16. We meet a fairy prince

        The fairy’s back and a lot’s happened since her return.  We’ve been out searching for the other fairies, and we found them.  It might have been better if we hadn’t.  They’re not very nice, some of them are dangerous, and they’re not happy with my fairy, nor with me.  I’m writing this post from my bed in the hospital.  I was injured fighting with the fairies.  Bonnie was also hurt.  She’s with Madison now but her wings have been clipped and she can’t fly.  And she’s been disowned by the other fairies!
        The fairy finally showed up at Madison’s house after being gone for four days.  I was so relieved.  The fairy would’ve come home to me, I believe, if she wasn’t in trouble and scared and needing quick refuge.  I got a text from Madison a few hours after school that day.  “The fairy’s been here.  Come when you can.”
        Of course I left immediately.
        Brian caught me as I passed the living room, “Hey, you were going to show me the … ahhh ...  you know, the alien.”
        “Not now Brian, the alien’s still gone, but I think Madison knows where it is.  I’ll show it to you later if I can, promise.”
        Suddenly Mom appeared around a corner and came into the living room.  I was worried she might have heard us, but she gave no indication if she did.  “Where are you off too?” Mom queried.  She was dressed up nice, like she was going to dinner or something.  She even had on makeup, which she normally never wears.
        “Mom, I’m off to Madison Renard’s,” I answered, wondering where she was going.  On most days she didn’t get out of the house.
        “Okay,” Mom nodded.  “But be home for dinner.  I’ll be late getting in, so you two eat without me.”
        I gave her a hard stare, but she didn’t offer any explanations, just turned and went up the stairs towards her room.
        I had no time to waste and didn’t pursue it any further.  Instead I hurried out to the car.  Fortunately the Mustang had a full tank of gas and I was soon speeding down the roads towards Madison’s house.  My spirits were soaring.  The fairy was back.
        Madison was waiting for me at the front door.  She had on shorts and a t-shirt and was barefoot.  She had her hair tied back in a pony tail.  It was a different look for her, kind of cute.  She motioned me in and took me up to her bedroom.  She had to chase off one of her sisters, Hannah, who shares the room.  Madison took my arm and pulled me over to the window.  “Look at this,” Madison pointed, and nodded knowingly, pony tail bobbing.
        I was startled to see the screen had been slit open, and there were tiny scratches and cuts all along the outside corner of the window frame, like from the fairy’s dagger, like the fairy had been trying to open it from the outside, but had been unsuccessful because the window was locked.
        I looked up at the trees, off in the distance beyond Madison’s backyard, where the trail started that led through the forest to the fairy meadow we’d visited on previous days.  The fairy knew this was Madison’s bedroom window.  She might have tried to come here.  But why was she in such a hurry she couldn’t wait for Madison to get home from school, and why didn’t she come to my house instead?
        I was sorely disappointed.  “So you haven’t actually seen the fairy,” I asked.
        “No,” Madison replied slowly.  “But look at that window, it was the fairy, don’t you think?”
        “Oh, it was the fairy all right,” I said.  “She was definitely here, and she wanted in bad.”  I remembered the first day I’d found the fairy.  She’d been in trouble that day too.  I had to do something.  I spun on my heels and headed for the door.
        “Wait, where are you off to so quick?” Madison asked in dismay.
        “Got to go,” I exclaimed, and exited her bedroom.
        “You’re going to find her?” Madison called after me.
        I didn’t answer.
        “I’m coming too,” Madison exclaimed, as she grabbed up a pair of tennis shoes and socks and stumbled down the hall in pursuit.  “Wait for me.”
        I was out the front door and around the house and starting across the back yard when Madison came running to catch up.  “Gosh, you never take time to think?”
        “The fairy’s missing.  She needs my help.”
        “But where are you going?” Madison waved her arms.
        “The only place I know to look, the meadow in the woods behind your house.”
