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Rated: E · Novella · Children's · #1976122
A young girl embarks on a journey to find her missing parents and brother.
Caddo, Arkansas 1800s

In the still of the night, a lone figure ran across the mountain road and slid, then crawled down part of the mountain, climbed into a tree, shifting to get comfortable, as he braced the Winchester between forked branches, and waited.
The night was beautiful. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The stars were so bright you could make out the little and big dipper. The milky way swept across the top of the earth like a blanket full of diamonds.
Nicole’s parents, Julia and Charles, were on their way back from dinner at Lillian’s, one of the best restaurants in town and a concert in the park.  Charles had bought a new carriage and wanted to show off his beautiful wife and the carriage.
“Charles, what a lovely night you have given me,” Julia said. “I can’t wait to tell Nicole all about it.”
“You are more than welcome my darling,” Charles said. “You look absolutely radiant in your beautiful new gown. I think blue must be your best color.”
“That’s what Nicole said right before we left,” Julia replied. “Charles, this carriage rides so smoothly, don’t you think?”
“I do indeed,” Charles said. “I will have to make sure Jacob doesn’t destroy it before we have had some good use….BANG! “What the, no!” The horse reared.
“Charles!”
“Hold on my love, hold on!”
Julia, grabbing for Charles hand, felt her body sliding, then airborne as the carriage rolled over and over, careening down the side of the mountain, bouncing from rocks and trees, throwing Julia and Charles out of the carriage, smashing them and the carriage into pieces. Down parts of it went then resting against the trees. The horse screamed in pain. The next morning a townsman heard the horse and went to see what was wrong. He found Nicole’s parents dead and the horse completely broken. He ran to get help. The horse was put down and the bodies were brought to the top.
After everyone was gone, an evil laughter rang out between mountains. Jacob, who had been hidden by the night, laughed and laughed. Soon the entire estate and his sister, would all be his to manage.


Arkansas – 1970

“Darn it Evelyn,” (better known as Nana to the family) she said when she saw the burned out light in the kitchen. Now I have to get the ladder and a new light bulb from the Butler’s Pantry. Back in the kitchen she opened the ladder, climbed up and unscrewed the bulb. The ladder shook.
What in the world? She thought as the ladder pitched back and forth. Looking down, Evelyn didn’t see anything wrong. The feet of the ladder sat firm on the floor. Hmmm. She resumed the slow turning of the light bulb into the socket. Her fingers slipped and, as she grabbed the ladder for balance, one of her rings fell off and bounced on the floor.
“What’s next?” Evelyn said as she climbed back down to get the ring and put it in her pocket. I need to put this ring in my box.  It’s way too big for my finger. My sweetheart gave it to me to take care of. He said it was magical and I certainly don’t want to lose it.
Once again she climbed up the ladder and checked the bulb to make sure it was screwed in properly.
As she descended, the ladder lurched backwards and Evelyn felt herself falling. The last thing she remembered was a horrible, high pitched laugh. In her panic, she thought, Jacob! Then all was black.
Evelyn and John were dancing on the porch of their home. “Oh John, this is so much fun. We used to dance all the time when we were young.”
“It’s a beautiful night, Eve. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, but with you,” John said.
Lilith and Daphne, two tiny little faeries who were Evelyn’s’ friends, were perched on the balustrade. Lilith giggled.
“Stop Lilith, you’re interrupting them,” said Daphne.
“Love is so beautiful, isn’t it Daphne? Oh look, he is going to give her the magic ring!”
“Evelyn, I want you to have this ring. You never know what is going to happen to me, and I want to make sure you are guarded against Jacob, even if he has been dead for decades,” replied John.
“John don’t talk like that, everything will be okay. The faeries will warn us when his stinking soul is around. Nothing is going to happen to you.”
“Okay, but I still want you to have this ring.”
“It’s lovely”, Evelyn said as she slipped it on her finger. “Oh, it’s a little too big.” She quickly dismissed that with a smile. “That’s okay, I’m going into town later this week and I can see if Mr. Murphy at the Jewelry store can make it fit me.”
Two days later the town sheriff and Doc Burford came to Evelyn’s’ home and knocked on the door. When Evelyn answered and saw them, she knew something was wrong. It had happened again, the sheriff said to her. John was in his carriage on his way home and must have lost control of it. It had turned over and slid down the mountain, throwing John out. It killed him. His neck was broken. At that, Evelyn screamed and passed out.
While Evelyn lay on the floor by the ladder and lightbulbs, Lilith and Daphne raced to guide Mr. MacDougal to stop by for a visit. When Evelyn didn’t answer the door, he walked in calling her name. After looking through the house, he heard a moan and found Evelyn on the floor in the kitchen. He immediately called an ambulance and Doc Burford.
Evelyn woke up to an EMT taking her pulse. Oh John she thought, with tears in her eyes.
“What happened?” she asked.
“Ma’am, you fell off the ladder,” the EMT replied.
“No… No someone pushed it. I heard them laugh. Did you see anyone in the house or hanging around outside?”
“No ma’am, we were met by Mr. McDougal who said Doctor Burford would meet us at the Emergency Room.”
After being examined at the hospital, it was determined Evelyn had a broken collar bone, wrist, and had a severe concussion. She was bruised all over her back, arms and legs and sported a large knot on the back of her head. It was bed rest for her and no shenanigans said Dr. Burford. She was to stay in bed. He would have people from town come by to check on her and bring her food. Until her daughter and family arrived, he intended to find someone to stay with her day and night.         








Chapter I

At ninety-five, Evelyn - or Nana - as Em called her - was as stubborn as a mule. She could outdo anyone when it came to working in the garden, cleaning house, or just walking in the woods. On many occasions Ems' mom tried unsuccessfully to talk her mother into finding some help, but she refused. When old Doctor Burford called and said she had fallen and broken her collar bone and wrist there was no stopping her mom, Sue. Arrangements were made, Wayne, Em's dad, put a For Sale sign in the front yard, and the packing was done. They were on their way to Arkansas.
Em had shed many tears of sadness on leaving the only home she had ever known, and all the friends she had made through the years, but she was getting excited about the move.
She thought about the many summers she and Brad had spent with Nana. They both loved the mansion's vast open backyard with its pathways of white gravel that wove down and around the ferns, the gingers and the flower beds of roses and purple delphiniums surrounding the old trees. When summer was over and the family went back to Florida, the smell of perfume wafting from Nana's roses, lingered with Em throughout the school year.
The one dark spot in Ems' mind was the menacing forest at the back of the yard. Its trees plunged high into the sky shutting out most of the light from the sun. She remembered the terror of being lost in it when she was four. Even thinking about it now, she could hear the wind howling throughout the branches, sounding like a pack of wolves on the prowl.
As the car sped quietly along the highway, Em closed her eyes to take a nap and thought about all the times she had been with her grandmother. It was funny how she remembered Nana always being there. She couldn’t help but laugh thinking about Nana saying to her “Em, try and concentrate, you can see the faeries just like I can.”
Em would say “Aww Nana, you know that aren’t any real faeries.” Even when they found her in the forest, Nana held her tight for hours, and said, “Em you’re safe, the faeries help to find you. We love you.” Ems' mom was happy enough to allow her mother to hold onto her. Em and Nana had a very special bond, just as Nana and her daughter, Sue, did.
When Em would come to visit for the summer, they would play with Nanas’ faeries together, and Nana said, “Em you name some of the faeries for me.” Em named quite a few. When they worked in the vegetable garden Nana would say, “Watch out for the faeries, you don’t want to hurt one of them.”  When they cook spaghetti and meat balls together, Nana would always say “Be sure and don’t burn yourself Em.” When they read about faeries and ghost, Nana would continue to say “Em, you must open your eyes to seeing my faeries. Some day they will be yours to take care of.”
One thing about Nana, at five feet two inches and weighing in at one-hundred and ten pounds, she was a "tough cookie," as her mother phrased it, and she could do anything she put her mind to. She kept up with the large mansion she lived in and she made sure the gardens were kept in perfect shape. She let a man come once a week and use her riding lawn mower to mow the grass, trim bushes and pull weeds. If she had some new flowers, she would have him plant those with her instructions.

But the time Em treasured the most is when she was in the room with Nana. She talked about fairies and how they were real. She told Em she was capable of seeing them too. Em would say again, "Oh Nana, I have yet to see any faerie and I have stayed with you many times!" Nana would smile, and say nothing more. Em and Nana loved each other so much. Em would spend the night with her every other weekend. There was a bed built into the wall in the large dressing room. This is where she slept. Nana said it used to belong to a maid who lived in the house many generations ago. Then she would begin her story telling of past generations. Em felt like she was listening to her read a book and Nana would substitute family names in it as she went along.
“Brad! Stop kicking the back of the seat,” Sue said with a raised voice.
Em sat up and rubbed her sleepy eyes. “How much longer do we have mom?”
“We still have several hours to go Em,”
Em laid back and closed her eyes again and quietly drifted back to sleep. She thought about how it would be to live with Nana. She remembered this one weekend when she was sleeping over. “Nana how did they get water in the kitchen and bathroom before it was updated?” Em asked.
“Well, at one time there was a system on the roof that would catch the rainwater. The water would then wind its way through the pipes into the bathrooms. Did you know rainwater was the best for your hair and skin?  As for the kitchen, there were young men to bring water up from the lakes.”
She pictured Nana working in her garden with the sun shining on her head. It brought out her beautiful silver gray hair. She looked up and saw a very tall man going towards her. As he came closer she could see how handsome he was. He had a smirk on his face. Nana looked up and threw her hand over her mouth. She tried to get up as fast as she could, but this man was too close. He swung his hand at her and knocked her down.
"No, no, go away!" Em said "Stop it. Leave her alone!"
"Em, Em, wake up! You're having a nightmare. Come on, we're here.” Em jumped up and slid out of the car. After two and a half days on the road, they had made it one hour before the Moving Van pulled in. Em was really excited. Once the van was unloaded, everyone got busy unpacking boxes and settling into their new home. As Em walked through the front door with her last box, Nana called out.
"Em, can you come help me?"
Placing the box on the floor, she ran through the parlor to Nana’s bedroom and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Nana sat in her overstuffed chair looking thinner than Em could remember. Her arm was in a sling and her wrist had a cast up to her elbow. Em could not ever remember seeing her grandmother so pale and with dark circles under her eyes.
"What can I do for you Nana?"
"Would you hang my crystal chimes back up by the window, and then take the bowl of water and cloth back to the bathroom for me? My crystals needed a little bath to get their sparkle back."
"Sure," she said and hurried with the bowl and cloth through the dressing room into the bathroom. She loved the old bathroom. It was huge and had a claw-foot tub with gold spigots; the toilet still had a pull chain. It was one of the things Nana refused to change. She had new plumbing, wiring and the necessary things in the kitchen updated a few years back, but she wanted to keep her bedroom and bathroom looking the same as it always did. Setting the bowl and cloth down, Em walked back through the large dressing room, glancing over at the maid's bed built into the wall. It was special because this is where she slept during their "girls" night together. It was her favorite time.
Em came back into the bedroom, took the step stool from the side of Nana's feather bed, and pushed it next to the wall by the window.
“Is this where you want it Nana?”
“Yes hon, right up there on that hook.”
Em climbed up and placed the chimes onto the hook next to the window. She heard a little giggle.
"Did you hear that Nana?"
"Hear what Em?" Nana said with a smile.
"That giggle?" Em said.
Nana laughed with her soft laughter and said, "It's one of the faeries. They love my crystal chimes."
Em laughed too. Sure it is. She loved the way Nana talked about faeries and unworldly things such as ghost. She was the best story teller in the county. Em paused for a moment; Nana's room did have an air of mystery to it. It wasn't surprising though; the entire house had its own amount of mysteriousness with its secret hiding places, fake walls, doors, cabinets and panels. Em thought to herself, I do remember thinking I saw one of them move. Oh, but that’s because I listen to Nana’s stories. I know it can’t be real.
"Look, the sun is shining through the crystals making a rainbow. They're so beautiful.”
"It’s special Em, and one of my favorite things," said Nana.
Em thought about a part of her dream when she was asleep in the car.
“Nana, do you remember when I use to play faeries with you?”
“Indeed I do Em, Nana said as she sat in her overstuffed chair. “You gave several of them a name.  Do you remember what they were?”
“Mmm, let’s see,” said Em as she walked over to Nanas dresser. “This one is Agatha,” and she pointed to one with red hair. “There are so many I have forgotten though.”
“Oh! And this one is Samantha. There’s Daphne and that one is Lillith. I think you named her, not me.”
“You do remember a lot of them. You use to fight dragons with them and when you won, you would give them one of my necklaces or bracelets as a medal.”
“I remember Nana. They hung around their tiny necks and would slide off down onto your furniture.”
“That’s right. Have you tried to see them Em?”
“Oh Nana, you know they aren’t real. Anyway, I have to go finish unpacking the boxes in my room. I’m so excited about our living here with you!” Em exclaimed as she walked out of the room.
“Me too Em,” Nana replied, “Me too.”











