“What are we looking at?”
“But there’s nothing here!”
“There will be! Now be quiet!”
Cindy covered Joey’s mouth with her hand. He brushed it off, but did as she told him nonetheless. The two children huddled closer as they stared over the rocks at the empty field ahead.
“I still don’t get why you brought me here,” Joey whispered after five uneventful minutes.
“You will.” Cindy glanced up at the full moon just beginning to poke through the clouds. “It’s almost time.”
They sat quietly for another several minutes, waiting. Joey opened his mouth, about to complain that it was cold and this was boring and he wanted to go home, but the words never left his throat. Just then, a circle of light appeared in the middle of the field, in the very spot Cindy had pointed out when they arrived.
“C-Cindy?” Joey stammered, suddenly afraid. “W-What’s happening?”
But Cindy didn’t seem to notice her friend cowering beside her. She was too busy grinning as she leaned over the rock for a better view.
“Here they come!”
She quivered with excitement as little balls of light began to appear across the field. One by one, the floating lights materialized into tiny glowing figures with wings. Joey’s eyes grew wide as he stared into the field, unable to believe what he was seeing.
“Are those…?” he gasped. Cindy nodded without taking her eyes off the scene ahead.
The fairies all gathered around the circle of light in the middle of the field. One of them, who was slightly brighter than the rest and wore a crown on her head, raised her hands to call for silence, a request immediately respected by all the others. Cindy turned to Joey, who was now leaning over the rock beside her.
“That’s the fairy queen!” she whispered. The two of them watched quietly as the leader of the fairies began to speak.
“My children!” she said in a kind yet authoritative voice. “Tonight, let us give thanks to our Mother Earth for her bounty. Let us praise her, that we may never find ourselves wanting of her generosity. Let her know that we are eternally grateful for her kindness. So sing and be merry, my children! Tonight, we dance!”
The queen raised her hands again and all the fairies cheered. A small group beside her began to bang and strum on tiny instruments, and soon the air was filled with music. Cindy and Joey watched, enthralled, as some of the little glowing figures joined hands and danced around the center circle while others twirled through the air in pairs. It was a sight to take the breath away.
“Aren’t they beautiful?” Cindy sighed dreamily, her head in her hands. Joey nodded without even realizing.
“They really are.”
The children giggled as they watched the fairies dance and sing. Before long, they too found themselves getting caught up in the spirit of the music.
“May I have this dance?” Joey said in a mock grown-up voice as he stepped back and bowed to his friend. Cindy curtsied and waved an imaginary fan.
“I thought you’d never ask!”
The two friends laughed as they imitated the fairies, twirling around in circles until they were dizzy. Then…
Cindy and Joey froze, their smiles vanishing instantly. They turned around slowly to see two glowing figures floating before them, watching them with wide, pale blue eyes.
“What are you doing here?” one of the fairies asked, his brow raised in suspicion. While Cindy and Joey exchanged awkward looks, the other fairy turned to her companion.
“Don’t frighten them, Eldan!” she said in a much softer tone, taking him by the arm. “They’re not hurting anyone. They’re just children!”
“Human children, Shea,” said the first fairy as he turned to his friend. “You know we don’t allow humans here. What would the queen have to say about this?”
“Why don’t we ask her?”
“You want to take them to the queen?”
“Why not?” Shea smiled. “They clearly like to dance too! I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. She might even be delighted to have them join us!”
Eldan glanced at the nervous children, then turned back to his companion and sighed in defeat. “Fine, if you say so. But if we get in trouble for this…”
“We won’t.” Beaming, Shea fluttered over to Cindy and Joey and extended her hand to them. “It’s okay, don’t be afraid. Come with us! We don’t bite!”
“Speak for yourself,” said Eldan, sparing a piercing look at Joey. The boy drew back at those words, but Shea calmed him with a gentle laugh.
“He’s joking, sweetie. This guy couldn’t hurt a fly if he wanted to!”
The fairy fluttered down between the children and reached out to touch their hands. Dazed, Cindy and Joey stepped forward as Shea led them by their forefingers out from behind the rocks and into the field, Eldan following close behind. They didn’t know what to expect, but of one thing they were certain: the night was about to get far more interesting.
To be concluded next Friday