        “Well, what if the fairy’s making her way back to your house.  She might even be there by now.”
        “Then we have nothing to worry about.”  I came to a halt and pointed to the crows up ahead.  They were gathering again, or maybe they had never left, more of them now than before, perhaps two dozen circling about the sky above the woods.  I started forward at a faster pace, Madison rushing to keep up.
        Then we saw the fairy.  Bonnie came flying out of the woods near the koi ponds, straight ahead.  She was flying low and fast, as fast as she could manage.  The crows were after her and she had her dagger in hand.  They were harrying her like you sometimes see crows doing to hawks that stray into their territory.  One of the crows swooped down at Bonnie, causing the fairy to swerve sideways and drop and almost crash into the ground.
        The fairy reached us and hit into my chest with a thud, feet first.  I cupped my hand under her and she fell back into the palm of my hands.  She was breathing heavily and looked frightened.  She was dirty and her clothes looked torn.  “Bonnie, are you okay?”
        The fairy looked back at the crows, then to me, and nodded, struggling to catch her breath enough to speak.  She placed her dagger back into the pouch on her belt and let out a big sigh.
        “Bonnie, where did you go, I’ve been worried about you?”
        The fairy looked up gratefully and spoke between breaths.  “Michael protect Bonnie?”
        The shadow of a crow passed over us.  Madison and I looked at each other, then we turned and ran with the fairy.  We ran without stopping, crows squawking and circling overhead, which only made us run faster, all the way to my Mustang.  I didn’t feel safe until we were safely inside with the car doors shut and a metal roof over our head.
        I placed the fairy up on the dashboard.  I was so happy to see her.  She stared out the windshield at the crows outside, as if not quite sure the glass was enough protection.
        Madison turned in the passenger seat and tapped on the widow next to her, as if to test the glass also.  Then she spoke to the fairy, “Where have you been?”
        The fairy faced Madison and looked her up and down.
        “Bonnie, why did you leave, where did you go?” I asked the little fairy.
        “Bonnie look for others,” she replied.
        “Others, other fairies?” I asked.  “Did you find them?  What happened to your clothes?”
        “Bonnie not find them.  Signs not there.  They abandon me.”  The fairy started to sniffle.
        “No, no,” Madison tried to console her.  “They’re probably looking for you just as hard as you’re looking for them.”  As if Madison knew anything about the other fairies.
        The fairy shook her head and wiped the tears off her cheeks.  She sat down on the dashboard.  “They know where Bonnie at.  Jennie knows.  Jennie been to see Bonnie.”
        “You should have asked me to help,” I said.  “You know I will.  Now tell us what happened.  Why are your clothes torn?”
        “Bonnie went to sacred spot in the woods,” she pointed back to the meadow where I’d first seen her.  I saw the crows had withdrawn from the vicinity of our car, but were massing over in that area, circling in the sky and congregating in the trees.
        The fairy stood up on the dashboard, “We been there before, Michael, remember, yes.  Bonnie saw signs, secret signs, directions to rendezvous camp.  Bonnie go back, but now signs gone.  Signs been destroyed.  Bonnie remember though, from other time, so Bonnie fly to rendezvous anyway.  Find evidence of a camp, fairies been there, but moved on.  They change locations every few days.  Bonnie look for more secret signs, to tell of next rendezvous camp.  Not there.  They not leave signs.  They not want Bonnie follow.”
        “Maybe you just missed the signs,” Madison offered.
        “No, no, Bonnie not miss.  Signs always left, carved in the wood of a tree, above the seventh northward branch of a northward tree.  Bonnie not miss.  Signs not there.  Bonnie search for next camp anyway.  Then crows come.  Bad.  Bad.  Crows chase Bonnie.  Crows try to kill Bonnie.”
        “Don’t worry little pixie,” I said.  “We’ll go home.  I’ll protect you.”
        The fairy sat down and shook her head.  “Bonnie want to find others.”
