I consider myself to be a trusting soul. I like to think well of people, and wish to live in the sort of world where one can depend on the honesty of others. Even so, it was somewhat frightening to put my trust in the word of a naturally mischievous pixie.
Once I had made the captured pixie promise to deliver my message to Idris, and lifted the hat to release it, the little ball of yellow light shot up into the air like a roman candle. It flew straight up into the velvet sky and vanished all in an instant. The stolen children and I watched after it’s departure silently for a startled moment.
“Now what?” asked the girl with the blond pigtails, breaking the silence.
“Now, I suppose we have to wait and see,” I offered with a soft sigh. I looked down to find that my snow-monkey cookie was now gone, as well. We wouldn’t get another try if this first attempt failed.
The ginger girl gave a heavy sigh and propped her freckled face in her hands. “Now I’m hungry, too,” she moaned.
“Don’t worry,” I offered with a smile. “Idris will rescue us in no time at all. He can do anything.”
The children seemed to be somewhat reassured by this, though we all fell then into another thoughtful and anxious silence, waiting for rescue. As we waited, my mind began to fill with doubts in my own choices. Perhaps it would have been better to make the pixie carry my wish for freedom, rather than simply the message. Idris couldn’t use his magic without a wish to grant, after all. Then again, the message I gave it might already be too convoluted. Either way, Idris was far from alone. Surely he could ask any of his friends in the circus to make wish that would help him to rescue us. But what if he’d noticed my absence and left the circus to search for me? Then the pixie wouldn’t be able to deliver any message at all to him, because I’d made it promise to find Idris in the circus..
As the minutes grew longer and my thoughts more worried and mixed about, I rubbed at my face with my hands to try to help clear my mind. At this point, I had done all that was in my power to do. I could only have faith that it had been enough.
Suddenly, and without warning, a bright, yellow ball of light appeared out of thin air, right before my face, and shot a little, needle-like burst of shimmering yellow dust directly at my nose. I jerked in surprise at the stinging sensation of the projectile and stared at the pixie in shock.
“I hate you,” the little yellow light declared with an acid tone, bobbing slightly in the air just before me. “You and your damn djinn.”
“Did you deliver my message?” I asked it, fearful that it hadn’t. The children closed in around the pixie and I, eager to hear its answer.
“Yes, and then your stupid djinn trapped me too!” the pixie snapped at me. “He made me promise to tell you a message.”
“What message?” I asked quickly.
The pixie gave a great, annoyed, sigh. “He can’t come to Faerie. He’s going to open a doorway for you, but you have to come through it on your own.”
“A doorway?” I asked. “Where? What will it look like?”
“Search me,” the pixie said flippantly. “I hope you never find it, you horrible little ape. I hope you die in a fire—!”
As I stared back at the pixie’s wrath in shock, the boy in blue moved suddenly. In an instant, he managed to toss my handkerchief over the pixie and gather the ends tightly together into a bundle, trapping the pixie again. The other children gasped at his swift motion, while the pixie began to curse profusely once again.
“Good work, my boy!” I declared, smiling at him as he held tightly to the cloth, while the pixie fought uselessly for freedom. “We’re going to have to send Idris another message—”
My words fell silent as I was startled by a great disturbance in the air above us. The glowing blue leaves of the trees whipped around as if in a hurricane, while we ourselves were nearly thrown down into the snow by the force of the wind. The children and I turned our gazes to the sky to see what looked like a whirlpool in the sea, hanging in the very air fifty feet above us. As the children shrieked in fear and I struggled to peer into the apparition against the wind, I began to see the image of a number of obscured human looking figures in the center of the whirling vortex. In an instant, the image cleared and I recognized Idris’s pure white, and black tattooed, face among the others.
“That’s it!” I yelled to the children. “That’s the doorway! We must get through it!”
“It’s too high!” one of the children yelled back over the din of rushing wind.
“Oh! Oh!” the ginger girl yelped suddenly, wide-eyed. She flapped her arms frantically as if she suddenly believed she might fly. “Pixie dust! Happy thoughts!”
“What?” asked the boy in blue who still clung to the bundled pixie.
“Give me that!” the ginger girl said, moving quickly to snatch the trapped pixie from his hand.
She then plucked the pixie out of the handkerchief with her fingers and shook the tiny creature around at all of us. The motion sent great swirls of sparkling yellow dust into the air, falling off of the screaming pixie and splashing all over the children and me. The children watched her, looking just as bewildered as I felt, myself.
“Think happy thoughts!” she yelled to us. She yelped as the pixie apparently bit at her fingers, and she released it out of reflex. The pixie flew away quickly into the forest, though it’s path clearly showed that the thing was now horribly dizzy as it ran into a few of the trees.
“What are you talking about?” one of the other children yelled to the ginger girl, as the air around us continued to swirl.
“Think of candies and cakes!” the ginger girl yelled back with a wide smile. “Think of puppies! Anything happy!”
As I struggled to understand any of this, I heard a number of startled cries. Some of the children were lifting off of their feet, and into the air. At first, I feared that they were being taken aloft by our captors, returning to steal us all away to some horrid fate, but then I saw that all of them were smiling widely. The ginger girl cheered at them, and continued to encourage the rest of us to think only the happiest thoughts.
I gaped around me as child after child rose up into the air, each one shouting out the names of their favorite treats, mother’s kisses, sunny afternoon games, and all of their happiest thoughts. The highest ones began to slip through the still raging vortex, propelled by joy alone. I banished all doubts by sheer force of will, and closed my eyes to focus on the brightest thought I could manage.
“Bananas!” I bellowed, focusing my whole mind on the delicious, beautiful fruit. I instantly felt my own feet begin to lift out of the snow.
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