“Good Morning My Queen.” A musical voice piped, far too cheerily for any morning much less this one. This weekend was supposed to be magical, the fulfillment of all of his dreams, but he'd only found bitter disappointment, again.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. None of the characters, places, or anything else is meant to be represented by anything in reality. Duh! Fiction, get it? I the author reserve the rights, so please don't go posting this anyplace else without my permission. A very special thanks goes out to Cathy and all the others out there in BCTS land who have encouraged and inspired me to write and keep writing. Of course Cathy gets more thanks because of taking the time to make my scribbles make sense. Any remaining mistakes are all mine.
The Rising of the Queen
The street sign pointed only one way, the little lane met the larger street but did not continue on the other side. A large Craftsman-style home occupied one corner, converted years ago into a sort of rooming-house-cum-residence-hotel-cum-bed-and-breakfast. A big squarish building with gables and porches, the one-time mansion bore its demotion to commercial property with the dignity of a bankrupt financier operating a hot dog wagon.
A woodlot sat on the other corner, a clutter of neat stacks of firewood and seemingly random piles of jumbled logs. The randomness, the owner would say, resulted from the necessary moving and turning of the piles of curing wood. A regular array would be less efficient at the task and would have to be unstacked and restacked to be sure the wood cured evenly. Simply moving the pile from one place to another once a week with an ancient forklift turned all the logs over and assured that each got enough sun and air to turn into perfect firewood.
The lane did not continue past the end of the woodlot or the small row of outbuildings behind the mansion. The house, being the only important building facing the street, bore a singular number and the name of the lane as its address. One April Morning.
On this particular morning, a resident of the former mansion woke to a life-changing discovery....
“Good Morning My Queen.” A musical voice piped, far too cheerily for any morning much less this one. This weekend was supposed to be magical, the fulfillment of all of his dreams, but he'd only found bitter disappointment, again.
“Good Morning Our Queen.” The chorus of child-like song made Tim bury his head deeper under his pillow in a vain attempt to ignore their presence.
Surrendering, he cracked open an eye to view the cause of his pain. After Cindy had not only flatly turned down his proposal, she'd walked out leaving him there on one knee with the ring he'd sacrificed so much for. Although he'd done well for himself that rock had put him in the red. Working hard behind the scenes, keeping the IT department running, no one bothered him unless something went wrong, which gave him plenty of motivation to make sure it didn't.
It didn't even bother him too much that his mangers took credit for how smoothly things ran, although they were mostly clueless as to why. He invested most of his money and had done well investigating each investments with the same concentration he gave the data crunching machines he got on some much better with than living breathing people. Besides, what else did he have to do with his money? With the exception of a good, but relatively modest gaming computer to play his beloved online games, Tim lived simply.
It wasn't till he met Cindy that he'd began living beyond his means.
He stared at the smiling diminutive female with the dragonfly-like fairy wings dressed in an arrangement of leaves and flowers before shutting his eyes and rolling over. Very pointedly, he paid the resulting giggles no mind.
Oh Gawd, not this again!
He just knew that single figment of his imagination wasn't alone. The previous chorus assured that. If he just waited long enough they would go away. They always did.
However, after his so very disastrous previous evening, he'd tried his best to drown his pain in the very beverages meant instead to celebrate his success. He didn't even recall how he got back to his room here at the converted mansion. After he'd found Cindy had actually taken his car and left, he'd given up caring. He supposed it could be worse. She could've taken the ring and kept stringing him along until she left him standing at the altar. That didn't make him feel one damn bit better.
However, hung over or not, what went in had to come out.
In short, Tim had to go, and go bad.
Unwilling to embarrass himself more so to the staff, he sat up determined that he, like Sergeant Schultz from that old TV series, would see nothing!
Keeping his head straight ahead, dressed in nothing but his boxers, he took no notice of the riot of colors that rippled as he passed by as the small figures bowed. Reaching the porcelain throne, he discovered another problem.
Even the bathroom had unwanted imaginary figures peering at him as he stood before the toilet. Make-believe or not he couldn't just expose himself to all of those eyes. However, if he tried to shoo them away he would be acknowledging them. Remembering all the trouble he'd gotten into when he was young, trying to tell his parents about his small colorful 'friends', Tim wasn't about to go there.
