3. Madison let the fairy out and she got hurt

        I’m so mad, I want to strangle Madison, and I would too if she wasn’t a girl.  She let my fairy out of the hamster cage and the fairy got scared and flew up to the ceiling in a panic causing all kinds of commotion.  The little fairy was flying all about looking for a way out of my room, with Westley and I chasing after, trying to recapture her before she got hurt, when she got one of her wings caught in an air return vent and twisted it and fell.  I hope her wing’s not broken.  It’s all Madison’s fault.  She is so infuriating.  She has no right to meddle.  None.  She needs to stay out of my business.
        After all these days, I was just getting the fairy to open up a little.  I got home from a pep rally yesterday afternoon and went up to my room first thing to check on her since I was going to be gone all evening at a football game.  She must of heard me coming, for when I pulled the cover off her hamster cage she was already standing and facing away from me, with her arms folded tight in front of her.  Her hair was even standing up somewhat.  She looked back at me over her shoulder to see if I was watching, then scrunched her face at me for a second, then snapped her head back around, so all I could see was the back of her hair.  Point made.
        I tossed by my football gear and gym bag into the closet and sat the cup of root beer, which I had bought on the way home at a Quick Trip, up on the dresser by the window and emptied my pockets onto the bed - change, keys, phone, etc.  When I turned my attention back to the fairy,  I was not surprised to see she was still giving me the cold shoulder.  I couldn’t help grinning.  Across the room I could spy her face in the mirror.  Her tiny little forehead was furrowed in a cute way, like she was totally frustrated with me, like the look girls at school give you when they want you to know they disapprove of something you’re doing.
        I figured this type of behavior had gone on long enough; so I took the straw out of my root beer, quietly poked one end into the cage behind the fairy’s little back, took in a deep breath, and then blew.  The sudden gust caught her by surprise and blew her clothes and hair all about.  She yelped and was knocked forward a few steps.  She whirled about in surprise, saw the straw and that I was to blame, and gave me the most venomous glare you could ever imagine.
        At least the fairy was looking me in the face now, so I gave her my most charming smile in return.  It works on most all girls from school.  “Hey there little pixie, it’s just me.  I only wanted your attention.”  Then I pulled a chair in front of the desk and her cage and sat straddling the back of the chair to show her I was giving my full attention, but not in a threatening way.  Tapping my chest, I said in my smoothest voice, “Michael.”  She didn’t respond, so I did it again.  “Michael.”  Then I pointed at her.  That was when I saw it, the barest  hint of a smile, quickly repressed.    Finally after all these days.  A smile.  She placed her hands on her hips and stared me straight in the eyes.  I pointed to my chest again.  “Michael.”
        Very faintly, I could hardly hear her, the fairy whispered my name.  It sounded more like, “Mee-el,” but it was close.
        “Yes, yes,” I exclaimed with delight, “Michael.”  I gave the fairy a huge grin and this time she did smile back. 
        Just then my phone buzzed and then started vibrating.  “Hold on a minute,” I gave the fairy a wink, and retrieved my phone off the bed.  It was a text from Westley, “Trouble, madison on her way to your house.”
        Madison had never been to my house before, this wasn’t good.  Something to do with the fairy, that was for sure.  “How do you know?” I texted back.
        “Natalie & tosha’s tweet, says madison left the laurels meeting determined to have it out with you.” Westley returned.
        “So madison’s friends  know about the fairy now!!” I texted.
        Don’t think so.” Westley returned.
        “Get over here!” I closed the phone.  I had to hurry.  “Sorry,” I said to the fairy, and put the cover back over her hamster cage.  She looked at me with those sad eyes, but it couldn’t be helped, I needed to get her hidden away.  Quickly I cleared a place under the bed and slid the cage under and all the way to the wall.  I had no sooner done so than the doorbell rang. 
        I was down the stairs and into the living room in three bounds.  My younger brother Brian was at the dining room table, gulping down a bowl of cheerios.  Couldn’t he wait for dinner?  Mom was in the hall staring at the door, debating whether to open it or not, since she was already dressed in pajamas for the night, but had pulled on a bathrobe.  “I got it Mom, it’s for me,” I said, and hurried past her.
