Authors: Julie Cassar
By Julie Cassar
Book One of the Ruby Blue Series
Copyright © 2011, Julie Cassar
All Rights are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and review.
Published in the United States of America by Julie Cassar
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
There are several people who played a huge role in the development of this series. First, I’d like to thank Cheryl, who was my very willing lab rat. (Although, now she probably hates me for calling her a lab rat.) I handed over each chapter as it was completed and watched with nervous angst while she read through every page. I also have to give props to my girl, Beth, my soul sister and brain-sharer. IKR! (Ha!) To my brother, J.D., “thank you” simply isn’t enough. He was always brutally honest, but fair. From plot development to final editing, his critique and cheering gave me the extra support and push that I needed to see this project through to the end. A constant buzz in my ear (kind of like an annoying, little fly) he pushes me towards excellence. To my editor, Leslie, I love your red pen underlining and am eternally grateful! Finally, I’d like to thank author, Rose Pressey, who was a huge inspiration and great mentor to me, even though she might not know it. Her kindness, spunk and willingness to share her publishing follies with me have been a God-send while I trudge my way through this unknown world.
I would personally like to thank each and every person out there who purchased this book, but I don’t know all of your names, so this will have to do. (Oh, except for Jill K. Thanks for the help!) I hope you fall in the love with each of the characters as I have, and I can’t wait for you to see what happens next! With love, I dedicate this book to Jane, Grace and Adrian.
I slowly opened my eyes and found myself staring up at the angled ceiling of my upstairs bedroom and let out a relaxed, lazy sigh as I stretched my arms over my head. I turned to look out the window and saw the clear blue skies peeking through the tops of the trees that were visible from my second story window. Sunny skies this morning. The garden out back would be full of life today. Magical things can happen in a garden. Or a forest…Or really anywhere that’s green and lush. Trust me. I know. How do I know this? Because I’ve experienced it firsthand. My name is Ruby Blue. No, I’m not a rock star. Although it sounds like I should be, huh? It’s a good stage name I think…I should learn how to play the guitar or something. Sadly, I’m just a regular 17-year-old girl, living in a regular little Midwest town in northern Michigan, going about my regular life. My mother is obsessed with the
Wizard of Oz
, and everything and anything that has to do with the
Wizard of Oz
, i.e. ruby slippers…hence, my name, Ruby. My last name is Blue, so, there you have it. I’m just glad they didn’t get too cheeky and think it’d be cute to name me Aqua or Turquoise, like my dad wanted. Ugh. That would’ve been pure torture. Could you imagine? Aqua Blue. Yuck. The teasing would have never ended. Who would name their kid Aqua? It’s not even a real name! Anyhow, I think I got off easy with Ruby.
I’ve got straight, shoulder-length dishwater blonde hair (that’s what my mother calls it anyway), greyish-blue eyes, and I’m a slight 5’5”. But, I’m stronger than I look. Really, I am. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl all the way. No dresses for me. Yuck. No thank you. My little brother, Leo, is fifteen and usually a pain in my ass. And no, Leo’s name isn’t short for anything. My mother’s obsessed with the
Wizard of Oz
, remember? Leo, (for the Cowardly Lion – duh) seemed a heck of a lot better than the tin man or scarecrow. Knowing my dad, he could’ve gotten stuck with Cerulean Blue for Pete’s sake! So me, my pain-in-the-ass little brother and my parents live in this tiny little bungalow in a small town in northern Michigan named Lake City.
I don’t even know why they call it a city. It’s sooo not a city. Shoot, it’s not even a town. It’s a street. With a few businesses on it, a flea market, a school, a few neighborhoods scattered throughout, and some Christmas tree farms. Yes, we are known for Christmas trees. In fact, we are considered to be the “Christmas Tree Capital.” How about that? Super exciting, isn’t it? (Not.) But we also are surrounded by beautiful lakes. Three huge inland lakes, to be specific, less than one mile apart from each other…that’s where I think we really get the name from. It’s not a city in the typical sense…it’s a city of lakes. Beautiful, crystal clear, freshwater lakes. And if you’re not about three minutes from a lake, you’re walking through a forest of trees…Birch, White Pine, Old Oak, Maple – you name it we’ve got it. So I’m a regular girl, who lives in this rinky-dink city of lakes that twist through forests of trees, with my pain-in-the-ass little brother, and oh yeah…I can see fairies.
You probably don’t believe me. That’s okay. I wouldn’t believe me either. But trust me, I really
see fairies. I have been able to since I was about five years old. The fairies I’ve seen told me I have been enchanted with the gift of Fairy Sight. My mother loves to garden and she’d always drag me outside to “get some fresh air” as she liked to say and she’d make me pull weeds. Who does that? Makes a five-year-old pull weeds? But, my mother loved (and still loves) her gardens. You see, we live on about an acre of land which backs up to a huge forest. At the back of the property, twisting through the woods is a well-worn dirt path that leads right to a huge lake – Lake Missaukee. Although the trees block most of the view of the lake from the back of the house, I can see it from my bedroom window upstairs. I’m the only one who sleeps upstairs though. My parent’s and Leo’s rooms are on the main floor. I have this long room with really angled ceilings. Down the hall from me is also a bathroom and tiny guest room (but it’s mostly used as a junk room.) I think my parents stuck me up there so they wouldn’t have to listen to my “crazy, loud music” as they called it. They told Leo he could have the tiny guest room, but it’s really small and he’s way too lazy to haul all his crap up there.
