Alex gamely trotted after her cousin Lauren, who was leading the way along a worn path that was barely visible beneath the thick pine needles that littered the forest floor. The two cousins lived far apart enough that they only got to see each other a half-dozen times a year, but Alex was always happy when she got to spend time with Lauren, particularly since she lived in the city while Lauren lived on a farm. The aging barns and tall grass that surrounded Lauren’s house provided an irresistible lure for exploration.
Today, however, Lauren had led her past the uniform wheat fields, past the open barn with three rusting tractors, past the gentle cows pasturing on the hillside. They were now wandering in a thick grove of trees where the smell of the air had changed from sweet-smelling manure to a fresh piney scent. Lauren had wanted to show her something special, but that was all Alex could get out of her.
“Are we almost there yet?” Alex asked, brushing away a spider web in her hair.
“Almost,” Lauren answered mysteriously. They trooped onward. The pine needles on the evergreens were scratching Alex’s arm in a rather painful manner, but she continued following her cousin instead of complaining.
“Here it is,” Lauren told her, pulling aside a pine bough and darting through the small space. Alex followed her. There, in the clearing among the majestic pine trees, was a real house. Made of wood, it resembled a rustic log cabin with its stone chimney and sturdy door. Checkered red curtains were visible through the small glass windows. There was even a small flower garden where little pink carnations bloomed.
“A house!” Alex said, astonished. “Whose house is this?”
“Mine!” crowed Lauren. “Daddy built it for my birthday two months ago!”
“Can we go in it?”
Lauren opened the front door and ushered Alex inside. It wasn’t a full size house but a miniature one. A full-grown adult would have had to stoop to enter, but the door was just the right size for the two eight year old girls. Taking in her surroundings, Alex was filled with awe. The house was a single room about 12 by 15 feet. A small kitchenette was to her right, complete with a small refrigerator and a sink with realistic looking knobs and faucet. Holding her breath, Alex turned a knob. Sure enough, water began running from the faucet.
She made a little choking noise of disbelief. Wide-eyed, the young girl stared at Lauren. “The sink works!”
“Well, of course it does,” Lauren laughed. “Are you hungry? Look!” She opened the refrigerator which held a glass bottle of milk, as well as bread, peanut butter, and grape jelly.
Alex shook her head. “This isn’t a pretend playhouse. It’s a real playhouse!” She wiped her brow. It seemed oddly warm in the playhouse but she was too excited to dwell on it.
“Daddy said it was easy for him to build since his job is building real houses,” Lauren informed her. She took Alex’s hand. “Come on and see the rest.”
There was a chair and dinner table with real ceramic dishes already set. A fireplace and mantel adorned one wall, while a tall cabinet stood imposingly against another. Tucked discreetly away in a corner was a small bathroom, complete with sink and toilet. Last of all was a bed made up with beautiful pink sheets and fluffy luxurious pillows. Every piece of furniture was child sized. It was perfect.
Awed, Alex moved along slowly, admiring more of the fine details of the house. The walls were rustic looking, pocked with numerous knotholes and imbuing the house with the sweet smell of cedar. Dozens of little crystal stars decorated the ceiling, each one glittering beautifully. Above the kitchen table were three simple paintings of flowers that perfectly set the tone of a child’s playhouse.
She paused when she saw a beautiful wooden rocking horse. Alex loved horses. Her favorite part of visiting Lauren was to admire the horses that the family kept. Despite its inanimate state, this wooden rocking horse was nearly as good as the real thing. Almost the size of a pony, it was painted a smooth white with detailed brushwork for the mane and bit. The intricately carved saddle had been sanded smooth and stained a dark teak. It even sported a pommel and horn, just like a real saddle. The one small oddity, however, was a blunt object that jutted directly from the center of the saddle behind the pommel.
“What’s that?” Alex asked, confused. The thing stuck out at a ninety degree angle from the seat, right where a person would normally sit.
Lauren gave her another mysterious smile, the same one Alex had seen before when her cousin had first offered to show her something. “Can you keep a secret?” Lauren whispered.
“Yes,” Alex whispered back, which hardly seemed necessary since they were the only two in the house.
“Okay,” Lauren answered. “First of all…” Alex watched as her cousin pulled her t-shirt off, followed by slipping out of her jeans. “I don’t wear clothes in my playhouse,” Lauren told her matter-of-factly. “It’s too hot. You can take off your clothes too, if you want.”
Alex began stripping as well. She paused when she reached her underwear, but then noticed that Lauren had disrobed completely. Not hesitating, Alex pulled off her underpants. The truth was she had grown accustomed to her cousin’s odd tendencies. Lauren, she knew, also liked to go swimming naked. Alex had initially regarded this as strange behavior since she never swam without a swimsuit. Eventually, however, she had become accustomed to splashing in the nude with Lauren at the swimming hole in the woods.
The two girls now stood as naked as jaybirds in the playhouse. “Ahh, that feels better,” Lauren sighed.
“Why is it so hot in here?” Alex asked. “It’s cool outside.”
Lauren smiled mysteriously again. “You want to know my secret?”
“There’s a magic fairy that lives in this house!” Lauren paused appropriately for dramatic effect. “I met her when the first day I started playing here. She knew my name and everything!”
“How did you know she was magic?” Alex asked doubtfully.
“She showed me all sorts of magic tricks!” Lauren said. “I’ll show you.” She cleared her throat. “Emmeline? Are you there?” The girls listened but there was nothing but silence. Alex tilted her head skeptically.
“She’s real,” insisted Lauren. “She must be asleep right now. She almost always answers me when I ask for her.”
“And she just appears?”
“No, fairies are invisible to humans. But we can hear them when they talk. If they want us to.” Seeing the look of growing disbelief on Alex’s face, she continued. “And you know the best part? Emmeline told me that she’ll help me become a fairy too!”
“Emmeline is helping me with the Fairy Challenges,” Lauren said. “They’re like tests that you have to pass in order to turn into a fairy.”
“Are these tests hard?”
“Not really. I mean, at first I didn’t really understand, but I’ve gotten a lot better at it. You have to do things like drink from Magic Mushrooms or spend time inside the Whimsical Wardrobe. She also taught me how to cast spells using Fairy Orbs or the Howler Horse.”
Alex was more than a little mystified now. Magic Mushrooms? Howler Horse? She had no idea what her cousin was talking about. Just as she was about to ask a question, the lights in the room dimmed abruptly before coming back to full illumination.
“She’s here!” Lauren said, gripping Alex’s arm. “That’s what happens when she wakes up.” Speaking in a louder voice now, she said, “Emmeline?” Alex was stunned to hear a voice answer her cousin. It seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere.
“Hello there, Lauren,” Emmeline said. She had a strange voice that was somewhat tinny and high-pitched. It was definitely not a male voice, but nor was it exactly female. “I see you brought a friend today?”
“This is my cousin,” Lauren responded. “Her name is Alex.”
