Saturdays are always busy for make-up artists and for Abigail Pierce, her day flies by. Grateful to be home in her modern and minimal one-bedroom condo, Abigail walks though her door, carrying some take out in one hand, and her motorcycle helmet in the other. She drops her helmet into the closet as her beloved cat greets her at the door.
“Hey Miso.” She smiles as she picks him up. “Catch any mice today?”
She puts her takeout on the kitchen table and goes into her bedroom to change into some sweats. Once she emerges, she takes her food from the table and sits in front of her TV. She switches it on to Netflix as Miso crawls up on her lap to lay down. Just as she decides what she wants to watch she hears a ping on her cellphone.
It is a text from her best friend Lily from the YYC Motorcycle Meetup Group. It says, “Still coming out for a ride to Canmore tomorrow?”
Abigail smiles at it and types. “You know it! (smiley face) Where are we meeting the group?”
“Chinook Mall. West parkade in front of the IMAX.” Lily texts back. “CU @ 7 AM.”
“You bet.” Abigail responds, puts her phone down, and focuses back on Netflix and her pasta salad.
She chooses an adventurous television show where magic and fairies come to life. Abigail envies how “the Chosen One” has a remarkable purpose in life. They meet new, interesting people and see amazing, incredible things. It would be so awesome to be involved in a magical adventure even though she stopped believing in magic a long time ago.
Suddenly, she feels a little depressed. Abigail looks at her life and despite going on regular jaunts with her motorcycle group, her life is dull and unremarkable. The worse part is, she has no way to change it.
A bright 7:00 AM shines on the bikers as they wait for two more of their group at the Chinook Mall parking lot. Abigail takes a deep breath in to take in the sights and smells of a beautiful morning. She straightens out her tan leather jacket, tucks in her teal/tan plaid scarf, and strokes her mala beads with a leaf pendant. It’s always good to be stylish but when she touches her pendant, that is like a prayer for a safe, fun ride.
Lily and her father, Caleb (who is also the organizer of the meetup group) arrive on their bikes. Abigail runs up to Lily and gives her a hug while the rest of the group make a circle. It’s time to begin the morning meeting.
“Hi everyone!” Caleb waves to the circle and they gather a little closer. “For our ride today, my beautiful daughter thought we should check out Chez François.”
“Yeah! Abby and I went there last month, and the food was so tasty and beautiful that you will want to buy seconds of it.”
Lily shows the group a picture on her phone of the meal she had. The meal was a single egg benedict, a fruity crepe with cream, and a side of fruit. The egg looks like a savory delight with swiss cheese, asparagus, and tomato. The crepe was a melody of fruit with sweet cream like it was made for royalty. It was the ultimate breakfast. The entire group nod at Lily’s suggestion and decide to take her up on it. Caleb claps his hands and motions the group to saddle up. Everyone jumps on their motorcycles and speed away.
They head west down the Trans-Canada Highway. Although it starts as a long road, the view of the Canadian Rockies is spectacular. There is nothing like experiencing this on a motorcycle. To Abigail, it’s like flying. She feels the wind blow through her long black curled hair and press up against her dark chocolate skin. It’s the feeling of being alive. Abigail closes her whiskey brown eyes for a second to indulge in the feeling before focusing on the road again.
When she opens her eyes, she can’t see her bike group. It’s like they vanished. That’s not the only thing that is wrong here. Looking around, she sees that she is deeper into the mountains than she should be. Before she closed her eyes she and her group were still on the highway. She is sure of it. Now she doesn’t know where she is. How could she have ended up here?
Abigail pulls out to the side of the road and turns off her bike. This place is more forested than she remembers it. It is also more overcast here as opposed to the clear sunshine before she closed her eyes and there are absolutely no cars around. Even the road looks different as it has no lines
on it. Abigail picks up her cellphone only to find that there is no service.
She turns around and sees a narrow path. Not knowing what else to do, Abigail decides to walk it. The sights around this path make her journey very pleasant. There are so many different colors of greenery and yet they blend together so beautifully. The grass, ferns, and leaves on the trees bring fresh life surrounding her. Every step she takes invigorates her. Suddenly, after hiking for at least half an hour, she notices something odd.
In one of the trees, she sees two windows and a door on the trunk. She smiles at it and realizes she must be close to civilization. It is also the cutest thing she has ever seen. They look so decorative and fun. She would have to talk to the condo board and see if she can do that for the trees in the yard. When she looks around some more, she sees another couple of trees that have windows and with a door at the base of the trunk. One tree has the door open at the base. She could not help but crouch down to get a closer look at it.