Chapter 2

Several months passed, and everyone had settled into the old mansion. They had grown to love the creaks and groans and little 'bits of character' of the house. Nana told Em she wanted to take them through the house and tell them about each room. Em knew some of the information, but she couldn’t wait for Nana to explain the rooms as she remembered them. Brad wasn’t sure he wanted to go, but in the end, changed his mind.
Nana started at the front. “When you come inside the large front doors – which, by the way, came from England - you have seen the large staircase in a half circle, one on each side. Em, do you have any idea why there are two sets of stairs? Brad?”
“No Nana, but I have always wondered about it,” Em replied.
“Me neither, but I like having two.”
“In my great grandmothers’ day, the ladies wore long dresses with lots of petticoats; they called their underwear and petticoats, underpinnings. Now, it was very impolite for a man to walk behind her on a flight of stairs, because ladies had to lift their skirts - with that Nana lifted her dress like she was going up the stairs - so they wouldn’t trip, and a man might see her underpinnings.”
“That is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard,” Brad said as he laughed.
Nana smiled at Brad and then proceeded to the small parlor which was in front of her bedroom.
"In the old days, this is where company was invited to sit and visit with the family, or a young female (along with her companion) would visit with her beaux.  Young ladies were not allowed to be with a young man by themselves. They always had to have a companion with them. Normally this was an older woman. See the silver tray on the stand at the front of the parlor?” Nana said as she pointed towards it. This is where a gentleman would leave his calling card if he was unable to see the young lady or someone else in the house.
“Oh, so that’s what that tray is for. I thought it was for their cigars,” Brad said.
“No, the only time a man was allowed to smoke in here was if the gentleman of the house invited them upstairs to his office. There they would have a sherry or some small drink and smoke. Of course they could go out to the balcony and have a cigar and drink too.”
From the parlor, was another door on the side and hidden behind a small hall, which led directly to Nana's bedroom.
“When I was young, my room was used for overnight guest. As I became older, I preferred the room for myself. Come on in Brad, you haven’t been in my dressing area as of yet. Instead of the usual walk-in closets, I have a large dressing room with a servant’s bed built into the wall.  Em, pull it out so Brad can see where you sleep when you have weekends with me.”
Em walked over and pulled the bed down.
“Wow that must be fun to sleep in Em. I know you told me about it, but I couldn’t understand what it looked like. I might have to try it myself.” Brad said excitedly.
Nana and Em laughed.
“Brad, go into my bathroom and have a look around.”
Coming out Brad asked, “Are those real gold faucets?”
“Yes, they sure are, and everything in there is original.
Nana turned and left the room, Em and Brad followed behind her.
“Let’s go into the dining room.”
She walked across the hall where the dining room was. The hall itself went all the way to the back of the house where you could go into the backyard or onto the balcony.
Nana caressed the table as she said, “My great granddad had this table special made for his wife Julia. It will seat twenty-eight people for dinner.”
“Nana, have you had dinners like that?” Brad asked.
“When my husband and I were very young, we did have many dinners here, but I had to hire cooks and servants to do all of the work. As a host and hostess – someone who gives the dinner – you were to sit and visit with your company. It would have been rude if you were in the kitchen instead of visiting your guest. You were not expected in the kitchen except to check on those who were cooking and serving. Normally you had a Butler to do that and to give instructions to all the servants. Now days everyone goes to the kitchen while the person cooks, and they talk and enjoy it.
Both of you do know the windows are ceiling to floor and can be opened onto the wrap around stone porch, don’t you? I love the gingerbread-like balustrades that adorn it.”
“What are balstrades?” Brad asked.
Nana laughed, “Bal-us-trades Brad. That’s how you pronounce it. Look out the doors; it is the stone railing you see all around the porch. Do either of you remember the old dark wallpaper and the green, dusty velvet drapes that were in here?”
“I do Nana, it was creepy,” Em said.
Brad shook his head and said, “I do and Em is right, they were really creepy. You never knew if someone was hiding behind them watching you.”
“I took those down myself and replaced them with these beautiful, long white, French lace curtains. Nana touched the lace curtains and ran her fingers down it. I love the way they move when a soft breeze comes through. After that, I had the room painted red with white trim.”
“You did that all by yourself Nana?” Em asked.
“Heavens no, I hired painters to come in and do it for me, but I did remove the old wall paper. You have to remember, I was younger then and it was easy for me. I actually enjoyed doing it.”
“Sounds like too much work for me,” Brad said.
“Oh Brad, anything is too much work for you. Look at your room,” Em replied.
“Okay kids, “follow me,” Nana said. “Brad, help me push these doors open so we can go into the Ballroom.”
“Yes mam,” Brad answered.
Brad and Nana each took a door, which were floor to ceiling, and made of Mahogany, and pushed them open. These doors were used as a wall between the dining area and the Ballroom.
“This,” Nan said proudly, “is the Grand Ballroom room.”
“This is moms and my favorite room,” said Em.
“Do you know how we used it Em?”
“I know it was used for dances Nana.”
“That’s right. I took those old white, turned grey, dusty curtains down and replace them with these beautiful Italian silk drapes.” Em picked part of one up and held it against her face.
“I love the way this feels and the gold ties you use to hold the curtains back. They’re so beautiful. Oh, I wish I had been here as an older girl, dancing on the floor with my boyfriend.”
“Yuck,” Brad said under his breath, but loud enough for Nana and Em to hear him.
“Why are these floors so shiny?” Em asked. 
“Well, I think wooden floors look much better when you keep them waxed.” Nana replied. “And the chandelier up there use to hold candles in each of the flowers, but I had someone wire it for electricity.” The ballroom had a massive chandelier that looked like Calla lilies with a blush of pink.  “It looks much better now and all it needs is to be cleaned once a week to keep dust off.”
“And the pink walls are beautiful with your chandelier.” Em remarked.
“These windows are the same as in the dining room. They too can be opened to let the breeze come through. I like to open the French doors when the windows are up. Then the whole ballroom is open to the outside.” Nana said.
“My throat is a little dry, I think we need to go into the kitchen and have some tea before I continue telling you more about the house. There isn’t much left, the second-story bedrooms and the third-floor office and library.”
Brad and Em walked on both sides of Nana on the way to the kitchen.
“Nana, this is so much fun with you showing us the house as it used to be.” Em said.
”Thank you Em, I’m enjoying it myself,” Nana replied as she put the kettle of water on for tea.
“Em the tea bags are on the shelf in the pantry. I think the orange and spice would be a nice one for us.”
The kettle screeched when the water had boiled. Nana brought it to the table and poured the hot water in each of the cups, and then set it back on the stove.
“I think we need to have some cookies with this,” Nana said as she walked to the pantry and pulled some out. She passed the cookies around to each one.
“While we’re sitting here I can tell you about the kitchen. This kitchen was an add-on after we got one of the new wood burning stoves in the house. It wasn’t always like this. Both of you have seen the little house behind this kitchen, haven’t you? This is where the meals of the house were prepared. Before this kitchen, there was a covered walkway where the servants brought the food into the house.”
“I didn’t know that Nana. Why is the little house kept locked?” Em asked.
“It still has everything in it, just as it was in the beginning.” Nana said.
“Inside is a very large looking fireplace, which was the hearth and where all the cooking was done. The servants woke very early in the morning and got the fire going. It had a Dutch oven which stood on three legs and this is what much of the food was prepared in. There was a type of spit that went across the width of it, near the top and they could hang different pots on it. Servants had to keep the fire going all day and into the night. Our ancestors didn’t eat like we do today. Oh, they had three meals a day, but dinner was the mid-day meal and it was the largest of all. In the evening they had supper. It was a very light meal.”
“I read somewhere this place use to have a farm, is that true Nana?” Brad asked.
“You’re right Brad. It was across the highway on the other side. Julia and Charles had a foreman to run it. There were many servants who took care of the crops and the animals. By the time Nicole and Joe were married they had let the farm go. The town had stores with a general store where you could get meat and vegetables. They also built on this kitchen. With new stoves and then new ovens they didn’t need to keep the hearth going outside. They knocked down the covered walkway to make room for this building.”
“Why didn’t they do something with the little house Nana?” Em asked.
“Well, John and I thought about making it a guest house, but then he died and I didn’t care what happened to it. So, it has been left as it was.”
“Do you think Brad and I could have a look in it?”
“I don’t mind Em. The keys are hanging on the key rack. It’s the longest one.”
“Thanks it will be fun to explore, right Brad?”
“You bet.” Brad said.
“Okay, let’s get on with the show,” Nana said as she twirled her hand in the air. “Onward up the stairs, to the second level.”
Leaving their cups on the table, everyone followed Nana.
“Okay, as you know there are five bedrooms up here, but only three of them have dressing areas with a servants bed built into the wall, like mine. The one straight ahead from the stairs is one of them. The two rooms on the left have the rest.”
“Oh, so that’s why Em and I only have big closets and mom and dad get one of the dressing rooms, huh Nana?” Brad asked.
“Yep, that’s the way it’s set-up. Your mom knew this when she put you and Em on the right side.” Then Nana laughed.
Em noticed, not just Nana laugh, but she heard another laugh.
“Did you two hear that?”
“Hear what Em?” Brad said sarcastically.
“The other laugh and it came from this bedroom right in front of us.” Em walked to the bedroom door and snatched it opened, then peered inside.
“You are hearing things Em. Are you sleeping well?” Brad asked.
Em closed the door.
“I know what I heard,” she said. “What about you Nana?”
Nana smiled at her and said, “Em we have talked about this before. Now, let’s go on up to the third level and that will be the end of the tour.” Nana turned and went up the next set of stairs.
Em and Brad followed. They were always amazed how Nana went up three stories without being winded or having to hold onto the railing.
“Em you’ve been into the library, but have you Brad?”
“Yes ma’am. I was curious, that’s all.”
“Good, let’s go in.” All three went into the massive library. “This library has over 150,000 books. That was last count and it was some time ago. I don’t know how many we have now. All of the wood is cherry. See how it has some red to it. My great granddad was very fond of books, so when he built the library he made sure there would be enough room for what he intended to put in it.”
“How does one get so many books?” Brad asked.
“It started with great granddad. He purchased many original copies of books which had been signed by the author. He continued to buy books while he lived, and would read them. It was a great source of relaxation for him; at least that’s what my mother told me. Then my granddad took over and continued to purchase books to stock the library. They were not always original, like his father-in-law sought, but he still bought good books. By the time my husband was in charge the library only needed a few more to complete it. He followed along in the steps of the rest and bought very good ones. Now that your mother has brought her books, I don’t think we will have room for any more.”
“I love the ladders that are on wheels. I actually got on one to see what it was like to skim along the shelves,” Em said.
“I think I might have to revisit the library later,” Brad announced.
Nana and Em laughed again.
“Brad, you can be so funny sometimes.” Em said.
“There is one important thing I have not told anyone yet, but I am going to tell you two.”
“What is it Nana,” Brad asked excitedly.
“There are many fake panels in this library and my great grandfather would keep my great grandmothers jewels in it. They are still there as no one could find them when he died.”
“Okay, come on, let’s go over to the office, then we will be done, it’s about time for my nap.”
Brad opened the large door to the office. It was almost as big as the library. It had a very large leather couch and matching chair with beautiful side tables and a center table. On the other side was a beautiful dark round table with six chairs. In the middle of the large bay window sat a massive desk made of oak. The room itself held beautiful paintings and the wallpaper, made of leather, had been left in tack. It was still in very good condition. The desk had a large chair behind it.
“My great grandmother decorated this office for her husband as a gift to him. She did beautiful work on it.”
“Is that her picture, the painted one near the desk?” Em asked.
“Yes Em, it is. She was very beautiful wasn’t she?” Nana said.
“Oh yes, she really was Nana, but then all the women in this family are beautiful.” Em replied.
“Well, I think all the men in this family are quite handsome, don’t you Em? Brad asked.
“I do indeed Brad, but what happen to you?”
Nana and Em laughed, but Brad didn’t think it was very funny.
“Okay, it’s time for my nap. Let’s go back down to reality,” Nana said still laughing.
“Thanks Nana, that was a great tour.” Em said.
“Yeah, that was great Nana, thanks,” Brad replied.









