Fairy Rider By Leonie Roderick
Dillon and Peacy are busy with Darling when they hear a car approaching. Both stop working and look up. The car which drives up to the front door is unknown to Dillon.
Peacy, who has grown up in the district and knows all there is to know about the occupants, immediately says:
“It’s those Baintree cousins. Some of my people call them the Siamese-twins. Where one is the other one will also pop up! They are never far apart. My mother once said she fears if one of them should fall in love – she believes the other one will go mad.”
“Oh, trouble will hit the fan! It would be interesting to see what happens.”
Dillon hastily calls out to them and waits for them to join him. However, they, have other plans. The girl is obviously dressed for visiting and is not planning to walk over the gravel in her extra high heels.
Dillon shrugs and says softly to Peacy. “I don’t like them. You are not leaving me alone with them.”
Peacy only grins. “You don’t know them. They are not the sort who bothers with people they can’t use…”
Dillon gives him a ponderous look.
“Go, I shall take care of Darling,” Peacy offers.
Dillon slowly walks over to the cousins who are now waiting for him on the veranda. Sara, Peacy’s mother, must have heard the car approaching as well. The front door stands open and she hovers in the doorway.
“Hello, new neighbour,” Norma greets Dillon and Peter gives him a cool nod.
“This is a surprise,” Dillon says and shows them to the lounge, trying to sound hearty.
“We came to see you and your horse. We heard about him. Mr Smith says he is an excellent runner.”
If Norma has come to see the horse she fails to look enthusiastic and Peter looks anything but glad to be there.
Dillon, playing at being a good host offers some fruit juice and Sara immediately walks down the short passage to go and fill tall glasses with ice and juice.
“We were amazed when we heard you were a horse rider. We didn’t think a city kid would like horses and riding.”
“I attended a riding school for a few years. I actually like riding and love horses,” he doesn’t tell them that he avoided horses after his beloved mare died.
“You should learn to drive a car. Now that is awesome! But I expect you can’t drive – yet. City kids learn to drive late in life. Farm kids, on the other hand, can drive any and everything, like we can ride anything with hair,” Peter says with the same bite to his casual words. He is still as obnoxious as the day they met in Dillon’s opinion.
He only smiles and tries his best to look friendly and not threatening at all. Peter’s antagonism is obvious and Dillon wonders what he has done to deserve it. The only other time he has met them Norma was friendly – maybe too friendly.
Dream-Girl’s voice pops into his head:
“He feels intimidated. She is in love with you and he doesn’t know how to handle the situation.”
“Really?” is all Dillon can ask – only he asks it out loud and Dream-Girl giggles in his head…
Peter thinks he is being sarcastic. “Really! Have you ever tried to stay on a wild donkey or a calf?”
Dillon shakes his head in bemusement and Dream-Girl giggles some more.
“I think you must be brave,” Dillon tries to calm Peter down.
“It comes with the territory,” he answers shortly.
This promise to be a strained visit, Dillon thinks, and is glad when Sara arrives with the juice, hoping his friend will arrive to ease the visit along.
“Why don’t you drive around? I hear you have a garage filled with choice vehicles to choose from?” Peter challenges, Dillon.
“Well… First of all I don’t have a license yet, in the second place they’re my parents’ cars and not mine,” he ticks off the reasons on his fingers.”
“You of all people should have the nerve to drive around without the proper license. You have a fancy lawyer to get you out of any trouble.”
“I prefer to obey the law. I actually have a healthy respect for it. I couldn’t grow up with parents like mine and not respect the law. They’ve both seen the ugly side of life when people disobey the laws that are meant to keep them safe.’’
Even to his own ears he sounds too good to be true…
“Oh, you are one of those mama’s boys…” Peter jeers tauntingly.
Dillon bites down a sarcastic answer about stupid people and their ignoring of rules and then needing the best lawyers they can buy to get them out of trouble. It’s those stupid people who keep his mother in business.
After a short silence, Dillon shrugs his shoulders and says: “Oh, I test my boundaries and even disobey rules as long as I can keep it safe. I don’t want any person’s life on my conscience – ever!”
Norma seeing a fight brewing, quickly changes the topic. “So Dillon, are you ready to attend our school?”
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’m still making inquiries and weigh… thinking over my options. Last night we talked over the idea of home schooling.”
“I heard you were a good athlete – you will miss out on all the action,” Norma insists beguilingly.
“How do I get her off my back,” Dillon begs silently.
“Tell her you have a girlfriend at home,” Dream-Girl’s voice pops into his head.
“I also think of going back. I’m missing my girlfriend,” he instantly obeys.
“You have a girl friend?” Norma nearly shrieks and then trying her best to rectify the situation, repeats softly: “You have a girlfriend in the city?”
