Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘Edith’

Edith…Eight

“Stand up straight,” whispered, Lilly.  “Remember, when they open the doors and say your name we walk forward.  Do not look to the sides, or stare….”

“I know, I know.  You’re just scaring me,” hissed Edith.

“I’m sorry, you’re right.  You’ll do just fine,” she said, putting her hand on Edith’s shoulder. “I’ll be right here with you.”

The huge golden doors were opened by two lovely fairies, dressed in summer green.  A male fairy, wearing all yellow, stood in the doorway, unrolled a scroll and said, “Bluebell, daughter of Buttercup, granddaughter of Lilly, you are welcome.  Please enter.”

Lilly gave Edith a little push and she started toward the doors.  She looked straight ahead and down at the floor.  She saw her long blue silk dress skim her matching blue slippers.  Her dress had an overlay of what looked like pale cream spiderwebs and she told herself not to pick at the strands.  Bluebells were woven into her long brown hair and she wished that her sleeve were longer because she was cold.  When she saw a line on the floor she stopped, closed her eyes and inhaled deeply.  No one spoke.

“You are Bluebell?” asked the Queen.

“Yes, Your Majesty, I am.”

“You were raised by humans?”

“Yes, Your Majesty, I was,” she said, looking up.  “Wow! You’re more beautiful than Lilly said but, of course, that’s not her fault, since there are no words that could possibly describe how you truly look.  Not really.”

There were gasps from the onlookers.  Lilly  made a soft noise but remained still.

“Forgive me, Your Majesty, I’ve spoken out of turn,” she said, bowing and slipping her hand into the pocket of her dress.

“What is in your pocket, Bluebell?” asked the Queen.

“It’s nothing, Your Majesty.”

“I wish to see it,” said the Queen.

“I drew a picture for you but my human parents said that I couldn’t draw very well, so I was hoping that my drawing might be better in Fairy, but I’m afraid that it is not.  I thought you could put this on your refrigerator, except it isn’t worthy of your attention, or anyone’s attention, for that matter.  Lilly hung up one of my drawings because she’s my grandmother and that’s what grandmother’s do, you know, so that their grandchildren feel better about themselves.”

A lovely fairy flew to Edith and took the drawing.  She kneeled in front of the Queen and held it up.  The Queen took it and spent several moments examining Edith’s artwork.  “I think your human parents were incorrect,” she said, passing the drawing to the King, who nodded in agreement. “I see talent there, in your choice of subject and color.”

“Thank you Your Majesty,” said Edith, happily. “Thank you very much.”

“I will have this,” said the Queen.  “Wolves howling at the Moon.  It’s perfect.  Now about your mother.”

“What about her?”

“Why is she not here?”

“She is here, Your Majesty,” said a glowing fairy, who came to stand next to Bluebell.”

“You’re my mom?”

Buttercup nodded.  “I came as quickly as I could, Your Majesty. Please forgive my tardiness. I was in the human world and just now heard that my daughter was to appear.”

“Will you take responsibility for this half child, Buttercup?”

“I will.”

“And you Lilly?  Will you take responsibility for this half child?”

“Uh, excuse me,” said Edith, “I’m a whole child, not half of one.  Both of my half match perfectly.”

“The Queen turned her head and covered her mouth with her hand in a graceful gesture.”

“You’re right, of course,” said the Queen.

“Lilly, will you take responsibility for this whole child?”

“I will Your Majesty.”

“Then Welcome to Fairy, Bluebell, daughter of Buttercup, granddaughter of Lilly.  You may stay and live among us.”

There was a small smattering of applause, as Edith, her mother and her grandmother were dismissed.  Just as they got to the doors, Edith turned and waved, “See you later Your Majesty,” she shouted.

There was a collective gasp. Fairies froze where they were, some moaned softly but the Queen simply stared at the child and then nodded once.

 

 

Edith…Seven

“Why do I have to be introduced to the Court?”

“Everyone who moves into Fairy must be presented before the Queen and King.”

“Why?”

“That’s the way it is.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“A lot of things don’t make any sense, Edith, yet we continue to do them out of habit, ritual or threat of death.”

“Threat of DEATH?”

“Yes, well, you did ask, Love.”

“They’ll kill me?”

“I hope not and if they kill you, they will probably kill me as well.  It’s a tricky thing, so pay attention.  These are the rules:  Your name will be called.  You will enter the High Chamber, with me walking behind you.   Do not turn to look at me, always stare straight ahead, your gaze no higher than the feet of the Queen and King.  Do NOT look them in the eyes and whatever you do DON’T SAY A SINGLE WORD.  Just stand there, look beautiful, and if they ask you a question, answer as briefly as possible and be POLITE.  Say, “Yes, Your Majesty,”  or “No Your Majesty,”  or, “Thank you Your Majesty.”

“Really?  That’s a lot of majesties, isn’t it?”

“Continue to avert your eyes.  Remember that it’s an honor to be in their presence, so act accordingly.  Don’t fidget, or smile, or move at all.  You will eventually be dismissed, at which time you are to bow toward the Queen and King, turn toward me, and walk briskly out of the double doors.  Do you understand?”

“It’s kind of like being in a play, isn’t it?”

“It’s exactly like being in a play and if you don’t remember your lines, you can be…”

“Killed?”

“I was going to say fired, but killed is another alternative.”

“They really take themselves seriously, don’t they.”

