Nearly a year had past since my entrapment in Faery. Never once did I lose the hope I instilled within myself, though. From the moment I stalked back home, through the gathering of the scene at the portal, my mind never stopped reeling. The wheels turned, meticulously planning my escape. Whether it was possible or not, I would never stop trying. The new day rose in Faery as I sat on a large rock, shaped by time and nature. My sights were set on the portal as the beams of light soon began filling the land. I knew this meant the stirring of everyone that inhabited Faery, but yet I did not care.
Slowly, I stood from my post to walk up to the portal, feeling it’s void. I sighed and hung my head, fingers continuing to pass at what used to be the passageway between the worlds. My brows furrowed and my lips snarled into a growl as the seething anger passed through my body. My fists clenched into tight balls, one soaring out at nothing, having envisioned Mab in my blind rage. I had wished it were her. It took every bit of strength to restore calm within me. I would win this battle against Mab, even if it killed me. Even if it meant sacrificing myself to bring her down with me.
The faint sounds of life fluttered across the breeze as I stood at the portal, staring at it as though trying to decipher its very existence. For hours, I stood there, studying an invisible enigma. There was still the energy of the portal, thriving and pulsating. It were as if there had been a brick wall built in front of it, denying entry and exit from this land. I was approached by many, inquiring as to what I was doing, but I kept my plan under tight lips, never daring to divulge an uttering of my plans. Mab, herself, came to investigate my strange behavior, and in my anger, it took every bit of restraint to not attack her where she stood. Instead, I remained silent as my narrowed gaze remained on the task at hand.
For nine months, I stood at the portal every day, noting any changes. Every day, I peered over the invisible threshold, my appearance had grown unruly. My already curly hair became a mop of a mess, my facial hair wilder than it had been. I would often find myself just simply gazing into the forest, and on occasion, I would see her there. Her hair the color of golden, gleaming flax. Her eyes as crystal blue as the waters of Faery. I could picture her smile, I could hear her laugh. Mesmerized by the mirage of the one I lost, I would often reach out for her, longing to touch her hand, her face. To capture her in my arms and never let go. Many times, my mind had tricked me. All of the instances, except for one.
Lost in the delusions of my imagination, I sat there with the illusion of her. She spoke to me as she always did, her voice soft and lulling like a song.
“Reach out for me, Ted…”
My brows furrowed as she spoke. Deep within myself, I knew that even if I did reach out to her, she wasn’t truly there. My own mind had a way of taking advantage of me, using what I wanted most just to disappoint me.
“Every time I do, I never feel you, Cathy…” The words alone were heartbreaking to speak. The image only continued to smile and tilt her head. Tentatively, I kneeled before the vacant space, fingers extended on my hand as I dared to touch the dormant portal. My eyes shot open wide as a small spark formed at the connection of my fingers meeting the entryway to the human realm. Instantly, I was brought back to the reality of the moment. My lips pursed as I tried to force my hand through the portal, but it wouldn’t budge. The fracture in the block, the rift was microscopic, but a start.
The crack that existed was weak, and I had no idea of how long it would last. I needed to move quickly, since time was not on my side. The vision of her was gone now that she had guided me to the frail spot in Mab’s magic. My eyes closed as I focused on the element within me and the magic I possessed. I was unsure of if I would ever get another chance, so I seized the opportunity to its fullest. A bright light surrounded my fist, nearly blinding in its strength as I channeled all energy, all strength to divide the cleft in the vortex, jaw clenched, teeth gritted as my entire body tensed, every muscle rippled with power. I was determined to break away from this prison.
I could feel the fault begin to give way beneath my wrath. Wider and wider, it spread under my influence. The pressure of it threatening to close was great, giving a fight to keep me trapped in this cell. I would not let it defeat me. A loud, resonating roar escaped my lips as I plunged through the barren space before me, plummeting between the paralleled realms of my kind and the humans. The struggle to surface on the other side. Every ounce of drive consumed me as I fought to break through. To claw through time and space to return to the only place that every truly felt like home to me. I found myself face down in the grass of the cemetery in Bon Temps.
