Matthew learns even the littlest of fairies value honor above all
Doctor Matthew Dobson scrutinized the continued darkening sky with a bit of trepidation. On the last leg of his cross-country trip to the town of Skogshaven, the snow was starting to come down sideways. Not a stranger to snow, growing up in Chicago, he hadn’t had much practice driving in it recently being a citizen of Los Angeles for the last forty years. Besides driving in a blizzard, the more rational part of him thought the entire cross-country trip insane; but the more adventurous part of him had loved every second of it. Only the memories of his wife’s passing six months before kept him from totally enjoying the adventure. Those same memories pressed him forward; living in the same home they shared for the last four decades would have been terribly difficult.
Leaving Gettysburg, Pennsylvania early in the morning, having spent two days touring the town, the Doctor should have rolled into to Skogshaven sometime in the late afternoon. The snow, however, had lengthened the trip and it was now approaching night.
“Doc, where in the hell are you.” Picking up the phone through his Bluetooth, Matt was not surprised to find his friend Aaron on the other line. The two had met back in 68’ in South Vietnam. Aaron Nordberg had been a Marine staff sergeant while he was a Navy corpsman. Like many in their unit, both of their wars ended outside the village of Dai Do near the Cua Viet River during the Tet offensive.
“Nowhere, Massachusetts; really, man how far back in the bush do you live?”
Aaron laughed on the other end of the line. “You wanted to get away from the hassle of living in a big city.” As part of the hospital administration at Eastside Medical Center, he was the first to call his friend Matt when a position for another trauma surgeon opened. “You’ll like it, as I mentioned, plenty of fishing and if you get really bored you can always take a trip into Boston or New York.”
“If you say so.” Matt smiled; he was actually really looking forward to living near his old friend and his wife Duyen. Thoughts of retirement popped in his head once more. Next year would have started years of world travel, fishing and golf; now with Elaine’s passing Matt would work as long as possible. In fact, the good doctor expected to be able to work for some time still. Although he just turned sixty, Matt looked a decade younger, keeping fit as possible, unlike many of his colleagues.
“Duyen said just drive to our house no matter what the time. She won’t forgive you if you end up at some hotel.”
“Give her my love and tell your wonderful bride I think I can see the Skogshaven exit from here. I can’t be more than thirty minutes away according to my GPS.” The Doctor found it rather strange how GPS’s didn’t function half the time in Skogshaven. Looking at the large forest in front of him, he could now understand why.
With the wind rocking the car, concentrating on the road became more important. “Got to go…winds picking up.” Before the Doctor could hang up, a red blur passed him, a sports car traveling far too fast for the conditions. Suddenly a feeling of dread passed over him, as a flash of light ahead lit up the road. Pulling off to the side of the road, the Doctor came upon a scene of utter destruction. The red car had spun out of control, flipping end over end crashing into another vehicle. Instructing Aaron to call for paramedics, Matt reached into the back of his car, grabbing his coat and an old M5 Medical Corpsman Medic Bag.
Approaching the remains of the little red car first, it was difficult to even tell its make. Most of the vehicle was scattered all over the snow swept highway, what was left was a crumpled mass. Without even looking, Matt was sure that the likelihood that the driver was alive was slim. Therefore, it came to no surprise when he leaned over and found the driver, a boy barely out of his teens twisted along with the car at an unnatural angle. The Doc was no stranger to death but he cursed its stupidity. The driver’s death had been preventable.
Behind him, a number of other cars had stopped and Matt was happy to see orange flairs beginning to burn on the road. Running to the second car, Doctor Dobson found two young girls and a boy standing in front of the remains of the vehicle’s driver’s side door.
“My mommy’s hurt.” One of the girls said with tears in her eyes. The other girl was sobbing uncontrollably in her sister’s arms.
“Let me take a look at your mommy, sweetie, I’m a Doctor.” He smiled at the young girl. Quickly determining that all of the children escaped injury, Matt knelt next to the mother. He could see that she was seriously injured only the air bag had kept her alive.