“There are rules for everything in Fairy.  Everything.  We break them at our peril.”

“I thought Fairy would be a lot nicer and more fun, but it seems like being in prison.”

“Hmmm, that’s another place you could end up and you wouldn’t like it there, believe me.”

“I should think not.”

“You’re only half fairy, so the Queen may ask whether or not you plan on staying with us.”

“I’ll tell her that I had planned on it but there are so many rules….”

“NO!  You say, ‘Yes, Your Majesty, I plan on staying.  Thank you.”

“I say that?”

“Yes, you say that exactly.”

“Why are they so mean?”

“Because they can be and don’t EVER say that to anyone else.”

“Why not?  Don’t you have free speech?”

“No one has free speech, Love.  Human or Fairy, no one.  We all say what we’re allowed to say.”

“Does Tinker Bell live here?”

“She does.”

“She’s real?” gasped Edith.

“Of course she’s real.”

“Where am I going to get a dress?”

“One is being made for you, Love.  All blue, to go with your name.  You will look beautiful.  Your shoes will match and so will the flowers in your hair.”

“Can one of the wolves come with me?”

“No wolves, just me.”

“Okay, but I talk a lot.”

“Not in Court you don’t,” said Lilly, seriously.

“What if the Queen sends me on a quest?”

“Why ever would she do that?” asked Lilly, taken back.

“I don’t know, I was just wondering, I guess.  Is it time for lunch?”

“Yes,” sighed Lilly again.  “It is.  What would you like?”

Edith…Five

“There must be something,” mumbled Lilly, pacing back and forth.

“We’ve been looking for hours,” sighed Edith, “and there’s nothing.  I’m sorry to be such a huge disappointment.  Maybe I should go back and live with the humans.”

“We will find your special talent, I’m sure of it,” said Lilly, “and you will not be going back to live with people who never allowed you to ride a horse.  But, I suppose you’re right, I should contact Steven.”

“You called?” he asked, smiling at Lilly.

“We can’t find my magick,” said Edith, darkly.  “Lilly has tried everything but she doesn’t know anything about human parents, so we thought perhaps you could help me.”

“Ah, I see.  Yes, she knows nothing about being raised by non magical beings.  She doesn’t understand the dismal life they lead, what they do to the children in their care.”

“That’s all well and good,” said Edith, “but can you tell if I have any magick?”

“I’ll do my best,” he said, straightening his gold tunic.  “What have you tried so far?”

Edith and Lilly explained what they had been doing for the last few hours and when they were finished, Steven said, “She can’t fly?”

Lilly shook her head and Edith sighed loudly.

“So, what to do,” he grumbled.  “What to do.”

“Tell me, Edith, what did you like to do when you were living with the humans?”

“Hide.  I liked to hide in my room, or outside in the park.”

“Anything else?  Did you read, draw…”

“I wrote stories,” she said, smiling.

“What did you write about?”

“The wolves mostly but I wrote about the sky people as well.  And kites, clouds, running away, living in a place where it was always sunny and warm, where I could go swimming and have friends, I guess.”

“Tell me about the sky people,” he asked.  “What did they look like?”

“Um, well, it’s hard to say but they looked like people made out of clouds.  Not thick clouds, thin ones.  They waved at me.  They were nice.”

“Why do you think you could see them?”

Edith made a face and shrugged.  “No idea, they were just there sometimes.

“Steven and Lilly looked at each other and shook their heads.  “I don’t know what to do with that,” he said.

“Neither do I,” agreed Lilly.

“Anything else you can think of?”

“Just regular stuff, I can run fast, climb trees, disappear, write stories….”

“Wait…disappear?  You can make yourself disappear?”

“Sure, can’t you?”

Edith…Four

“You’re very pretty,” said Edith, staring at her grandmother.

“All fairies are pretty, Love,” said Lilly.

“Am I pretty?”

“Of course, it’s just that you’re half human, so you look a bit different than some of us.”

“So, I’ll never look like a real fairy, right?”

“You are a real fairy, just not one hundred percent.”

“Are you and Steven one hundred percent?”

“We are and, therefore, so is your mother but that doesn’t matter.  You are ours and you belong here with us.”

“If I’m yours, why didn’t you come and get me?”

“We couldn’t,” signed Lilly. “You had to leave on your own.  Once you did, we were free to bring you home.”

“So if I didn’t run away, I would have been there forever?”

“It’s likely.  Although, I might have stolen you, but that’s neither here nor there, is it, since you are here, where you belong.”

“I feel sorry for the other Edith.  I feel sorry for her parents too, since they never got to even meet their real daughter.”

“Yes, those things are unfortunate,” muttered Lilly.  “Ah well, it doesn’t help to dwell on things that can’t be changed, so tell me the kind of magic you can do.”

“I can’t do any magic,” said Edith miserably.  “Unless you count being able to converse with wildlife, then I can do magic.”

“It’s normal for us to be able to communicate with other beings, so, no, that’s not real magick, that’s just the way things are.  Can’t you think of anything else…anything at all?  Can you turn people into frogs?  Make it rain?  Stop people from speaking?  Fly?  Anything?”

“No.  I can’t do any of those things.”

“I see,” said Lilly, tapping her foot.  “Have you ever tried to do any of those things?”

“I have not.”

