Changing the Future, a Story
Part Eight: Yellow Fairy, 3.
Nola caught up to me at the edge of the empty lot where I stood and peered down at a gaping hole.
“How?” She turned in a circle. “How is this possible?” She sounded stunned.
“I don’t know.” I looked around at brush and trees. The hot wind had flattened them. The trees lay on their sides, their upturned roots clogged with damp soil, and their branches stripped of their leaves. All around us looked like a warzone.
“It’s like the mill exploded and every piece of it vanished,” I said.
Nola agreed. “There’s no sign of it anywhere. No glass, no boards. Do you think he…?” She swallowed. “The bully. Do you think he did this?” She looked around at the uprooted trees, probably searching for pieces of his body among the chaos.
“If he did, then I can think of only one possibility. Magic happened here. Big magic. Wherever the mill went, he went too.”
“Do you think that’s why he wanted us to leave?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. If so, he could’ve waited for us to get farther away.” I needed to think. I sat on the ground, drew up my legs and wrapped my arms around them. I said nothing for several minutes. Nola sat next me and hugged her own legs. Five minutes later, I still didn’t know who or what the mysterious boy was or why he and the mill had vanished.
All the while, Nola watched the toppled treetops as birds and squirrels returned from wherever they had gone during the disturbance.
“What kind of bird is that?” she asked, breaking the silence between us. She pointed at a maple in front of us.
A yellow creature about a foot in size flittered from branch to branch. It had a girlish, humanoid body all covered in short furry hair.
“It’s a fairy,” I said. “A pixie, I think.”
“Don’t pixies have big heads and eyes?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t know much about fairies. But whatever it is, it looks female.”
“She isn’t wearing clothes.”
“No. She has hair from head to toe.”
Nola nodded. “That makes sense. It seems silly to think they live outdoors and wear gossamer robes like in the movies. I never bought into the idea that someone made tiny fairy dresses on tiny looms and sewing machines to keep them warm and dry.”
Nola looked thoughtful. “Every fairy book I’ve read say they only appear at dawn and twilight. I guess they were wrong.”
“I think there’s a lot we don’t know about fairies. Or other things, for that matter. Especially in Ridgewood.” I stood, offered Nola a hand, and helped her to her feet. She brushed dirt from her backside.
The fairy flew into the deepest and darkest shadows of the empty lot. The ground shook hard again. Green light filled the hole that had been the mill’s cellar.
The ground beneath my feet crumbled and sent me falling into the light.
I landed hard on my stomach and sucked in earthy air. Nola shouted my name above me.
The air changed to a miserable chill that stabbed my body like a thousand icy knives. The green light grew and exploded into a flash of blinding light. A fist of heat hammered my back and pressed me against the ground.
An emerald dust cloud rose in the air around me. I choked on it, so I buried my face in my hands and breathed through spaces between my fingers.
I am unsure how long I laid there before the warmth of the sun on my back caused me to raise my head and look around.
The green light was gone, but a small cloud of green fog no taller than six feet swirled in a sphere along the ground and moved toward me.
It stopped when I told it to stay away.
Vree Erickson stepped out of the fog and faced me. She held out a hand and said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Was it really her? She wore the same clothes she had worn the day she vanished.
My mind filled with questions, but my heart leapt to see her again. She looked more beautiful than I remembered. I ached to be with her.
I stood, took a step toward her, and stumbled. She rushed at me, nearly upsetting me further as she kissed me hard on the lips.
When she released me, I whispered her name, glad to see her, but unable to speak with a full voice.
The yellow fairy flew down and hovered next to our faces.
“Take me home,” Vree said to her.
Before the fairy vanished with Vree, I saw that she looked like Vree.
I climbed from the cellar and looked for Nola. When I could not find her, I headed home. Somehow, I knew things were right again in Ridgewood. For the most part.