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My Favourite Place in the whole wide world

by  eanna

Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Word Count: 4654
Summary: My Favourite Place in the whole wide world is a story about James wilder and his mistaken crossing into the land of the fairies, the wonders, the dangers of magis and the impending invasion of earth by the anti-humanists.

James Wilder was highly annoyed. His mother was being mean to him today.
‘You can’t go out until you’ve helped me around the house,’ his mother ordered. James thought this was extremely unfair (possibly illegal) and responded very badly to her orders.
‘I’ll run away!’ he shouted at his mother, jumping up and down in the hallway. ‘I’ll run away and you’ll never see me again,’ said James. Then she would be sorry, he thought, she would wish she had never been mean to me and made me do all this rubbish work, when I want to be outside.
Unfortunately Mrs Wilder didn’t listen to her son’s threat and ordered James upstairs to tidy his room, which looked not unlike a hand-grenade had been thrown into it and no one had bothered to clean up the mess.
So James stomped upstairs huffing and puffing and all the while wishing he was outside in the morning sun.

James loved being outside. The indoor world was just too clean for a boy like him. His sister Nico, well she loved it indoors! Always playing with dolls or putting on dresses and makeup, she pretended to be a princess. James knew that this made Nico a silly girl, although when there was no one around, he played at being a Prince or a Wizard, which really isn’t very different at all.
Outside was where James played the most though. He ran around in the little forest on the hill behind their house inventing dangerous adventures for Prince James to battle through. Sometimes he charged his imaginary horse up and down for so long he was covered in mud and very tired when he finally found his way home for dinner, dragging his mucky feet behind him.

But the little forest where James played wasn’t just a group of trees on a hill, oh no! This forest had a story of its own. A long time ago before people lived in houses and drove cars, wore fashionable clothes or even had electricity; this forest was called ‘The Crossing.’

So it was on that day, when James wanted especially to be outside in the fields and the forest that our story began and James Wilder ran away from home. Again
Mrs Wilder was washing the dishes when James slid down the drainpipe at the back of the house, ran down the garden and leapt over the gate. She saw him go, she always did. But he was a 13-year-old boy, and she could never stop him running off if he wanted to. As long as he came back in time for tea she wouldn’t really mind.

As it happens from time to time, when coincidences, events take a turn towards the abnormal as a crossroads is reached and there are no traffic lights or cosmic police to stop incidents colliding into each other and making a huge mess of things.
James was not heading out for his usual jaunt or off to play in his usual haunt. Today, things were going to happen. Big things and small things too had been travelling through the night and were arriving at the forest at the same time Jacob was heading for the woods. They hurried there from all over the land and a weirder more stupefying array of “things” a person could not imagine.

Some had tentacles or wings, this had gills and that had fins.
A few had eyes that stood on stalks, or many legged, the ones that walked.
One had a beak like a flightless bird, the other pointed teeth that curved.
Frozen water, made of Gas, one hopping wildly through the grass.
This mad collection of “Its” and “Odds” were gathering excitedly in the woods.
And James was drawing ever near, unsuspecting, without fear.

Events were conspiring, adventures were about to be undertaken and from now on, everything was going to be different.

Chapter 2

James sped up the hill and into the forest not slowing down until he was standing in a ring of cedars beneath a gynormous green sycamore tree. Up amongst the branches of the 100-foot giant there was what looked like a tangle of branches and creepers. But the tangle was hollow with enough space for a young boy to loll around in planning with his generals or casting spells with his fellow wizards. Only James knew of this hideaway amongst the branches of the sycamore tree and he always called it ‘Raven’s den’, but he couldn’t remember why?

The greatest and most amazing thing about Raven’s den was the fact that it was a real secret, from everybody. Not a soul knew of the little hideout that James had made in the huge old tree and as everybody knows there is nothing better than a real secret hiding place.
There were two windows in the den. The way in was through the western window, which was really the door and the eastern window looked out over the valley to the sea. Inside the Den it was dry and warm, two very important qualities to consider when a young boy is spending hours on his own eating wild berries and plotting against his imaginary foes.
This is where James always went when he was sad or angry or just wanted to hide away and play without disturbance. On this day James was angry, angry with his mother for making him work, for keeping him from the forest, and for making him angry. He hated her and never wanted to go back there again, never!