“Well, there’s the problem,” said Lilly, grinning.  “You don’t know what you can do because you’ve never tried to do anything.  Okay, get up on the table and lean forward.  See if you can fly.  All you have to do is believe that you can, feel yourself lift off the table and hover.”

“I…don’t know…I mean,” stammered Edith.

“Oh, go on,” said Lilly brightly.  “You can do it.  I know you can.”

Edith climbed onto the kitchen table, squinched her eyes closed, pictured herself hovering in the air, leaned forward and fell flat on her face.  “Ow!” she said to Lilly, who ran to her aid.

“Try again,” encouraged Lilly.  “Here, watch me.”  Lilly stood on the table, smiled, and was suddenly hovering above Edith’s head.  “There’s nothing to it, you just have to do it.”

Edith got back onto the table, concentrated as hard as she could and landed on the floor…again.

“Okay, then,” said Lilly, let’s try something else, shall we?  Can you make the dish on the counter come to you?”

“You mean make it jump over here on it’s own?”

“Yes.  Like this.  Now watch what I do,” whispered Lilly, as she held out her hand, palm up, and called to the plate. The plate popped up and flew to Lilly’s outstretched palm.  “Now you do it.”

Edith did her best.  She really did, but nothing happened.  The plate remained where it was and didn’t even wobble.  “Sorry,” she said.  “Maybe I’m more human than fairy.”

“That’s nonesense,” said Lilly emphatically.  “We just have to find your talent.”

“What if what you find is nothing at all?”

“Don’t be silly,” said Lilly, dismissively.  “Of course, there’s something there.”

“If you say so, but what if you’re wrong?”

“Can you read minds?  Make the stars twinkle?  Make flowers grow?  Can you make people fall asleep?  Are you good with a bow?  Can you ride ghost horses?”

Edith stared at Lilly.  “Do you know what it’s like growing up with human parents?”

“No, I do not.”

“It shows.”

“It does?”

“It does,” said Edith, seriously.  “Maybe we should ask Steven what to do.”

Edith…Three

“Yes?” asked Lilly, staring at the man standing on her porch.

“I want to see her.”

“I’m sure you do but she’s busy eating pancakes.”

“Let me in,” he said, his voice low and threatening.

The wolves started to growl and their bodies grew tense.

“I don’t think they like your tone of voice,” said Lilly.

“I have a right to see her.”

“What right is that?”

“Who is it?” asked Edith, as she came to the door.

“No one, Love,” said Lilly.  “Go back into the kitchen.  I’ll be there shortly.”

“Hello,” said the man.  “I’m your grandfather and I’ve been waiting to meet you.”

“He’s my what?” she asked, looking at Lilly.

“We had a thing a long time ago and he thinks that makes him part of your life.”

“Does it?”

“Possibly.”

“Is he my mother’s father.”

“Sadly, he is.”

“Hi grandpa.”

Lilly burst out laughing.  “Grandpa,” she wheezed.  “Say it again,” she gasped, placing her hand on Edith’s shoulder.

“Say what?” asked Edith.  “Grandpa?”

And Lilly was off again.

“She thinks it funny,” he said, watching Lilly wipe the tears from her eyes.

“I can see that but I’m not sure why she feels that way.”

“Oh, do come in,” said Lilly.  “Now that you’ve seen her, there’s no reason to stand outside. She signaled the wolves and they retreated to the soft furniture in the living room.

“What do you do?” asked Edith, looking at the handsome man.

“I kind of run Fairy,” he said kindly.

“I didn’t like living with the humans, you know.  I knew there was something wrong but I didn’t know what it was.  I told Lilly, they didn’t believe anything I said, not even about the rabbits talking to me.”

“I’m sure it was difficult, Edith. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that but you’re here not and that’s all that matters.”

“To you maybe, but I wasted all ten of my years trying not to be where I was.  School was a nightmare.  I didn’t have any friends, except for Lou and that’s because she was strange and no one liked her.  I liked her.  She was really nice and her mother made brownies all the time.  Anyway, if I didn’t run away and save myself, I’d probably still be trapped there because none of you came to get me.”

The man looked at Lilly and said, “She’s just like her mother.”

Lilly smiled.  “I know.”

“Why are you happy to see me?  Why do you even WANT to see me?  You could have seen me all the time, if you would have let me grow up here?”

“Are there any pancakes left,” he signed. “I’m starving.”

“What’s your name?” asked Edith, glaring at her grandfather.

“My name is Steven,” he said.

“Why isn’t something like Oak, or Elm, or Sunflower?”

“Excuse me?”

“You have a human name.”

“Ah, well, I kept the name my human parents gave to me.”

“You’re a Changeling?”

“Indeed.”

“So what was your fairy name?”

“Shadow, but I don’t answer to that any longer.”

“Why?”

“It’s a long story. Suffice it to say…”

“I’m your granddaughter, you should tell me.”

Lilly had been giggling and holding her hand over her mouth for as long as she could.  She burst out laughing again, as she passed a plate of pancakes to Steven.  “She’s something else, isn’t she?”

He glared at her. “Can you do something with her before she’s introduced to everyone?”

“Hey, I’m standing right here, you know,” said Edith.  “And what’s wrong with me the way I am?  Don’t tell me you guys don’t like me either.”

“Of course we like you,” said Lilly, immediately.  “We love you, it’s just that you don’t know the ways of The Court.”

“You mean like go to jail court?  Or, some kind of King and Queen court?”

“King and Queen,” said her grandfather.

