Chasing the Fairy Tale
Iseret Marshall tossed two impossibly high tan colored heels out of her Toyota Camry. A brown messenger bag followed along with a large camera bag before her feet were slung out of the car. Inside the car, she was frantically looking around, trying to determine she had everything out of the car with her. As she leaned forward to look in the floorboard of the passenger’s side, her long dark hair fell in front of her face. Pushing it out of the way and attempting to tuck it behind her ear, she gave the car one last glance before turning to face her feet.
She struggled to force them into the heels that squeezed her toes together and pushed her height up five more inches. Iseret wore the shoes because not only did they make her legs look fabulous, but they also helped her to tower over most people. She enjoyed the height of six feet and enjoyed even more the confidence she had to walk in heels. It was intimidating, and she rarely dated, which she attributed to her height. Not that she cared. She would marry a man from another world someday. She knew that would be the case.
When the topic of marriage came up, which it inevitably did around nosy Southern women with a need to pry into everyone’s lives, Iseret would smile and say the man of her dreams was probably closer than she realized. It would send the high brow ladies of society tittering and her eyes rolling. Her mother had never married, though she was getting very close to another professor at the University of Georgia where she was a professor of Ancient History. The man Darby was dating was a professor of mythology and folk lore and, as her mother described him, a modern-day Indiana Jones. Iseret hoped her mother married him. The man was nice, stable, and ridiculously attractive. And he did look a bit like Harrison Ford when he was young.
As for Iseret, she was quite content to search antique shops and browse private collections for the mirror her mother traveled through to get back into this world. A decision she mentally scolded her mother for each and every day. If Iseret had her way, she would have grown up in the magical land with no name that her mother left behind, she would know who her father was, and she would be a princess. What girl doesn’t dream of that? She asked herself frequently.
Though she had dreamt of being a princess in a magical land far from home for many years, Iseret didn’t realize how close she actually was to that dream until she was sixteen years old. She had been rummaging through the attic of their house and discovered several old journals of her mother’s. Journals that described, in detail Darby’s growing up years, and all the stories her grandmother-Iseret’s great-grandmother-told her and her journey to the world her grandmother described. The journals told of adventure, romance, kidnapping, wars, and death, it even included information about Iseret’s father, the man Darby fell in love with who resided in the magical land.
Her mother had left Markus, the man she loved, because he would not come with her to this world and Darby had no desire to stay in his. She left before she realized she was pregnant with Iseret, which had come to a shock to everyone. Iseret often wondered if her father even knew he had a child, and if he did, if he thought about her frequently. It was only in Iseret’s daydreams that she really contemplated her father. She imagined he had dark hair, as Iseret’s was almost black in comparison to her mother’s which was still distinctly blonde. She often wondered what his reaction would be when she arrived in the East Kingdom as she never had any doubt that she would one day find the mirror her mother had traveled through almost twenty-two years ago.
In her mind, a different scenario played out in Iseret’s head. Sometimes her father, Markus, would be charming and happy to see her, having been told my Renalie that he had a child all those years ago. In others, he was a bit more reserved, but still welcoming. On occasion, though she rarely allowed herself to think this way, Iseret imagined that he was dismissive and didn’t care to know her as he was too bothered by her mother’s abandonment of him. Those thoughts were quickly banished by thoughts of magic, wars, and adventure that Iseret would surely find when she managed to get to the Kingdom with no name.
Therein lay the purpose for her visit to the antique store with her camera. She had been searching for the mirror her mother described in her journals for the last three years, traveling around the state of Georgia, sometimes traveling into Florida, South Carolina, and one drastically failed attempt into Alabama. This antique shop was hidden in the back of a long quiet main street with faded red brick buildings with ivy growing over the storefronts.