“Hello, Alex,” Emmeline said. “Pleased to meet you. I see you are every bit as beautiful as Lauren.”
“Hi,” Alex said cautiously. She felt somewhat self-conscious that this fairy could see her naked. Her eyes searched the room for another person, unsuccessfully.
“Alex doesn’t think you’re real,” Lauren said candidly. As she spoke, Alex casually wandered through the playhouse, certain that someone must be hiding somewhere. “Can you show her a magic trick?” her cousin requested.
“Certainly,” Emmeline said graciously. “Watch closely, okay?” Suddenly, the lights dimmed once again only this time they did not return. The room went dark. Having lived in the city, Alex had experienced brownouts before and was unimpressed. Her skepticism vanished, however, when the little crystal stars on the ceiling began to glow brightly. It was as if she were looking at the night sky. The stars twinkled, changing color from white pinpoints to cycle through the entire spectrum of the rainbow. The changing colors created the illusion of waves moving across the ceiling. It was beautiful.
“Wow!” Alex said softly.
“I’m not done yet,” Emmeline told her. With a small pop, a stream of confetti and ribbons suddenly exploded across the little house. Lauren and Alex squealed with glee as they were showered in the little bits of multicolored paper. The crystal stars glimmered for a few more seconds before twinkling out. The main lights returned. Alex found herself covered in confetti and ribbons.
“See?” Lauren said smugly.
“I guess she really is magic,” Alex admitted, wiping the confetti from her shoulders.
“Of course I am,” Emmeline responded. “I know your name is Alex, I know you’re eight years old, and I know your mom dropped you off this morning in a blue car. I even know what you had for breakfast this morning: Cocoa Puffs.
It was all true. “Are you… are you really going to turn Lauren into a fairy too?” Alex asked.
“Only if she passes Fairy Challenges,” Emmeline said. “Has she told you about them yet?”
“I did,” interjected Lauren. “Can I show her? Maybe Alex wants to try the Fairy Challenges too. I bet she would like being a fairy.”
“I’m sure she would,” said Emmeline. “I can already tell that she’ll make a beautiful fairy.”
“So you can see me without my clothes on?” Alex said, her bashfulness returning.
“Yes. It doesn’t bother you, does it?”
“I guess not…”
“Fairies always live in a place that’s really warm,” Lauren explained. “Like Florida. Emmeline used her magic to make the house nice and hot so I could know what it feels like. I’m getting used to it, but I usually take off my clothes. Or else it gets too hot.”
Even naked, Alex felt it was still too hot. The house was starting to remind her of the time she and her mom tried out a sauna at resort during vacation. It certainly wasn’t that steamy in the house, but Alex felt it wasn’t too far off. She wiped away a bead of sweat forming on her brow but decided not to complain.
“So what are the Fairy Challenges?” she asked. “What do you have to do?”
“I’ll show you how I ride the Howler Horse,” Lauren said, “since you asked about it.” She put a foot in the stirrup and was about to jump into the saddle when Emmeline interrupted her.
“Lauren, aren’t you forgetting something?” the fairy reminded.
“Oh!” Lauren hurried over to a kitchen cupboard, her bare feet silent on the wooden floor, returning with a small tube of something. Alex’s attention returned to the beautiful wooden rocking horse and the vexing object protruding from the saddle. “I don’t get how you’re supposed to ride it,” said Alex, “if that thing is sticking out right from the saddle.”
Lauren grinned. “I didn’t really understand at first either,” she knowingly told her cousin. Explaining further, she continued, “This rocking horse is really a unicorn.” She uncapped the tube and squirted the liquid onto the protrusion, spreading it into an even coat with her fingers. “And this is its horn.”
Alex had never heard of a unicorn with such an oddly situated horn. “Uh, what are you putting on it?” she asked. “Toothpaste?”
“No, silly,” Lauren rolled her eyes. Emmeline’s disembodied giggle sounded quietly in the room. “This is just to make the horn slippery.”
Alex couldn’t understand why her cousin wanted the horn to be slippery but didn’t say anything. Instead, she watched as her cousin slipped a foot into a stirrup and swung her leg over the rocking horse. She didn’t immediately slip into the saddle though. Lauren awkwardly stood on her tiptoes in the stirrups, her thighs well spread on either side of the rocking horse, as she unabashedly manipulated the hairless slit between her legs. With only the slightest hesitation, the eight year old girl impaled herself on the horn.
Alex’s confusion changed to amazement. The blunt protrusion had magically disappeared into her cousin’s body! “Lauren…” said Alex, trying not to keep her eyes from bugging out. “What… Where did… where did it go?”
“It’s inside her, of course,” Emmeline spoke up. “Didn’t you know that you can put things inside you down there?”
“Um, sure. I know,” Alex said, not wanting to admit her ignorance. “It’s like, um, in your butt. Right, Lauren?”
But Lauren shook her head. She leaned back on the rocking horse, lifting her hips slightly. Peering behind the saddle’s pommel, Alex could now easily see where the unicorn’s horn had entered the delicate pink opening between her cousin’s legs.
Lauren eased back into position on the saddle. If Alex hadn’t seen the second horn on the saddle, she wouldn’t have thought anything was out of the ordinary. Lauren, albeit naked, appeared to be simply riding a rocking horse. She began slowly rocking back and forth in a lazy manner.
“So… um, that’s the Fairy Challenge?” Alex asked quizzically. “You just have to get on the rocking horse with, um, that… thing… inside you?”
“That’s just the beginning,” Lauren told her. “The Howler Horse’s magic helps me cast a spell.”
“What does the spell do?”
“Wait and see,” Lauren answered mysteriously. She had begun rocking a little faster now, gently moving her hips back and forth in the saddle. The rhythmic sound of the horse’s runners against the wooden floor filled the room. After a moment, however, Alex became aware of another noise: a faint buzzing that appeared to be emanating from the rocking horse.
“What’s that noise?” Alex wondered.
“It’s the Howler Horse,” responded Lauren. “It’s waking up.” She closed her eyes.
Alex didn’t understand. Her cousin was now rocking back and forth on the horse in a very determined manner. For the first time, the young girl noticed how the pommel on the horse’s saddle was oddly pressed tight between Lauren’s legs. Normally, pommels were placed forward on a saddle, not right between the rider’s legs. Alex didn’t get why such an intricately carved rocking horse would miss such a crucial detail.
“Alex…” Lauren’s eyes snapped open. “I… I’m going to cast a spell. Now. Watch what happens, okay? Watch…” Her cousin’s words were cut off when she made a strange high-pitched sound somewhere between a squeal and a shout. Alex was amazed to see Lauren visibly trembling as she kept continued to vigorously rocking the horse.
What happened next seem so incredible that Alex could hardly believe her eyes. The moment her cousin had shuddered and began making strange noises, the lights dimmed once more, plunging the room into darkness. The rocking horse’s eyes lit up, brilliant blue, its tail twitching. Exquisite curlicue patterns of light appeared from the seams in the wood on the rocking horse. It was beautiful. Alex heard the horse give a low whinny as a plume smoke rushed from it’s mouth as if it were a fire-breathing dragon.