“I can be nicer,” she said.  “At least I think I can and who cares anyway?”

“Again, this isn’t the human world, Love,” said Lilly.  “Things don’t work the same way.”

“Fine.  Just tell me what I need to know.”

“All in good time,” said Lilly.

“You have two days,” said Steven, “The Queen wants to see her in two days and you make the best pancakes in Fairy, you always did.  Why did we ever break up?”

“Because you were sleeping with everything that had wings, remember?”

“Oh, yes.  I forgot about that.”

“I didn’t,” said Lilly.

“I never loved anyone but you.  That’s still true.”

“Tell it to someone who cares,” said Lilly.  “Why two days?”

“I didn’t ask.  She said two days, so I’m telling you two days.”

“I’ll do the best I can.”

“Good thing you have strong magick,” he said, as he walked toward the door.  “I think you’re going to need it.”

“He still loves you, you know,” said Edith, finishing her cold breakfast.

“I know.”

“You love him too,” she said.

“I do but that doesn’t mean that we can be together.”

“I thought it did.”

“You thought wrong, Love,” said Lilly.  “We don’t have much time, so let’s get started and find out what you can do.”

 

 

Edith…Two

“How do you like your room?” asked Lilly. “And breakfast is ready.”

“I like it very much,” said Edith, smiling.  I like the beds for the wolves, all over the floor.  Three of them slept in here last night.”

“They like to do that now and then.”

“And this color blue is my favorite.” said Edith, straightening her sheets.

“That’s why your mother named you Bluebell.  She loved that color as well.”

“You know my real mother?  And my name’s isn’t Edith?”

“Sure I know your mother and your real name is Bluebell, because aside from being her favorite color, they were her favorite flowers, as well.  Your real name is also Edith. You can use both of them, or you can pick one and stick with it.  That’s up to you.”

“Edith was the name of my great, great, great grandmother on my father’s side. Well, he wasn’t really my father, but you know what I mean.  I always hoped that I didn’t belong where I was,” she said dreamingly.  “I never actually liked those people.  They sure didn’t like me.  I’m the reason they never had more children.”

Lilly, started laughing.  “I suppose you’re right,” she snarfed.  “They must have been horrified by some of the things you did and said.”

Edith giggled.  “You should have seen them.  My father’s face was so red I thought he  was going to explode.  ‘There are no such things as sky people and rabbits don’t talk, you nasty girl,'” she said in, a poor imitation of her father’s voice.  “‘Why do you always have to lie?’  My mother stayed in her room or worked all the time.  They never even tried to hear what the rabbits in the yard had to say.”

“Yes, well, non magical people don’t understand things like talking rabbits.”

“I know that.  They don’t understand a lot of things.”

“Let’s eat,” said Lilly, clapping her hands.  “We have a full day ahead of us.”

Once in the warm kitchen Edith climbed on to the high stool and looked at the chocolate chip pancakes.  “I LOVE chocolate chip pancakes but why are their flowers on the side?”

“Just try them.  You’ll love them, I guarantee it.”

“Eat the flowers?”

“Of course.”

“I don’t know,” said Edith, pushing at the violets with her fork.  “I’ve never eaten flowers before.”

“Then today is the perfect time to start.”

“Why did my mother give me to those people and what happened to the girl they took?”

“Those are big questions,” said Lilly, pouring syrup all over her food.

“They’re big to me, that’s for sure.”

“It’s a common custom for fairies to swap their children with the babies of humans.  And their little girl, who is obviously your age now, lived in fairy up until a few months ago.”

“Where is she now?”

Lilly fussed around the kitchen, putting cookies on a plate and opening a new bottle of orange juice. She fed some of the wolves who stopped by and poured tea for both of them.

“Lilly?  Where is the real Edith?”

“You have to understand how hard it is for human children to live surrounded by magick, when they have none.  And, truthfully, fairies, like humans, aren’t always nice.”

Edith put down her fork.  “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that she ran away, just as you did.  All of them have a difficult time.”

 

“All?”

“Well, she wasn’t the only one, was she,” said Edith.

“So fairies can be mean?”

“Everyone can be mean, child.”

“I’m not mean.”

“I hope you stay that way,” said Lilly, trying to smile.

“Do you know where she is?”

“I imagine that she and Derek, the human boy she ran away with, are on their way to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.  They always run to big cities because they feel the pull of magick.  They can’t help it.  They’ve lived around it all of their lives and big cities are where fairies live when they play in the human world.  No one notices them there and strange things are overlooked or applauded, so…that’s where everyone goes.  We can’t survive in small towns where everyone knows and watches everyone else.  There are no fairies or magick there.”

“That makes sense, I guess.”

“It’s hard to live in a place where you don’t belong, as you well know.”

“Where’s my mother? And please, don’t tell me that I’m some kind of princess, because I’ve always hated those stupid stories.”

“You aren’t a princess.  Promise.”

“What am I, then?”

“Well, your mother was a….”

“Was?  Is she dead?  I hate those stories as well, the ones where the girl’s mother is always dead.”

“Not exactly.”

“You’re either dead or you’re not dead,” said Edith, impatiently.  “Is she in a coma?”

“No, not really.”

“Are you going to tell me?   Because if you don’t tell me, I’ll find out some other way.”

“She’s living among the humans.”

“Why?”

“Guess.”

“She fell in love?”

“She did.”

“Where is she?”

