Cindy’s Adventures in Faerie
Cindy was walking back from the mailbox. The only piece of mail she had received today was a letter from Melissa apologising for past events. Cindy followed the path until she came to some old steps. She remembered Grandma saying that beyond the steps was a gateway to Faerie. Cindy had always thought Grandma was slightly crazy, but now she wasn’t so sure…
She went up them and saw a haze in the air. Walking through it, she came to a place she had never seen before. Everything there seemed more green and vibrant.
“You look like Rose, but you’re not her.” said a voice.
Cindy looked down to see a small squat figure with a long white beard smoking a pipe.
“Rose was my grandma. She died a while ago now.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that. I really enjoyed talking with her.” He said.
“Hi, I’m Cindy.”
“Hello, my name in Babradon.” He said standing up and bowing. He was half Cindy’s height.
Just wait till Jess sees this, Cindy thought. She looked down at the small figure of Babradon.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but what are you?” She asked him. He looked at her surprised.
“What do you mean?” He asked.
“Well I’m human, but I’m pretty sure you’re not.” Cindy replied. Babradon laughed.
“I keep forgetting in your world humans are mostly the only sentient race there. You’re probably not used to seeing other races like me. I’m what you would call a gnome.” He informed her.
” I see. What do you mean we’re mostly the only sentient race?” Cindy asked curiously.
“It’s not important. There are others like us still living in the fringes of your world, if you know where to look. And being near a gateway means you get a few peoples going back and forth.”
“So what other races live here in Faerie?”
“Well aside from gnomes, there are also elves, dwarves, trolls, goblins, pixies, boggarts, to name a few.” Babradon said.
“There are all manner of strange creatures here, possibly countless numbers of them.” He revealed. Cindy gazed in wonder at the vibrant green landscape before her.
“How far does it go on?” She asked.
“Probably forever.” He told her. “This is your first time here isn’t it?”
“Yes.” Cindy admitted.
“There are some basic rules to Faerie you will need to know. Firstly don’t be so trusting with anyone you meet here and don’t accept everything you see at face value. Always look deeper. And be careful who you give your name out to. Give everyone your nickname or something similar.”
“Why?” Cindy asked him.
“Because if you give out your true name to someone, you give them power over you.”
“Okay.” Cindy replied. “What do you mean by true name?”
“What’s the name you give yourself?” He asked.
“Me.” Cindy replied. Babradon looked away for a moment.
“I mean what name do you think defines you? What name do you think is you?” He asked carefully.
“Well everyone calls me Cindy, and that’s the name I think of myself as.” She answered.
“Then don’t give that name to people here. Are there any other names people call you?”
“I was christened Cynthia, and a lot of people call me Cinders, and when I was at school some people used to call me Cinderella, but that was to annoy me.”
“Maybe use the name Cinders?” Babradon suggested.
“Okay.” Cindy replied. “So I guess Babradon isn’t your true name then?”
“No it’s my use name. My true name I keep to myself.” Babradon revealed.
“So do you live out here?” Cindy asked.
“I have a small house nearby. I help keep an eye on the gateway you came through.”
“It’s so lovely here.” Cindy said as she sat down on the ground with the sun on her.
“You’re very much like your grandmother. Did you know that?” Babradon told her. Cindy gave out a short laugh.
“Yeah some people have said that to me before. I think we have a similar temperament.”
“I’m sorry to hear she has died. I’ll miss her.”
“I miss her too. Me and Jess now have her farm.” Cindy revealed.
“Who is Jess? Tell me more Cindy” He asked.
“My girlfriend.” Cindy answered. “Does it bother you I’m in a same-sex relationship?”
“Following your heart and being with your True Love is what’s important, no matter who they are.” Babradon responded.
“We had to clear all the farmland as everything had become overgrown, and we also had to fix the farmstead, but now we are living there together and I’m very happy.” Cindy told him.
“That’s good to hear.”
“I’ve recently found out that Jess slept with a mutual friend when I was still living in the city. We weren’t together again at that point, but for some reason it’s made me feel very jealous. I just want Jess all to myself and I get very possessive over her, which I know isn’t a good thing. I worry she might have feelings for our friend.” Cindy told him.
“I’m not an expert when it comes to love, but if you fixed the farm together and now live there with each other, surely you’re the one she wants to be with.” Babradon advised her. Cindy sighed loudly.
“I know. It’s not like we both didn’t have affairs when we were apart, but for some reason I feel really threatened by this other person. I was really horrid to her at a friend’s funeral recently.”
“Jealousy is not an attractive trait in anyone. If you continue to be jealous your partner may always feel under pressure when socialising with others and that may end up pushing her away. Always remember if she is with you, she wants to be there. Trust in that.”
“Thanks for the advice.” Cindy replied. “Sorry about unloading my problems on you. I’m not sure why I told you all this.” Babradon shrugged his shoulders.
