Bobby and MArshall stood out side my class with these funny dumb looks on their faces. Bobby was short and if I were to choose the perfect kid brother, he'd be my second choice. Marshall is tall, stick thin with this wicked splash of red hair. I call him splash man. ANy way, they both looked at me as soon as I came out and smiled loopilly like only boys and dogs can. "Hey El. YOu ready?" Splash man said gliding over. "Yeah, okay." I said stretching my hands up over my head. "So where we going today boys?" Just then Bobby bounced over, map outstretched between his two pudgy hands. "Old atles oak! Old tales Oak!" He said happily. "Isn't that restricted?" Splash man said smiling like he was SO the honour student.
"Yeah." I said puttin on my best school girl innocent face. Obviosly it wasn't very good becuase they both burst out laughing. "BUt lets go any way."
We found the map of secret places in the restricted part of the library. Splash man still wont say what he was looking for IN THERE. BUt oh well since then, we've been frequenting places like- Trolls bridge. HAlf alley, and Cats eyes tower. BUt we've been saving Old tales Oak becuase unlike the rest of these places, every one knows where Old tales Oak is. It's in the center of the black wood, surrounded by stones and blue ribbons. It's just nobody has ever been so foolish as to go or as confident that they'd be back unlike so many others. We were. But then we were kids. I was nine. Bobby was six and Splash man was eleven. Eleven. Such a delicous number. I can't wait to be Eleven. ANy way, we started from the left side of town, going in a curve. Picking berries off bushes and eating as we went. Until finally we found our FIRST EVER CLUE!
"A ribbon!" Splash man said, his voice laeping afew octaves. Me and Bobby looked at him as he blushed a deep red. Poor Splash amn. Puberty sucks. I took the ribbon, sniffed it like a regular treker and then examined the map. "THAT WAY!!!" I said picking a random direction. Of course I was VERY gun-ho about it and we got so wrapped up in the excitement, I dont think it actually even mattered if we were going the right way. We were though, which I of course took major credit for. "So this is it." Bobby said gasping in awe. "Yup." I said ruffling his hair. It really was impressive. As big as anything, and thick like...well.....a tree, I guess. THe stones were there too. LOoking icy and pretty morbid but tied with blue ribbons, which looked kind of pretty. IN a weird way. And in the trunk of a tree was a hollow where no light shone. A door obviously. But-
"Where does it go, you think?" Splash man said crossing his arms and tilting his head to one side. I do that too, but my ways cooler. "Probably that other place. YOu know, that place my moms all ways warning me against."
"You mean THAT PLACE." ALl of us nodded in a joint knowing. THAT PLACE was not discussed. At least not in front of my mom or grand mother. THAT PLACE belonged to the faerie and the dwarves and the trolls and every thing else. We witches were often linked to those creatures, but it's not that way. That's why it was so exciting. "C'mon!" Splash man said walking towards the tree. NOw I was usually the one leading these escapedes so I was a bit-startled? "Puberty." I whispered undr my breath and shook my head. Soon, Splash man might want me to start calling him MArshall. And then what? Become a stand up gentlemen? A warlock who goes to school and learns from....(shudder)...teachers??? I hope I never grow up. We entered the Old tales Oak skulking slightly like ninjas. The tunnel was dark, and moist. And there were creepy crawlies that dropped from the roof of the tunnel. I even named a few of them. "Tha ones Bindel and that ones Legs and OH!" I said pointing to a spider, "THAT ones missus cockanee spoodle froog." Bobby laughed and Splash man smiled. Soon, it felt like we'd never get there. There were no turns, no corners. Could it be we were magicked? No, I dont think so. And then---there was a breeze. "Wind?" Bobby said bouncing. Did he do any thing else???? "C'mon guys!" I said runnig. We emerged into this beautifull world of colours and smells and all these different sound. Familiar and yet not. We wandered for what was probably hours before throwing off our over clothes and jumping in the spring. I ama girl but I was only nine and I had shorts and a singlet on, so dont frett. It was so much fun! And then we decided t play hide and seek. I played first and then Splash man was "it" so I went and tried to look for some where to hide. That's when I found this second lake hidden behind some reeds. I looked around. Bobby was hiding in the reeds on the other side of the lake. I winked at him and he nodded. So at least he would know where I went when they both got tired of playing. Walking back wards I slipped backwards through the reeds where I bumped into---some one? I turned. "Oh- I'm so- Oh." It was a boy, but not a human boy. NO human boy was that slim or that feminine or pretty. ANd he was wearing this beautifull gossamer white dress thing. It looked like he was taking a bath. "I'm sorry sir." I felt his face come really close to me and saw through my fingers that he was looking at me curiously. He had pretty blue green eyes and white silver hair. And- ohmisweetness he was close. "Excuse me. WHat are you doing?" He ran his fingers through my hair and I was so startled that I fell back into the water. "Damnit!" I said resurfacing. "EL?" That was Splash man and I heard him coming towards me. "HUrry." I whispered feverently to the boy. "I need some where to hide." He looked at me oddly then held out his hand. I took it and he dragged me quiclky and gracefully through the water to this hidden place I cant describe. "EL! EL!" Splash man said bursting through the reeds. Bobby trailing close behind. They gave the area a quick search before scratching their heads like monkeys and moving on. I giggled softly. I felt a tingling in my hand and reaised I was still holding the boys hand. "Oh. Sorry. You can let go if you want." He looked at out hands then leaned forward and kissed my cheek. I startled back but didn't make a sound. He looked at me then laughed. A chiming, elemental sound. "I thought all silly human girls would blush and fell happy. YOur response is very atypical." And then he smiled. "I'm only nine." I replied shrugging.
"GOT YOU!" Splash man said finding our secret place. HIs smile slowly turned from a smile to a curious bewilderment, "Who's this?"
"Oh. Uh.....I have no idea. "
"I'm Athrin. I'm a faerie and you're all humans right?" Splash man still had that weird look on his fave but Bobby jumped at the boy. "Are you really a faerie?"
So suddenly we were four. Me. Nine years old and the leader,
Splash man. Eleven and my right hand man.
Bobby. Six and my adopted kid brother.And Athrin, Ten and clingy but fun. Of course we went back nearly every day since he rarely journeyed to our world. And then, I turned Eleven and things changed.