Peacy enters the room with his own glass of juice. “Obviously you haven’t spent time with Dillon or you would have heard about her;” he stops dramatically and then says in a clear and strong voice: “Dream-Girl. We call her Dream-Girl, in this house, or D.G. for short.”
Suddenly Norma is eager to get away. She grabs her bag and jumps to her feet. “Come on Peter, we should go. We only came to see how you are doing, but now we must be on our way…”
Dillon and Peacy watch the car driving off down the rough road to the gate.
“I told you they would never make friends with the likes of me,” Peacy tells Dillon.
“It had nothing to do with you,” Dillon explains shortly.
“Yes, I can see she has the hots for you and he didn’t like it one bit. My mother was right.”
“Please Peacy, don’t say that and don’t spread it around. She was hurt and I can’t say I enjoyed hurting her. I may not like them but I don’t like hurting people.”
They turn to go back in and Dillon stops, saying to his new friend:
“Thanks for coming to my rescue.”
“It’s all in a day’s work!” Peacy teases him lightly and makes Dillon laugh.
‘’I want to ask you something…’’ the black youth asks.
Peacy waits for a second, before saying quietly: ‘’I don’t want to make you angry… Dillon, why do you talk so – I don’t know how to put it – so, high, fancy, out of a book…’’
‘’I didn’t know I was talking ‘high’. Maybe it’s the pronunciation. Most of my friends talk like I do. I’m not different from most pupils in my old school. I may not swear as much as they do.’’
‘’Still you talk more bookish than the people living here.’’
‘’It could be that I talk more formally, because I grew up as an only child in my parents’ house and the last months I lived with my very old, very formal grandmother.’’
‘’I like listening to you. It makes me feel important… I even try to copy you.’’
‘’Oh Peacy, you do me good!’’
The moon is shining down on the twin peaks when Dillon rides up to them. Elva is waiting for him. She called a short time ago and he immediately saddled Darling and came.
He leaves Darling on their side of the fence and tells the dogs to wait for him – they don’t do but follow him like the true friends they are.
She is waiting for him on the little bench in front of the grave. The moon light filters through the branches and touches her hair and eyes with mysterious shadows. The dark pools of her eyes are filled with dreams. She smiles when she notices his companions. Clicking her fingers Grieves scrambles to her and offers his belly for a scratch while Tristan follows and bend his regal head. She laughs delightedly and obliges.
“I know it’s macabre to always meet you here at the grave. I wish we had another spot where we can meet…”
“I can show you my secret hiding place. I only discovered it when Darling showed me,” he tells her and taking her hand, he leads her to where Darling is patiently waiting for him.
He never needs to tether Darling to a post as Elva seems to have the knack to talk to animals. He even knows it would be safe for them to ride without a saddle. It would be more comfortable with only the saddle blanket to sit on.
“Darling, take us to the tree,” he asks softly and the horse immediately heads in that direction with the dogs following at a respectable distance
Once they enter the bush the horse slows down and neatly feels his way in the dark.
At the tree, Dillon jumps down before helping Elva to the ground.
“Wait here until I can get a light going,” he tells her.
Inside the tree he has stocked up for any emergency he could think of. There is now a modern light working with batteries, snacks, bottled water and even a few magazines neatly stacked on the rough chair.
With the small lamp in hand he walks around the tree and lights her way to the entrance.
“Dillon, this is astounding,” she tells him in wonder. Who could have done this?”
“I found books in here the first time Darling brought me here. There was a name inscribed on the leaflet and a date in one. Peacy asked his family and an old man told him there was a man by that name hiding here during the Second World War. He was from the Netherlands and we think he didn’t want to go back and fight in the war.”
Elva can hardly believe her eyes. “You only need your computer and you could be happy here for the duration…” she teases him softly.
“Computers work with electricity. This is a secret hiding place for a short time. This would be the ideal hiding place when those feared scientists arrive. You can communicate with animals and I want you to call Darling and let him bring you here to hide, until they are gone or it’s safe.”
“I’ll be able to find my way here – even in the darkest of nights.”
“Yes, you are a real bush-baby with eyes adapted to the dark. But I would feel better if you call Darling and then stay as near as possible to him. His body heat may camouflage your heat signal. I still need to get some oats for him out here. I don’t want him wondering off to feed. I’m sorry there will only be snacks for you but I can’t get anything else here without raising suspicion.”
“This is wonderful, Dillon. You are really a knight in shining armour – like the heroes the stories in the history books. Thank you for thinking of this special place for me to come to.”
“I want to talk to you about serious things, though. You need to be registered and get an I.D. number and document. I don’t know how we’re going to make it happen. If you could come up with an idea I would appreciate it.”
“I never thought about it. I always saw myself as growing old on my own and dying here on this farm, hiding away from people. Just recently a new vision appeared: I was on a campus – at least I think it was a university campus, and I was laughing and happy, in the sunlight and I could feel you near me. We were both attending the same university.”