“Chicago.”

“Is she with my father?”

“She is, and that makes you a halfling, my sweet girl.  Half fairy, half human.”

“Wow, this keeps getting more complicated all the time, doesn’t it.  I suppose that makes me an outsider and the fairies won’t like me, right?”

“Only the pure bloods, who think they are better than everyone else.  They refuse to believe that thee is no ‘pure’ anything.  All of us, human and fairy alike have a little of each other in their blood.”

“This is starting to sound like Harry Potter,” said Edith, shaking her head.

“Oh, I love those movies.  I have the CDs, if you’d like to watch them sometime.”

“You have CDs?”

“Why wouldn’t I have CDs?”

“I just thought…”

“You just thought we were like the fairies in books and film, right?”

“Yes, since those were the only fairies I ever saw.”

“Well, we’re not like that, but you’ll find out soon enough.”

 

“How do you know my mother?”

“She’s my daughter.”

“You’re…”

“Yes, I’m your grandmother.”

“You’re too young to be a grandmother,” said Edith, knowingly.  “You’re kidding me.”

“That’s a perk that comes with being a fairy.  We don’t age like humans do.”

Two wolves stood up and went to the door.

“Looks as if we’re having company,” whispered Lilly.

Edith…One

“Edith,” said her father, sighing.

“Yes?”

“What are you looking at?”

“Uh, nothing,” she answered, quickly looking down.

“There are no ‘sky people.’  You have to give up those childish ideas and grow up.”

“Okay,” she said.

“You don’t believe me, do you?” he said, shaking his head.  “If there were people looking at us from the sky I would be able to see them.”

“I think we all see different things,” whispered Edith, more to herself than to anyone else.

“If you don’t stop this nonsense, you’ll leave me no choice but to send you away to a place that can care for…for…people like you.”

“Yes, father.”

“Everyone already thinks you’re strange and I won’t stand for it.  Do you understand?”

“I do,” she said.  “Perfectly.”

“Now go and play in your room until dinner.”

Edith ran up the stairs to her room, opened her closet and pulled out her duffle bag.  She threw her clothes into it, a few books, her favorite stuffed bunny, three candy bars, a package of gum, and her piggy bank.  She zipped it and went to the window.  It was just getting dark and she could hear her parents in the living room.  She dropped the bag to the ground and climbed down the trellis after it.

She was glad that she thought to wear her jacket.  Fall was fast approaching and the nights were getting colder.  She walked, cutting through the woods and staying off the main drags, until she was well out of town.  She was getting hungry, so she ate a candy bar and started humming song she heard yesterday.  She heard rustling in the trees but she wasn’t afraid, she knew the woods and the beings who lived in them.  It was a wolf and she stopped until he came closer.  “Hi,” she said, kneeling down so that he could put his head on her shoulder while she hugged him.  “I love you, you great fuzzy puppy.”  The wolf knocked her over and rolled on the ground next to her.  She giggled and rubbed his tummy.  “I’m going on an adventure,” she said.  “Actually, I’m running away from home.  I should have done it sooner but I was too little.”  The wolf frolicked around her and took her wrist in his mouth, dragging her forward.

“Where are we going?”

The wolf wagged his tail then let go of her as he darted ahead.  She ran after him and another wolf was suddenly running next to her.  She smiled and ran faster, loving the feeling of her speed and freedom.  She tired more quickly than her friends but they finally came to a small cottage in a part of the woods she had never seen before. Three wolves were sitting at the door waiting for her.  They whined and squeaked with excitement.  When she came to them and kissed each and everyone, the door opened.  The wolves ran inside while she stood there looking at the woman in the doorway.

“Well?  Are you just going to stand there all night, or are you going to come inside?”

The wolf came out, latched onto her arm, once again, and pulled her into the house.

“I’m your teacher,” said the woman, as she walked to the stove, to turn off the screaming tea kettle.  “Sorry,” she said to the wolves.  They have better hearing than we do and I try to never let the kettle make noise.  So, you’re the one the wolves have been telling me about.”

“I am?”

“They brought you here, didn’t they?”

“Yes, but I’m not quite sure why.”

“Did you leave your home for good?”

“I did.”

“They you’re ready to begin your lessons.”

“What lessons.”

“I thought you said she was smart,” said the woman, to the wolf next to her.

“I am smart,” said Edith, loudly.  “I just have no idea what’s going on, that’s all.”

“I’m your magick teacher.  My name is Lilly. Now let’s have a cup of tea and get started.”

“Magick?”

“What else would I teach you?  I’m no good at math,” she said, bending over with laughter.  “Math,” she repeated, slapping her knee.

“I can do some math and I can spell and read anything.”

“That’s nice but you talk to wolves, don’t you?  You know and see things other people don’t, if I’m not mistaken, so yes, magick lessons.”

“Am I going to live here?”

“I don’t see why not.  I have the room.  I supposed you could live with the wolves but you would eventually smell like them…”

A low grown issued from the other guests.

“You know what I mean,” she said, looking at them.  “Would you like to smell like us?”

They cried and put their paws over their noses.

“That’s all I’m saying,” snapped Lilly.  “Don’t go getting your fun in a bunch.”

“Won’t my parents find me?”

“How?  We aren’t in that world any longer.  They can’t even get here.  They’ll pretend to look for you but really, they’ll be relieved that you’re gone because they don’t understand what you are and you frighten them.”