        The fairy had such a forlorn look on her face, I knew something had to be done.  I would take the fairy to find her friends if that was what she wanted.  Even if it meant she left me and went home.  “Well then, we’ll help you find them,” I declared.
        Bonnie looked at me in surprise, then over to Madison.
        “Sure,” Madison reassured her.
        “Let’s go back to this camp you discovered,” I suggested.  “Maybe we can determine some clue as to where to look next?”
        Madison was shaking her head, but I held my hand out to the fairy and she climbed on board.  I exited the car and paused and stared at the sky to see if the crows would notice us again.  They didn’t appear, so I started back towards the woods.  I heard the passenger door to my car open and close and knew Madison was following.
        The fairy led us first to the original fairy meadow, and then in a northeastly direction.  There were crows all about, in great numbers, and they squawked at us, but the fairy paid them no heed now, and they made no moves to molest us.  Crows are very cautious by nature and I didn’t really think they would attack a full sized person.  They trailed along with us as we traversed the forest, flying from branch to branch, but stayed high up in the trees, and made no attempts to harry us.
        I found a deer trail going in the same general direction and the fairy was content to follow the winding path, and we made our way through the bush for what seemed like forever, probably about 30 minutes.  I estimate we covered between one and two miles.  I tried to keep track of the route and was picking out landmarks to remember.  We’d gone up and over five ridges and crossed two marshy streams and the ground was generally sloping downward.   We were getting a long ways out from the house, but the trail was well defined and I wasn’t too worried.  The fairy led the way, flying and hovering a foot or two ahead and above us, setting a slow enough pace for us to keep up.
        “I hope you can find the way back home,” Madison whispered.
        “Who, me?” I asked.  “Was I supposed to be keeping track?”  I normally enjoy being out in the woods, and was happy to have the fairy back, no mistake about that, but the deeper we went into the forest the more uneasy I became.  I wished the crows would go away and could tell Madison was getting more than a little worried.  Sometimes I think she enjoys worrying.
        “Well you are a Boy Scout aren’t you?” Madison spoke sternly.
        I hit the palm of my hand on my forehead.  “If I’d only thought to bring a compass.  Be prepared, the Scout motto.”
        Then fairy flew up in our faces.  “Shhhh, quiet, we getting close now.”
        The fairy led us over another ridge and we dropped down into a small ravine that abutted up against a boulder, providing some shelter.  A dry creek bed ran along one side of the boulder.  Trees on three sides of the boulder formed a natural enclosure and the fairy led us right in under the trees.  Then she rose straight up into the air, following the trunk of a massive Douglas Fir on the north side of the bolder, up into the foliage and out of sight.
        “You see any sign of other fairies?” I asked Madison.
        She looked about apprehensively.  “No,” she whispered
        Suddenly the fairy returned from the branches above, and she was all excited.  “Directions here, directions here.  New.  Not here before.”
        The fairy sped off flying in a westerly direction now, assuming Madison and I would follow, which we did.  I had to take Madison’s hand to get her started though.
        We left the ravine and trucked back into the woods again, travelling along a large whale shaped hill, traveling up and then down the spine, and then came upon a hill that was bare of trees and had been logged.  There was nothing but stumps and dead fall and wreckage left behind.  There appeared to be a logging road way off in the distance.  We circled the devastated hillside around to a wetland area and then skirted back into the trees.
        We only travelled about the length of a football field, into this new section of woods, when we saw a couple of fairies, two of them, hovering in the air in front of us, directly down our line of travel.  I recognized the one that visited Bonnie at my house on a previous day, with the blue leather clothes, Jennie we were calling her.  The other one was new to me.  She had thick green leather clothes that matched the color and texture of moss.  They were both the same size as my fairy and similar in build and look.  Bonnie flew forward to greet them, while Madison and I hung back, watching in awe as they hovered in the air talking excitedly in high pitched melodious squeaks.
