Diary of Rachael Black
Chapter 1: Miserable Existence
Stories of fairies and fairy folk have been passed down in different ways and different parts of the world. I never imaged I would ever happen to met one, let alone be kidnapped by it. It only seems logical that I record this experience to share with the rest of the world, though I admit I am not confident it will reach the world of humans.
My name is Rachael. Rachael Black. I am 18 in human years and it was during my last high school year that this tragedy occurred.
If I was to describe myself, the words would be: Average, Logical, Forgettable.
Yes, forgettable. The earliest story of my life began when my mother, who I do not remember by face or name, left me behind as a baby in a grocery store. This story was told to me on several occasions with the same pitting expression and tone of disapproval. The only variance was what isle in the store I had been found wrapped inside a hand basket. Some said I was left in the bakery isle, some said the clothes department, between two watermelons, and even on the toilet lid of the restroom. The rest of the story held true for the most part, when I was discovered there was no sign of my mother, and as far as I know she never returned to claim me.
I was adopted at the age of six by a professor and his young wife, Annabel. They had one child of their own, a girl my age by the name of Celeste. Annabel was unable to have anymore children so I had been adopted as a companion for their little angel. I quickly learned that by 'companion' I was expected to excel at everything as an example for my 'sister'.
Unfortunately, I accomplished this task very well, especially in studies and responsibilities. Soon enough the Professor began to praise me openly as his daughter, while rebuking Celeste back at home with 'Why can't you be more like Rachael?'
This quickly created an animosity between myself and Celeste's mother. Annabel took great pleasure ridiculing me on my poor taste in fashion and my over all 'weak appearance'. In order to appease the dramatic Celeste, Annabel would spend endless money on expensive clothes for her. The professor often claimed they would bankrupt him one day, though they never seemed to take him seriously.
As I'm sure you guessed Celeste and I grew up more as rival then sisters. I contemplated running away on more than on occasion, but it was the Professors promise of college that convinced me to stay.
That was, until the summer he died...
The Professor was a good thirty years older then Annabel, one could easily guess their marriage had been based on her good looks and his money and social status. I never spent much thought upon it because Annabel treated him well, but when he contracted malaria her attitude began to slowly change. The illness came during one of the Professors trips to many agriculture digs sites he helped finance. He returned both weak and feverish, the doctors were quickly called for but could do very little. He struggled on for two months before finally collapsing and passing away in his sleep.
The funeral was rather plain and simple, this Annabel claimed was due to the many unpaid debts left by his rather expensive trips and charity. I had my own thoughts as to where those debts had gathered up. The rooms full of expensive dresses, shoes, and jewelry back at our city house no doubt. The creditors quickly swarmed down upon us like vultures, and we moved from the city to a cousins country home. I did cry a little when I heard that our previous home was sold off to settle all our bills.
It was only a few weeks later that my last thread of hope was snatched away. During dinner Annabel brought up the topic of college.
"Dear Henry put aside a nice savings for college," she murmured over the oyster soup. I nearly chocked on the spoon full I was swallowing at the time. "Unfortunately, it will only pay for one of you."
I knew the money was meant for me, we all did, but they knew as well as I that the money would be wasted on Celeste.
There was but one small sliver of hope left, and that was Celeste's friendship to the rather wealthy banker's son, James. Annabel had become friends with both the banker and his wife, and both mothers seemed to hope for an engagement. Both Celeste and Annabel agreed college would not be necessary for a married woman. I prayed feverishly their hopes would come true and I could realize my dream of college and escape them for good. Despite Celeste natural beauty and charm, not to mention all those beautiful clothes that had somehow escaped the creditors, I could not shake the feeling of unease that came with James visit for the last few weeks of summer.
I will now pause in my account of these events to warn you this is no child's story. It was more like a nightmare...
We were all playing tennis rather late in the afternoon, James and Celeste against myself. Two lamp posts on opposite ends of the tennis courts provided us with enough light to play as the sun set. Celeste was failing miserably on purpose and 'sweet James' eagerly helped her with posture and aim.
I was not very fond of this sport to begin with and after hours of dodging and deflecting balls that seemed to gravitate directly at me, I was firmly determined that it was the worst sport ever created. The college application tucked away in my shirt drawer was the only thing that kept me on that court. Annabel had given it to me, followed by several strict warnings before James's arrival.
Tired and sore from the balls I hadn't successfully dodged, I waited as James held the giggling Celeste by the hands, demonstrating the over hand serve yet again.
Crickets were chirping away in the bushes around the court. Swatting away yet another hungry bug I wandered over to the sidelines, keeping a careful eye on the pair of sharp shooters as I picked up the towel beside a now warm bottle of water.
"Oh dear, the book worm is bored," Celeste cooed after me with a giggle before returning to flatter James's ever expanding ego.