“I see.”

“Are you worried about missing them?”

Edith thought for moment and then said, “Not at all.”

“That’s because they aren’t really your parents.”

“They aren’t?”

“Girl, they never could have produced one such as yourself.  They have no magick at all.  Dull as a….”

“Rock?” asked Edith, smiling.

“No.  Rocks are wise and they know things from the very beginning of time.”

“Oh, sorry, I just thought…”

“You’ll learn.  You’re just a babe, you’ve had no one to guide you, so don’t be hard on yourself, just open to what’s coming and embrace your true self.”

“I don’t know what my true self is,” said Edith softly.  “I mean, up until this morning I was just Edith Sitwell, of 4 Maple street Lane.”

“You were never that person.  You’re a changeling.”

“A what?”

“You’re a fairy, girl, a fairy.  You were switched at birth.”

“I am? I was?” sputtered Edith, her eyes wide.

“Of course you are,” said Lilly, leaning forward, pressing a napkin and two ginger cookies into Edith’s hand.

The wolf came up to Edith and nuzzled her neck, then grabbed a cookie and ran into the kitchen.

“He came with you.  He’s been watching over you since the beginning.  They all have but he’s your wolf.  His name is….”

The wolf growled at Lilly and bared his teeth.

“What are you snarling at me for?  I didn’t name you, did I?”

The wolf sat down and made a chuffing noise.

“He doesn’t like his name,” said Lilly.  “Thinks it’s not a proper name for a wolf.”

“We can rename him, if that’s what he would like,” said Edith.  the wolf put his paw on her lap and smiled.  “What would you like to be called?”

The wolf made a few noises and then waited.

“Really?” asked Lilly.  “Out of all the names in the universe, that’s what you want to be called?”

The wolf remained firm.

“He wants to be called Dark Wing, or Bob,” said Lilly.

“I like Dark Wing,” said Edith, happily.

The wolf threw back his head and howled.

And that’s how Edith’s story began.

Edith O’Connor and The Book Lovers Emporium…20

“Tilly…your arm,” said Chicago, reaching for her.  “The mark where your dragon used to be is filling in.”

“It started a few days ago, but I can’t make out what it is,” said Tilly, staring at the beginning of her new tattoo.

“Another dragon perhaps?” asked Chicago.  “That would make sense.”

“I don’t know,” sighed  Tilly.  “It’s like the Angel statue’s wing.  Everyday I hope her wing will be  bigger and I suppose it is, but it’s taking sooooooooooo long to grow.”

“I feel your pain,” laughed Chicago.  “You did a good job with Sig, by the way.”

“I couldn’t help myself,” laughed Tilly.   “Hey, do you think Merlin has a thing for Edith?”

“Certainly not!” said Chicago, rather loudly.  “Why?  Do you think he does?”

“Maybe.  He’s always watching her and he brings her little gifts.”

“They would make a cute couple,” said Chicago, thoughtfully, tapping her lips with her finger.

“Who would make a cute couple?” asked Edith,  walking up to the counter, grabbing a hand full of papers.

“You and Merlin,” snickered Tilly.  “You guys are adorable together.”

“I told you, there’s nothing going on between us,” said Edith breezily.

“Tonight is the first night of the Unusual Things Convention,” said Chicago.  “Has everyone arrived.”

“Not quite,” said Edith, checking her list.  “We are short a few Covens and there is a pack of weres’ that haven’t signed in yet.”

“What kind of weres’?” asked Chicago.  “I know the wolves are here.”

“Chickens,” said Edith.  “Werechickens.”

“Is she kidding?” asked Tilly, looking at Chicago hopefully.

“I rarely kid,” said Edith, continuing to sort things into piles.

“What’s on the agenda for this evening?” asked Chicago, changing the subject.

“Werechickens?” asked Tilly, once again. “Seriously?”

“Yes,” said Edith. “Seriously.”

“Are they adorable or vicious?” asked Tilly.  “I mean, they could go either way.”

“Both,” answered Edith.  “They can peck harder than you would believe and they use their talons as weapons.  They have human intelligence,  that’s what truly makes them dangerous.  And stop saying werechickens!”

“It’s really hard not to say it,” sputtered Tilly, covering her mouth with both hands.

“Do your best,” said Edith firmly.  “In answer to your question, Chicago, there will be live entertainment, a banquet, and a short Show and Tell.  During the Show and Tell different groups will preview what’s to come tomorrow night when they unveil their latest inventions.”

“Live entertainment?” asked Tilly.  “Who?????” she squealed, jumping up and down.

“Queen, Aerosmith, a group called Tin Robot, Bono, The Bloody Pines and a few others. Personally I like Tin Robot but I’m a big Queen fan so….”

Tilly was speechless.  “Am I dead?” she whispered, pinching herself.

“I would have noticed,” said Edith, stamping the date on several invoices.  “Although around here it is sometimes hard to tell.”

“It’s like a dream come true, I….”  Tilly sat on the floor.  “Werechickens and Rock and Roll Gods.  It doesn’t get any better than this.”

“I hope that’s not true,” laughed Chicago. “And you’re not supposed to say werechickens.”

At that, Tilly and Chicago started laughing hysterically

“They are normal human beings who just happen to morph into chickens,” said Edith.  “Now, can we please change the subject.”

“Do they like candy corn?” whispered Tilly, falling backward in another fit of hysterics.

