The Hawthorne Lights

Submitted into Contest #196 in response to: Write a story involving a portal into a parallel universe.... view prompt

1 comment

Kids Fiction

The year was 1990 and everyone thought Becky Pierson was the meanest girl in Hawthorne. She believed she was destined for fame and fortune. Living in a small rural village was her biggest inconvenience. The day was very warm and the school bus ride home was becoming unbearable. Becky was getting ornery, so she scanned the bus for a distraction. That’s when she noticed the two girls sitting three rows in front of her. They left their bus window up when every other window was down. They were much younger than Becky. Still in elementary school. Disgusted that they would dare make her so miserably hot, Becky grabbed her brand new kodak film camera out of her back pack and marched towards the grungy girls. 

“Why on earth would you leave your bus window up on such a hot day?” She barked. The girls looked up at her startled. The motion caused the taller of the two girls to lose her bow. She picked it up and adjusted her ponytail before answering quietly. 

“Didn’t you hear what happened to Ricky Anderson? He was taken by the fairies in the forest. He went out to the big hawthorne circle next to the park four days ago. No one has seen him since.” Becky scowled then answered.

“Fairies! You two must be the dumbest people to have ever walked the earth.” 

“I live next to the park and saw the lights in the forest.” The shorter girl interjected. “My grandmother used to live in the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Her neighbors there were fey and fairies visited them all the time. My grandmother wouldn’t lie about such things.” Becky had heard the news about Ricky Anderson yesterday, but didn’t like the girl's tone. Becky gave the girls a smirk before she stood up tall and shouted as loud as she could.

 “Hey everybody, these two believe in fairies!” A chuckle rolled through the bus and Becky felt validated. She turned her beady eyes towards the younger girls and showed them her Kodak. She leaned over them and spoke quietly. “My father is a news reporter and his whole job is to expose kooks like you. I am already investigating what happened to Ricky. I’m going to take this fancy new camera that my father got me to find Ricky and prove you two are psychotics. They will lock you up in a mental asylum for spreading dangerous rumors and I will become famous for saving the town from the likes of you.” The bus reached Becky’s stop so she gave the girls one last sneer before grabbing her bookbag. “Fairies aren’t real.” She told the girls spitefully as she walked towards the exit. Becky waited for the bus to pull away and then ran excitedly towards her house. All she had to do was find Ricky and she would be the most famous person in Hawthorne.

As usual no one was home, but all that would change when she was rich and famous. Becky emptied her books out of her bag to reload it with supplies. A notebook, a flashlight, snacks, a blanket, and of course her brand new kodak. She microwaved a tv dinner because she didn’t know how long she would be gone. She day dreamed about how awesome she was the entire time she packed and ate. Becky grabbed her gear and hopped on her pink and black, lowrider Huffy. The pink banana seat had a tear down the middle, but it was still the most envied bike on the rural block. Becky looked down at her Casio watch and was shocked. “ It’s already seven thirty I have to get going, where do I start? The younger girl had mentioned she lived by the park, and there was only one park in Hawthorne.” Becky lived about a mile away from Hawthorne Park, so she started in that direction while she planned out her investigation. 

There was only one family at the park when Becky arrived. A mother with two rambunctious toddlers. She grabbed her note book out of her backpack and walked over. Becky was determined to interrogate the stranger. “Do you know where Ricky Anderson is?”

“I’m not entirely sure who that is.” The mother responded politely as she pulled a wad of messy black hair from her face. Becky noticed she was pretty enough to be on tv and felt bitter.

“You know who I’m talking about, everybody does. He is the highschool senior who disappeared four days ago. He was last seen at this park. You were probably involved with his disappearance. You look like the type.” Annoyed by Becky’s attitude the mother answered sharper than before.

“I can assure you I have no idea who Ricky Anderson is. My children are in preschool, so I don’t particularly pay attention to high school politics.” The mother turned towards the swings and gently shouted. “Boys, it's time to go home and clean up for the night.” They moaned in unison, but ran to their mother. Becky watched them leave, but hoped her children would be taken away. Anyone who would speak to a fourteen year old girl like that should not be a mother. Becky waited for more families to show up, but the sun had already set and it was getting dark fast. Becky dug her flashlight out of her backpack as she went over the conversation she had earlier on the bus.

