Here goes Chapter 3. Thank you everyone for your feedback so far. If you want to read Chapters 1 and 2, click on the "My Writing" tab above and you will find the links.
That night after dinner, in the quiet of her room, Mara's mind raced. What a day, she thought to herself. It started off such an ordinary, boring old day...now I feel as if my whole world has changed, and I don't even understand how!! Maybe it's all in my imagination, and nothing really happened. Maybe if I understood Quantum Physics better, it would all make sense. Still, I'm sure if I told anyone they would think I'm crazy.
Mara leaned back into her cozy, protective nest of pillows and closed her eyes, trying to sort out her thoughts. She couldn't. She couldn't relax and she couldn't think. She pulled her journal from the drawer of her bedside table, rummaged around for a pen, then opened the book. The blank page stared at her. She stared back. Where to begin? Mara turned on some soothing music to ease her busy mind. Drifting away with the song, she started to doodle mindlessly on the page. As the tension started to leave her body, she was vaguely aware that her hand was drawing something and her thoughts started to order themselves.
So, what did actually happen today? Mara thought to herself. It was a good day, really. It started off perfectly normal until that Science class. I met a new girl, someone who I have a lot in common with. I felt like we had an instant connection, and I could tell, she felt it too. It was great to meet someone I didn't grow up with; everyone in this town seems to know everything and nothing about me. Rose is different. All in all, not a bad day. Her mind then wandered to the field of energy, the faerie and the fact that she had lost an hour sitting on the rock. Others felt energy too, but they didn't see sparkles or colours, did they? They certainly didn't see faeries! Maybe it was a trick of the light, some image my mind made up from the background of the river flowing by, combined with my imagination. That must be it. As for the time, I must have just lost track of it. I must have been concentrating so hard, like meditating, and simply lost track of time. That is really the only explanation.
Mara started to feel better, thinking things were getting back to normal and that nothing weird had really happened to her that day. After all, she had simply followed her teacher's instructions and she must know what she is doing. Mara forced herself to believe her explanations, though there was a part of her that remained sceptical and kept nagging at her. She was pulled away from these thoughts, however, by a loud pounding on the door.
“Hey, what's up?” The door opened before she could even say 'come in' and Tom, her little brother, bounded into her room; he never did anything quietly or by halves. He was eleven years old, two years younger than Mara, with short brown hair, brown eyes, and an athletic build, though he was catching up to Mara in height. He loved to play sports and games of any kind, but soccer was his favourite and he always wore a soccer jersey, as he was now. This one was from the Brazillian national team, the best team in the world, according to Tom. Everyone knew what Tom thought because he never stopped talking.
“You should have seen me at soccer practice today. It was awesome! I kicked the ball half way across the field, over everyone's head and right into the goal!” Tom explained excitedly, doing a victory dance around the room. Soccer, again. “What are you up to? You seemed funny at dinner tonight.”
Mara thought Tom was pretty perceptive for a little brother. “Not much, just thinking,” she replied.
Tom walked across the room and sat on Mara's bed, bouncing his soccer ball along the way while Mara cringed. The pounding unnerved her. “What's this?” asked Tom, picking up Mara's journal. “That's not bad, it even looks like something, not your usual scribbles."
Mara grabbed back her journal. “What are you talking about? That's my journal, you know it's private! Besides, it's just doodles.” Mara looked down at her book and stopped, surprised by what she saw. It was a beautiful drawing of a faerie, and not just any faerie, it was a perfect drawing of the faerie she had seen in her energy field that afternoon.
“Some doodle,” Tom said. “Why do you looked so surprised? You drew it, didn't you?”
“Y-y-yes,” Mara stammered. “It's just that I was thinking, not concentrating on drawing. I didn't realize I had drawn it,” Mara finished softly, her mind could not quite take in what she was seeing.
Tom laughed, “You drew it without thinking? Ha, ha! Maybe that's your problem, you think too much. If you did more things without thinking, you might do them better, instead of always second guessing yourself.” Tom looked pretty pleased with his insult, though Mara felt stung by the truth underlying the jab. She did have a hard time committing to anything or believing in herself. “Seriously, though, how did you draw this faerie and not realize it?”
“I don't know,” Mara said. “I guess I was just thinking about faeries. And I've been reading this new fantasy novel. That might have something to do with it.”
“Uh, huh, and are there faeries like this in your book?” Tom enquired. Mara shook her head, puzzled, as Tom picked up the journal again and examined the drawing more closely. “There's a lot of detail here, it looks almost real. She looks pretty upset, though.”