Anyhow, as I was saying, my mother loves her flowers. She’s always saying how she loves to “play in the mud.” But I kind of get what she means, because I do too. That probably makes me weird. What 17-year-old likes to garden? One who’s a dork. That’s what kind. Oh well. So I like flowers? Big deal. In fact, my mother is going to be getting some new flowers from my Aunt that I’m going to help her transplant soon…see? Dorky. There was one such occasion, when I was helping my mom in the garden, that I had my first experience with a fairy. It was about twelve years ago and I was out crawling around in one of my mother’s many gardens, helping her pull weeds, when I saw
She was tiny…so small I might have missed her. But the quick movement and soft, glittery glow caught my eyes. I was amazed. Heck, I was only five. What five-year-old wouldn’t be drawn to sparkling, dancing magical creatures? Her golden glow and coppery wings sparkled against the green leaves of the plants. She looked up at me, put her finger to her mouth, as if to say, “Shhh,” and then winked at me. I giggled. She flitted around and danced in my palm. Her wings tickled. She was dressed in a yellow translucent gown, and she had long, jet black hair the color of onyx that glistened in the sun. Have you ever seen black hair glisten? When the sun hits it just right, it’s like strands of black jewels sparkling against flowing black silk. Thinking of it now, the style kind of reminds me of those old Hollywood movie stars, with sort of natural swoopy, swishy curls, just barely curling up at the ends where it bounced on her shoulders. Her skin was fair and her eyes were like ice-blue diamonds, dancing with pure joy. She told me her name was Anya.
And so began my friendship with fairies.
I didn’t see them everywhere. Mostly just in the garden. Or the forest. (That’s where the fairies like to play.) I saw lots of fairies, but Anya and I grew close over the years. She was a young fairy…only a year older than I was, and she liked to play with me. Anya also had a younger brother… Brennan. He was just a year younger than her, so he was my age exactly. Brennan looked a lot like his sister… clear fair skin, sparkling pale-blue eyes, and jet black hair. Only he had no movie star hairstyle. It seemed to stick up in every direction, crazy as could be. And he liked to bug the crap out of us, just like my brother, Leo, did. So now I had two pains in my ass…My brother, Leo, and Anya’s brother, Brennan. Ugh. How did I get so lucky?
And let me tell you something else about fairies. They aren’t so tiny and fragile all the time. In fact, as I soon found out, they can appear to be the same size as humans. They can even walk among us, look just like us and go completely unnoticed as fairies. They lose the wings and most of their glowing sparkle…but it’s still there, if you look hard enough and pay close enough attention. Have you ever seen someone just smiling and seeming to be radiating a glow? Maybe you’ve seen them at the grocery store, or in the park? It’s probably a fairy. You see, fairies can live in both worlds – ours and theirs, which they call “Fey.” But when they are small, like when they’re at the bottom of the garden, they continually draw from the energy of the plants and earth. It’s like nourishment for their bodies and souls. Also, and just as important, they are still connected to their world. They can hear, see and even communicate with all of the other fairies in Fey. When they are human-sized and fully come into our world, they are disconnected – on vacation without their cell phone so to speak. They can sense when they’re needed (after all, they do have that bit of fairy magic) but otherwise, they are cut off from their world. Most importantly, the longer they walk among us, the weaker they become. They don’t like it for long periods of time, but they do love to interact with humans. They enjoy playing with our sense of wonder and find our culture both unusual and stimulating. They are fascinated at how much faster humans age, and the speed at which we live our lives. They like the change of scenery, the fast pace and the modern inventions of the human world. Our technology mesmerizes them. Fey is a very old and very traditional realm where magic and simplicity are a part of their every-day life. They don’t drive around in cars or fly in airplanes. (They have their own wings, duh.) And they don’t have gadgets and gizmos like we do. Don’t even get me started on what they think of our food. Fast food and junk food simply enchants them! The first time Anya tried a bite of my candy bar, I thought she would tackle me and take me down like a line backer to get the rest of it out of my hand! Many fairies see the human world as vacation from their own world. But, as I said, the longer they are here, the weaker they become.
Anya and Brennan seem to be the exception. They’ll often stay for days before feeling weak, needing to recharge themselves either in the garden or in their own world of Fey. I don’t really know why that is. I’ve seen and talked to other fairies before, and they usually can’t stand being in our world more than a few days without at least some recharging time in the garden. But Anya and Brennan have gone at least a week without returning to Fey or to the garden. I’ve asked Anya about that and she kind of brushed me off and said, “Well, not all humans are the same, are they? Fairies are all different too. Some of us are stronger than others.” She didn’t elaborate any further, but it made sense to me, so I let it drop.