Shannon Keller is running away. She knows this and readily admits how cowardly it is. But what had happened to her was the last straw. Her soon-to-be ex-fiancée, John Dalton drove her to this as did her father’s refusal to help. He keeps stressing how important it is for her to make John happy in order for the merging of MaxKen and Dalton companies to be successful. Her father arranged for them to meet in the first place in hopes that it would work out in his favor as the CEO of MaxKen. So, he won’t hear of a “petty little argument.”.
That’s why she is here at Qualicum Beach, British Columbia in hopes of finding this place called, “Free Spirit Spheres.” Her friend Chelsea from university told her about this place that she went to. It helped both her and her mother heal from the shock of her father’s passing. It brought the two of them closer together and now they couldn’t be better. Shannon looks outside of the uber car at the beach. The sunshine on the water already gives her a sense that she is doing the right thing. It’s enough to have her give a quirk of a smile out the window.
“We’re going to be there in 20 minutes Miss.” The driver says and it startles her enough to jump.
“Okay great.” She nervously replies.
The driver could not help to notice her fearful demeanor. As soon as he stops at the red light, he turns around and looks at her. “You okay?”
“Yes.” She nods at him. “Or at least I will be.”
With that, the driver turns back around and drives when the street light turns green. Shannon just hopes that what she says is true. John and her “argument” has left her traumatized.
They had just finished a business dinner and when they got back to their apartment. Everything is so posh and in its place in the condo which is something she has always approved. However, there is something left out of here that it doesn’t even feel like a home. Shannon didn’t know what that could be.
“You think you can embarrass me like that?” John accuses her coldly which causes Shannon to turn and look at him disbelievingly. “I saw the way you were talking at the other executives. Hoping they would notice you perhaps?”
“It’s called social interaction. That tends to happen in these events.” She says sharply to him. “If you don’t like that then don’t invite me to these things.”
“Don’t you dare talk to me like that!” He raises his voice and points at her.
“I’ll shout at you when you shout at me because I am free to do as I please!” Shannon fires back. “Ever since we started dating, it’s been all about what you want! Well, you know what? I’m so sick of this! It’s time…”
John interrupts by slamming her against wall and pressing her neck with his hand. “You are going to be my wife and you will do as you are told!”
His left hand that is lifted falls down to his side and he releases her neck. Shannon is trembling against the wall as John walks away from her and to the door. He leaves her with these parting words. “Things will change when we are married. So you better step up!”
Shannon hears the threat in his voice. As soon as he walked out the door, tears start pouring down her face. In a panic, she runs into the bedroom and grabs her suitcase. Shannon throws whatever she can grab into the case and shuts it tight. She grabs her phone and runs out the door. As she does so, she phones her father to tell him what happened. What she got was him screaming incoherently at her.
“Father did you hear what I said?” She shouts at him but he only continues to scream at her.
She hangs up and realizes that she has nowhere to go. Then she remembers her lunch with Chelsea and how they talked about vacations. Shannon opens up her phone to call Chelsea and get the information she needs.
Out in the woods, Shannon’s uber arrives at the office of the “Free Spirit Spheres.” She stands there for a moment to take it all in. The multiple green trees that embrace this area is a sight to behold. A gentle wind brushes through the leaves as if this place is welcoming her arrival. She is coming here to desperately change her life.
After she takes her suitcase and bids the driver a friendly farewell, Shannon walks up the stairs to the office door. She raises her hand to knock but the door goes ajar all on its own. With a twinkling of the windchimes, Shannon steps inside to see a gentleman with a kindly face standing behind the desk.
“Hello.” He says with a smile. “Can I help you?”
“Yes.” Shannon says shyly. “I believe I have a reservation underneath Shannon Keller.”
He walks over to the computer and brings up the reservation file. “Yes indeed, we have you for the Eve sphere. It’s all ready for you.”
“Great.” Shannon says trying to smile but is too tired to. “I’m looking forward to all of this.”
The man behind the counter smiles as if he is trying to tell her that he understands. “My name is Tom. I’ll show you to your pod and give you a small tour on the way.”
Her only answer is a nod and a small smile. It couldn’t hurt to know some important things about this place.
Outside is so naturally beautiful that Shannon finds herself gradually regaining her energy. As Tom takes her to her pod, Shannon looks at the areas that he points out. He shows her the sauna that is linked to her bathroom but her mind gets captured elsewhere. The sounds of the birds and light brushing of the trees seem to say, “Everything is going to be alright.” She also catches the sight of two female deer outside of a fence close to a house with a trampoline which she assumes belongs to Tom. They look so beautiful and serene. Yes. She did make the right choice in coming here.
Soon she finds herself in front of her sphere which announces itself by an artistically painted rock. It has a spiral staircase climbing up a tree and to the pod being suspended in the air. It looks like a magic bubble and Shannon can’t wait to go inside. After they climb the staircase, Tom opens the door for her. Once she looks inside her eyes are filled with wonder.