“When you’re the Warden of a gateway, people tell you all sorts of things.” he said.
Cindy looked at the path that led away and went beyond the trees.
“So where does that path go?” She asked.
“It goes on through the forest and eventually leads to towns and great cities. Just beyond those trees there I think there is a marketplace at the moment. That could be well worth a look, though I would advise you to be careful with everything you say or do there .” Babradon informed her.
“Ooh a marketplace! I would love to check that out! Maybe I’ll have a quick look at it.” Cindy enthused.
“Yes you’ll find it rather eye-opening I’m sure. Just be careful there! Faerie can be quite perilous. And remember what I told you about names.” Babradon warned.
“I will.” Cindy told him.
Cindy stood up and wandered down the path. As she looked behind her she saw Babradon had sat down again and was relighting his pipe. She turned around again and faced the trees. She took a deep breath and walked into the forest.
Cindy didn’t want to admit it, but she was lost. She had followed the path as Babradon had suggested, but then she had seen some beautiful flowers and left the path to have a closer look at them. When she went back, the pathway seemed to have disappeared. She walked for ages, but there was no sign of it.
“You’re lost!” said a voice. Cindy beheld a small figure sitting on a branch.
“I am.” She admitted. “I’ve lost the pathway.”
“Well you’re going the wrong way! For a small fee, I’ll take you back to it.” they volunteered.
“I’m not sure I have anything.” Cindy said searching her pockets. All she had was a letter from Melissa, and a quarter. She handed the coin to the figure.
“Ooh I’ve never seen one of these before! Okay follow me!” the figure sped off in a completely different direction. Cindy followed.
Cindy wasn’t sure where the pixie was leading her. If only she hadn’t walked off the path…
“Just pretend you’re an intrepid explorer,” she told herself.
“We’re here!” the pixie exclaimed.
Before Cindy was a marketplace with strange creatures looking at tables of wondrous items. She had never seen anything like this before.
On the path to the Faerie Market, Cindy came across a small stone well with a stone serpent running along the lip. The pixie alighted on her shoulder.
“It’s a true wishing well.” the pixie told her.
“What does it do?” Cindy asked.
“You cast something personal into the water and make a wish.” the pixie replied.
“Cast something valuable in, you mean?”
“Maybe, or something deeply personal, or even a stone you’ve been carrying in your hand as you walked through the forest.” Cindy smiled at his words.
“Does it work?”
“Verily it does. You wish for something, but here’s the catch: you can never tell anyone what you wished for, even if it comes to pass, or the wish will become undone.” the pixie warned.
Cindy stood there wishing for something deep in the confines of her heart. Then she cast the stone into the water.
Cindy then walked towards the Faerie Market. There were all manner of different creatures wandering around the market place or minding the stalls. She could see elves, dwarves, gnomes, a tree-ish woman Cindy presumed to be a dryad, and many others that she had no name for, while above fairies and pixies flittered around them all.
The market stalls had many wondrous-looking items on display. There were gems, jewels in the shape of flowers that blossomed before your eyes as though they were alive, potions, weapons, small chests full of ointments or perfumes, and many more such things. Cindy stopped at a stall that had various trinkets. An old woman with long silver hair wearing a long black cloak regarded her. Cindy picked up a small silver bell that had intricate patterns etched into the metal. When she rang the bell it made a clear note that drove away her feeling of tiredness.
“You like the bell? Would you like to exchange something for it?” The old woman asked.
“I don’t have anything to buy it with.” Cindy told her.
“You have nothing at all?” The woman clarified looking at her keenly. Cindy dug into the pockets of her jeans. She produced the letter from Melissa, which was the only thing she had left.
“I’ve got a letter from a friend and that’s all.” Cindy said.
“Hand the letter over to me child and let me have a look at it.” The old woman requested holding out her shaking hand with long fingers and dagger-like fingernails. Cindy reluctantly gave it to her. The old woman looked it over and opened it up to read. “Ah a letter of apology from a sorceress. This has much value. Feel free to take any item.” A sorceress? Cindy thought, it’s just plain old Melissa. Cindy picked up the silver bell.
“Okay I’ll take this silver bell. It’ll make a nice gift for Jess, my partner. It will help prove to her I was actually here.” Cindy informed her. The old woman nodded.
“It’s a fair exchange.” She declared. She spat on her hand and held it out to Cindy, who then reluctantly shook hands with her. “It is sealed.”
As Cindy walked away she looked behind her to see the woman hide the letter away amongst her belongings. Cindy began to consider it was time to move on. She should really get home as she was unaware how long she had been lost in Faerie, and time seemed to move differently here. Jess would be worrying about her. And it wasn’t like she anything else to exchange with aside from the clothes she was wearing, and she would rather not part with those.
