by Carol Grimsley
It happened in a little farming town. Now this town was nothing really special. It was as easily forgettable and mundane as Our Town. People came there raised babies there and died there. The thing that really got the ball rolling was the new train station built in the middle of the city. For most people in the town everything that they needed was within walking distance. Groceries, gas , dancing, all of it within two blocks of a tiny little town. And yet with the building of the station and only two weeks before the mayor cut the ribbon and the first train ran, people were awe struck. To actually leave the city? To see movies? Malls? Could it be true? They all began to fantasize about where they would go, and what they would see. And that is where the dreams began and the town's magic began to flourish.
The teenagers would never have known how special they were if this had not happened, as all things are connected. They would never have had that extra push of glamour, that stuff of dreams that makes people imagine, and find out who they really are. And with this intro., the story begins…
"Devin! Hurry up will ya?! You're going to be late for school!"
Devin moaned groggily as he tried to wake up at his mother's command. Not that he wasn't worried about being late, he was just wasted. How could he have let his friends keep him out all night?
"Devin , if you don't get out of bed right now I won't be responsible for my actions!" Hollered his mother. Struggling, Devin managed to stagger down the stairs and into the kitchen, he looked a mess. His shoulder length hair was everywhere, and he needed to shave. He made his way to the counter with much difficulty and dug through the drawer for the beloved painkillers. Swallowing two he kissed his mother on the cheek.
"I made you breakfast dear," his mother said pointing to the table , where a bowl of oatmeal sat steaming.
"Thanks mom, I'm not too hungry this morning though," he said and headed back to his room to get ready for school.
The truth was that he was dead tired and he couldn't completely recall why. He remembered taking his girlfriend out the night before and going to a local club. The music was great and seemed to mean a lot, the rest of the night was a shimmering blur.
As he pulled on his jeans and threw on his shirt he struggled to remember any part of the night before, he figured someone had slipped something in his drink, because things kept changing.
He could have sworn that on stage playing were a group of satyrs, but those were just those things that were taught during Greek week at school.
"Devin! Carol just called! She needs a ride to school!" bellowed his mother from the kitchen.
Devin smiled to himself. Carol was a small girl from his school who seemed to spend most of the time cracking jokes and telling outrageous stories. Some people were offended but she didn't notice or didn't understand them. He spent a lot of his time with her these days, especially since they were both assigned to write about the new train station, for the news paper. He was glad she called him for a ride.
He hopped in the shower and the water seemed to clear away some of the mist from his mind. He remembered a few more things from the night. He saw images in his mind of him dancing and playing guitar for a few girls from his school. He felt like one of the satyrs on stage.
As he finished getting ready for school he thought of his girlfriend. He thought she was nice but he was beginning to become bored with her. He felt horrible about it but he hardly thought about her. He spent most of his time thinking about Carol.
He rushed outside and started his car and sped off to Carol's house. He almost had an accident when he looked in the rearview mirror and saw two horns jutting out from his forehead. He did a double take to see if he was mistaken but they were still there. He pulled into Carol's driveway and tried to shake the hallucinations from his mind but with no luck. He almost had a heart attack when Carol walked towards his car and instead of her usual red hair and green eyes she looked like some kind of were-fox.
Carol noticed his look and said very calmly, "Oh, you can see it too?"
Carol watched Devin carefully. She had known for a little while that he was a Changeling, but she didn't know when he would finally go through his chrysalis and discover his true nature. Now, looking at him in a state of panic she knew he had finally awakened.
Her own chrysalis hadn't been any less traumatic. She had been running away from a guy at school who had gotten too grabby and ducked into some bushes. She curled herself into a little ball hoping to be any where else then there when he found her. She didn't quite get her wish but when he looked into the bushes ,he looked directly at her and didn't say a thing or even reach for her. After he left she stood up and felt a little shorter looking down she saw four black paws instead of hands and feet, and she had a long reddish orange tail behind her. She was a red fox. She laughed to herself and looked around her. The city had looked quite different all of a sudden. Where small shops once stood, were now giant castles and mansions.
She heard a voice behind her as she walked down the street which made her turn around, " Carol, I see you've finally discovered what you are!" It was her grandmother, an energetic woman that had always seemed to love her granddaughter best from all her grandsons. She had two large rabbit ears and bunny like features and scooped up the newly chrysalides granddaughter and took her home.
That had been two years ago, her grandmother had died since then but Carol still felt an emptiness at the loss of not only a close relative but a dear friend. Now Devin had changed and she again had a friend who could understand…hopefully.
"W-w-what are you" Devin stuttered, looking up and down at Carol.
"Well, I'm a fox, or a Pooka, or you could also say I'm a fairy, which ever makes more sense to you."