        She frowned.  “The house isn’t clean, and you know I’m not up to visitors.”
        “It’s okay, Mom, just someone from church.  You can go on to bed and get some rest, don’t worry about us.”
        She gave me an exasperated frown and put a hand to her forehead for effect.  “They can’t stay long.”
        “Sure Mom, and I’ll start dinner in just a little while.”
        She nodded and retreated up the stairs, waving dismissively as she passed out of sight.
        I opened the front door and sure enough, there was Madison, in all her glory.  She saw me, and appeared to count or something, then brushed her hair back, took a breath, and spoke, “Michael, we need to talk about this fairy.”  She had a shoe box in her hands and a look of disapproval, not that different from the fairy’s expression in fact, written all over her face.
        Over Madison’s shoulder I could see her dad’s Saturn, where she had neatly parked at the curb and turned the wheels inward, even though we weren’t on a hill.  I also saw Westley coming fast on his bicycle.  He pulled his 10-speed Schwinn into the driveway, leaped off, letting it fall to the ground, and hopped up onto the front porch next to Madison.  I nodded him in and parted the door so he could pass by.  Then I spoke to Madison, trying to be nonchalant, despite the churning in my stomach.  “Wouldn’t you rather talk about my game tonight.  Big game, maybe we can get another win.  I can get you a front row seat so you can watch me kick Viking butt?”   Actually we lost in OT.  So sad.
        “Ha ha,” she replied, her eyes narrowing.  “Can I come in?”
        Westley, out of her field of view, was shaking his head vigorously and silently mouthing “Nooooo.”  He put his hands around his neck like he was strangling himself and began making silent choking noises.
        “Sure,” I opened the door and allowed Madison into the hallway.
        Brian glanced up from his cereal, wiped the milk off his face, then picked up his bowl and slouched off towards the TV room to finish out of sight.
        “I want to see the fairy!” Madison demanded immediately, and I could tell she wasn’t going to take no for answer.
        “She’s not yours, Madison,” Westley jumped in her face.
        Madison’s eyes went wide.  She turned on Westley.  “She’s not yours either.  The fairy doesn’t belong to anyone, she’s a person.”
        “Technically, she’s not a person,” I added, which caused Westley to nod vigorously and Madison’s eyes to narrow and once more swing back to me.
        Madison raised the box in her hands, up to my face, in a measured challenging movement.  “I brought the fairy some things.”
        “Like what?” Westley tilted the sunglasses off his eyes and stared at the box suspiciously, leaning forward.
        “None of your business,” Madison retorted sharply, causing him to snap back.  But she was not looking at him - she was trying to stare me down, daring me to say no.
         “Come on,” I said, and then led the two of them upstairs towards my room.  It was no use trying to hide the fairy from Madison, she had already seen the fairy once, the night I captured her.  It was in a wooded area behind Madison’s backyard in fact.  We were just going to have to deal with Madison.
        “What a mess,” Madison exclaimed, none to politely, as we entered my room.  “So, where is she?”
        I got down on my hands and knees and slid the hamster cage out from under the bed, causing Madison’s mouth to fall open.
        “You keep the fairy under your bed!!”
        I put a finger to my lips to silence Madison, and then slowly pulled the cover off the hamster cage.  “Hi there little pixie, it’s me, Michael, don’t be alarmed.  We have some visitors.”  I lifted the cage and returned it to its place on my desk, and adjusted it so we could all have a good look at her.
        The fairy was plastered against the far wall of the hamster cage, holding onto the bars to keep her balance as I moved the cage about.  She let go and stood erect, glancing back and forth between us, crouched slightly, taking us all in with evident interest, especially Madison.  Westley and Madison were both speechless for once, staring at my marvelous little fairy with wonder, although they had both seen her before.
        The fairy lifted her chin up like she was becoming miffed, so I pointed to my friend, “This is Westley.”  Then I jerked a thumb at Madison,  “And this is Madison.”
        “Awesome,” Westley said.  “I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it.  She’s so tiny.  I can’t believe she’s real.”
        Madison’s eyes were so wide it was comical.  She leaned over the fairy, staring at her with wonder, almost reverently, and I noticed Madison’s eyes had a really deep tint of blue to them.
