Being immortal was fantastic. Toby had seen the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. He was a witness to Cleopatra seducing Julius Caesar. He had watched in shock and horror as wars ravaged the Earth between mortals and immortals. The latter is what had him worried the most. The fairy folk had been in a fight with the werewolves for some time now, but recently it had become more violent. The mutilated body of a fairy had been found in a drainage ditch in some small town in the mortal country USA. So here Toby was begrudgingly packing his bag to go to the town of Cartersville, Maryland. He would rather have his wings ripped off then go to the mortal realm. He knew he had to go since it was his rightful duty as a high guardian. He should be elated and proud that the king had chosen him to go. Toby took one final look around his house and tossed on his backpack. With one final sigh he walked out into the early morning light.
A couple hours later Toby was walking down a shady dirt path. Rolling hills with donkeys dotting their slopes to his left and to his right was a field of wildflowers. As he walked he slowly hid his fairy features. Gone were his wings, lime green skin and he managed to hide his sword as well. Toby was glad that it had been enhanced with special stones so it would shrink to the size of a small dagger. Toby pulled out the scroll that had been sent to him the night before trying to figure out where he was supposed to be going. Wandering into town he searched for the diner where he was supposed to meet Officer Carter. Daniel Carter and him went way back. They had gone to school together and had attended guardian training together. Carter had been assigned to the mortal world to protect the mortals and alert the council to any wrongdoings of immortals in that realm. Toby finally found the diner. It was dirty and very run down looking and as he pushed the door open a delicate bell tinkled to announce his arrival. As mortals would say he felt like a criminal. Every eye in the diner turned and stared at him. He suddenly became self-conscious worried that he didn’t hide his true identity enough. All eyes followed him as he walked through the diner to the only clean table in the very back of the diner.
“What do you want to drink, honey?” An older waitress wearing a name tag that read Alice asked him.
“Um water?” He wasn’t sure what mortals drank. A few minutes later the dainty bell rang and in walked Daniel. He was a tall well built man, but was starting to show his age. As Toby watched Daniel walk toward the booth he noticed that almost everyone said hi to him.
“How are you doing Toby?” asked Daniel as he slid into the booth wiping invisible crumbs off the table. Before he had a chance to reply the waitress Alice was back asking Daniel if he wanted his usual.
“Seems everyone knows you around here?” Toby inquired.
“Well when you live in a town for as long as I have and as small as it is you tend to start to know everyone and everything.” Alice was back by then with a steaming mug and promptly placed it in front of Daniel. “Also there is only about 550 people in town.” He told Toby as he stirred his coffee.
Curious Toby asked “What is that?”
“Coffee?” Daniel replied laughing. “You really don’t get out much do you?”
“No not really. You know I prefer training and being in the valley.” Toby thought wistfully of the Illmore` the valley that the fairy folk called home.
“Well I asked you here because those rabid beasts attacked one of us late last night again. I sent for you as soon as I got the call. Im the only fairy on the force here. I knew what had happened as soon as I received word on the wounds on the body. Everyone thought she had gone on walk and thought she had been attacked by bears when she didn’t return home. But I heard through the vines that the werewolves were getting a little bold in their attacks again. They don’t care about the high council anymore or the treaty.”
“Is it Valentino again?” Toby asked. A couple centuries ago Valentino started an uprising stating that werewolves were the supreme race and should be the governors of the immortals, that they would show the mortals who the real world leaders were. They felt the immortals shouldn’t be hidden from the mortals. Toby knew if the werewolves gained the power they wanted that the mortals would be in grave danger.
Werewolves saw mortals as their slaves but also a tasty meal as well. Toby felt that the weight of the world was on his shoulders hearing that the werewolves were at it again.
Daniel sat stirring his coffee he didn’t have an answer for Toby so instead he changed the subject. “Well now what do we do?” Daniel asked Toby.
“We call a council meeting. We have to stop him.” Toby practically shouted at him.
