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Beyond the Iron Gate (The Faery Meadow Book 1)

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Chapter 2-Memories of Mother

Elaine laid in her bed and watched the dust drift across her room in specs of whites and golds. She shifted on the maroon comforter at her back and rolled over onto her side looking out her bedroom window.

Outside, ten years ago, she would commonly be found at this hour outside helping her mother with her garden. The garden expanded the large border of her backyard where a wooden fence divided the thick forest from their once manicured, but now overgrown, lawn.

The flowers no more were kept in their beds, but now were scattered throughout the entirety of the yard like weeds.

At the very back of their yard, were three hive boxes where the honeybees around this time of year would harvest pollen. Her parents sold the honey at their farmer’s market.

Elaine remembered the day her mother disappeared collecting the honey. She was looking out her bedroom window ten years ago and saw her mother finish up filling the honey buckets to bring back up to the house. However, her mother appeared to have seen something off in the woods beyond her yard. However, Elaine didn’t see anything herself. So she watched from her bedroom as her mother set down the buckets and wandered beyond the woods where the trees seemed to swallow her tall frame whole.

The young woman rolled over onto her side and thought about her new stepmother. There was no sense in being upset that she was mean when only in a few years she knew she would move out and go to college somewhere away from here. She dreamed of the day.

The memories of her missing mother quickly faded away and were replaced by the haunting voice that ceased to leave her alone in the hours of the night. It annoyed her and disturbed her much more than her stepmother ever could. She quickly told her parents about the voice that she started hearing about a year ago.

Her parents dismissed it as her dreaming and even sent her to a psychiatrist when she persisted it was something more. The young woman knew they would never believe her and it made her question her sanity. So when the psychiatrist said it was just a teen phase she pretended it was just that.

Elaine never did believe in the supernatural, but she knew that’s what the voice had to be. She sat up a little in her bed at the thought and watched a yellow moth flutter by her window.

Its small form reminded her of the faeries she and her neighborhood friend used to imagine finding in their yards.

Come to me, the voice spoke in her head. Elaine bristled at the sound. For it was the first time she heard it in the hours of the day.

She jumped from her bed looking around her small room wildly for the source as she did every time the voice reached her. She had no idea where it could be though and she knew it would not belong to some far away potential ‘lover’ like the young adult romance novels in her small bookshelf alluded to.

She frowned at the thought and spoke with scorn, “Who are you? What do you want?”

However, just like all the other times, the voice would leave her questions unanswered only to speak again weeks, or sometimes, months later.

Elaine crawled back onto her bed and squinted looking out into the backyard of her home. The giant pines were still, but a sudden wind picked up and shook them. Her heart caught in her throat seeing something red standing between two trees in the distance. It was too far away for her to make out and after a moment, the strange figure disappeared.

Elaine’s mind raced along with her heart as she cranked the old fashion window shut. It closed with a satisfying thud and she slumped back against the pillows of her bed.

She had no idea what to make of the red thing that looked strikingly human, but at the same time there was nothing human about them for most of the red glow came from the strange red wings hanging over their shoulders in the shade of the tree limbs. There was hope now within her. Hope that she wasn’t crazy after all. She did not welcome the idea that something wanted her though because she had a feeling the same something could have wanted her too.

Perhaps, the very same something even snatched her mother away. Yes, she knew that had to be it. After all, she always knew there was something strange about her parents because the day her mother left was the day her father left too.

Her current home was home to many different foster parents over the years. Her relatives first took care of her when her father walked out on her, but eventually, people in suits came with their government badges and brought random couples who in her young mind were just temporary babysitters.

Now, she knew they were foster parents just like the ones downstairs arguing over her panic attacks like the one they thought she was having now.

They were only human, but she thought her parents were something more. She even thought she may be too because although she didn’t witness her father’s departure, she did her mother’s. Something strange did happen after her mother passed through the iron gate of their backyard. She never did consider it to be possible. For years she thought she was just seeing things, but after seeing the thing in her yard today she knew it must be true.

Elaine screamed in frustration while thrashing through the drawers of her wooden dresser, but a person wouldn’t be small enough to fit in there. Her drawers were left open and some clattered onto the ground as she turned away from them on her heels continuing her search for the maddening voice.

She threw open her closet tossing racks of clothes on the floor, but she still didn’t find what she was looking for. She paused to reconsider her actions.

The creature she saw outside wasn’t small like she always imagined as a child. It was bigger and walked around like her. It wouldn’t necessarily fit in her sock drawer or behind her clothes in her closet. It could be anywhere for she saw it herself to be the size of a human.

Elaine grabbed her head and crumpled to the floor in bitter anger. It could be anywhere and it terrified her that she couldn’t do anything about it. She got up then and crawled into her bed. Her eyes sharpened and hardened as she watched the empty space in the woods where the faery man stood not even five minutes ago.

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