Ignoring the rather unoriginal nickname she had used since we were eight, I whipped down my neck, arms, and forehead before reapplying bug spray. Taking a quick couple of drinks, I glanced cautiously over my shoulder, never certain when another tennis ball would strike.
Who ever had built the court had decided against fences to keep the balls inside. Many lay scattered in the grass or lost in the bushes. I was already dreading the task of locating them all tomorrow at Celeste's request. The image of her spelling out the name of Greenwood College in the air, as she had this morning when I originally declined her invite to play tennis did nothing to lighten my mood.
"Alright, I think you've got it now," James spoke loudly in praise. "Another ball Rach."
Wincing at the nick name James had settled on for no apparent reason I glanced around at my feet for the nearest ball which I then threw rather poorly in his direction. Fortunately it made it over the fence, and bounced in his general direction. Rubbing my tired arms I returned to my position ready for the torture to commence.
Celeste took her place as James stepped back, her eyes narrowed as she seemed to focus for the first time this whole evening. She was probably getting tired as well, I realized feeling a small amount of hope as she tossed the ball into the air and swung. The serve successfully hit the ball which cleared the net easily, just a little to high as the yellow blur disappeared past the bushes.
I sighed inwardly wondering how long these two would keep at it. A faint yelp from the direction the tennis ball had disappeared distracted me and I turned pondering what animal had been so unfortunate. The distraction cost me dearly as James stronger serve caught the side of my face.
"Come on Rach, don't fall asleep on us now. Celeste almost has it," James snorted in annoyance as I staggered back, nearly dropping the tennis racket as I clutched my numb burning cheek. My grip tightened as I envisioned the wood connecting with James's 'perfect smile'.
"Perhaps we should call it a night?" Celeste suggest with slight nervousness. Tonguing the inside of my mouth gingerly where my teeth had cut into the inside of my cheek I wondered at her change in attitude. Was she actually concerned about me? "Please, James, lets stop. I think I saw a wild animal back there," Celeste added fearfully while I laughed at myself for my own foolishness.
"Of course you must be tired," James quickly agreed, dropping both of their rackets to the ground.
Feeling a mixture of both relief and furry I walked off the court to pour water on my towel which I then applied gingerly to my cheek. They were already heading back up the stone steps to the house. I watched as James pulled her against him, a bitter smile etching its way across my face. 'The perfect blonde barbie meets her perfect tanned Ken. Who cares about ugly old me?'
The word burned tears in my eyes and I flung the ratchet as far into the bushes as I could. The strange yelp emerged yet again, and I tensed as a tall shadow rose from behind the bushes its dark eyes focused on me. It quickly turned and headed towards the woods near by, but I was quite certain it had been a horse. Feeling guilty, curious, and concerned I grabbed a flash light from the bench and followed. The tall grass and bushes brushing against my jeans.
I didn't recall Annabel cousin mentioning any horses near by, but as I caught it within my light it appeared clearly a horse. It moved rather silently ahead of me, black mane and tale against its coal black body made it rather hard to track. I was instantly grateful for the flash light.
As I mentioned before, I am a rather logical, or reasonable, person. Following this lost horse out over unfamiliar grounds is perhaps the most unreasonable thing I've ever done. But despite the many warnings screaming silently in my head I couldn't stop.
It wanted me to follow. I was convinced of this more and more because the longer I followed it the slower it moved, only darting quickly to the side when I got to close. Just as I was beginning to worry about getting lost myself it stopped. I halted quickly behind it resting a moment to catch my breath, the flash light pointed at my feet. I could see the horse well enough by the little moon light not hidden in the clouds and trees above us.
Smiling, I examined its beautiful legs and neck. Before this I had only seen horses in picture books. It appeared to be unharmed to my relief, but as my flashlight moved to its back I was quickly shocked.
Two lump like objects resembling wings rested against its side. Slumped between them was a small figure that resembled a doll.
Lacking any words to explain this I moved carefully closer. The horse remained still, watching me with dark black eyes that were starting to make me nervous. The closer I got the more convinced I became that it was a doll. Perhaps the horses owner had dressed it up for a child. Still as much as I looked I could find no straps or means of holding those wing like objects in place. The doll continued to pull my attention, starting to doubt my own eyes as I studied it, it appeared to be breathing.
I was now standing only a foot away from both of them. Heart hammering like mad, mind hopelessly lost. Some how I still retained the power to speak, and did so to myself reassuringly.
"They aren't real. Their just props. The horse probably wondered away during a child's birthday party."
Strange that it has no harness. My mind quickly retorted.
"That's probably how it got away to begin with," I breathed reaching out a hand to stroke the horses shoulder near its wings. Then, to my horror, the doll sat up.
Beneath the mass of wool like black hair two beady red eyes glared at me over a fanged smile.
'Murdikai' the doll creature screamed as it leaped at me.
Startled out of my wits I screamed and stumbled back falling. Only there was no ground to brake my fall. The flash light went out as did my memory when I fainted.