Changing the Future, a Story, Part Six:
Yellow Fairy, 1:
I had no more dreams about Ravenwood and I stayed away from my typewriter for two months. Soon, it was time to go back to school. Tenth grade started with the usual business of settling into new classes and adjusting to new activities and turning them into routines. I started a new writing notebook and my thoughts about Vree and Ravenwood started again, as well, so I visited her old place one sunny September Saturday morning. But she and her family were not there. An old man and his wife had moved in, along with a German shepherd that did not like me snooping around.
I crossed the road and walked past the house that used to be Dave and Amy’s home. Where were they? Why had everyone I knew vanished?
The hilly road led me to a four-stop intersection at a high point on Myers Ridge. A white dune buggy sat in the middle.
“Need a ride?” the driver asked. He was dark-skinned and shirtless. His long black hair, gathered in a leather tie at his neck, draped across his right shoulder and fell down his smooth, muscular chest. He climbed from the buggy. “All yours. Learn all you can about the Great Mysterious.” He turned and walked away in the direction I had come from.
“Hey,” I said. “What’s the deal?”
He stopped and turned. “Follow the fairy.” He pointed at the clouds. A silver and turquoise bracelet gleamed on his wrist.
I looked at the sky and saw no fairy.
“What’s your name?” I asked, returning my attention to the broad-shouldered man.
“If you have to ask, then you need extra help.” The man pulled a tan leather bag from a front pocket of his blue jeans, undid the drawstring, and reached inside. His large hand stretched at the leather before it extracted something small.
“Fluorite, to grow your mind,” he said, coming to me and handing me a smooth stone with purple and blue striations. “Keep it at the head of your bed when you sleep.” He placed a cool right palm against my forehead. “She calls to you,” he said. “She comes in many disguises. That is the way of Trickster.”
He removed his hand. “Trickster is both a creator and a destroyer. In our world, Trickster is a contradictory and ambiguous being who is also a spiritual force that teaches us about the Great Mysterious.”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“You must go,” he said, turning away.
“Follow the fairy. She’s yellow, not so easy to see when the sky is so sunny. Use the binoculars.”
A large pair of black field glasses sat on the passenger seat.
We said nothing more to each other as he left me at the intersection, so I used the binoculars to scan the sky for his yellow fairy.
I soon gave up, shoved the stone in a front pocket of my jeans, and sat behind the wheel of the custom-made vehicle. It had an automatic transmission and drove like a go-kart, picking up speed fast and zipping toward the bottom of Myers Ridge.
I drove to a beach and stopped at the water’s edge. Something yellow zipped past my left ear.
Was it the fairy?
If so, I could not see which way it went.
I searched the sky and soon rested my gaze on a white bird.
No. A crow. A white crow.
A splash from Alice Lake took my attention away from the bird. A boy fell to his oars to control the rocking boat. Someone had jumped overboard. My binoculars revealed a girl swimming toward me. Once the rocking stopped, the bare-chested boy rowed to where the girl had exited the water at the shoreline.
She was drenched and dripped water from her long auburn hair and her red, one-piece swimsuit while she stood over me, quizzing me about the vehicle I sat in.
“Yes, it’s mine,” I said. I stared past her while the boy finished beaching the rowboat.
“Hey,” he said, hurrying up the sandy slope. “Nice looking ride.” He tossed the girl a white terrycloth skirt.
She caught it and said, “It’s his.”
“Cool.” The boy tugged up the waist of his dark blue swim trunks and nodded at me. “Seen anything interesting?” he asked. His gaze rested on the black binoculars hanging from a black leather strap around my neck.
“A weird looking crow,” I returned.
“I like the Stellar’s Jay,” he said, running a hand through his thick, dark hair.
The girl groaned. “And I like penguins. But anyone with a brain knows they’re not native to Pennsylvania.”
The boy sputtered. “Did I say they were?”
“No, but Pennsylvania only has the Blue Jay.”
“No kidding, Miss I-think-I-know-everything.”
The girl emitted a whispered expletive and crossed her arms.
“I’m Steve,” I said.
“Nola,” the girl said. She scowled at the boy. “He’s my stupid little brother, Alan.”
Alan rolled his eyes. “Who’s the idiot who jumped in the water instead of waiting for me to row ashore?”
Nola’s jaw muscles tensed but she said nothing while she toweled her hair with her skirt. I told them about seeing the white crow. “I thought it was a sea gull, but it was definitely a crow and not an albino one, either. It didn’t have pink eyes.”
“That means it’s super rare and super magic,” Nola said. She had climbed into the buggy and sat on the passenger side. “I’ve read about them. White crows don’t show themselves to humans unless they have something to say. And some Native Americans say if a white crow flies overhead, circling you, it means something important is going to happen in your future.”
Alan shook his head. “Sorry, sis, you’re a few cards short of a full deck for believing in such nonsense.”
“Buzz off,” Nola said. She turned to me and apologized. “He’s such a jerk.”
Alan laughed. “Yeah, well, I’m rowing over to the amusement park where the sane people are.” He headed to the boat.
“Care if I hang with you awhile?” Nola asked me.
I shrugged. Alan got into the boat and pushed it free from the shore with an oar. “You have fun chasing your imagination, sis,” he called out.
“What does he know?” Nola said, her gaze suddenly locked on my face.
It made me uncomfortable, so I brought the binoculars to my eyes and pretended to search for the crow.
“Let’s go to the old abandoned cider mill,” she said.
“What cider mill?” I asked.
“On the other side of these trees.” She pointed to a cluster of maples to our left.
“And do what?”
“I keep an old guitar in the loft. It’s where I go sometimes to let off steam. Its upper windows have a good view of the treetops … perfect for seeing the white crow flying around.”
Chances of seeing the crow again intrigued me.
We got out of the buggy and I followed Nola toward the mill. The air inside the tree cover was cool enough to make her wrap her skirt around her shoulders. The wide, well-trodden footpath we were on went past dense undergrowth and bushes and wound around curves made by hillocks and tangles of vines and thorny horse brier that sometimes seemed to stand in our way.
We reached sunlight and the summery grassland where a dilapidated two-story mill sat along a hillside where a stream ran down it.
“My Grandma Charlie bought the mill years ago from one of her uncles. She ran the place for a few years, but New Cambridge Vineyard made a cheaper, better tasting cider, so she closed up and concentrated solely on running her bookstore and curio shop in downtown Alice Lake.”
“Your grandmother’s name is Charlie?” I asked.
“Short for Charlene.”
Nola and I climbed to the front of the place where the field grass was not as thick or high. Gravel crunched beneath my tennis shoes where the parking lot had been.
“Come on,” Nola said as she led me to the padlocked front door.
To be continued.