Weakly, I lifted my head to glance around. The grave of William T. Compton laid before me and I let my head drop back to the dew-kissed grass with a sigh of relief. I sat in silence for a few moments before crying out in rejoicement. It had taken nine long months to break free of that hole, and now I had climbed out of hell. I climbed out of my grave to live again. I stood to a staggering pose, stumbling from being siphoned of my energy. It was a great feat to escape Mab’s power, but I knew it was possible. I stood for a few moments longer to regain some momentum before poofing away to the apartment I used to rent, hoping somewhat that she would be there. I arrived in the living room, paying no attention to the new decor around, rushing to the bedroom to hopefully see her face. To my surprise, I found a shrieking couple, threatening to call the authorities. Frantic, I poofed away to the park we had once spent a night at. It was foolish of me to believe she would have stayed.
A lonely swing served to be a stable seat to collapse in as a myriad of thoughts filled my mind. Was she even in Louisiana still? Was she alive? Had she moved on? It took a few moments to collect my thoughts, sitting in the cold night air as it enveloped my body. I poofed out of the tattered clothes that had endured the journey between the unknown and Earth, into a pair of jeans, a baggy t-shirt and hooded sweatshirt. My mind couldn’t be eased as I stood, poofing directly outside of the Office Depot in the distance. I could see her through the front glass wall, manning the register, seemingly bored while twirling a golden lock of her hair around her finger.
A loud sigh of relief escaped as my chest heaved, eyes falling to the ground for a moment before bringing them to watch her. She looked just as I had last seen her, still youthful, beautiful. I was sure that she was still a spitfire, full of attitude and spunk. It was unbearable not to just storm up to her and snatch her up into my arms. For all she knew, I could have been dead all this time. She may have even assumed that I just bolted for no reason at all. I would give anything to rid those ideas from her mind. Instead, I poofed a pair of large, oversized sunglasses on and a LSU had placed backwards on my unruly hair. Slowly, nervously, I walked inside of the place where I used to work, passing her as my eyes stayed glued on her from behind the dark sunglasses, making it hard for her to see them. I passed her, feeling slight comfort from being in the same building as her until hearing her voice.
“Thanks for coming in to Office Depot, where we have all your office needs!”
Her voice was overly peppy with some underlying annoyance to it from having to greet every customer under policy demands. I froze as she spoke, heart pounding within my chest before taking a step forward into copier supplies, giving her a nod, despite not facing her. I hid behind one of the aisles and closed my eyes. What would I do after that? Walk back up to her and kiss her? Hold her?
I wandered through the various departments, snatching up paper clips and rubberbands in my hands before walking back to her register, hoping she’d feel something when seeing them. We had always them in our pockets, pulling out gobs of paperclips at the end of the day. She glanced right up at me with a smile, looking directly into my eyes, despite the shield of the glasses, and my body tensed. She asked the usual questions of whether I found everything, to which I just nodded. Below the counter, I poofed money into my hand to pay for the items, remembering that everything I had owned was gone, my funds included. She handed me the bag with the receipt, thanking me for shopping at the Office Depot when I finally spoke to her.
“Thanks for shopping with us! Have a great night!” She beamed at me while handing my bag over. I nearly panicked until finding a semblance of calm.
“Thanks, yeah… you, too.” I looked at her for a moment as her eyes grew slightly wider, her brows furrowing with a soft gasp. With that, I turned and walked away. I could see her reflection in the glass behind me, as she was leaning over the counter, her mouth agape while watching me leave. I cursed and muttered to myself as I left for not staying and revealing it was me. Once out of sight, I poofed back to the swings, sitting down with a sigh. Eventually, in time I would approach her, but not then. Not tonight.
My hand reached up to rub against my heavy eyes as the thought of where to stay crossed my mind. I had remembered an old abandoned place out in the woods that Trina and I had frequently visited in our past times. Within a flash, I was there, staring around before collapsing on an old dingy, dirty bed, tossing the bag aside. I stared at the ceiling, closing my eyes to see the look about her face when I spoke seared into my eyelids. I decided then and there that eventually, I would see her again… it was just figuring out when that plagued me as I fell into a fitful sleep.