        The fairy glanced at me, and then back at Madison, then the fairy sniffled a little and gave a small sob.  She pointed at the door to the cage and looked up at Madison with those pleading brown eyes.  Then she started to cry and dropped to her knees.
        “Oh,” Madison exclaimed, “she wants out.”  Madison reached to undo the latch on the cage door.
        “No you don’t.”  I intercepted Madison’s hand just in time.  “She’s just playing on your sympathies.”  It was interesting to note the fairy was apparently smarter than Madison.
        Madison pulled her hand out of my grasp.  “Don’t ever touch me.”
        The fairy, seeing her crying wasn’t going to work, got back to her feet and stomped over to the door of her cage.  Making a big show of it all, she reached her tiny arms through the bars and tried to undo the latch herself, but wasn’t even close to strong enough.  We watched as she groaned with the effort and struggled with all her little might, but it was no use for her.
        “I don’t believe you two,” Madison turned on me.  “How can you think to keep her a prisoner like this?  She’s not an animal!”
        “Hey, I’m going to let her go,” I said.  “I just need to figure some things out first, that’s all.”
        “Yeah,” Westley got in Madison’s face again.  “You can’t go letting fairies fly around loose now, can you.  We have a real live fairy here, for heaven’s sake.  This is historic.  This is epic.”
        “I think you’re both just terrible,” Madison said, and opened her shoe box.
        The fairy was taking this all in, watching us with great interest, and the sympathies of Madison were not lost on her, I could tell.
        Madison had brought doll clothes and other small items from her childhood Barbie collection.  She held up a little white doll dress.  It looked like a tiny nurses outfit.  She showed it to the fairy and then poked it through the bars at the top of the hamster cage.  It fell to the floor inside.  The fairy backed away to the far corner of the cage.  Madison poked three or four more doll sized dresses and several tiny little pants and shirts into the cage.  The fairy but made no move to retrieve them.  The fairy’s not quite as large as a typical Barbie Doll, but close enough she might be able to wear some of them.  Next Madison put some doll sized furniture on the desk by the door to the cage – a plastic table, chairs, dresser, bed, and vanity stand.  Madison cocked her head sideways to see if I would protest, then flipped open the latch to the door.  She started placing the doll furniture inside like she was arranging a doll house or something.
        Westley and I both saw it coming.  The hair on the top and back of the fairy’s head got real flat and she crouched down, then she reached behind her back, where I suspected a pouch was attached to her belt, and her face went taut.  Madison was placing a doll sized dresser in the cage, with actual drawers that slid in and out, when the fairy suddenly jumped and sprinted towards Madison’s outstretched hand with remarkable speed, and in her little hand she clutched a very small but sharp looking dagger.
        “No, watch out!” I shouted, and grabbed Madison around the waist to pull her away.
        “Jiminy Crickets!!” Westley screamed, and clasped his hands to the sides of his face, but it was too late.
        The fairy slashed Madison across the top of her hand, drawing a two inch line of blood.  The cut was no deeper than a cat’s scratch, but it scared Madison and made her scream and jerk her hand back.  I pulled Madison away and we tumbled over backwards, leaving the cage door wide open.
        It didn’t take the fairy a moment to gain her freedom.  She ducked, ran, and was out the cage door, uncurling her wings as she sprinted across the desk.  Three steps and she dove head first off the desk, wings flapping, and she was airborne.  Westley lunged at her but she swerved around his outstretched arms, almost fell, dropped a half foot, but then picked up some velocity as she beat her wings with amazing strength.  She rose rapidly to the ceiling, avoided the light fixture, and then angled towards the bedroom door, headed for the hallway beyond.
        Madison pushed herself off of me, scrambled to her feet, and actually beat me to the door.  She slammed it shut before the fairy could escape the room.  The fairy turned towards the window next, but I was there and shut the window, even though there was a screen and she couldn’t have gotten out.  She begin circling about the ceiling.  Madison held her finger up, offering a perch like the fairy was a bird or something, but the fairy ignored her.
        Grabbing up the pillows off my bed, I tossed one pillowcase to Westley and then shook out the other.  We held the pillowcases open, up above our heads, and backed the fairy into a corner.  We couldn’t reach the ceiling so we had to jump at her to try and catch her in the pillowcases.  She eluded us and begin circling the room again, but now staying toward the middle so we couldn’t pin her down.