Enthralled, Alex stared as a light glowed bright on the horse’s chest. A red light, in a familiar shape. A heart! The light from the rocking horse’s heart shone so bright that it cut through the fog that remained in the air from its breath. Any doubt in Alex’s mind about the otherworldly nature of her cousin’s house was immediately banished.
This magical moment unfortunately only lasted a few seconds though. The light from the rocking horse dimmed just as the house lights returned to their normal intensity. Alex could see her Lauren’s face again, on which was now plastered with a large, triumphant grin. It must be hard work to cast a spell, she noted, because her cousin appeared quite winded as the rocking horse slowly came to a stop.
“Now you know why they call it a Howler Horse,” Lauren panted, out of breath. “It makes you howl!”
“Does it… does it hurt to cast a spell?” Alex asked tentatively. Lauren laughed, making Alex feel foolish. She didn’t like being laughed at. Moreover, it was a perfectly reasonable question. Lauren had been calling out and trembling. Surely it was from distress. Wasn’t it?
“Nope, it doesn’t hurt,” Lauren answered, still laughing. Alex watched as her cousin gingerly dismounted from the horse. First, Lauren slowly stood up, exposing the unicorn’s “horn” that had been embedded between her legs. Only when she reached her tiptoes in the stirrups was she fully undocked and able to normally dismount.
“It took me a long time before I was able to cast my first spell, but now it’s easy,” Lauren confided. “It feels really nice to cast a spell.”
“It just feels like… well, I don’t know how to explain it,” Lauren searched for words. “But it’s, well, it’s feels great! I love casting spells.”
“Would you like to try riding the Howler Horse, Alex?” Emmeline inquired. “It’s a lot of fun!”
“Oh, I don’t know…” Alex said, glancing skeptically at the unicorn’s horn, still glistening wet from Lauren’s ride. Maybe her cousin had plenty of practice, but Alex felt intimidated by its size. She couldn’t imagine it fitting between her legs.
Lauren must have read her mind, because she said, “Every time I cast a spell, the unicorn’s horn gets bigger, you know.”
“It looks the same size to me,” Alex said, eying it critically.
“Wait until tomorrow,” Lauren told her. “The horn was tiny when I first started. It’s at least twice as big now.”
“I remember that,” Emmeline said. “The horn always grows because the rocking horse is happy to help you cast spells. Don’t worry, Alex. I bet you’ll want to ride the rocking horse one day.”
“Maybe one day,” Alex agreed, happy to be let off the hook. She was glad that Emmeline was such a kind and understanding fairy. There had been a lot for her to process so far today: a magic house, an invisible fairy, a horse that makes you howl… Alex kept wanting to pinch herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.
Alex was still admiring the rocking horse. It was a beautiful piece of work, with intricately detailed woodwork and fine finishing touches like the embedded, jewel-like eyes and smoothly sanded runners. The strange placement of the horn in the saddle (like a unicorn’s horn, her cousin had said) still seemed strange, although Lauren had demonstrated how it fit inside her body.
Alex wouldn’t have thought it possible had she not seen it with her own eyes. Then again, she wouldn’t have thought it possible for a rocking horse to come to life and breathe fire, either. Really, she wouldn’t have been capable of imagining any of this incredibly lifelike, child-sized house with its magic accoutrements and invisible fairy.
“What are you girls going to do next?” Emmeline asked in her strangely metallic voice.
Alex flinched ever so slightly. She wondered if she could ever get used to the idea of this fairy being nowhere and everywhere. Her voice didn’t come from any specific area of the room. It just… appeared. She self-consciously put her hands between her legs in an unsuccessful attempt at modesty. Really, what was the point if she was already stark naked in the playhouse? She noticed Lauren didn’t seem at all uncomfortable with being nude.
“I don’t know,” Lauren said. “Alex, what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know either,” Alex responded to her cousin.
“I have an idea,” Emmeline said. “Lauren, why don’t you show your cousin what you do with Fairy Orbs?”
“Oh, good idea!” Lauren agreed. She led Alex to the wardrobe and opened a drawer. It was full of small, perfectly round globes ranging in size from large marbles to golf balls. She placed one in Alex’s hand.
“What are they?” asked Alex. For being so small, the globe felt astonishingly heavy in her hand. The exterior was a smooth glass that exposed a gray core at the center that appeared to be metallic in nature.
“Fairy Orbs, of course.”
“But what do they do? Are you supposed to use them for magic or something?”
“You put them in your body,” Emmeline explained. “And if you keep them there long enough, you’ll be able to unlock their magical powers.”
“In your body?” Alex repeated. “You mean I have to swallow them? Like a pill?” She doubtfully examined the globe Lauren had handed her. It was far to large to be swallowed.
“No, no,” Lauren explained. “You put them inside you like this. Between your legs.” So saying, she sat down on the bed and spread her feet wide. Alex watched with great interest as her cousin placed the Fairy Orb between her legs, right where her hairless skin turned a greater shade of pink, right where a small opening gaped ever so slightly. Alex could see the smooth glass of the globe pressing against her cousin’s pink skin. Suddenly, the globe altogether disappeared, swallowed whole by Lauren’s body.
Alex was speechless. Even though she had seen her cousin impale herself on the rocking horse’s horn, this was something completely different. She could see a small hint of the orb’s surface snuggled tight between Lauren’s immature lips.
“It… it’s really inside you!” Alex breathed.
“Of course it is,” Lauren answered matter-of-factly. “Can you do me a favor? I forgot my wand in the drawer. Can you get it for me? It’s in the drawer at the very bottom, on the left. And another Fairy Orb too?”
Alex did as she requested. After locating the correct drawer, she found a crystal object that resembled a fat marker. Then she moved on to the drawer full of the globe-like orbs. “I found the wand,” Alex said. “But what size orb do you want? There’s a lot of them in here.”
“I want one that’s not too big but not too small either,” said Lauren. Alex hunted for a moment among the numerous glass globes until she find one that fit the criteria. It was about the size of a pinball machine ball. She handed her cousin the wand and orb.
“I can fit two inside,” Lauren bragged. Alex watched her slip in the second Fairy Orb. Then she used her finger to poke the globes even further inside. When she was done, there was no trace of them at all. Alex tried not to act stunned. Before this morning, she hadn’t even known you could put things inside yourself like that.
“How does that feel, Lauren?” Emmeline asked.
“It’s good,” she answered.
“So…” Alex was trying to make sense of it all. “You just put them, um… inside like that? And leave them there? How do you get them out”
“Just wait,” Lauren answered. “I’ll show you how I get them out. But first I have to unlock their magic.”
“How do you do that?” Alex sat down next to Lauren on the bed. Her cousin handed her the peculiar crystal wand from the drawer. Though the surface was smooth, the interior appeared crystalline with glittering facets and crannies.
