“An act of Faith”
Baize was tossing and turning. Dreams of Tommo haunted him, along with Dave, Ross, Sid and Pete. Dreams of bombs going off and his family caught up in the drama. It had been a traumatic nightmare and Baize woke up in a cold sweat while reaching out to save a friend.
Fran rushed in and comforted her son who had experienced many nightmares over the last couple of nights.
“Baize, it’s okay honey. It’ll be alright.” She said calmingly, and put her arm around him. He rubbed his eyes. He was tired, stressed, and worried that he might lose his best mate.
“Oh man! That was the worst nightmare I’ve ever had!” He said in a wobbly voice, and broke down. His mother had so much sympathy for him and wished she could take his pain away.
“Baize, I think you need to let those fears go. I know it’s upsetting. You’re taking the world on your shoulders. Tommo and the guys will be alright, you’ll see.”
Baize calmed down a little with his mum’s words. She always knew what to say. They had spoken of death before and had talked about how it is not an ending but a new beginning in another dimension without the physical body. How they believed that there was only one lifetime, and that this was made up of many incarnations, ‘For the purpose of seeking to be and to experience Who You Really Are’ was what Fran quoted from a favourite book.
She had taught her kids to be fair at all times and to respect each other and other people. Her way was a balanced way and she gave her kids the chance to make their own choices. Ones they were old enough to make themselves.
“Thanks Mum. You’re right. I got caught up in it all, the whole idea of the bombing being so close to Australia. It doesn’t seem real. It’s not the Aussie way! It’s not even our argument! We’re being lied to and manipulated. It’s not right!
“Well you know that there’s no wrong or right, it’s just our perception of it. Fact is it doesn’t serve us or anyone else. It’s also how we react to it that makes the difference. People react from what their view of the world is.”
They looked at each other and Baize knew what his Mum was saying. He smiled at her, feeling a little silly.
His Mum reassured him again. “Just keep remembering these things I’ve passed on to you Love, and life will be a lot simpler.”
She gave him one more hug and left the room to allow him to think about what she had said.
At the breakfast table, the bacon and eggs were going down well when the phone rang. It was Grace enquiring how they were.
“Hi Mum. Yes, we’re fine.”
“And how did he sleep, is he still restless dear?”
“Yes, he did have some more but we’ve had a talk and I think it helped.”
“Oh that’s good, I’m sure he’ll come good now.”
“Yes, he’ll fine. He’s catching up with the guys today and practicing some tunes. They’re going to get the girls involved and get them doing percussion and stuff. So, I think that’ll get his mind of it all. And how’s Sky? Is she behaving herself?”
“Yes of course dear,” said Grace chuckling. “I just wish I was sixty years younger so I could keep up!”
They both laughed.
“Yes she’ll no doubt keep you on your toes!” Chuckled Fran again, knowing full well how creative and ambitious Sky could get, always wanting to do it now!
“Actually dear, I haven’t seen her all morning. She rediscovered the cottage yesterday and has been playing in it ever since! Henry said he saw her dashing down there this morning in the early hours. Must have had something urgent on her mind I would imagine,” said Grace. “Saving the world maybe!”
They laughed again, knowing full well how deeply imaginative she could be, and how passionate she was about helping the world to be a better place. Grace was dying to tell Fran about the tree. She knew that Fran would love to be a part of it all. She use to tell her stories too when she was small, stories her grandfather use to tell her about the nut folk. But it wasn’t her place, and it was up to Sky to say something, if she was permitted to of course. She knew the consequences if the word got out about the tree and its inhabitants. That would be the end of it. She knew in her heart that one day, they would get to be involved, somehow.
“So what are you two doing with yourselves today?”
“Oh, well I’m going to drop Baize off at Todd’s place and then come home to relax for a while. I have to start on Sky’s costume sometime! So I’ll probably do that later on.”
“Alright dear. Well, have a good day what ever you do, and don’t worry about Baize, he’ll come good now.”
