It was bright. Sunlight was filtering through the leaves above her and a tiny swarm of red elves were fluttering above a pond nearby.
I did it! Was her first thought when she found she was no longer in the meadow. The cottage was far, far away. I can do it! She really had made it through the portal. And it had let her through! She had done it. Her and her alone. Not even Grandma had helped her!
She looked around as if excepting to see her standing behind her. But only a blue fairy was there looking as incredulous as her, but at her popping out of thin air. The cottage was gone. Grandma was gone. And the portal was gone. There really was no way back.
Fear suddenly rose in her like black, poisoned water. She felt lost. Terribly lost. And alone. She felt it in every part of her. She did not belong here. What had she done? She stared at the world around her. At the bait she had swallowed. The fairy world had caught her. The feeling of triumph that had carried her away was gone, as if it had never been there. Eaten right up by the fear that now blanket her. Fear that she had done something terribly, terribly wrong. And bad. She tried desperately to find some other feeling in her. The elation she had felt earlier. But there was only fear. Not even curiosity at the world now surrounding her. I want to go back! Was all she could think. She wanted to be back with her Grandma, who would make everything right.
She ran her hands over her eyes and nose and mouth and ears; checking she still had them. She looked down at herself and saw that she had everything else to. She sighed with relief. It had been a stupid fear, but she had felt that she had to check she had everything. She forced herself to look at the world around her. She made her way over to the roots of the tree that was in front of her. She spun round making herself take everything in until she was dizzy and then she leant back against the tree trunk which was so vast that six grown men with their arms stretched out could only just have encompassed it. The fairy that was behind her started twittering and it’s calming noises soothed her fears away. Grinning, she looked up at the branches high above her head. Her fear almost dissolved, she looked around her properly. She was in a valley, a broad, densely wooded valley nestled in among hills covered with trees standing so closely together that on the slopes that their crowns grew into each other. Chestnut and oak and ash and poplar. Willows and birch too. It seemed to have no end and no beginning, like a green sea where you could drown just as easily as if it were a real ocean. She could hear the leaves whispering over her head. And she could see elves, swarms of them, small creatures with red skins. They flocked like midges over a pool of water nearby which reflected the leaves of the trees. It was surrounded by bushes and a type of red flower. The surface of it was covered in their fading petals.
She couldn’t see any blue fairies, and the one she’d seen before had disappeared. But she did see butterflies and bees, birds and spiders and cobwebs still wet with dew even though the sun was high in the sky. Lizards lazed in the warmth and rabbits rushed around. The whole world seemed to be filled with rustling and crackling, scratching and pulsing, a hissing and cooing and chirping. The whole world seemed alive and bursting with life; and yet it also seemed beautifully peaceful, as if time didn’t exist, as if there was no end to the moment.
She knelt among the flowers; violets and purple bellflowers. Most of them fading know but still fragrant. A bee whizzed through them, or was it an elf? She couldn’t tell. She knelt there among the flowers, some of which she remembered grew in Grandma’s garden. But she was stuck here, and only one person could save her. Grandma, what have I done? She thought, Can’t you come and fetch me back again?