Chapter 3

In three months Nana would be ninety-six. They had missed her ninety-fifth birthday and Sue wanted to plan a big surprise party for her mother. She gathered everyone onto the patio while Nana was taking a nap.  The whole family was excited and promised to keep it a secret.
A couple of days before the big event, Wayne convinced Nana to go with him to look at some property he was thinking about buying, to add to her portfolio. He had been taking care of Nana’s finances for quite a few years. She agreed and they left.
The next day, the day of her birthday party, Wayne and Nana arrived back home. The entire grounds and house hummed with activity. Nana was surprised.
"What's going on here?" she asked. When Sue explained a few hundred people she knew were coming for her birthday, she exclaimed, "Help me get to my bedroom to get ready!" 
Everyone laughed so hard and long, she almost didn't make it up to rest and get ready.
Em had been dressed in a beautiful white tiered dress with a pink sash around the waist. She had white patent shoes with a small heel. They were the prettiest things she had ever owned or worn. Sue had bought it just for the occasion. Em thought Brad looked very handsome in the tux he was wearing. She never thought she would have seen the day he would wear one. Sue came down in a shimmering red gown that had crystals all over it. She looked radiant. She had never seen her mother so beautiful, or her dad so handsome, dressed in a tuxedo. They made a beautiful couple together. Em blushed. She had never had these kinds of thoughts before and found herself surprised by them.
The night was golden. People were hired to park cars down the hill and then they put the guest into the beautiful, polished carriages which took them to the pathway in the front of the house. After they descended from the carriage, the guests slowly walked up the walkway looking at all the beautiful lights on the path and in the trees. Everything sparkled. The large front doors, which were open, were decorated with greenery and twinkling lights. Upon entering the house they were met by a servant who took their coats, hats and purses and stored them in the huge hall closet. Em watched as the women, dressed in lovely gowns, and the men dressed in tuxedos, came in. She had never seen such beauty in her young life. It looked as though a rainbow had come into the house with the ladies because everyone had on a different color. She thought about the beautiful china plates that were laid on the table and the silver which had been pulled out of the butler’s pantry and polished until it gleamed. She loved the flowers which had been brought in to be placed in centerpieces on the table. She thought about the near accidents which happened during the set up. One of the maids had almost dropped the large cake they had ordered for Nana. Then one of the horses became spooked and rose up, feet kicking in the air and almost hit Mr. McDougal in the head. Somehow her brother was able to contain the horse and settle him down. Now that was a miracle! She had never thought of Brad capable of doing such a thing. Then they had a fire in the kitchen. Someone had left a dish cloth next to the stove and it caught on fire. Thank goodness nothing was burned and it was put out fast.
Some of the people wandered towards the dining area while others went into the parlor. In the parlor Em introduced herself and showed them into Nanas bedroom, then through the dressing room where the maid’s bed was, and into the lovely bathroom. Sue had the bed pulled down from the wall and made up so they could see how it worked. The guests were thrilled to tour the house as most of them had never been in it. Em told them they could tour all of it if they wish, with the exception of the kitchen because they were preparing things for dinner and couldn’t be disturbed.
Brad was in the dining room and spoke knowledgeable to the guests about the floor to ceiling windows, the table and the massive sliding doors from the dining area into the ballroom. He then talked to them about the ballroom and said when they went in there to have a look at the beautiful chandelier. As the guests wandered about, waiters came by with champagne and appetizers. Wayne invited the guest up to see a large bedroom, the one at the top of the stairs and on up to the third floor to see the library and office. Sue had someone stationed on each floor to give them a tour. Em was so excited she could barely contain herself. She couldn’t help but to continue to smile as people walked by her.
When it seemed all the guest had arrived, the dinner bell was rung and the guests were seated. There was only one table that had place cards and those were for the family.
The rest could sit anywhere they wanted to. The dining room was lovely with the table dressed in a stunning white lace tablecloth and red napkins. Each centerpiece had deep red and white roses with peacock feathers and baby's breath. Being the table was so long there were three of the centerpieces. In the ballroom the tables were dressed in white linen cloths and pink napkins. Each table had pink and white roses with long slender green leaves and vines worked into each piece.
Servants began to serve the guest with a salad made of Hearts of Palm, Artichokes, boiled sliced egg, and sliced tomatoes with a light vinaigrette dressing. On the menu, there was a choice of Duck ala Orange, Turkey, Prime Rib, Venison and Snapper with a lemon-butter sauce. The many side dishes were the deep orange sweet potato casserole, buttery mashed potatoes, green Broccoli and cheddar cheese, fresh French beans, and spinach, creamed and sautéed. They had the option of coffee or tea. The water was provided. The waiters bustled from table to table making sure everyone had what they needed. When dinner was over the guests were ushered onto the balcony outside for entertainment. Lights had been spread out across the lawn in the trees, the path and on the balustrade and there candles were strategically placed on top giving it a beautiful glow. Once everyone was settled into their seats, the show began. First was the Magician who pulled a rabbit out of his hat and a golden dollar from behind Nana's ear. Next a Harpist played "You are beautiful," Claire de Lune, Fur Elise and Ave Maria.
“Wasn’t that beautiful,” Daphne said to Lilith as she wiped tears from her eyes. Lilith looked over at her friend,
“Yes Daphne, it was, but there is no need to cry.”
“I can’t help it,” Daphne replied. “And Evelyn, isn’t she beautiful? I can’t remember seeing her glow like this in a very long time.”
“You’re right about that,” Lilith said. “I’m just glad we could help put the fire out and catch the cake, when that monster tried to put a crimp in the party. And Mr. McDougal, thank goodness we were there to talk to the horse and settle him down. That would have been horrible!”
“Didn’t Mr. McDougal’s’ wife look pretty? It has been a long time for her and many of them here, to dress up and feel good,” Daphne said
Then, a rather buxom singer stood up, and asked if there were any songs the audience would like to hear. Several raised their hand, and she took a couple of requests. The songstress stepped up to the microphone and with her crew of musicians sang "After You've Gone, when Irish Eyes are Smiling and Beautiful Dreamer. Again, there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd. The songstress smiled and said, "Hit it boys and burst out with "A Son of a Preacher Man" and “Mrs. Harper's PTA".  She had a standing ovation from all. She wished Nana a very happy birthday and thanked all of the ladies and gentlemen for coming. The show ended with colorful fireworks. Once again the bell was rung and guests were brought back into the Ballroom. Each lady was given a pink and white wrist corsage and the men were given a white boutonniere to wear. There was a large cake stationed next to the wall with plates, silverware and napkins. Sue asked her mother to come and cut the first piece of cake. Then the servants cut and took pieces to those that wanted one. Em watched as the photographer Sue had hired, was busy taking pictures. She had been there all evening and was to take pictures of all the couples or individuals that came, plus all of the events that went on. Everyone was going to have a picture of them mailed to them to keep.
The tables were removed and chairs were placed around the wall. The musicians began to play. Wayne stood and bowed to Nana, then took her arm and walked her to the dance floor. Her royal blue silk dress with lace and a train swayed as she walked and the light bounced off her dark Sapphire necklace with diamonds and small drop earrings. They were the first on the dance floor. The musicians played a nice soft piece of music as they danced. Once they finished their dance, the rest of the guests came onto the dance floor and started dancing. It was a grand birthday. Nana and everyone else was enjoying it. Nana sat down and motioned Em over to sit next to her. Both of them had been very busy and were finding they were tired.
“Nana, everything has been so beautiful tonight,” Em said.
“Yes Em, it was so thoughtful of all of you to give me this party. But being my age, one does begin to get tired.”
“I’m tired too Nana. It will be nice to lay down in my bed tonight.”
“This reminds me of the parties we use to have in this house. They were as beautiful as this one and Jacob, before he died, would always try his best to mess it up.”
“Who is Jacob Nana?”
“He was my Uncle, Em,” Nana replied.
“I didn’t know you had an uncle, no one has ever talked about him.”
“Well I did, but he wasn’t a very nice man. That’s why no one has ever said anything. As a matter of fact, it was one of Mr. McDougal’s horses that killed him.”
“Mr. McDougal? I didn’t realize he was that old,” Em replied.
“Oh, not our Mr. McDougal, but his father, MR. McDougal Senior. His fathers, father started the business and passed it down, generation after generation. Mr. McDougal has been working horses since he was a little boy. He sells the foals and two-year olds to customers from all over the United States. I have heard some have come over from England to purchase a horse or two. He knows his horses and he knows how to train them. His reputation precedes him.”
“But how did Jacob get killed?”
“Jacob bought a beautiful stallion from him and brought it home. He was so mean to that horse; he whipped it all the time. It was on one of these days when he was beating the horse and it reared up and stomped him to death.”
“Oh, that’s horrible!” Em said.
“It was, but the man was evil and mean to that horse Em.”
“Look Em, our guests are leaving and we need to tell them bye.” Nana said.
Em and Nana stood, walked to the front door and joined Sue, Wayne and Brad in saying good night, thank you for coming, and to have a safe drive home.
Nana hugged everyone and said thank you. She told Sue and all, she was sleeping late in the morning. Everyone agreed they would do the same. Everyone was exhausted but had a wonderful time.