Sighing, he turned around to sit down, careful to show as little of himself as he dared, as he pulled down his boxers. Relaxing enough to 'release' wasn't easy either with all of those inquisitive eyes watching. Their giggles so didn't help. Closing his eyes didn't work so well either because he could still hear them.
Finally, it got so bad he went anyways, audience or no audience. Tim had no idea how much he'd drunk, but it all wanted to come out now.
Spooky, it got quiet.
Daring, he opened an eye to see they were all there. As a matter of fact there were so many he couldn't even see the walls as all the 'figments' from the bedroom crowded inside the bathroom.
“You're not real!” Squeezing his eyes again, he grasped at any chance to make them go away. The treatments and the drugs had made his childhood a nightmare. It was no wonder he was socially maladjusted or that, with the stress of this latest catastrophe it'd reappeared.
“I don't believe in you!” He whispered harshly, near tears but not wanting to be overheard outside his room. “Go away.”
A feather soft touch caressed his hand. “But we believe in you. Where else would we go? You're our Queen who we've waited so very long to come to us.”
On the sink counter was the same fairy who had wakened him. If she'd hadn't been no more than six or eight inches tall she would've been a beautiful woman. As it was she was an impossible contradiction to reality.
“Besides, I'm a man, male.” He argued, as if reason could make them go away. “I can't be your Queen.”
The assembled fairies stood or sat on every available surface; the towel bar, the shower curtain rod, and just everywhere. All peered at him intently as if considering his words. Then they turned to each other whispering in discussion.
Their spokesperson turned to the horde of fairies. “Is this our Queen?”
Every last one of them nodded yes.
“Aw, come on guys, err, girls, I'm a human man.” He pleaded with the assemblage. “I can't be a fairy queen.”
Actually saying the words made him cringe inside. It wasn't exactly a PTSD flashback, but his childhood dress-up games weren't good things to remember. Halloween became a time of extreme caution where he never dared mention certain subjects. Quickly he'd learned the safest way was to go with whatever costume his parents, particularly his Dad's 'suggestions.'
Batman, yes; Xena no; Robo-cop, yes; Belle, no; and finally Darth Vader, yes, but Fairy Princess, no, no, no.
Standing up, he did his best not to give them too much of a show. Going back to the bedroom, he stopped staring.
The whole room had been straightened up from his messy binge. On the neatly made bed, was a set of clothing with even the shoes set below.
It would've been a fine thoughtful gesture if the clothing had actually been his. Feeling an icy shock ripple though him, Tim stepped to the closet. Staring within, all his and Cindy's things were gone. Numbly he realized that the only reason even that outfit of hers had been left behind was because she'd set it aside for later. In her rush to leave here, him, it been forgotten.
Heavily, he sat on the bed, causing a flurry of fairy wings to take to the air to get out of the way. Holding his aching head, which didn't hurt anywhere near as much as his heart, Tim wondered what to do.
Marooned here far from home with no clothes was bad enough, but he had to be back at work tomorrow. Between the ring, this trip, and Cindy's expensive tastes, he had little money on hand. Maybe he could get someone here to take pity on him, and drive him to the bus station.
Glancing at her clubbing clothes, he cringed at the very thought of traveling in them. He had to retrieve what he'd on last night. However bad they were, it was better than going in drag.
Getting up he began looking for what the little make-believe pests did with them.. Of course the entire procession followed him everywhere he went. But, besides one shoe that was under the bed, he couldn't find anything.
Turning to the would-be spokesperson for his imaginary mob, Tim demanded, “Where are my clothes?”
“Clothes, my Queen?” The pint-sized fairy replied. “Weren't you finished with them? They were going bad, and smelled awful.”
She and the other fairies all held their noses to illustrate the smell.
Holding his temper, and knowing he wasn't going to like the answer, Tim asked, “What did you do with them?”
“Why the same thing we do with ours when they go bad, my Queen.” She said, pointing to her own clothes made of leaves and flowers. “We threw them away.”
“Threw them where?” He asked, feeling as if everything was falling in on top of him. Did the world truly hate him that much?
We put them in that huge smelly box with all the other smelly things.” She said, as if proud of their accomplishment.