Through the door and inside the tree, Abigail sees tiny furniture that could be for a doll. However, with the size of the door, no one could fit their hand in there, not even a child. It is very strange to her. She will ask what that is when she finds the owner of these creative decorations.
Abigail goes back to the trail and walks on. It only takes a few steps before she sees some little cottages. They look like playhouses for kids. The first cottage she sees is yellow with blue and brown accents. It also has a chimney, tiny windows, and a straw thatched roof. It is the coolest little house she has ever seen.
As she walks around it, Abigail says to herself. “I wish I had something this cool when I was a kid.”
Then she finds another tiny house made of bricks and live plants growing on the roof. It has two entrances and both doors are slightly ajar. The cottage with a purple door and green trimmings has its door wide open. Abigail walks up to the purple-doored cottage to look inside. No one is in there but there is furniture, appliances, and little pictures of flowers on the walls. It looks functional and lived in but who can live there?
“Hello!” Abigail stands up and calls out to the forest. “I don’t mean any harm, but I need help!”
The only answer she gets is an echo of her own voice until silence fills the air once again. She looks at these pretty, charming cottages. There is no one around, so she has no choice but to continue on the path until she finds someone who can help her.
Her hike through the forest has her come to a unique treehouse. It has three little brown houses with yellow trimmings going up the tree. They are connected by a spiral staircase with a railing. At the bottom of the structure is a bunch of lipstick red toadstools that gives this place a fairy-tale feeling. She giggles at it and feeling at bit whimsical, Abigail climbs up to the top of the treehouse to see the forest around her. The sight of this enchanting forest takes her breath away. If she didn’t know better, she would think that she is in another world like Dorothy Gale in Oz.
Out to the left, she sees the foremast of a ship but the rest of it is missing. To the right she sees an old medieval style castle. Since the castle looks like she can get a better view of things, Abigail decides to head over there even if it is a bit of a distance. The castle is a light grey, but the roofs of the turrets are blue and yellow. The drawbridge, gatehouse, and towers of the castle are big enough for someone to be there. After climbing down the treehouse, Abigail takes one last look at it before she heads towards the castle. She feels so sad to leave it. There is nothing in the houses and she didn’t know why but the treehouse feels like it is meant for her. She shakes the feeling off
and walks on.
Abigail no longer sees a path just a bunch a green foliage. She sees a slight opening through some trees and chooses to wander through it. She looks up to the sky and these tall plants block her view of the castle. She realizes that they are not trees. These mysterious plants resemble maple leaves but act almost like umbrellas or shields. Abigail has never seen anything like these, at least not this big. She can’t see the castle at all now. She pushes her way through these giant plants but can’t find a path anywhere. She tries turning back around but the plants seem to swallow her up until she realizes that she is lost.
She takes a deep breath and tries not to panic. Calmly scoping out her surroundings, Abigail sees what looks like an opening through the plants. She pushes them away to get to the light that she sees. The opening is a muddy slope that she slides down and lands with a splash in a mud puddle. With a moan and a groan, she crawls out of the puddle and lays face up looking to the bright blue sky through the dark green leaves of the tall trees.
It was overcast before she entered the giant umbrella plants. Now it seems completely clear and she is surrounded by ferns, clover, tiny flowers, and a whole brood of red cedar trees. It is lovely and it almost makes her forget that she is covered in mud. That’s until she looks at her filthy hands. Suddenly, she hears running water in a short distance. She follows the sound and finds a tiny stream. She washes her hands, takes her scarf out to dip it into the water, and washes her jacket with it. Lastly, she cups the water in her hands to wipe her face.
When she removes her hands from her face, she sees a sight that both charms and confuses her. Six frogs are looking at her and each of them are a different and vibrant color. They don’t make any sudden movements and whatever noises they make doesn’t seem threatening in anyway. Never-the-less, Abigail intends to be careful. She remembers watching a documentary on South American frogs and they could be poisonous. She hears a brush in the bushes behind her. She looks and sees nothing but when she looks back to where the frogs are… they are gone.
Abigail’s eyes dart to where she saw each frog. There are no tracks or indents of where they were sitting. It’s like they weren’t there in first place. Slowly, she stands up and backs away from the stream. When she bumps into a tree, she turns her head to see another path leading through the forest to a pond. She thinks it’s a good start to finding the castle and starts walking.
On the way, she stumbles into a tree stump. When Abigail looks on the other side of it, she sees giant onions surrounding it. She walks around the stump to get a closer look at them. They have little doors and windows on them, like they are quaint little homes. She crouches down to look at the little purple onion carefully. She didn’t want to disturb anything, since she has a feeling that she is the visitor here. The windows have red and white polka dot curtains. Although she sees no one inside she admires the craftsmanship of the home including the blue door. The curve and coloring of it is spotless and imaginative. Nothing she has ever seen looks this nice. After the frogs and now these onion houses, Abigail truly believes she is somewhere magical.
