“Very funny, you guys! Not!” Cassie yelled. “Now get me out of here!” She turned in place, staring around at the fantastical scene. Sunlight filtered through the dense canopy of trees giving some relief to the deep green darkness surrounding her. Spanish moss draped and flowed across everything, and little tendrils ran down the sides of the small tower sitting at the top of what looked like a sundial.
“You guys! I’m serious! Get me out of here!” Cassie called a second time. The morons had shoved her through a hole in the hedge despite her protests. Quite unexpectedly, Cassie had found herself in this deep forest, quiet except for bird calls she couldn’t identify. After the first shock of discovering that she wasn’t standing in the field bordered by Wickham Trace, Cassie felt surprisingly calm.
She thought she heard muffled voices and called out once again. “Jonas? Mikhail? Where are you?”
The soft buzzing of insects and the occasional, still-unidentified bird call were the only responses.
With a sigh, Cassie turned to examine her immediate surroundings more closely. She thought it resembled a classic English garden from the early twentieth century. The moss-covered little pagoda or tower was sitting on the edge of a moat or small pond containing a giant sundial.
“Well the trees must have been much smaller when this was built… I mean who puts a sundial in the middle of a primeval forest?” she muttered to herself.
“Yes, they were smaller, and no I didn’t plan for this to become a primeval forest. Thanks for the feedback. Anything else I should change?” a melodic voice with a slightly snarky tone, responded.
Cassie spun around so fast she lost her footing and landed on her butt on the damp ground.
“Ow!” she yelped when a small rock dug into her bottom.
“Oh! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you!” the voice said. A tiny form rushed out from under one of the piles of deadfall and ran toward Cassie. “Are you alright?”
Cassie stared at the two-foot-tall woman… fairy? Brownie? “Um, yeah. I’m okay. I guess. Uh, what… I mean who are you?” she asked, remembering at the last minute that asking “what are you” might be viewed as insulting.
A small smile blossomed on the woman’s face. “I’m a dryad and my name is Olivia. This is my garden.” The dryad glanced around, and a sad expression came over her. “Or, well, it used to be my garden. I haven’t been able to tend to it in a while. The humans have moved too close.”
Cassie shifted until she was off the rock that was pressing into her butt. “Uh, I’m Cassie. What do you mean too close? How close is too close? I mean, this has been a farmer’s field my entire life. I don’t think they’ve built anything new around here in a long time.”
Olivia smiled. “And how old are you, Cassie?” she asked in a gentle voice.
“Um, well, I just turned twenty-two the other day,” Cassie replied.
“Ah. Well, if it helps, I just turned 247 last season,” Olivia told her. “Twenty-two years is not that long for me.”
Cassie swallowed hard. “Right. Uh, sorry.”
Waving a hand in dismissal, Olivia gazed around the little clearing. “It’s not your fault. And you’re the first visitor I’ve had here in a very long time. Do you have some time? I could make some tea… if you’d like?” Suddenly Olivia seemed very shy and hesitant. Cassie stared at the dryad and then back the way she thought she’d come through the hedge. She didn’t really have anything to get back to, at least not right now. A vague thought about time differences drifted through her head, but she dismissed it.
“I’d love to have tea with you and hear about your garden,” she told Olivia with a wide smile.
Olivia’s face lit up and she clapped her hands. A table, perhaps a bit too small for Cassie and a bit too big for Olivia appeared. A teapot and two cups graced the top of the table, along with a small plate of nuts and dried fruits. Two chairs appeared as well. Olivia gestured to the table and Cassie sat down while Olivia poured the tea.
“Well, as you probably guessed, I built this over a hundred years ago,” Olivia began.
Since I haven’t sent anything in in a while, I used the visual prompt donated by Cedar Sanderson. It’s been too long since I did any prompt writing. We’ve been packing, moving, and unpacking. We’re still unpacking, but I got my new office set up to the point where I can at least have a space to write without having to sit on the sofa in the living room. If you want more prompting fun, mosey on over to More Odds Than Ends and see what the others have come up with.
The photo at the top of this post is mine. It was taken at the Glasgow Botanical Gardens.