|© Claudia McKinney and Tiffany Mize-Carter|
Ivy snatched my hand as sparks of light shot from her wings. Before I could rip my hand away, the meadow spun out from beneath us. Higher and higher we arced until all was lost in a misty haze. Slowly our speed tapered off as we slipped through an opening in the tree’s canopy. Snuggled deep in the tree’s embrace, a town sparkled below.
“This is Holloway Springs,” Ivy whispered.
Silver spires swept by as we glided past a series of towers and sundecks. Carved into Holloway Springs’ upper extremities lay the housing communities of Y’nnowyn, Merrymore, and Lillipucker Folley. Painted decks gift-wrapped the dwellings with vanilla, cherry, and grape trim.
As we drifted below, more of the town’s stunning architecture came into view. My heart raced as I realized that one of the domes sat atop a giant library. Had the faeries really discovered the invention known as books? Perhaps there was a place for me after all, at least for a couple weeks.
Town Square was a spectacle unto itself: A series of conjoined discs with minimal structural support hung in the air. Main Street, the causeway snaking through the heart of Halloway Springs, teemed with bustling gardens, quaint little coffee shops and cascading fountains that poured into the levels below. A series of arching bridges tied together the remaining communities of Etherharp, Dewdrop and Wandering Way.
Amidst our descent, the unmistakable scent of chocolate came over me. I would later discover that every town in Timara had its own invisible chocolate shop; obviously some amenities were more important than others.
Not as much as a peep could be heard as our feet met the cobblestone. My eyes scanned over the barren streets and storefronts, wondering how I’d missed the endless array of clothing stores and jewelry boutiques that dominated the strip. I guess selective memory was in full swing.
Cautiously I stepped forward, footsteps echoing through the abandoned streets.
I could feel their eyes upon me. The faeries probably didn’t know what to make of me—an old geezer with a thick gray mustache and a bramble of spinach trailing from his chinny-chin-chin. Was it possible that I was in fact Y’velina’s new groom? I pondered that myself.
“Perhaps we should have knocked first,” I quipped.
Ivy circled, playing out the charade. “Hmm…something’s not quite right here. What could it be?”
A child giggled nearby.
What is that I hear?
An angel whispering
Into my ear?
Ever so dear
And a tear
More giggles. Ivy raised an eyebrow.
Fiendish and spry
Tickle my belly
Until I cry
In the hollow
Of my silver-leafed bed
Till I’ve not a whimper
Nor tear to be shed
Applause erupted from every corner.
I may not see you
Not quite yet
I may not hear you
Oh quite yet
But if I feel you
I might just get
A smile from wing to wing
More hands found their way together.
“More?” Ivy giggled.
The high-pitched cacophony hailed her on.
“Well,” Ivy bit her lip. “Perhaps one more.”
On the road to Holloway Springs
A voice in the air did sing
Of a daughter of fae
Lost in the fray
In a battle of future kings
And journey she did from afar
From suncept to falling star
Till her heart broke in two
And tears ran anew
In a cell without any bars
In sorrow just what did she find?
But a human so gentle and kind
Who saved the day
In his own special way
And all of future mankind
The tree shook from the thunderous ovation. One by one they cast their magic aside, revealing their ivory hair, purple eyes, and flowing tears. A plump faery in a mauve dress stepped forward and embraced Ivy as more piled on.
I nearly cracked a smile until I realized I was also on the menu. There was little time to think, to react. So I did what any logical human would do–I ran, as fast as my legs could carry me. I did not get far until I collapsed under an avalanche of hugs and kisses.