Ella and the Faerie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
When Ella goes to stay with her reclusive uncle in the country while her mother recovers, she expects a boring summer. Instead, she finds a horror worse than anything she'd ever known, and a magic she'd only read about in fairy tales...

True title is "Otherworld" - booksie made me change it

Submitted: June 23, 2012

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Submitted: June 23, 2012

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I was quite sure the summer I turned nine would be the worst summer ever.

On the thirteenth of May, the doctor arrived. Mother had been ill for weeks, but kept insisting it was not serious. It was not until she was bedridden with fever that Father called the physician.

“Your wife has scarlet fever,” I heard him tell my father.

They were in the entrance hall. I was hiding on the stairs, just outside Mother’s closed door.

“Will she survive?” I heard Father ask.

“I cannot yet say. I do know, however, you must send the child away.”

“Ella? Why?”

“Scarlet fever is extremely contagious, especially to children.”

“I had it as a child.”

“That’s good; you’re safe from the threat. However, each child reacts differently and your daughter—who has never contracted the disease—is such a slight child. It is my professional opinion that she would be safer elsewhere.”

Father was silent for a moment.

“Very well,” he finally said. “How long?”

“She should stay away for the duration of the summer.”

There was a silence, and then I heard the door open.

“Thank you, doctor,” Father said sadly.

“I will return tonight,” the doctor replied.

I went to my room before the door closed. After a few minutes, I heard Father’s footsteps ascending the stairs. The footsteps died just outside my door and remained there, completely still, for quite some time, while I waited patiently in my chair by the window.

The inevitable knock came and my father entered the room somberly. For a moment after he entered, we just looked at each other.

“I know you were listening.”

My father knew me well.

“When do I leave?” I asked.

“Tomorrow morning; I’ve already telephoned my brother, Horace.”

“I’ve never met an Uncle Horace.”

“He doesn’t visit the city much.”

“Why have you never even mentioned him before?”

“My brother and I did not part well,” Father began after a moment. “The last time we saw each other, we argued.”

“Yet he will take me in for the entire summer?”

“He understands the situation.”

“Does Mother know?”

“She is asleep. Gertrude will be up shortly to help you pack.” Father kissed my forehead tenderly before leaving once more.

 

Early the next morning, I was on my way. The only source of amusement I had on this four-hour journey was a book Mother had given me on my eighth birthday—Ancient Folklore and Faerie Tales. Father did not approve—he believed it filled my head with nonsense—but I loved its stories.

I read until I heard the driver call from the bench, “There it is, to the right. That’s Tylwyth Teg.”

I looked to my right, but only saw a tall brick wall.

“Tylwyth Teg?” I asked the driver.

“It’s the name of your uncle’s estate.”

“What does it mean?”

“It’s Welsh, miss. It means ‘fair folk’.”

I knew the term—it was written hundreds of times throughout my storybook.

“Fair folk? You mean, like faeries?”

“I wouldn’t know, miss.”

“I cannot see the estate.”

“You will soon enough. Here’s the gate now.”

As he spoke, we passed through an iron-wrought gate that had been opened for us. On this side of the brick wall, I now saw, was a forest that seemed to stretch for miles around us. We went down this path through the woods for fifteen minutes before the forest broke to expose a grand lawn, at whose center was a small lake and a fountain. Behind these was what seemed to be a small castle that only grew grander as we neared—Uncle’s manor.

At the front door, an older woman and a young man were waiting.

“You must be Eleanor. I am Mrs. Welch, the housekeeper. Welcome to Tylwyth Teg.” She motioned for me to follow her inside. “My son, Thomas will bring your things to your room. Your uncle had to go to Paris for a week on business, but he will return in five days time. He has instructed that you are to have anything you desire. The grounds and the house are yours to explore, with the exception of this corridor here,” she pointed to a bare hallway as we reached the third floor of the estate. “These are your uncle’s rooms and he values his privacy highly.”

I followed in awed silence as Mrs. Welch continued to lead me through a labyrinth of hallways from which I thought I would never be able to escape.

“These are your rooms—bedchamber, sitting room, library,” she said when she finally stopped walking. “Your uncle mentioned that you like to read.”

I nodded, clutching my Faerie Tales closer to my chest. Father must have told him.

“Breakfast is promptly at eight o’ clock; dinner at one, supper at six-thirty. We serve tea at three, but your uncle usually has company and he would like me to tell you that you are not required to attend tea as you may find the conversation quite dull. If you would like, you may have private tea at three in your sitting room.

