When I got home, I went over to the place in the hall with the secret opening. I couldn’t hear anything moving around so I slowly opened it. I reached in and puled the string to the light. Nothing moved. I crept down the stair ad looked over at the tiny door. Still closed. I was curious about the symbols around the little door so I started to look through the books. Surely one must have symbols in it. I found book after book about natural medicines, herbs, and crystals. I pulled out one of the more current books: Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic. I hadn’t seen that one before so I set it on the table to read later. I noticed a small book sitting at the back of the shelf, hidden behind the other books. I moved them out of the way so I could get at it.
It was bound in the softest leather I’ve ever touched and had no title on the front. I ran my hand over it and realized there was something embossed on it, but the book was so old it was impossible to tell what it was. I set it on the table and carefully turned the yellowed pages. Each one was hand written in a beautiful script and what looked to me to be old English. It’s not the easiest thing to read, but I’ve seen enough old books that I was used to it. Chapter after chapter of folklore. Stories about Elves, Faeries, Goblins, and several creatures I’ve never heard of. What the devil were Lamia, Girallon, and Lammasu? I looked over at the little door. Faeries are small. Don’t think they live in walls though. Some of the wee creatures are elementals. Granny was really into plants and herbs. Could there be an earth elemental living here? Was I actually starting to believe there was a mythical being living in Granny’s house? I must be losing my mind. I was curious though. Granny was always in her garden. Was there even the slightest possibility there was an Earth Elemental here?
I put the book down on the table and went back upstairs. I wanted to pick some vegetables from the garden to make a salad. I grabbed Granny’s garden basket on the way through the kitchen. She had some lovely lavender, so I dug up a few small plants to take inside. I loved the scent and it would make the house smell wonderful. I picked a few carrots, some lettuce, radishes and one plump red tomato. I was headed towards the cucumbers when I heard someone clearing their throat. I straightened up and looked around. There’s was no one around. I shrugged and knelt down to rifle through the vines for a ripe cucumber. Again someone cleared their throat. I stood up and started to walk around. I noticed movement through the branches of the weeping willow and went over. I could see another of those Fae doors in the trunk of the willow. The door was ajar and I could see a tiny hand holding the edge.
A tiny voice said, “Please don’t lock all the doors. We need to be able to get out. We won’t harm you.” Then the door closed.
“Uh, OK,” I replied. That the hell? I sat down and stared at the door for a few minutes, waiting to see if it opened again. It didn’t .
I don’t know why I was so shaken. I’d witnessed odd things before. I could tell when things were going to happen. Well, normally. I never could tell when something was going to happen to me, just other people. I was brought up to believe in the powers of nature and I had heard Mother speak of the Fae often. I always assumed they were just stories. Never really gave them a second thought. But the pictures of faeries I’d seen in books had wings. Why would they need doors? They could just fly in a window, or down the chimney. I’d have to read that book I left on the table in the special room. Maybe I could figure out which type of faerie was living in the house.
I finished picking the vegetables I needed for my salad and took them and the lavender plants into the house. The phone rang while I was eating.
“Sorry to bother you Marcy. It’s Mr. Barker. I think I’ve figured out what the doors are for. Would you mind if I came over after I close up?”
“Not at all. I really need to speak to you anyway. I’ve so many question about Mother and Granny and I have a feeling you can shed some light. Why don’t you stay for dinner, if you don’t have plans.”
“I don’t drive much any more. My grandson will be with me. You met him briefly today.”
I remembered the wink and blushed. “That’s fine. Can we talk freely in front of him? I mean . . . oh, I don’t know. This is just so weird.”
Mr. Barker laughed. “Cooper helps me with the research. Members of our family have been helping people like you for generations. Much like your family, except ours runs though the male line while yours the female line.”
People like me? What the hell did that mean?
“How about if I order a pizza? I just picked some vegetable from the garden so we can have a salad to go with it.”
“We’ll be there about six thirty.”
I hung up the phone wondering what he found out that he felt he needed to tell me tonight. He must have good news. He didn’t sound concerned. Why was I so excited about seeing Cooper? Cooper. I liked that name, and it suited him. Like Mr. Barker, he had strawberry blond hair. He was pretty tall too. I’m no shrimp, standing at five ten, and he towered over me. I finished my salad and went into the basement to get that book with the write-ups on faeries, goblins and such. I hoped I didn’t have goblins. Nasty creatures, what with their slime and snot. The thought of them I the house sent a cold shiver down my spine. I hurried down and plucked the book off the table, or should I be calling it a alter? I looked at the tiny door in the corner and recalled the voice in the garden. There was nothing threatening about it. It actually sounded sad or maybe a little scared. It. I wasn’t sure it if was a male or female. Did faeries come in male and female versions? I couldn’t remember but picture books always showed faeries as girls. ‘Course those were just children’s books written by people with no real knowledge. They probably didn’t even believe the wee folk were real.
I started to feel guilty so I got the keys out of the drawer, found the one that fit and unlocked the door. The one in the bedroom would stay locked for the time being. I’d have to remember to go looking for the doors for the two remaining keys, but I wasn’t feel particularly uncomfortable with the thought they might be unlocked. Maybe they were outside. Didn’t matter right now. I put the box of keys back and took the crystal encyclopedia and faerie books into the front room, curled up in the chair by the bay window and gently turned the time-worn pages in he faerie book.
Whoever wrote it was organized enough to put the faery-folk in alphabetical order by element. I was certain these were Earth elementals so I turned to that section. I had never heard of Ban-Tighes, who apparently look like elderly peasant women. The hand I saw in the garden did not belong to anyone old. The next one was a Bwbachs. That sounded vaguely familiar. Males who wear loincloths. I don’t think I like the idea of half naked tiny men living in my walls. Wonder what Cooper would look like in a loincloth? Where did that thought come from?
Elves. Maybe I have elves in the house. Might not be so bad having elves. They can sew, but they can also be quit mischievous. Maybe not. How about a good old-fashioned gnome? They sound pleasant enough and according to the person who wrote the journal, they are kind to animals. Maybe I should just wait for Mr. Barker to get here. And Cooper. My God. Why do I keep thinking about Cooper? I only saw him once, for a few seconds. Come on Marcy, stay focused.