“I hope you like Eve.” Tom says gently beaming at Shannon. “She’s very comfortable. Everyone of our guests enjoy the peace of this place and have a story to tell as soon as they leave. You can take a look at the guest book. It’s on the table beside that box you see there. You might find something to inspire you. We also have a welcome basket prepared and your breakfast in that small cooler. Enjoy yourself Miss Keller.”
“I will.” She says giving him a genuine smile. “Thank you, Tom.”
“I’ll leave you to it then.” He turns around and goes out the door, leaving Shannon to look around the sphere.
She sits on her couch which she knows will turn into a bed when she takes off the cushions. Chelsea told her that. On each side of the sphere is a circular window showing the nature around her. Opposite of her, is a booth with a nice table that has a cooler bag on the seat, which she assumes is her breakfast for the next morning. She goes to the bag and opens it to find a small but nourishing meal inside. There is also a little bottle of champagne that she knows she will enjoy. Her eyes drift towards the small counter where her gift basket sits. Her eyes light up as she sees Brookside chocolates (her favorite), a banana, bottle of water, some baked goods, and other treats inside. She will enjoy that later when she looks through the guest book on the table.
In the mean time, she wants to explore and really get to know this place. If her healing is to happen here, she wants to see how it’ll happen and why it’s in this place. Shannon stands up, takes the bottle of water, and walks out of her sphere.
Outside, the air is crisp but warm. She starts her walk on the pathways first. She sees all the spheres; each one is larger than the last. It amazes her that not only are they different in sizes but different in how you enter them. For example, the hugest one, she would have to walk across a bridge to get to it. It looks adventurous and feeling a little wicked, Shannon crosses the bridge to see inside of the pod. It’s not that different from her own, just bigger and completely empty. She giggles and turns away from the pod. She can picture her mother scolding her for snooping.
When she finished walking back from the bridge, Shannon turns and sees a different pathway that she didn’t see earlier. Still feeling the need for an adventure, she treads towards it. It doesn’t seem that unusual, just a way to get through the woods. She walks along the path to see so many different plants and trees. It is such a shame that she didn’t hike like this more often. Perhaps it is time to change that.
In ten minutes, she comes to a small pond with long grass and bullrushes. In the water, she sees a few colorful leaves floating lightly on its reflective surface. Where everything else is so green, these leaves have a strikingly different color to them. She didn’t know what brought this on but she thinks that this would be the perfect place to meet a fairy. Shannon always wanted to meet one ever since her mother read her those stories when she was a tiny girl. She wishes she could have a fairy godmother right now because she really needs one to give her advice. She turns away from the pond and walks back towards her sphere. She really wants to take advantage of the sauna that Tom pointed out.
Inside the sauna, she feels the heat rising and her body melting. She can’t remember ever relaxing like this and the best part is, no one would interrupt her. In this small wooden room, the smells of cedar hit her nose and calm her nerves. She can feel every toxin seep out of her pores and somehow it just feel so right. She didn’t even know that she needed this until she tries it herself. Laying here, feeling this way makes her think of how she should do a whole lifestyle change. She doesn’t know what she’ll do but for one thing, she would do this more.
She sits up from the bench and stands while wrapping herself up in a towel to hit the shower. All that sweat, grime, and dirt has to be washed away. As soon as she steps into the shower, she turns the knob, and lets the warm rain hit her skin, washing all of her worries away. Now she can truly enjoy the moment.
Back in her pod with fresh pajamas on, Shannon snuggles on the couch and grabs the brookside chocolates. With the guestbook in the other hand, Shannon washes down the chocolates with her complimentary champagne as she reads what people have said about their trips here. Most of what is written talks about how “Magical” and “Enchanting” their stay was. One passage really stands out to her. It reads,
“We saw into a magical world that we never knew existed last night. It was so wonderful. We looked outside in the middle of the night to see these orbs floating around in the trees. Little did we know they opened a door to this realm of fairies, dragons, and mermaids. This picture is what we saw. It changed our whole outlook.”
Shannon looks at the picture to see the sphere and it’s surrounded by stars (or orbs she’s guessing). She looks at the bridge drawn, leading to pictures of trees, a dragon, a fairy, and a mermaid. She is transfixed by this drawing. She can only hope that she sees something like this and according to this guestbook it is more than likely that she will. But not tonight. Tonight, she is going to enjoy her gift basket and get a good night’s sleep which is something that hasn’t happened in too long.
This place reminds her of a playhouse she had as a child. She remembers how she would draw pictures in there and hide them. It was her little secret that no one else knew of. She also would read her comic books and invite her friends in there to play. It was probably the last time she was truly happy, was in that play house. Removing the cushions from the couch and turning it into a bed, she puts herself under the covers and does something that would shock everyone she knows. She snacks in her with a wicked smile spreading across her face before drifting slowly to sleep.
Shannon’s eyes flutter open, she turns to her Fitbit and it reads 2:03 AM. That is very odd for her. She hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night since she was a child. Thinking nothing of it, she lays back down and looks out the window. To her surprise she sees something that she can’t explain. The leaves in the trees are glowing. She lifts her face towards the window and squints to see what that glow could be. It’s not the moon because she can see it through the opposite window. It’s not a street light because the road is miles away. So, what could it be?