“That’s alright dear, rest up now.” Said her Mother, knowing how hard she worked all the time.
“Love you too dear, bye for now.”
“Bye.” Fran put the phone down and brought her tea over to the table to sit with Baize.
“Well, that was your grandma. She was just seeing how you were…Sky’s playing happily in the cottage and loving it!”
“Yeah, that cottage is wicked!” Said Baize, looking mystical. “I reckon that place is haunted.”
“Haunted!” Said his mother, “Well I don’t know about ‘haunted’, but I always felt there was something magical about that place.”
“Oh yeah Mum, but you’re a girl, they always think of the magical stuff.” Baize wangled out the introductory tune from the ‘Twilight Zone’ and acted spooky for a moment.
Fran laughed at his antics, pleased to see that he was cheering up.
“Well, whatever that place is about, it has been protected for a very long time and I’m sure it’s for a good reason. It’s such a stunning forest, it wouldn’t surprise me if there really were little people in the trees!” She stared dreamily at the wall.
“Yeah, right!” Said Baize sarcastically, “In ya dreams!” He nudged her gently as he walked past to go to the bathroom.
Meanwhile back up in the city of Nutlidge, Sky was resting from the adventure to the Hall of Records. They all were. Coral and Curley had also arrived and joined in on a round of drinks. Elm had excused himself, and had gone to make plans for the trip to Queensland for the Federation of Nature Spirits. They were to leave early the next day.
Florrel caught up with Curley, who was full of beans as usual and happy to catch up with his friend Sky. He also liked to play with Dusty the galah and to pop out from behind things to make him jump. Curley loved it when Dusty’s topknot sprang up out of nowhere!
Yellow Flower was making herself and the others a pot of Vitalitea to help keep their energies up. She was to meet with Lord Nutwood and Lady Acacia later on that afternoon before preparing for the trip the next day.
“There you go!” She said positively, “Get that down, it will make you feel much better.”
The others helped themselves to a chair at the table until they were all sitting there, still quite taken by their encounter with the Freds.
“How old do you suppose they are?” Enquired Sky, continuing a conversation that she and Malley were having about them. He was testing his new pestle and mortar that Sky had given him. He had loved it and had given Sky a hug because he thought it was so fantastic!
“Well, I’m not really sure. It would seem that they have been here for a very long time, at least as long as the first establishment of Nutlidge. Perhaps Lord Nutwood might know. We can ask him this afternoon if you like.”
She nodded and took a sip of the tea.
“Oh! Wait, I might have to get you to ask him. I probably should call in and see grandma and let her know what’s happening. When I told her yesterday, all was calm and peaceful, and now…well, now it’s going to get hectic, isn’t it?”
Malley looked at her, trying to imagine how she must feel being the only human there and choosing to do this miraculous challenge without support of her loved ones.
“Are you feeling alright about all this Sky?” He said, looking at her and wondering how she was really handing it.
She looked at him thinking how kind he, and in fact all of them were, when Curley came and bounced right over the top of her and landed on his feet perfectly.
“Well, I wondered when you’d stop teasing Dusty,” she said, half smiling at him. Dusty was following him to the table and climbed up a chair to be level with everyone. Sky gave him a tickle behind his head. He loved it! The Galah nodded in a funny manner making them all chuckle a little, then he swung from the top branch of the chair to hang upside down. He squawked a little and flapped his wings, just missing the second bar of the chair. This made them laugh even more and then, he grabbed the top bar of the chair with his beak to climb back on top and he slipped, leaving him dangling by his beak and groping the air with his six parrot toes.
They all cracked up laughing, and it took them a while to be able to stop. Just as one would stop laughing, another would see those feet going berserk trying to grab at something that wasn’t there!
It broke the seriousness of the feeling in the room. Good old Dusty knew when light relief was needed! He found the wood with his foot and climbed back up to sit on the branch of the chair again.
“Romance is in the air!” He said quite clearly. “Soul mate’s on his way!” He said, looking at Yellow Flower and nodding in a cheeky fashion.
