The sound of horses whinnying jolted Max awake. Groaning, he swung his long legs out of bed. There had been coyotes in the area, which was why his horses were stabled instead of grazing in the fields. He shimmied into his well-worn Levi’s, picked a t-shirt up off the floor and pulled it down over his broad shoulders. Padding sleepily to the door in his socked feet, he slid into his boots, grabbed his rifle and a torch, and stepped into the night.
With his torchlight bouncing across the ground, Max quickly made his way to the stables. Cocking his rifle, he gripped the iron handle of the heavy door and slowly yanked it open. Taking a breath to ready himself, he slipped inside and flicked on the lights.
“Oh!” came a voice to his left.
Max swung around; rifle raised. Standing before him, in a gown of blue satin and clouds of tulle, was a woman. She was startlingly beautiful, with brilliant eyes, and golden ringlets around her face. In her hand was an ivy wrapped twig with a large sunflower on the end, and though he knew it couldn’t be true, Max swore the woman was twinkling.
“Ma’am?” Max said, as calmly as possible, “Is there a reason you’re in my stables at two in the morning?”
The woman blinked.
“I don’t suppose you were going to a ball?”
“Ma’am, the only kind of ball I know anything about, is a football.”
“Oh dear. I think I made a wrong turn,” she said, as she waved her twig above her head. A shower of stars burst from the sunflower and a map appeared in the air.
Max lurched backwards, tumbling over a bale of hay and landing with a thud.
“I see what happened,” the woman muttered to herself, “I zigged when I should have zagged.” She waved the sunflower again, causing the map to vanish with a ‘pop.’
“Who are you?” Max stammered, as he hoisted himself off the ground.
The woman glanced around the room, “Is this your kingdom?”
“Your kingdom. Your realm.”
“No Ma’am, this is Iowa.”
“So, you’re not a Prince?”
“Well you’re handsome enough to be a Prince,” she said, casting an appraising eye up and down Max’s tall form.
“Are you flirting with me, Ma’am?” Max said, a grin stretching across his face.
The woman threw her head back, laughing with a sound like wind chimes in a soft breeze. “Well, you are cute and very polite, so if you ever need a fairy godmother…” She handed Max a card.
Max looked at the card in his hand. “Ma’am. You may want to rethink this card.”
“Yeah. ‘For a happy ending call 555-FAIRYGM?’” Max said, eyebrows raised. “Happy ending…?”
“But, doesn’t everyone love, a happy ending?” and with a wink the woman vanished in a spray of glitter.
Max looked down at the card again, “Well, I can’t argue with that,” he said, and shrugging, he slid the card into his pocket, and headed back to bed.
© Amy Hutton 2020