The Fantastic Fantasy Writers
It had been in the family junk drawer on the left side of our kitchen for as long as I could remember. I asked my mom on multiple occasions where it had come from, who it had belonged to, and why it made its bed among stray Legos, a screwdriver, pennies, a broken pair of scissors, and an assortment of various odds and ends contributed by our household. She never had an answer. I don’t know if mom truly was as clueless as I about the heart shaped necklaces origins, or if she just didn’t want to tell me.
But when I asked her if I could wear it, a smile grew on her face, her eyes moistened with tears, and she threw her arms around me. “Yes!” she said. “I was waiting for you to ask.”
Mom is an artist, a very eccentric and unique kind of artist, so she often responded to things a little differently than most people, but even this behavior was odd for mom. She took the aged gold heart from the collection of stuff, wiped it on her pants to remove years of dust, oil, and general household grime, and placed it around my neck.
“I had to rest sweetheart. I’m done with it now; I have been for a long time. It’s your turn.” She kissed me on the forehead and walked away.
“Mom?” I called after her.
“Yes, my sweetheart.” The peace on her face was something I had never seen before. I couldn’t question her actions.
That night I sat on my bed and stared at the decorative necklace. Suddenly, it began to feel heavy, and grew warm. My room became fuzzy, my bed hard and uncomfortable. Everything was changing, morphing into some other place, some other time. Then, it was gone. My room returned to normal. I was out of breath and exhausted. What had happened?
I could hardly hold my eyes open, so in the clothes I had worn that day, with the necklace wrapped around my neck, I fell asleep. My surroundings changed. It was dark, cold—and then a light—a figure in the darkness. Did I see wings? Tiny wings? Yes! I crept closer. There at a tiny table, sat a tiny fairy. In her hand she held a quill pen with a feather almost as big as her thin arm. She hurriedly sketched, nervously looking from side to side. She looked up. Could she see me? I had to see what she was drawing. I reached for the paper.
The tiny fairy slammed both hands on the table, gazed into by blue eyes and said, “Touch you not, human one! Know you not, the rules?” I shook my head. She huffed, climbed up on the table, and reached for the heart. “Not a plaything human one! Use wisely! Touch not the histories, fix what could be!” My confusion must have been evident. “Inside you are to see the history. You are my holder; you hold the power. Outside you will be. Outside you will see. Many have held me; many have failed me. Oh, that nasty queen she be! Use me to be wicked she did! ‘Off with your head,’ she did say! She fixed nothing!” The fairy paused and eyed me curiously. “You be not a lousy pirate?” I shook my head again in bewilderment. “Aargh! He did say. He fixed nothing! Drop me in a chest of golden circles he did and drop me in the sea! He fixed nothing!”
The fairy sat back down at her desk, picked up her quill and continued to sketch. When her quill had run dry, she held it up to the ceiling of the dark mine. From a tiny opening high above, an even tinier drop of light fell onto the quill. The fairy tapped the paper and the necklace appeared. “Drops of the sun bring life,” she said with a smile. “This is the beginning. This is how it was done. A gift for a fixer.”
“But what do I . . . I mean, what am I supposed to fix?”
The fairy huffed and climbed up on the desk once again. “You not know?”
“No . . .I just found it in a drawer.”
“A drawer! No! No! No!” The fairy began to walk in circles, frantically tossing her little hands in the air. “It is worse than thought I!” She reached for the necklace around my neck and pulled me closer. She turned it over, pulled it close to her eye. Breathed on the back and rubbed it on her brown leather dress. “You fix the necklace, then you fix the world.”
“But how do I fix it?”
“When you fix the world, you begin to fix the heart,” she said, as if I should have known.
“But I don’t know what’s broken?” The idea of fixing the world was pretty overwhelming.
“Just a piece. Just a piece. You fix the fighting. You fix the wars. Know you not?” she said again with her little hands on her hips once again.
