|Call The Rainman with Featherstones
Author: NessieWinsa PM
Ferwren isn't a dog. She shouldn't be treated like one. She's a great woodland spirit who just happens to fall asleep for hundreds of years. When she wakes up this time, she's in for trouble. Now she's a house pet for a sickly rich boy as debt. Stupid...Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Fantasy - Chapters: 3 - Words: 7,973 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 05-23-12 - Published: 04-26-12 - id: 3017135
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Call The Rainman with Featherstones
Chapter One - The Son
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Ferwren couldn't possibly feel any more disgusted as she did at that very moment. On her hind legs, she could almost hear the shameful comments from the woodland folk, commenting on her almost passive state. She was the great and powerful forest spirit for goodness's sake! Why was she sitting in a basket wrapped in arrays of cut flowers and vines, riding in the arms of a maid approaching a wooden door? Ferwren felt like she was sitting in a deathbed. How many spirits died from cutting these plants? She almost shook her head in dismay to herself. The woodland folk would surly have a thing or two to complain about when she got back to the forest. Then something cold dropped into the pit of her stomach. The dam, the flood, the sucking vortex of water. Her forest had vanished.
Ferwren sighed to herself. She felt like she had only slept for a couple of months; however, she realized she had fallen into a slumber for almost two hundred years. Ferwren had to admit, she was a fairly dormant spirit. Though she was ancient in spirit age and even more so in human years, her maturity stayed at a child's level—mentally and physically wise. The reason being was her tendency to fall into a slumber for a couple of centuries and not age more than a few weeks.
Of course, this time she woke up, she was in for a surprise.
The man walking in front, leading the whole group up stair cases and through long corridors, had saved her. He was the one who had pulled her out of the water all tired and coughing up water, soaked to the bone. He had pulled her out and into his noisy, giant bird machine, keeping her from death's arms. He had saved her life and now he needed her help. She was inclined to aid him in whatever he needed, for she was in his greatest debt.
"Son," her saviour knocked on a wooden door. The wood was carved in such a way that it depicted little stories being told in the etches of the timber. Little fairy folk delicately dancing about on a brown, sandy sun and tiny hands peeking out from tree leaves. A gallant knight with a sword on a rearing horse neared the doorknob, as though about to attack a witch, and a beautiful youthful girl staring out her prison, gazing at the stars. Ferwren smiled a little. This was truly marvelous. The door was a piece of art; however, the fairy scenes were too kind to its subjects. Fairies were not usually the shy type. Especially after the great boom, of what Ferwren called, the Machine Era. No one paid attention to myths and stories as much as they used to, and nature's guardians couldn't help but feel unappreciated. In fact, most of them turned vicious, sometimes creating earthquakes and hurricanes just to get human's attentions. Of course, the results never turned out the way nature wanted and, instead, made humans rely even more on machinery.
As much as Ferwren felt edgy amongst human kind, she wanted to do her share so that she would not have to owe anyone anything. Helping this man was her only choice.
"Son?" The man asked again, his black suit was very uptight and his collar was tucked in. Ferwren found how strange the styles had gone within two hundred years. Sideburns were also no longer favourable, nor were long beards. This, Ferwren would have to adapt to.
"Come in!" a distant voice from behind the door called.
The door was opened by a maid and the man, following the rest of the party, stepped into the room.
Ferwren stared all around. There were heavy curtains giant windows in the sides of the room with a view of the entire forest as far as the eye could see. A small fireplace was set in the front of the room and massive shelves lined the wall, filled to the brim with books. Portraits were hung on the walls with beautifully carved frames the colour of gold and silver. It wasn't until Ferwren's eyes found a bed that she realized she was in a bedroom. Drapes of sorts were hanging from the bedposts, and for some reason, in this room, not much had changed from two hundred years ago. Many of the styles of furniture were the same, such as the bed curtains spun on rings that hung from the canopy. Ferwren almost smiled. The familiarity made her feel at ease. Maybe she didn't have to adapt too much.
"Father!" A boy, who Ferwren had not even known was there, said excitedly. "Ms. Donatella didn't tell me you were visiting!"
