I sat off to the side of the old gravel road-- Victory Lane, was it, or was it Raven Way? The forsaken old thing was rarely trodden except for my steps across it to reach the Magic Field and my parents' occasional outing. Our home was the only stop on its long, unappreciated path, and it had been since it had been carved out by my great-great-grandparents in their rush to escape the growing city. That led to its original name, Victory Lane--their victory in escaping civilization, but lately there had been talk of changing it to Raven Way in appreciation of the family that starting its long, lonely suffering.
But I couldn't think of such things then. I could think of them tomorrow, but today was my last day of freedom. My fourteenth birthday--even usually-strict Mary and John Raven wouldn't dare give their daughter chores to do on her birthday. But, I thought sadly, once I was fourteen--now that I was fourteen--I would no longer be just their daughter. I would be their helper, their maid, their worker, and their nanny, and perhaps, on a slow day, I might be their daughter again for a moment or two. I would have to bid the Magic Field goodbye.
The Magic Field was one of my favorite places in the world--not that I had been everywhere in the world, but even if I had, I think I would still think it was. It was my own spot, a place that any other person would see as an abandoned old farm, overrun with weeds. But no--to me, it was my Magic Field, where all of the fairies and pixies and other magical creatures came out to play with me. Happily--but with a nostalgic sigh, as this would be my last dance with the fairies and pixies--I plopped down in the middle of it, raising my right hand to cover my eyes from the sun as I looked around, trying to memorize the Magic Field's layout so I could visit it in my dreams. To my right was the old barn, now nothing but a ruin where birds found solace in the rain. To the right of that, a dense forest, where the fairies and pixies lived. I never went back there, for fear of disturbing them. And everywhere else, there were dandelions as far as the eyes could see!
I plucked one from its hiding place among the grass and gleefully, as if I was a child again, stood up and began spinning around in a mad dance as I blew the dandelion's seeds everywhere in sight. The fairies, there they were! They were so small that all you could see was a puff of white, floating everywhere in the air. I let out a gleeful cry and continued to spin around, and the fairies were happy to follow suit. I spun until I didn't know which way was up, then let myself fall to the ground. The fairies began to settle in the soft grass too, where I knew they would crawl back to their forest to rest. I giggled almost madly, panting for breath.
"Are you all right?"
I was on my feet in a moment, my gaze darting around in an attempt to find the source of the voice. The fairies didn't usually talk to me, but it must have been a fairy, for there couldn't be anyone else around. But then again, the voice didn't sound fairy-like; It was rather gravelly, as if its owner had a cough, rather than light and airy. "I'm... I'm right here," the voice came again, and I spun around to see a boy near my age looking at me quizzically.
"Oh!" I cried, feeling foolish for allowing a young man to see my childish behavior, "Er, yes, I'm fine. I'm sorry. I was just... playing."
He nodded understandingly, a grin cracking on his thin face. "I understand. The dandelions are amazing, aren't they?" I knelt down to pluck one from its stalk, doing it curtly, almost as if removing a bandage. "I never understood why they were called weeds. They're much more beautiful than any domesticated flower I've ever seen, not to mention the fun of sending all of those furry little puffs flying."
"The fairies, you mean," I replied without thinking, though thinking back it probably would have been more wise not to tell him of my last childish belief.
"Fairies, eh?" The boy's gaze didn't move from the dandelion he held firmly in his hand. "I suppose you could even consider them that. They do resemble fairies, now that I think."
"Do you live near here?" I asked politely, though I knew that, of course, he didn't. No one did.
"No..." A shadow seemed to cross his face for a moment, but he recovered quickly, his smile widening again. "I was just exploring the nearby forest when I saw you out here. My name is Travis, by the way. Travis Black. What about you?"
"I-I'm Alice Raven," I stammered, flustered, for now he had turned his intense gaze upon me. "I live just across the road."
His gaze shifted, and I released the breath I realized I had been holding with his eyes upon me. "There's a road over there, is there?"
"Yes, though it is small," I pointed towards my family's home, its seemingly small size a reminder of how far out I was in the Magic Field. "This land used to be my family's too, but my grandparents had no need for a farm, so they let it go."
"I see," he replied, nodding. "That house looks rather big. Are you rich?"
My face flushed, for the posh adults I had spoken too never asked such a question so bluntly. This was new to me, but I liked to open nature of it. "N-no, we aren't, really..."
"No need to be humble; Of course you are. Don't worry about it." Travis dropped the dandelion from his hand and took a few steps away. "I'm sorry, but I should be going. Shall we meet again?"
"Well..." I would never be given a chance to go back here, so of course we never could, but a strange force--perhaps just friendliness, for I disliked turning people down, kept me from saying so. "Perhaps, if you come back here again."
"Okay, then I will. Good-bye."
"F-Farewell!" I cried, watching his lean figure descend calmly into the fairies' forest. He was so mysterious, I thought, would it be too much to wonder if he was a fairy himself?