“We don’t have enough evidence though it was Valentino.” Daniel vehemently whispered back. “How much evidence do we really need though? Just go back and look at the history books. Hes tried it before whats to say its not him now?” Daniel knew Toby was right he just didn’t want to admit it.
“There are fairies dying and who knows what other immortal races are being attacked right now that we don’t know about.” Toby said with disgust. He hated Valentino. Actually hate wasn’t the strongest word for how much he disliked him. Valentino had taken the one thing Toby loved the most in the world and destroyed it. It had been nearly a century, but it felt just like yesterday.
“ I know how much you hate Valentino, but this isn’t just about getting revenged. This is much more then that Toby this is about keeping our world a secret, but also keeping the balance of order.”
All of a sudden a commotion broke out at the door. A young girl about 25 burst through the door. She was soaked in blood and her clothes were ripped to shreds. She was sobbing uncontrollably and babbling incoherently. Toby and Daniel jumped up at the same time but Toby was faster. He caught her right when she fell. Daniel was in the process of radioing for an ambulance.
“What’s your name?” Toby asked. “What happened?”
“Alice. They were so big and fast.” She whispered.
“What was, Alice?” Toby prompted. By this time she was almost out of it and not making sense anymore. The EMTs arrived at this point and Toby stepped out of the way. Daniel motioned for him to walk outside with him.
“What did she say to you?” He whispered to Toby since there was a large crowd of townspeople around them.
“Just that her name was Alice and something about ‘They were so large and fast.’” “Whatever that means.” Toby thought about it for a minute. “Could it have been a werewolf attack?” Toby asked skeptically.
“Possibly. I’m not sure. I’ll have to ask her when I get to the hospital.” Daniel said.
“If she is able to answer you at all she was in shock. She also looked pretty beat up.” “Yea well I am going to head that way now. Here is a spare key to my place. You can crash there for the time being.” Daniel said as he handed Toby a key. “It’s the blue house down the road here the very last one. Watch out for Elmer he may bite you.”
“Elmer?” Toby asked.
“Yea he was a stray ostrich that was accidentally dumped on the road by some farmer passing thru. Found him during a thunderstorm. Hes ok once you get to know him, but he doesn’t really like strangers. Oh, and good luck out running him if he tries to chase you hes pretty fast.” Daniel said as he walked away laughing to himself. Toby watched him walk away in the opposite direction heading for his police cruiser. He spun around and started walking towards Daniel’s house. The town was quaint with old world charm. Toby felt like he was stepping back in time. No wonder Daniel loved it here and hadn’t left yet. There were so many shops. There was a bookstore, a coffee shop, a clothes store. Which seeing that one Toby knew he would have to ask Daniel about clothes if he was going to stay here any longer. As he walked he observed the people around him. Most were mortals and there were some immortals mixed in as well. As Toby walked he noticed that there were woods to the west of town. He wondered if that was were the werewolves were living. He fought the urge to go explore there would be time for that later. As Toby neared the end of Main St. he came up to Daniels gravel path that led to his house. Trying to open the gate as quietly as he could so as not to disturb Elmer Toby managed to get the gate open and shut before he was attacked. Out of nowhere an extra large bird tackled him. Toby was completely shocked he had never seen such a large bird up close before. Granted he had seen them in the books and this one time him and Daniel had gone to a zoo. Elmer was currently standing over him squawking and staring at him. Toby was wondering how to move with this giant bird over him and without getting bit. He finally found a rock and threw it. Elmer took the bait and chased after it. Toby took the free seconds he had to run for the door hoping the key would fit in the door. No sooner did he unlock the door and shut it then Elmer was there peeking in the glass at him. Toby yelled at “him haha stupid bird.” He made sure the door was locked so the giant beast couldn’t get in and dropped his bag. As he looked around he noticed that even though the outside of the house was tiny the inside was huge. He also noticed a large cat eyeing him from the corner.