Ferwren studied this boy. He was buried under heaps of blankets and massive pillows—probably not goose feathers because it would take at least ten geese to collect that many feathers. He looked rather scrawny and thin, his hair the colour of garden soil and pale skin to a small, heart-shaped face.
"Well, I wanted it to be a surprise," the man walked over, though each step was cautious as though he were afraid of stepping on a worm after a rainfall. Then he sat on the end of the giant bed, causing the ruffles and covers to crease at the weight of his body. He patted the bedposts, trying to distract himself, while the boy stared at his father eagerly. "Son, I know you've probably been anxious—"
"Anxious?" The boy laughed. "No way! I'm fine. Actually, I feel great. Better than great! Do you think I can go outside anytime soon? Are you going to stay for a while?"
His father smiled. "You need to calm yourself a little, August. Or I might not give you your early-birthday presents."
Suddenly, like a lead bullet, the boy's smiled shot clean off his face. Instead, a worried crease in his forehead started to multiply. "Wait, what about my birthday? Aren't you coming to visit that day?" He said instead of an excited laugh like Ferwren had predicted. "You could just give me my present on my birthday, right?"
The man didn't answer right away. Ferwren watched as her saviour sighed and rubbed his hands together, as though expecting a cold wind to blow the moment his mouth opened.
"I know. I know I said I'd be here for your thirteenth birthday," his father began. "But this meeting came up and I couldn't refuse the offer. It's a big sum of money we're gambling here, son." He turned to face the boy. "We could lose a lot of customers and then we'd be bankrupt before you know it. Son, I'm asking you to make a small sacrifice."
The boy stared for a moment into his father's eyes, then looked down at his gray-ish palms. Ferwren could almost imagine the sweat on them, the thoughts in his mind. This face was the kind she could easily read. Ferwren could see he was the type to explode and make an objection. She had seen enough of his life to imagine his spoiled personality, the little fussy brat in his heart. She had seen so many like him.
"Oh," the boy mumbled. This frown suddenly pinched into a smile that seemed almost too painful. "But there's always next year, right?"
His father smiled too, fake smiles all 'round like an applause from a disappointed audience. "I know I haven't visited on most of your birthdays, son, but I'll try my hardest next year, all right?"
"Yeah," the boy nodded, though the smile started to press into a line. "We can… try again next year."
"Com'on, champ," The man tapped the boy's feet under the layers upon layers of blankets. "Turn that frown upside down! You have presents to open!"
Boxes were placed in front of the boy, and as each was unwrapped and torn open, Ferwren could tell the boy was no happier than before he opened them. Many of the objects in the boxes and bags were things she couldn't make sense of. Little machines and pocket watches for wrists. There were strange looking clothes with markings that had animals and strange words on them like "hockey team" and "football league". Ferwren rested her chin on the basket rim, then yawned. This boy was strange. Very strange indeed.
"This is all really… great." The boy thanked politely. He said he enjoyed everything, even the balloon, which Ferwren had just noticed flying in the air. It looked like some kind of strange, red bubble, but stronger and tied to a very thin piece of string. Ferwren marveled at the strange things humans had invented since she had last been awake.
"Wait," his father chuffed proudly, "You haven't seen the big one yet."
The boy waited, wondering what could possibly be "bigger" than all the other presents he had just been given. The man got up and beckoned the maid holding Ferwren to bring the basket over. "I want you to meet your new friend," the man took the basket and put it on the bed.
Ferwren got her first close-up look at the boy. It was then that she noticed his eyes. Ferwren couldn't decide what colour they were. His eyes had a strange gold-brown colour to them; however, at certain angles, they looked stormy gray. She had heard they were called hazel eyes, but the colour of hazel nuts had nothing to do with the name. While she stared at him, he stared right back at her in awe.
She decided his eyes were the colour of ivory.
"A puppy?" The boy looked up to his father. "You got me a puppy?"