Devin looked at her with confused eyes. It was the same look she had given her grandmother when she had begun to explain the change that had happened to her. It sounded so outrageous and so beautiful at the same time. Being able to change, being seen only as you are by other fae and something called a geas that held her race to lies and outrageous tales. Now her good friend looked at her with a questioning look and she struggled with all her might to tell him the truth of his situation.
"Look Devin, let me try and explain this to you. It will all sound pretty outrageous to you but everything I tell you is true," she began. "You are a satyr, you remember when we learned about Pan in Greek mythology? He's kinda like your great great great great great great uncle and a half."
Devin stared at her blankly.
"You are half satyr and half human."
" Your soul is mixed with that of a satyr's that is why you love music more than most people and have had eight girlfriends in the past year."
" Wait was does me seeing things have to do with my romantic life? They just didn't understand me is all," he said with determination in his voice. Carol reached over and kissed him firmly on the lips, when she pulled away she looked him square in the eyes and said, " You didn't protest and you have a girlfriend. Passion is your game and so is music, they intertwine for you."
Devin started the car, it still didn't make much sense for him but he would learn to accept it, especially if it meant he could kiss Carol again.
Carol sighed knowing she hadn't reached him about being a fae, but his hormones seemed to love his being a satyr. She cleared her mind from the kiss, for it had left her a little cloudy headed , and she needed to be on guard. Something told her that Devin wasn't the only sleeping changeling affected by the influx of glamour.
Shaun read over the article that Carol and Devin had just turned into him. He was editor of the newspaper and he'd be damned if he was going to publish any old crap. He skimmed over the paper a few times, using a dark red marker to edit what he saw fit. He looked up at Carol , who was watching him mark through words.
"What do you want?" he snarled.
"Umm, nothing , really. I just wanted to see what you were doing to our report," she said boldly.
" If you can call this piece of wasted paper ,a report," he snorted and marked out another word.
Carol gave him an odd look. He felt like giving her one back, she looked like she was dressed for Halloween with her face painted like a fox and her ears on top of her head like that, but no one else seemed to notice it…
"Have you looked in a mirror today?" she suddenly asked.
"What the hell does it matter if I looked in a damn mirror? Get back to work and stop wasting my time you worthless excuse for a living being ," he snapped.
Carol blinked at him and quickly turned around . She didn't feel like listening to any more insults. Besides, Shaun didn't seem to be the type of person who would believe he was a changeling. As she sat down at her seat she turned to Devin, " Look at Shaun," she whispered.
Devin looked over at the editor and almost fell out of his seat. Instead of the harsh editor sitting in his seat he saw an almost clown-like figure. Shaun's face was white with swirls coming out of the corners of his eyes and rosy red cheeks. Shaun definitely didn't seem like a clown.
"What is he?" Devin asked.
" A Nocker," whispered Carol.
Shaun watched the two talking and almost felt envious of how care free they could be. On the other hand it pissed him off that they obviously weren't as serious about the paper as he was. And he HAD looked in a mirror, he just didn't know how to explain what it was he saw. It only left him in a worse mood. He felt a little bit bad about it though because he was almost afraid he'd hurt Carol's feelings, not that he had ever seen her as any thing but happy. Except for when her grandmother died…
Shaun finished editing the paper and handed it back to Carol and Devin, " Have this typed out by the end of the day, the paper goes out tomorrow."
Sandra woke up in a bad mood. It was a crappy day for her and she wanted every one to know it. She wanted to pound the shit out of everyone who stood in her way. She wanted to literally bite someone's head off. That was how it was when she woke up and that is how it was when she ran smack into Carol in the hallway at school.
"What the hell do you think your doin'?" she yelled.
"Sorry …I …I," Carol stammered.
" Do you think you can take me on little one? And do you think this is a f*cking costume party or something? Take off those damn ears!" she screamed as she tugged at one of Carol's fox ears.
"Ow leave me alone you big bully, I didn't do any thing to you!" Carol shrieked as she pulled away from Sandra, and promptly kicked her in the shin.
"Stinkin' brat! You'll pay for that!" Sandra lunged for Carol, fists flaring ,and landed on the floor as Carol ran away.
Carol knew better than to get in a fight with Sandra, who was obviously a Redcap. She should have guessed as much.
Sandra had issues, she hated every one and even her friends were afraid to get on her bad side. It wasn't that Sandra was built to fight, but her attitude was enough to frighten off most people twice her size. Even her grin was intimidating with braces glistening from chipped teeth. The girl reeked of attitude and only an idiot would get in a fight with some one like her, besides chances were she wouldn't fight fair.