The gray cat walked into the room and stared down at his gurgling friend.  “What’s with her?”

“Never mind,” said Edith, watching the cat climb onto Tilly, looking for a place to nap.

“Werechickens,” said Chicago.

The cat grinned…widely.  “I love those guys,” he purred, licking his paw.  “Just love them.  Did you know that chickens can run pretty fast?”

“NO CHASING, OR STALKING, remember?” said Edith, a bit more loudly than she had intended.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, but the gleam in his eyes implied something entirely different.  “Are the hens coming along?”

“Three of them,” said Edith.

“Lizzy?” asked the cat hopefully.  “She’s beautiful and a lot of fun.  She’s pure white when she turns.”

“Yes,” sighed Edith, putting her head in her hands.  “I have so much to do and none of it has to do with chickens.”

“Excuse me,” said Merlin.

“Oh, sorry,” said Edith, straightening her Tin Robot t-shirt.  “What can I do for you?”

“Uh, I can actually think of any number of things you could do for me, but all of them are best left for later,” he whispered wickedly.  “I’ll need time on tonight’s schedule to talk about the possibility of war,” he said, suddenly solemn.

“I’ll pencil you in,” said Edith.  “Is eleven, okay?”

“Yes, thank you.  Eleven will be perfect,” he answered, bowing slightly and opening his robe to show her his Stones t-shirt.

“The Rolling Stones?” she asked, taken back.  “Well, that explains a lot.”

“I like Keith Richards,” chuckled Merlin.  “I think he’s going to live forever.”

“Doesn’t everyone?” asked Chicago.

“Yes,” chuckled Merlin, “but not in the same body.”

 

 

Edith O’Connor and The Book Lovers Emporium…19

“Tilly this is…”

“Yeah, I know who it is,” she said.  “How’s it hangin’ Sid?”

“I haven’t used the name Siddhartha in a very long time,” said the smiling man.  “But I’m fine, thank you.”

“Whatever,” snapped Tilly, taking in his bald head, slim form, beat up sandals and worn jeans.  “I have questions.”

“Yes?”

“Yes, Prince.  I mean you were a Prince, right?”

“At one time, yes.”

“You were a Prince when it all started, when you found out that the people outside of your compound didn’t have what you had.”

“Yes, that’s when it all began,” he said quietly.

“Okay, now here’s the thing.  You had a wife and two kids, if I’m not mistaken.”

“I did.”

“And you deserted them so that you could do YOUR own thing.  You left them and never looked back.  I doubt that’s what your wife had in mind when she said, “I do,” or whatever you guys say.”

“Tilly,” said Edith.  “He’s our guest.”

“So?  This is a BOOKSTORE, a place of learning and I’m trying to learn.”

“You’re absolutely correct,” said Edith.  “Please continue.”

“You left your wife without a husband and you left your children without a father, so you could sit under a bodhi tree and feed your own ego.  That’s what it was, of course,  because you simply forgot about the commitments you made to the people you gave your word to, those who depended upon you, those you said you loved.  You turned your back on them them, so you could do your OWN THING.”

“Uh…” he stammered.

“Then you picked up followers along the way…all males, of course, because your generosity and awakening didn’t INCLUDED FEMALES.  And aren’t real leaders supposed to shun followers?  Followers are not the sign of a leader they are the sign of an egomaniac.”

“I must agree,” said Edith.

“You spent the rest of your life being waited on, meditating, hanging out with your home boys, who surrounded you and hung on your every word.  They cried when you finally died.  You’re not a leader Sid,  but I’ve learned that people will believe anything and simply look the other way when things become uncomfortable.”

“Eh, er….”

“You never even saw your children again.  You allowed men to follow you, men who left THEIR families to starve and be abused and you didn’t care, after all the only ones left behind were women and children.  I think you’re a bad person Sid.  You twisted things around for your own benefit and no matter what you say, the life you lived was the real truth.   You were selfish and thoughtless and, by the way, you should let your hair grow back.  Some men look great bald, you’re not one of them.”

With that Tilly turned and walked away.

“I agree with her one-hundred percent,” said Edith.  “Now, how may I help you?”

“I don’t feel welcome here,” said Sid, looking down.

“Yes, well, I can understand that.  The truth does hurt sometimes, doesn’t it,” she sighed.

“I was only trying to…”

“Find yourself?  Make a name for yourself?  Help others, with the exception of your own family, I mean?  Something like that?”

“Yes, something like that,” he said.  “You have a statue of me in the other room.”

“We do, but you’re wearing a party hat and a fake nose with a mustache” said Edith merrily.  “Now that that’s all out of the way, would you like some breakfast?”

“Just tell Merlin I stopped by.”

“He’ll be sorry to have missed you, I’m sure,” said Edith, already looking down at her notes.

“Good riddance,” said Chicago, walking into the room.  “I never liked that guy.  He acts humble but underneath….”

“I know what you mean, but he’s gone now, so we can get on with things,” said Edith brightly.

“Tilly was great,” smiled Chicago.

Edith laughed.  “She was fabulous.”

“I finished Sigmund’s readings.”

“And?”

“Well, you know about ‘client privilege,’  and all that, but let me tell you, he’s another one who fell for his own garbage.  The guy’s a loon and yet, people followed him and like Sid, even now there are those who can’t let go of what they once said.”

“Sad,” said Edith, shaking her head.