Once finding the path she assumed would lead her back to the portal, she followed it to see where she would end up this time. The path led her through the forest and then upwards through bush until she came across Babradon who was sitting there smoking his pipe.
“I saw you approaching. You were away for some time. Did you get lost?” He asked.
“Yes. I left the path and couldn’t find it again.” Cindy told him.
“I did warn you not to leave the path. Then count yourself lucky you found your way back to here. You could have been lost in Faerie until you were silver haired.” Babradon informed her.
“I know. Luckily a pixie helped by leading me to the Faerie market. I’m really glad I saw it.”
“All’s well that ends well then.” Babradon replied.
“I better be going home. Jess will probably be wondering where I am.” She looked towards the portal.
“I suspect I’ll be seeing you again. So until next time!” Babradon said. Cindy nodded.
“Yes until next time.” Cindy replied as she walked up to the portal. She was looking forward to getting home.
Cindy jumped through the portal. To her surprise, it wasn’t the familiar buildings of her own farm that she saw when she returned, but someone else’s. She had no idea where she was. For all she knew she could be on the other side of the world. Nor did she have any idea how long she had been in Faerie. She knew Jess would be worried and she imagined Jess standing in the kitchen watching through the windows wondering where she had got to. One thing Cindy was certain of: she had never seen these buildings before anywhere near her own farm.
“Hello!” she called out. “Is there anyone here?” The buildings remained silent. She seriously considered going back through the portal. The feeling that things had gone terribly wrong was growing in her. Just then, she heard a door creak slowly open…. Around the corner an old woman with long grey hair and wearing an old black dress hobbled into sight. She walked with great difficulty.
“Hello my lovely! What are you doing here?” the old woman asked as she approached Cindy.
“I’m lost.” Cindy replied. “I don’t know where I am, or even what part of the world I’m in.”
“Oh dear, that doesn’t sound so good. You’re in my farm, if you need to know. Why don’t you come to my farmhouse and have a sit down? I’ll give you a nice hot cup of tea and something to eat and we can work this out together.” the old woman offered. It sounded good to Cindy, though there was a feeling of misgiving in her heart, as though maybe things weren’t as they seemed. She followed the old woman to her house. The woman opened the door and there was a loud creak, exactly like the one Cindy had heard before. “Now go in my lovely and have a sit down.” the woman suggested.
“Thanks.” Cindy answered. She went inside to what was a musty old kitchen and sat down on a chair by the table. Instantly she felt stuck. She pressed her hands on the table to give herself leverage so she could escape the chair, but then found her hands were also stuck. The old woman laughed.
“You have fallen for my trap my lovely!” The room melted away and Cindy found she was stuck to a huge web. She turned to look at the old woman and saw that she had transformed to the largest spider she had ever seen. “I put this web in-between worlds and catch the occasional portal jumper! So glad I’m back in my true form. I hate wearing that human skin. It’s so hard to walk in!” the spider said as she moved closer to Cindy now showing no impediment in her movement. Cindy struggled, but found the more she struggled, the more stuck to the web she became. The spider approached. Cindy was now almost fully stuck to the web. The spider stopped and towered above her. It’s large eyes looked down on Cindy while it’s fangs dripped with venom.
“I’m going to bite you and turn your insides to jelly which I will then suck out.” the spider declared. “You look so tasty!”
Cindy shook her head. How did she get into this mess? She thought about Jess who would be wondering where she was. She would never know what became of her. What would happen when she never turned up? How long would Jess wait for her? What would happen when Jess finally realised she was gone for ever? She felt overcome with sadness.
“I’m sorry Jess!” she called out into the void, hoping her words might get to her love as tears began to fall down her cheeks. Maybe Jess would be alright. Maybe she would hook up with Melissa again… Melissa? Suddenly a light went on in her brain. What had they said at the Faerie Market about Melissa, of all people? It had been rather surprising…
“Aw you’re crying! Don’t worry, it will all be over soon!’ the spider said as it’s fangs began to bear down on her.
“Melissa!” Cindy called out into the dark hoping her voice and thoughts could reach their target. “Melissa, I’m sorry for what I said when we last met. I was jealous, but I need your help. I’m trapped between worlds by a giant spider. If you can hear this, please help me!”
“I’m trapped too.” a voice abruptly said in Cindy’s mind. “But I’ll do what I can. I can see you in my mind’s eye. When it hits, get ready to run as fast as you can, no matter what condition you’re in.”
“Okay.” Cindy replied. Beyond the web, floating in the dark she saw a light in front of her in the shape of her friend.
“Now!” said the voice and suddenly the entire web was hit by lightning. The spider screamed and recoiled, while Cindy was thrown from the web and landed on solid ground.
