The humans heard a strange sound in the wind. It was ominous, as if a great storm was coming. Yet, when the mother looked to the sky, she could see no storm clouds. It was a beautiful day. There was no movement of branches in the trees to indicate any stirring of the wind.
The mother heard the sound again. This time it seemed to be a mix of high pitch whining, gentle sobbing, and deep moans. She was unable to locate the source of the sound. Not being able to explain what she was hearing was terrifying. Her instinct was to protect her children so she quickly gathered them and the precious teddy bear and rushed inside her home.
The fairies might have noticed her locking her door and closing all her windows had they not all been gathered in shock around the simple plastic toy. The ladies shrieked, the children sobbed, and the men moaned.
Gladiola and Marigold ran towards the opening, trying desperately to follow Rascal. They were his sisters, and they had always coddled their dear sweet little brother. Little newborn fairies crawled in their wake, whining for attention.
Brier and Huck, two strong protector fairies, quickly sprung to action and landed between the ladies and the toy. They held their swords in salute, across the opening. Gladiola and Marigold stopped abruptly. They had always felt protected, never threatened, by Brier or Huck. For the first time they were encountering the swords in front of them and they immediately fell to the ground holding onto each other in desperation.
“Where is Rascal?” they sobbed, “Where could he have gone?”
A garden gnome came quickly to the scene. He climbed the mountain of a stone next to the doorway and looked over the edge. He jumped down behind the gateway and looked out at the backs of Brier and Huck.
“It is nothing but an opening going nowhere. What happened to Rascal?” His usually gruff voice was shaking slightly in his confusion. Without thinking, he reached his hand through the opening and pulled on Huck’s wing.
The offense was not taken lightly. Huck turned and slashed the gnome’s hand. A gash opened and green fluid fell in heavy droplets forming a line from the protector fairies, through the doorway and puddling in a pool just under the gnome. He stood in shock staring at his wound.
Huck stared at the gnome. “Why would you pull my wing?” He bellowed in anger. Then seeing the injury he had bestowed upon the gnome, his eyes widened. “Oh, I’m sorry dear gnome, but you pulled my wing!” Huck shook his head and shivered as the other fairies gathered to try to help the gnome, muttering repeatedly, “He pulled my wing.”
Nobody blamed Huck for his reaction. He had been on alert, the gateway was dangerous. His reaction had been warranted.
The healing fairies quickly tried to go through the gateway to get to the gnome, but fortunately Brier kept his wits about him and stopped them from going through the gateway.
The healers were frustrated. Every second that passed was preventing them from saving the gnome. Still, Huck would not let them pass. He was a protector and he did not wish to take any chances.
“The gnome did put his hand safely through the gateway, but he was still harmed.” Brier spoke clearly and calmly. It was his job to keep order in this situation. “Still, look at his hand. He was harmed.”
“He was harmed by Huck, we all saw it. The danger did not lay in the opening, only in the pulling of Huck’s wings.” One healer argued.
“We don’t know enough about the opening.” An ancient fairy had landed gracefully between Brier and the healers. He had wisely flown over the scene analyzing the situation to the best of his ability.
Every fairy stopped talking and immediately turned their attention to the ancient fairy. He was the wisest fairy among the fae for he had lived the longest.
“We do know that Rascal went through the gateway. We know that Rascal disappeared, and while he is always playing silly tricks, this is no trick Rascal would play on us.”
The fairies all backed up a little as they thought about the ancient fairy’s wise words. The gnome slouched against the wall and held his hand against his chest in an effort to stop the bleeding.
“The gnome is still among us,” the ancient fairy turned and nodded at the gnome with a very sympathetic expression, “and for that we are grateful. But we don’t know if he is present because he only broke the barrier with his arm, not his entire body. It could be that the opening is safe for passage only from the other side.
“We must not take any chances until we are able to gather more information, do experiments. For now, everyone must stay away from this area completely. I don’t even want the healers to walk around. Brier and Huck, see to this matter.”
Brier and Huck quickly chose other strong fairies and sent them around the side of the gateway that did not have the mountain. They lifted the heavy gnome onto Rascal’s wagon and carried him back to a field of wildflowers where the healing fairies quickly started to tend to the poor gnome’s wound.
Brier and Huck stood watch over the gateway for the rest of the day sending curious little fairies away each time they tried to get a closer look at the scene.
All the other fairies gathered in small groups, shaking in fear and disbelief. They could not imagine what had happened to Rascal.
To be continued…..