"Well," the man combed his glossy hair with his fingers. "More like rescued. She was drowning in a flood of that broken dam. I just happened to be passing by on the 'copter. I thought she was a girl at first. Imagine what made me think that! Before I knew it, I scooped her out of the river and dried her up. She didn't have a collar, so I guess she's a stray." He stopped because he realized his son wasn't paying him any attention. Rather, he was watching Ferwren curiously. Ferwren stared back into his ivory eyes. It reminded her of the bark on the trees reflecting morning sunlight.
"I know she doesn't move a lot, but she did go through a lot of drama," his father apologized. "I was hoping both of you could heal together and heal each other. She's a rather strange looking lady, isn't she?"
The boy smiled at Ferwren, then looked up at his father. "I think she's beautiful. You know, in an elfin way."
One of his father's eyebrows rose. "Elf?"
"See? Her eyes are a kind of… dark purple. Everything about her is elegant." He tried to explain.
"Tom!" A woman whistled very abruptly, the way someone called "yoo-hoo!" in a flirtatious way from the back of a horse carriage. Ferwren grimaced and shrunk back into the basket, trying to hide from the onslaught of calls. "Tom, I must tell you—"
A woman stepped into the room. And she stared straight at Ferwren. "Tom, is that your 'big surprise' you were telling me about?" Everything about her was sharp. Her chin was sharp, her eyes were sharp, her neck was long and her waist was petite in its tucked up—and which Ferwren deemed rather masculine—blazer. She wore a short, tight skirt—which Ferwren gasped at, seeing as her knees were not covered whatsoever—and shoes with very tall heels. Ferwren especially hated the shoes. They made the sound of an empty ale bottle hitting a bar table when she took a step.
"It is, Donatella." The man patted Ferwren's head with coarse hands. Ferwren tried to shrink even more.
"But the doctor recommended that animals be kept well away from—"
"I'm sure it's fine," the boy's father waved casually. "Besides, the puppy isn't very excited. She's actually pretty calm, see? Besides, if you ask me, August here needs a little excitement once in a while."
Ms. Donatella's face blushed ever so slightly from embarrassment, however, was quickly replaced by a creased forehead and sharp demanding eyes. "Tom, could we talk… somewhere private?" She gave the boy a narrow look, nose stuck up.
The man stared at his son, then turned back to the woman. "Sure thing, peppermint."
Just as he turned to go, the boy desperately cried "Father!" as though afraid an invisible string attaching them would snap as soon as he stepped out of the room.
The boy opened his mouth, and at first, nothing came out. Eventually, he changed his mind and said, "Thanks. For everything."
"I'll be back soon, August."
It was an empty promise. Ferwren could tell, and she had a feeling the boy could too. As the man and woman left, the servants and maids followed suit, leaving the door closed behind them.
The boy turned to her. He sighed a slow, uneven breath. She remained in the basket, still full of dead flowers and grasses, all shriveled and dried up. The boy closed his eyes and let his head rest against the backboard of the bed. "I bet it's so much easier being a dog."
She growled. Actually, it wasn't. After all, it was the very fact that she was a dog that got her into her current situation in the first place.
"No, huh? Well, it's not great being human either, just to let you know." He sat up slowly. "I'm Augustine Noah Orwell the third, but I hate that name, so call me August, okay?"
Ferwren growled again, though rather passively this time.
"You're pretty feisty for someone who almost drowned." He laughed a thin laugh, as if making sure not to over-do it. "You need a name."
Ferwren barked twice. She disliked this job. Entertaining a child. She was a greatly respected spirit after all... and a child herself.
"Hm," his lips pressed and scratched his head, deep in thought. "What about… Faey? I read in a book once that Faey means fairy. Do you like it?"
Ferwren had the urge to jump off the bed and curl up somewhere to sleep. She really didn't care what he wanted to call her.
When Ferwren didn't respond, August took her answer as a 'yes'.
"What's out there, Faey?" August was looking outside now. His eyes wandered the world out his window, only a glass wall away. "What does the air taste like? What does the sun feel like? What do the birds sound like?" His mind seemed to grow wings and take to the sky. "Is it beautiful and adventurous?"
Ferwren huffed and laid her head down in the basket, hoping to fall asleep. August had no idea. Not only was it beautiful and adventurous, it was for the living.
August just hadn't lived yet.