Everyone one that is, except The Trickster. He sat in a tree watching all the fancy stuff going on. No one could see him. He was in his invisible mode. He had tried his best to make sure the party had a bunch of mishaps, but somehow the family took care of all of them. He was for sure the horse would kick Mr. McDougal in the head killing him and because of this little tragedy the party would be called off. But no, it didn’t happen. He saw those two faeries calming the horses. He hated watching all the LOVE in that family. So he continued to lurk in the darkness, watching and cursing, and swearing his revenge on all. Then poof, he went back to his Mausoleum, deep in the forest, to plan his revenge.











CHAPTER 4

Six months later

The family had gone into town to do some shopping and had driven up to the garage. Em jumped out of the car and ran into the house.
“Nana, just wait until you see the clothes and new shoes mom bought me for school. Nana, where are you? I’m so excited about these and want you to see them. Nana, where are you?”
Em tensed, she felt a sense of foreboding and didn’t know why. Seeing her daughters face Sue asked,
“What’s wrong Em?” she said as she put the packages down on the floor.
“Nana won’t answer me. I can’t find her.”
“Maybe she’s outside in the garden honey. She was so excited about getting the cast off that’s probably the first place she went. Why don’t you go out back and call her?”
“Okay, you’re right mom, I’m being silly.”
Em ran down the hall and threw the screen door open. The next thing they heard were screams coming from outside.
“Em! Em!, what is it honey?” Wayne said as he, Sue and Brad ran down the hall and out the back door.
There, Em was kneeling beside her grandmother, who was lying on the balcony in an odd way, like she had just walked up to sit down in a chair. She was dead. Hot tears ran down Ems’ face as she rocked back and forth and sobbed while smoothing her hair off her grandmothers’ forehead. Sue let out a scream and ran to her mother grabbing her into her arms.
“No, No, you can’t be dead! You were fine and so happy when we left. Oh mom, why didn’t you go with us? I’ll never forgive myself for leaving you.”  Sue continued to hold her mother until the Sheriff, Doc Burford and Mr. Stevens arrived. Wayne had a hard time getting her to let go of her mother.  Em clutched her grandmothers’ arm so tight; the Sheriff had to take one finger at a time and unclasped it. All the while they talked to Sue and Em and tried to calm them down.
Wayne and Brad, distraught themselves, and tears in their eyes, went to Em and Sue and physically picked them up to take them into the house and sit them down. The Sheriff pronounced it a natural death; old Dr. Burford signed the death certificate, and Mr. Stevens, with help from an employee, took her to the black car waiting outside.
Sue arranged the funeral and Mr. McDougal offered to hook the horses up to an old Hearst he had in his collection.
“You know Hank,” Mr. McDougal said to his employee as he put the straps on the horses in the barn,“The townspeople keep saying it was her age, I did too, but now I’m beginning to wonder because of the way she was laying on the porch. The whole family says it didn’t make any sense. She was in great spirits when they left and happy that her cast had been removed.”
“I don’t know Mr. McDougal, after all she was ninety-six, and that’s a long time to live.” Hank said.
The day of the funeral Mr. McDougal rode at the top of the Hearst guiding the horses through town. The Hearst was shiny black and surrounded by glass. Everyone could see the white casket with all the different roses and Iris, her favorites. So many flowers and cards came from the townspeople and surrounding homes. They too loved her very much. As the carriage made its way slowly through town, people were lined up on the streets all the way down to the highway. The men removed their hats in respect, and the women sobbed into their handkerchiefs. A beautiful ceremony was held in the Chapel on the mountain, and then she was buried in the old cemetery behind it, next to her beloved John, under an old Oak tree.
Em felt a dark cloud settled over the house. Late one night, she heard a loud crash come from the kitchen and ran down to see what it was. Sue had broken more dishes. Wayne was next to her as she kneeled on the floor, trying to pick up the pieces, sobbing her heart out. She backed away from the kitchen door with her eyes red and swollen and full of tears. Brad stayed away and wandered the forest until the sun began to set. Wayne often closed himself up in the office upstairs. Em, like her mom, kept red swollen eyes. Both of them were inconsolable. They cried for days. Em had lost her best friend and grandmother. There wasn’t anyone to share secrets with, or have a sleepover, or laugh and talk about faeries, ghost and the likes. She stayed closed up in her bedroom.
Sue finally came out of her room, sullen and reserved, but resumed her activities in the kitchen and with the house.
“Em, come down and eat with us. Dinner is ready.” Sue shouted up the stairs.
“Yes, mam,” Em replied.
Em walked past one of the bedrooms and stopped. She thought she heard crying. She listened. Quietly she approached the door. After several minutes and a few prayers, she quickly opened the door. She listened again, but heard nothing. Em decided she was going crazy.
Grabbing the door knob she began pulling it closed. Again, the tiniest sound of crying was heard. Em walked back in and shut the door.
"Okay, who's in here?" She asked.
Suddenly the door burst open, Em jumped. Brad walked in.
“Brad, you scared me!”
"Em, are you talking to someone?"
"No, I just thought I heard a sound and wanted to check it out, okay?"
Em walked past Brad and down the staircase on her way to the kitchen for dinner.
Brad inched around the room wondering what she heard. He left closing the door.
The next morning at breakfast, Sue announced,
“Em, Brad, your dad and I are moving into Nanas’ bedroom.”
“What!” Em said as she stood up from the table. “You can’t do that mom, it belongs to Nana.”
“Em, we decided we would like to have the bedroom. Honey, Nana is gone.”
“No!” I want let you mom. It belongs to her!” She said as she stormed off, up the stairs to her bedroom, slamming the door.
Em lay on her bed and cried and thought, no, mom and dad don’t need to be in there. It was Nanas and always will be. As she cried, she fell asleep. When she woke it was late afternoon. No one had bothered her or called her for lunch. She sat up and felt bad she had yelled at her mother. She had never done that before. I need to apologize to her.
Em got up and went to her mom and dads’ room. She knocked on the door but no one answered. She went downstairs and found Sue on the balcony staring out at the gardens.
Quietly she said, “Mom.”
Sue turned, “Yes Em.”
“I’m sorry for yelling at you. I didn’t mean too. I just couldn’t see anyone else in that room, but Nana. I realized you want to be close to her too, and this is the only way you can.”
“Oh Em, I’m glad you understand. I know you miss her. Come here honey and give me a hug.”
That’s the way Wayne found them when he walked out of the door. Hugging and crying.
The next day was a busy one. Wayne, with Brad’s help, moved all of the furniture, clothes, and everything else in their bedroom and bath upstairs, into the downstairs bedroom. Then they had to move all of Nanas’ furniture upstairs into their old bedroom. Sue changed the room the way she wanted it. That left, Em and Brad upstairs. Brad thought it was great they had the entire upstairs to themselves. He said he didn't mind there were three other empty bedrooms and he was going to take one on the other side. Em thought it was a little creepy. Maybe if she hadn't heard the crying, she probably wouldn’t feel that way. But then, she remembered the uneasy feelings she had been having lately. Things were not right, and she could feel it. It was like waiting for the storm to hit and it would been soon.
Sue was emptying boxes and putting things up when she heard Em walking past the parlor.
"Em honey, can you come here for a minute please?"
Em walked into the bedroom and found her mother on the floor, with tears in her eyes, surrounded by Nana’s things and gathering them up and putting them into a box.
“Listen Em, I want you to know this is as hard on me as it is on you. I miss her so much and I just want her back,” Sue sobbed. “I love you and I’m so sorry I have not been able to help you very much, but I need as much help, if not more, to get through this.”
"Here are some things Nana wanted you to have. The faerie collection and crystal chimes. I hope this makes up a little for how it hurts because we moved into her room. It doesn’t mean we don’t love her anymore. Actually it shows how much I do love and miss her. I've gathered some other things she treasured, and put them in those two boxes. I want to give them to you." Em ran over and hugged her mother.
"Oh mom, thank you. I'll take good care of them, I promise." Em, with boxes in tow, ran up to her bedroom, pulled out the faeries one by one and searched for the perfect place for each tiny figurine.
"Look Nana, see how this one sits on my dresser?”  Em said as she pushed it back from the edge. She made sure everyone one of them had its own special place. “I can feel you here with me. I love you Nana." Em said as she placed the last faerie on her night table.
Ems' room, like Nanas, soon took on an air of its own, with all of the statues sitting, standing and lying on her furniture. Em could have sworn one of them winked at her, but she shrugged it off. Digging deep into the last box, Em made sure she had taken all the faeries out. Then her hand hit something. She pulled out a small, gold carved box. It had a music wind- up on the bottom.  Em wound it and it played the Blue Danube. She tried to open the box but it was locked. She ran downstairs to her mother's room.
"Mom, did you find a key to go with this box?"
Sue looked up. "No, the box sat on the table over by the window. Why don't you look in the drawer, I haven’t had time to clean it out."
Em rummaged through the drawer and found nothing.
"It isn't here. Do you think it might be in the chest of drawers over there?"
"I don't know, but I've cleaned out most of the drawers and haven't seen a key. I have a few more to go through, so I will keep a look out for one."
"Thanks," Em said.
Going back to her room, Em decided she would investigate it later. She carefully placed the box in the chest at the foot of her bed. She had one last thing to do.
"This is for you Nana," Em said, as she hung the chimes in the open front window. The smooth feel of the crystals brought so many past memories and tears sprang into her eyes. The sun peeked out from the cloud and spread its' rays through each crystal, making a rainbow of colors bounce along the wall. When the crystals swayed and bumped into each other from the breeze, a melody played just for her. Em could hear Nana's voice calling as the crystals sang.