Mara looked surprised again. “You think so?” She decided to take a risk. “Actually, it's not from my book. I was daydreaming earlier about faeries and this one seemed so clear. I guess it got stuck in my head, so I drew it.”
“Is that why you were so strange at dinner, I mean, stranger than normal?” Tom grinned at her.
“Hmmm, I guess so,” Mara said, thoughtfully, not even noticing the insult. Then she looked up. Tom was not laughing at her, so she continued, “have you ever had really vivid daydreams before, seen things in your mind, made things up, but at the same time they seem real?”
Tom thought for a moment. “I don't dream about faeries, if that's what you mean. I do visualize doing well at soccer, though. Our coach showed us how; I just sit and picture myself running across the field and scoring goals. Is that what you mean?”
“I'm not sure,” Mara replied, “maybe.” She paused before continuing. “I was taking Homer for a walk this afternoon, and I sat down on the big rock and watched the river. I guess I was daydreaming and then I pictured this faerie.” Mara deliberately left out the part about the energy experiment. She knew her brother would have a field day with that. He was pretty understanding right now and she didn't want to push it. It felt good to talk to someone about this, though, even if it was only part of the truth. Tom wasn't laughing at her and it made her feel like less of a freak.
Tom looked at Mara with a funny expression. “It must have been a pretty vivid daydream. Sounds like you were meditating. Did the faerie do anything? Did it talk to you?”
Mara was taken aback by the question. Tom was really taking this seriously. “What do you mean, did it do anything?”
“You know, move, speak, blink...” Tom said, looking directly at Mara. “Did it do anything?”
Mara thought for a moment, but before she could speak, Tom broke the silence. “Something else happened, didn't it? Daydreaming about a faerie wouldn't make you act like this.”
“You're right,” Mara confessed, and decided to tell Tom the whole story. Really, the worst thing that could happen would be that he would laugh at her, maybe tease her for a few days. She had dealt with worse. The whole story came tumbling out, her science class and their experiment, the pull of the energy, sitting by the river with Homer and how she had created another, stronger energy field, how it sparkled and she saw the fluttering shapes, how she thought they were butterflies at first, but then realized it was the same faerie that she had just drawn, and then how Jason and Rose interrupted her and how she had lost an hour. When Mara finished talking and they looked intently at each other without speaking for a long minute.
“Well,” Mara said at last, “aren't you going to make fun of me? Tell me how crazy I am?”
“No,” Tom replied, “I'm not. You are one of the most steady people I know, you don't have it in you to something like that up.”
“Thanks, I think.”
“Really, Mara, it's incredible, what you've just described. If what you are saying is true, there is a faerie somewhere, maybe it's in trouble. Maybe it was asking you for help.”
“You're serious? You actually believe me and that I saw a real faerie, one that is in trouble and needs my help? How can I help a faerie? It had to be a daydream, a figment of my imagination. Faeries are not real. They don't live in energy fields. And they certainly don't need my help.” Mara was confused and frustrated. How could her brother think it was her job to help out a fictitious faerie?
“How do you know? Really, that's honestly what you think? If that's true, then why were you so weird at dinner, and why have you been sitting here, spacing out, drawing an absolutely perfect picture of a faerie you don't believe is real and didn't even know you were drawing? It's even a really good drawing and you are not that good of an artist. ”
Mara looked deflated. She knew that Tom was not trying to insult her this time, but she was tired and her brain was numb from thinking. “I don't know.”
“So, what are you going to do,” Tom asked, his voice much more gentle now.
“Do?” Mara repeated, “what can I do?”
“You can help the faerie. You love all animals...creatures.” Tom picked up the drawing of the faerie and looked at it. “You know you can't stand by if you know one is suffering or in trouble; you're a bleeding heart when it comes to these things.” Tom seemed so confident in his assertion that it bolstered something in Mara. Tom looked down sheepishly. “It is one of your better traits.”
Mara was shocked, had her brother actually complimented her? “But, how do I help it? I don't even know how to get to her, or what she needs.”
Tom looked at Mara squarely in the face. “You'll have to try to create that energy field again, maybe with someone with you. Maybe while you create the field, someone else can help the faerie.” Tom looked shy all of the sudden. “I'd be willing to try,” he whispered.
Mara was surprised and touched. Her little brother was really concerned about the faerie. He believed everything Mara had said, and was urging her to take action. If he could be so confident, well then, so could she.