One of Zach’s friends, Sally, has followed him to the park to ask about her boyfriend. Zach is unaware of her presence until she touches him on the shoulder and is instantly transported to Windfallow…
Sally screamed in a really great impression of every heroine in a horror
movie and Zach looked at her with complete disgust. “Now look what you’ve done! You’ve probably ruined everything! I’m sorry, Angari. I didn’t know she was there until it was too late.”
Sally grabbed Zach’s arm. “Where is this place? What have you done to me? I want to go home!”
The tall man with wings bowed to her. “Welcome to Windfallow, fair lady. We’re sorry you came uninvited but we offer you our hospitality nonetheless. Zach, would you introduce us?”
“I suppose so. Angari, this is Sally Tate. She’s one of my friends from earth and she really didn’t mean to spy. She was just looking for me.” He turned to the second man. “Sparrow? Is that you?”
The second man, not quite as tall as the first, bowed to Sally and Zach. “It is, indeed. I know Angari here doesn’t age, but I’ve got a few gray hairs since we last met. Welcome to Windfallow, Sally. My name is Sparrow, and I fear we may be observed if we stay here in the open. Let’s head for the Watch Tower.”
“I’ll go on ahead and find some suitable clothing for the girl, Sparrow. See you later.” With that Angari spread his wings and flew off.
Sally turned to Zach. “Zach Thomas, you tell me what’s going on right now!”
“Can we talk as we go, Sally? Sparrow’s right. We aren’t safe here in the open. Come on.” He started on behind Sparrow and Sally had no option but to follow them. He explained to her where they were and why he had returned. “I can’t believe you’re really here with me, and I’m sure they won’t let you go back until I do. But you have nothing to fear from them, Sally. They are the kindest people I’ve ever met and you won’t believe what this place is like.”
Sally stopped him in his tracks. “You mean I can’t go home until they say I can go home? And what’s with the guy with wings? What is he, anyway?”
“He’s an Alari. In our world he would be called an angel. Only here, angels are visible. And it won’t matter how long we stay here, it will still only be a few minutes since we left earth. Does that make you feel better?”
“A little.” Sally’s fear was giving way to astonishment as she took in her surroundings. Colors were so vivid they dazzled the eye and the very air seemed to sparkle. Birds sang in trees where fruit and flowers grew together and dozens of brightly colored butterflies danced around them.
In fact, several of the insects had alighted on Zach’s head and shoulders.
Rather than brush them away, he seemed to be talking to them. Sally looked more closely and gave a gasp. They were little people with wings! “Zach, what are those things?”
“These are more Alari, Sally. Angari met us full-size, but he can become as tiny as these if he chooses and they can become as big as he was. Want to see?” He picked up one of the little beings and put it on the ground. As Zach bowed, the Alari grew to the size of Sally. She was dressed in bright yellow tights with an overtunic of soft blues and browns. Her skin was golden and her hair bright green.
Sally stepped back in fear, but when she looked into the gem-like eyes of the Alari her fear vanished and she saw kindness and a twinkle that could only mean fun. The maid held out her hand to Sally and said, “Welcome to Windfallow, my lady. My name is Willow and I am glad to see a human girl come to this world.” Her voice was musical, like bells ringing somewhere far away. “Would you like me to stay this size and walk with you?”
“Please do that,” said Sally when she found her voice. She looked at Zach. “Why didn’t you tell me they were so friendly? I think I like it here!”