“Hi kitty kitty” He said as he walked towards him and as cats do he turned up and walked away from Toby.
“Well fine see if I like you too.” Toby muttered under his breath. He looked around the large kitchen and noticed a long hallway to which he walked towards. Down the hall he found a bathroom, and two bedrooms and another large cat. This cat was black and a lot nicer then the other. He strolled up to Toby and rubbed against him purring. Toby pushed him out of the way and walked into one of the bedrooms. He could clearly see this was Daniels room. It was a pale green color. There was a tree mural on one wall and he recognized it as the one him, Daniel and Lillianna had played under and on growing up. Toby wondered if Daniel would paint over it now that Lillianna was gone. Shutting the door he peeked into the other bedroom. This room was pale blue with white lace curtains. It looked unused except for a desk with what Toby could only guess was a computer. He shut the door and peeked into the bathroom. He walked into the living room and looked out the large window. He saw a gorgeous pond and wanted to go out and look at it. Toby knew that he was trapped in the house till Daniel got back home. He went over to the couch and started writing a letter to the council and pretty soon fell asleep.
Daniel walked into the hospital chuckling to himself. He was picturing Elmer attacking Toby and it was quiet a site considering that Toby was a pretty big guy. He walked up the receptionist and asked her where Alice was. She responded she was in the ICU and only family could see her. He flipped his badge and asked again politely where she was. He was finally given a room number and set off to find the room. He hated hospitals they always smelled funny and with his strong sense of smell it just made it worse. He got into the elevator to go to the 2nd floor where Alice was. When the elevator stopped and he stepped off he was greeted by another nurse. “I need to talk to the dr in charge of a patient named Alice she was brought in earlier.” Daniel stated.
“Umm only family can ask about patients.” She replied.
“Well what about police officers.” He said flipping his badge open for her to see.
“Fine, shes in room 216.” She replied snottily as she walked away. Daniel started to walk towards her room. As he approached he saw the Dr. walk out. Daniel recognized him as a doctor who had practiced in Illmore. He was an ancient man probably close to 500 years old, but didn’t look a day over 50.
“Hey doc, how is she doing?” Daniel asked him hoping he would recognize him and give him the immortal details and not the mortal ones. Luckily for Daniel he recognized him.
“Daniel Jacobson my its been too long since I last seen you. I guess you’re here about the girl. Shes been attacked by werewolves. Its pretty bad.” The Dr. replied quietly. “We have her currently sedated, but I sent for a council member to come and collect her. There is a possibility of her turning.”
“Turning? We cant have that especially here. Look Doc, I’ll take her to my place till the council member can come collect her.” The Dr. sighed and finally replied
“Fine you can take her. I’ll call you when I get off I’ll bring her to you.” Daniel thanked him and walked away. As he left the hospital he wondered again if Toby had made it past Elmer. He got into his cruiser and started towards home. As he drove back to Cartersville he thought about if Toby had all the abilities to actually fit in. Maybe I should get him some new clothes just in case he doesn’t have any normal clothes, Daniel thought to himself. When he finally arrived in town he stopped at the local clothing store and bought Toby some stuff. Then he headed home. When he pulled up and opened the gate Elmer was nowhere to be found. Daniel worried Toby had injured him or worse yet killed him. But then out of the trees ran Elmer. He reminded Daniel of a dog because of how excited he was to see him. After giving him pets and checking his food dish he walked inside the house.
“Toby where are you?” He called as he closed the door behind him. He found Toby passed out on the couch in the living room. Shaking him awake he said “You know you could have slept in the bedroom right?”
Yawing Toby replied “Yea I fell asleep while writing my letter to the council about what has happened today. How did the visit at the hospital go?”
“Well looks like she might turn. So I told the doctor, whom we know from Illmore, that we woud bring her here till the council came and retrieved her. I figured she would be safer here.”
