|Crescent Moon Lake in Ghost Horse Hollow|
Enchantment is a tricky thing, even annoying at times, especially when a fairy wand is jabbing you in the forehead.
“Ouch! You’re hurting me!” Genevieve MacKennon bristled, while keeping her eyes obediently shut.
Plink! Ploink! Thwink!
“Concentrate, Miss Genevieve. Use your mind to see, not your eyes. No peeking as I circle around your head.”
“Sir Finnias Glowgold, you are the best magical tutor a girl could ask for, not to mention a superior Household Light Fairy, but must you keep poking me with your dogwood twig?”
“I am trying to teach you a very important skill. Wind-sight is hardly a beginner’s subject. Now, tell me what you see, what you feel, while traveling outside your body. Don’t look down right away! One fairy apprentice threw up the first time I taught her this lesson, but that was long, long ago and far away from these blue mountains,” Glowgold trailed off regretfully.
“Oh, ALL RIGHT! But please stop calling me ‘Miss Genevieve.’ Everyone in Ghost Horse Hollow calls me Panther—except for you and Black Bottom the Rooster, who hates cats.”
The girl stood blindly before the window, with her muddy, calf-hugging riding boots planted on the floor. With the stance of an athlete, she focused on the only sound in the room: the steady thrum, thrum, thrumming of a four-inch pair of wings alongside her head. Having aced her latest exams with her usual attention to detail, this fourteen-year-old now faced a very different kind of test, should she possessed the courage to continue. Sir Finnias was stretching her boundaries beyond the family homestead, but Panther was ready for the future.
“I have no idea why the Starlight Fairy Queen assigned you such a ridiculously ferocious totem in her ceremony under the sycamore trees,” Glowgold rattled on. “I certainly would have chosen a more ladylike guardian.”
“I like the nickname Panther, and everyone else does too!” The girl with the dark honey hair opened her hazel eyes and glared at her mentor.
“Don’t look at me like that. You grow more and more like your mother every day, full of independent notions and rebellion. I shall always refer to you as Miss Genevieve.” Glowgold dismissed the girl’s protest by dusting off his gilded waistcoat and adjusting his wavy powdered wig. “As I was saying,” he continued briskly, “Wind-sight requires utmost mental control. Once more, if you please, from the beginning. Close your eyes and tell me what you see!”
Dink! Dink! Zwink!
Sir Finnias Glowgold tapped his student’s brow with his wand, as if he were conducting an orchestra. The girl instantly began an inward journey that took her high above Ghost Horse Hollow. Below, the autumn meadows opened out in blissful tones of pumpkin, crimson, and bronze, flecked with silver shadows and transparent ribbons of light.
“Those shimmering objects must be ponds and streams!” she cried aloud.
“You are too high, much too high,” complained the Household Light Fairy. Panther thought Glowgold sounded very far away, as if she were hearing a bird cry on the far horizon. “Move your gaze downward to something familiar. See if you can identify Crescent Moon Lake. That should be easy enough.”
Panther gazed intently within her inner landscape, feeling herself floating slowly toward a glistening expanse of water shaped like a crescent moon. Pearl-colored swans with jet black beaks floated in and out of the overhanging willows along the shores of a tranquil, mountain lake. A creamy colt with faint dapples and four white socks cantered along its stony banks, playing with his own reflection. The colt’s watchful mother-mare stood to one side with her head held high and her pale amber mane and tail wafting in the late afternoon breeze. Crumpled maple leaves dotted the shoreline, strewn with acorns and faded yellow stems.
|Ellyon Elestial as Panther MacKennon|
“I see it!” the girl murmured. “The images are becoming clearer and clearer, like someone wiping off a foggy mirror!”
“Ah, there you have it. My goodness, Miss Genevieve, you really are the most remarkable student that I have ever had the privilege of instructing,” Glowgold remarked excitedly. “Settle in to the spirit of the exercise and let the scene before you unfold, just like a grand story. Wind-sight will guide you through the present and into the future. But beware, not everything in the world is wholesome or good. There is something dark coming through the woods as we speak. Perhaps it would be best for us to discontinue our lesson. Come along with me to the parlor. Your baby sister is downstairs expecting her afternoon music lesson. We must not keep Miss Adeline waiting.”
“But…but we were just getting started! I don’t want to quit now!”
“Come away from the window at once. Open your eyes and desist! There is a disturbance in the Fairylands, making its way southwards. I cannot touch the shadow with my own mind, but I sense that it will reach its destination soon, very soon. You could not have possibly developed the skill to see that far in just one session.”
Panther MacKennon blinked. It was best not to contend with Sir Finnias when he was being so irritable and stubborn. The girl reached across her reading nook to close her second story bedroom window. The antique lace curtains fluttered in protest. Panther was obliged to take a few deep breaths to steady her nerves and re-enter physical reality. She glanced at her tutor’s retreating wings and sparkling dust trail as the Household Light Fairy flitted into the adjacent hallway. Glowgold had glimpsed something …or someone… that he did not want Panther to know about; otherwise, he would never have ended an enchantment so abruptly. She had seen the blue-eyed colt and his proud dam near Crescent Moon Lake, as well as Black Bottom the Rooster strutting about with his hens. Nothing seemed amiss.
“I’ll be along in a minute! I just have to get a sweater out of my wardrobe!” Panther called from beside her canopy bed. The girl cracked open the window once more and closed her eyes. Wind-sight made her a bit light-headed and swimmy. Glowgold’s tiny wand had awakened a powerful gift deep within the girl’s psyche. She could feel a new capability sweeping through her senses like the rumbling of a drum. Something was indeed moving through the forest, something larger than a fox, but smaller than a wolf. It had worn, yellow teeth and slanting eyes, and it was headed straight toward a tall, lightly bearded man dressed in buckskin clothing.
“Come along, Miss Genevieve!” Glowgold beckoned from the top of the stairs.
“On my way!” Panther grabbed her lilac-colored sweater out of nearby wardrobe and glanced in the oval mirror beside her door. She reached for two delicate, ivory combs before pinning up her braids. “Why is an old coyote hunting for my father? And why is Sir Finnias being so secretive?” Panther thought aloud. As the girl hurried out of her bedroom, with its home-stitched quilts and carved willow-wood furniture, she heard the protective mare whinnying loudly in the distance, like a battle cry over the pastures and hayfields. The eldest MacKennon daughter sighed with relief, knowing the sure-footed Ghost Horses would help to keep the farmstead safe. Still, Panther was certain an unwholesome creature was fast approaching Jake MacKennon and that her life would never be the same again.
|Hensley's Ginger as the Mother Mare in this Installment of THE HOLLY KING|
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