“Use the wand to touch me here,” Lauren said, pointing between her legs. A bit dubious, Alex did as she requested, using the tip of the wand to touch Lauren’s skin where it turned from her normal skin tone to a luscious shade of pink. “Lower,” Lauren directed. “More…. Umm, yes. Right there.”
Alex obediently held the wand and pointed right where Lauren indicated. It was pointed right at the upper tip of her slit now, where the hairless folds of flesh joined into an inverted V shape. “Uh, am I doing it right, Lauren?” The words were scarcely out of her mouth when, to her amazement, the wand began humming. “What’s happening?” she cried out with surprise.
“The wand is magic,” Lauren told her gleefully. “It gets its power when it touches between my legs like this!”
Alex could hardly believe it. But it was true. The wand was now buzzing in her hand. She could feel its vibrations tickling her fingers where she held it. “What do I do now?”
“Here, let me,” Lauren took the wand from Alex. She touched it once more between her legs and squealed. “Oooh! It’s really strong today!” Mesmerized, Alex watched her cousin move the wand back and forth in smoothly controlled motions. It was like she was using the wand like a saw against her slit.
“Oh…” Lauren said again. Alex noticed her cousin appeared to be concentrating. Her brow was furrowed, though she had a strange dreamy smile on her face. Lauren shivered once. Then twice.
“Uh, it… it usually take a lot longer than this,” Lauren said, a little surprised. She quickly shifted position on the bed and spread her legs a little wider.
“What takes long…” Alex began to ask. But her words were cut short when Lauren gasped loudly. The lights in the playhouse dimmed once more, just like before when Lauren was riding the Howler Horse. A pure expression of enchantment graced her cousin’s face as she began grunting rhythmically.
“Uh… Uh… Uh… Uh…” Lauren’s hips were jerking in time to the strange noises she made. In the dim light, Alex was thrilled to see the crystalline wand blindingly illuminate. She had never seen anything like it. The wand hadn’t just lit up like a glow stick. It was positively shimmering in radiance. Alex was a bit disappointed when her cousin closed her legs, hiding the brilliant wand between her thighs.
“Ohhh…” Lauren sighed loudly. The lights in the room slowly returned to normal. Lauren was lying still on the bed, her legs still clamped together though Alex could see the wand still shining bright. It wasn’t buzzing anymore though.
“Did that hu…” Alex checked herself. She remembered how Lauren had laughed merrily at her for wondering if she hurt herself on the Howler Horse. “Did you… cast a spell?” she asked instead.
Lauren turned to face her. Alex noticed how her face and chest were flushed red. “I sure did!” she said, equal parts tired and triumphant. “It was a really good spell too! Emmeline, did you see me cast that spell?”
“I did se, Lauren,” Emmeline responded immediately. “It looked like you really enjoyed it.”
“I did,” confirmed Lauren. “I’ve never felt one like that before. It was really… well… it just seemed to go on a long time!”
“That’s good, Lauren,” Emmeline told her. “That means you’re fairy powers are growing. The fact that you’ve progressed to the bigger orbs helps too, I think.”
“Oh, the Fairy Orbs!” Lauren said, remembering. She sat up, a bit unsteady at first, and then moved into a squatting position directly facing Alex.
“Hold out your hands!” she commanded. “Put them under me… You know… between my legs.”
Alex cupped her hands together and moved them under Lauren’s crotch. Her cousin took a few deep breaths. She seemed to be pushing, like she was trying to poo. Alex was about to object when an orb fell out from Lauren’s hairless slit and landed in her waiting hands. A moment later, Lauren expelled the second orb from her body, sending it into Alex’s hands where it landed with a clink against the first orb.
Alex was stunned. When she had inserted them into her body, the orbs had been a dull, featureless gray. Now their cores were shimmering with a beautiful blue light. Some sort of cloudy gas had filled the globe as well, dispersing the light into various shades of color from a deep ocean azure to a summer’s sky sapphire. It reminded Alex of photos of the earth where the planet appeared to be a blue marble.
“How did you do that?” Alex breathed.
“It’s fairy magic,” Lauren explained proudly. “Emmeline taught me how to do it. The orbs have to be inside me first. Then I use the wand to cast a spell. Then when I take the orbs out… presto!”
Alex glanced at the forgotten wand on the bed. It had stopped glowing, returning instead to its usual crystalline appearance. “Your wand changed back,” she noted. “Will the orbs change back too?”
Lauren shook her head. Taking the orbs from Alex, she led her to a basket set atop the fireplace mantle. Inside were at least two dozen similarly glowing orbs. Lauren added the latest two to the pile.
“Wow!” Alex said admiringly.
“Aren’t they pretty? I usually try to transform at least one Fairy Orb each day.”
“Can I have one?” asked Alex hopefully.
“Now, now,” Emmeline spoke up. “Those belong to Lauren. But you can learn to make your own Fairy Orbs, right Alex?”
“I guess so,” Alex said with disappointment.
“Don’t be sad,” Emmeline consoled. “Maybe for our next activity we can let you do the magic.”
“All right,” Alex agreed.
“What should we do next, Emmeline?” Lauren asked.
“We could show Alex a Magic Mushroom,” Emmeline suggested. “Should I try to find one for you?”
“Yes, that would be nice!” Lauren responded.
“What’s a Magic Mushroom?” inquired Alex. “I don’t really like mushrooms anyway so…” The lights of the cabin dimmed, then extinguished altogether. The only light now came from the small windows near the door.
“Don’t worry,” Lauren said, slipping a hand into Alex’s. “These aren’t mushrooms that you eat, silly. Well… not really.”
That didn’t make sense at all. Alex opened her mouth to speak but the lights came back on. Lauren scanned the room. “There it is!” she crowed. Pulling Alex with her, she hurried to a wall a few feet from where they were standing. Alex was mystified as to why her cousin was so excited about a blank wall until Lauren pointed at something.
There was an object poking through a hole in the wall. Alex was certain it hadn’t been there before. It was a strange looking thing, like a half-stuffed sausage that hung limp in its casing. The coloring of it was a light skin-tone, although the tip on the very end was dark red.
“See? A Magic Mushroom!”
“What is it?” Alex asked, still eyeballing the thing that had appeared on the playhouse wall.
“It’s part of the Fairy Challenges,” explained Emmeline. “Magic Mushrooms sprout whenever magic is being done. Since Lauren already cast two spells today, this Magic Mushroom must have sprouted!”
Alex tentatively approached the wall. It didn’t resemble any mushroom she had ever seen. “It looks… weird,” she noted.
“Of course,” Emmeline responded. “You’ve only seen regular mushrooms. This one is from the fairy kingdom.”
“Magic Mushrooms are kind of a test,” Lauren explained. “A test to see if, really deep down, if you really are a true fairy.”
