Ravenwood, Chapter 20 [fiction]

Changing the Future, a Story, Part Eight:

Yellow Fairy, 3:

Nola caught up to me at the edge of the empty lot where I stood and peered down at a gaping hole.

“How? How is this possible?” She turned in a circle and sounded stunned.

“I don’t know.” I looked around at brush and trees. The hot wind had flattened them. The trees lay on their sides, their upturned roots clogged with damp soil, and their branches stripped of their leaves. All around us looked like a warzone.

“It’s like the mill exploded and every piece of it vanished,” I said.

Nola agreed. “There’s no sign of it anywhere. No glass, no boards. Do you think he…?” She swallowed. “The bully. Do you think he did this?” She looked around at the uprooted trees, probably searching for pieces of his body among the chaos.

“No. This is magic. Big magic.”

But whose? The witch who had rescued Vree from Alice Lake? Or the woman in white?

I needed to think, so I sat on the ground, drew up my legs and wrapped my arms around them, and said nothing for several minutes. Nola sat next me and hugged her own legs. All the while, she watched the toppled treetops as birds and squirrels returned from wherever they had gone during the disturbance.

“What kind of bird is that?” she asked, breaking the silence between us. She pointed at a maple in front of us.

A yellow creature about a foot in size flitted from branch to branch. It had a girlish, humanoid body covered in short, furry blonde hair.

“It’s a fairy,” I said. “A pixie, I think.”

“Don’t pixies have big heads and eyes?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t know much about fairies. But that’s definitely not a hummingbird.”

Nola studied the creature for a moment, then said, “You know, it makes sense that she’s covered in fur. It seems silly to think they live outdoors and fly around naked or wear gossamer robes like in the movies. I never bought into the idea that someone made tiny fairy dresses on tiny looms and sewing machines to keep them warm and dry.”

I agreed.

Nola looked thoughtful. “Every fairy book I’ve read say they only appear at dawn and twilight. I guess they were wrong.”

“I think there’s a lot we don’t know about fairies. Or other things, for that matter. Including Ravenwood.” I stood, offered Nola a hand, and helped her to her feet. She brushed dirt from her backside.

The fairy flew into the deepest and darkest shadows of the empty lot. The ground shook hard again. Green light filled the hole that had been the mill’s cellar.

The ground beneath my feet crumbled and sent me falling on my backside into the cellar. I rolled to my feet when I reached bottom and sucked in earthy air. Nola shouted my name above me.

The air changed to a miserable chill that stabbed my body like a thousand icy knives. The green light grew around me and exploded into a flash of blinding light. A fist of heat hammered me to the ground.

An emerald dust cloud rose in the air around me. I choked on it, then buried my face in my hands and breathed through spaces between my fingers.

When I finally raised my head, the green light was gone, but a small cloud of green fog no taller than six feet swirled in a sphere along the ground and moved toward me.

It stopped when I scrambled to my feet and told it to stay away.

Vree Erikson stepped out of the fog and faced me. She held out a hand and said, “Don’t be afraid.”

I hesitated.

Was it really her? She wore the same clothes she had worn the day she vanished.

My mind filled with questions, but my heart leapt to see her again. She looked more beautiful than I remembered. I took a step toward her and stumbled. She rushed at me, nearly upsetting me further as she embraced me hard.

When she released me, the yellow fairy flew to her and hovered next to her face.

“Take me home,” Vree said to her.

In a moment, Vree and the fairy vanished.

“But where is home?” I called out.

No answer came.

I climbed from the cellar and looked for Nola. She was gone.

I stopped typing and wondered about the mill and other events that had happened in Ravenwood. Little made sense, which, for the most part, was exactly how life was. So why would Ravenwood be any different?

More Ravenwood stories coming soon.

2 thoughts on “Ravenwood, Chapter 20 [fiction]

  1. I only recently learned you were a cartoonist, in addition to being a painter; now I find you’re an author as well! Clearly you have too much talent; somebody somewhere has been seriously deprived– don’t you feel guilty?? No? Well, well, perhaps one just has to accept these things… 🙂

    I liked this excerpt, even tho it made my hair (brown, not yellow) stand on end. Will you be writing and illustrating books in the near future?

    1. Steve Campbell

      I’ve only self-published for family, which I illustrated the books’ covers. I haven’t tried my hand at the serious business end of publishing, though friends have recommended some print on demand places. If I ever get the gumption, I would prefer to illustrate those that I publish.

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