Sandra watched Carol run off and went to the bathroom to dust herself off. She entered the restroom and about four other girls cleared out. Sneering ,Sandra went towards the mirror, and when she saw what she looked like she let out a wicked laugh. No one would mess with her any more. Not her friends , not her teachers, not the guys who liked to be pushy on dates and not her molesting stepfather. She knew that there had to be an escape out there for her , and now she saw it.
Grinning and evil grin she walked back to class. She was stopped by a short girl dressed in traditional Indian garb , who handed her a newspaper.
Sandra took the newspaper and looked at the girl, then with one huge bite ate the entire news paper and left. Leaving the girl to sit there speechless.
Linda looked on as the redcap walked away. She wondered why Sandra looked so damn freaky , but then really she didn't care too much. She was having an exciting day of her own.
Linda woke up with excitement. The train station would open in a week and she swore to herself she would be the first one out of the town. Her dreams were filled with thoughts of the places she would go. She had been saving her money since she heard that they were building the station.
She used to move a lot, her family was in the Air Force and she often found herself in a new place each school year. She didn't mind though, she loved it. It almost seemed cruel when her father told her he was retiring and that they wouldn't be moving anymore. She loved every city she went to , and now she was stuck in one of the most unproductive towns in Texas. No one wanted change, no one wanted to leave. It was a curse! But she wouldn't let it hold her down. That's why she signed up as sports reporter for her school news paper. She didn't care for sports but she got to leave with the teams on away games.
Now with the opening of the station she would be able to leave anytime she wanted. She had about three hundred dollars saved up for her travels and each day that came closer to the opening day she grew more and more excited. She decided that she must have blown a fuse in her brain though. She kept seeing the oddest things happening to her classmates . Somehow though, deep down inside she knew it was all right that what she saw was a part of who she was. The colors ,the people , and even stranger things made some sense to her. A tiny black and purple dragon crawled up her side and sat on her shoulder . She paid little attention to it and just patted it on the head. She walked into class like she was in a dream and sat next to Carol who seemed a little different…
" Carol, what's going on?" she whispered.
" You're an eshu hon," Linda raised an eyebrow, " a fairy spirit that follows travelers and story tellers," Carol finished.
Linda shrugged, as long as it didn't interfere with her traveling she was fine. Besides, she thought, it might make her journeys more interesting with a dragon or two to fight. She grinned and pat the tiny dragon resting on her shoulder, on the head.
Audrey rushed to her class and slid into her desk with exactly two minutes before the bell rang. She prided herself on being on time to her classes. She also prided herself in being there for her friends when they needed her . She liked it when her friends came to her, she liked to feel like she was protecting them.
She was built a little bigger than them, which made her slightly intimidating to those who chose to mess with her circle of friends. She remembered a long time back when Carol had been going out with Shaun , how much she had wanted to slug him every time he made the jittery little nymph of a girl, cry. She was noble in her own right and she was strong, of will, body, mind, and heart.
And she was navy.
Blue?!? Audrey looked down at herself, she felt just fine, but her arms were blue! Instead of her jeans and tee-shirt she was wearing full body armor with a sword at her side. She jumped out of her chair and rushed to the girl's room. She looked in the mirror and saw a figure that made her shriek. She looked like a troll! She was taller than she usually was , and was blue, and had horns. It seemed like too much for her. She took a deep breath and went back to class. She slid into her chair just as the bell rang. She rested her head down on the desk and took a deep breath. She was obviously chosen for this, she told herself. She looked around the room and looked at her friends and classmates.
Devin looked half goat and he had a look in his eyes that looked like he was ready to take on the world. Carol looked like she was a really tall fox. Linda looked like she wanted to walk right out of the classroom, and her eyes shone with that of a caged animal who plans to escape. Sandra looked like a crazed beast, her skin was grayish and her hair seemed a little redder. And Shaun, well she wasn't sure why he looked like a clown . She sighed and looked to the guy sitting next to her, who seemed so spider like…
Aaron held his breath hoping he wouldn't have to take another one. He hated his life and never wanted to speak to anyone ever again. He only wanted to crawl into a hole and watch the world from a distance. He almost did that any ways. He was so pale it looked unhealthy and his black hair hadn't been cut in so long , that it reached past his shoulders.