Opening the door to the musty shop, a small bell tinkled above her head, alerting the owner that someone had entered the store. A woman in her mid forties materialized from behind a large bureau and smiled when she saw Iseret. “Hello, is there anything I can help you find?” She asked, obviously sizing her up. Iseret knew the woman would see a young woman that clearly had money, and was actually worth her time. She had learned not to go into antique stores wearing jeans and a t-shirt, though it would have been infinitely more comfortable. The owners of small stories were more willing to cooperate and show her more expensive items if she was well dressed. The difference was dramatic. Many store owners, especially men, jumped to help her and show her every mirror they could find in the small stores.
“Yes,” Iseret responded, shifting her purse to one side I’m looking for a mirror, I was wondering if I could look at the ones you have.”
“Of course, if you’ll follow me.” The woman motioned Iseret to follow and headed into the belly of the crowded store. “What kind of mirror are you looking for?” She asked.
At this question, Iseret pulled out a small book that she had done several brief sketches in, as she tried to come up with a composite of what the mirror might look like. As she had traveled and looked at mirrors that had certain aspects of what her mother had briefly described in her journal, none had been exact. Darby had described the mirror as six feet tall, gold, ornate with roses engraved in the sides. While found tall mirrors, they were plain, she found small mirrors with roses but they were silver. She was often mocked by many owners when they discovered she was looking for a specific mirror that had last been seen over twenty years ago. Many said the mirror was probably in the hands of a private collector, or at a hotel. But Iseret was determined.
When the older woman stopped near the back of the store where a wall of mirrors awaited, Iseret handed her the book and said, “This is an idea of what the mirror might look like, but there could be variations.” As she spoke, she saw a silhouette in the corner by the wall of mirrors. It was tall and covered with a sheet, but she moved toward it, hoping against hope, praying the mirror outlined beneath the dust sheet was the one she was looking for.
Pulling on the cloth, it fell away easily to reveal a gold, ornate mirror, about six feet tall, with birds engraved along the side of the mirror. A sigh of frustration escaped Iseret as she inspected the mirror. It was so close, but just that one small detail damaged any hope she had that this mirror might be the one. Shaking her head, she turned to the woman who had brought her back to the mirrors and asked, “Do you have any other mirrors this size?”
The older woman shook her head, “No, I don’t. But,” she thought for a moment, “There’s another antique dealer just about twenty miles from here that might have a few mirrors about that size, the one you’re looking for might be there.”
Nodding at the woman’s request to give her the address to the antique shop as well as directions for when she got into town. Thanking the woman, Iseret left, hopping in her car, pulling off her shoes and tossing them into the passenger’s side floor board. Leaning her head against the steering wheel she took a few moments to realize that it was going to take a while before she managed to find the mirror. It hadn’t been her first let down, nor would it be her last. Despite her desperation to find the mirror, she would have to wait a little longer.
Ten miles from the town the woman in the antique store described, Iseret received a call from her mother. “How’s the mirror hunting going?” Darby asked her daughter. Iseret had confronted her mother about the journals and the writings in them three years ago before she had begun her search for the mirror that would had brought her mother back into this world.
Sighing again, Iseret said solemnly, “No luck. I thought I’d found it at the last store I went to, but the details weren’t right.”
“Well, that happens sometimes. You know that. Grandma wanted me to tell you that the mirror won’t stay hidden forever, you’ll find it eventually.”
“Verona or Nicole?” Iseret asked, trying to determine if it was her great-grandmother, Verona who was as old as the hills and the original Marshall to traverse the boundaries of the two magical lands. Or Nicole, her mother’s mother. The woman who had married Verona’s son. While Nicole knew of her husbands early life in the magical land, she had refrained from talking about it unless he broached the subject. The few memories he had of the land were filled with questions about where his father was and if he truly loved his mother.
Iseret had felt so bad for her great-grandmother who had married a man who loved another woman. Andrew, Verona’s husband had kidnapped a princess of the West Kingdom, the rival to the East Kingdom and the very person Iseret was named after, as well as a slave girl, who had been friends with the princess, Cleo. While Andrew developed an interest in Cleo, his brother, Kempton had swept her off her feet and left his brother in the dust. Kempton, however, went off to war to defend a small neighboring kingdom and was grievously injured. On his death bed, he and Cleo professed their love for each other and a short time after his death, Cleo simply disappeared after refusing Andrew’s offer of marriage.