“The big blue metal container near the kitchen?” Tim inquired with a sigh, collapsing on the bed again, making another flutter of wings fly as they evaded his fall again.
“Yes, that's the one!” She said happily, but then added, seeing his woeful expression. ““We weren't supposed to?”
Given the occasion that not only was it his only set of clothes, but his best suit as well,. He didn't even want to think about trying to drag it out of the dumpster. However, that made him think.
Assuming even figments of his imagination couldn't drag his clothes away, how did they get to the dumpster?”
“Why didn't anyone see any of you dragging my suit away?” He sighed, wondering what he was going to do now.
“Biggies never see us.” She laughed, as all the rest giggled. “They think they see humming birds and bugs.”
“So how come I can see you?” Tim hopelessly held his head in hands.
“Because you're the Queen.” She replied, as if he was being silly. “You don't need those stinking clothes. These are much softer and nicer.”
He had to agree about the nice part, particularity when Cindy was wearing them. The red clingy dress accented all of her feminine charms without showing anything. Along with the hose and matching stiletto heel shoes, they made him very happy to have her on his arm.
He never realized just how much she'd used him, and it was a bitter taste that he still cared for her. Tim hadn't even called the cops on her for taking his car, although he knew he should.
“Look,” He told them all. “I know you were trying to help, but please stop. I'm not your Queen. I can't prove I'm not and you can't prove I am.”
“Yes, we can.” She argued.
“You can what?” Tim admitted he was more than a little cross. This hadn't been the best weekend of his life.
“Prove you're the Queen.” She stood defiantly with her small hands on her hips.
“And how are you going to do that?” His reply was just as challenging as hers. “Just because I can see you doesn't mean a thing. Crazy people see things all the time.”
Tim rose an eyebrow as they formed a huge huddle, whispering while looking back at him from time to time.
“By the way, do you have a name?” He asked the spokes-fairy in the center of the huddle.
“Rose Petal” She said, and went back to her 'conference.'
“It figures,” Tim muttered, noticing the rose petals she was dressed in.
He warily leaned back as the whole mob of fairies began jumping up and down in excitement.
“We have your answer, your Majesty. “Rose Petal gravely announced.
“And that is?” He inquired.
“Magic.” Her eyes glittered. “Humans can't do magic, but fairies can. If you can do magic then you have to be a fairy and our Queen.”
Tim felt as if he could drive a truck though the holes in her reasoning, but he was safe. The only magic he had was being able to sweet talk a stubborn web server into cooperating.
“So I prove I can't use magic and you will all leave me alone?” With this unwanted distraction from his childhood gone, he could begin to apply some damage control to this awful mess.
“If that were to happen,” Rose Petal rolled her eyes as if humoring an idiot. “We would, of course, have no reason to stay.” She was plainly convinced it wouldn't occur.
Crossing his arms before him in challenge, Tim said, “Bring it on.”
What he didn't expect was the half-dozen of walking wounded that gathered on the bed. Looking at the small group missing parts of their wings and even two with missing limbs, he wondered if flying wounded was even a real term, given they were fairies.
Despite the aggravation they were causing him, his heart went out to them. No matter the problems he had growing with make-believe creatures, the small colorful fliers were the embodiment of magic and wonder. To see them so, the only word that came to mind was, desecrated, was nearly a physical pain.
What happened to them?” Tim couldn't keep himself from asking.
“Cat.” Replied one missing most of a wing, while another nodded.
“Bird.” Said one without an arm.
“When you're our size.” Rose Petal explained. “Everything is dangerous.”
“So what do I do?” He asked, almost wishing he could really help. However, he had to get these figments of his imagination out of his life so he could get back to normal. Tim remembered all too well the penalty for failing that test.
“Just your touch will be enough your Majesty.” The fairy bowed her head.
Tim reached out with only one finger and gently touched the first who'd said she'd been attacked by a cat.
A spark of static electricity sent the little fairy flying backwards!
Yay! A cheer went up from the peanut gallery of all the other fairies.
Worried about the one he'd zapped, He snapped at the rest. “Oh for goodness sakes! That wasn't magic. Haven't you ever seen static before?”
Turning to the poor wounded one who been zapped, his eyes widened in surprise.