“It is eleven-thirty now. I assume you are hungry, so I will have a tray sent up directly while you unpack. I will also send someone up to help you.”

With that, Mrs. Welch left me alone. The servant Mrs. Welch promised—Rose was her name—arrived fifteen minutes later, carrying a tray bearing my mid-morning meal—cold meats, bread, an orange and a glass of milk. While I ate, Rose made herself busy “openin’ t’ room”, as she said—opening the windows, turning down the bedclothes, plumping pillows and such. After I had finished eating, she had me sit on the bed and direct her to where I would like my things; she wouldn’t let me help at all, hanging my clothes, stacking my few personal books on a desk in the library, setting out my personal items on the dressing table.

“I’ve never been in such a large house. Could you tell me where the gardens lay? I’d like to explore them after tea,” I asked.

“I’m sorry, miss, but ye’ll have to wait until ‘morrow. It’ll rain soon, mark me words.” She was closing the windows once more as she spoke.

She left, and a moment later, I heard the raindrops begin their steady beat against the windowpanes.

 

For the next three days, the rain kept me inside, wandering the corridors beyond my rooms. The manor was vast, holding within itself a ballroom, a banquet hall, a dining hall where we would eat, seven bedchambers, eight sitting rooms, three libraries, a room of sculptures, a kitchen, a pantry, a marble entrance hall and a music hall with a piano, harp and seating for what seemed to be a full orchestra and small audience. Everywhere I looked, there were more things to see and admire.

Exquisite paintings hung along all the corridors—save Uncle’s—many of them originals, according to Mrs. Welch. Moreover, each section of the house had a theme to its paintings. My rooms and corridor were lined with landscapes of bodies of water—rivers, waterfalls, oceans. The wing where the ballroom was located was completely decorated with mythological paintings of gods and goddesses, satyrs and nymphs, centaurs and unicorns. Other themes included wooded landscapes, portraits, group scenes, and floral or fruit scenes. The sculptures in their special room were even more impressive: nude Apollo in all his glory as the sun god, a woman in a dance, a leopard about to spring, and more. The group at the very center, however, held my attention the longest. They were three busts—one of my grandfather, one of my father as a young man, and a third I assumed was my uncle, though I’d never seen the man myself. Father’s high brow, large eyes and strong jaw were all present in my uncle’s face, but the cheekbones were higher, the nose straighter. If this bust were a true likeness, my uncle was a handsome man.

On the fourth day, when the rains stopped, I wandered the extensive gardens. On the fifth day, I met him.

I remember the day perfectly. A stream ran into the woods beyond the garden, creating a natural boundary between the two, and I was determined to follow it to its end when I came upon him. Rather, he came upon me. He fell on me, really. He had been climbing a tree, but went out too far on a weak branch.

“I’m quite sorry, so sorry,” he mumbled as he got to his feet and turned to help me up.

I looked up and my eyes met his. He looked surprised to see me, but I do not know that he could have been more shocked than I was.

He hadn’t any shirt on.

He stood there, in only his trousers, his chest bare. Ogres were usually depicted as shirtless as well, I could not help but notice, but ogres were much larger and hairier than this boy in front of me. Unlike ogres, however, this boy appeared to have manners. Also unlike ogres, this boy had black and blue bruises covering his chest, back and shoulders.

I stood with his help and began to brush the leaves and dirt off my dress when I noticed he was also barefoot.

“I am quite sorry,” he murmured again. “You’re not hurt, are you?”

“No, I am not hurt.”

“Oh, that is good,” he replied, shifting awkwardly.

For a few moments, there was silence between us.

“I’m Eleanor Harrington,” I finally said, extending my hand, “but I’m called ‘Ella’.”

For a moment, the boy just stared.

“Call me…Remey,” he finally said.

I dropped my ignored hand as he turned away from me.

“Remey,” I started quickly, “how did you get those bruises?”

“I need to go,” he said before running off into the woods.

I wanted to run after him, but he disappeared before I’d even lifted my hems.

“What a strange boy,” I murmured to myself before turning back.

 

When I reached the back garden gate, Randolph, the gardener, was there to meet me.

“Miss Ella, there you are. Mrs. Welch has the whole house in an uproar looking for you for near an hour,” he chided, pushing me along. “Master is back home from Paris and supper is ready. No, there is no time to change. Well, quit dawdling and get inside.”

Inside, where Mrs. Welch was waiting.

“Well, at least you’re not late for supper. Come along, you’re a bit dirty, but your uncle wishes to meet you before you go into the dining hall.”

