Richard Grayson was six years and four months old and lived in a house with a big lawn right on the edge of the forest. When Richie was small there was a fence around the lawn, but when he turned six his father took down the fence and his mom said he could go 10 steps into the forest. Richie and his dad took a piece of red string and counted 10 steps into the forest from the edge of the lawn (dad steps, because they’re bigger) and tied the string to a tree. Then they went to the other side of the lawn and did the same thing. Richie could go into the forest, all by himself, and when he got to the string he would stop. He would stop because dad said that if Richie was good, then next year they would let him go 20 steps into the forest.
Richie loved to play in the forest. One day he would pretend to be a caveman and went hunting dinosaurs with his water gun. Kyle from across the street said that you can’t hunt dinosaurs with a water gun because the cavemen used big sticks, but Richie managed to catch a brontosaurus anyways. He didn’t kill the brontosaurus, he just tied it with a rope to a tree at the very back of the forest (right near the red string) and he gave it leaves to eat and called it Jeph. When Kyle from across the street wanted to feed Jeph, Richie didn’t let him because Kyle said you couldn’t hunt dinosaurs with water guns. At the end he did let him though, because mom said you have to be the bigger person and Richie was already 6 years and 4 months old.
One day, Richie and Kyle were in the forest, 5 steps in, and Richie wanted to look for a fairy.
“Why do you want to look for a fairy?” Kyle asked.
“Because fairies can make you fly and they have magic dust and they glow really brightly.”
“How do you know that?” Kyle was looking for a stick, because he broke his sword made of sticks yesterday when he and Richie were pretending to be Arthur.
“Because daddy read me Peter Pan and in Peter Pan there is Tinker Bell and she makes them fly. But you can’t not believe me, Kyle,” Richie said as he lifted a rock and looked underneath it, “because you have to believe in fairies or they die and then we won’t find one.”
They looked for a long time and even checked the empty fox hole but they couldn’t find any fairies. Kyle said they should go into the forest, because the fairies probably live a hundred steps into the forest. Richie didn’t want to go a hundred steps in because he promised he won’t cross the red string. They kept looking all over the forest, and Richie thought he found some fairy magic dust, but it was just sand. They looked all day until finally Kyle’s mom called him home for dinner. Kyle said goodbye to Richie and goodbye to Jeph and left.
Richie stayed out and sat on the big round rock and sighed.
“What’s the matter?” said the fairy sitting on a flower next to him.
“I was looking for a fairy to make fly, but I didn’t find any.” Richie picked up a small stick and started poking at the little pebbles around the big round rock.
“Well maybe you didn’t find a fairy because a fairy was looking for you, so you were looking for each other,” said the fairy as she bounced her flower up and down.
“I guess,” Richie shrugged and poked another pebble, “so I’ll just stay here and let the fairy find me, then.”
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“I’m Richie Grayson and I’m 6 years old.”
“Hello Richie Grayson, I’m Elisa.” She fluttered off her flower and flew to his hand. She grabbed the tip of his fingers with both of her hands and shook it slightly, “Nice to meet you.”
“Are you a fairy, Elisa?” He touched the tip of his finger, where Elisa held on to. It felt funny, like ants were crawling over it.
“Yes I am. Are you a human?” she asked as she flitted all around him. Her voice seemed to be coming from all sides, and Richie was following her with his eyes and getting dizzy.
“Yes. I am a human. Do you have magic fairy dust to make me fly?”
“No, I’m sorry, Richie. Only grown-up fairies get magic dust, but I’m not a grown-up yet.”
“It’s ok. I’m not a grown-up either.”
Richie then heard his mom calling him to come for dinner so he said goodbye to Elisa. He told her she could give Jeph a leaf to eat, but she has to be careful not to let him loose. She said she would be very careful and Richie left.
* * *
Elisa stayed in glade a little longer and rested on the large stone. She looked around her and smiled. The forest was happy today, and it made Elisa happy, too. After a while she got up, flew over to a nearby bush and picked the greenest leaf and placed it neatly on the ground before a large oak.
“Here you go, Jeph. The best leaf in the forest.” She let out a small laugh.
With that she rose to the air, and began flying deeper into the forest. She passed the narrow creek which cut through the forest, and the grassy clearing where a lone, ancient gravestone stood. When she got to the point of the forest where the sun was no longer visible she counted 7 trees and placed a small, delicate hand on the 8th. A small door appeared and Elisa went into her home. Placing her scarf neatly on the hanger she stepped into the den. Her father was sitting on his favorite acorn and he was paging through a newsleaf.
“Daddy, you won’t believe what happened today!” She cried with excitement, “I met a human!”
“Don’t’ be silly, dear,” her father replied, “There’s no such thing as humans. It’s a story grown-up fairies tell to little fairies and you’re not a little fairy anymore.”
“No, but I did. I saw one, and his name was Richie Grayson and he was 6 years old.”
“Nonsense, Elisa. Humans are not real. Now go wash up, it’s almost time for dinner.”
Elisa grumbled and moaned, but her dad wouldn’t hear it. She stomped to her room and got ready for dinner.
* * *
Dr. West was at a loss. He had never come across a case like that. A little boy, delivered to his morgue last evening died for unknown reasons. Every medical test Dr. West performed came back negative. What little the paramedics could get out of the parents was useless. The boy was sitting at the table when it just happened. The boy was telling his parents of his afternoon games of pretend; something about a pet dinosaur and a fairy. He was saying he really believed in the fairy’s existence because, apparently, if you don’t believe in them they die. The parents, naturally, were hysterical. They wanted an explanation, something. But Dr. West as at a loss.