“Wake up, America”, dad shouted suddenly, then added softly, “We’re at grandma and grandpa’s house.” Groan. They pulled into the garage. Mary took in the house, the garage, the garden. It was like traveling to 1933 when the house was built. It looked like a house from an episode of “The Little Rascals”, Mary thought.
“I’m hungry”, she said.
“Well, hello, hungry!”, said dad.
On the other side of the garage and around giant oak tree were two gardens. Charles liked to open the pea pods and scrape them down his bottom teeth, collecting the peas inside. He’d go down a whole row like that.
Mary wandered into the green house that was attached to the garage. Granddad had constructed it himself years ago. It seemed bigger on the inside than on the outside. It was full of strange plants and gardening tools and other tools that had no obvious purpose.
The sun was setting. As it darkened, the garden seemed to disappear into the night, making it seem like it went on forever.
Where was the house?
Mary found Charles. “Go this way”, Mary said trying not to sound worried. They rounded the oak tree. The rhubarb was there. It looked larger. They could almost walk under the leaves. They walked and walked. They were in a forest. Mary and Charles tried to understand it.
“Where’s the house”, said Charles?
“I…” Mary said. She looked around. This didn’t make sense. Something flew by. A lightening bug. It flew by again. A giant lightening bug. It laughed. Mary gasped. A tiny woman, a Sprite! She glided quickly down a long path, down down down until she was a dot.
Hands gently alighted onto their shoulders. She turned to look. It was a tree branch. A large broad face in the trunk of the tree asked, “Lost?” Mary and Charles screamed and ran. The tree watched them go. “Did I say something wrong?” the tree asked.
There was a yellow light up ahead. As they ran toward it they saw there was a large oval table with people sitting around it. Their ears were long and pointy. Mary and Charles watched from the bushes.
“What’s all this, then?” came a sudden angry voice. Mary and Charles were grabbed by their shirts and dragged into the clearing.
“They’ve seen us” hissed a voice. “They’ve seen faerie folk!”
Mary kept Charles close. “Where are we? We were trying to go home.”
“Home?” shouted a tiny woman holding a Cat. “This is your home, now.” She paused. “Unless…” She paused again. “…unless you can guess kitty’s name”.
Without hesitating, Mary said, “Melchior”. There was a hush. A card game that had not been disrupted suddenly stopped. Three sprites stopped in mid air, tiny jaws hanging open, eyes wide.
“How?” the tiny woman asked with a hoarse whisper. Melchior watched a leaf begin to turn in circles on the ground. The wind began to blow.
“Howwww?” the voices came. Leaves and twigs and dirt swirled all around them.
“Eat!” said Grandma. They saw her calling out from the stairs. Mary and Charles were standing in the rhubarb plant. They looked around. They were in the garden.
“There you are”, said Grandad standing right next to them. They screeched. Grandad laughed. “Time to eat!” He went up the stairs into the house.
Mary sat in the living room petting grandma and grandpa’s cat, Melchior. “Of course I know your name”, she said. Charles was trying to ask grandma and grandad if the garden was magical. “It’s magical to me”, grandad declared. Charles looked at them trying to understand.
That night Mary lay in bed with the curtains open so the moon shone in. Grandad was still up closing windows, turning off lights etc. for the night. The back door, which was visible from her window, opened. For a moment the moonlight shone on Granddad’s face. Mary’s eyes widened. Grandad puffed on a pipe, smiling mischievously. His ears were long and pointy. A Sprite circled his head and flew off again. He winked at her before disappearing into the garden.