        Bonnie returned to us shortly.  She looked concerned.  “We go back now.”
        “What, we just got here?” I said.
        “We go back now,” Bonnie insisted.
        “I don’t understand?”
        “Go, now,” Bonnie swooped down and tugged at my sleeve, until she had Madison and I turned around and facing the way we’d just come.  Then she flew ahead, motioning us to follow.
        Suddenly the blue clothed fairy yelled something, in a shrieking high pitched noise, almost like a whistle.  I didn’t know the meaning of her word, but the intent was obvious, one of alarm.  We turned to see the green clothed fairy speeding away in the opposite direction from which Bonnie was wanting us to go.
        “Come, come,” Bonnie cried, again pulling at my sleeve.
        “We need to go,” Madison exclaimed, her voice higher now also.  I could see the fairy’s behavior was worrying her.  As we started back in the way we’d come, Madison questioned the fairy.  “What did they say to you?  Why did they leave you directions to find them if you weren’t supposed too?”
        “They not leave directions.  Jennie leave directions.  Jennie worried about Bonnie.”  The fairy flew ahead, urging us to a faster pace.
        “That doesn’t mean we have to go back,” I exclaimed.  “I want to speak with Jennie?  Let’s find the others?”
        Bonnie was not to be swayed.  “No, no, we go.  Hurry.”
        We were almost out of the woods and to the wetland area when Bonnie was attacked.  She flew under some low hanging branches and a large male fairy swooped down on her.  Bonnie screamed in surprise as this large fairy tackled her in mid-air, grabbing her from above and behind, collapsing her wings and driving her down into the ground.  The new fairy slammed Bonnie hard into the earth, which fortunately was soft from fallen leaves and pine needles, but he landed on top of her, pinning her to the ground with his weight.
        I yelled at them and rushed to Bonnie’s aid, when another large fairy swooped in front of me, backing up both Madison and I.  This fairy was carrying wicked looking brass spear, which it waved in front of my face.  These new fairies were larger than Bonnie and her friends, by a good two inches, maybe three.  They were scary looking, one was male and the other female, lean and muscular, with armor, and weapons, and grim faces.
        You may think something so small a creature as a fairy would not be intimidating, but these two looked dangerous, and I had no doubt they could do serious damage with those brass spears they waved at us, and the swords hanging from their belts.
        The male one was hurting my fairy, and I’d given Bonnie my promise I’d protect her.  I picked up a fallen branch, about the thickness of a baseball bat, and broke it in half over my knee, which made a satisfyingly loud crack, to give me a nice club, about the length of a size 30 baseball bat.
        The large fairy in my face immediately retreated higher in the air, just enough to get just out of my reach, but no further.  I noticed the fur on the tops of all their heads was standing almost straight up.  I was debating my chances of throwing the stick at her, when Bonnie cried out to me.  “No Michael.  No.”
        The large fairy on the ground with Bonnie climbed off her and jerked Bonnie to her feet, but stood behind her, his arms around her, holding her in a bear hug, preventing her from deploying her wings should she so wish.  Bonnie looked scared, but I got the feeling she was mostly worried about me.
        I lowered my club and the fairies all seemed to relax a little, so I dropped it on the ground.  “Bonnie, tell them we mean no harm.  Tell them we come as friends.”
        There was some chatter among the fairies, then Bonnie spoke to me.  “Michael sit please.  We wait.  Others come.  Michael and Madison sit.”
        I glanced at Madison and she nodded, so together we sat on the ground, which was covered with fallen pine needles and leaves and some ferns.  We had come to meet the fairies, so why not.  The large male fairy with Bonnie let go of her, but forced her to sit also, and remained towering over her.  The large female in the air remained airborne and kept her vantage position.  I noticed Jennie circle down and land in the trees above, where she settled into a position on one of the branches directly overhead.