“Know I not,” I whispered, wishing I had never asked my mom about the stupid necklace. My mom. This was my mom’s she had been a fixer. “Do you know my mother?” I asked quickly.
“I know not your mother. I only know the fixers—mothers, fathers, stinky pirates, and evil queens. They fix it not. They made it worse!”
She wasn’t answering my questions, but I knew someone who could—my mother. I took the necklace off my neck and woke to see it in my hand. Nothing had changed, except for me.
“Mom!” I yelled frantically. I heard her race up the stairs.
“What is it, Sweetheart?” she asked, out of breath.
“I think I’m a fixer.”
Mom’s eyes filled with tears. “I couldn’t do it anymore. I just couldn’t. It was too much for me dear.” In her hands she held a long wooden box. She gently pushed it toward me. I took it . . . unsure as to whether or not I wanted to open it. “Go on. Don’t be afraid, but know once you go, it will seem like you have been gong for a very long time, but in truth, you have not gone anywhere. Your body will go tired, and so will your mind, but you can do this because He, our Father, will never ever leave you.”
I had so many questions for her. “Mom, what am I supposed to fix?”
She smiled. “Whatever He tells you to, my dear.”
I opened the box, wishing she had been clearer. Inside rested a sparkling wand—long and twisted. On it were symbols I had never before. Just as I was reaching for it, my mom whispered, “It matches you perfectly.” I lifted the wand into my hand. Suddenly, the wand vanished and everything went dark . . . black.
“Mom?” I called. “Mom!”
Just then a black and white image popped up in front of me, like a movie projector. I shielded my eyes from the sudden light. The girl on the screen was young, possibly my age. She was my mother. In front of her was a tree, withered and dying. She closed her eyes and prayed, then she touched the wand to the tree and it came back to life. The camera panned behind her to reveal a forest of dying trees. Tears streamed down her face. She looked tired and weary. What had caused this devastation? War? Famine?
Just then, a small bunny hopped out of the dark corner. In the dim light, I could see a white spot in the shape of a heart on its back. “Fluffers?” I had heard stories about this bunny. “Mom raised you!” The bunny began to hop into the image on the wall. I didn’t know what else to do, but follow.
I stepped into the light . . . suddenly, everything felt cold. “Every tree has a spirit,” a tiny voice said. “These spirits were given by your Creator. There are those who battle against all the life the Creator has given to the world. We call them the Haters.” I whipped around to a valley of tiny fairies like the one I had seen in the cave. “We are the Protectors. We love the plants and growing things. Sometimes we cannot protect, the enemy is too strong. That is why the Creator gave us you. You are the Fixer.”
The sea of fairies in front of me parted and at the center of them was the wand, stuck in an old tree stump. The old fairy in front of me motioned for me to take it. I stepped forward, but then I had a thought. What if this was a trick? “If you wanted me to have it, why did you take it from me?” I snapped.
“The prophecy says that only humans can touch the wand. If we touch it, we will die.”
If my mother had been a fixer and trusted the fairies, then so would I. I reached for the wand, and gripped my fingers around the gnarled wood. Suddenly everything around me began to fade away.
“Mom! Mom! Help me!” I was scared out of my mind. I didn’t know what to do. Maybe if I let go of the wand, everything would come back. My body felt light and my head dizzy. At that point, I think I fainted.
When I woke, I was dizzy. I reached for a glass of water on my bedside table, but there was no table—only what felt like soft grass. I rubbed my eyes and sat up with the wand still in my hand. There in front of me was a short . . .well, I can only describe him as a troll. He was round about the waist, wore brightly colored clothing, had a cloth tied around one foot, and was staring at me with his bulbous green eyes.
“Ahhhh!” I screamed. Then he was gone. I was back in my room, but the wand was still in my hand. It had not been a dream. I found my glasses, put them on—even though they were a bit scratched up—and called for my mother.