Before I knew where I was, Mrs. Welch was pushing me through a door. At first, I saw nobody. Then, movement by the fireplace.

Uncle Horace was quite tall and thin. His combed-back hair was completely black, except one gray streak that actually looked quite debonair; his moustache was also black. He looked precisely like his bust, only older.

“You must be Eleanor,” he said simply, walking toward me.

“You must be Uncle Horace. Please, call me Ella.”

He laughed lightly. “How old are you, Ella?”

“Nine, sir.”

“I see. You look so much like your mother.” He added, almost dreamily. “Have you had fun, romping about the grounds?”

“It rained for three days. I have been everywhere indoors, except for your wing. Yesterday, I explored the garden, and today, the woods beyond.”

“That sounds lovely. Did you find anything interesting?” He put a hand on my back and led me to the dining hall.

“Oh, yes, Uncle, I found a boy today.”

“A boy?” He asked with genuine surprise.

“Yes, he sort of, fell on me, Uncle.”

“This boy fell on you?”

“He was in a tree.”

He pulled my chair out for me at the table before sitting himself.

“Well, what did he look like?” He nodded to Mrs. Welch, a signal to bring the food.

“He looked about my age,” I began as the trays were brought out, “maybe a little older. He was taller than I, with dark blonde hair and gray eyes. And he had bruises.”

“Bruises?”

“Yes, all over his chest and back.”

“You saw his chest and back?”

I blushed.

“Well, he didn’t have a shirt on when he fell on me.”

“How strange,” Uncle Horace muttered.

“When I asked how he got the bruises, he just ran off.”

“Did he say his name at all?” Uncle asked as Mrs. Welch set dish before him.

“He said to call him ‘Remey’. Do you know him, Uncle?”

Uncle Horace paused. “No, Ella, I’m sorry I’ve never seen him. You should eat; after your adventure, you should be quite hungry.”

 

I looked for Remey, but did not see him again for four days. He was leaning over a stream, splashing water on his face, and once again, he was bare-chested.

“Hello,” I said pleasantly.

He stood quickly as if startled, though I know I made a lot of noise as I approached.

“Hello,” he replied shyly.

“What are you doing?”

He didn’t answer.

“Were you climbing trees again?”

He nodded.

“Why?”

“I enjoy it.”

“How old are you, Remey?” I took a step nearer.

“I’m nine.”

“I’m nine as well.”

He shifted restlessly.

“Where do you live? I was thinking, yesterday, of asking if you worked in Uncle’s house, but then he swears he’s never seen you, nor has Mrs. Welch.”

“Uncle?”

“Yes, the man who owns this land is my Uncle Horace. I live in town, but I came to stay with him for the summer.”

“Why?”

“Mother is ill and the doctor said I should be sent away so I don’t get sick like her.”

“I see.”

“Where do you live?”

Remey looked around for a moment with a look that said he did not know whether he wanted to answer me.

“I live,” he finally began slowly, “far away.”

“Far away?”

“It’s pretty far,” he said as he began climbing one of the nearby trees faster than even the monkeys at the zoo.

“Do you live in town?”

“No.”

“In the country?”

“In which country?”

“You live in another country?” I called up from the base of the tree.

Remey didn’t answer me or even acknowledge my question. He just stood on one of the top limbs of his tree, surveying the horizon. Suddenly, he climbed down to the branch right over my head.

“I think someone is looking for you, Ella.”

I turned and listened. Indeed, there was a far-off voice calling my name.

“What country do you live in? Tell me and I shall leave.”

“Will you come back?”

“I could; I would like to see more of the forest. Will you be here?”

“I cannot go home.” He said, averting his gaze sadly.

“Where do you live?”

“Otherworld.”

“Otherworld? Where is that?”

“Far away.”

With that, he climbed back to the top of his tree and I ran off to the voice.

 

This is how I spent my summer days at Tylwyth Teg. In the mornings, Uncle and I would go riding or boating until supper, after which he would retire to his study to work and I would go look for Remey in the woods. Some days I found him, some days I did not. He was a hidden friend to me, for no one in the house ever saw him. I even heard Rose tell another servant once that I made him up, which only made me laugh. Remey was a faerie to me, like the ones in my book that would only visit the children whom they knew believed in them. I felt honored by my faerie’s visits.

Yes, that is what I knew him as in those first weeks of our friendship. It began with our third meeting, the day after he told me he was from Otherworld.

 

“I have a book of faerie tales that my mother gave me.”