Chapter 5
Winter passed and spring arrived, then summer.
After Nana’s death, Em had started having strange and terrifying dreams, but she had not told anyone about them.
Thursday night Sue called up to the kids,
“Em, Brad dinner is on the table. Come down to eat.”
“Yes Mam,” they both shouted.
“I’m so glad school is out," said Em as she took another spoonful of mashed potatoes.
“Me too, I can explore more of the woods now,” Brad said.
“I’m having so much fun searching the house for the fake panels. I haven’t started on the fake walls yet. Guess what? I found one today,” Em said excitedly.
“It’s in the library. It’s one of the panels on the third bookshelf. Well, I didn’t really find it; actually I think it found me. I was getting a book from there and when I removed the book it popped open. I feel like I’m on a treasure hunt.” Em said as she laughed.
“Was there anything in it Em?” Brad asked.
“No it was empty.”
“Did you hear that Lilith?” Daphne said.
“I did Daphne. We should go and check it out,” Lilith replied.
Off the two faeries went, zipping up to the third floor, squeezing through the crack between the doors and up to the third bookshelf.
“You take that side and I will look over here,” Lilith said.
“Do you see an open panel?”
“Yes! It’s here,” Daphne said.
Both faeries looked in in wonder inside the empty panel. Their eyes grew to the size of a dime.
In the panel lay a beautiful scarf, unseen by human eyes.
“Look, it’s Saphs’ magic scarf. I wonder how it got here. She has been looking everywhere for it.” Lilith said.
“Oh, lots of faeries have been losing things and I think it is the work of the Trickster,” Daphne said.
“We should take it to her right now,” Lilith replied.
Careful to take the scarf out and hold it, both faeries flew down and out the door, into the forest.
The Trickster howled. He had placed it there for no one to find, especially those nosy faeries and that little witch Em. He was furious!
Em heard the howling and fear of the woods rushed back at her. She swore it was the wolves. The same ones she heard when she was lost. And she shivered.
“Wow!” Brad said. “That’s great Em.”
Em looked up, “Thanks Brad.”
“Kids, your dad and I have decided we all need a little vacation from here. The tension and fighting in this house is getting to all of us and it isn’t getting any better.” Sue said.
“So, are you guys ready for a little weekend trip?” Wayne asked.
Em and Brad both shook their heads yes. Everyone had still been feeling the loss of Nana and they had started fighting with each other right after her service. Nothing seemed to go right anymore, in the house. Wayne hoped this would bring their spirits up.
“I thought we would go to Hot Springs and relax for two or three days,” Wayne said. “As a matter of fact, your mom and I thought we would leave tomorrow.”
“Oh, that sounds like fun,” Em replied.
Thursday night Em and the family went to bed thinking about all the fun and relaxation they were going to have this weekend. 
As Em slept, she dreamed of Nana.  A tiny faerie was perched on her shoulder.  Nana approached her and was trying to say something. Em sensed both of them were trying to warn her of something.  Em screamed when a horrible black creature appeared knocking Nana to the ground, and swatting the faerie far away. Then, he turned and looked directly at her. His eyes looked like they were on fire. He began walking towards her. He was close enough to touch her shoulder when she saw Nana coming up behind him. Nana was yelling something at him, but Em couldn’t hear it. The next thing she knew, he had disappeared and she woke up. Whew, Em thought as she lay in her bed covered in sweat. What a nightmare! Rolling out of bed she shivered from the nightmare and the coolness of the room. She slipped on her robe and house shoes, and walked downstairs for breakfast.
"Good morning! What's for breakfast?" She shouted, walking into the kitchen. The coffee maker was on and two cups of coffee were sitting on the table. Em saw the waffle mix and milk on the counter by the mixing bowl full of batter.
The griddle on the stove was on and black smoke curled upwards. Em ran over and turned it off.
Where is everyone? She thought. She ran down the hall and opened the backdoor to the patio balcony and grounds.
"Mom, you left the griddle on." Em said. But the table was empty.
She ran towards the front of the house and knocked on her mom and dad's room. The door opened and Em saw their robes and pajamas were lying on the bed. Next she ran to the staircase calling out,
"Brad, are you up there? Where are mom and dad?" Getting no response, she ran up the stairs to Brad's bedroom and knocked and then opened his door.
"Brad, didn't you hear me? Where's mom? She left the stove on."
Brad wasn't in his room. With a sinking feeling, Em ran throughout the house calling to them.  But all she got was silence. Uneasiness fluttered in her stomach. She ran downstairs to the kitchen, grabbed the phone and dialed 911. Placing the phone to her ear, she heard black stillness. She tried again, but the phone was dead and the closet neighbor lived fifteen miles away. Em felt like throwing up. She was shaking so hard she could hear her teeth rattle. Grabbing her mom’s soft throw, she slowly climbed onto the bay window seat. Smelling her mother’s lavender soap, she placed the throw on her face and cried. Since the day she was lost in the forest, she had never been left alone. Hours passed and Em kept her eyes tightly closed. She was so scared; she sat frozen on the seat.
A quiet, familiar voice spoke.
"Em, open your eyes. Do as I say," the voice said firmly.
Trembling, she slowly took the throw away from her face and gasped. There, standing before her, was Nana, and yet she wasn’t. She looked the same, except, Em could see right through her. A tiny faerie fluttered close to Em's face, making her blink several times. She shooed her away. The faerie flew up to Nana and perched on her, almost invisible, shoulder.
"Nana, oh Nana, I have missed you so much." Em said. "I can't believe you're here. Are you real? How did you know to come to me? I’m so scared, I can't find anyone. They’re all gone."
"Em, don't cry. I'm here. I know something has happened to the family. Lilith is going to help you get through the woods to the other faeries, they are ready to help."
"No Nana, you have to come with me. You know how scared I am of the forest."
"I can't Em, I’m bound to this house and cannot leave. That's why Lilith is here. The faeries and I have had a bond for a long time. I have always had the ability to talk with them and I have known for a long time, you have the ability too. I wanted to tell you and explain more, but it was too late. Now you will have to find out on your own."
"Explain what Nana? Find out what?"
"I wish I could tell you but it’s not allowed. Use your faith. It will help you get your courage back.  Then you will find our family."
"No Nana, please stay here with me." Em cried. But it was too late, Nana had slowly dissipated.
Em stared at Lilith. What she saw was a tiny creature, no more than four inches tall. Her skin was the color of emeralds. Her heart-shaped face had beautiful yellow eyes and pointy ears. On her back sprouted translucent wings that sparkled like glitter and flashed specs of red and gold. The faerie fluttered where Nana had been.
“Em you have to listened to your grandmother,” she said in her tiny voice. “You need to come with me now. We will reach the other faeries by midnight. They are waiting for you and are ready to help.”
“It’s you! You’re the one I heard crying the bedroom. Why didn’t you come out then, when I called out?”
“I wasn’t sure you were ready to see or talk with me.” Lilith said. “Listen Em, we must go. We’re wasting time here.”
“No, I’m not going with you. What if they come back and I’m not here? Besides, I don’t like the forest.”
“I know and I understand, but your family needs you. Come on, let’s go.”
“No.” Em said. “I can’t.”
“Do you want your family back?”
“Oh yes, more than anything.”
“Then, you best make up your mind you are going with me.”
Em was quiet for a moment, and then said, “You’re right. I need to find them.”
Em took a deep breath in, and then let it out slowly.
“Let’s go Lilith.”
“That’s my girl, let’s go.”
With Lilith flying beside her, Em walked down the long hall and stepped out the back door. She walked down to the garden and followed the white gravel path to the end of the yard where the forest began. At the end of the pathway, Em stopped. Her body began to shake as the forest loomed in front of her. All the fears she had of the forest rushed at her, and she couldn’t move. She remembered the menacing trees and the wind howling through them, while the darkness surrounded her. She almost remembered something else, but couldn’t think of it. Fague memories of something like a man or monster.
“No! I can’t go in there, I won’t go. I’m scared of this place!” Em shouted. And she turned to go back to the house.
“Em, stop it now. You have to go. Think of your family!” Lilith said.
“I am Lilith, but I can’t go in there. You don’t understand. I was lost in this forest when I was four and I wasn’t found until dark. I was terrified.”
“I know,” Lilith replied. “I stayed with you until someone found you.”
“No you didn’t. No one was there, except…except; something…a monster? Mom and Dad said it was my imagination, but I know better.”
“Of course you didn’t see me, you were too young. Several other faeries came and brought your grandmother with them. That is how you were found. Now, come with me.”
“No!”
“Em, you’re going to have to make a decision, you want your family back, or you don’t. I know you don’t want to be alone in that large house, do you?”
Tears welled up in Ems’ eyes. “You know I want my family.”
“Okay,” Lilith said. “Then let’s go.”