“Darling!” mom shouted as she ran up the stairs. Mom didn’t have to ask what the matter was when she saw me with the wand. “Oh, they sent you to the troll. I should have warned you about them . . . and him.”
“A troll? I had a feeling.”
“He is an odd fellow, but he is good at what he does. Let him train you.”
“Yes dear. You will need to go back quickly; he will be worried about you. Trolls have a tendency to worry you know.”
“No, Mom. I don’t know!”
“Sweetheart, it will all make sense very soon. Lie back down. Close your eyes and grip the wand. I will be right here when you wake up.” I did as she said, this time prepared for the um . . . interesting troll.
I woke with the troll gazing at me with his hands behind his back.
“Ello,” he said, again.
“Hello,” I answered.
“Elcome to e and of ockdore, Fixer!”
For the first time, I glanced around at my surroundings. It was the most beautiful and bizarre place I had ever seen. It was verdant—greener and fuller than any yard at home. The grass beneath me wasn’t dry, but not soaking wet either. It was that pleasant “sink your feet into the coolness” type of grass. There were flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors—a few that I am sure were taller than me.
I stood slowly to my feet, just as a swarm of brightly colored butterflies flew over my head. I breathed in the deep scent of what smelled like fresh baked cookies, Christmas trees, and clothing detergent—everything that was good. It all melded into one big, delicious smell.
“So, are you eddy, Lailyne?” the troll asked with a broad smile.
He . . . it, knew my name. “Yes,” I said, certain that this time I was indeed ready.
“Ell then, ets get you arted with your irst esson.”
“I am really sorry, but I am having a very hard time understanding what it is you are saying.”
The troll cleared its throat. “Pardon me, ma’am. Let’s get you started. Please, call me Yavo.” Yavo held his hand up and swiped it into a large circle. A swirling hole appeared. The troll took me by the hand and led me through. At this point, I kind of wished I could stay in one place.
On the other side was a junkyard. “This is where you will train me to fix the broken things in the world?” I didn’t see how a junkyard would help me to grow trees, build buildings, and undo the damage done by war and other horrible events in the world.
Everywhere I looked was trash—old tires, rusted washing machines, and an array of other odds and ends. “Welcome to Vandara. First,” the troll said. “You will need a house.”
“Of course, every fixer has a house.”
I didn’t want to question the troll, so I grabbed a box and stacked it upon another.
“Not like that,” the troll said, “like this.” And without lifting a finger, the box rose into the air.
“How did you do that?”
“This is how you will be fixing—with your mind. You think it and you can fix it. The wand will not work unless you learn to think.”
I closed my eyes and thought about the perfect house. I knew for certain that it would not be made of trash, but at this point, I didn’t think that I had any other choice but to do as the troll had instructed. I looked up to see if anything had moved, but everything was as it was.
“It’s not working.”
“You will have to try harder. Once you are done. You will clean up the rest of the trash. Then your training will be complete.” With another swipe of his hand, the troll opened the portal, but before he stepped inside he turned to me and said. “If you can’t control it, bad things will happen. Just so you know.”
I was alone in the junkyard having no idea how to move the trash with my mind. This could take the rest of my life. I had never moved anything with my mind before. I sat down on an old sofa, being careful to not sit on an exposed spring. The troll wasn’t much help; I needed someone else, I needed my mom. I clutched the heart shaped necklace and thought about my mom.
My eyes grew heavy and I drifted off to sleep. I began to dream about the Fluffrs, the fairies, and the trolls. Then I saw my mom. “Sweetheart.” Her voice sounded as if I were awake.
“Hi mom,” I said with a smile.
“Do not be afraid. We can talk here.”
“Here? You’re really here?” I couldn’t believe it. I was dreaming about my mom, but she was really there—in my dream.
“Yes, dear. It is okay. I am really here.”
“Mom! The troll wants me to build a house . . . in a junkyard.”
She laughed. “Yes, it is an odd way, but it works. You will see.” I felt better with my mom by my side. “Sweetheart, I have heard what it is you are to fix.”