“Keep going” A delicate whisper sounds to her.
Abigail props herself up instantly and looks around. “Who said that?”
On her feet she turns in every direction and sees no sign of a person around. Just as she wonders if she is hallucinating, she hears it again.
“Follow the path.” It says. “Find the castle.”
“Who are you?!” Abigail calls out. But there is no answer.
Clearly, she couldn’t stay here, so she follows the voice’s advice. She walks down the trail until she comes to the pond. It is a clear pristine blue but has several plants living in it. Abigail could see lily-pads with yellow waterlilies, purslane, and cattails. Abigail walks along the side of the pond until she finds some wooden platforms going across it.
She walks on them and in the long grass, she sees a bright blue dragonfly zip to and from stock to stock. Suddenly, a bright yellow butterfly joins the dragonfly in its flight. Before she could even blink, she sees dragonflies and butterflies of every color surround her like they want to dance with her. It is like being in a rainbow. Abigail laughs as a smile spreads across her face. Although she can hear no music, she raises her arms, and twirls with the captivating insects. They start to fly away from her, and they go into the direction of the castle she saw earlier. She gasps as she catches sight of it and a trail from a fork in the platform that leads right to it. Not wasting any time, Abigail runs towards the castle. She manages to get there in minutes.
“Hello!” Abigail calls out as she reaches the castle.
The castle is smaller than she had originally thought. The colorful turrets are still there and a moat
trails around the castle, but it isn’t even tall enough to reach the middle of the trees. It’s still lovely, just more of a house than a palace.
Abigail calls out, “Is anyone there?”
Suddenly, she hears a hard-clanking noise beside her as the draw bridge comes down to her right.
She walks across the bridge as it comes back up behind her. She walks around until she finds a door to enter. She finds herself in a small wooden room with so many antique objects including a knight’s armor, weaponry, an ancient fireplace with an historic looking mirror, and a long wooden table with matching wooden benches. She walks to the fireplace and looks in the mirror. She sees her reflection and realizes that she still has some dry mud on her. She’ll have to find a washroom somewhere. Out of the corner of her eye she sees something glisten. On her left side, she sees a treasure box filled with coins and other valuable objects. She walks over to it and is about to pick up the golden goblet.
“Please don’t touch that.” Says a soft but firm voice behind her.
A startled Abigail turns to see this woman in the corner of the castle. She is so stunning and ethereal that she sparkles. Her short cropped near-white hair matches perfectly with her
mandarin-collared long white jacket while her light blue eyes are brought out with the ballgown she wears underneath it. This woman’s pure white skin is so beautiful that Abigail swears it’s glittering despite the stoic look on her face.
“Sorry.” Abigail says nervously. “I’m lost and…”
“I can see that.” The lady interrupts and gives her a small but reassuring smile. “Please follow me.”
Abigail follows this woman out of the castle. They walk on the drawbridge and to the left there is a small adult-sized cottage. It reminds Abigail of a dollhouse, but an average adult could live in it. She looks at the windows to see inside but all she sees are the backs of fairy figurines and dangly sun catchers. The woman enters the door and beckons Abigail inside.
“Please make yourself comfortable.” The woman says as she walks towards a small kitchenette.
Abigail’s focus goes into the wide room. This whole cottage looks like a quaint little café from a different era. Tiny round tables with little pink tablecloths are spread about the room. Vintage chairs sit below them, and the room is filled with many books. So many that they’re placed in odd
places like in the fireplace, an old liquor cabinet, and on the side of the stairs. Abigail sits on the purple loveseat and feels a wave of comfort take over her after a long search. The woman brings a long tray to Abigail with tea and cookies. She sets it down and sits in a chair across from Abigail. Abigail eyes the tea and cookies suspiciously.
“It’s not poisoned.” She says so nonchalantly that it surprises Abigail. “And I can assure you that whatever you eat and drink in here will not do you harm.”
“Sorry.” Abigail says. “I just have so many questions.”
“That’s why I thought we should talk because I have questions too.” The lady gracefully lifts her delicate palm towards Abigail. “You may start.”
“Well I guess, where am I?” Abigail asks feeling flustered all over again.
“Drink your tea. It will ease your anxiety. You are in between realms. We call it the bridge,” the lady explains.
“We? Who are you?” Abigail asks sipping her tea.