Chapter 6


Fear clutched Em’s stomach as she slowly made her way through the thick carpet of leaves, still laden with the morning dew. She could smell the rotting leaves as they composted into the ground.
The Trickster was angry. He had placed those fears in Ems’ mind to stop her, and that nosy little faerie talked her into going any way. Just wait you two. You will be sorry you came into my forest. He thought to himself.
The sunlight became obscure as the trees shut it out. Many times Em stumbled over branches lying on the forest floor. Bushes grabbed her legs and left nasty scratches and no-see-ums took bites out of her flesh and made her itch. The forest was eerily quiet, but for a lone chirping bird. After they had been walking for quite a while, they entered a small clearing. The first thing Em saw was a tiny woman standing over a black kettle hanging above a fire. Lilith saw her too and flew over immediately.
“Saph, this is Em, come and meet her,” Lilith said.
Saph waved Em over. Em blinked her eyes and then rubbed them. The lady’s skin appeared to be tinged with blue, and when the sun peered through the thickness of the trees, it made her hair glow like the blaze that was lit under the kettle.
“Saph is one of our faeries,” Lilith said to Em.
“You look a bit tired young lady. Why don’t you sit down and I will fix you and Lilith some tea.” She said.
“Thank you,” Em said, as she looked around for something to sit on. Spotting a tree stump, she sat on that. Lilith perched on her shoulder.
“I’ve been expecting you,” Saph said. “Word is, your family has gone missing, but I didn’t realize you were Evelyn’s granddaughter. Here love, have some of my special tea. I’m sure you don’t have much time.”
“Thank you,” Em said. “It’s nice to be able to rest for a minute.”
Em smiled at how tiny the cup was. It reminded her of the Tea Set she had when she was little. She doubted there would be but a drop to drink, but she was surprised when the cup filled up again.
“How are you feeling now dear?” Saph asked.
“Actually I feel better. Thank you Ms. Saph.”
“Just call me Saph, okay? I’ glad you like my tea. It’s a special blend of mine.”
“It was very good.”
Lilith flew off of her shoulder.
“It’s time for us to go. Thank you Saph, we will see you again down at the lake. Come on Em, time is passing us by. We must hurry.”
“Good bye Saph, it was nice to meet you.”
Em turned around to catch up with Lilith.
“Ekkkk!” Em screamed.
Lilith immediately flew back.
“Em, what’s wrong?”
“What, what are those?” she said pointing down to the earth and toward the bushes.
Lilith laughed and laughed. Her voice sounding like little bells tinkling in the wind.
“You mean those little creatures looking somewhat like me?”
“Yes!”
“Em, those are f aeries. Saph put special herb in your  tea. It has made you see all the faeries.”
“Why didn’t she tell me instead of scaring me? I thought I was having nightmares again. And why are all those little creatures rushing that way?”

I’m sure she didn’t mean to scare you as much as give you sight of them. This way you can see them like they can see you. It is necessary as some of them love playing jokes on humans. Not to hurt, just to laugh.” Lilith said. “And they are rushing towards the lake like you and I are doing. The Queen summoned them to come immediately.”
“I guess she was right, I do need to see who I am talking to and I don’t need any jokes played on me right now,” Em said.
Em and Lilith continued on the path to the lake. Nervous and uncomfortable, Em ventured deeper and deeper into the woods with Lilith at her side.
“Since faeries stay invisible, why did I see you?” Em asked.
“The faeries and the Queen knew you needed help, so they decided I come to you in a visible form,” Lilith replied. “You would have eventually seen us since you have the gift like your grandmother.”
“I feel bad, I never believed Nana when she said these things to me. I thought she was telling me stories to make me laugh and have fun. I always believed faeries were made up for people to read about in books. How long have you been around?” Em asked.
“Oh, we have been here since the beginning of time. Faeries and humans used to work side by side. When humans became enchanted with technology, they forgot about the faeries. This is when all of us decided to go down to the earth and stay invisible. There are many of us. We come from all over the world. We tend to the plants in the forest and gardens, and take care of the trees, insects, wild animals, and much more. We take care of humans too, unless they have the gift to see us, they never know we are around. Most faeries are good. But there are some who like to play pranks. None are like the Trickster though. He is fiendish and we fairies abhor him! He comes and goes as he pleases. We never know when he is around because he can make himself invisible to anyone, including us.”

Tell me more about him Lilith, please,” Em asked.
“We don’t know much about him. He just showed up one day. A number of his jokes are annoying, however when he is in a foul mood, the jokes put many in harm’s way.” Lilith said.
“Mmm,”  Em said as she glanced at the sky through the small breaks in the tree tops. She realized the sun was setting. She had lost all sense of time and had no idea how long they had been in the forest.
Fear grabbed her. “I don’t know if I can do this Lilith. I think I want to go back home. I want my mom and dad.” Em said as the tears began to roll down her cheeks. Her little body trembled.
“Em, what makes a person brave is overcoming their fears.”
“I’m so scared of this forest. Please take me back home.”
“Em, the lake is not far from here. Follow me, I will stay with you. I know you can do this, look how far you have already come.”
Darkness had settled on them; Em looked upward and noticed many tiny spots of lights in the trees.
“Oh, how beautiful the fireflies are in the trees.”
Lilith followed Em’s gaze.
“Those are our faeries. We call them our night lights. They are usually seen after sunset, but I believe they are lighting the way for you Em. They can feel how uneasy you are.”
“I never dreamed there were such beautiful beings,” Em said quietly.
Plop! Ow! Em stumbled forward and fell hitting her knee and scraping her elbow.
Lilith flew down to her, “Are you alright Em?”
Em stood and brushed leaves, pine needles and small sticks off of her.

“I think so. I felt like someone pushed me, but I guess it was my clumsiness. I wasn’t looking down and tripped over something.”
Lilith’s yellow eyes turned dark amber.
“We should keep a watchful eye out Em; I think the Trickster is trying to scare you.”
With every crunch, pop, and noise, Em jumped. She could feel the forest closing in on her and she was losing her breath. Lilith could see the child was terrified, but she knew she must keep her going. Em began gasping just as music began to surround them.








Chapter 6


Fear clutched Em’s stomach as she slowly made her way through the thick carpet of leaves, still laden with the morning dew. She could smell the rotting leaves as they composted into the ground.
The wind blew hard kicking up leaves which hit Em in the face and made it hard for Lilith to keep her balance flying. The trees shook from side to side. The Trickster stirred up the wind and watched as the trees went back and forth. He wanted her to be scared, very scared and somehow, he plotted, he would take care of that nosy little faerie.
The sunlight became obscure as the trees shut it out. Many times Em stumbled over branches lying on the forest floor. Bushes grabbed her legs and left nasty scratches and tiny no-see-ums bugs took bites out of her flesh and made her itch. The forest was eerily quiet, but for a lone chirping bird. After they had been walking for quite a while, they entered a small clearing. The first thing Em saw was a tiny woman standing over a black kettle hanging above a fire. Lilith saw her too and flew over immediately.
“Saph, this is Em, come and meet her,” Lilith said.
Saph waved Em over. Em blinked her eyes and then rubbed them. The lady’s skin appeared to be tinged with blue, and when the sun peered through the thickness of the trees, it made her hair glow like the blaze that was lit under the kettle.
“Saph is one of our faeries,” Lilith said to Em.
“You look a bit tired young lady. Why don’t you sit down and I will fix you and Lilith some tea.” She said.
“Thank you,” Em said, as she looked around for something to sit on. Spotting a tree stump, she sat on that. Lilith perched on her shoulder.
“I’ve been expecting you,” Saph said. “Word is, your family has gone missing, but I didn’t realize you were Evelyn’s granddaughter. Here love, have some of my special tea. I’m sure you don’t have much time.”
“Thank you,” Em said. “It’s nice to be able to rest for a minute.”
“Your grandmother was the best of the best. She was very young when she was able to see and talk with us. We loved her so much! I still can’t believe she is gone. If any of us had a problem, she was right there to help us. And, if she was in trouble, we knew it and were right by her side.
“You know, I remember when one of our young faeries became ill and none of us had any treatments which worked for her. We went to your grandmother and she gave her one little drop of something she had. It was in a bottle up in a cabinet. I have to say, I had never seen such a beautiful bottle. And the liquid was an amber color.” Saph said.
“Did the bottle have funny looking glass?” Em asked.
“Why I believe it did, why?”
“I think that was whiskey she gave her.” Em said giggling.
“Nana used to tell me I could see and talk with you too, but I thought she was making it up. She really could and she did know about magic. How wonderful to know that many things she said to me was very true.” Em said.
Em looked own and smiled at how tiny the cup was. It reminded her of the Tea Set she had when she was little. She doubted there would be but a drop to drink, but was surprised when the cup filled up again.
“How are you feeling now dear?” Saph asked.
“Actually I feel better. Thank you Ms. Saph.”
“Just call me Saph, okay? I’ glad you like my tea. It’s a special blend of mine.”
“It was very good.”
Lilith flew off of her shoulder.
“It’s time for us to go. Thank you Saph, we will see you again down at the lake. Come on Em, time is passing us by. We must hurry.”
“Good bye Saph, it was nice to meet you.”
Em turned around to catch up with Lilith.
“Ekkkk!” Em screamed.
Lilith immediately flew back.
“Em, what’s wrong?”
“What, what are those?” she said pointing down to the earth and toward the bushes.
Lilith laughed and laughed. Her voice sounding like little bells tinkling in the wind.
“You mean those little creatures looking somewhat like me?”
“Yes!”
“Em, those are faeries. Faeries of the forest and the gardens and many more. Saph put a special herb in your tea. It has made you see the faeries.”
“Why didn’t she tell me instead of scaring me? I thought I was having nightmares again. They don’t look like you Lilith. Look at them, they are much tinier than you are and a lot of them are wearing brown hats and clothes. And why are all those little creatures rushing that way?”

I’m sure Saph didn’t mean to scare you as much as give you sight of them. This way you can see them like they can see you. It is necessary as some of them love playing jokes on humans. Not to hurt, just to laugh.” Lilith said. “And they are rushing towards the lake like you and I are doing. The Queen summoned them to come immediately.”
“Where do they all come from?” Em asked.
“They come from very far and near. As far as other towns and as near as your gardens. Most come on foot, some fly and some have tiny little butterflies they can travel on.”
“But, how did the Queen summon them?” Em asked.
“There is a horn which makes a sound that all faeries hear. When it sounds they know to come immediately.” Lilith said. “The horn is only used for emergencies.

“Oh, wow! I guess you could call this an emergency.” Em, replied.
“I guess Saph was right, I do need to see who I am talking to and I don’t need any jokes played on me right now,” Em said.
Em and Lilith continued on the path to the lake. Nervous and uncomfortable, Em ventured deeper and deeper into the woods with Lilith at her side.
“Since faeries stay invisible, why did I see you?” Em asked.
“The faeries and the Queen knew you needed help, so they decided I come to you in a visible form,” Lilith replied. “You would have eventually seen us since you have the gift like your grandmother.”
“I feel bad, I never believed Nana when she said these things to me. I thought she was telling me stories to make me laugh and have fun. I always believed faeries were made up for people to read about in books. How long have you been around?” Em asked.
“Oh, we have been here since the beginning of time. Faeries and humans used to work side by side. When humans became enchanted with technology, they forgot about the faeries. This is when all of us decided to go down to the earth and stay invisible. There are many of us. We come from all over the world. We tend to the plants in the forest and gardens, and take care of the trees, insects, wild animals, and much more. We take care of humans too, unless they have the gift to see us, they never know we are around. Most faeries are good. But there are some who like to play pranks. None are like the Trickster though. He is fiendish and we fairies abhor him! He comes and goes as he pleases. We never know when he is around because he can make himself invisible to anyone, including us.”