“But I haven’t even finished, or even begun my training for that matter.”
“Maybe if you are up against, it will help you training.” I listened as in my dream my mother told me about a team of government scientists who had discovered that the interior of the earth was deteriorating.
“And you think I can fix it.”
“I know you can. Now go build your house.”
I woke suddenly and looked around at the heap of trash. There was a lot of work to do, but I knew the future of the earth depended on it. I thought until my head hurt. I studied piece by piece until suddenly, a squashed tin can popped up in the air.
“I did it!” I shouted. “I did it!”
After several more frustrated attempts, I had begun to get the hang of it. Trash was flying through the air landing in neat little stacks. I was tired and weary, but my house was beginning to take shape. I couldn’t wait for that old troll junkyard king to come back and see what I had done.
“Nice try, Fixer,” the old troll said from a top a perch of trash that had been formed into a throne of sorts.
Try, I thought. Try! I’ve been working on this for hours and I have walls. This was not the response I had expected.
The troll rose to his feet; behind him were others looking down on me. The light caused something to glimmer on his head. “Make it stick!”
I walked over to the wall I had created. I would show that old troll. I looked up at him angrily and then gave my wall a push. Suddenly, all of my day’s work toppled into a heap of rubble. The troll sat back down, staring at me. I would not let my frustration get the better of me. Then, I remembered—the wand! I pulled it from my back pocket and gave it a flick. An old rubber floor mat sprung up in the air. I watched as it began to twist and turn as if it were melting into a perfect cube. As quickly as it had gone up, it came back down. I reached down, expecting the rubber cube to be hot, but instead it was ice cold. I kept going, piece after piece, heating and forming, falling and cooling.
Applause rang over the dump. I looked up to see the troll coming towards me with an entourage of smaller trolls following him. The closer he came, the clearer the shiny object became. It was a crown. The troll was wearing a crown. Had he proclaimed himself king, or was he truly the ruler of this bizarre world.
“Well done,” he said, motioning for us all to go inside. I turned around to see a home more beautiful than I could have imagined. There were several different rooms, each covered by a flat roof. Inside there was a bedroom, hallways, a dining room, secret spaces and rooms, and more space than I had ever known. “You have discovered your creativity. Only creativity can undo the damage that has been done.”
“Your highness,” one of the smaller trolls interrupted. “May we proceed?”
The crown, the throne, your highness . . . “You’re a king?” I asked.
He bowed to me. “A king at your service, Fixer. Allow my young ones to make it a bit cozier. The little trolls sprinted past us with a harmonious lalalala-lalala-lo tune filling my new home. I followed the troll throughout my home as the trolls added trees and portraits of trash. At the back of my home was a deck that overlooked a sea of emerald green. I didn’t even know that the sea was there. From the deck a ladder led down into the water where there, under the green waters, was another room.
The troll king was trying to tell me something, but I could not hear what he was saying over the lalalala-lo’s of the other trolls.
“STOP THAT!” the troll shouted. The only sound left was the gentle lapping of water on the sides of the underwater room and the scurrying of troll feet, fitfully preparing my home. “Now this room is very special; here you will spend most of your time. This room is ancient, thousands of years old.”
The space was definitely old, a bit creepy, and by the lines on the wall looked as if it at one time may have been completely been filled with water. There were drawings on the wall that I recognized of a picture of a Greek stature I had seen in my history textbook.
The troll king walked to the wall and waved his hand. A door slid open exposing rows of bows and arrows. He waved his hand again and the panel shut. He walked to another wall, and again with the wave of his hand exposed a refrigerator and cupboard. “This room has many uses, as you can see. You will train, eat, and occasionally be entertained by one of our wee trollies.”
“What about the weapons?” I asked, holding the simple wand in my hand.
“Those are just for show. You won’t need them unless . . . nevermind.”
“I will leave you for the night. Tomorrow you will begin the fixing.”