“It’s my turn to ask you.” She says looking at Abigail like she is a naughty child. “But I’ll answer you. I don’t remember what my name was in your realm, but I was a white witch. Here I have no name, only a title. The Forest Guardian. We act as guides if you will between realms. We help all creatures find where they need to be and what they have to do.”
Abigail finally feels at ease, her breathing calms as she takes a bite out of her small shortbread cookie.
“I’m sorry but I have to ask…” Abigail says apologetically.
“Go on.” The woman gently says.
“There are some odd homes around here. Who lives in them?” Abigail questions.
“They are of the fey clan, but you would probably know them best as fairies, nymphs, sprites, etcetera. They tend to hide when they sense a strange human around.” The Forest Guardian
takes a sip of her tea, and studies Abigail. “Now. Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“My name is Abigail Pierce and I don’t know how I even got here.” Abigail says as she picks up her teacup. “I was just riding my bike with my crew and I closed my eyes for a second. Then I ended up here.”
“Interesting.” The Forest Guardian says putting down her tea. “Yet here you are at the bridge. You are clearly alive, not of any mystical creature, and of sound mind.”
Abigail winces at the woman. “What does that mean?”
“It means you are unique because no human comes here in their physical form or good mental state.” She answers.
“Why?” Abigail inquires.
“It’s a long and complicated story.” The Guardian replies looking pensive. “Let’s just say that long ago, all humans could communicate with mystical creatures. But bad things happened that caused humans to be separated from the magical world.”
“Oh!” Abigail says and suddenly remembers something. “There was a voice in the trees out there. Was it you?”
“No.” The Guardian chuckles. “That would be the Cedar Spirit. He lives in the oldest tree out there. He’s been here for nearly one thousand years. He’s my eyes and ears of this place. That’s how I knew to find you.”
“So why am I here?”
“I don’t know but I will have to consult with some higher powers with this unusual circumstance.” She says as her eyes trail up and down Abigail’s dirty clothes. “and I am sure you would like to freshen up.”
Abigail nearly forgot that she is covered in mud and must be getting it on this woman’s couch. Feeling a little ashamed, Abigail quickly stands up and tries to dust off the couch which seems to be miraculously clean.
The Guardian stands and puts a comforting hand on Abigail’s shoulder. “Oh! Forgive me. I didn’t mean it like that. I just thought you might be more contented if you had a shower. I will make sure your clothes are clean by the time you are finished.”
It is like this mysterious woman could read her mind. Abigail is desperate for a shower and she knows that she will have to get clean clothes again. “I don’t want to cause any trouble.”
The Guardian smiles kindly at her and says, “It’s no trouble at all. You’re the first live guest that I’ve had in too long. I want to make sure you’re visit here is as pleasant as possible.”
“I’d like that.” Abigail smiles and nods, grateful for this woman’s kindness. “Thank you.”
The Guardian points to a small door behind Abigail. “The bathroom is in there. It’s not decadent but it is functional.”
She walks into the bathroom and is amazed at sight of how luxurious looking it is. It looks like a Grecian bath house. The ivory-brown tiles, window shower, a wide deep-seated bathtub, and several green house plants fill the space. The Forest Guardian said this place isn’t decadent. Clearly this lady has a different idea of what decadent is.
Abigail strips down and steps into the misty shower. Inside she sees rose hibiscus Himalayan shower salts, rosemary mint body wash, and lavender shampoo/conditioner. She pours the salts at the bottom of the shower, smells the scents seep into the steam, and attach itself to her body in the most delicate ways. She applies the lavender tonic to her hair and feels herself relaxing a little more. Abigail takes the rosemary mint body wash and rubs it on her body. All the soreness and pain she had melted away with each gentle massage.
As Abigail steps out fresh, clean, and ready to conquer anything. She grabs a towel but when she looks over to the bench, she sees her clothes neatly folded and pressed. She picks up her T-shirt, feels its warmth, and presses it to her face. It smells like the rain. Abigail slips on her clothes and is ready to face the Guardian. However, she got a sight she didn’t expect.
There are orbs and odd lights floating around the ceiling. They are whispering incoherently but Abigail senses a feeling of goodness radiating from them. The orbs flutter around and loop themselves high above her. The Guardian has her face lifted towards them. She is as still as a statue but as soon as Abigail approaches her, the orbs disappear, and the lady opens her eyes.
She looks gently towards Abigail and smiles. “The fey say that you need to go back.”
Abigail suddenly feels her heart break. She looks sadly to the Guardian and says, “What if I don’t want to go back?”
The Guardian looks at her with understanding and says, “You’re not ready to stay.”
