When I opened my eyes to find light trickling down through the forest canopy, I wondered at how I managed to fall asleep in such a precarious position. My back was against the trunk of a tree as I sat on a rock at its base with my tiny secretary sleeping on my lap. After a moment, I realized there were numerous eyes on me. The fey were all around me, nearly blending into the forest as they sat completely still. A few started edging closer, so I decided to wake Aaliyah only to find a note on my lap instead, which read:
“Dear Boss-man, sir,
I’m terribly sorry to disappear which such haste, but my daddy just woke up. I would have sent him a message about dutifully working, but I neglected to mention going out in the middle of the night to help you. Furthermore, daddy promised me pancakes this morning. I’m sure you’ll understand how superior pancakes are to most breakfast foods, given that “cakes” is a part of them. Please tell our friends goodbye for me. My chagrin would be a great peak from which I’d surely have to plummet if I thought for a moment that such wonderful folks thought me rude.
Aaliyah T. Syphers
Secretary to the great Boss-man-who-would-never-let-the-fey-find-me-rude”
I truly wondered how I ever forgot that “Trix” was part of her name as I started folding the letter. Then I noticed a “P.S” on the back, saying, “Oh, and I should mention that ‘Trix’ and ‘tricks’ aren’t the same word, no matter what the evil twins may tell you.” I stared in wonder, completely baffled how she could have planned to have that there. Of course, I wouldn’t have noticed if she ran back and wrote that as I looked with how fast she could move, but she still would have needed to read my thoughts. Then again, Aaliyah’s mind was incredible. Maybe she knew me well enough to guess how I would feel about the note. I finished folding the paper and banged my head against the tree as I jumped back from the face right in front of me. The miniscule fairy from the night before started flying around my face as girl with the slanted eyes and pointed ears tenuously touched my leg, looking around as she did so. Then she smiled and kissed me, causing me to bump my head again as I tried to dodge. Her arms wrapped around me, pulling me in for more. She was beautiful and all too naked for my comfort. I tried gently pushing her back, but the girl was quite strong. Admittedly, the kiss was sorta nice too. Still, this was wrong. I stood, lifting the girl with me as she clung onto my shoulders, trying to kiss me yet again.
A brilliant flash of light dazzled me for a moment, but I was relieved to find the girl had let go. She now seemed to be pouting while staring at the fairy. I felt something touch my leg and saw the little rock woman there, feeling my pants and examining them. All of the others were standing closer. I felt like running, but remembered Aaliyah’s note. I couldn’t be rude and disappoint her. I did my best to let their thoughts in, certain they’d be trying to communicate, and became instantly overwhelmed by the flood of visions and feelings. I did my best to visualize myself waving to them before walking out of the forest. Instantly there was sadness all around me. Seeing someone was sad never sat well with me, feeling the sadness from countless creatures around me was far more disconcerting. I pictured myself returning again, but the sadness was still quite evident. The images in my mind were so hard to follow. There was far, far too much. I looked around and tried picturing each individual as happy again and mixed in the image of my return as best as I could. Mother would surely be disappointed that I wasn’t better at this with how well she visualized her paintings before starting. My random thought seemed to have gotten attention as images of my mother as I had pictured her appeared in my head with a curious-type of feeling. I thought of pictures my parents took of mother and I throughout my childhood and some of father as well.
To my surprise, the fey seemed to understand the concept of parents to at least some degree. Many of the visions I was seeing showed fey of similar types together. Others seemed more jumble. Could they interbreed? Then I remembered again that Emma had fey blood. Some ancestor of hers mated with one. I was then getting countless images of Emma dancing through the yard as the plants changed around her. The fey loved her. I felt it. They wanted her here with them. How often had they watched her? Suddenly seeing an image of Emma swimming in the pond, I accidentally blocked the fey out again. I apparently would need to inform Emma that swimsuits were required for my pond, as there were extra eyes there. My face felt warm, and I did my best to forget what I had just seen. As I opened my mind again, I pictured myself leaving once more but tried to convey that I didn’t know the way, having realized that I didn’t know where I was in relation to my home. From what I received in return, the fey clearly weren’t interested in me going home. Wait. There was one. I tried to focus on an image I had caught of me flying, but all I managed to do was catch fleeting glimpses of me hand-in-hand with the little fairy. I pictured her guiding me through the forest toward my home, and it worked. She flew off rapidly.
