A Sprinkling of Murder - Daryl Wood Gerber Page 0,1
“Courtney, yoo-hoo.” Lauren touched my arm. “How will she do it?”
“By doing good deeds,” I replied.
“Everyone should do good deeds,” Lauren said matter-of-factly.
“Yes, they should.” And not pranks like putting syrup in my tea as Fiona had done earlier. I’d warned her that the queen fairy would frown on her antics.
Months ago, when I’d pressed Fiona for details of her banishment, she had been vague. One major restriction was that she could not have fairy friends. Though more fairies existed in Carmel, she wasn’t to socialize with them. Yet.
“How did you meet her?” Lauren asked.
“She came to me the day after I opened this shop.”
“Yes, like magic.”
After Fiona had told me about her predicament, I’d asked her if the queen fairy was a horrible, wicked fairy, and she’d blushed. No, she’d said. The queen was the most wonderful fairy in the whole world. When I grilled her for more information—like were other fairies on probation?—Fiona had dodged the question and instead educated me about her kind. In addition to types of fairies, like air fairies and water fairies, there were four classes of fairies: intuitive, righteous, guardian, and nurturer. Fiona was a righteous fairy, which meant she needed to bring resolution to embattled souls. Of course, there were rules in the fairy world. A righteous fairy couldn’t intentionally put herself in harm’s way.
“Have you always seen fairies?” Lauren asked.
At the tender age of ten, when my mother died, I had lost my ability to see them. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I rubbed the locket my mother had given me, I couldn’t see another. In the ensuing years, I grew serious. In high school, I studied hard to make my father proud. In college, I turned my attention to chemistry and earth sciences. After graduation, I joined my father’s thriving landscaping outfit in Carmel-by-the-Sea and dedicated myself to working the land: dig, plant, don’t have fun, repeat.
Until a year ago when Fiona appeared. At first I saw a sparkle and heard a tinkle and a ping. And then delightful laughter. She had flitted from behind a pot and introduced herself with a curtsy. When I found my wits, I asked why she would reveal herself to me. She explained that although the sorrow over the loss of my mother had squelched my ability as a girl to see fairies, it was my nose-to-the-grindstone attitude toward life that had continued to suppress me. When I made the decision at the ripe old age of twenty-nine to spread my wings and start a fairy garden business, voilà. My heart opened, and Fiona swooped in. She hoped she could save me so I could save her.
“There she goes.” Lauren pointed.
A flicker of light shot from a pocket of the strawberry planter and disappeared in the vines by one of the French doors. Fiona. Still miffed. Tough. If we were going to remain friends, she would have to follow my rules: no shenanigans. I wondered if the queen fairy had given her the same guidelines.
“Can she come to my house?” Lauren asked.
Fairies had few boundaries, so Fiona could leave the shop and cruise around Carmel, but I didn’t want every new believer thinking Fiona might drop in for a visit. Besides, as of this morning, Fiona had wanted to remain close to me. She’d told me she feared something extraordinary or tragic might happen. To me? I’d asked. She wasn’t sure, but she wanted to remain at the ready. Needless to say, I’d been on pins and needles ever since her pronouncement. I didn’t mind an extraordinary occurrence, like meeting a fairy, but a tragic one? Like my mother dying? No thanks.
Knowing she’d worried me, Fiona had played a trick to lighten the mood—the syrup. I’d snapped at her. She’d bolted.
Lauren pressed her face to the top of the planter, probably hoping Fiona would return, and said, “How old were you when you saw your first fairy?” Her words reverberated in the empty pot.
“Was it in the last week of April, like now?”
“It was the first week in June.” I fingered the short-cropped hair at the nape of my neck as the memory came back to me full force.
“Was it here in Carmel?”
“Yes.” I’d lived in Carmel-by-the-Sea all my life, except when I went away to college. How I loved living here. The town was charming and magical and bursting with positive energy.
Lauren stood up, her eyes wide. “Was it Fiona?”
“No, sweet pea. Another fairy.