        We didn’t wait long, when presently a whole troop of maybe a half dozen more fairies arrived.  They all appeared somewhat different from Bonnie, and the first two we encountered on the trail.  They were larger and more athletic looking, and they carried weapons.  One of the fairies caught my eye, he being older and obviously in charge, and the others acting in deference to him.  I watched him carefully, he was middle aged maybe, with a white beard, and he flew a little more measured than the others, which were all young.  Two more of them took up circling patterns over our heads, while the older one and a couple of others landed around Bonnie and began to question her.  I noticed Jennie take off from up high in the branches, flying fast, and disappear in the direction from where the others had come.
        At length the older fairy broke off from speaking with Bonnie and approached me on foot, flanked by two of the others, a blonde female fairy with long blonde hair that carried a bow and arrows, and a helmeted male fairy with a thin long sword.
        “Humans,” the older fairy spoke to me, surprising me so much I almost fell over backwards.  His voice had a lot of volume, was a lot deeper than Bonnie's, but still high pitched and somewhat melodious.
        “Yes,” Madison recovered first and responded for us.
        “You may leave!” the older fairy commanded.
        Madison took my arm.  She looked scared.  We struggled to our feet.  I tried to keep the nervousness out of my voice and pointed at Bonnie.  “She comes with me.”
        The older fairy appeared startled by the request.  He conferred with the helmeted one, then said.  “She stay.  You leave.  Return home.”
        Bonnie was sitting docily on the ground and looking subdued with her head down, whereas the others were all standing in positions of readiness and glaring at us.  I didn’t like the looks of this.  I stepped towards them, which ruffled their fur again, so I stepped back.  Madison clutched at my arm and squeezed.  I was getting angry at their treatment.  I dismissed their leader and spoke to my fairy, “Bonnie, what’s going on?”
        Bonnie looked up at me and, although she didn’t answer, the tears on her face told the story.  She was in trouble.  I turned to their leader and spoke down to him.  “Listen here little fella,” I said.  “You may be hot stuff among fairies, but you’re small potatoes to me.  I’m not leaving without Bonnie.”
        Again they appeared to be shocked at my words.  I didn’t know if it was because of what I was saying, or merely the fact I was standing up to them.  Madison pressed against my side and I could feel her trembling.  I noticed my club on the ground a few feet away, within easy grasp.  These fairies didn’t scare me.  Not really.
        The chatter among them ceased, and the older one spoke again.  “Human, depart or suffer.”
        It was a threat, and I don’t like threats.  It was obvious they weren’t going to release Bonnie willingly.  I was on the verge of lunging for my club and having some batting practice on a few fairies, when Jennie returned and came swooping down among us from above, in a big hurry.  She landed in front of the older one and delivered some type of chirpy message.  They chattered back and forth angrily, the older one not looking too happy.
        Then, suddenly, they all took flight and rose into the air.  Bonnie got up also and brushed at the dirt on her clothes.  Instead of following the others, she flew up to Madison and me.  I held up my hand and she landed in my palm.  “Come, we go with them,” Bonnie said.
        “What?” Madison exclaimed.  Her eyes were wide.
        “What do they want?” I asked.
        Bonnie struggled to find the right words.  “The … ahhh … the … ahhh …., what would you call him … ahhh … a prince, yes, the prince will meet with you.  We are going to see the fairy prince.”
        I nodded to Madison.  Now we were getting somewhere.  The fairies spread out and moved off to the east and we followed.  As we hiked deeper into the woods, following the swarm of fairies, Madison walking very close, I offered her my arm and she took it, and clung to my side.  Bonnie stayed close with us, flying about head level and just ahead of us.  The other fairies were higher up, well out of reach from my arms even should I jump at them, in a kind of loose formation, some ahead and some behind us, the older one directly overhead.