Untangling herself from the pillow where she'd been thrown, she stood unsteadily. However, what was remarkable were the colorful butterfly wings she unfurled.
“Ooh!” The whole group admired the stricken fairy's new wings.
Tim sighed. He didn't know what happened, but it wasn't magic. It couldn't be!
To prove it he touched the next hurt fairy.
She shot backwards, blown right off her feet.
“It's not magic!” He protested, despite the cries of delight from the watchers.
Another spark sent the next spinning away
One after another, static electricity blasted them.
“You see?” Tim demanded, over the cheers. “I don't have any magic!”
Rose Petal flew up to his eye level.
“Your Majesty.” The small fairy addressed him. “Please look.”
Sprawled all over the pillows where they'd been thrown by the charges, the fairies were sorting themselves out. To a one they all now sported the large butterfly wings instead of the dragonfly-like ones they had before. Additionally, not a one had any signs of hurts or wounds. For that matter, none had any imperfection.
Giggling, they twisted around trying to see their new wings, while marveling that their pains were gone.
Like a flock of birds, the other fairies landed on the bed to admire the healed brilliant additions.
All the while Tim only stared.
“I'm a man, not a fairy, and certain not a queen.” He whispered.
Rose Petal, still flying next to him, asked, “Is that really how you see yourself?”
“Of course it is.” He numbly pointed at the mirror.
“Not us, my Queen.” She replied. “Would you like to see how we see you without the glamor the mortals see?”
Tim could only nod. He wasn't sure what was and wasn't real anymore.
His eyes crossed as she flew even closer, touching him between his brows.
This time it was he who got hit by the static. “Ouch!'”
He rubbed the stinging sensitive spot. His eyes stung like he had something in them, but the tears were helping wash away the pain.
Tim looked up.
There was a woman in the room. Bizarrely, she was topless, dressed in only her boyfriend's boxers. Her hair was a curly mass of bright copper and shining gold. A light dusting of freckles upon her fair skin only accented her high cheekbones and delicate nose.
Her eyes were an amazing green, bordered with a ribbon of gold. He thought that the color was actually called hazel, but thought that fell short of just how startling they were. It was as if they glowed, set off by that gold.
Even though she was topless, he'd been drawn to her face. That's not to say her bosom was anything to be ashamed of. While not voluptuous, her high, well formed breasts with their pink toppings gave no doubt, her body was just as beautiful as her face. The elegance of her curves put every fashion model picture he'd seen to shame.
Shaking his head, he tried to clear it. How did she get in here and who was she?
The soft caress of red-gold locks made him freeze in place.
Watching the shock flash across the woman's face, he slowly reached up and bought his hand up to see what had brushed his face. It was hair. Golden-red just like the woman who had mirrored his every movement.
Unable to breathe, he tugged at the hair which couldn't be his, because he'd always kept it very short. Pain shot though his scalp as he pulled forcefully on the red locks.
That woman was a reflection in the mirror.
His audience, sensing his distress grew quiet.
He was her.
She was him.
Feeling a tingling on his back, a large pair of brilliant butterfly wings unfurled like the sails on a ship. Damp and wet, they glistened in the light as they dried.
As one, all the fairies bowed to their Queen.
She looked at them and then back at the mirror.
The Queen, their liege, then passed out.
Tim hesitantly opened the door of his room. No her room, she corrected herself. When she'd woken up, Tim had wanted to rant and scream about what Rose Petal had done to her, but she couldn't. Instead there was this eerie calmness.
“You were always like this.” Rose Petal explained. “The glamor just made everyone see something different.”
“But I've lived my whole life and never felt these before.” She self-consciously touched her breasts. “I even had sex with Cindy. How is any of that explained as only an illusion?”
“It was a very powerful glamor, my Queen.” Rose Petal said, with big wide eyes. “Even reality can be bent by such.”
Then how come you were able to break it?” Tim asked, confused. The little fairy was, after all, not even a foot tall.
“The key sometimes is having the right magic. It was a fairy glamor and I'm a fairy.” She said. “However, I think the most important part was that you gave me permission.”
“Judge her not by her size.” Tim paraphrased, making Rose Petal blush as red as the roses she wore.