“You do?”

“Yes, and it mentions Otherworld.”

“Oh?” He was in a tree again.

“Otherworld is the land of the dead in a faerie tale.”

“I know that; I like to read as well.”

“But, Remey, if you’re from Otherworld, you’d have to be dead. Yet you seem as real as I am. Which means you must be lying to me.”

“I am from Otherworld.”

“Are you dead?”

“Not quite.”

“But the only living creatures in Otherworld are sprites and faeries.”

“What is your Uncle like? Is he kind to you?” Remey said, changing the subject abruptly.

“Yes, my uncle is very good to me.” I had learned early that it was futile to fight Remey when he wanted to talk about something else. “He’s given me a mare of my own and is teaching me to ride. He has taken me boating and on trips to the sea. He’s been very kind.”

“That’s good.” He looked away from me.

“When you told me you couldn’t go home, did you mean Otherworld?”

“I don’t know how to get back.”

“How did you get here?”

“I fell.”

“Is that why you climb trees? Are you trying to find your way back to Otherworld?”

“Would you like to learn?” Remey asked suddenly, turning to face me from the branch he was on.

“Would I like to learn what?”

“Would you like to learn to climb trees?”

“Can I climb in my dress?”

“Well,” He answered, “it will be harder, I think, but I’m sure you can do it.”

He climbed down and proceeded to show me how to get onto the lowest branch using my arms and feet. As long as he stayed at my level—never straying higher than me, never staying below me—I felt safe in the trees. He would take my elbow to keep me steady when I felt unsure; he would help pull me up to the next branch when I could not quite reach. We spent hours climbing that day. I enjoyed myself so much that I completely forgot about Otherworld until the next time I saw him, three days later.

 

“What’s Otherworld like?” I asked as we lounged by the stream one particularly hot afternoon.

“It’s the most beautiful place you can imagine,” he answered lazily.

“What does it look like?”

Remey propped himself up on one elbow.

“There’s a river, much larger than our little stream, and it’s so clear, you can see the bottom, even at the deepest parts. There are fish in the river, red fish and orange fish and blue fish, all with sparkling scales. The birds only sing the prettiest songs; the bees only make the sweetest honey.” I closed my eyes as he spoke, and imagined this place around me. “There’s a castle that floats on a silver cloud, where live the king and the queen and the beautiful princess.”

“What is she like?” I asked, keeping my eyes closed.

“She is sweet and lovely. She is very much like you, Ella.” Here he paused for a moment. “Everyone is nice to each other. No one is cruel at all, even to animals. I wish I could live there forever.”

“If we can find the way back, you could,” I answered, sitting up with him.

“I’m afraid I’ll never go back.”

“You will.”

He did not say anything, just looked about him, finally resting his eyes on the stream.

“Ella, would you like to go swimming?”

“I cannot; I haven’t brought my bathing-clothes.”

“Well, what do you wear under your dress?”

“It would be quite improper for me to take off my dress in front of you, Remey,” I answered kindly, attributing his naivety to his foreign upbringing.

“Oh,” he looked down, “I’m sorry.”

“I won’t tell anyone, but you must remember not to ask another girl that, or she may be angry at your impropriety.”

“I don’t see any other girls, ever. You’re the only girl I’ve ever met, Ella.”

“Truly? And you, twelve years old? Are there no girls in Otherworld?”

“The only girl is the princess, and I’ve only seen her from afar.”

“I’m sure you’d meet some if you left the wood. You could come to supper at Uncle’s tomorrow afternoon. You could meet Rose; she’s a girl.”

But Remey just shook his head violently.

“No, I cannot. My manners are good enough that I know I should—and shall—apologize, but I simply cannot. I must go now. Goodbye, Ella.”

With that, he gave a little bow and ran off into the woods too quickly for me to follow once again.

 

“Have you seen this boy often, Ella?”

“Yes, Uncle, he’s quite a good friend. He taught me to climb trees.”

“Ella, that is a most improper pastime for young ladies. I would prefer if you would quit this hobby before I introduce you at the ball.”

“You’re hosting a ball, Uncle?” I asked with surprise.

“Not I, Ella; a business acquaintance of mine, Mr. Weatherby, will be the host.”

“I’m truly allowed to go? I’ve never been to a ball before. I promise I will not climb if I may go.”

“Yes, you may attend, Ella. The ball is in seven days time.”

Within those seven days, I would see Remey one more time.

 

“Who else lives in Otherworld?”

“Plenty of people live in Otherworld.”