        They took us to a small stream, and then departed from the trail to parallel the bank of the stream.  They weren’t as careful as Bonnie had been to make sure we had a clear ground path to follow, and we had to skirt a few bushes and fallen logs at times, which delay seem to irritate them, until we could catch back up to their formation of flight.  We eventually came to a secluded hollow bisected by the stream, in the middle of which the bubbling stream went over a small waterfall, only about a foot or two high, but noisy because of the rocks and boulders in that area.
        Madison and I were directed to a large fallen log, where we took seats, anxious to see what would happen next.  Madison sat very close to me, but I didn’t mind.  Bonnie stayed with us and landed on my leg.  The other fairies settled into positions around the hollow, some on the ground, some in the branches of trees surrounding the opening.
        Presently more fairies begin to arrive.  The older fairy, their leader who had led us to this hallow, flew to an adjoining log that faced ours, and stood with his arms folded, surveying the approach of newcomers.  Other fairies soon joined him at the log,  some dressed in warlike costumes with weapons, others not.
        When the fairy prince made his appearance, I knew it was him because all fairy eyes turned towards him and all the fairies bowed, even Bonnie.  Madison bowed too, but I didn’t, not wanting them to think I would pay homage to royalty.  The fairy prince landed right next to the older fairy.  He was young, not much more than a teen, but was as large as any of the warlike fairies, and very handsome.  He was dressed in silks, and had armor on too, although his armor looked more ornamental than functional, although he did carry a sword which looked real.  He was followed by two more older fairies, and some of the warrior fairies formed up close by in defensive positions.
        Bonnie whispered up at Madison and me.  “Wait until spoken too.  You will get your chance.  Be very respectful.”  Then she flew over to the fairy prince, landed before him, and bowed all the way to the ground until her forehead touched the log upon which they stood.
        The older fairy began to speak, very rapidly, and with much waving of arms and gestures towards Bonnie and ourselves.  Then Bonnie was addressed and she rose from her bow.  She also spoke, also very rapidly and impossible to understand, and also with much waving of arms and her wings fluttering.  It was a little comical.  At times she rose up on the balls of her feet.  The fairy prince asked her questions and she replied adamantly, very freely it seemed to me, and certainly with much conviction.
        At length they turned to us.  The fairy prince said something, it sounded like in English, but I couldn’t understand him for the accent.  Then the older one reiterated for me in his booming voice, “Humans, you are permitted to speak.”
        I looked at Bonnie for some guidance, but she was looking at her feet.  I held my right hand up, palm forward.  “Greetings, we come in peace.”
        They looked at each other quizzically, and spoke to each other, but not to me, which I thought a bit impolite.  So I continued, “We mean you no harm.”  I pointed to Madison and myself.  “We would like to help you.”  This caused am immediate stir among the fairies, and much conversation and buzzing about, making it impossible for me to get another word in.
        The older one stepped a little closer.  “Help us, human?  How you help us?”
        “Well, ahhh, I heard your plans were disrupted and you couldn’t get back to you own place as planned.”
        This caused ever more of a stir.  The older fairy challenged, “Who told you our plans were disrupted?  What do you know of our plans or our expedition?”
        “Well, ahhh, just what Bonnie told me.”  I stopped abruptly.  It was a mistake, I saw it as they glanced angrily at Bonnie and she dropped her head even further.
        Madison whispered to me.  “Be careful.”
        The fairy prince asked me something else, but I could only shake my head, not understanding.  The older one repeated, more intelligibly, “Human, you say you will help us?  Do you swear?”
        “Well, ahh, I guess so, as long as it’s nothing illegal or immoral or stupid, sure.  Why not?”
        He seemed to have a little trouble with some of my meanings, but Bonnie spoke up in their language and they were soon smiling and seemed pleased.  I feared Bonnie was still in the doghouse though and I wanted to help her.  “Bonnie,” I pointed at my little fairy.  “That one has done good.  She has been nice to me, so now I will help you.”