Suddenly the glow looks like it is moving from leaf to leaf, making it look so much brighter. Her eyes widen when this light starts floating down out of the trees. It’s not just a light but an orb just like the one in the guestbook! She has only ever seen these things as re-enactments on unexplained documentaries. The orb is bright but it doesn’t hurt to look at it. It seems to have a teal-colored tinge shining through it. It stops mid-air in front of her window as if it is beckoning her.
Shannon jumps out of her bed, puts on her coat but forgets to put her boots on. She opens her sphere door and sees that orb still floating there. It is bright as ever but suddenly she hears a child-like voice speaking in her head.
“Will you come and play?” It speaks.
This is something you would find out of either a horror film or a children’s fairy tale. Although she did not know which way this would go, she is not scared. She goes to the bottom of the stairs and watches as the light float closer to the ground. It stops at three feet above the ground, and slowly makes it way down the odd path that she took earlier in the day.
She follows the light at a safe distance, not taking her eyes off of it. In a short time, Shannon finds herself back at the pond she saw earlier but this time it is surround by the same kinds of orbs as the one that has led her there. Each orb is a different color from the other. It’s like watching a rainbow dance. The orb that she followed sails itself all the way to circle with the others.
They start circling like atoms above the pond until a short shapely woman appears in the center of the water. She has long blonde hair, startling blue eyes, skin that glows from the inside out, and long translucent wings that reflect the orbs’ light and sparkle like the stars. She is wearing a short green dress and looks at Shannon with tender empathy. The multicolored orbs surround this fairy as if they are protecting her. It is the most beautiful sight that the speechless Shannon has ever seen.
“I know of your troubles.” The Fairy says to her. “I am here to tell you that you are safe. My kind will help you. Just open your heart and mind. The answers are in there.”
Suddenly, a blinding light surrounds her. The fairy, pond, and orbs disappear before she even blinks. Shannon opens her eyes and sees that she is laying in the bed of her pod. She sits up and looks around. Plastic wrappers and the champagne bottle are around her body. Nothing seems different from when she fell asleep the previous night. So clearly, it was all a dream. A manifestation of all her desires and reading the guestbook would do it. With a disappointed sigh, Shannon decides to get out of bed and dig into the breakfast in her cooler.
After she pushes her covers off of her body, Shannon finds that the bed and her feet are covered in dirt, splinters, and leaves from outside. Her eyes go wide as she studies the muck around her. Clearly what she had experienced that night is not just a dream. She takes some water out from the electric tea pot and turns it on. She opens her pod door and pours the warm water on her feet when she stick them out of her pod door. After they are clean, Shannon reflects on everything that night.
After she wipes her feet with a towel, Shannon finds that she is not frightened by what happened but fascinated. The fairy at the pond told her that, “she is safe.” Somehow it makes her feel strong and fearless as opposed to the fragile, frightened woman that came here. Whatever it was that she experienced last night, whether it was a dream or something else, she suddenly has the answers that she needs.
With that in mind, she turns on her phone and sees that both her father and John have been calling her. Shannon doesn’t bother to listen to the messages. She makes a plan to call John first and break things off with him completely. Then she will call her father and tell him that she is never coming back, nor does she want anything to do with the company and its merger. It’s not going to be pretty but after all that is over, she is going to open her cooler and enjoy her breakfast. Quite frankly, she can’t wait to enjoy the parfait and fruit inside.
After a couple of days, Shannon has her bags all packed and is standing outside of the office waiting for her uber. She feels a huge weight lifted from her shoulders after dealing with both her father and John on the phone. Both men screamed at her and she just hangs up on both of them without giving any explanation for her actions. If they both are going to act like that and not listen to her then she owes them nothing. Tom walks out of the office and goes to her.
“We can’t thank you enough for staying with us, Shannon.” Tom says shaking her hand warmly. “You have been a wonderful guest.”
“You all were wonderful hosts. I don’t know how I can thank you.” Shannon says smiling warmly. “This place has changed my life.”
“What will you do now?” Tom asks her.
“I don’t know but now, I am free to make my own choices.” Shannon says and car rolls up for her.
She looks to the bright blue sky, feeling the warm sun on her face. Now she is ready to start her life. First, she will stay at the Airbnb she booked and then she will go out looking for jobs. It’s true she doesn’t know what’s coming next but she has every faith that she is safe. When she gets into the car, she cheerfully greets the driver and turns her phone back on.
A loud ping comes from the pop-up on her phone as soon as the car pulls out of the woods. It’s a job post from the job website that she had just joined that morning. It’s a bookkeeping position for a brand-new cruise liner.
“I could do that.” She whispers to herself and she immediately hits the apply button.
An unexpected sparkle shines on her phone. Maybe it’s the sun but her open mind and heart tells her otherwise. It’s a sign and she knows it. A huge grin spreads on her face as a new beginning is just starting.
Special Thanks to:
The Free Spirit Spheres: For a wonderful experience that I'll never forget! 420 Horne Lake Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 1Z7 https://freespiritspheres.com/