“Are there other creatures, like in my books? Are there faeries and centaurs and goblins?”

“Of course there are,” he said, landing next to me in the moss.

“What are they like?”

“Beautiful; they are beautiful—every single one of them. The faeries have golden wings that sparkle in the sunlight. The centaurs gallop about majestically, and the goblins are the smartest creatures I have ever met. Even the dirty ogres have a magic about them that keeps you captivated. Otherworld is a splendid place.”

I paused for a moment,.

“Remey,” I started slowly, “When we find the way to Otherworld, I want to go with you.”

“Why would you want to do that, Ella? You seem to have a wonderful life here—parents who love you, an uncle who cares for you. Whatever you feel you want to run from, please believe me when I say there are worse things that could be happening to you.”

As he spoke, he reached up to rub a new bruise on his neck.

“Remey, where do these bruises come from? I tell you, this one wasn’t here two days ago.” I reached up to the bruise he had rubbed, but he moved away from my touch.

“I fall a lot, I told you that.”

“I’ve only once seen you fall.”

“What do you want to run from?” He asked quickly.

For a moment, I debated with myself about telling him—about what I had received the day before, what had kept me from seeing him. However, as I looked in his eyes, my doubts left, and I had no trouble telling him my heart.

“I received a letter yesterday, Remey, from home. My mother died three days ago.” Tears began to well up as I spoke. Remey remained quiet, just looking at me until I had to avert my gaze. “The doctor has told Father not to bring me home yet, as the threat of disease may still linger. I won’t be able to go home for her funeral.”

“Your father?” Remey prompted softly.

“There were two letters for me in the post. Father wrote of Mother’s passing. Gertrude, our housekeeper, wrote of Father. She told me that grief has changed him. I don’t know what to expect when I go home, and it scares me.”

For a few moments, we were silent as the tears ran down my face. Suddenly, I heard the voice—Randolph’s voice—calling for me once more.

“I need to go,” I said, wiping the tears away from my cheeks.

“Will I see you tomorrow, Ella?”

“No, Remey. I’m going to a ball.” I smiled weakly. “This will be my first ever. Have you any balls in Otherworld?”

Remey, however, wasn’t paying attention. The moment I said the word “ball”, he became distracted and nervous.

“Whose ball is this?”

“A business acquaintance of my uncle is the host, Mr. Weather-something.”

“You better go, Ella, before they come looking for you.” Remey exclaimed, jumping up suddenly.

For the first time, as he ran off, I saw him pick up something that had been lying at the base of a tree, on a rock.

It was a white shirt.

 

For the ball, Uncle Horace bought me a new white, silk dress, gloves, stockings, and shoes. When I came down the stairs, he whispered in my ear, “You’re quite beautiful, Ella darling”, before taking my arm to lead me out to the carriage.

The Weatherby estate, though not as large as Uncle Horace’s, was just as beautiful—more so with its decorations.

Lighted paper lanterns and beautiful music led handsome gentlemen and elegant ladies through the double doors of the entrance hall and into the ballroom. The ballroom itself was lighted by what seemed to be thousands of candles. The walls were hung with white and gold, and a large orchestra sat in one corner.

Uncle Horace took my hands and led me out into the crowd of men and women who were already dancing. A schottische, a waltz, a gallop, a polka—Uncle danced them all with me, pausing only occasionally between dances to speak to an acquaintance.

It was in the after of one of our waltzes that Uncle stopped suddenly and bowed deeply to someone behind me.

“Mr. Weatherby and Mrs. Weatherby, may I introduce my niece, Miss Eleanor Harrington.”

I turned to face a rather tall man—much taller than my uncle, who was clean-shaven, with light blonde hair and familiar grey eyes.  Next to him stood a shorter woman with dark hair and plain brown eyes. She smiled sweetly and he bowed slightly as I curtsied and said, as Mrs. Welch had taught me, “How do you do?” I turned to Uncle for a moment and he gave me a wink, as if to say he was pleased, before Mrs. Weatherby spoke.

“And may we introduce our son, Remengton, Mr. Harrington?”

As she spoke, a boy came to stand between them—a boy with dark blonde hair and grey eyes. He stood before me, my imp from the forest, in a coat and tie, looking as fine as any of the men in the room. However, I could not bring myself to be impressed with how nice he looked. I could only think on the fact that I was actually looking at him.

Remey, though, was not at all surprised that I was there. He avoided my eyes, until his father finally pinched his arm. His face contorted with pain.

“How do you do, Miss Harrington?” He said shyly, bowing low.

