“We may go for a little while, but do not stray”
The whisper was like a fire in the night seen only by myself and I snapped out of the reverie I had fallen into. It seemed that consciousness had not gone the same way as my reason and I was glad, then, for the voice of this unseen third behind me. I had remembered him (or her, it was not clear) at the onset of the journey, for he had surely made himself known in my heart. Was he, perhaps, a more faithful friend then reason, or at least a more reliable one? I recognized the wisdom of the alternative to us all going along together and, as I did, the fairy looked with deeper interest at the longing brown-haired girl, and then back at me. “Perhaps we two should go on ahead and you may follow later, if you wish?”
Although I could easily have gone along with them, this last was revealing itself as the best option. As anything is possible within reason I judged that it would probably be best to let her take the lead on this occasion, especially as she had clearly found something for which she had been looking. The fairy would soon lose interest in me if I remained passive and, with consciousness intact, I would not be likely to slip up as long as I remained vigilant. My thoughts drifted again, this time to the sky above the pinnacles and spires of that lovely city and I saw, then, the movement of the trees. It was alive. The streets suddenly seemed less wide, the walls less threatening- I felt a tingle run up my spine as the brown-haired girl turned to me with blazing eyes. “Oh no, do come, it will be such fun!”
She had evidently made her mind up without any debate, but her unguarded certainty caused me to finally decide in favour of the fairy’s offer to take her alone. I couldn’t very well trail along like a willing puppy after coming so far past such hazards in order to fulfil the mystery of my purpose, and it was clear that they were just going to fool around for a while. Lucky them.
“I’d rather not actually, I’m a bit busy, you two can go on ahead and I’ll find you later”. I didn’t mean to sound touchy, but the walls shrank back and I felt cool once more. “Oh, well shall I come with you then?” the girl replied somewhat sullenly, and I could sense her frustration. I felt a little betrayed that she wished to leave me so soon after I had led her safely into the city as she had bidden, but it was only a very vague sense and I knew she had no real responsibility towards me. Rather, I was more likely charged with looking after her and I had no desire to ruin her pleasure. “No, no, honestly, its fine, really – I’m just not up for it at the moment, there’s some stuff I’ve got to sort out. Don’t worry though, I’ll come and find you when I’m done – have fun though!”
The fairy smiled at me with those glittering eyes again and I felt a strange sensation. Inexplicably, I wanted to kiss her, and I leant towards her almost despite myself. I was so close that a silken strand of long hair, lifted by the wind, coiled around my neck and touched my bare back and I spoke quickly to cover my confusion. “Thank you for taking care of my friend, I hope to join you both very shortly, I’m sure I will find my way - the Potter’s hearth, I’m sure it will be easy to find. Shall I just ask someone for directions?”
“Have no fear; his house is well hidden, but you shall find the way without having to look. Follow your instincts, but remember to turn right, the way back here is not East of Eden.”
I was glad of this small kindness and glanced away so she could move back into where she had come from. The air grew sharp and I heard a sudden movement and a flash out of the corner of my eye as a bird flew hurriedly out of its place of rest and passed by me on the right hand side in a flurry of activity. I had a moment of anxiety and looked up swiftly in the hope that I might catch a glimpse before it vanished. But it had gone already…. so suddenly, could that be right?
“What were you expecting, you know that the winged creature move with lightening speed”. She has gone, but you will meet again on this, the second day..
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