“What’s your mother’s name?” Without losing the smile, the Doctor began to determine the extent of the woman’s injuries.
“What’s your name, son?”
The boy looked up, frazzled looking as if his world was coming to an end. “Jacob.”
“Is my mommy going to be OK?” The other sister sobbed.
Reaching for his keys, he placed them into the young boy’s hands. “Jacob, see that black Lexus. I want you to take your two sisters and climb inside. It will be warmer.”
Jacob looked at his mother, then at his two sisters. “Yes sir.”
“Good boy.” Watching the boy for a moment as he took each sister by her hand, the doctor returned to diagnosing their mother as the three moved off towards his Lexus. Time seemed to pass but how much Doctor Dobson didn’t know as he continued to work on Jacob’s mother. “Stay with me, Allison.”
“So Doc, you were with the Third?”
Matt turned his head slightly to find a well-built man leaning over him. Obviously, the question came from the patches sewed onto his medical bag. “B Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines.” He said, smiling.
The other man nodded returning the smile. “Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. What can I do for you, Doc?” Matt could tell that he was either still in the Marines or hadn’t been out of it long.
With both hands busy trying to stop the woman from bleeding to death, Matt pointed his head towards his car. “Ahh...”
“I’m Matt…if you can check on the kids in the black Lexus. It’s their mother I’m working on.”
“Crap.” Daniel looked around; the scene didn’t look too different from the IED explosion. “Alright Doc, I’ll be right back.”
Turning back, Matt became lost in the job of saving Allison. When the sound of tires screeching filled the air, he instantly realized that a car had flown past the wreck and ran across the remains of the sports car. The Doctor could have fled, moving out of the way of the incoming car but corpsman Matthew Dobson instinctively moved the same way when one of his patients came under fire in Vietnam. Matt reached up and covered the young mother’s body with his own.
The pixie’s first breath was full of the aroma of the forest. Hesitantly she opened her eyes letting in the morning sun. Why was she expecting it to be snowing? Finding herself lying on a grassy mound in the middle of a small clearing, the Pixie brushed herself off and looked directly up. Towering over her was an ancient oak tree.
“Where am I?” She thought while rubbing her eyes. Movement caught her attention when a young woman stepped into the clearing. Dressed in a heavily embroidered black and green bunad, her nutmeg colored hair was covered in little white flowers. “Good Morning” The maiden greeted the pixie warmly.
“Good Morning.” Looking around once more, the pixie realized the place didn’t look at all familiar. Then again, what was rather odd she didn’t have memories of falling asleep the night before. “Where am I?”`
“Too much moon mead child?” Reaching down, the maiden gently picked up the pixie. “I’m Siv, a woodwife of the forest and you my sweets are in the center of the Sacred Grove.”
“I’m…” The pixie realized she didn’t know who she was. Looking down at her state of undress, she soon found herself attired in the same way as the maiden, in a smaller version of the traditional Norse dress.
“Definitely too much moon mead.” The woodwife laughed. The pixie decided she liked the sound. “Well, some of your sisters are nearby so why don’t we talk to them.”
The pixie giggled and flew unsteadily from Siv’s hands to gently land on the woodwife’s shoulder. “OK” Walking through the forest, the pixie soaked up the beauty of the woods. For some reason she could remember that spending time outdoors was something she always loved. The pixie also found it interesting that it grew considerably colder the further away from the Grove the two travelled. In no time at all, the sky was full of clouds and the woodwife was walking in the snow.
“No, it’s still all a little fuzzy.” The pixie laughed, it didn’t really seem all that important. Vibrant laugher filled the air as the woodwife made her way down to a small half frozen creek. Standing in the freezing water were a dozen pixies having what appeared to be a water fight.
“There you go child, have fun.”