        “Get her away from the light bulbs before she burns herself,” Madison yelled at us.
        “Westley, we’re not getting anywhere,” I said, lowering my pillowcase, and pulling him back from the chase.  He desisted and we backed away and watched the fairy fly about searching for an avenue of escape.  It was all in vain for her, there was no way out of the room.
        She soon grew tired of all the excitement and flew over to an air return vent at the far corner of the ceiling.  She grabbed onto the vent grill with her hands and hooked her feet up and hung there upside down like a butterfly.  I noticed she was panting and her little chest heaving from the excitement and her recent exertions.
        Then the furnace had to come on and the sudden suction of return air caught her by surprise.  She yelped in alarm and let go.  She must not weigh hardly anything, since it sucked her momentarily up against the vent and one delicate wing got caught and for a second she couldn’t push herself away.  She cried in a panic and with a frantic heave of her legs, managed to kick free, but then fell like a wounded sparrow.  I was quick to react and caught her in mid-air just before she hit the ground.
        I hastily whisked her back inside the hamster cage and stuffed the rest of the doll furniture inside and shut and securely re-latched the door.  She crawled to the far side of the cage on hands and knees, one wing curled up and tucked onto her back like normal, but not the other, for it was hurt.  She cried every time she tried to curl it, and finally gave up and left that wing extended, like a sparrow with a hurt wing, and laid herself down on the floor of her cage sobbing.  Poor little fairy.
        I turned on Madison.  “Look what you did!” I yelled at her.
        “What’s going on in there?” my mom interrupted at that moment, talking through my bedroom door.  “What’s all the noise and commotion?”
        “Nothing Mom, it’s okay now,” I responded quickly.  “We’ll be quieter.”
        “Who’s in there with you?”
        Madison started to answer, but I put a hand over her mouth.  I nodded to Westley and he stirred himself at last, “It’s just me, Mrs. Rigdon, you know, Westley Fench.”
        Madison shoved my hand away and glared at me.
        “I thought I heard a girl?” Mom insisted.
        Westley coughed and then raised his voice to an exaggeratedly high pitch, “I have a cold.  I must sound kind of funny, huh Mrs. Rigdon.”
        “You should go home now,” Mom replied.  “I need to have the house quiet.”
        “I’ll send him home right away,” I said quickly.
        “Sure thing Mrs. Rigdon,” Westley said, still in a high pitched girly voice.
        We waited until the sound of Mom’s footsteps receded, then I carefully opened the door and checked to make sure no one else was in the hall, then I took Madison by the elbow and forcibly escorted her out of my room, through the hallway, down the stairs, and out the front door.  Westley followed and I shut the door behind us.
        I shook my finger in Madison’s face.  “That fairy better not be seriously hurt or I’m holding you personally responsible.”
        Madison was all flustered and could hardly get the words out of her mouth.   “Oh, oh, oh, you are the one keeping that fairy captive and I’m the bad guy.  You better think twice about what you are doing.  You have to let her go.  You cannot keep her like that.  You have to let her go.  It’s not right.  You have to let her go.”
        I couldn’t take any more.  “Later Westley,” I said, and then went back into the house and slammed the door in Madison’s face.  I had to or else I might do something really bad and actually strangle her.  I could hear Westley and Madison continuing the argument outside, but I didn’t care, I raced back to my room and fell to my knees by the desk so my face was right at the cage.
        The little fairy was still lying on the floor, one wing outstretched awkwardly, not crying any longer but her little face streaked with tears.
        “I’m so sorry you got hurt,” I said to her.  “Never again.  I’m not going to let anyone else ever hurt you again.”
        The fairy sniffled at me like she understood my intent, then laid her head down and closed her eyes.  It appeared to me she was feeling better and wanted to sleep.
        I backed away and gently put the cover over her cage so she could rest.  Then I sat on my bed fuming at Madison.  Why does Madison think she has the right to interfere?  It’s none of her business.  She makes me so mad I can hardly stand it.  There is no way she’s going let this matter alone.  One way or another, Madison’s going to mess things up for me and the fairy.

     October 6, 2012
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