The house at the end of the road has always drawn speculation. It stood quite a way back from the road. Always overgrown with unruly trees and a jungle of weeds and grass. The entire premise enclosed with a large brick wall. These elements collided and created an air of mystery and secrecy. Which surrounded what use to be the Livingston estate.

For the longest of times, the estate just stood in defiance to time. Never changing just being. A few years back a moving truck backed into the driveway in the dead of night. The movers quickly and quietly unloaded the truck and pulled away as quick and quietly as they came. But after that nothing happened. No one cut the grass, or trimmed the trees, the curtains remained drawn, and no one from the house made an appearance.

People believe the house is haunted. But as for me I knew the truth. So, when someone whispered their conspiracies, I smiled and walked by. For me, my story began a few years back. On that night that the moving truck backed into the driveway because I was there.

It had become my habit to sneak out of the house at night. It was the only time in which I could get away. I would tiptoe down the stairs and out the back door. From there I would creep through the garden and to the edge of the lawn. And there on the edge of our lawn was a door in the wall, which led to the Livingston estate. At first, I just walked the grounds out of curiosity. Yet soon I realized no one was living there. That is when my curiosity got the better of me. I began venturing further into the estate. Eventually, I made it inside.

The house was even more impressive up close. A deep red brick made up the outside of the house. It had large arched windows and doorways. The house stood as a testament to the wonder of man’s ingenuity. No one ever locked the doors. The Livingstons must have left in a great hurry. They left everything completely untouched. This worked out well for me. When I would sneak over to the house, I would light some candles, sit in the peace, and quiet, and write. Which is exactly what I was doing that night.

I heard the crunch of the gravel as they backed down the driveway. The intrusion to my tranquility took me quite by surprise. I scurried about blowing out the candles as quickly as possible. I then locked myself into the kitchen cupboard hoping to avoid the intruder’s detection.

“It does not matter where you put things. Just get it in the house as quickly as possible and I will do the rest” A deep gruff voice spoke. A few men mumbled under their breath. Saying something about a weird idiot and how he was keeping them out at all hours of the night.

I could not stifle my curiosity any longer and I cracked the door just enough to see what was taking place. There in the dining room stood a tall dark man, with deep brown eyes and pitch-black hair. He had on an expensive suit and shiny black shoes. Which must have been new because they squeaked every time he moved about. I became instantly mesmerized by him.

Within an hour what belongings the man had brought with him had been unloaded. With that the movers made their escape from the eccentric man, but still I remained. He sat on the couch flipping through a pile of books, he had unloaded from a trunk. He had an intense look upon his face. His brow furrowed, but his eyes, yes, his eyes were sad.

I wondered what could make such a man sad. He obviously could have anything he could desire. If such a man was not happy, what hope was there for a girl like me? Just as I began to lose myself in my own self-pity the most inconvenient thing happened, I sneezed. I sneezed so incredibly hard that I knocked everything in the cupboard over. And with that I tripped and fell out of the cupboard falling right at the feet of the man.

“Isn’t this odd.” He said as if he just found me lying in a trunk. “I can explain.” I quickly said. “Do go on.” He said “I come here every night and have done so for years, no one was ever here. I just needed an escape.” I said realizing I may sound more pathetic than I had planned. “I see” He replied his expression softening. I began to feel a bit braver “Did you just buy this place?” “It does not matter; you need to go.”

“What is the matter?” I asked. I was not ready to go. Something about him was magnetic. The last thing I want to do was return home, I had secrets of my own and I was not ready to return to them. “I am a private man, and I do not need you poking around in my business” replied pushing me towards the door. He about had me out the door when I caught sight of what he was hiding. There in a trunk was a Western underground orchid. “How did you get this?” pointing unmistakably at the orchid. “This is why you need to go!” He screamed and slammed the lid shut.

“Those have become endangered!” I had seen enough and began to run for the door. I knew that poachers of orchids could be dangerous, and I want to at least live long enough to report this. He ran in front of me and blocked the door. “I am going now.” “I do not think so, at least sit and have some tea with me.” Are you a madman?” I asked with genuine curiosity. “No but there is no way you are leaving here, not at least until I explain.” He said. “It is not what you think.” He continued without much of a pause.

I contemplated my options, not that I had many, or any at all. I reluctantly agreed to have tea with him not that I was much in the mood for it now. We sat at the table, he looks at his tea and back at me without saying a word. The silence that was once comforting has now become tense. I debate making a break for it, but I doubt that my broken body would make it to the door before he did.

“You cannot keep me here forever; people will notice I am gone in the morning.” Not a complete lie but an exaggeration, nonetheless. The only people to notice my absence would be the Doctor. But I have missed enough appointments even he would not think twice about it. He did not discern the exaggeration. Because his expression turned dark and filled with panic.

“I have obtained the orchid to protect it.” He explained. “Protect it? From what?” “A dangerous criminal.” “Oh, a criminal, is it?” I retorted sarcasm filling my voice. “I know you think I am the dangerous criminal here but trust me I am not.” “Prove it!” “Okay, fine look at this.” He got up and walked over to a trunk and pulled a glass bottle with a cork out. Inside was another western underground orchid. “Geez how many of those do you have?!?” “Watch will you.” He began to whisper into the bottle. The flower began to glow a bright pink. The aura of the flower was beautiful I could not look away. The flower glowed and hummed. The light from the flower danced in the jar, caressing the glass bottle.

I stared in amazement. “This does not prove your innocents” I finally said eyes locked on the dancing flower. “Wait for it.” He said. Then something of true wonder happened. The flower became something more than a flower. It transformed into a tiny girl. She had skin of porcelain, long black hair, and sea green eyes.

He opened the corked bottle, and the little women came gently flying out and sat on the edge of my teacup. I leaned down to examine her . “You are remarkable” I stated. “Well thank you” She replied. “Oh my, whatever are you doing in there?” The orchid is our disguise, we are fairies from the otherworld.” “Incredible” I said as she giggled.

“But why are you in the bottle?” “You see, Mr. Preston here is our guardian, and he rescues magical creatures from poachers.” She looked at me with a deep sorrow in her eyes. My heart broke for her. Even so I could not believe my eyes. I sat in disbelief. Taking it all in.

“So, what now?” I said. “We could use the extra help, if you would like?” “Really? Me?” “The way I see it we only have two choices. Let you join so we can keep an eye on you or, dispose of you so we do not have to worry about you talking.” The fairy giggled with amusement.

“Where are you hiding all the magical creatures” I asked. “Well here of course. It is well hidden, and everyone fears it which keeps everyone away.” “You have put a lot of thought into this.” “Yes, it is of the utmost importance that magic stays out of the hands of the common man.”

“You must keep this place safe” He pleaded. His sincerity touched me. He genuinely cared for the creatures and was deeply in love with the magic that still lived in this world.

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April 21, 2021 12:39

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