Stella used to think she was just a normal twelve-year-old girl. She used to believe everyone knew they had a light shining brightly within them making magical things possible. She used to think everyone saw auras and sometimes just knew things without ever being told. She thought everyone saw Crossovers and Whisperers, and chatting with Mother Earth was nothing out of the ordinary.
Apparently not. Now, Stella is realising just how unique she truly is. She's also discovering what she's here for. She is somehow right in the middle of what Mother Earth has always told her-that nature is a balancing act, and when it's harmed, Nature Spirits pay the ultimate price. Not only are the Faeries depending on Stella, they're depending on others just like her.
I have just crossed my bedroom on tiptoes and jumped into bed. I was on tiptoes for two reasons: One – if I step on the cracks in the floorboards something terrible will happen. Something unknown and unseen to me, but something terrible, nonetheless. Two – if I don't catapult myself quickly into bed, my feet will hover too long and too close to the dark space underneath. Who knows what could happen in that case? Many a toy or notebook or set of keys has gone missing under there, never to be seen again. Oblivion is a terrifying thought. I swear there's a black hole under that bed and I, at twelve years old, am far too young and far too clever to get sucked in to it. I'll jump into my bed if it's all the same to you. So, for reasons you now fully understand, I have just crossed my bedroom on tiptoes and jumped into bed. I slide down into the coolness of the cotton sheets and pull the quilt up to my chin. This is one of my favourite times of the day. Especially on nights like this one when the wind is howling through every crack and crevice in the house, whispering menacing secrets that you can never quite catch; when the night is so cold that if you stay out in it, even for a few minutes, your fingers become numb and stiff and feel detached from your body like ten long, thin aliens wriggling to free themselves. On nights like these there is nothing better than crawling into a warm, cozy bed, knowing it will stay that way until you next have to leave it. I'm waiting for my Dad. He's in the kitchen downstairs, helping Mum with the dishes. Mum washes, Dad dries. This is the way it's always been. He's coming up to say goodnight to me soon. He promised. Here he is now. I can hear his footsteps on the stairs, heavy and slow, in perfect rhythm. Thud, thud, thud, thud. Here is his footstep now, on the stair that starts to turn the corner. Four more carpeted stairs to the top, and then he'll be on the landing. Two large footsteps straight across the landing and he'll be in my doorway. I know he's on the stair that turns the corner because it's the only stair that speaks. Every time it's stepped on, it groans and creaks in complaint (unless, like me, you have learned to step in the very corner where there's hardly any stair at all, and then he won't speak to you because he won't even know you're there). I hear the stair grumbling at Dad. Four more foot falls. Thud, thud, thud, thud. He's at the top, on the landing. My eyes are squeezed tightly shut in anticipation. I'm trying to look like I'm asleep so that Dad has to pretend he can't wake me up, and he'll have to go off to his own bed without saying goodnight, sad and lonely. And then I'll have to scream at him excitedly to come back! I'm really awake! Can't you tell? Don't you know by now? That's just what we do. That's our dance. So I'm waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Where is he? I open my eyes and look towards the doorway, wondering what sort of trick he'll play on me this time. The light in my bedroom is off, but the light in the landing is a humming, luminous globe, casting shadows in my room. From where I'm lying I have to look over my toes to see the doorway. The view from over my toes is not the same tonight. This is definitely not what I was expecting. The hallway light shining brightly behind him makes the man facing me from the doorway a perfect silhouette. I can't see his face, but I know for sure that this is not my Dad. This is a man wearing a cowboy hat, and he stands with his legs wide apart so that I can clearly see he is wearing boots with spiky spurs on the backs. There is a cowboy in my doorway! I look at him for a few seconds. He doesn't say anything. He doesn't move. His silhouette makes it impossible for me to see his face. Strangely, I'm not afraid. I sit up and yell towards the open doorway, past the cowboy. ‘Mum! We've got company... again!
Claire Horne is a clairvoyant medium and author in one life and a library officer in the other. She lives in Adelaide with featherbaby, Rossi, and fur-baby, Elwood, in a little house with a big yard protected by gum trees.