The Closet of Dreams

January 9, 2008
By Amalia Sletmoe, Hood River, OR

“Ezra, what’s that? It looks almost like a trap door in the wall. Mother never told us we had a trap door in our attic.” Adalaide was amazed by the shoulder high door at the south end of the attic in the familiar little colonial home. Pushing one of her long braids out of her face she revealed a dimpled, secretive smile.

“Addy, that’s just for storage,” Ezra replied, laughing at his sister who was only five, “There’s just a bunch of old dresses and pretty coats in there.” Ezra was nine, and he did not have a great imagination like his sister.

“I want to see! Ezra, can you help me with the door?”

“It’s just old dresses! Adalaide, you’re such a girl.” Reluctantly Ezra helped his sister pull hard on the door until it gave way. “I’m going to go find Conrad, you stay out of trouble.” And off went Ezra, pleased to be let out of the small stuffy attic.

Adalaide decided to play in the little closet. Pushing some dresses out of her way, she found a little nook. Concluding that it would be much more exciting dark, Addy pulled the door shut, and closed her eyes.

The young child’s thoughts began to drift when she heard people talking. In wonder, Adalaide opened her eyes and gasped in delight. In the stuffy old closet a warm, sunny fairy land had appeared. Mother and Father would never believe that a secret land lived in the closet.

From what Addy could see, quite a few fairies buzzed around the village. The fairies seemed so happy and safe that Addy was sure all of the inhabitants were best of friends, never fighting like she and Ezra. As the fairies, the only beings seeming to live in this area, passed each other in the street, they would nod politely and shake their whole body from head to toe. Addy thought this was rather silly. The constant shaking caused their long golden hair to dance like butterflies on a spring morning. Sufficient sized wings stuck out from their backs, and their royal colored cardigans fell pleasantly to calf length. It marveled Adalaide the most that the fairies flew around exchanging leaves for bread, milk, eggs, and other naturally produced food.

Adalaide began to walk through the town, like the curious little girl she was, and she realized that the fairies seemed to welcome her. When the chipper little creatures talked to her though, it was a challenge to understand them. They spoke Adalaide’s language, but they sounded like the soldiers who marched through town, the British.

These fairies have to be good, thought Adalaide, all fairies are good. That’s what all the stories always said. Yet still, something in Adalaide’s mind was unsure.

Continuing to walk farther into the village, Addy discovered a particularly charming little home. Just outside of it was a mother fairy hanging clothes on the line as her children played in the grass. Seeing a mother reminded Addy of her own mother. Although Addy had not been gone long, how dearly she missed Mother, and instantly she decided she was going back home. I will just ask this kind looking lady how to get home, and I am sure she will help me on my way, thought Adalaide.

“Excuse me, but I arrived in this village through a closet in my attic,” Addy began, talking to the woman, “It is very nice and all, but I would really like to go home now, for I miss my mother dearly. Would you please tell me how I can get out of here?”

“No, I cannot!” snapped the woman. “It was your curiosity that brought you here, and I am sorry, but you cannot leave. But I will point you in the direction of the county hall, and the mayor will give you a uniform so you can go work in the fields.”

For Addy, this whole experience was rather traumatic, all she wanted was to go home, but apparently she was not allowed. Adalaide broke down crying and fell to her knees in the middle of the street, making a horrible ruckus, for she was a very dramatic little girl. Addy’s long dark brown braids touched the ground as she sobbed and sobbed, covering her face with her little hands.

“Oh, oh, don’t cry,” the woman said, looking around nervously, “If you really want to go home, I may be able to work a deal with the mayor, but no promises.”

Adalaide was so thrilled she threw her wet arms around the lady and thanked her with great delight. “Oh, would you please? I would love nothing more than to go home.”

The woman backed away from the grasp of little Adalaide looking her over. There were smudge marks on her face from where she had been rubbing her grayish colored eyes, causing it to look as though she had more freckles than she really did. But when the woman saw Addy’s little dimples, she vowed to not let anything bad happen to her. “Come inside dear, we don’t want anyone to notice you are here.”

The next day when Addy awoke she was unaware of where she was. But then it all came back to her. It turned out that the mayor was the woman’s husband, and he was going to help her out of the fairy town. Addy was so exhausted from all of the day’s excitement that she fell asleep while eating her dinner.

Addy went to the window in the little thatched house and looked outside. The morning dew on the grass glistened as the sun broke through the trees. For a mid spring day it was warm and refreshing, even more so as the birds chirped with delight. The air was crisp and not a breeze destroyed the pleasant atmosphere. The flowers were just opening up from their nights rest, stretching to grasp as much of the glowing sun as they could. The sky was the clearest periwinkle blue that Adalaide had ever seen. Mothers were preparing the morning meal, which made the whole town smell of bread and herbs, as the children tended to their chores. Soon the children would be flying off to school, ready to learn whatever they would be taught (Addy was unsure of what that would be). The cobblestone streets, which were rarely used, reflected the sun’s strong rays, providing a beautiful morning through all the land. Addy was curious how fairies that lived in such a beautiful place could keep children that wandered into the village, like her, as slaves. It would seem that the fairies would have to be absolutely angelic.

“Get away from that window!” yelled the mayor. “You must not let anyone know that I am helping you. Of all people, I am not supposed to care about little children. The rules are that any human child is to be put to work in the fields. Because you are so cute as my wife says, I am letting you go. But no one can know! Do you understand?”

“Yes sir,” replied Addy, “But, when do I get to go home?”

“As soon as everyone else is at work, I will help you get home.”

When all of the fairies were in their homes, or at work for the day, the mayor took Addy up a long hill. As they walked, Addy began to wonder if they would ever reach the top. Her legs were very sore, and her mouth was dry with thirst. Every time Addy asked how much farther they had to go, the mayor would just snap at her and tell her to hush up, and to ask no more questions, which, of course, just made her ask more.

Finally, the two hikers reached a plateau.

“Well,” barked the Mayor, “We are here now.”

They stood overlooking a cliff, which seemed to descend for miles, finally ending with a wide river of lava. No mercy would come if you were to fall down, and it looked as though that was what was intended. A little to the left of where Addy and the mayor were standing a very old rope bridge extended on for miles. At the end stood a weathered, wooden door.

“Do I have to cross the bridge and go through that door to go home?” Addy asked anxiously.

“Unless you just want me to push you down into the lava now, because I will,” the mayor replied in a harsh, serious tone.

“No,” Addy screamed, “I’ll just cross the bridge, I suppose.” Addy walked toward it and stepped on. The bridge swayed uncomfortably, and Addy longed to be on the other side. She kept walking, one baby step at a time. After what seemed like a life time, Addy wasn’t even halfway across. By this point Adalaide was shaking nervously and crying with fright. She looked back to see if the mayor had left, but when she did, she lost her balance and fell between two planks on the bridge. Down Addy fell, accelerating immensely until she was just inches away from the boiling lava...Ezra was shaking Adalaide, telling her it was time to go down for dinner. Trembling and sweaty Addy reached out her hand for her brother to help her up.

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