Tuatha's Children  

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2011 

 

 

Chapter 6

The back of the cabinet opened and Willow stepped out, finding himself
stepping out of a closet into a room in an old house.  "Welcome to my
home," Jennifer said as she closed the closet door behind him.  "Well
actually it used to be Scott's home, but he gave it to me when he moved to
Tuatha.  Now we all kind of use it whenever we come here."

"I see," Willow said, not really understanding any of it.

"Now that you are here," Robin said, turning to the boy, "where think you
your father would go?"

"Well, if he came back here," Willow thought for a moment, "he was probably
looking for either me or my mom.  He probably doesn't know she is dead.
I'd say he is in Kansas City."

"How get we to this Kansas City?" Robin asked Scott.

"Well we can't get there on horses," Scott replied.  "It's a couple of
states over.  I guess we're going to have to find the nearest airport and
fly."

Robin nodded.  "The big metal birds again.  Good, I like those.  They are
fast and fun."

"And expensive," Willow said.  "Did you bring money?"

"We have a trust fund," Scott replied with a look of concern on his face.
"But I'm afraid that is running low."

"I brought this," Robin said, holding out a leather bag.  "We shall have to
find a way to convert it to your, what you call it, money?"

"Is that gold?" Willow asked.

Scott shook his head.  "No, jewels from the treasury."

"Let me make a call.  I think I can help with that," Willow said.  They
went downstairs to the drawing room and Willow picked up the phone from the
desk.  It was an old style push button desk phone.  Willow shook his head
as he pulled a card out of his pocket.  "This is like the first desk phones
they made with push buttons.  It's practically an antique."  He punched the
buttons and waited for a moment.  Soon a voice answered on the end of the
line.  "I'd like to speak with Craig Langston," he said.  "Tell him Willow
Granger is calling."  In a few moments he was connected with the older man.
"I'm in...where am I?" he asked.

"Waterford, Illinois," Scott said quickly.

"Waterford, Illinois.  No, Jeff isn't with me.  He stayed in Tuatha.  It's
a long story, but the fact is we're trying to find my father and we think
he came back here.  We need to get a bunch of us to Kansas City.  You think
you can arrange that?"  They made arrangements over the phone and Willow
finally told the group, "He can have tickets waiting for us at the airport,
but we have to have photo IDs.  Got any idea how to get that done."
Everyone was crestfallen.  "Hang on," Willow said and spoke to his friend a
bit more.  "It's going to take a little time, but he can have that arranged
by tomorrow afternoon," Willow replied.

"This will take too long," Robin complained.

"Okay, then we rent a car," Scott said and looked around at the group,
"maybe a van."

Willow spoke into the phone again.  "Who's got a current driver's license?"
he asked the group.  They all mumbled and looked around.  He spoke back
into the phone and then hung up.  "Craig works for Jeff.  He's going to
have a van ready for us at Enterprise.  We can pick it up in an hour.  But
I guess I'll have to be the one driving since I'm the only one with a
license."

"I like this not," Robin grumbled.

"You want to ride a horse to Kansas City?  We'll meet you there in a couple
of days," Willow replied.  "Meanwhile, I've still got Jeff's credit cards,
so we'll go shopping and get you guys some modern clothes.  We can be in
Kansas City in about 8 hours."

Rood went out to the garage where he found Akuta and Melcot waiting with a
number of the guards.  They had opened a large tunnel from the other world,
apparently connecting to the back wall of the garage and had a couple of
horses standing by.  Rood instructed Akuta, Melcot and Rowana to wait in
the house with Jennifer and Caseldra while he, Sharon, Robin, Scott, and
Willow drove to Kansas City.  In about twenty minutes a cab pulled up and
Scott and Willow jumped in.  An hour later they were pulling up in front of
the old Victorian house in a nice, late model Ford minivan.  They took
their purchases into the house and in a short time the others, more
contemporarily dressed, piled into the van and they drove off, heading for
the highway south.

* * *

Rayel wasn't sure what to do next.  He found the trailer where they had
lived, but the trailer court had grown even seedier in the time since he
had lived there.  He spoke to a few people but no one remembered him or his
wife.  He finally spoke with the manager of the trailer court who looked
through back records and finally told him that the woman he was married to
remarried, and then died.  The man she married moved on and the manager had
no idea what happened to the boy who lived with them.  That was all he
could tell.  Rayel thanked him and took the two boys he had with him and
headed back toward the bus station.  "Are we going home now?" Raven asked,
his hopes growing.

"No, we are going to speak with Sarah in St. Louis."  Rayel carefully
counted the last of the money had had stashed away.  He hoped it would pay
for tickets for the three of them to St. Louis.  "You stay here," he told
the boys as he walked up to talk with the cashier.

