The sky had changed from a light baby blue to a deep orange and red. The warmth of the afternoon was quickly melting away and a bone chilling wind was starting to blow across the field. The ground lay barren. Before me, I could see a vast section of scrubland. Through the withered branches and stumped trees, I could see small orbs of light glowing in the dimming daylight.
"Man." I said taking a deep breath as I peered toward the handmade sign that dotted the car parking lot. The lettering on each sign was dripping black, kind of like the title of the 'Goosebumps' books. Words such as 'Danger! Do not cross' or 'Haunted Meadow Ahead! 4 miles' really brought to mind why I was here. To get scared out of my wits.
"So." A voice from behind me said. "Having second thoughts or something? I mean it's not too late to turn back." There was a hint of teasing to the voice. But a strong sense of motherly love and concern overshadowed any hints of teasing the voice might hold.
"Nah." I said, closing my eyes as I turned around and peered at the source of the voice. The voice belonged to a woman, roughly a head taller than me. She had a round face, one framed with long locks of fiery red hair that reached down to her shoulders. A midnight black dress hugged her slender frame. Cobweb patterned stockings, black as her dress provided a little warmth from the chilly wind blowing across the open field. And finally simple, black dress shoes brought everything into completion.
"Okay. Just making sure honey. I've been hearing some nasty rumors about this place online. Like, people have been touched by the staffers and such. One girl even claimed she was pushed last year." The woman said as she walked up behind me, taking a deep breath, she lifted her arms and wrapped them around me. With a gentle sign she pulled me close to her chest and whispered softly. "Just don't want anything bad to happen to my little princess." And with that she planted a soft kiss on the top of my forehead.
A sudden blush colored my cheekbones. I leaned into the hug and accepted the kiss and closed my eyes. Lost for a minute in my mother's warm embrace. Slowly I opened them and with a careless grin upon my face, I shifted my head upward.
"It's fine mom. I mean." I paused to collect my thoughts. "I practice Kendo. And plus you've armed to teeth with everything you could think off." I said grinning a little. I could not help but be a little cheeky around my mom.
"Ok, okay you can go ahead." My mom said taking a deep breath. "But I'm holding onto your phone and wallet. Don't want you to lose those when you're running scared. Plus, that dress." She said eyeing the long sleeve gown I was wearing. "Has no pockets. Plus, knowing you my daughter. You're wearing nothing but a pair of panties." And with that she gave my bottom a gentle swat.
I giggled and blushed.
"Sure." I said nodding toward the car. Everything in the back." I said pointing toward the black car that was my mom's pride and joy. In front us, I could hear the crowds gathering around costumed staffers who where collecting money and stamping those who paid.
"Hurry along." Mom said taking a deep breath. "The tour is starting now. I already paid for your ticket. So go, enjoy yourself." And with that she swatted my bottom again.
Quickly I turned around and peered toward my mother. Rubbing my swatted bottom, I stuck my tongue out before noticing she was already inside the nice warm car. Reading no doubt a cheap, dollar store novel about cowboys, cowgirls, rangers and hustlers. My mother loves stories about cowboys, but her biggest weakness is cheap love novels that border on porn. In the internet fiction community we call them 'Lemons' because they're supposed to sour like a lemon. I suppose a better word for them would be 'Hot n' Spicy' because normally anything written by a fan girl ends up being hotter than grandmothers fried chicken. And my grandmother knows how to cook true Creole chicken. And trust me, nothing is hotter than true Creole cooking.
Soon though, I found myself standing in line. A woman in a store bought witch's costume was the one checking us in. A wooden sign next to her had this warning written on it. 'Warning Zombie Crossing ahead!'.
The line though was moving at a snail's pace as the women took her time, cackling and laughing and pointing with a boney finger into the woods as she rattled out a warning. But after five painful minutes of waiting. My turn came. The witch took a deep breath as she looked up and down, like a tailor eying a model for a new dress.
"The fairies." She said peering toward me with a smile that made the blood in my body turn from warm water to freezing cold water in a matter of seconds. "Will be looking at you tonight. They don't like young maidens who rival them in beauty, grace and charm." She reached out and took hold of my hand.
I could not help but raise an eyebrow as I peered toward the women. Slowly nodding my head along with her words, I rolled the mental dice and pulled my hand free the minute I thought I spotted an opening. Once my hand was free I peered toward her with a confused and concerned look. Clearly somebody must have been dipping a little too hard into the pumpkin juice.
"Right." I said, peering toward her. "What, is Tinkerbell and all her Pixie Friends from Pixie Hollow worried that I'm going to steal Peter Pan and all the Lost Boys with my charm?" I said rolling my eyes a little at her comment about fairies.
"You'll see." Was all she said before letting me pass through the gate.