I gave chase, jumping over a few little fey and then sprinting in the direction the fairy had gone. I went tumbling after my foot caught on a rock I hadn’t seen. Luckily, I didn’t feel too battered when I stood again, but my leg was sore from where I came to a halt against a tree. My pants now had a tear. I noticed that I had been followed by the fey who were looking at me with what I guessed was concern. I opened my mind to them again, wanting to convey that I was alright, and I could feel they wanted to help. Despite what Aaliyah said about my magic affecting fey different, these ones seemed to like me far more than I felt they should. When I caught sight of the little fairy, I tried picturing her guiding me as I walked, but she took off like a dart. Still I started walking in the direction she went, surrounded by my strange tenants. I really would need to come back regularly now that I had met them. They were amazing. As we walked, I could see small signs of their magic. Stones and roots sunk into the earth, making my path more smooth. The air seemed to change direction at random, as if it couldn’t decide which direction to go. There was a fragrance to the air which seemed exceptionally pleasant, even more so than a typical forest. Flashes of light in countless hues ahead of me, showed me where the little fairy was. At least, that seemed to be one of her tricks.
I wondered if one of the creatures was kin to Brandon and Brenna as it continually changed forms. The creature shrunk into a bird, dived into the ground, emerged as a mole, and then transformed into a deer, all over the course of a minute at most. When the creature became a fish, falling into a stream, I realized that I might not be headed where I thought I was. At least, I couldn’t remember crossing the stream last night. The fey around me seemed confused when I pictured myself walking from the forest to my home, and I got the impression that they already forgot I was leaving. I needed help. I pulled out my phone to call Aaliyah and realized I could just look at the map. Turning on the voice commands, I said, “Home.” Immediately, Mila’s voice replied “Of course, master! Breakfast is being prepared for you as we speak, so please don’t delay. Marco hates serving a meal that’s sat for too long.” Instead of a map, a blue arrow appeared on my phone, so I followed it. The fey seemed intrigued by my phone talking, mostly Mila rambling about my schedule, for a good couple minutes before trying to get me to go different places with them. There were some wanting to go swimming, others that wanted to run, a couple that wanted to fly, and numerous other things. I gave up trying to pay attention as my head was starting to hurt. I walked for over half an hour before I reached the edge of the forest, and my leg was feeling quite sore where I had bumped it. I opened my mind to tell the fey “farewell” as well as I could manage and found them sad once more.
Not one followed me as I left the forest, or so I thought before realizing I had a fairy fluttering around my head. I tried picturing her flying back into the forest and received the image of her hugging my neck, which she promptly did. I tried again only to have her imagine me flying around with her as if I had wings. I just gave up at that point. Though I had felt rested when I awoke, my aching head wasn’t up for arguing. What was the worst that could happen? I then thought of Alma catching the little creature and wanting to examine her. Sighing, I tried to sternly picture the fairy returning to the forest, and she vanished. I looked around and couldn’t see her at all. No longer was I receiving images from her either. Was she able to teleport? Whatever the case, I was looking forward to a nice breakfast and leisurely morning as I nursed my aching leg. As exciting as meeting the fey was, I found their company to be a bit exhausting first thing in the morning, especially with how they all “spoke” at once. Walking into the kitchen, I found my friends chatting away as Marco set plates in front of them. I supposed talking at once wasn’t as bad when it wasn’t directly into my brain. Just after I sat at the table, Marco put a large plate in front of me, covered in a variety of my favorite breakfast foods. I thanked him, grabbed my fork, and then noticed a tiny fairy was eating my bacon. With the others noticing the flying bacon, I knew this was going to be a long day.