She beckons Abigail to follow her. Abigail walks side by side with the Guardian through a large, medieval double door and down a long white cave where a rainbow of lights flicker. They follow the lights until they exit out of the cavern and find Abigail’s motorcycle where she had left it. Confused, Abigail looks around and doesn’t see the cave that they had just come out of but the forest that she had entered.
“All you have to do now is get on your vehicle and go down the road.” The Forest Guardian says.
Abigail feels so dejected, that she pipes up. “This place has changed me. Despite how odd it was that I came here. This place has been the best experience of my life. I can see things in a whole new light now. How can I just go back?”
“It’ll be scary at first.” The Guardian says as she walks up to Abigail and gently takes her hand.
“But you have a whole wonderful life to live. There is still so much for you to do. Don’t fret. One day you will be back.”
This fills Abigail with hope as she squeezes the Guardian’s hand and makes a silent promise to come back. She walks to her bike, gets on it, and starts it to ride off with the wind. The guardian waves to Abigail as she rides off. She feels the warmth of her farewell.
Without any warning, Abigail finds herself riding with her crew and just arriving in Canmore.
They have found Chez François and park their motorcycles. Lily, in her usual chipper manner approaches Abigail as she lifts off her helmet.
“We’re here! I can’t wait. I’m starving.” Lily gleefully says but sees the wistful look on Abigail’s face, “Abby? Are you okay?”
“I’m just fine.” Abigail says smiling at her BFF. “Let’s eat!”
A few months have passed, and Abigail still couldn’t get the experience out of her mind. Since then, clients seek her out because her artistry has become more fantastic and ethereal. Right now, she is putting sparkling eye shadow on a young bride who doesn’t know that she is being modeled after the Forest Guardian that Abigail remembers.
“Oh my god!” The bride says with a huge smile on her face. “I love it! I LOVE IT! Thank you!”
The bride grabs her in a big hug. Abigail watches the bride go off excitedly to her dressing room. She is happy that her customer is so entranced with the make-up she did for her wedding. The father of the bride chuckles as he sees his daughter trot off excitedly.
“You have a beautiful hand with your make-up.” He says. “You should give my friend at the Vertigo Theater a call. He’s looking for an artist like you. He also has contacts in the movie industry so if you impress him, he’ll pass your name on.”
“That is amazing!” Abigail gasps, as she holds his card. “I don’t know what to say except thank you!”
“Don’t thank me, you will have to do that work.” He smiles at her. “And I better get to my daughter before she hunts me down.”
She chuckles as she puts the card in her pocket and straightens out her black uniform. Abigail thinks about the Bridge Realm. Although it was hard when she first got there, she couldn’t forget how astonishing it was either. She wonders why she had to come back to her life and career. She has a feeling that it is for something important. Maybe what she is doing now. Inspiring people to look for a more magical world.
One thing she does know is that her life has taken an more interesting turn with all these new possibilities popping up. She has met some interesting people including the visiting circus whose regular artist came down with the flu and asked her to do their make-up last weekend. Of course, more brides have come but they all had varied taste. Last month, a punk bride wanted her make-up to match her tattoos. When Abigail delivered, the bride was just as ecstatic as this bride is with her make-up. Now she has a chance to work on some fabulous plays and see some amazing things. It’s like her wish came true.
Abigail looks in the mirror to check her make-up and thinks back to the Bridge Realm. She can’t help but wish that she can go back there and discover more charms of that world. Since being there, she has had some reoccurring dreams about it. Each one is a little different but she managed to finally meet some of the fairies that reside there. They provided her with so much inspiration for her in her waking life. Still, she wants to see the Bridge Realm with her waking eyes again.
I will, Abigail thinks to herself as she lets out a contented smile. She remembers the promise she made and she always keeps her promises.
A Special Thanks To:
The Enchanted Forest : 7060 Trans-Canada Hwy, Revelstoke, BC V0E 2S0 - https://www.enchantedforestbc.com/. For all the Magic.
Chez Francios Restaurant : 1604 2 Ave, Canmore, AB T1W 1M8 - http://www.restaurantchezfrancois.com/ . For an excellent breakfast
Cafe Books : 826 8 St, Canmore, AB T1W 2B7, - https://www.cafebooks.ca/ . For Good Tea, Cookies, and Books.
IKEA : 8000 11 St SE, Calgary, AB T2H 3B2 - www.ikea.ca. For amazing displays.
Thrift 17: 2631 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3E 0A5 - https://17thavethrift.ca/ - For Beautiful Clothes.
Chinook Mall : 6455 Macleod Trail, Calgary, AB T2H 0K8 - https://www.cfshops.com/chinook-centre.html?cid=lis_chi_en_hp_gb
Netflix - www.Netflix.com