The normal people whispered "freak", and the freaks whispered "sluagh". He whispered too. He whispered death, revenge, evil, and all the things that made people shiver. He liked to make others uncomfortable. He liked his black lipstick, and his snake earrings. He likes wearing black velvet suits with his silver spider pined to his lapel. And he liked to watch people squirm when he rested one pale white , long-fingered hand on their cheek. He continued to sit there , but raised his head to look at the more colorful people. He saw the fairies. He knew what they were , they were in his books that he spent his time with. The others in his class were so stupid for not understanding. He understood, he knew what they were, and her knew that even though he was one of them that he was not welcome with them. They were about life and living. And he was about all the cold unnatural things in the world. Again he sighed, and held his breath this time a little longer…
Faith looked over at Aaron and patted him on the back. It was home economics, her favorite class. She couldn't wait to be a mommy and tell her kids stories, and bake for them , and watch them grow.
She was already very motherly and loved every one she knew, as if they were her children. Faith was a boggan with all of her being. She was a short little lady with a calming presence and a helpful mind. She loved the simple comforts in life. A cozy bed, soft blankets and a warm home. She loved her friends like family as well. She was always more than willing to lend a shoulder to cry on or a kind word to stop flowing tears. She was the motherly type. Very comforting and very warm to people. She longed to leave the little town so she could find others who needed her help. More often than not people found her as pushy , when all she wanted to do was to help, and maybe learn a secret or two.
She knew plenty of secrets . She knew that a particular pooka was caught in a mixed up triangle. She cared for a satyr but was in love with the local sidhe hero . She didn't say much more about it ,but she always kept her ears open for the latest details on it.
She looked over at Aaron. The boy didn't look well with his long unkempt black hair and black gums. She felt a little close to him though. She and Aaron were both connected by dreams she knew what he was and what his goals were and he knew that the same fantasies drove her. To be something out of the ordinary. To be more than what people expect from you. Faith patted Aaron gently on the back and smiled warmly at him. Aaron smiled back at her; as ugly as the smile was Faith knew it had come from the heart.
Danny sat in his math class starring at the problem in front of him hopping that if he starred at it long enough that maybe the numbers would make sense. So he stared and stared and five hours later he was in detention still staring at the same math problem.
He sighed and put his pencil down. Math wasn't his strong point. Politics were. He was a great leader. His charm, grace and charismatic good looks made him very popular with every one he knew whether it be jocks or freaks. He easily won class elections and was probably the most popular kid in his class. Unfortunately , he found high school politics , petty and childish. He didn't like the average high school teen as much as they adored him. He preferred the odd balls. The freaks. He was one of them. He knew what they really were. He wanted to lead them. He wanted to be with , her.
She was a young pooka girl who had stolen his heart the moment he saw her acting crazy with her mismatched group of friends. He wanted to make her his forever. His only problem was that he wasn't sure if she paid much attention to him, or if she did; if she hated him or not. Her group hated being lead by those that they found unworthy. Was he worthy?
He heard a tapping on the window and looked outside. There stood the oddest looking group he had ever seen. He saw a redcap, troll, nocker boggan , eshu and satyr. In the very back he saw his pooka.
The group sent some one in to distract the teacher while the others got him out of there. There stood his people , ready to be lead. Lead out of the banal town that limited their dreams, the town that told them to their faces that they weren't real. They were looking for dreams to awaken within them , but that could not happen while they were in the small stagnant town. Taking Carol by the hand and quickly kissing the back of it, Danny led the way. The train was having it's first run in only a few minutes , and all of them had their tickets in hand and ready.
No one in that town was really sure what happened to those nine kids. They got on that train , waved goodbye to the crowd and disappeared. Missing persons posters went up in several shops, and ponds and lakes were drained in search of the children. But to no avail. For a few months people spoke nervously about them , and one day it all stopped, they were just forgotten except in a few scary stories told around campfires. No one would have really understood what had really happened.
Sandra finally got away from her parents. She lead a daring life and never let a calm day go by with out making someone think about the mundane as a crime. Linda never stopped traveling. She went and saw city after city. When her money for travel expired she went on foot by trod, finding other eshu along the way who could appreciate her.
Faith became a foster mother. She made sure that the kids knew the truth, The tooth fairy , Santa and the Easter bunny were all real. Magic was true, and if they were really good , then the boogie man would not take them away. Aaron disappeared from all public view. Some say that he bought an old run down trailer hose and dwelled in there for sometime until the neighbors got too nosy and wouldn't leave him alone. Rumor has it that Faith knows where he is though. Shaun joined a real newspaper staff and worked his way up to the top. He is one of the toughest in the business , but his paper is the best. He thinks of Carol daily but would never tell HER that.
Devin's music career took off. He played in a few clubs before some one found him and signed him up. Unfortunately he has since suffered his undoing . Carol blames all the red tape that his agent had him wrapped up in , for suffocating his true nature. Carol and Danny kept a close watch over all of them . They both knew what happened to the group no matter how far away they moved. They both found happiness in their dreams and lived happily ever after… for that is the way these stories should end, isn't it?