Robert DuVey had once heard that occasionally members of the fae would emerge from their hidden world for a short while to experience life among humans. At the time, he laughed merrily at the ridiculousness. Elves did not exist, and even if they did, why would they want to mingle with the unclean race that was his own.
But for some reason, the first time he met her, he was reminded of the tale.
Her name was Ella Raedself. She transferred into his class in first grade, and set his life in a whirlwind since.
She was small and willowy, with dark hair and large exotic green eyes. She endeared herself quickly to the class and teachers with her ready smile and bell like laugh.
Robert would go home ever evening filled with tales of what Ella had done that day, and even then he could tell that his mother's smile held a tinge of sadness to it. It wasn't until years later that he thought to ask her why hearing about the girl had made her so melancholy.
Time passed quickly, and he found himself one of Ella's closest friends, forever drawn into her outlandish adventures. One day they would break into an old abandoned factory just because they could, the next they would attempt to build a model rocket. Life was a never ending series of excitement.
He remembers her best in high school though, the child he first met blooming into a young woman who moved with otherworldly grace as she flitted from one social group to another every day.
He never stopped to wonder why she gently spurned any sort of advance from all of her guy friends. He himself had no special feelings for her, other than seeing her as the sister his single mother could never give him.
Senior year approached and passed in the blink of an eye, though with each passing day he noticed Ella's eyes growing distant and sad, even as her outward attitude remained just as curious, cheerful, and lively as she had ever been.
Somehow, though her grades were flawless and her activities countless, Ella was passed over for Valedictorian, though she didn't seem surprised.
As they all stood around, feeling slightly lost in long robes and silly looking caps after walking across a stage that had efficiently closed the only chapter in their lives they could remember, Ella moved from group to group one last time, bidding them all a sort of strange goodbye.
She approached the collection Robert was standing in last, and moved to stand next to the young man that was once boy who was the first person in a class of thirty children to approach her, and smiled broadly at them all.
"I've had fun here." She said slowly, and immediately Robert felt odd, off balance. "But now it's time for me to go back home, I think. I will truly miss all of you dearly." Her voice was quiet, and nearly drowned out by the sounds of confusion her former classmates were making. Robert himself was silent, though he looked the most befuddled of all.
And then Ella walked away, her graduation robe billowing slightly in the oddly pine scented breeze.
"Did anyone feel that was strangely final?" Robert asked those around him, but only received baffled looks in return.
One person asked, "What was?"
The feeling of being off balance returned, but before Robert could reply, his mother came over to him, and dragged him away for a celebratory dinner.
For some strange reason, it was five years later that Robert even thought about Ella again. He was laughing with a group of old class mates, reminiscing while the five year reunion was in full swing, when he tilted his head. "Has anyone heard from Ella Raedself since Graduation?" He asked, looking from face to face. His only answer was blank expressions. It was only then that he started realizing that something strange was going on.
He was shocked when the man that had once escorted Ella to one of the many dances, and had sometimes accompanied her and Robert on their many misadventures, stupidly said, "Who?"
"Er... Ella. You know, short, long black hair, green eyes? She was all over the place in school. You can't tell me none of you remember her?" He said incredulously.
"The name doesn't ring a bell." One girl shrugged.
He went home, feeling bereft. The conversation had quickly turned away from his old friend after that, and he couldn't bring himself to drag it back to her. He later took out his old senior yearbook, and flipped it open.
Only to bite back a gasp when they place where Ella's picture should have been, was, no longer existed, was gone. He turned to the last page, where he remembered her signing a long passage, but the space was instead filled with small comments from faceless names.
Club pictures, candid photos, the class picture, nothing. It was if all traces of Ella Raedself had been wiped away. Even in the old shoebox that held personal pictures was bereft of her.
That night he called him mother, almost completely incoherent, but his rant was cut off when she calmly replied, "I understand."
Instead of explaining, she told him that it was too long a story to be told over the phone, and they made plans to meet at a small coffee shop. But she did reveal what the main topic of their conversation would be about. "Robert... I think it's time I told you about your father."
That night he found little sleep. Instead he lay staring at the ceiling his mind whirling. His mother had always avoided the topic of the father he never knew, deflecting him with the patented, "I'll tell you when you're older." Honestly, as the years passed he grew so used to having no father figure that it slipped his mind. He now was left wondering how his father had any tie in with the way Ella had disappeared completely.
The next day found him sitting nervously in a plush chair, a steaming cup gripped in a white knuckled hand though completely ignored while the strongest woman he knew finally told him her story.
Like Robert, someone had entered Jenna DuVey's life with all the subtlety of a truck. His name was Alston, and like her son she grew close to the boy. Though unlike him, her own relationship with the whirlwind had grown more intimate, until the night before her high school graduation she and Alston consummated their mutual love.
"He was your father, but I don't think he ever knew that I had gotten pregnant." Jenna quietly whispered, her eyes distant with long past memories. "He... vanished, too, after graduation. I never saw him again, and every picture I had of him was empty of his presence. All of my classmates have forgotten him. I think the only reason I remember him at all is because of you, Robert."
Robert felt that he was missing something. A story like hers was completely unbelievable, and he would have scoffed before, had he not been experiencing something exactly like it now. He found himself lowering his own voice to hush one stuttering sentence. "Who... what was he?"
Him mother brushed a hand through graying hair. "For a while, I had no idea. But when I began to research more arcane writings, I learned of others like us. Those who had been visited upon by the fair folk."
Robert drew back, disbelief in every line of his body as he demanded loudly enough for other patrons to glare at him. "Elves?"
Jenna's sharp blue eyes cut to him. "Scoff all you want, Robert, but it's the only explanation that fits, and the only I can offer."
"But elves don't exist." Robert murmured back, though he was unwillingly turning the idea over in his head.
"Can humans completely erase themselves from Polaroid pictures, from people's memories, Robert Alston DuVey?" She reprimanded. "Because if you have a better story, I would love to hear it."
The young man sighed, and slumped. "No... mother, I don't. But it's all so..."
"Surreal?" Jenna supplied, softly laying her hand over her son's. "I know, love, but it's the truth as far as I know. But I do have a question for you. How do you remember her at all? Could it be because you yourself are half Fae, or is there some other reason?"
Years before, a few miles into the country, yet far away as far as human logic was concerned, a young woman walked sedately through a stone hallway, dressed in spider's silk and natural gems. She entered the room the hall spilled into, a large natural cavern, and made her way to the other end where two figures sat upon thrones made of woven vines, leaves, and precious materials given to them by Mother Earth.
"Father," She said lowly, respectfully, "Mother." She curtsied. "You called?"
The man who sat upon the larger throne smiled and held out a slightly time weathered hand. "Ella," He said warmly, "How were your studies in the human realm?"
She tilted her head slightly, quickly, reminiscent of a bird and smiled enigmatically. "They were... educational, father." She simply told King Alston Raedself of the Fae Realm.
Constructive criticism is most welcome!