Andrew, obviously heartbroken, but still needing a wife, asked Verona to marry him. Because she had been in love with him for many years, she had said yes. It had been a tragic marriage for the short time they spent together. Andrew hardly ever saw his son or his wife and when it became apparent that someone needed to close the door to our world, Verona sneaked out with her son with the help of Renalie and entered into a mysterious world where magic was considered technology and no one truly believed in the world where she had lived her entire life.
Despite his words with Darby, Iseret’s mother on his death bed after killing the tyrannical king of the West Kingdom in some sort of viciously poetic irony. The words he spoke saying that he’d always loved Verona, but had never shown it properly, Iseret didn’t believe him. Didn’t truly believe in his sincerity. Truth be told, she felt sorry for him. Felt sorry for him that he felt he had to make up a lie in a last-ditch effort to make amends.
You shouldn’t judge the dead. Iseret scolded herself.
“Iseret? Iseret!” Her name jarred her from her thoughts as she drove down the road.
“Sorry, Mom, I was lost in thought.” Iseret said, shaking her head and focusing on the street as she headed closer to the small town. “What were you saying?”
“I was saying that Verona said that the mirror would make itself known to you when it was time. She seems pretty sure that you’ll find it and get through.” Darby said confidently. She had always been close with Verona as the older woman had told her stories of the magical land with no name all throughout her childhood, teenage years and even into early adulthood. Then it had been Darby’s turn to tell the stories. “I would trust her, you’ll find it eventually.”
“I’m sure.” Iseret said skeptically, feeling particularly low considering the let down she’d had that day. A few more words of encouragement were offered from her mother before Darby hung up and Iseret entered the small town with the desired antique shop.
The building wasn’t hard to find, in fact, it took Iseret all of thirty seconds of being in the small town of Gateway, Georgia to see the sign declaring MARIS FINE ANTIQUES. Pulling her car to the curb Iseret parked and grabbed her shoes, quickly pulling them on. Leaving the car unlocked she rushed inside the building ready to get one more disappointment out of her way and on the road back home again for a small break for a week or two.
The shop was a two room establishment with a large antique wood counter and old fashioned register guarding the door to the back room where the office and store room were likely housed. The main room was like every other antique store, crowded with random knick knacks and baubles that had once been cherished, but now sat collecting dust. Wandering though the aisles of furniture, lamps, glass perfume bottles and baby dolls with eyes that followed her, Iseret searched for the mirrors, or sign of human life.
In the back corner, covered with a dust cloth much like the one at the first shop she had visited that day, Iseret dared to get her hopes up again. Walking slowly, not wanting to pull the cloth off the mirror, cause as long as it stayed on there was no way for her to know if it wasn’t the right mirror. For the brief moments before she looked at a mirror, it could always be the one, and for those brief moments, she dared to hope.
Taking a deep breath, Iseret closed her eyes, grasping a fistful of the fabric and counted slowly to three. One. Two. Thre-a sharp shove from behind sent Iseret forward, into the glass of the mirror. She braced herself for the shattering of glass, and the clunk of metal hitting wood, but it never came. Instead, she landed in a heap with the ancient dust cloth covering her face. Yanking it off, ready to yell at whomever shoved her, she sat in an almost never ending field of poppies staring at a stone archway.
A/N: I'm back guys! Yep! I'm back in full force and ready to write! I hope you enjoyed this chapter! More will be coming soon! As always, four comments and I'll post! Unless I get anxious, but that'll take a while! PLEASE leave a comment and give me your honest opinion! I want feedback! I want to know what you guys are feeling and such! AND if you liked it, please, pretty please with an uber red cherry on top, push the little blue button! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! ♥Meradee