Tell me more about him Lilith, please,” Em asked.
“We don’t know much about him. He just showed up one day. A number of his jokes are annoying, like hiding a faeries sword or blowing their herbs over where they get caught in the wind and blow away for good. That is hard as it take them a long time to find and pick them. Things like that, foolish things. However when he is in a foul mood, the jokes put many in harm’s way.” Lilith said. “One time he put something in Saphs’ cauldron and when she went to stir it the flames shot up and almost caught her hair on fire. It scared her so bad, she didn’t light her cauldron for a good week.”
“Mmm,”  Em said as she glanced at the sky through the small breaks in the tree tops. She realized the sun was setting. She had lost all sense of time and had no idea how long they had been in the forest.
Fear grabbed her as the Trickster hovered near. “I don’t know if I can do this Lilith, she said as she felt the darkness surrounding her. I think I want to go back home. I want my mom and dad.” Em said. Tears began to roll down her cheeks and her little body began to tremble.
Lilith flew up towards Ems’ face darting back and forth to stay in front of her eyes.  “Em, what makes a person brave is overcoming their fears!”
“I’m so scared of this forest, Em said so low, Lilith came close to not hearing her. Please take me back home!”
“Em,” Lilith insisted, putting her little hands on Em’s wet cheek, “the lake is not far from here. Follow me! I will stay with you.” Lilith spread her little arms wide, trying to hug the little girl’s tears away. I know you can do this, she said, look how far you have already come!”
Em reached up to touch the little faerie. Soon she did feel better, especially since Lilith never once let go.
Darkness had settled on them; Em felt better since her tears had dried up. Not because she was brave, but because her tears had run out. He breathing slowed, she hesitantly glanced upward noticing many tiny spots of lights in the trees.
“Oh, she gasped, following their movement, how beautiful the fireflies are in the trees.”
Lilith followed Em’s gaze.
“Those are our faeries. We call them our night lights. They are usually seen after sunset, but I believe they are lighting the way for you Em. They can feel how uneasy you are.”
“I never dreamed there were such beautiful beings,” Em said quietly. Once again Em began to follow Lilith.
Plop! Ow! Em stumbled forward and fell hitting her knee and scraping her elbow.
Lilith flew down to her, “Are you alright Em?”
Em stood and brushed leaves, pine needles and small sticks off of her.
“I think so. It felt like someone pushed me, but I guess it was my clumsiness. I wasn’t looking down and tripped over something.”
Lilith’s yellow eyes turned dark amber.
“We should keep a watchful eye out Em; I think the Trickster is trying to scare you.”
With every crunch, pop, and noise, Em jumped. She could feel the forest closing in on her and she was losing her breath. Lilith could see the child was terrified, but she knew she must keep her going. Em began gasping just as music began to surround them.
Em began to calm, then asked, “Where is that music coming from?”
“Down by the lake! That’s where all the faeries are,” Lilith said excitedly.





Chapter 7


Em and Lilith made their way down and walked through the crowd. Em watched as faerie as he played a harp and spewed flames out of his mouth. Then she saw another one which looked part rabbit and part human. This one was playing a flute. When she spotted a faerie that had eyes on his hairy chest and no nose, she exclaimed loudly, EWE!
“Lilth, that one looks horrible, how in the world can he breathe?”
“I wouldn’t keep staring at him Em as he can be very unpleasant.” Lilith said.
Quickly, Em turned her head only to see two tiny men, with yellow skin, wearing green Lederhosen and green hats. They were giggling and pointing at Em and Lilith as they walked by.
“Oh, she is one of our sweet faeries. She likes to take care of houses where children live.”
As they walked, Em continued to take everything she saw, in.
“Where is”….a quiet had settled over the forest. Every faerie had stopped and were staring at Em.
“Em,” Lilith said, “Introduce yourself.”
With butterflies in her stomach and her body trembling, Em stuttered,
“Uh…Um, my name is Emily, Em for short. My family disappeared this morning and I have come here to find them.”
A petite faerie with porcelain skin and beautiful long black hair that hung down her back, stepped forward towards Em. She was dressed in a long white gown which changed into various pastel colors as she walked forward. Her mysterious eyes were a deep, dark blue. She studied Em for what seemed a long time. When she spoke, her voice sounded like a melody.
“Em, I have been waiting for you. My name is Elsa and I am Queen of the faeries. We have gathered here here to help you find your family. I will be the one to do the Obag for you.”





“Follow me. I will explain it to you.” Elsa said as she motioned Em to follow her. Em stepped forward to go with Elsa. The next thing she knew, someone pushed her on her hard and she fell flat on her face, barely missing Elsa.
Em stood and said, “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what is wrong with me.”
“Em, the Trickster is among us and he does not want you to be successful in finding your family.
Come; drink the tea I have prepared for you. It will protect you. Time is running out for your family. We must get to the Obag. We need to work fast.” Elsa said as she walked toward a clearing by the lake.
As they approached the clearing, Em saw a Cauldron sitting in the distance. Elsa had arranged three tea cups in a circle on a large tree stump. She sat down on a large toadstool. Em sat down in the soft grass. Lilith perched on a small stone.
Elsa poured the tea, then spoke, “an Obag is where you look into a pool of water and see images or messages which will help you know what happen to your family and how to find them.”
Em, listening intently, picked up her cup and brought it to her lips to drink.
Whack! Something invisible knocked the cup from her hand, and as it fell, the drop of liquid splashed on her leg causing a searing, stinging pain. Elsa was up and at Ems’ side in a flash. She placed her tiny, cool hands on the spot and the stinging stopped immediately. She then picked up the cup, cleaned it and poured more tea into it. Handing the tea to Em, she stood like a guard next to her.
“Drink Em, we must get to work,” Elsa said.
Em swallowed the drop as fast as she could. Elsa motioned for her to come to the Cauldron. Em stood to follow, but before her eyes a horrible looking monster appeared. He stood over six feet tall and was dressed like a rotting Jack or all Trades, in what was left of a red velvet op coast and pants. His face was huge and covered in warts and pustules and he had long black, unkempt hair that was matted and filthy. His ears were bigger than his head and had thick, long whiskers growing out of them. His hands and feet were swollen to ten times the normal size of a person. And he was furious! He turned and walked toward the faeries as the laughed and danced.  Before they even knew he was there, he raised his hand and produced a flash of yellow and orange light. Flames shot out, burning, maiming and killing many of them. Em froze. Everyone stared in horror. The warrior faeries immediately swarmed together and shot arrows at him while some hacked him with their swords. He continued to slap them away as he flashed more destruction on them. Every faerie that was still alive, grouped together and came after him, hitting him, slicing him and doing whatever they could to make him stop. He disappeared as fast as he had appeared.