"Roon, this is getting bad," Raven said.

"I know," his friend agreed.  "The guy is crazy.  I think we need to find a
way back home."

"But how?" Raven asked.

"Well, if we go west we will eventually come to mountains.  That's what
Scott said.  I'm sure if we find mountains, one of them will have a cave
that might have a tunnel back to our world, kind of like the ones in the
Crystal Mountains that got us here."

That made sense to Raven.  "So how do we convince him to take us west to
the mountains?"

"We won't be able to," Roon said.  "We'll have to run away from him and
take our chances.  Now while he's busy talking to that man in the glass
room.  Let's go."  He and Raven got up and slipped out the main doors of
the bus depot.  Then they ran as fast as they could down the sidewalk.
They came to a cross street and dashed across, narrowly avoiding the
speeding vehicles that made loud screeching noises, trying to avoid them
not to mention the bleating noises, like sick goats bellowing.  On the
other side of the street, they kept running.

Rayel found he only had enough money for one adult ticket to St. Louis.  He
turned to the boys, but they were no longer there.  He looked around and
checked in the restroom, but there was no sign of them.  He stepped out the
door and looked down the street in both directions, but didn't see anything
of the two youths.  He didn't know what to do.  He couldn't just abandon
them, but he had to talk to Sarah.  Maybe she would have an answer, and
they could come back together to find the boys.  He ran to the cashier and
bought the ticket to St. Louis, just making it onto the bus as the vehicle
was about to pull out of the depot.

* * *

"This is where I grew up, at least till I was about 13," Willow said as he
pulled the van into the parking lot of the trailer park.

"These are really odd shaped houses," Rood remarked.

"They're trailers," Sharon corrected him.  "They have wheels underneath so
they can be moved to different locations."

"A house on wheels!  Moved you to different locations?" Robin asked as they
climbed out of the van.

"No, we never went anywhere," Willow answered and headed toward the trailer
marked 'Office.'

Robin and Rood both looked like they didn't understand.  Scott just shook
his head and followed Willow.  Soon Robin, Scott and Willow were crammed
into the office.  Sharon and Rood waited outside.

"You're the second person to ask about the Grangers," the manager said as
he leaned back in his desk chair.  "You cops?  The boy wanted for
something?"

"I am the boy," Willow answered which brought the manager to sit upright.

"That so?  Well, damn, you grew up."

"Yeah, now like I said, was anyone asking about..."

"Yeah, some guy was in here yesterday.  Seemed pretty upset that your ma
was dead.  He asked where you were, but I said I didn't know."

"Did he say where he was going?" Willow asked excitedly.

"Did he have two small boys with him?" Scott asked.

"Yeah, I think there were two kids waiting outside for him," the man said.
"I don't know where he went from here."

The three of them quickly stepped outside.  "We are on the right track,"
Scott said as they rejoined Rood and Sharon.

Just then a cab pulled up and a man got out.  He was well built and quite
handsome.  His hair was brown with streaks of grey in it.  "Willow!" he
called.  They all turned and looked at him.

"Craig," Willow shouted and ran to hug the man as the cab pulled away.

"What's this about?" Craig asked his young friend.

Robin stepped over to the pair and bluntly asked, "Who are you?"

Craig Langston took a step back and looked at the tall fairy.  Willow
quickly made introductions to diffuse the tense situation.  "Craig this is
Robin, the king of the fairies.  And these are his friends and guards,
Scott, Sharon and Rood."

Craig started to laugh and then looked at the serious expressions on their
faces.  He realized the boy wasn't kidding.  "I'm Craig Langston.  I work
for Jeff Smythe.  I manage his holdings and pretty much run things for him
here in this world."  Craig stuck his hand out and Scott stepped forward to
quickly shake it.

"Thank you for your help, Mr. Langston," he said.  "Willow has explained
that you arranged for the rented van and were willing to fly us here if we
had IDs, which we don't."

"Willow," Robin interrupted their discussion.  "Know you where your father
may go from here."

Willow thought a minute and as he opened his mouth, Craig spoke up at the
same time.  They both said, "St. Louis."

Everyone looked astounded at the newcomer.  "Willow's grandmother lived
there.  I know the whole story," Craig explained.  "I'm sure Rel would have
gone there, looking for Sarah."

"They think he kidnapped Robin's son," Willow explained.

"The prince of the fairies?  Why would he do that?  And I'll drive."  The
entire group climbed back into the van, Craig taking the keys from Willow.

