I will be back, I promise…

I looked down at the swimming pool in the backyard. I couldn’t believe I was stuck in my grandparent’s house for the summer. What was I ever going to do to pass time? I knew it was going to be like this. Barely a day had passed and I was already bored beyond my dreams.

It sucked that I was stuck here. It wasn’t fair.

How come my brother alone got to go on the cruise with my parents while I had to stay here in the middle of wilderness having nothing to do?

I was looking out the window contemplating my bad luck when out of the corner of my eyes, I saw something moving in the garden. It was Danny, my grandparents help,  walking down the lawn with that pitcher in his hand.

What was he doing out there in the hot sun? The way his eyes flicked from side to side reminded me of my brother when he was up to mischief.

I grabbed my hat from the bed and went down the stairs two at a time as softly as I could. The last I remembered my grandparents were asleep and our housemaid was in the kitchen making biscuits. I didn’t want to wake anyone or call attention. Just as I got to the last step I heard Danny’s footstep. I straight up and walked trying to look normal. I could feel my back, too stiff to pass as usual, but I hoped he wouldn’t notice it.

I smiled at him and tilted my head, “Thought I’ll explore the garden’s.” I told him.

“Might as well. There are quite a number of beautiful flowers behind the house near the pool, don’t forget to give them a look.” He replied with a smile.

He must have hidden the pitcher well if he was so confident. I walked out the door and was running as soon as I got out of sight of the door.

As I rounded the last corner, something seemed weird. I knew I had seen a number of birds since I got here, but that was usual in the wilderness, but it seemed going an extra step seeing them all there together flocking around that one bush right beside the pool where I could not have seen it from my room window.

I crept to the bush quietly, and there it was, the pitcher Danny had had. And the birds seemed to be drinking from it. One of the birds seemed to notice me. It looked at me with the largest eyes I had ever seen on a bird, lifted its head slowly and shuffled its wings menacingly as if it were going to take flight. I jumped up from where I was crouching and ran back to the house. As I burst into the door, my grandmother entered the hall from her room. She seemed startled to see me out of breath. In few words between gasps, I recounted my adventure to her ending with the bird with the large eyes.

Something seemed to suddenly lighten her shoulders. She smiled a small smile and said, “ Come dear have some milk and let’s go and see these bird’s, shall we.” I nodded feeling like a fool and followed her into the kitchen where our housemaid was making a hot chocolate. “With the milk.” My grandmother told her.

While it seemed very weird to me that my grandma would mention milk so specifically, she seemed to understand and added a little milk from the fridge to the pan that already contained some. She stirred the contents for some more time while she brewed tea for my grandmother on another stove. In a few minutes, both were ready and she poured them into two mugs and handed me one.

I sipped at it and was taken aback. It was best hot chocolate I had ever tasted. It was absolutely amazing with just the right amount of everything. I smiled up at tentatively feeling a startling liking to her.

“Come, Zoe, let’s go see the pool, shall we.” My granny said, bringing back to the world from my mug and its contents. I nodded and followed her out with the mug still between my hands. By the time we had turned the last corner, I was done with my drink. As we turned, I couldn’t think properly for a moment. What lay before me seemed like a picture. A picture painted by the best artist anyone had ever known. I rubbed my eyes feeling like a dream.

“It really is true, sweetheart. You see what the animals truly are only if you have the milk. This place that your grandfather and I live in is not exactly our home, it is more of a sanctuary for animals, animals who would be killed of spotted by hunters just for the sake of it, animals who are almost extinct. Please Zoe, please don’t hate this place. You are our last hope.” My grandmother piped in from behind.

I turned to look at her and said,” Grandma, how can I ever hate this place. It’s amazing. I mean look at those birds, or I guess I should say fairies, how can anyone hate them.” I didn’t know what to say anymore.

“All your cousins did, and then we had to work at convincing them that this was a skit we threw to welcome them. Oh, Zoe. Thank goodness. I had lost all hope.

“Of course grandma, don’t worry.”

And for the next two months, time flew by.  During the day, I was either helping my grandparents build things for the animals or I was touring the whole place with them. When I was not doing either of these, I was often down by the pool playing with the fairies. They seemed to like me.  It barely felt like a week had passed, but my parents were already there downstairs waiting for me. I looked around my room, memorizing everything as it was and then looked out a window for a few minutes. One little bird flew up to the sill; I hadn’t had milk that day yet and sat down there. I played with it for few minutes before I turned and went down the stairs. Sure, I had missed my parents but I knew I’d miss this place more. I looked back at my room and murmured to the fairie still sitting on the sill looking at me with huge eyes, “I will be back, I promise.”

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