“Destructive,” said Chicago

“That too.”

“Is there any of that great coffee cake left in the kitchen?”

“There is,” nodded Edith.  “Shall we have some at the counter?”

“Absolutely,” said Chicago happily.

Edith Olive O’Connor and the Book Lovers Emporium…8

“Where can I get really good pizza?” asked Tilly.  “Thin crust, crispy, cheese, mushrooms, spinach and scalding hot?”

“In the kitchen,” said Edith, not looking up from her work.  “You can get whatever you like.”

“Can’t I just order out?”

“Just think about what you want and the kitchen will have it ready for you.”

“Did I die?” asked Tilly suddenly, staring at her hands.

“No.  I would have noticed, believe me.”

“But this has to be heaven.”

“I suppose it might seem that way to you,” said Edith, checking things off one of her many lists,  “if getting pizza is your idea of heaven.”

“Jerry’s drawing up plans for the room Chicago asked him to paint.  I’m taking pictures from start to finish, so it will be documented.  I took quite a few photographs of Hemingway and Fitzgerald together, before they started fighting.  Hemingway can be mean.  I don’t know why Scott hangs around with him.”

“They’re friends,” said Edith flatly.

“You’re not really interested in much are you Edith?”

Edith put down her pencil and looked at Tilly.  “I am responsible for the running of this shop.  Caring for The Book Lovers Emporium is a task bigger than you can imagine.  It’s a job that crosses time and space and then some.  I can’t afford to spend hours bouncing around.”

“I’m sorry,” said Tilly, patting Edith’s hand.  “No wonder you’re no fun.”

“Excuse me?”  barked Edith.  “I certainly AM fun.  I can be a lot of fun.”

“If you say so,” said Tilly, looking skeptical.

“I can be,” said Edith, once again, but the energy she had previously put into her words had faded.

“Can we have a dance?”

“This is a bookstore, not a dancehall.”

Please, can we have a dance?”

Edith actually laid her head on the counter.  “Fine.  You can have a dance when Jerry finishes painting the room.  We can celebrate then.”

“You’re the best Edith,” said Tilly, leaning across the counter, her arms outstretched.

“I don’t do hugs,” said Edith, pushing Tilly away.

“Why not?”

Edith shrugged.  “Go get your pizza.”

“Are you happy here?”

“I am,” said Edith, smiling a little.  “It’s just that there’s always so much to do.”

“I can help,” said Tilly. ” Tell me what you want me to do.”

“I’ll think about it,” said Edith softly.  “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“What’s that?” asked Edith, pointing at Tilly’s arm.

“Smoke,” she laughed.  “My dragon tattoo started breathing a little fire last night.”

“Yeah,” hissed Gray.  “Almost singed my tail.”

“She did not,” said Tilly. “Not even close.

“INCOMING,” yelled Edith, as two large books flew through the air and landed on the counter with thuds.  Their covers sprang open and the pages started fluttering and flipping back and forth until suddenly, they just stopped.

Tilly pulled one of the books toward her. “Look at these dragons, Edith.  Jerry was stuck on a main magical creature for the largest wall in the room and this just might be it.”

“It’s beautiful,” whispered Edith, running her hand over the page.  Smoke came out of the dragons nose and Edith pulled her hand away.

At that moment, Tilly’s tattoo started wiggling on her arm.  “Whoa, where do you think you’re going?” she asked, in amazement.

“Hold on,” spit the dragon.”

“Amanda?” gasped Tilly, staring at her arm.

“Do you have another dragon who answers to that name?”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m becoming real, Tilly,” sighed the dragon.  “Get with the program will you!”

“Real?”

“Yes, real, as opposed to NOT real,” said Amanda, in a voice that made it quite clear that she was talking to a two-year old.  “Now hold still.”

Tilly did as she was told and looked at Edith.  Edith looked back and watched as Amanda, using her front arms for leverage, pushed off of Tilly, dragging the rest of her body with her.  Once she was free she shook, flapped her wings and then stretched.  “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time.  You have no idea what it’s like to live on someone’s skin.”  With that, Amanda flew to Tilly’s shoulder, walked around her neck three times, curled around her throat, said, “If you need me just yell,” and went to sleep.

“Edith?”

“Yes, Tilly.”

“What just happened?”

“I think your dragon tattoo isn’t on your arm any longer.”

Tilly looked down and saw that the spot Amanda had once occupied was now empty.  “There’s a real dragon on my neck,” said Tilly, her eyes wide.

“I can see her.”

“OMG HOW COOL IS THAT????” she yelled, waving her hands in the air.  “I’m going to go show Jerry,”  she said, taking off at a run.  The she stopped, turned, and ran back to the counter.  She grabbed the books, kissed the cat and was gone.

“I love it here,” said the gray cat.”

“I do too,” said Edith, scratching his chin.

“What do you think is going to happen next?”

“Next  I’ll send pizza to the Artist’s Room.  I’ll send some fries, a couple of drinks  and maybe some ice cream as well.”

“You’re starting to like her Edith.  Admit it,” purred the gray cat.

“What’s not to like?” asked the White cat, leaping rom the railing behind the counter to the blotter in front of Edith.  “Right Edith?”

“I guess she’s not that bad,” smiled Edith, and the two cats  chuckled softly and began to wash up for dinner.  “Truthfully,” she sighed, “I don’t know why Scott hangs around with Earnest either,”

 

 

 

 

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