        The fairy prince guy pointed to one of his companions, one dressed all in robes like a wizard or something, and the little fella immediately lifted off and disappeared into the foliage above.  He returned presently with a small pouch and a wooden bowl.  He proceeded to dump the contents of the pouch into the bowl, a powdery substance of about the same consistency as flour.  He was handed a water pouch by his assistant, which he poured over the substance, and then began mixing with his hands, until he had a paste, which he rolled into a ball, about the size of a bowling ball to their scale.  Once satisfied, he presented it to the older fairy, who continued as spokesman for the fairy prince.  He flew over to me and deposited the ball, about the size of a marble to my scale, in my outstretched hand.  It was obvious he wanted me to eat the stuff.
        I was suspicious.  The concoctions Bonnie’d been mixing back at my house came to mind.  Bonnie’d been experimenting with various herbs and spices from the kitchen.  On two occasions, that I knew of, she’d made a powdery dust which she blew in my face.  Curious.
        “What is this?” I asked the fairies.
        The fairy prince spoke to me, and I caught some of his words, then the older fairy repeated more clearly, “Human, we will call upon you for assistance with our expedition.  We thank you for your offer.”  He motioned for me to eat.
        I looked to my friends.  Bonnie shook her head.  I glanced at Madison, who shook also her head.  “I wouldn’t,” Madison said.  “What if it’s poison?”
        The fairies saw my hesitation and began to confer.  The spokesman said, “Human, what do you wish from us in return for your assistance?”  I remembered how Bonnie said fairies love to make deals.
`      “Hmmmm,” I had to think fast.  I pointed at Bonnie.  “I want you to let her go.  I want her to stay with me.”
        “Agreed,” the fairy prince declared.
        “Now eat, to seal the bargain,” the older one ordered, and all eyes turned to me again.
        Bonnie was shaking her head at me all the more now, but I had to do it.  The fairy dust Bonnie’d blown in my face hadn’t had any effect on me.  So I scooped the ball of paste out of the wizard fairy’s hands, a small glob about the size of a small bing cherry, and I popped it into my mouth.  It didn’t taste half bad, kind of like pancake batter with a slight tang, like from plums that weren’t quite ripe.
        Immediately the effect hit me.  I felt a warmth in my stomach that seem to spread through my whole body as my blood carried the substance throughout my system.  When it hit my head and I felt suddenly dizzy.  I was going to black out, I could tell, and became panicky.  They tricked me, I was poisoned, I thought.
        I lunged at the fairies on the log in front of us and swept them off the log and away from Bonnie with a mighty swat of my arm.  The fairy prince and one guard jumped over my hand as I swung at them, but three older fairies, the one who had made the mixture and his assistant, and a fat one, and a couple of remaining guards, were knocked clear of the log and flung to the ground amid cries of alarm.
        I flicked the remaining guard aside and reached for the fairy prince and almost had him, when a fairy from above impaled the back of my hand with one of those wicked little bronze spears.  It was sharp, very sharp, and he drove it clean through my hand, the tip emerging in the middle of my palm.  I cried out in pain and batted him away with my other hand.   Another fairy swooped down before my face and shot a little arrow into the middle of my forehead.
        It was a poisoned arrow.  I was already dizzy and fading fast, and the poison on the arrow put me away.  The light in front of my eyes shrank like a contracting tunnel and then went totally dark.  I remember falling backwards and hoping I wouldn’t fall on any of the little guys.  I went totally unconscious.
        It was some time later before I came too.  The first thing I saw was Madison bent over my face, wiping my forehead with a wet cloth.  “Oh, thank God,” she exclaimed.  “Thank God.”
        I tried to sit up, but was too weak and dizzy.  “Bonnie, where’s Bonnie,” I moaned.
        “She’s here,” Madison said, pushing me back.  “Rest a bit more.”
        “Michael,” Bonnie said, from a nearby stump where she stood.  Her face was screwed up with anxiety.  “I’m here.”
        “The other fairies?”
        “Gone?” Madison said.  “They’re gone, thank God.”
