the affirmative, Madison came down the stairs with her hands cupped in front of her and the fairy setting in the palm of Madison’s hands, in plain sight.  I jumped to my feet in alarm.
        When the little fairy saw me, she let out a squeal and launched herself into the air, fluttering her beautiful gossamer wings to sustain her flight.  She dove down and flew low to the floor, almost grazing the carpet, then climbed abruptly and hit into my chest with a thump, gave me a hug, and then let herself fall backwards, knowing I would catch her in my hands, which I did.
        I expected the household to erupt into pandemonium, but the sisters all ignored Bonnie, like they saw fairies flying about the living room every day.
        Madison settled into the couch next to me, grinned at the shocked expression on my face, and whispered.  “They didn’t see her, they never do.”
        I glanced about in surprise and realized the fairy had taken a flight path across the living room, low and along the couches and behind the end table that kept her out of the line of sight from Madison’s sisters.  I glanced at Madison in astonishment and she gave me a shrug.  She was right, all her little sisters were watching us quite closely, yet there was no indication any of them had seen the fairy.  Except maybe the toddler Amie, who was pointing, but who can tell what a toddler things.
        Madison motioned me to follow, and took me out the front door and away from her sisters.  We circled off the front porch and around to the side of the house where we could talk in the shade in private.
        Once outside, the fairy left my hands and flew along beside us.  “Michael, Michael, Michael,” she started repeating, once we got around the corner.  She hovered right in front of my face.
        “Hello little pixie,” I grinned at her.  “You must have missed me.”
        “Oh, my, god,” Madison said.  “She kept asking for you every five minutes.  And when she saw you drive off in the Mustang she broke out in tears.  She was devastated.  I told her you would be back.”
        “Well what did you lock her in your room for?” I complained.
        “Someone has to make sense of all this?”
        “What’s that supposed to mean?” I fumed.
        “You don’t think it odd you found a fairy?  A fairy of all things?  No sane person even thinks fairies exist.  What is she?  How did she get here?  What does she want?”
        “I don’t know, what does it matter?”  I started across the yard for my car.  The fairy caught up to me and lit in the palm of my right hand again, where she settled down in a cross legged posture for the ride.
        Madison followed us across the yard and down the sidewalk.  “That’s what I mean.  I suppose you don’t think.  I suppose you don’t care.  What is she, Michael?  Why is she here?  What does she want?”
        Madison, you talk too much.”
        I got to the old Mustang and pulled the door open to leave, but Madison took hold of my free arm.  “Can we talk for a moment in private?”  She nodded at the fairy.
        I opened the car door and tossed the fairy towards the passenger seat.  She fluttered her wings and landed on all four.  I shut the door before she could fly back out.  “So what do you want?” I asked Madison.  “Make it quick.”
        Madison took a deep breath and paused to collect her thoughts, then said, “I tried to question the fairy about where she came from.”
        “You did huh?”
        “You heard me.”  Madison looked so serious it was funny.  She continued in all earnestness, “I tried to question the fairy.”  Madison noticed me grinning at her and got mad.  “It’s for your benefit.  Why do I even bother?  You are so naïve!  Just going along without a concern in the world, happy to have a fairy, no questions or concerns, nothing bothering you about any of this?”  Madison threw her hands up in the air.  “A real live fairy falls into your hands and you never bother to ask why?”
        “You are such a drama queen, Madison.  Did you find out anything?”
        Madison took another deeper breath.  “The fairy wouldn’t tell me anything about why she’s here.  She just clams up about that topic.  But she did tell me a little about where she came from.”
        “I’m listening.”
        “Okay, this is quite fantastic.  According to the fairy, there are twelve realms of existence.  Five are mortal realms, three spiritual, and three eternal realms.”
        “That’s only eleven,” I interrupted.
        Madison waved her hands in front of her eyes.  “I know, she only described eleven to me, I don’t know about the twelfth, but that’s irrelevant, just listen will you.  Don’t worry about the spiritual realms, they only exist prior to birth.  Starting to sound familiar?”
        “Everything sounds familiar to you.  What’s the point of all this?”
        Madison was getting even more wound up.  “Listen to me, Michael.  She claims there are five mortal realms, arranged in order from goodness to evil, and they are inhabited with all kinds of strange creatures.  Humans only exist in this one realm.  Where we live right now.”
        “These other realms are inhabited by all kinds of strange creatures, like fairies and gnomes and dwarf and elves, which are generally good, but also trolls and goblins and demons and such, which are evil.  They all live in their own realms, and normally never cross over to a different realm.”
        “Yeah, so,”
        “All these mythological type fairytale creatures, are we to suppose they are actually all real now?”
        “Don’t worry about it Madison, she’s probably just spouting names she’s been hearing in the Disney movies and comic books?”
        Madison looked thoughtful.  “Well, she does like Disney movies.  I suppose she could have gotten the names from things she saw on TV.  Like maybe she related the nearest type of TV creature to the actual type of creature she’s familiar with.”
        Madison, get real,” I shook my head.  “There are no such things as trolls or elves or demons or such.”  I started to reach for the car door again, but she clutched at my arm all the more.
        Madison glared at me anxiously.  “Is there no such things as fairies?” Madison demanded.
        “I don’t know, leave me alone.”
        “You have to take this serious, Michael.  Is it safe for you to keep a strange alien creature in your house, with your mom and younger brother there?  An intelligent creature that you really don’t know anything about?  What if she’s dangerous?  What does she want with you?”
        “Nothing,” I said.  “She doesn’t want anything.  She just is.  And she’s not dangerous.”  I removed Madison’s hand from my arm.  “I’ll pick you up at eight for the dance,” I said, as I climbed in the care, causing her to throw her arms up again with frustration.
        So I took my little fairy and I left Madison there, but she’s got me a little worried.  What does the fairy want?  Where did she come from?  Why is she here?  For how long?  She seems attached to me, but what does she want?  I would appreciate any ideas?

October 29, 2012

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