When he came up, there was a tear in his eye. The pinch had come where I knew there was a bruise, and, apparently, it had been harder than it had appeared. 

I curtsied, “How do you do?”

“Mr. Harrington,” I heard Mr. Weatherby begin, “why don’t we let these young people become acquainted? I have some business I’d like to discuss with you—”

“Oh, darling, not right now, please,” his wife interjected.

“It will only take a moment,” he replied harshly.

Mrs. Weatherby looked away meekly. Uncle Horace was slow to answer, but eventually went away with the man. Mrs. Weatherby likewise departed, leaving Remey and I alone in the middle of the room. For a moment, neither of us spoke; we just looked at each other.

“You lied to me,” I finally whispered.

“Ella, you don’t understand. I…”

“There is no Otherworld, Remey. You made the whole thing up. For the whole summer, you let me believe you were some sort of faerie from another world.”

Without another word, I stormed away, leaving him alone and crestfallen.

 

I refused to go outside after that night, even to the garden or to go riding with Uncle Horace. For the next week, I preferred to be alone in my room. My faerie book lay hidden at the bottom of my wardrobe.

Uncle was afraid I was sick and called for a doctor, who said I was only still grieving the loss of my parents, though the ball had been a good diversion, and this spell would pass. Yet I was still worried over and fussed over. Soon, they were begging me to go outside.

“Ye always came in so fresh ‘n rosy-like. It was good to see ye like that.” Rose would say every time she asked if I would like to go run about outdoors.

After another week, I resigned myself to an outdoor excursion, if only to be away from their pitiful pleading. Uncle, Mrs. Welch and Rose stood at the window, watching me stroll about the garden until I was forced to run into the wood to escape their gazes.

At first, I did nothing but walk, and worry that I would meet Remey. However, I quickly became bored with walking and decided the best substitute for walking would be climbing, and soon set about improving my recently acquired tree-climbing ability, ignoring my promise to Uncle that I would stop.

I was only half way up a tree when I heard someone below call my name. I lost my footing and fell to the ground, landing on…someone. I moved quickly and turned to find myself facing Remey.

“Are you hurt?” He asked immediately.

“I can stand. I am just  a little sore. Are you hurt at all?”

“No. Please do not walk just yet. You should wait, after a fall like that.”

“Remey, please go away. I shall be fine, thank you.”

“Please, Ella,” he begged, “I’ve been looking for you all day.”

“I don’t want to talk to you.”

“You were right. I did lie to you, Ella, but only a little. You deserve to hear the whole truth.”

“No, Remey. How can I trust you won’t tell me more lies? Are there now banshees in Otherworld? Have you found the way back? Are we to go?” I stormed away from him once more, but this time he followed.

“The bruises…”

I stopped, turned to face him. He was shirtless once more.

“What about them?”

“I know it’s highly inappropriate for me to walk around without my shirt and coat on, especially when I’m with you. But they hurt so badly under my clothes, and I thought the forest was mine to roam. I’ve never seen anybody out here until I met you.” He paused here, only for a moment. “The bruises…come from…my father.”

“What?”

“My father, Ella, when he drinks wine, likes to hit my mother and me. As long as I stay out of his way, he won’t, so I come here. I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone.”.

“Then why are you telling me?”

“You’re the only friend I’ve ever had,” he started slowly. “I am sorry I lied to you.”

“Why make up a story about another land?”

“Otherworld has been around for a while, Ella.” He turned away and rested against a gnarled tree stump. “When it gets too bad at home, I come here and pretend I’m in Otherworld, where nothing is bad. Otherworld is where I can be happy until I must return home once more.”

He paused to look at me again. “And then you came, and I finally had someone to pretend with. I was afraid if I told you it was make believe, you wouldn’t play. I told you it was real at first, and you believed me, so I kept playing. Then, I was afraid you wouldn’t be my friend if I told you the truth, so I didn’t.”

I listened to all this with a tear in my eye. As a nine-year-old, I could not fully understand what he was telling me, but I understood that he was in pain. After a moment, I walked to where he was resting and took his hand in mine.

“Otherworld is real,” I whispered. “I want to go with you.”

Remey thought for a moment, and then nodded ever so slightly. He stood and slowly walked around until he was behind me. Putting both hands over my eyes, he began whispering in my ear, telling me more about Otherworld than I’d ever heard before.

Finally, he took his hands away and I opened my eyes.

And there before me, on the stump, was a faerie with golden wings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2020 Jessica Beth. All rights reserved.

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