“Goodnight,” I said, “And thank you.”
I watched as the troll climbed the stairs to the upper level of my new home, but before he reached the top, he yelled back, “It makes a great place to hide from the monsters too.” He chuckled.
Was he serious? Monsters? I followed him up the stairs to my bedroom. It had been a very long day. I flopped down on the feather bed and fell fast asleep.
The next day I could hear the voices of baby trolls whining, I scooted out of bed, and wandered into the kitchen. Half asleep, I opened the cabinet to get them something to eat.
“What are you doing?” the king barked at me.
“Feeding them?” I asked, rubbing my tired eyes.
“We are surrounded by destroyers!” I looked out the window, but didn’t see anything. “You can’t see them if you aren’t looking, but they are everywhere! You must go now. It is time to act! Fixer this is what you have trained for.” The only training I remembered involved moving a bunch of junk around. I yawned, went back to my bedroom to change, and then returned to the kitchen where the king was glaring at me. “And your wand?”
“My wand?” I hadn’t seen it this morning, or for that matter since I built the house. The reality of what was about to happen set in. I rushed around the house searching for it, but it was gone.
“You will have to do it all on your own, Fixer.” Suddenly, the scene outside of my window changed. I could see the Earth, a violent storm passing over—flattening forests, and washing away valleys. “It’s time. If you don’t fix this, they will destroy it all!”
“But I don’t know how! It’s a storm! How am I supposed to stop it?
“It’s not just any storm. It’s their storm—a storm that has been brewing from the hate and anger in our world. They created this monster! Look closer at your World.”
At first it was just a storm, then I saw them, massive clawing hands ripping and tearing down on the Earth from the black clouds above. Their hot breath ignited the trees and with their heavy teeth leaning down they devoured what good was in front of them.
“I . . . I . . . I can’t!” Fear swept over me.
“You can! You are the Fixer! We don’t have much time!” The troll threw his hands up in the air and then thrust them down toward the ground. The house, the baby trolls, even the king himself vanished.
I was alone in the storm, watching as it destroyed. I could see my childhood home in the distance. My family was in inside. I had to make them stop. I clutched the heart shaped necklace around my neck and prayed to God that the storm would go away, but that’s what I was chosen to do. I was chosen to make it go away. He could do it, but He was going to use me. A strength and confidence that I had not felt since I was a little girl climbing the Oak tree in my backyard returned.
I raised my hand in the air. Like the garbage in the junkyard, I had to change it into something good. The beasts were almost upon me, their hands reaching for me. I imagined the claws shattering and falling to the ground like tiny raindrops. Then I pictured the foul wind as a gentle breeze scattering seedlings.
At first, I thought I could feel it—tiny sprinkles bouncing off of my cheeks. It was working. Suddenly, there was a crash of thunder and a flash of lightning. My hand shook—I can’t do this. Then, a tiny speck of light shown through the darkness. I thought on the light. I thought on the rain and the breeze; I thought on all that was good.
The ground shook as delicate streams of light began to break through the darkness. There was a loud pained roar and a shattering like glass. The rain fell bringing with it in the distance, a rainbow. I had done it. I had fixed it.
“I did it,” I yelled, as I allowed the rain to drench my clothing. “I fixed it.”
Two days later . . .
“Concentrate, Fixer, concentrate,” the troll king shouted at me.
“Did you think you would defeat one monster and it would all be done?”
“If you will leave me alone, I might be able to fix this one!” I replied, irritated.
“I hear that there is a storm brewing in Western Europe, you will have to go tomorrow.”
I shot him an angry glare. “How do you expect me to get this done if you keep talking?”
“But I’m hungry . . .” he said over the grotesque growling of his stomach.
I shook the metal scoop in his face, splattering cookie dough ice cream on his green nose. “Patience, king, patience.” I tossed a few chocolate chips on to my creation and then topped it with a cherry. “There, I fixed it.”