“Yea I guess that makes sense did the doctor say when he would be dropping her off?” Toby asked thinking of Elmer and how he had attacked him earlier. Daniel clearly reading his thoughts replied
“ No hes supposed to call me when he can get her out of there. Its going to be tricky since she is in a mortal hospital. Im not sure how it will be done, but I am sure he will find away. As for Elmer I will lock him in his shed before they get here.”
“Oh you can do that for him but not for me. That thing attacked me earlier I barely escaped with my life.” Toby retorted playfully. It felt nice to be with Daniel again the two friends had grown apart over the past couple of years. They sat in silence together each one lost in his own thoughts. “So I was being nosey when I got here. I saw the mural in what I can only assume is your room. What are you going to do now that Lillianna is gone? I didn’t even know you guys still kept in touch. Its been what 30 years since you came here and bounced around from force to force?” Toby said as quickly as he could. Daniel heaved a great sigh and replied to him “Lillianna and I reconnected when I first got here. I had forgotten how beautiful she was. We talked and I asked her to dinner. One thing led to another then we were dating and it was starting to get serious. I thought I wrote to you and told you. Anyway things went sour when she got offered a new job from the council. She was set to leave this next weekend.” Daniel replied softly.
Toby could see the hurt in his eyes. “Your sure she’s dead? I mean this Alice girl is more than likely going to turn. Whats to say Lillianna didn’t and the council came in and took her back? Toby asked trying to console his friend.
“I guess it’s a possibility I never did see the body after it left the scene to know for sure it was her. Also with her ties to the king…”
“You mean being the kings daughter?” Toby interrupted.
“… they took her back.” Daniel finished. “Its a lot to hope for Toby. I mean I would love for her to be alive, but I just don’t know about if she does turn.”
“ Do you think that she was targeted by Valentino? If so we need to find out more about Alice.” Toby inquired. Daniel got up off the sofa and started down the hall.
“Wait, where are you going? Toby asked jumping up to follow him.
“To look up Alice on the computer there has to be something about her on there.” Toby not completely understanding what Daniel meant by what he said jumped up to follow. Daniel then explained to Toby about how a computer worked. To Toby it seemed more magical then when he had first learned how to fly. As they searched for people named Alice in the area they came up empty.
“Well that’s frustrating.” Daniel said sighing “Now what do we do?”
“I guess we wait till she gets here and see if she can talk to us. In the meantime I’m starving whats for supper?” Toby asked.
“I don’t know should we order pizza?”
“Pizza?” Toby asked.
“Yes its settled we will get pizza. We have to get you used to the mortal things. Speaking of which I bought you some mortal clothes I wasn’t sure what you had brought with you if anything.” Daniel replied.
“Oh thanks I was going to ask you about that and totally forgot.” As Daniel dialed the number for the local pizza place he got a call. After hanging up he checked his messages and saw that there was a message from the Dr. “Toby, Alice will be here in an hour. Can you help me set up a spot for her out on the sun porch?” Daniel called looking for Toby. He found him standing out on the sun porch making faces at Elmer. “Seriously. Leave the poor guy alone.” Daniel said laughing.
“No he tried to eat me.” Toby retorted still making faces at Elmer.
“Come on help me make a bed out here for Alice and later I’ll personally introduce you to Elmer. Maybe then you guys can get along. He does sleep in the house when it gets cold.” “
Wait you let that thing in the house?” Toby asked incredulously.
“Its not a thing its an ostrich.” Daniel replied matter of factly. They quickly made a pallet for Alice. Daniel and Toby walked outside and no sooner were they there outside then Elmer was there rubbing against Daniel and glaring (if ostriches could glare) at Toby. “Now Elmer you be nice to my friend Toby.” Daniel cooed at him. They all walked down to the gate to wait for the Dr. and the pizza. Both arrived at nearly the same time. Daniel thanked the pizza guy and waved the Dr. to drive up the lane. Daniel and Toby helped him get Alice out of the vehicle and onto the sun porch. As they sat down to eat they all started talking at once trying to catch up with each other.