The pixie reached over and gave Siv a warm hug then flew off towards the giggling girls. With a grin on her face, banking a little bit to the right, the pixie flew past the other pixies spraying all of them with water. Unfortunately, her aeronautical skills being fairly new, the pixie over compensated during the turn and flew straight into a snow bank. Popping her head out of the snow, she looked around at the others, giving them a wide grin. The entire group burst into laughter. Jumping up, the pixie flew over to land right in front of the group. Before she could say anything, snowballs filled the air as another group of pixies arrived.
Snowballs and giggles filled the air as the two groups came together in earnest. Most of the pixies used their wings as a way to help them dodge the incoming white missiles. The new pixie admired one of her red haired companions twisting and turning in the air. As the snowball fight continued, the new pixie spotted a weak point in the other’s defense and the name Joshua Chamberlain came to mind. Grabbing a few of the other girls, the pixie and her companions rolled into the exposed flank. Unable to dodge something they couldn’t see, the other pixies were soon covered in snow. Of course, the run was not without its sacrifices as the new pixie and her friends suffered the same fate. After a few more giggle fits, almost at once everyone stopped, some pixies now resting on the ground while others flew away to see if they could find more fun.
The red haired pixie leaned over and propped her head in her hands. “I haven’t seen you before, I’m Laurel.”
The new pixie turned her head and smiled. “Nice to meet you Laurel...I...well, I don’t know my name.” She began to giggle, what an odd thing not to remember one’s own name.
“Truly?” The red-haired pixie’s eyes were opened wide.
The pixie nodded.
“Are you a Newborn?”
The new pixie sat up and looked at her companion. “What do you mean by Newborn?” She noticed that a number of other pixies were now listening intently to the conversation.
“What do you remember about yesterday?”
The new pixie made a face. Something important and a little sad took place yesterday but she couldn’t remember what happened. “Nothing really.”
The red-haired pixie nodded. “Where did you wake up today?”
“OH.” The new pixie brightened considerably. “Inside the Sacred Grove.”
Squeals surrounded the new pixie as the group converged upon her in one large group hug. “Welcome Sister!”
Laurel looked down at her new green haired sister with amusement. The new pixie was concentrating fully on flying. Pixies were instinctual flyers so slamming into a tree wasn’t generally a danger however after watching her run headlong into the snow bank, concentration was probably a good idea. Reaching down, Laurel held the hand of her new friend. “How are you doing?”
The new pixie answered with a huge grin on her face. “I can’t believe how much fun flying could be.” Frowning for a moment, the she remembered flying tree top level before but the experience wasn’t as pleasant. “So this Xeranthemum is going to give me a name?”
“Well no, not exactly, Xera is our clans Keeper of Names. She is going to look into your heart. You’re going to name yourself.”
“I have a name in my heart?”
Laurel nodded. “Most of us come from the Fae Realm; it’s rare for a new sister to be born on the other side of the Forest.” As the pair slowly descended towards the forest floor, the red haired pixie was happy to see at least a score of her ‘sisters’ had joined them.
“Lily, you really need not to put so much of yourself into your enchantments sweetheart. Moderation is necessary, lest you blow up another kitchen while trying to boil water.”
Laurel grinned overhearing the conversation between Xera and her apprentice. The group of pixies discovered the Keeper of Names sitting atop a large snow covered rock, while her apprentice stood in the center of a glowing silver circle. The Keeper looked up as they approach and placed a finger to her lips for them to be quiet.
Landing, the pixies sat on the ground in silence as they watched the lesson continue. A warm white light blossomed between Xera and Lily, at first, it was only a small dot but slowly it grew in size and intensity. Moments later the light flared then disappeared.
“Very good, Lily.” Xera smiled warmly at her grinning apprentice. Turning to the others, the Keeper asked. “So how may I help you today, girls?
“We have a new sister.” A number of the girls said excitedly.
The new pixie looked up; Xera was staring directly at her. The Keeper floated to the ground. She was an impressive figure, fire like yellow-orange hair; she wore a deep burgundy gown in a style that had gone out of fashion several centuries ago. As she approached, the new pixie was drawn to the Keeper’s eyes. They were deep blue like the sea but held ancient wisdom. The new pixie understood why she was the Keeper of Names and why the others held her in reverence and awe.
