She chased the cat out of the woods and across the field to the edge of a ravine. She stood now, staring down into the abyss. She knew she wasn’t suppose to leave the confines of the woods, but Chara had run away and she was wanted to catch her and bring her back to the house.
As she stood staring into the chasm, she understood why her mother had been so insistent that she not leave the woods. Her mother hadn’t wanted her to know about the drop off. She knew that it would be too much for Elizabeth to resist.
Elizabeth was an explorer and she loved to climb. There was no way she could ignore this ravine now that she’d found it. The urge to explore was like a fire burning inside her that she could not ignore. This was something that she was born to do.
She glanced around then quickly scurried over the edge. She shimmed down the embankment like a billy goat! She was a natural born climber and she had started climbing the trees in the woods almost as soon as she could walk. Her mother still told the story of the time she had searched everywhere for her only to find her on the roof when she was four years old.
Elizabeth knew her mother worried about her, but she had no reason to. She practically stuck to the side of the ravine as if she covered in glue. There was no slope too steep and no tree too high. Climbing is what she did best, after all!
Reaching the bottom more quickly that should have been humanly possible; she dropped to the ground, brushed herself off and stood to look around.
She stood in a lush valley, the growing things so green it was like an emerald carpet spreading out in every direction. It was like another world.
The faint sound of music drifted across the valley and she set off to find its source. Coming to a sparkling blue stream, she stopped to sit and watch the water for awhile. Suddenly she realized that she wasn’t alone. She was surprised, but not afraid.
Turning to her right, she silently regarded the woman perched on the rock next to her. She was dressed all in green, from the leaves weaved in her hair to her soft velvet shoes. She looked kind and Elizabeth could have sworn she saw a gossamer set of wings flutter out of sight just as she turned to see her.
“Hello,” The green woman spoke, “What are you?”
“I’m a girl” Elizabeth replied as this were a perfectly reasonable question, “What are you?”
“I’m a fairy.” The women said as she cocked her head and studied Elizabeth intently, “I’ve never seen a human girl before.”
“I’ve never seen a fairy before,” Elizabeth replied, “I thought you’d be smaller.”
The fairy let out a tinkling sound of laughter, then she dipped her foot into the stream and kicked a shower of water up into the air. Elizabeth giggled at that and stuck her hand into the stream to splash her own spray of water into the air.
Giggling now, water flying, the coldness sharp and shocking yet exhilarating. Elizabeth shrieked in laughter as she tore around the bank, splashing her new friend and dodging sprays of water sent her way.
Shaking the water from her body almost like a dog would, the fairy smiled dazzlingly at her and winked as wings popped out and she flew straight up into the air! Elizabeth got so excited that she forgot, for a moment, that she herself couldn’t fly. Jumping straight up into the air after the tinkling sound of fairy laughter, Elizabeth felt something pop out of her own back and realized with a start that she was still in the air!
Wings beat at her back, the vibration odd yet somehow vaguely familiar. She tried to turn to look at them and found herself turning in circles. She stopped before she could get dizzy, then darted straight up, then forward, then stopped to hover again.
Turning in midair, she saw the fairy regarding her, mouth agape.
“You said you were a girl! A human girl!” The fairy accused.
“I am! I was! I mean……….” Elizabeth trailed off. She had no idea why she should have wings, her mother had never mentioned such a thing.
Her mother! Elizabeth zipped straight up in the air in surprise! She suddenly realized how much trouble she was going to be in when her mother couldn’t find her in the woods.
“I-I’m sorry, I have to go!” She gulped as she turned and literally flew through the valley back to the wall of the ravine. Straight up she shot, tumbling over the edge and crash landing in the grass above. Chara, her cat, still sat at the edge, licking a paw as though she hadn’t a care in the world.
Elizabeth grabbed the cat and made a mad dash back toward home, hoping her mother hadn’t noticed her absence yet. She had.
Her mother stood at the front door, hands on her hips, foot tapping. She had a long suffering look on her face. She was a mother all too use to her child running off willy nilly into the woods, completely oblivious to her mother’s worry.
Her expression turned from one of annoyance to utter shock in about two seconds flat. Elizabeth halted in her forward run toward the cabin to look around her for the source of her mother’s shock. Turning in a circle, she remembered her new wings.
She looked back at her mother, denials of wrong doing on her lips but her mother did not yell at her. Instead, the shock faded into resignation.
“Come inside Elizabeth,” her mother said, “we have a lot to discuss.”