Without a thought Cindy stood up and ran for the portal. She heard the spider behind her and knew she was being chased down. She didn’t dare look back as she ran straight for the glowing portal in front of her. She could hear the spider catching her up and suddenly felt the spider’s legs try to grab hold of her. Cindy managed to dodge them as she jumped through the portal. The last thing she heard was the spider scream with frustration and anger.
Cindy landed on some soft earth. When she opened her eyes, she saw she was in Faerie again. That was close, she thought. In front of her was Babradon smoking his pipe, as always.
“You weren’t gone for long.”
“I tried to leave, but there was spider in-between the worlds that caught me. I only just managed to escape.”
“Ah yes, Her. You were lucky. Few ever escape her dark web.” Babradon replied.
“I had some help.” Cindy said. “But how do I get home? The way through that portal is trapped now.”
“I understand. Follow me.” He led her to a large tree that leaned. “There is a portal in this tree. Go through the opening in the trunk and you will get back to your world.”
“But I won’t fit in there.”
“You will.” He replied. Cindy looked at him doubtfully, but to her surprise the opening was now large enough and she suddenly found herself sliding down into the darkness…
Cindy landed on the ground with a thud. She sat up rubbing the back of her head. Babradon hadn’t warned her about the rough landing. She wondered where she was this time and spotted a middle-aged woman walking a fox terrier. Cindy walked up to her.
“Excuse me, where am I?” Cindy asked. The woman looked at her as though she was crazy.
“You’re just outside the town of Lawrence.” the woman told her before hurrying off and occasionally looking behind her. She was home! Finally! Now all she had to do was walk back to the farm…
Within half an hour she was at the front gate. She walked down the driveway to the homestead. As she approached Jess ran out the door and grabbed Cindy in her arms.
“Where have you been? You’ve been missing for days! People are out searching for you. I’ve been so worried.” Jess blurted out quickly as she hugged Cindy tightly.
“I can’t breathe!” Cindy got out. Jess relaxed her hold, and looked into Cindy’s eyes.
“Oh sorry! I’m just so relieved to see you. I really feared the worst. Let’s get you inside.” The two of them walked into their home with Jess leading the way. Cindy sat down on the couch in the living room while Jess kneeled in front of her. “Where have you been? Were you attacked? Are you hurt?”
“I got stuck.” Cindy replied.
“You got stuck?” Jess frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I got stuck in Faerie.” Cindy clarified. Jess sighed deeply and shook her head.
“Not this again.”
“I knew you wouldn’t believe me so I brought you back something from the Faerie market.” Cindy dug into the pocket of her jeans and produced a delicate silver bell and handed it to Jess. She looked at it moving it around in her fingers.
“And what did you use to trade for this? Magic beans?” Jess asked.
“I had a letter from Melissa. They were quite happy to exchange it for that.”
“You exchanged a personal letter from a friend for this in some market stall? Why did Melissa write to you?”
“She wanted to apologise for sleeping with you.” Cindy replied.
“Melissa had no need to apologise to you. When we had sex, you and I weren’t back together. You were still in the city.”
“So why all this jealousy with Melissa? Surely when you were in the city you dated other woman?”
“Yes.” Cindy answered.
“And I did likewise when I was here on my own. Who I slept with then is not really your business. I don’t ask who you slept with in the city do I?” Jess asked while searching Cindy’s face.
“So why all this jealousy regarding Melissa? Are you afraid we’re going to hook up again?”
“I do worry about that.” Cindy admitted.
“She has her own girlfriend now, that tall pale blonde, and I’m sure they’re quite happy together. You have nothing to worry about.” Jess reassured her. “I think you should be more worried about your delusions.”
“Speaking to fairies and visiting fairyland.”
“My grandmother could see the fairies and speak to them. I’ve inherited her gift.” Cindy told her.
“Yes your grandmother told everyone that she spoke to the fairies, and she was nuts. Everyone knew that. I don’t want to see you go the same way.”
“I wish you’d believe me.” Cindy implored her, but Jess looked at her concerned.
“Your delusions are getting worse. Now you’re disappearing for days. What’s next? One day you don’t come back at all? You’re covered in dirt, your clothes are all ragged, and you really smell. It looks like you’ve been sleeping in a ditch for several days. For all I know that’s what you’ve been doing.” Jess informed her. “I want you to get help.” Cindy rolled her eyes.
“Okay.” Cindy replied, hoping this would appease her.
“We’ll talk more about it tomorrow. Right now you need to get out of those clothes and have a wash. And then get something to eat or maybe some rest?” Jess told her softly. “I have some phone calls to make.” Jess gave her another long tight hug and left, Cindy slowly got up from the couch and walked to the bathroom. Maybe it would be better if she just kept quiet about Faerie from now on. If only Jess would believe her.
This is a collection of eleven Jess and Cindy stories that followed a continuing narrative.
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©️2021 Joanne Fisher