The minute I passed through the gate, was the minute I noticed a change in the air. The flat open space of the parking lot was gone. Narrow, winding trails cut through the thick bush. Sounds of laughter and fright filled the cold, night air. Gathering my courage I started down the trail, the night was a clear night and dozens of stars dotted the night sky.
Now, the plastic props did not scare me. There was nothing to be afraid of her plastic tombstones and canned laughter being played from behind a cheap cardboard cutout of a iconic monster. But there was something chilling about being alone, in the middle of a thicket. And knowing you were being watched by something. Something that felt, not really all together human.
I felt something otherworld was watching me. This feeling of being watched increased with each step I took. Now, there was no one trail to follow, once you where allowed in, you where pretty much free to just wander at will. Actors were stationed all across the area. A lot of the people seemed happy just to wonder about and let the actors jump out and scare the ever loving lights out of them. I could tell this by the faint screams, followed by pearls of laughter that filled the cold night air.
I was lost, from where I stood, I could clearly see an old abounded, lights flickered on and off from the inside of the old animal house, the sounds of machines coming to life, mad laughter and screams filled the air around it. Stealing my nerve, I made my way toward the barn, when from the corner of my eye I noticed something.
In an open field next to the barn there stood a woman. She had long golden hair that seem to shimmer in the starlight. She wore a simple, dress ivy green in color that hugged the curves of her body. And oddly enough she seemed to sparkle almost in the pale moonlight. Slowly she turned her head toward me and offered a little smile as she lifted her arm and called me over with a crooked finger.
I was struck for a minute. But quickly I came to my senses, driven by some unknown force, I started to make my way toward her. A dozen questions were going through my head. Was she one of the actresses the event hired ? Why was she wearing a simple, sleeve dress? Why was she shimmering and sparkling in the moonlight? And above all, the question that kept nagging at the edge of my mind. Why do I feel this woman does not belong here?
My mind pondered all these questions as I kept walking toward her. But each step I took toward her, she seemed to take four or five steps away from me. So instead of getting closer to her with each step, I was really getting further away.
Seconds turned to minutes and the minutes melted into hours as I followed the women, led on by her enchanting beauty and her grace. Soon, I found myself standing on a narrow dirt road that twisted and turned in front of me. The woman was now standing a dozen or so yards in front of me.
"Who are you?" I called out as I started to slowly pick my way down the old country road. Ahead of me, I could see a old twisted tree. Its bare branches reached high into the air and its twisted limbs reminded me of witch's fingers. I could almost see the tree being a blacken claw, reaching up from the ground. Its goal, snatch the guiding moon from the sky and leave me in pitch black.
"Tinkerbell." She cried out as she peered into my pale pink eyes. "Come to take you to Pixie Hollow." She stated as if it was a simple fact. There was something about her voice, something enchanting. Almost like a soothing melody that lures one to sleep. Taking a deep breath she shifted her eyes toward a yonder hill.
"What, do you mean Tinkerbell?" I said peering toward the women as I started to run toward her. "I'm not going anywhere with you!" I cried out. As I peered toward the woman who was standing now upon the hill. Other women were appearing around her. There were four of them now, all dressed in simple, white, sleeveless gowns. All of them seemed to glow as they danced upon the hilltop.
"Come, come and dance with us!" They seemed to all say as they danced together. Twirling about with grace and balance all interwoven together.
Soon I felt myself stepping off the solid ground and onto something, something wooden. My weight shifted from the toe of my shoe down to the heel with each step I took, the wooden planks, aged and old seemed to groan and shutter with each step I took. Then it happened, I felt something take hold of my ankles. Cold, windy fingers wrapped themselves around my ankles and held me in place. The blood in my body froze, turned to ice and slush. Then it happened, I felt a sudden shove in the small of my back. Tumbling forward I felt myself flying through the air. Then, mere seconds later I felt myself splashing down into the water below.
The water was ice cold, as soon as I splashed down, I felt some of it get into my mouth. The taste was beyond words. To give you a general idea, take some three week old gym socks, then soak them in some water that has been left out in a bucket for a day in a half. Add grass clipping and to taste and there you go. First came the taste, then came the smell. The smell of sour mud filled my nose and caused me to almost gag.
The mud was thick, gray with long lines of blue running through it. It smelled of cow dung and clung to my dress. The thick, greasy feeling mud, coated my stocking covered legs, my white slippers had been sucked into the mud and slipped off my foot with practical ease. After thirteen seconds of quick thinking, I knew the slippers would forever be lost, swallowed whole by muddy bottom of the pond.
Breathing through my mouth to avoid dragging the stench through my nose, I started to waded toward the faint shoreline. It felt like I was treading through a marsh. Duckweed and roots held me back with each step I took. The ribbons of silver moonlight danced upon the black surface of the water.