However, if removal of that 'glamor' had her feeling disconnected, the dressing in Cindy's clothes was nerve wracking. Despite his being an adult and his parents were far away, he still expected one to break down the door and punish him.
Her fairy entourage weren't putting up with that. Even when she pointed out the dress and shoes didn't fit, they just giggled.
“Oh we can fix that!” Rose Petal waved her hands as the fairies rose into the air circling about her, leaving glittering trails behind them. As the 'dust' settled on Tim, her clothes shimmered and then changed size to fit her perfectly.
Looking smug, the fairy giggled, “How do you think we get our clothes to fit? The flowers and leaves are always too small or too itchy. Our magic with growing things is strong and lets us make them more comfortable.”
“Your clothes aren't really living so the magic will only last just so long.” Rose Petal's nose twitched. “Unless you use your own magic. As strong as you are, they might last forever!”
A swarm of nodding fairy heads agreed with her as they flew about.
“How would I do that?” Tim asked. “Would I just touch them?”
“No your Majesty.” Rose Petal giggled. “For that you need sparkles! You have to flap your wings and push?”
“Push?” The Queen asked, very uncertainly.
“Yes!” Her chorus of fairies answered.
Each one began trying to show her how it was done, with exaggerated gestures and antics. They all of course had to try and out do the others.
Soon even Tim was laughing, as they all landed lost in merriment.
“Okay,” She took a deep breath. “I guess its my turn.
“Just how do you move a muscle you never you had?” She muttered to herself.
Her earnest teachers giggled at her expressions as she did her best.
Then it seemed as if all the air in the room moved as her wings arced high and then dropped. A golden cloud swirled around them all.
Tim gave a startled gasp as her feet momentarily left the floor. Her alarm was unfounded as she floated back as if she was light as feather, despite the heels she was wearing.
The room, already clean, became immaculate. All the fairies, gasped as their make-shift clothes of leaves and blossoms became more dress like, shimmering with magic.
“Strong.” Rose Petal said, solemnly.
Walking to the front desk was one of the hardest things she'd ever done. She expected someone to object to her dress, not to mention the wings. However, nobody seemed to notice.
Even talking with Mrs. Dumfries had gone better than expected. The proprietor had to do some errands in town and would be happy to take her to the bus station.
It was beyond strange to hear the older woman talk as if Cindy had been the man and had taken off when she, Tim, hadn't immediately accepted his proposal.
“Along with having the privilege of changing her mind, a woman has the right to take as long as she likes to decide.” Mrs. Dumfries declared. “If he wasn't willing to accept that then he wasn't worth wasting her time on.”
She was waiting to leave when all the fairies flew up.
“Where are you going, my Queen?:” Poor Rose Petal looked as if she was about to cry.
“I have to go home.” Tim said. Even as changed as she was, there were things she had to take care of, responsibilities.”
“But this is home.” Rose Petal said forlornly.
Feeling the weight of their eyes on her as she got in the car, she felt her wings furl themselves, becoming a slight hump on her back.
Looking back at all the sad fairies, she'd never felt so low in her whole life. Sure she'd spent so much of it alone, but she'd always tried to be polite to others. Knowing she'd caused the little fey creatures such distress made her felt like she'd kicked a puppy. Remembering just how many faeries there were, a whole lot of puppies.
Meanwhile Mrs. Dumfires hadn't stopped chattering away. “I don't know what has happened to Simon. The police says there is no sign of foul play. He's just another missing person. However, I still need a gardener.”
“A Gardener?” Tim asked.
One year later
Smiling, Mrs. Dumfries watched Tanith working in the garden. The young woman simply had a touch with growing things and she couldn't be happier about the garden. The local TV station was sending out a report because One April Morning had won a local award and was up for the regional now.
It was all because she took a chance on a woman with no references or experience. To this day she couldn't say why she did, but Mrs. Dumfries certainly didn't regret her decision. Simon, as dependable as he was, often remarked on his daily battle with the usual gardening pests.
Tannie had no such problems. As a matter of fact the garden had never thrived like it did now, with all the butterflies and humming birds.
It was almost like watching a scene from a painting, Mrs. Dumfries mused. The lithe red head among the roses, surrounded by all the wildlife.
Like a Fairy Queen holding court for her subjects.
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