“Maybe you have caught on to my dream.”
“I would love having the freedom to attend a university with you without being afraid.”
“Your old I.D. can’t help you. After you were declared as dead you will need new identification. I don’t know how to go about to get you a legitimate birth certificate without going into too many explanations… I can ask around but I’m afraid of alerting suspicious authority… If I suddenly want to know how you can get a fake I.D. people would think it strange and start talking and that is the last thing we want.”
“Dillon, you are the most wonderful person and I saw in my dream that you would find a way to help us both. What are you going to study next year?”
“I don’t know, yet. There are times I think to become a medical doctor and then there are times I think that being a lawyer will be just as good. Both professions have a lot going for them and have challenges I would like to take on. But I can’t choose at the moment and the time is approaching fast when I should. Elva, when you can read the future, where do you see me? Shall I be sitting in a consulting room with a waiting room filled with patients or shall I be in a courtroom trying to defend a client?”
She smiles delightedly. Dillon is asking her for help!
“There speaks the lawyer – calling the criminal element a client. But I see you in a theatre, operating and defying death, saving a child’s life.”
Dillon nods. Yes, he has seen himself in a theatre but equally in a courtroom. He shakes his head! Why is the idea of becoming a doctor suddenly so much more attractive? Did he only need Elva to show him the way? From now on he will think more about the work of a doctor. Actually it feels good to concentrate on only one of the two options.
They sit in silence and Dillon opens a bag of crisps for them.
“What would you like to do?”
Elva laughs. “I don’t know. To even think of leaving here and getting an education is a new experience for me. My mind is jumping around in circles. One moment I think I would like to work with animals, and then I think – why not think out of the box! If I’m free to spread my wings I can study for any profession I want. The biggest problem is still to get me a new I.D.”
She sits quietly for a few second, rethinking her life and all the scenarios open before her. “It has never even occurred to me as a possibility to leave Land’s End. Give me time to get used to the idea,” she implores softly.
‘’I wish I could tell you that you have all the time in the world, but if we want you to get the necessary qualifications we should make a start as soon as possible.’’
‘’I’m afraid to think too far into the future. Maybe it’s because I was always afraid and hiding away.’’
“I think step one is to start off with a name of a dead person who will be approximately as old as you are – it’s and idea I picked up in watching T.V. and mivies.”
“I could be Elizabeth Young. Would you mind?”
“You could be any person you want to be, but not Elizabeth.”
When he sees the hurt in her eyes he quickly explains:
“I don’t want you for a sister, Elva. I want you to be many things in my life, but never my sister.”
Elva laughs softly – reassured! “I never try to peek in your mind when we are together. If you want me to know something you will have to spell it out. Since meeting you I only peek when you need me or when I want to tell you something. It’s actually impolite to peek into people’s minds uninvitingly. It’s the first and the biggest rule.”
“Who made up these rules? I would love to see where they are written down.”
“I don’t know. I expect it was my mother and people like her who made them. She told me many things when I was small when she came to me in my dreams.”
“So that’s where you learned to sneak into dreams. Do you know how devastated I was when you stopped all communication between us?”
“I wanted you to come to me and I thought it was the only way. Also, I’m suddenly more afraid than I was in the past. It feels as if darkness is keeping watch over me – waiting for me to make the smallest mistake. I’m afraid and don’t know why… ”
“I would have come sooner if I had known you were here waiting for me. I would have helped my parents pack and left my old school in the middle of a semester, had you contacted me.”
“I’m sorry, that was mean. I really thought it was for the best. When I saw how angry you were I thought it was because of this small town. I thought you were happy in the city and wanted to stay there the rest of your life. I never thought it would be possible for me to leave here. I was sad to think we would never meet in person.”
“I was a city kid. I never knew life in any other way – except in dreams. I thought my life was the ultimate. I was unhappy when my parents told me they wanted to move. I saw it as a personal betrayal. You made the difference. You are the difference! Do you know I even thought of going back to the city to attend my old school for this last year? I was playing around with the idea of starting school here but I had all these misgivings. I didn’t even want my parents to buy me a horse. I thought it was their way of shackling me down here. I was happier but not a hundred present until I met you. Now I can hardly wait to start a new future and get on with my life, as long as you are part of it.”
“Listen to yourself. You are giving me far more credit than I deserve. Let me tell you a secret: You were getting there on your own, Dillon. It might have taken you a bit longer but you were making decisions. You were hurt and didn’t understand but you were working things out and settling down, doing what was right for you. You even went a step further and started helping people like Peacy! Do you realize how much you mean to him?”
“I don’t know about helping people. Some may think of it as interfering or controlling. What you said about me getting there in the end – it may be true but all seems so much easier and quicker now that you have appeared. Have you told your aunt about me, yet?”