Alex little girl cautiously leaned in for a closer look. The Magic Mushroom had sprouted on the wall at about shoulder height so she sniffed it. It had a strange, musky smell that she couldn’t identify. “Can I touch it?” she asked. “It won’t hurt me, will it?”
“Of course you can touch it!” Lauren responded with amusement. “That’s part of the test. Only a true fairy can make a Magic Mushroom swell.”
Alex touched a single, tentative finger to the strange object dangling from the wall. It certainly didn’t feel like a mushroom either. She gave it a few more pokes, not knowing what else to do.
“Give it a kiss,” Emmeline suggested.
A little dubiously, Alex leaned in an gave the mushroom a quick kiss. To her wonder, it was warm. Surprisingly warm. She could feel its heat on her lips. She gave it another kiss before hesitantly touching it some more. The mushroom felt spongy and its texture felt as soft and smooth as her own skin. “Am I doing it right?” Alex asked.
“That’s good,” Emmeline told her. “Squeeze it all over. Good. Try to give it some more kisses. Pet it like a bunny.” Alex followed the fairy’s instructions. To her amazement, the mushroom really did begin to swell. At first she thought she was imagining it, but soon there was no doubting it. The mushroom had swelled to twice its size. Instead of dangling limp, it was now jutting straight out from the wall.
“You made it swell up!” Lauren crowed. “You really are a true fairy!”
“Is that all there is?” Alex wondered.
“Of course not!” Emmeline chuckled. “That would be too easy. Lauren, why don’t you get your cousin some Pixie Potion?” Lauren hurried to a kitchen cabinet, returning with a flask of liquid.
“Hold out your hands,” Lauren instructed. She squirted a large dollop of something into Alex’s cupped hands.
“What is this stuff?” Alex touched it with her fingers. It felt slippery.
“Pixie Potion,” Lauren said. “Rub it all over your hands. It will help you make the Magic Mushroom burst.”
“Make it burst?” repeated Alex, confused.
Lauren was applying some Pixie Potion to the swollen mushroom now. “Touch the mushroom again,” she told Alex. “No, not like that. Don’t poke at it. Make a fist around the mushroom. Do it with your other hand too. Now move them back and forth.”
With her cousin’s coaching, Alex soon mastered the motions. She was amazed that a mushroom could feel so warm and alive. Every so often she would feel it shake in her hands. “Am I doing it right?” asked Alex.
“Yup, that’s how you do it,” Lauren told her. “When the mushroom appears, you have to make it swell first. And then you make it burst.”
“How do I do that?”
“You’ll see,” Lauren said mysteriously. She was standing close to the wall, inspecting the Magic Mushroom with a critical eye as Alex worked. After a few minutes, however, Alex was starting to get bored. Lauren squinted at the mushroom with an appraising eye.
“Keep going!” she urged. “Is it shaking in your hands? That means it’s going to burst soon!”
Alex sighed. She didn’t know what her cousin meant by “burst” but she kept up the repetitive motion even though her arms were getting tired. Just as she was about to give up, something incredible happened. The mushroom began quivering in her hands, not just shaking once or twice like before, but over and over. It was jerking, much like a fish on the end of a fishing pole.
Before she could relay this to Lauren, the mushroom unexpectedly erupted, shooting a hot spray of liquid at Alex that landed directly on her chest. Surprised, she froze up and turned to her cousin for guidance, but Lauren immediately chimed in.
“Don’t stop!” she shouted. “Keep going, keep going!” Alex continued moving her little fists along the mushroom just as Lauren had coached her. The mushroom would quiver then shoot, quiver then shoot, and Alex had no choice but to let the spurts of warm wetness land on her chest where it immediately began dripping down to her tummy. Finally, the mushroom stopped shaking, and the white sprays slowed to a dribble that leaked out the tip.
Alex slowly let go of the mushroom. She was grateful that Lauren didn’t advise her otherwise because her arms had started to ache from being in that position. She glanced at the dripping mess on her body, suddenly glad that she had taken off her clothes. “What is this stuff?”
“It’s Fairy Seed,” Lauren informed her. “It helps transform you into a fairy. See? Emmeline says only fairies can make a Magic Mushroom swell up and shoot out the seed.”
“So this stuff helps turn me into a fairy?” Alex touched the white fluid with a finger. It was pale white and thick, like cream. There wasn’t very much in the glass though, perhaps a few spoonfuls at most. “It sure smells funny.”
“I think so too,” Lauren agreed. “It reminds me of something. But I don’t know what.”
“I know,” Alex snapped her fingers. “It smells like the swimming pool. Doesn’t it?” The two girls sniffed Alex’s fingers but she noticed something odd happening on the wall. “Hey, what’s happening to the Magic Mushroom? It’s wilting.”
“Yes, it is,” Emmeline spoke up. Her voice sounded strange, like she was out of breath. “The Magic Mushroom always wilts once you have the seed.” As if on cue, the room darkened once more. Alex opened her mouth to speak, but before she could say anything the lights returned. There was nothing but a blank spot on the wall where the Magic Mushroom had sprouted.
“It’s magic,” Lauren shrugged, responding to the incredulous look on Alex’s face. She pointed at the dripping mess on Alex’s chest. “You’re supposed to rub it all over yourself. Like lotion.” She watched as Alex rubbed the Fairy Seed into the skin of her chest and tummy. Putting her lips to Alex’s ear, Lauren whispered, “Emmeline says you can eat it too, but I don’t like the taste.”
Alex nodded, glad that her cousin was here to guide her through all this. Howler Horses, magic orbs and wands, Fairy Seed… The eight year old girl had learned a lot today.
Though it had been a strange day so far, Alex was slowly growing accustomed to this new world that her cousin was introducing to her. She had been a mere bystander while Lauren rode the Howler Horse and placed Fairy Orbs in her body. But now she was finally participating, the proof being the rapidly drying mass of Fairy Seed that was growing crusty on her chest. It hadn’t been difficult at all to coax the seed from the Magic Mushroom so Alex was hopeful that the Fairy Challenges would be easy to pass.
The little girl was already happily dreaming of her life as a fairy when Lauren interrupted her thoughts. “Come on,” she said, pulling on Alex’s hand. “I want to show you the Whimsical Wardrobe! Come on!”
Alex gamely let her cousin lead her across the room, unable to resist Lauren’s infectious enthusiasm. Across from the foot of the bed was a tall wardrobe painted white with dark blue trim. Two tall doors, each decorated with a carved lion’s head, graced the front of the wardrobe but Alex couldn’t see anything else special about it.
“What makes it magical?” she asked Lauren. “Are there more Magic Mushrooms inside?”
Lauren shook her head. “Nope. This is even cooler.” She opened the wardrobe doors. Alex peered inside but saw nothing out of the ordinary. A horizontal shelf divided the wardrobe into two partitions. The lower section contained a series of drawers while the upper section housed a closet bar from which hung several long winter jackets.
“I don’t get it,” Alex said mystified.