She smiled at him and raised her eyebrows knowing his meaning of ‘Soul Mate is on his way’. She came over to him and he stepped on her hand and nibbled at her thumb.
“You’re determined to get me partnered off aren’t you Dusty. There’s no hurry you know. I’m quite happy thank you!” She said smiling. “He thinks I’m going to meet someone soon.” She added, grinning shyly at the others, with rather red cheeks.
“Absolutely!” He said, as Curley came up from behind him and touched him on the shoulder making him jump and lose his balance a little. He squawked loudly.
“Curley, that’s enough now. No more.” Said his mother, calmly but firmly. “Poor Dusty won’t be able to sleep at night if you keep that up.”
Sky thought about Baize. She knew he often had sleepless nights when he had something on his mind, and wondered how he and Tommo were.
“I think I should pop home and see my grandma,” said Sky, suddenly feeling the urge to be near her. “I’ll pop down and catch up a little over lunch and then I’ll come back in time to come and see Lord Nutwood with you. Does that work in with you?”
“Of course Sky!” Said Yellow Flower, “Do what ever it is that you feel you have to do. We will leave for the meeting in Queensland around sunrise, so you’re time is your own until then. I suggest you get some rest if you can. Once we have popped into see Lord Nutwood, perhaps we could go out for a meal tonight?”
“Oh that would be lovely!” Florrel agreed, “I can put on my new dress and scarf!”
“What about the Walnut Eatery,” suggested Malley, “I hear that’s getting quite popular?”
“I have an idea,” said Sky, “What about you all come to my grandma’s cottage for an early meal. You’ll just love it! You can meet my grandma too! She would just love to meet you!”
They all looked at each other surprised.
“I think that’s a fantastic idea!” Said Yellow Flower, rather looking forward to a change of scenery.
“Sound’s good to me!” Agreed Malley, rather excited about another adventure, all in one day!
“Oh that sounds lovely.” Florrel agreed also, and Curley got very excited indeed, and flung himself around the room, knocking over several things.
“Curley, what on earth…!” Said Malley, noticing that Curley was a little more energetic than he usually was.
“Curley, how much Vitalitea have you had?” He said, picking up his cup. The rosy-cheeked nuttle grinned as if drunk then hiccupped. Very loudly! He burped straight afterwards, which made him giggle, and then he broke into laughter, which got them all going again! It was really quite funny and the good belly laugh was just what everyone needed.
Sky said her goodbyes to them all and Yellow Flower waved her hand and helped her transform down the tree to the ground. She took a small nut bottle from her pocket and drank the Changeabilitea. Up she went to her normal size. She was still dressed as a beautiful fairy with fake wings, although they looked quite real. She headed carefully back to the cottage so as not to rip her skirt. The clock said a quarter to twelve, so she headed slowly back to the main house, her head swimming with images and thoughts. She was looking forward to Beverly’s cooked lunch.
Deep down, the black figure was stirring again, a whole arm was exposed and it was scratching away at the soil to try and free itself. It scratched a little and rested. Scratched a little more and rested again. Its bony hand clenched its fist viciously and the tree shook again…
Grace was watering her rose garden. The fountain in the middle of the ring of roses was on and it made a lovely background sound. The sun was quite hot and she had her hat on.
“Hello my granddaughter!” She called, seeing Sky come around into the garden wearing her fairy outfit.
“Oh! Look at you! You look gorgeous! Just like a real fairy! They haven’t turned you into one have they!” She grinned, suddenly feeling slightly concerned.
“No, no, Grandma.” She gave Grace a hug. “Florrel took me shopping! Isn’t it beautiful? Guess what! Yellow Flower, Malley and Florrel, Coral and Curley are all coming down for dinner tonight! Grandma, you have to come to the cottage and have dinner with us! You just have to meet them!” Sky took her grandmother’s hand to lead her somewhere where she could talk and tell her everything that had just happened, and what was about to happen!