Holding the hands of the new pixie, Xera asked. “Greetings child, so they tell me you one of the Gan-ainm.”
“Yes Ma’am.” The new pixie thought she said one of the ‘unnamed’.
The other girls giggled around her. The Keeper of Names gave them the eye and the group quickly settled back down. “Just Xera is fine sweetie.” While holding the Keeper’s hands, the new pixie could feel the world shift around them. The forest shed the icy grip of winter, the snow disappeared and the ground became carpeted with white and blue flowers. The air once cold now became warm with the first hint of summer heat.
Xera smiled. “Now, close your eyes. Let’s see what’s in your heart.”
Nervously the new pixie closed her eyes, then felt Xera press her head against hers. She could feel Xera in her thoughts, there was agelessness to them but also warmth and love. The new pixie slowly slipped into her own thoughts and dreams. Images of hospitals and patients were at the forefront, which confused her. Layers upon layers were soon stripped away, as the Keeper of Names continued her search. A lifetime of memories flashed before the new pixie, suddenly it all came back to her. “My name is...” then Xera stripped that away moving deeper into the new pixie’s heart. The memories remained as the new pixie followed the Keeper, merging with her new self. Deep inside her memories, the two of them stood in the center of a garden, which stood behind a home in the West Hills in the San Fernando Valley
“What a lovely garden.” A much younger version of Matt and a full sized Xera walked among the flowers.
“My wife Elaine always loved her gardens. She had such a magical touch bringing out the beauty of each and every flower.” Never able to have children, his wife gave the flowers the same love and care.
“Which one was her favorite?” Xera asked.
Matt looked around the familiar garden then strolled over to the side of the house. Along its edge bloomed small orange and yellow flowers. “I’ve heard it called ‘mal de ojos’ by my yard workers.”
Xera giggled. “’Sore eyes’ what a strange name for a flower.”
Matt grinned. “Well she called them Arizona Poppies.”
“Poppy.” Xera smiled warmly at Matt. The cold grip of winter returned as the two stood still holding hands.
“Poppy” The new pixie smiled then faded from view.
Inside the trauma unit of Eastside Medical Center, the trauma team worked frantically to save the lives of their two new patients. The citizens of the surrounding area had been relieved when the new hospital included a Level II Trauma Center. No longer was it necessary to airlift a seriously injured person to Springfield, saving time and lives. The irony was not lost on them that one of their patients happened to be their new Neurosurgeon, who now suffered a life threatening head injury.
The second patient was a woman whose injuries were received during the initial impact with the red sports car. No additional injures were inflicted during the second car’s impact, the force being displaced into their new Neurosurgeon. He indeed saved the life of the woman but it would possibly cost him his own.
“Poppy.” Doctor Matthew Dobson whispered much to the surprise of the trauma nurse. They were prepping their patient for another surgery.
“Doctor Dumas.” She called out to one of the doctors standing nearby.
The doctor leaned over and looked down at Matt. “Welcome back to the land of the living doctor.” The young doctor said with a smile. “I’m not sure if you can understand but I am Doctor Alexander Dumas. No relation.” He chuckled.
Matt in his pain-filled haze thought, great, his surgeon was a comedian. He tried to ask about his injuries but nothing intelligible came out. No real surprise in the case of brain injuries loss of speech was common. He would have to check to see about those with traumatic brain injuries having such vivid dreams. Slipping in and out of unconscious, Matt thought he heard something about a large increase in his intracranial pressure. “Sounds like they are about to take a chunk out of my skull.” He thought to himself as the world became dark once more.
Authors Notes: A special thanks to djkauf for a little elvish editing. If you like the story please leave a Kudos, if you have the time I would love to hear from you. Thanks to all for reading! - Elsbeth
© Copyright - Elsbeth2011/2012
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