* * *

Rayel sat by the graveside of Sarah Brewster.  He shook his head, tears in
his eyes.  Now what was he to do?  He lost the children in Kansas City and
hoped he could find them again once he talked with Sarah to find out where
his son was.  But Sarah was dead and no one seemed to have any idea what
became of Willow.  One neighbor told him the boy had lived with Sarah after
his mother died, but that he disappeared after Sarah passed on.  She
directed Rayel to the cemetery, but all it was, was an empty field with
memorial stones.  His mother-in-law's body may be buried beneath the earth
there, but what good would that do him?  All he could think of was to
return to Kansas City and find the children.  Then maybe he could return to
Tuatha somehow.

* * *

"Is that a portable radio?" Scott asked as Craig spoke into the blue tooth
earpiece he wore.

"Cell phone," he said as he finished his call.  "We have a private jet
waiting at the airport.  We'll get there in no time."

He drove across town to the smaller airport and pulled into the parking
area.  He then led the group to the hanger where a man was finishing the
pre-flight check on the private plane.  "You rented this?" Sharon asked,
appreciatively eyeing the little craft as the pilot pulled down the door
that doubled as a stairway into the cabin.

"Yeah," Craig said, ushering them into the plane.  "Jeff has plenty of
money.  He can afford to help his friends find Willow's dad and the missing
kids."

"I thank you for your help," Robin said graciously as they strapped in and
the plane began to roll out onto the runway.

While they crossed the state of Missouri, Robin and Scott explained the
situation to Craig.  Scott said he was sure the boys just tagged along, but
was concerned that they didn't return home and Rayel seemed to have taken
them along on his adventure.  In a short time they were landing at a small
commercial airport just outside of St. Louis.  There was another rented van
waiting for them and Craig grabbed the keys and drove out of the airport.
Willow guided him directly to Sarah's old townhouse.  They parked in front
and Willow and Craig got out.  Craig told the others to wait, as he didn't
want to overwhelm anyone who could give them information.  Scott had his
hands full trying to convince Robin to wait in the van as the two went up
and rang the bell.  There was no answer, but an older woman looked out the
windows of the building next door.  Willow noticed and waived to her.  She
had a shocked look on her face and the two quickly crossed over to her
door.

Old Mrs. Peterson came to the door.  She looked ancient despite her shock
of dyed red hair, just as Willow remembered her.  "Willow?" she asked as
she opened her door.

"Yes, Mrs. Peterson.  How are you?" he asked.

"Oh my goodness child, come in," she urged.

"Oh we can't, I'm sorry.  We're in a real hurry.  We're trying to find..."

"Your father," the woman said, shocking the two men at her door.  "Yes, he
was here earlier, asking about you and about your grandmother.  I don't
know where he might be now.  I told him that she passed on and even gave
him directions to the cemetery."

"Thank you, Mrs. Peterson," Willow said and the two dashed back to the van,
leaving the old woman standing in her doorway, shocked and surprised.

Willow guided Craig to Memorial Park and they pulled up, just as a man was
closing the gates.  Craig jumped out and spoke to him.  At first he just
shook his head and seemed pretty grumpy as viewed from inside the van.  But
then Craig handed him something and he finally nodded and pulled the gate
open.  As Craig climbed back in the van they heard him shout, "You got five
minutes.  If you aren't out by then I'm calling the cops."

Willow directed the van down the narrow lanes between the gravestones.
"It's just down this row," Willow said, pointing in the direction of his
grandmother's grave.  Craig pulled the van to a stop and they all climbed
out.  Willow began walking between the markers, heading directly to where
he remembered Sarah's grave.  Suddenly he saw a man sitting beside a stone
marker.  He walked forward, but Craig held his hand up, stopping the
others.  "Dad?" Willow said.

Rayel looked up in surprise and saw the boy standing in front of him.  This
wasn't the son, he remembered.  His son was only a small boy, no bigger
than Roon or Raven.  This was a grown man.  He looked closely, and then saw
the familiar features in the man's face, and the bright blue eyes.
"Willow?" he asked as he slowly stood.  Then he realized the passage of
time.  This was indeed his son.  "Willow!" he shouted and the two ran to
each other, hugging together fiercely.  As they did so, the others then
stepped forward to surround them.

"I apologize for interrupting your reunion," Robin said bluntly.  Rayel
looked up, then stepped back from his son, a look of panic on his face.

"Dad, what happened to the kids that were with you?" Willow asked.

Rayel looked around as if he planned to run, but Rood was standing directly
behind him and reached out to grab him by the arm.  Craig stepped up and
taking hold of his other arm, the two men held him in place.

"They...they followed me here," Rayel said, looking down at the ground.

"Were be they now?" Robin asked, anger rising in his voice.

"We were in Kansas City.  I was trying to buy bus tickets to come here.
They ran away.  I looked for them but could not find them."

"Speaks he the truth?" Rood asked.