Faeries lay dead on the ground, some burned so bad you couldn’t tell what they use to be. Others were crying with hurt as their friends took care of them. Em walked carefully through the little clearing with tears in her eyes. She was saddened by the devastation and death he had caused. Seconds before there was laughter and music, now there was crying and sadness.
Em turned and walked by to Elsa just as a group of warriors came up to her. The lead warrior spoke,
“Why should we help her? She has only brought us misery and death.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Em said. “I never dreamed anything like this would happen.”
Elsa spoke back, “You will help her. I command it. Her grandmother has been our friend for many years and we gave out word we would watch over her family. Now return to see what help you can give the rest of our people.”
The disgruntled warriors bowed and walked back to help their friends.
“Come Em, let’s go to the cauldron.” Elsa said.
Lilith immediately flew to the cauldron and sat on the edge facing the water. Elsa stood on the other side of the cauldron facing Em. Looking at the turquoise water, Em was surprised to see bubbles rippling toward the top. One grew large, giving off clearness with a hint of blue. Then it burst. Fascinated, Em drew closer to watch. After a minute, she began shaking her arms and pointing her fingers at the bubbles.
“Look, look!” Em shouted, surprising Lilith who went tumbling toward the water, saving herself just in the nick of time, from having a bath. She zoomed straight back up to the rim and plopped back down.
“What do you see Em?”
“It’s my family. They’re in our kitchen.”
POP! The bubble burst.
“No…no, I want to see them again.”
More bubbles rippled to the surface, one growing larger than the rest.
“Mom, Dad, Brad, it’s me Em,”
“They can’t hear or see you Em. Look closer,” Elsa said.
Em stared into the large bubble. She saw Brad waving and pointing towards the back yard. He was excited about something.
POP! The bubble burst. Em prayed for another to come soon. When it did, it was larger and clearer than the rest had been. She watched as they walked out onto the balcony in the back and down the steps.
POP! Em waited. “Where is the next bubble” When is it going to come?”
She looked up at Elsa for an answer and she saw that Elsa’s blue eyes were glowing and had turned the color of sea foam. A bright, sparkling light swirled around her.
“Continue to watch Em. You must learn to trust in your faith. It will bring you the information you seek.” Elsa said.
Em moved closer to the water and peered inside. Within seconds another bubble rippled up. Em blinked her eyes. She did not understand what she was looking at. The family was looking at a stone house sitting at the edge of the forest and next to their yard.
“We don’t have a stone house at the end of our yard,” Em said puzzled. “Where did that come from?”
POP! Feeling anxious for the next bubble, Em almost put her face in the water. The next bubble rippled up and this one was a big as a crystal ball.
Em watched as her family examined the house. She saw her dad talking while examining the door. She could tell it was made of stone, not wood. Wayne and brad were pushing on it. Sue picked out a piece of wood from the wood pile they kept for their garden, and handed it to Wayne. He shoved it into a space between the door and the wall. Everyone pushed on the door and as Em watched, it opened. One by one they entered the house and out of her sight.
POP!
“Please, one more bubble, I must know what happen to them,” Em said.
The water rippled and created many circles. But a large one did not come up. Em could hardly contain herself as she waited. It seemed like an eternity before the next bubble appeared. When it did, it was the size of a basketball. What Em saw next frightened her more than anything. Appearing from nowhere was the Trickster. He raised his hand and produced a flash of light. The door slammed shut. He turned, and with a sneer on his face, he and the stone house disappeared.
Em paled when the bubble burst. With tears in her eyes, she looked up at Elsa.
“He shut the door on them. How are they going to get out?”
“Come Em, sit with me,” Elsa said.
“Em, the stone house you described is a Mausoleum. I have seen one in the middle of the forest.”
Lilith looked at the distraught child, and felt all of her pain. With tears in her eyes, she flew off.
“My grandmother talked about one. She said she wanted to take me to it and wanted me to see the inside of it. I think this is where my Great Uncle Jacob is buried. But what has he got to do with all of this?”
“I wish I could say, but I can’t,” Elsa said. “All I can tell you is the Trickster is behind all of this. He has powers and he transported the house into the back of your yard to trick your family into going inside.”
Elsa stood and walked to where a gold box lay upon the ground. Shye came back and sat down next to Em. She opened the box and took out a Chain of Daisies, a Silver Flask, a Foxglove and a Mint leaf. She flew over to the cauldron and scooped water into the flask. Then flying up towards Ems face, she said,
“I give you the Chain of Daisies to wear around your neck.” She placed this over Ems head and on her neck. “This will protect you from faerie mischief.” Then she picked Ems hand up and placed the flower and the Mint Leaf into it. “The Foxglove is scared to all faeries as it has great healing power. The Mint Leaf has healing powers of the memory. When the time comes, crush both of these and place them into the flask of water, and give each of your family a drink. It will wake them and help them recover by giving them no memory of the fear they had while they were trapped.
“Thank you Elsa.”
“You must go now Em. It will soon be daybreak. The night lights will shine the way for you. Follow their path.
Em turned to leave. “Lilith, come on, we must go.”
When Lilith didn’t come, Em asked.
“Where is Lilith? She promised to stay with me throughout this journey.”
“Lilith flew off when she saw how sad you were,” Elsa said.
“But I can’t go without her Elsa, can you get her back?”
“No Em, that choice is Lilith’s to make. You have gained so much courage in yourself on this journey. Your family has been locked up for hours and you must not wait. It is up to you now. Go, follower the night lights.”
Her heart broken, Em turned toward the dark forest. Taking in a deep breath, she started down the path slowly. The little lights were brighter than the moon as they marked the way. She left the faeries, only stopping once to look back, and then continued down the path. Just as she turned a corner, she almost collided with a creature.
“Who are you? You almost knocked me down.”
“I am Nick and who are you? I’m in a hurry, I really must go. The sun will soon be up. No sun for Nick.” At that he disappeared.
Mmmm, thought Em. What a strange creature he was. She continued down the path. Suddenly she stopped and listened. She thought she heard voices behind her, but when she turned around to look, there was nothing but the trees and the black of night. Em felt uneasy, but continued on. Again she heard voices, and they were growing louder. Quickly she turned around, and was terrified to see the trees had uprooted themselves and were following her. Their murmuring voices grew louder and louder.
“STOP IT! GO AWAY!” Em shouted, as she pointed her finger and frantically shooed them away.  Then she turned around and ran as fast as she could down the path, stopping once to see if the trees were still there. Relief flooded through her when she saw they were gone.
Elsa, thank you for the Chain of Daisies, Em said to herself. Looking in front of her, the tiny lights held true giving off their gift of light.
Em followed the path and constantly looked ahead. While looking up and down the path in front of her, she saw a small clearing surrounded by an old rotted picket fence.  Pieces of dilapidated wood held some of it together. Cautiously she moved closer and realized it was an old grave yard. Tense, she approached it. When she was very near, she saw the stone house sitting in the center of old graves. Throwing all caution to the wind, she ran towards the grave yard, stepped over the fence, and rushed up to the door. Pounding on the door she call out,
Mom, Dad, can you hear me?”






Chapter 8

The stone was too thick for anyone inside or outside to hear if someone was calling them. Em stepped back and thought, how will I get this door open?
A little breeze blew around her face, causing her to look up. There was Lilith.
“Oh, now you come. I had to go alone down the dark path, with only the little lights to help me. Why Lilith, Why? You promised to stay with me.”
“Don’t be mad at me Em, I had to go. I went in search of the magical ring your grandfather gave to your grandmother. It will help you Em. I finally found it in your chest in your bedroom. I had to use a little magic, but I got it opened and here I am.
“Why is this ring so special?” Em asked.
Lilith placed it in her hand and said; “This is made of finely ground silver and pure gold. It has been shaped to fit your finger.” Em slid the ring on. “Once you get this door open, take the ring off and wedge it between the door and the floor. It will keep the Trickster from closing it. Then you will have time to get your family out.”
“Thank you Lilith, I guess I was wrong, you are a true friend of mine and I am so glad you are here.”
“Em, how are you going to get the door open?” Lilith asked.
I have been thinking about that,” Em said.” Elsa gave me some gifts, a mint leaf and a foxglove. She said it would break the spell on my family, if I crush them up and put them into the water in this flask and give them each a drink of it. If I sprinkle a little water on the door, why wouldn’t it work?”
“Try it Em. Let’s see if it works, but make sure not to use all of it.”
Em looked around for a small rock and a large one. When she found them she crushed the mint leaft and the Foxglove and placed them in the flask full of water and shook it hard. She opened the flask, stepped up to the door, and sprinkled a little of the water on it. Then she stepped back and waited.
“Elsa said to have faith.” Em said.
Suddenly, hearing stone against stone grinding, the door moved. Inch, by inch, it moved slowly until it was opened. Em walked to the open door and stared into the blackness that greeted her. Taking a deep breath, she stepped inside. Darkness surrounded her and she blink frantically. Slowly her eyes began to adjust to her surroundings. Fuzzy, then clear, she gasped at what she saw.
Many Vaults with the bones of the dead, lined the walls. As her heart pounded, she tried to read some of the markers, but could only make out some of the words.
“Here li__Ma__h_:bor__170_;die_172_of consu__p__n.”
Em proceeded to look around the room and saw a flame coming from a small golden bowl on the floor. It was placed next to a stone casket, its’ top covered by glass. A chill ran down her spine and the hairs stood up on her neck. Someone had to keep the flame burning! Em bit down on her lip and clenched her fist, then walked over to peer through the glass which was covered in dust. She cleaned enough off so she could see inside the casket. Looking in she had to stifled a scream as she stared at a skeleton wrapped in a velvet burgundy suit, its’ sheen lost long ago. She felt eeriness as she looked in the black sockets that once were eyes.
Kneeling down she saw a brass plate. The plate was shiny like it was almost new. Em thought to herself, someone has to be taking care of this. Em began to read it.
Jacob Wheeler
Born 1810 – died 1837
Unloved in life by all – so be it as well in death
May he be cursed as “The Trickster” for all eternity

Em wanted to scream. Then run and run, not stopping until she was safe at home. Suddenly she saw, out of the corner of her eye, a body lying on the floor. She thought she was trapped in a nightmare that would not stop.
Slowly realization overcame her and she broke free from her fears. It was her father. She ran to his side and reached for him. Next to him were her mother and brother.
“Em! Quick! The ring, wedge it under the door.” Lilith screamed. “The Trickster is here!”
Glancing towards the door, Em saw the trickster. He was almost to the entrance of the crypt. Slipping the ring off, she bolted forward and wedged it under the door. The Trickster came so close to her, she could smell his foul breath.
Em rushed back to her fathers’ side.
The Trickster growled, and then he roared, “Why have you disturbed my casket?”
He raised his hand and a light flashed. Em was knocked backwards into the wall, knocking her down. Lilith flew at the Trickster and buzzed back and forth in his face. With his huge hands he swatted at her until he finally threw her back towards the cemetery. Lilith screamed. Hearing Lilith cry out, Em stood. The girl who was afraid to step foot into the woods, the girl, afraid of all things that go bump in the night, rushed at the Trickster screaming like a banshee, “GO AWAY! GO FROM THIS PLACE AND LEAVE US ALONE!”
The Trickster stopped, then with a slobbering sneer, crossed over the thresh-hold, advancing towards Emily. Without hesitation, she seized the gold bowl with its’ small flame, and threw it at him. Liquid splashed onto his rotten clothes and flames engulfed him. He let out a hideous howl; the monster morphed into a man who looked stunned, then back into the monster as he thrashed about, then he vanished, leaving a puff of smoke. The casket which held his body shook and the glass top shattered. Em held her breath as she watched small flames shoot out of it, then stopped. Cautiously she walked to the casket and peered in. All that remained were ashes. The Trickster was no more.
Em ran back over to her parent. She carefully reached into her pocket, pulled out the flask, and then gently poured the liquid into her fathers’ mouth. He began to stir. She went to her mother where she lay motionless. Em parted her lips and poured water into her mouth and gently shook her. Her eyes opened.
“Drink a little more mom; it will make you feel better.”
Then she went to Brad and performed the same thing as she did with the others.
“Em…Em…where are we?” Mom asked puzzled.
Then her dad asked, “What happened?”
“You have been locked in this crypt for a whole day and night,” Em said.
“Em, what’s wrong with Mom and Dad? Where are we?” Brad asked.
“We are in a crypt in the middle of the forest behind our house.” Em said.
“But…but…Em, I don’t understand.” Dad said. “How did we get here and how did you know…Wait a minute, you, in the woods? You are terrified of the forest and have been since you were little. Are the town’s people that helped you out side? I would like to get more information and thank them.”
“There isn’t anyone else dad, only me. I didn’t have time to get help. Let’s get out of here and go home. I will try to explain when we get home, but I don’t think you will believe me.” Em said.
As they walked out the door, dawn was breaking. There was no sign of Lilith. Em smiled. She knew she would see her again. After all, she had the gift to see faeries now. Going towards the path a large dust cloud swirled in front of them. They stopped to let it pass. When it did, there were butterflies, hundreds of butterflies. Swirling and flying all around them.
“Wow,” Brad said. “Look they’re Monarchs!”
“They are beautiful,” mom said. “But it isn’t the season for them.”
Once again, Em smiled to herself as she passed through the beautiful insects.
For just a moment, but only a moment, Em saw faeries, not butterflies.



Em and the family made it home safe and sound. During the next week, Em tried to explain to them exactly what happened. None of them believed her, so she said they must have forgotten they went for a walk and all she knew is when they didn’t come back, she had to go look for them. When she saw the Mausoleum, she notice footprints around it and realized they had gone inside. Somehow the door must have shut and that is how they became trapped. She said it took her quite a while to get the door open, but when she did, she gave them a sip of water from the little flask she had brought with her.
Em’s family had gained a new respect for her. As her dad said,
“She isn’t a little girl anymore, she grew up.”
Em did ask her brother if he was the one who lit the flame, but Brad said no. The only thing Em could figure out was the Trickster himself kept the flame going. After all, it was his place of rest.










word count 18975



















































       

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