        My head felt like a pike had been driven into my forehead, but my hand hurt even more.  I raised it to eyesight and saw the bronze spear still impaling my hand.  “Take it out,” I cried, and reached for the shaft, but when I touched it pain shot all the way through my arm and I’m afraid I couldn’t help screaming and almost blacked out again.
        “Take it easy, Michael,” Madison said frantically.  “We’re going to get you help.”
        As the pain subsided somewhat, I looked at my hand again and saw it had swollen considerably and turned red.
        Madison was crying.  “Bonnie says they put poison on their arrows and spears.  You’re running a fever.  We have to get you to a hospital.  Can you stand at all?”
        “No,” I shook my head.  “Go get help.”

        Madison turned and looked about frantically, and I realized it was a foolish request.  We were two or three miles into the woods and it was already starting to get dark.  I would have to walk out, I had no choice.   Madison took my hand and pulled me into a sitting position.  My head was swimming.
        “You have to stand,” Madison groaned.  She helped me up on my feet, and I was able to get up, but had to lean on her heavily.
        Bonnie was nowhere in sight and I became suddenly worried.  “Where’s Bonnie?”  Then I saw her standing on the stump, she had her wings uncurled but was not moving.
        “Stay here,” Madison said.  “Can you balance by yourself.”
        “I think so,” but wasn’t sure.  I planted my feet.  I wouldn’t be able to stand for long without help.
        Madison left me to pick up Bonnie, who I heard say, “Put me on your head.”   So Madison placed the little fairy on top of her head, where she grabbed on tight to Madison’s hair and worked her feet in firmly.
        “What’s happened?” I cried.
        “Oh, it was terrible,” Madison bemoaned, as she rushed to my side and took my arm, steadying me.  She placed my arm over her shoulder.  “The fairies have disowned Bonnie.  They gave her to you.  They thought you wanted her as payment for helping them.  They treated her horribly, but they didn’t beat or kill her, as I think they’d planned, although some of them still wanted too.  You injured a lot of them, Michael.  Worst of all, they, they, they clipped her wings.  She can’t fly any more.  Bonnie can’t fly anymore.”
        I was stunned, but was in too much pain to offer solace to my poor fairy, other than to say, “Sorry little pixie, I’m so sorry.”
        It was late into the night before we made it through the forest to Madison’s backyard.  I was drifting in and out of consciousness.  I don’t know where Madison found the strength, she basically had to carry me and the fairy.  Bonnie helped Madison keep oriented and heading in the right direction as the sun set and it got darker and darker under the trees and Madison would probably have gotten totally lost if not for the fairy.  I remember when we emerged from the forest onto the grass of Madison’s backyard, I was surprised to see all the lights on inside and outside her house, and sirens on police cars flashing in the front yard.  Madison began yelling for help and for someone to call a doctor, and people came frantically running across the backyard towards us.  Madison had been missed and her parents had been looking for her and had already called the police, fearing a kidnapping.  Her mother got to us first.  One look at me and Madison’s mom immediately had her cell phone out and was dialing for an ambulance.  My hand had swollen to twice its normal size and still had the spear sticking clean through it.  I had a knot on my forehead the size of a golf ball and was burning up with fever and cold sweats.  But I was alive.      
              I’ve been in the hospital for two full days now, and I’m much better.  Madison’s been to visit a couple of times, and Westley and some of the other guys.  I tried to get Madison to sneak Bonnie in to see me, but Madison absolutely refuses.  The fairy’s staying with her while I recuperate and that’s got me more than a little worried.
              I’m using a laptop that belongs to my latest hospital roommate, a kid whose appendix burst, to write this blog post.  I’m okay, don’t worry about me.  I don’t know about the fairy though.  She was hurt.  She was disowned.  She’s not at my house, she’s with Madison of all people.  What’s going to happen to the fairy now?  She can’t go home.  She’s been disowned by the other fairies.

        December 6, 2012
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