“The little girl on the bus said she saw lights coming out of the forest the night Ricky disappeared. She said the lights were coming from the Hawthorne circle. Hawthorne circle is where all the high schoolers go to makeout and I’ve never been there. Luckily, I once overheard the highschoolers at the bus stop talking about how to get there. There should be a trail at the .75 marker on the two mile hiking trail that connects to the park. The circle should be down there. I bet Ricky is there right now trying to prank the entire village. They’ll give me an award after I expose his pathetic scam.” Becky grabbed her stuff and started hiking towards the trail. It didn’t take her long to find the wooden marker that separated the main trail from an overgrown and barely used path. Lost in her thoughts she walked the pathway for what felt like an eternity. Suddenly she noticed how dark it had gotten. Becky evaluated her situation and thought.

“I will never be able to find the circle. Even with my flashlight it’s too dark to tell which type of trees I am looking at. Good thing I packed a blanket. It won’t be fun, but I guess I’ll just wait for the sun to come up. It will be worth it to find Ricky and get an interview on Oprah.” Becky unpacked her blanket and leaned against a nearby tree. It didn’t take long for her tediously busy day to catch up to her. Her eyes got very heavy and she fell asleep just as the moon was beginning to peak.

Becky was in such a deep sleep that the bright blue light startled her subconscious. This caused her awakening to feel like she was falling and about to crash back into her body. She felt the crash and gasped as her eyes flew open. Ten yards in front of her stood twelve massive hawthorne trees aligned in a circle. In the center of the circle was an eight foot tall stone archway. The center of which all the light was flowing from. In front of the archway stood a tall, beautiful woman with long unconfined black hair. Her wild hair rested beneath a crown of purple foxgloves. Becky couldn’t take her eyes off of the queenly woman. Dazed for a long time, she studied the odd scene that had unfolded before her. Becky could see that the woman was speaking, but couldn’t hear over the thrumming in her ears. 

“Blessed be!” The woman cheered loudly while raising a chalice. At once, a hundred hummingbirds, that Becky had failed to notice, flew from the ground through the archway. Only one remained and landed on the woman's outstretched hand. The hummingbird looked wrong so Becky focused in.

“A fairy!” She shouted excitedly to herself. In two fast movements Becky grabbed her Kodak out of her bag and jumped to her feet. The suddenness of her commotion caused the fairy to follow the others through the archway. Becky marched towards the dark haired woman. 

“Where is Ricky Anderson?” She asked. “I know you kidnapped him.” The woman smiled at Becky as she approached.

“I’m not entirely sure who that is. I am merely a mother visiting your universe for the evening. My children love the hawthorne trees here.” The strange woman reminded Becky of the mother she met earlier at the park. But that wasn’t important right now.

“I can tell when I’m being lied to.” Becky scoffed. She pointed towards the glowing archway and said. “ If you don’t tell me the truth then I will be forced to investigate your universe.” The woman looked surprised, but answered very quietly.

“I would not do that if I were you. Every universe has a unique time flow. You are not of the fae and may be harmed if you pass through. ” Becky stopped listening when she heard the word not. No one could tell her no when there was fame and fortune on the line. She gripped her Kodak as tightly as she could and bolted towards the portaled archway.

“I’ll only be a minute!” Becky shouted behind her as she barreled through. Passing through the archway made her feel nauseous. It felt like an eternity and an instant at the same time. Becky took a deep breath to calm her heart before looking around. On the opposite side of the entrance, thousands of fairies were going about their day in a beautiful forested city. Right in front of her lay a moss like pond, where twenty fairies were sitting on multiple flowering lily pads. Becky could tell by the looks on their little faces that they were very shocked their chat had been interrupted. She raised her camera. Click. Click. Click. She only had twenty four chances to get the perfect photograph and she used everyone. After taking one last glance at the mysterious universe, Becky turned around and closed her eyes, hoping it would help with nausea, before walking through the portal again.

“I told you I would only be a minute!” Becky exclaimed before opening her eyes. The beautiful woman was still standing there, but everything had changed. The trees were all ancient looking and different varieties than before.

“Was it worth it?” The woman asked. Becky didn’t even have to think about her response.

“I have twenty four real life pictures of fairies. I am going to be the richest and most popular person in the world. Of course it was worth it.” The woman nodded then walked towards the archway.

“The year is 2990 and your device no longer works in your universe. It is an ancient technology that no one alive today will be able to decipher.” Stunned Becky watched the archway disappear as the woman walked through it. Truly alone, Becky was left with nothing but her thoughts. 

“Maybe there is more to life than fame and fortune.”

May 03, 2023 12:37

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1 comment

Mary Bendickson
01:39 May 11, 2023

You created a believable know-it-all, I'm better than everyone, lonely latch-key teen surrounded her in detailed environments and transported her though perfect prompt portal that changed her reality. What's not to like? Welcome to Reedsy.


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