When I wake up, my first thoughts are about the awful things I want to do to that pixie. I didn’t get to say goodbye to Mom or pack for the trip. She’s going to freak out when she can’t find me. This is the last thing I wanted to do to her.
My second thoughts are about the garden I’m in. At least, I think I’m in a garden. I’m lying in a flower bed and birds are chirping, but I’m on my back, looking up at the white marble that surround the raised beds. On an unrelated note, I have a raging headache. I look up at the vaulted, light blue ceiling and rub my temples. “Was the pain necessary?”
This is the weirdest garden I’ve ever been in. Not only is it indoors, but it’s excessively…cute. Two butterflies chase each other around the spray of pink and white flowers. A bunny hops out from behind a speckled toadstool, and I swear it winks at me. The bunny, not the toadstool. “What is this place?”
I climb onto my feet and brush the dirt from my jeans. With a short jump, I’m off the raised bed and walking around, trying to get my bearings. Last time, I threw myself into things and was way too impulsive. I won’t be making that mistake again.
A butterfly lands on my shoulder and a light wisp of air brushes my cheek as it stretches its wings. Blue and white diamonds pattern its underside and the tops of the wings have pink and yellow polka dots. I’ve never seen a butterfly like that. I’m pretty sure they don’t exist. It flitters off on its own and joins the other two butterflies in the flower bushes. Yeah, I should definitely figure things out before I do anything.
The four walls are painted blue like the ceiling, to look like a summer sky. A low, stone bench sits at the end of a grassy path. A cluster of white lilies line the wall behind it. And of course, it’s hard to miss the gigantic statue in the middle of the room. A white stone girl in a flowing dress has one arm extended. A stone bird is perched on her finger, its mouth open like it’s singing.
The real birds are singing loudly enough, it makes my headache feel ten times worse. I take a deep breath and close my eyes. The smells of spring grass and fresh berries fill my senses. I swear I feel a breeze brush lightly against the back of my ponytail. This place is way too weird. I need to stay focused.
“Get in and get out,” I tell myself. It’s the best advice I can think of. “Don’t get involved, and don’t mess anything up.” Also good advice.
Behind me, a door opens. Funny, that I hadn’t looked for an exit. But the doors are camouflaged, now that I noticed them. They’re painted the same as the walls and have ivy crisscrossing all the way up to the ceiling. A pretty blonde girl in a pale pink dress scurries into the garden. She’s pretty young, maybe nine years old. Her eyes light up when she sees me. “There you are, Ivy! Hurry, or Daddy will get there before we do.”
I stare at her. She used my name. No, I must have heard her wrong. “I think you’ve got the wrong girl.”
She tugs at my elbow, pulling me toward the door. “Stop playing games and come with me. Our sisters are waiting.”
I swallow hard. Our sisters?
So much for not getting involved.