I’m afraid that what I have to tell you may come as a shock. Forget everything the elders told us. Lay aside your prejudices and hold off on your judgment until I explain, okay? Are you ready?
Magic is real.
No, I am not talking about the illusion of a magician’s parlor tricks. I mean real, honest-to-goodness fairy tale magic. Speaking of fairies, I think I’ll start there.
All I wanted was a job. Some way to earn a meager living while Belinda and I were holed up for the winter in the old house on Silvermoon Lane. I would have been happy to do anything – wash dishes, scrub floors, even babysit, not that anyone would trust a total stranger from out of town with their children. I did find a job, but it was not at all what I expected.
After a good night’s sleep, I dutifully returned to the strange little trailer the next day. But instead of the very old woman, I was greeted by a very young girl. “Hello Girl from the Savanna,” she said with a warm smile. “I knew you’d return.”
“Who are you?” I asked. “How do you know—”
“Shh…” The girl reached out and took both my hands in hers. “Close your eyes and listen.” I frowned, but did as she said. At first, there was only darkness, and the flickering sound of the candle which burned on our table. But then, it was as though I had been transported into a scene from a children’s book. I stood rooted in the middle of a lush green park. The sun gleamed high in the blue sky, and birds tweeted from the treetops. Across from me, the young girl was dancing to some tune I couldn’t hear. Two tiny, glowing insects flitted through the air around her.
“Barbie! Mariah!” The young girl called, clapping her hands three times. “Show yourselves!”
Swish! Swish! The glowing insects disappeared. In their places stood two more girls, with shimmering wings.
Wings? I rubbed my eyes. The wings were still there, fluttering gently as the girls moved about. Fairies, I realized. They must be fairies. “Hi, Clara!” the fairies said in unison.
I opened my eyes. The park scene had disappeared. I was sitting across the table from the young girl once again. “Clara?” I asked.
Clara smiled. “Welcome to Asteria, Girl from the Savanna. We have a job for you.” We, as it turned out, meant Clara the Genie and her two fairies, Barbie and Mariah. And the job turned out to be telling fortunes to the local townspeople and tourists who passed through town. Apparently, Clara felt that I had The Gift, whatever The Gift may mean.
I spent the next several weeks in training. Clara taught me how to use The Gift – turning my vision inward to see glimpses from Beyond. It was not easy training. Clara was a tough teacher, and the fairies – well, let’s just say that fairies are not sweet, gentle little creatures who fly around sprinkling people with fairy dust. Well, they can fly, but that is where the similarities end. Fairies are mischievous little pranksters. They glow and flutter their wings, and make you ooh and ahh. Then when you least expect it, they pull one of their silly pranks. One time, Mariah doused me with dragon stars. Then she and Barbie roared with laughter as fire blazed from my ears! I tried to be a good sport and laugh about it with them. But after that, I kept my distance.
After I was fully trained, Clara put me to work telling fortunes, reading palms, and writing horoscopes for the local paper. Much of it was mumbo jumbo – a show conjured up to entertain people and make money. But sometimes, the visions seemed incredibly real.
My most frequent client was a man who had recently moved to town with some friends. He was seeking a way to make money, but not in an ordinary way. When I heard his idea, I tried to talk him out of it. But he grew red with anger. “I just paid one hundred dollars,” he growled. “Now show me what I came here for.” With great reluctance, I gazed into the crystal orb. At the end of our session, the stranger strolled away, whistling cheerfully. I watched him go with a heavy sense of foreboding. Oh Leon, I feel that I have made a grave error.