“Give me your hand,” Lauren ordered. Her cousin took Alex’s wrist and guided it past the thicket of hanging clothes. Alex’s fingers touched the wooden back of the wardrobe. Her cousin guided her hand until her fingers suddenly felt something strange.
“What’s that?” she asked, surprised. She tried to peer into the wardrobe but it was too dark in there. Her hand traced a round opening in the rear wall of the wardrobe where the hard wooden surface abruptly changed to a soft, velvet-like material. The circular opening felt to be several inches across.
“I still don’t get it,” Alex repeated.
“Lauren, why don’t you demonstrate for your cousin?” Emmeline said. Once again, Alex was startled by the invisible fairy’s disembodied voice. Emmeline had remained silent long enough that Alex temporarily forgot about her. It still felt funny that someone could see her standing naked right now.
“All right,” Lauren answered. Alex watched her cousin climb into the upper section of the wardrobe, using the drawers as stairs. Then, using strategically placed handholds on either side of the wardrobe that Alex hadn’t noticed before, Lauren smoothly and deliberately swung her feet toward the rear of the wardrobe, behind the row of jackets and coats, until she was laying face up on the wardrobe shelf.
A funny look came over Lauren’s face. She giggled. “Emmeline, is that you?”
“Of course, silly,” Emmeline answered. “I’m going to give you a quick once-over. How long has it been since you’ve used the Whimsical Wardrobe?”
“Um… maybe a week?” Lauren ventured. She giggled a few more times, then was silent for a long moment. Alex didn’t understand. It appeared as if her cousin was merely lying on the horizontal shelf of the wardrobe. What was going on? The bemused look on Lauren’s face was interrupted by a small shiver.
“Oh, that feels nice!” Lauren said.
“I think you’re coming along nicely,” Emmeline told her. “You’re performing quite well in the Fairy Challenges, you know.”
“Are you going to give me a reward?” Lauren asked hopefully.
“Don’t you think your cousin should get a turn?” Emmeline gently admonished.
“Oh, okay,” said Lauren. Alex could tell she was disappointed, but she couldn’t understand why. What kind of reward was possible from lying down in a wardrobe?
“Cheer up, Lauren,” Emmeline consoled. “I have a little surprise for you…”
Lauren’s eyes widened. “Oh!” she giggled coquettishly again. “What’s that, Emmeline?”
“Just sending you off with a little something,” said Emmeline. “You’ll see soon enough.”
Lauren once again grasped the handholds on the sides of the wardrobe. Reversing her odd movements from before, Lauren rose to a standing position before descending the wardrobe. Alex immediately saw a yellow object flash from between her cousin’s slim bum cheeks.
“Lauren? What’s… that?”
Her cousin laid down on the bed and spread her legs. Alex was surprised to see a bright daisy adorning the spot where her cousin’s pink slit was normally. She watched as Lauren grasped the daisy and pulled. Amazed, Alex saw a length of green stem withdrawing from inside Lauren. Her cousin held it up for her to see. Alex understood now. The flower head was attached to a bulbous length of green glass that was a few inches long. The “stem” portion had been embedded in the opening between Lauren’s legs.
“Where… where did that come from?” Alex asked.
“From Emmeline, of course.”
“But, how did she put it there?” persisted Alex.
“The Whimsical Wardrobe,” Emmeline responded matter-of-factly. “The wardrobe is a doorway to the fairy world. Once Lauren completes the Fairy Challenges, she’ll be able to use the wardrobe to enter the fairy world. For the moment, however, only half of her can enter.”
“My lower half,” Lauren laughed. She got up on all fours on the bed. Another daisy was sticking out from her bum. “Alex, can you remove this flower for me?”
“Sure,” Alex answered dubiously. She grasped the daisy head as Lauren had done and gave it a gentle tug. Nothing. She gave another tentative pull.
“You have to pull a little harder than that,” Lauren told her over her shoulder. “Don’t yank it! Gentle, gentle…”
Thus reprimanded, Alex gave the daisy a gentle but firm pull. She saw a hint of green stem emerge from Lauren’s puckered rosette. Using great care, Alex kept tugging as more and more of the green glass emerged from inside Lauren’s bum. She was reminded of her uncle and his special magic trick where he would pull an endlessly long length of silk fabric from his jacket sleeve.
The flower, of course, was a much shorter length. The flower stem suddenly slipped free of Lauren’s anal opening, surprising Alex. Her cousin’s twinkled opening immediate resumed its usual shape though Alex was inexplicably possessed by a curious desire to put the flower back inside her Lauren’s body.
“Thanks!” Lauren sat up. “Let me see it… Oh Emmeline, they’re beautiful. Thank you!” Lauren found a vase and put the two daisies in it.
“I still don’t get it,” Alex said scratching her head. “How did Emmeline put those… in you?”
“I think Alex deserves a turn now,” Emmeline spoke up. “Don’t you think so, Lauren?”
“Come on, Alex,” urged Lauren, taking her by the arm. “It’s so cool. You’ll like it, I promise. Here, get up into the wardrobe…” Alex did as her cousin directed, climbing the stair like drawers. Once she was standing on the horizontal shelf that divided the wardrobe in two, her hands automatically found the handholds on either side of the hanging clothes.
“Okay, keep holding like that,” Lauren said. “Now let your feet slide forward like this…” She took Alex’s ankles and glided them along the smooth surface of the shelf. Her legs slid along the hanging clothes, moving forward until her toes reached the back wall of the wardrobe.
“Can you feel that opening? Remember from before?” Lauren asked. “Use your toes. Can you feel it?”
“Okay, now use your arms to support yourself while you slide into the opening.”
It sounded ridiculous, but Alex humored her cousin. Using her toes, she could easily feel the contrast between the hard wood of the wardrobe and the soft velvet of the opening. Flexing her arms, she lifted herself up a bit and placed both feet onto the spongy velvet. To Alex’s great surprise, her feet and legs slid smoothly through the opening. She suddenly found herself lying on her back on the wardrobe shelf, exactly in the same position Lauren had earlier occupied.
“You did it!” Lauren crowed.
“I… I did?” said Alex. Her hands touched the back of the wardrobe. It was true. Half her body was embedded within the wardrobe. From the waist up, Alex was inside the wardrobe. But from the waist down… She tentatively kicked her legs but they touched nothing. It felt as if she were dangling in mid air.
“I’m… so… part of me is in the fairy world?” Alex said in wonderment.
“That’s right,” Emmeline answered. “I can see you now, Alex. And you’re a very beautiful girl.” Alex peered down where her lower torso would normally be but she saw nothing. It was too dark in the back of the wardrobe and the coats hanging in the wardrobe were so long that they now dangled on her belly and chest, effectively shielding her view.
“I can tell you would be a beautiful fairy,” Emmeline said. Alex blushed, not just from the praise but because she remembered again that Emmeline could see her naked. She wished she had put on a pair of underpants at least before going into the Whimsical Wardrobe.