It had been a while since I had visited my parents. Ever since I told them about my job and Cathy, they’ve been ever so interested in my life. I usually laughed off their snooping and promised to see them more. I could tell that they missed me. It had been a while since I had moved away. I was their only son and all, so they always wanted to be filled in since they were no longer there. I always tried to tell them that the human realm wasn’t as bad as they had remembered. Most vampires wouldn’t openly attack our kind in fear of retaliation from the humans. The American Vampire League certainly was working hard on damage control after that one snapped and ripped a spine out on television. The humans’ world was rocked, where as us fae knew it was coming sooner or later. This made my parents worry even more, but I was adamant that there was so much more to the human world than this. No matter how much I tried, I always failed. They had their excuses of why they didn’t want to leave Faery, in which I just needed to accept. This meant Cathy would never be able to meet them, that is if she ever wanted to.
Alas, I did not want my girlfriend to wonder or worry, so I wrote her up a note:
“Gone to see the parents. Shouldn’t be more than a few hours. Be back soon. :) -Ted”
I poofed it to her coffee table in her living room began on my way. I knew exactly where the portals were in this area and poofed directly to the woods out in Bon Temps. There was an old house out past the trees that I always tried to be mindful of, not to mention I tried to stay hidden from. I grazed my fingers over the warped area where the two worlds met before stepping in and looking around. Faery was always like home. Everyone was happy and carefree. It wasn’t until I looked beyond the immediate area to see the people and those of my kind alike in a frenzy. I didn’t stay there to find out what the scuffle was. I ended up poofing directly to my old home, seeking out my parents.
“What’s going on?!” I shouted as my mother had tears in her eyes, pacing about the house.
“Ted!” She exclaimed as she threw her arms around me in a protective hug, holding me close as she began to sob out of relief. “I thought I would never see my Ted again!” It didn’t take long for confusion to set in, and my father to walk in to see what the commotion was.
“Dad! What is going on out there?!” I shouted again, sternly, demanding to know what was happening.
“It’s Mab! She’s sealing Faery off to the humans!” He lowered his voice as he spoke next. “A vampire came through the portal! It isn’t safe!”
My eyes grew wide at hearing this. In all of my life, my parents’ lives and their parents’ lives, nothing more than our kind had entered our realm. It suddenly struck me.
“What do you mean she’s sealing us off?! I have to get back to Cathy!” I said as I lunged away from my mother, knowing it would be my only chance of getting out. “I can’t just leave her!”
“No, you can’t leave us again, Ted!” My mother had me by one arm, my father the other as they jerked me back. I could have tried to poof, but they would have ended up with me. I yelled out in distress, arms trying to break their hold as I heard it. The loud rumbling of the seal. The ground shook and many things fell from the walls and off of tables, and then… stillness. Silence. It had been done.
After my parents stared around for a bit, they let me go. Angry, seething, I ran out of the house, my long legs bounding from the ground to the portal. In urgency, I jerked my hand out to touch it, wishing for that warped essence to pass over my fingers, but there was nothing. I growled and yelled, dropping to my knees as my true form broke free. My ears came to a point and my eyes became scintillating. My fingers locked within my curly locks as I roared in frustration. I heard her then. I wanted to kill her where she stood.
“Do not fret, young Ted. I did this to preserve our kind!” Mab stood behind me, trying to justify herself, as if she could.
I leapt to my feet and turned around, my snarling face a mere inches from hers as heat began to radiate from my body. I stared at her, a most dangerous gaze before turning back to stand in front of the portal. I knew that as long as Faery remained sealed off that I would be lost to Cathy, and she lost to me. I didn’t want her to worry. I didn’t want her to think the worst of me. I didn’t want her to think I abandoned her. I felt a pang hit my stomach at the very thoughts of what she would think as possibilities. I didn’t know how much about my people she knew, or if she would try to find me, or if she ever could. I didn’t know how far Cathy would go for me. She didn’t love me. I figured that as much. She made that clear from the beginning that it wasn’t what she was after. The fun and spontaneity that I had hoped to show her, to give her.
I already missed her. I didn’t know how long it would be until I saw her again, or if I ever would. Typical geeky, insecure Ted then came out, knowing she would forget about me in time. If it spared her pain, then I would allow it. My connections were lost and for once, I felt like an outsider in the place of my home. At this moment, my human residence felt more like home. Being with her felt more like home, but I didn’t know if I’d ever feel that way again.
I turned my back to the portal and stuck my hands into my pockets, walking through the clearing crowd that had stood behind me back to my parents house. I had been defeated, but I would never stop trying, never stop looking for a way back.