"Look into my eyes," Robin said.  The man refused to look up.  "Look into
my eyes!" Robin repeated using the magic of command.  It was a power he
held as king of Tuatha.  Rayel couldn't refuse no matter how hard he tried.
His head snapped up and he made direct eye contact with Robin.  "Think of
my son and his friend."  The two stared into each other's eyes for a
minute.  Then Robin looked at Scott.

"They ran away in Kansas City, as he said.  But he looked not for them."

"Shall I slay him?" Rood asked calmly.

"NO!" Willow shouted.

"No, we shall take him with us in the search."  They all quickly climbed
back into the van, dragging Rayel with them.  The vehicle was beginning to
get rather crowded.  Craig quickly turned down a lane and headed back to
the gate.  He waved at the caretaker as he drove through and the man
quickly pulled the gates closed behind him.

"Now what?" Scott asked, despair washing over him.  "How will we ever find
the boys in that big city?"

"I think we need someone who is really good at tracking," Craig suggested.

"No!" Willow said.

"Who?" Robin asked at the same time.

"Jeff could find them by smell, if he was here."

"But he'll be a vampire again," Willow said sadly.

"It's only for a little while.  He comes over, finds the boys and you all
go home."

"How will we get him here?" Robin asked.

"I assume you left people at whatever entrance you have to our world, back
in Waterford?" Craig asked.

"Yes," Robin replied.  "Several of my palace guards remain there."

"I need you to call them.  Have them cross over and explain the situation
to Jeff.  If you can get him to a phone, I'll talk to him.  Tell him we're
on our way there now.  We'll take him with us back to Kansas City."

"Will we fly again to the gateway?" Rood asked excitedly.

"No, we're driving," Craig informed them.  By the time we got a plane in
the air and landed, we could be there just about as fast by car.  St. Louis
is on the Illinois border and we really aren't that far away.  But getting
back to Kansas City is another matter."  He passed his cell phone over to
Scott.  The little hand held device seemed bewildering.  Craig took it back
and asked for the number.  Scott gave it to him, he dialed it, then handed
the cell phone back.  Scott slowly put it to his ear as if he thought it
might bite.

* * *

"Well that was good," Jeff remarked as he and Alex sat back, relaxing at
the dinner table.  "But to be honest, I think I'd kill for a steak."  Alex
gave him a nervous look.  "It's just an expression, you know." Jeff said.
"I may not be a vampire, but vegetarianism is a bit of a stretch for me.  I
know Willow eats this diet and does very well, but I always did enjoy meat,
in my old life.  I'd really like to try it again."

Alex laughed with him.  "A nice slab of ribs does sound good.  I wonder
what they would do if we tried to barbeque something around here."  He
leaned over rather conspiratorially and asked, "Ever eaten unicorn."

Jeff looked a bit shocked.  "You serious?  They actually have unicorns?"

Alex laughed and then thought for a moment.  "Actually I guess it would be
like eating a friend.  I grew rather close to Firebrand.  He's the head
stallion of the herd."  Jeff just shook his head in amazement.

"So tell me about this land of the dead and how your buddy rescued you
after you died," Jeff said.  "I never knew anyone who came back from the
dead."

Alex gave him a curious look.  "What about you."

"Yeah, well, vampires don't count.  It's not like we really die.  We just
kind of change from one way of life to another."

"Without a heartbeat or body temperature," Alex supplied.

"Well, yeah, there is that.  But getting back to your story..."

Alex relayed the entire story of his death from AIDS.  "There is really
very little to tell after that," he said.  "I remember lying in the Halls
of Healing trying very hard to breathe.  Then it was like I went to sleep.
I had these really confusing dreams about talking to two big guys and
trying to ferry a little boat across a stretch of ocean.  Then the next
thing I knew, I was waking up in Akuta's arms.  We were standing in a crowd
and there was this big fire, like one of their state funerals here.  Akuta
filled me in on all the details.  After that, we had to make a trip back to
the human world.  We stayed for about a day, then came back here and have
been here ever since.  I was told by Elnar, the Keeper of Magic, that I can
never go back to the human world again, or I will die."

"That is some tale," Jeff said, shaking his head in amazement.

"So now let's hear your story," Alex suggested.

"Well, I was born in 1800.  My father hated me.  He caught me kissing
another man and back then being gay was definitely not accepted.  My father
was the one who made a bargain with a vampire to kill me.  But instead the
vampire turned me.  When my father found out, he had me buried in a casket,
chained in a crypt.  I was unable to get out, so I more or less slept there
for many years.  I finally was released accidentally by a grave robber in
1955.  I can tell you, there was quite a bit of culture shock coming from
1823 to 1955."

"Yeah, I bet about as much as coming from Los Angeles into this medieval
backwoods land.  But I still love it."

"Yeah, it has its appeal."

Alex agreed.  "Yeah, like being alive."

"There is that."

 

 

 

 

 

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