“I know it’s your first day, but do you want to try another Fairy Challenge?” offered Emmeline. “It won’t be difficult, I promise.”
“Well… okay,” Alex answered with uncertainty. “What do I have to do?”
“Not a thing, really,” Emmeline told her. “I’m going to make sure your body is ready to become a fairy. All right?”
“All right.” Alex waited, her legs dangling as she lay in the wardrobe. She soon felt a slight touch along her leg. It was a wispy touch, so light and delicate that wasn’t even sure if she wasn’t imagining it. “Is that you, Emmeline?”
“Yes, just me.” Emmeline responded. “You’re not afraid, are you?” Alex glanced at her cousin who hovered near the wardrobe. Lauren nodded encouragingly.
“No…” Alex said. “It just feels a little…” The feathery touch swooped down her leg, all the way to her ankles, before climbing up again to her inner thigh. It paused a moment there before gliding down along her bare leg once more. Unable to help herself, Alex gave a kick.
“Sorry!” Alex apologized. “It was just a little ticklish.”
“I understand,” Emmeline said. “Can you do me a favor Alex and spread your legs as far apart as you can?”
Alex did as she was asked. “Like this?” Her legs were still dangling but she had moved her ankles and knees as far apart as possible.
“Perfect,” Emmeline answered. “I’m just going to put these here, but don’t be worried…”
Alex didn’t understand what “these” referred to until she felt something elastic slip around each of her ankles. The eight year old didn’t think much of it until she felt something else slip around each knee and pulled them apart as well.
“Umm, Emmeline? I can’t move my legs.” A bit alarmed now, Alex tried to kick her legs again but found herself completely immobilized.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Alex.” She felt something warm yet rough against her inner thigh. It moved dangerously close to the juncture of her legs before continuing on to her other thigh. Then it felt scratchy, like sandpaper. Alex shivered and instinctively tried to close her legs but the restraints around her knees and ankles prevented it.
“Lauren, I don’t think I want to…” Alex began speaking but was jolted by an alarming sensation. Something warm and wet was probing between her legs! Her eyes went wide with alarm.
“What is it, Alex?”
“Something… there’s something… between my legs,” Alex whimpered.
“That’s just Emmeline, I bet” reassured Lauren. “Don’t be afraid. She’s not going to hurt you.”
“It feels really funny… like… like…” Alex struggled to explain what she felt but was at a complete loss for words. The strange and slithery feeling reminded her of science class at school when the teacher made everyone in the class touch a frog. The mere thought of having a frog rubbed between her legs made her absolutely nauseated.
“Emmeline?” Alex began. “What are you doing? Is that you touching me?”
“It’s just me, Alex,” promised Emmeline.
“It feels really funny. Can we stop? I don’t want to be in this wardrobe anymore.”
“Just a few more minutes?” pleaded Emmeline. “This doesn’t hurt, does it?”
“No… it just feels really… weird.”
“Little girls always need time to get used to a fairy’s touch,” Emmeline informed her. “Just be patient, okay?”
Alex felt uncomfortable. Not only did she feel crammed into the wardrobe like a sardine in a can, but the tickling between her legs was starting to make her feel strange. Now she imagined it to be a worm instead of a frog. The thought was no less comforting, but she was feeling an unidentifiable warmth spreading across her body. At first the frog had tickled unbearably, but now the worm felt much different. Each time it caressed her, Alex shivered uncontrollably.
“Are you okay, Alex?” Lauren asked with concern.
“I don’t know,” she whimpered. “It feels really weird.”
“It’ll be okay, trust me,” consoled Lauren. “Does it feel ticklish? It feels that way at first. I remember when I first started riding the Howler Horse that it felt so ticklish that I wanted to get off right away. But you’ll get used to it, I promise.”
Alex gripped her cousin’s hands and tried to accept her coaching. It indeed felt ticklish. She wanted to kick her legs but she knew it would be useless. With superhuman effort, she willed herself to be still. “It feels like something wet and wiggly. I… I think I can feel something breathing on me too,” Alex admitted with great embarrassment.
From the look of surprise on Lauren’s face, Alex could tell she had hit upon something. Perhaps Lauren herself had been inside the wardrobe once and wondered the same thing. Alex hadn’t wanted to acknowledge that it was something breathing on her. The sensation of warm breath on her hairless crotch could only mean that the warm and wet thing was… someone’s mouth? Emmeline’s mouth? But why on earth would anyone want to put their mouth right there, between her legs?
It just didn’t make sense. Yet the sensation of breathing on her skin was unmistakable. The eight year old girl was caught between two competing desires. Part of her desperately wanted to get out of the wardrobe. The other part was growing with curiosity about the pleasurable waves rippling between her legs. She looked at her cousin for guidance.
“Just give it a minute more,” Lauren urged. “Come on, Alex. A minute isn’t that long, right? Don’t you want to be a fairy? Here, give me your hands.”
Alex bit her lip, but gratefully took her cousin’s hands. She had never liked enclosed spaces and being crammed into the wardrobe only heightened her claustrophobia. In her state of keyed-up nerves, Alex began to perspire. Her sweat re-hydrated the dried Fairy Seed that had crusted over her chest, filling her nostrils with the odd and earthy scent of the seed. The eight year old girl’s senses felt as if they were under assault from the foreign stimuli. The tickling between her legs felt just plain funny. Her back was getting sore from the hard surface of the wardrobe. And the penetrating odor of Fairy Seed was making her feel dizzy.
Lauren gazed into her eyes with an earnest expression. “Close your eyes and relax,” she appealed, squeezing her hands. Alex did. The wiggling worm between her legs was unrelenting now, alternating between tender touches and forceful stabs. Only once she closed her eyes did Alex realize how light-headed she felt.
She thought closing her eyes would help, but it only served to heighten the sensations swimming in her head. Alex’s legs were involuntarily moving again. Not kicking per se, but twitching uncontrollably in time with the shivers that ran along her spine. Peculiar sensations registered briefly as her mind went in and out focus.
The bead of sweat that had formed on her brow.
The arrhythmic clenching of her inner thigh muscles.
The heady scent of dried Fairy Seed on her chest.
The tight grip of Alex’s hands in hers.
And, of course, the now undeniably glorious worm working its magic between her legs.
The eight year old didn’t care anymore what it was. Frog, worm, tongue… whatever. All she knew was that she didn’t want it to stop. She had succumbed completely to the pleasure now, willing to follow it wherever it may lead. Alex had never felt anything like this before, but she knew it was wonderful. She was rising, rising, rising like a helium balloon into stratospheric levels of bliss. Floating away…
“Ah!” Alex gasped. She suddenly felt herself rocketing into space. If she had been traveling one hundred miles per hour before, she was now moving close to light speed. Her eyes snapped open wide, where she found Lauren staring at her, enraptured.
“You’re casting a spell!” Lauren breathed. “You’re casting your first spell, Alex!”