“I told her last night and hope she is getting used to the idea. She felt I betrayed her because I never told her about my friend and how we met in our dreams. Dillon, for all practical reasons she is my mother and I see her as my mother. My real mother is a
figure covered in the mists of dreams, like I was to you.”
“Yes, I can understand that Delia O’Shea is your mother. She loves you more than life itself. I remember the few times we met how she defended you like a lioness her only cub.”
“Dillon, tomorrow night we can’t meet. The cousins have put together their ghost hunt. Thanks for the warning, by the way. I would never have kept tabs on them if not for you. I think they visited you to invite you to join them but after your speech of keeping to the law they thought it best to leave you out of it.”
“Thanks for small mercies. I’m sorry they are such fools, Elva.”
“Not to worry. Aunt Delia is onto them and she will be waiting for them and will scare them away.”
“What is she planning to do?”
“As I said, she will be waiting for them with our other neighbour, Uncle Willie Retief. The cousins and their friends will be caught.”
“They are so stupid. I hope you will not be in danger. You can always come here to the tree and hide.”
“Will you come and stay with me until they are gone?”
“I’m sure you are not afraid of them…”
“No, I’m not afraid of them or any of the people who live here. Besides, the best way to describe the cousins is to say they are a pain in an unmentionable part of the human anatomy. I just think it would be fun to meet you here at the tree. We can bring books and read out loud to each other. Or we could play a few games.”
Elva laughs delightedly. “We could always play snakes and ladders for a change…”
‘Or we could build a puzzle.”
“Yes, you like building puzzles.”
“Puzzles are funny things. The small ones don’t engage you or challenge you as much. The big ones are excellent challenges but they take too long to build and one never has all that time to spend on them. If you have a room you can lock up it works but if not, there are always some of the pieces missing afterwards.”
She laughs. “I get you. No puzzles. We have our work cut out for us to find something to keep us busy.”
“You know, we can always study…” he announces, teasing her.
“Yes there is always that. What shall we study? Maths, biology or shall we take on science for the evening?”
“You decide,” he tells her, joining in the game.
“Then I think we should read up on domestic science.”
“Now that will be something. We should study our luxurious room and decide on a colour scheme,” he says, looking around them.
“I actually like it as it is – this natural habitat. We could do with a few cushions. I see you have brought folding chairs.”
“I think we need a sleeping bag.” Realizing what he has implicated a red glow spreads over his cheeks before he quickly qualifies: “Should the bad people be around for a time you would need one.”
“I think a stretcher will be better. The ground is hard to sleep on when you aren’t used to do it.”
Dillon, smiles. “I think you are like that princess in the fairy tale who felt the pea through all those mattresses.”
“Shame on you! You think my life is like a fairy tale. Let me assure you, I can rough it. I just choose to take the easier path…”
Dillon suddenly hugs her to him. She is wonderful and so brave. She must have been one brave little girl to understand and go through life as it has turned out for her.
“Let’s go. You need to get some sleep and I need to get home at a decent hour or my mom will worry. Tomorrow night I’ll be here. I’ll tell her I need to keep watch and see what these ghost hunters are up to.”
“Dillon, I know it’s hard for you not to tell your parents about me, but please keep our secret – at least for a little longer.”
“I’ll keep it until it would be possible for you to live out in the open.”
“Do you still think it was bad of me to have influenced your parents to come here?”
“I’m sure if they were really happy living in the big city they would have stayed there. Your call to them must have awakened some dream of a better future. You were right. They are much happier here than they were in the city.”
Riding back on Darling he once again feels the red glow creeping up his cheeks.
How could he have talked about sleeping bags? She would think he is trying to get her into bed. When he gets together with his city friends, that’s nearly all some of them talk about, but to say something that stupid to a girl – a well brought up girl like Elva… Unthinkable!
What is she thinking about him now that she’s on her own? She probably won’t ever talk to him again. Delia O’Shea will properly think she was right and that he is the worst kind of pervert. She would never trust her darling with him again.
Elva’s voice suddenly pops up in his mind.
“Dillon, thank you for taking your time. I know we knew each other for years but there are still so much we need to learn about each other and we have years to come to live in and be happy, together.”
Dillon realizes that Elva is as new to this overwhelming feeling as he is. She is right. They are starting their lives together and there is no rush. There is no hurry! They can take time to appreciate their special friendship and love for each other.
“Goodnight, Dillon,” she sighs softly.
Only 8 chapters left!!!!!!! Then the story is finished and then there is another surprise in store for all of you!!!!
I just want to apologise regarding yesterday. Yesterday I had problems getting onto this website but I am sure most of you noticed that the internet itself was very slow. At least we can go on with our regular program now….
See you all tomorrow 😉