“It’s rare that run of the mill humans can see it.” Her voice floated just above the gentle sounds of the meadow, and I resisted the urge to jump.
“It’s beautiful.” Wonder filled my voice, as I stared up at the grass covered cone. The top held a cistern of clear water, that cascaded down one side, creating a delicate waterfall. I could see at least ten doors, up and down the sides, placed haphazard on the stone structure. It was at least 15 feet tall, and it took my breath away.
“It is beautiful. Why have you come?”
Although difficult to tear my gaze away from the structure, I focused on the owner of the voice, a diminutive flying creature with blue skin and purple hair. Her wings shone with iridescence, but moved too quick for me to discern their shape.
“I… heard my name called from a little way up river. Like a kid calling,” I stammered the truth. The thought hadn’t sounded ridiculous, but the words tumbling out of my mouth certainly did.
The creature looked intrigued, and I felt her glance down my entire body and back up. It was uncomfortable. “Are you Alexis?”
“Yes.” I nodded. Hardly anyone called me that anymore. My childhood was full of those memories. Most people called me Alex.
“Very interesting. Most run of the mill humans can’t hear us either, but you seem to be hearing me just fine.” The creature covered her mouth. “What is your favorite holiday, Alexis?”
“Yes I can still hear you, and Halloween.” My focus shifted back to the stone structure. The waterfall was perfect, and I had never seen something so fascinating before.
“Fine, do you know what that is you stare at so openly?”
“The most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”
“You answered that well,” the creature flew to block my view, her arms crossed over her chest.
“Sometimes when I look at it, the doors are grey stone, but then when I’m not looking, the doors have wild colors, shapes, movement. Is this magic? Is this real?” I couldn’t stop spewing the ridiculous truth, and I cursed my mouth for betraying my ignorance.
“You can’t even tell if it’s real,” the creature scoffed at me. “But you have at least a little of the gift to see the colors.”
“Yes, the only gift worth a damn. You’re untrained?”
“What does that mean?” My mind swam. Part of me knew she was asking about magical training, but that was myth and make believe.
“You know what it means.” The creature’s voice was quiet, had turned threatening.
The idea that any of this was real made my knees go weak. “Magic isn’t real.”
The moment the words came out of me, the creature, and the beautiful structure disappeared. There was no poof, no lingering theatrical smoke, no clue that they existed. I blinked several times, and studied the ground in front of me. There was no change to the tall grass and weeds, no proof of the perfect waterfall. It was all gone.
Grief overtook me. “Come back. I’m sorry.”
Tears fell onto my shirt, and my throat stung. Something inside me knew I had just lost a magnificent chance, a magical chance. Nothing I could say would make her come back.
I visit once a week, along the river when I heard the call. I leave little gifts sometimes. Wreaths of wildflaowers, small bottle of spirits, apology letters. It left tiny pieces of grief and guilt from my heart.
The small part of me that believed for a moment tells me one day they might reach out again, but the realist in me knows the moment had gone.
I should let it go, but I can’t.