I was near enough to the shore to make out the ring of cattails that grew in massive clumps one the sloping land. Then it happened, I felt my foot become tangled something, an underwater root by the guess of its shape and feel. Before I could catch myself, I felt myself falling face first into the water. Closing my eyes and thrusting my arms in front of me to help break the fall, I felt my nose become fouled with the thick mud as my face broke the surface of the water, being now in the shallow part of the pond, I feel straight into the muddy bottom.
"Bloody hell!" I shouted at the top of my lungs as I raised my head out of the water, slippery strings of moss were now tangled in my hair. The water around me turned from something of a mucky brown color, to a very unpleasant brownish color. One that brought to mind the ditch behind my grandmother's house. "Bloody hell!" I shouted even louder. My southern accent making the words the 'H' in 'Hell' sound more like a 'Y' this time. So it sounded more like 'Bloody yell'.
"Who pushed me! Who is the noise in the air, bitch that pushed me!" I shouted at the hilltop, the women had now stopped there dancing and where now pointing and laughing at me. One of them, a tall woman with red hair that reached all the way down her back, called out.
"Silly girl!" She shouted as she made her way down the hillside, stopping just at the edge of the water. Her eyes the color of molten gold. "Testing the fey during Samhain. Consider yourself lucky, all you got was a little trick, instead of a treat!" And with that she vanished before my very eyes. The others then vanished, the dying sounds of their laughter and giggles filtered through the cool, autumn air.
Once more my blood ran cold. Quickly, I pushed through the much. The chill in the air was nothing. My mind was racing now. Now, you see, I have a aunt, Ceriden. She is something of a practicing Wicca. She is very cool, and treats me kind of like the daughter she never had. She left the Episcopal Church when she was eighteen or nineteen years old, a major thing since where basically a very old Episcopal family. Anyway I'm getting off track here. Ceriden and I about once a week, we talk about everything. So I've picked up a little Celtic/Pagan/Wicca lore from her.
And unlike most high church Episcopalians, I'm pretty open minded when it comes to the supernatural. I've seen ghosts most of my life. And so when she mentioned the word 'Fey' I started to run like a bat out of hell Shoes be damned, and boy did I run. I don't know how long I ran, but I was soon out of breath and breathing hard.
Beads of sweat started to appear on my head, my breathing became ragged and cursed myself for not having my puffer with me. Finally after I know a good thirty minutes of running across countless fields, scaring the heck out dozens of people, including a few of the staff. I felt safe enough to ease off of my running.
"SUSAN ELIZABETH MARI BELL!" I heard a voice cry over my shoulders. The voice was that of my mother, and she had called all four of my names. Part of me wanted to shout back 'Isabella Mari Bell' or her maiden name 'Isabella Mari Upton' but my better senses soon told hold of me. Turning around, I saw my mother coming storming toward me, she seemed to be shorting fire. Her blue eyes flickered in the moonlight.
"WHAT IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE TRINITY, THE WHOLE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH DO YOU THINK YOUR DOING YOUNG LADY! I'VE BEEN HEARING REPORTS OF SOME POND MONSTER RUNNING AROUND THE COUNTRY SIDE, SCARING THE TAR OFF THE ROOFS OF BARNS. AND WHAT IN THE BLUE, FLAMING BALLS OF HELL HAPPEN TO YOU!?" Her voice traveled and echoed across the country side. Everybody seemed to stop and turn and peer in my direction. And I mean everybody. Right there and then I wished the ground would open up and swallow me whole.
"The fairies played a trick on me." I said, taking a deep breath. My mom and I both have a temper. One of us needs to keep a level head or both of us would claw at each other soon.
The hard look on my mom's face softens. Quickly she reached down and took my gently by the hand.
"Come along." She commanded. "I always keep a few things in the trunk of the car. We need to get you out of that dress, before you get sick again. No need to have you spend thanksgiving in the hospital. And no need for you to catch your death, running around her all soaking wet." She said pulling me toward the car.
"Susan," My mother said once we were halfway toward the car. "Did you really see a fairy?" It was a point blank question. Her voice had calmed down a little.
"Yes ma'am.. I did.." I said in a meek tone of voice.
My mother wheeled around, peered right into my eyes. Then despite the fact I was muddy as hell, wrapped her arms around me and pulled me into a tight hug. "So, you have the gift too, runs in both families." She hugged me tighter. She cradled my head between her breasts.
"Gift?" I said tilting my head to the side.
"Clairvoyance, you're a clairvoyant girl. Just like me, and maybe your brother. And your father too.. The whole damn Bell and Upton family is ripe with it. Old Norman blood I think, or just a greater sense of understanding. Maybe even some Celtic and Flemish blood too."
And that's how my adventure ends~