“I am… I AM! CasTING… uh… uh…” Alex’s vision went white. She squeezed her cousin’s hand so hard that she felt like they might pop. Her earlier discomfort now all but forgotten, she could only feel the warm, undulating waves of pleasure that swept across her little body. The squiggly worm, once disliked, was now welcomed with open arms as Alex realized how all the pleasure focused on that one little spot between her legs where it was mercilessly lashing at her. Alex never wanted it to stop. Never. Never…
A blackness overwhelmed her mind.
“Alex, are you all right?” She felt someone’s hand shaking her shoulder. Alex slowly opened her eyes. Lauren was staring at her anxiously.
“What happened?” Alex asked blearily. She was lying on the bed in the playhouse. The bedspread felt cool against her skin. Her eyes settled on the wardrobe opposite the bed.
“The wardrobe…” Alex muttered. The memory came rushing back. The frog. The tickling. The worm. The pleasure. Had she imagined it? She glanced at herself and saw she was stark naked, as was Lauren.
“I…” Lauren looked on the verge of tears. “I don’t know what happened. You… you were casting a spell and then… well, I guess you fainted.”
“How… did I get on the bed?” wondered Alex.
“I carried you,” sniffed Lauren. “I pulled you out of the wardrobe and carried you over here.” Alex groggily examined her legs which now sported some scratches and darkening bruises. “I was really scared,” Alex continued. “I asked Emmeline what to do but I don’t think she’s here anymore. Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, I think,” Alex said slowly sitting up. Her limbs were limp and she felt completely drained.
“Do… do you remember casting your first spell?” Lauren asked.
“Of course I do. It felt… well, I’ve never felt anything like that before.”
“Did you like it?”
Alex nodded. “It was incredible.”
“Thank goodness!” Lauren sighed with relief. “I was worried that you would be scared and not ever want to do it again. Wasn’t it great? Doesn’t it feel like the best thing in the world and then BAM!”
“I liked it a lot,” Alex agreed. She was a bit relieved to see Lauren go back to her normal self. “Is that what it feels like when you cast a spell on the Howler Horse?”
“Sort of,” said Lauren. “They both feel really nice but the Howler Horse and the Whimsical Wardrobe are both different.”
“I want to try the Howler Horse next,” Alex said with conviction. “And then I want to try the wardrobe again to see how different it is. And then…”
Emmeline’s voice interrupted her. “Alex! It seems you’re no worse for wear. Are you feeling all right?”
“I’m okay,” Alex told the fairy. “I guess I just fainted.”
“You gave us quite the worry there,” Emmeline chided.
“I faint a lot,” Alex admitted. “My mom says I have a knack for it. I fainted at a baseball game once when my dad caught a home run ball. And I fainted at the doctor’s office once too.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re all right,” Emmeline told her.
“Did I pass that Fairy Challenge?” asked Alex.
“My goodness, of course!” Emmeline exclaimed. “Not every girl can pass the Whimsical Wardrobe on the first try, you know. Not even your cousin there.”
Alex smiled as Lauren defensively crossed her arms. “It wasn’t my fault! It tickled way too much! But I can do it now. Come on, I’ll show you…” Lauren was just about to climb back into the wardrobe when the phone rang. Alex blinked in surprise. It was an old fashioned phone, the kind attached to a wall with a real bell for a ringer.
Lauren answered it. “Hello? Hi mom. We’re just playing. Really? Really? That’s today? Do I have to?” Her cousin made a face. “All right. We’ll be there in a second.” She hung up the phone.
“That was my mom,” Lauren explained. She picked up her clothes from the chair they hung on. “She said it’s time for lunch so I guess we better get dressed.”
Alex disappointedly followed suit. “Well, we can come back here after lunch, right?”
Lauren shook her head. “I have piano lessons after lunch.”
“You know, Alex,” Emmeline said, “if you’d like, you can come here by yourself after lunch.”
“Really?” Alex’s eyes widened in anticipation as she put on her shirt and buttoned her jeans.
“You guys get to have fun without me?” Lauren pouted.
“You can come join us after your piano lessons,” consoled Emmeline. “I promise all three of us will get to have fun. Besides, you’ve had all sorts of fun by yourself in the playhouse. It’s only right that Alex gets her fair share.”
“All right,” Lauren conceded gloomily. Both girls were now dressed. Lauren turned off the lights. “Bye Emmeline.”
“Bye Emmeline!” Alex called.
Lunch was macaroni and cheese with green beans on the side. Alex ate ravenously, unaware of how hungry she had been. After a dessert of vanilla frosted cupcakes, Lauren sulkingly trudged away to her piano lessons while Alex skipped back to the playhouse. She followed the path through the piney woods. Just before reaching the clearing, Alex briefly wondered if the playhouse would still be there. The events of the morning seemed so magical that she still wondered if she were dreaming.
Sure enough, the child-sized cottage stood in the clearing where she had left it. Alex tiptoed to the door and let herself into the darkened playhouse. “Emmeline?” she said tentatively. “Lunch is over, so I’m back. Lauren is at her piano lessons.”
She heard nothing but silence in reply. Alex groped along the wall for a light switch but her hand found nothing but blank wall. She was relieved to hear a familiar voice speak.
“Hi Alex!” Emmeline said brightly. “I’ve been waiting for you. I have a surprise too.” The playhouse lights magically illuminated. The Howler Horse waited majestically in one corner. The basket containing Lauren’s beautiful Magic Orbs sat gaily in a windowsill. The Whimsical Wardrobe stood inconspicuous yet alluring at the other end of the playhouse.
The room appeared just as she remembered it. “What’s my surprise?” asked Alex.
“Don’t you see it?” Emmeline teased.
“Maybe this will help,” the fairy said. There was a brief sound, like someone zinging the keys on a xylophone. Alex’s attention was drawn to the ceiling where the glass stars began pulsing rhythmically with light. It was only then that Alex noticed.
Magic Mushrooms dotting the ceiling. Alex was amazed. She had only seen the lone mushroom poking from the wall before but now there were several hanging from the ceiling like light fixtures. She quickly counted them up. There were seven.
“I brought you some more Magic Mushrooms since you did such a good job before,” Emmeline told her. Bemused, Alex walked the length of the room. The mushrooms were of all different sizes and shapes. Some were fat and wrinkled. Others were skinny and dark. Most were wilted but one or two were already swollen. She reached up to cautiously nudge one, making it sway from side to side.
“I didn’t know Magic Mushrooms could grow out of the ceiling,” ventured Alex, still wandering the room. She climbed up onto a step-stool and sniffed at another mushroom, detecting an aromatic scent that she had never smelled before. It was sharply pungent. She wasn’t sure if she liked it.
“Magic Mushrooms can sprout just about anywhere,” Emmeline said. “Do you remember what to do?”
“I do,” answered Alex. Gazing at the multitude of Magic Mushrooms dangling from the ceiling, she began undressing. The young girl had a lot of work to do.