In Raven’s den James sulked. With the sun peeping in the western opening that looked out over the backs of the houses, and the smells of the sycamore tree itself hanging in the air, James began to feel sleepy. He sat down to relax and enjoy the view out of the eastern opening, which was the most wondrous view you could ever imagine.

Stretched out below him as he sat on top of his hill in his Raven’s den, lay the valley James heard his father call ‘The Speur’. It was called ‘Stephan’s fold’ on the map of the area where James lived, but what did they know?
The Speur was beautiful.
To his right James could see the southern cliffs with half a dozen humungous steps instead of one sheer drop. The cliffs wore a waterfall where the water tumbled down the steps into the pool below and off down the river to the sea.
To his left the little forest where the Sycamore stood grew into a huge green blanket covering the land all the way up the northern coast for miles, and straight ahead at the mouth of the river stood the Lag, an island where James had often watched a pack of cougars hunting and playing in the sun.
Of course, an adult would have told you that these were normal sized wild cats no bigger that a house cat mating in the little field on the river island. Adult’s said a lot of things to James, and he hardly believed any of them.
Up until today James had never been down the hill into the valley. Not because he wasn’t allowed, no. James wouldn’t go because Rosad lived there.
Rosad was the evil in all of s adventures. Whether he was a wizard or a prince, a king or an assassin, Rosad would always be the one he fought against, and James had played so many times that he was actually really afraid of Rosad, which is not as silly as you think.

But James didn’t care about any of this now. Today he just wanted to sulk and look out over his valley placing fairy curses on his mother and pixy wards on her washing machine and Hoover so that they would turn into lemons and cheese if she touched them.
This thought brought a smile to Jacobs’ round face. Oh the pixies would sort her out no problem.

James lay back on the floor of Raven’s den and finished eating one of the cakes he had stolen from his father’s office room. It tasted funny but it was chocolate so it was definitely fine to eat. After he finished the cake James began to drift off.

The Weird and wonderful Carnival Circus

All around the sycamore tree the Insiders; fairies and pixies, slugs and burrowers and all, were gathered. The Weird and Wonderful Carnival Circus was coming to the Lag today and they were very excited.
Greenspan the forest master stood right beneath the sycamore tree organising the crossover. It was hard for him to believe that a hundred years had passed already since the last weird and Weird and Wonderful Carnival Circus had been held here and because most fairies lived a very very long time compared to humans it was like yesterday to some of them.

The surrounding land was impossible to recognise now, many of the Insiders commented on this.
‘This place smells of Normals,’ stated Gammell the cave slug, ‘I used to slide around these hills without using any magic and there wasn’t a human soul in the air for miles, we should do away with them all!’
Gammell grumbled like this an awful lot and Greenspan really didn’t care too much for the slug’s attitude nor for the sticky trail of slimy cave goo the odd looking creature left behind. If it were up to Greenspan he would ban all the Anti-humanists from Insider social gatherings. But the Dru wouldn’t stand for that, and no Insider would ever go against the wishes of the Dru.

After a full hour of jostling, pushing, cheering and moaning the gathering was slightly organised and Greenspan, the Forest Master, was ready to begin. The Crossover spell was a simple one for a forest master. This was his forest and his magic protected it from Human interference. All over the world humans were misled by their own senses and equipment as to the size of their woodland areas. A tiny forest on the human maps could in fact be a huge area under the control of a strong forest master.
Greenspan was a very strong forest guardian (as he preferred to be known) and his forest was very large indeed. Unfortunately though, even his magic could not stop the Outsiders from slowly swallowing his forest into their big housing areas and killing the woodland sprites with their mechanical fumes. Things were changing.
Gathering his strength Greenspan held up his hands for silence and began the spell of crossing over, in the air above the hushed gathering.

“This shield though strong, eternal lasting,
protects the land from outside’s burn.
The barrier falls with this spells casting,
Let those inside this ring return”

With a flourish Greenspan opened his eyes wider and wider until they bulged almost out of his head! The Forest Master’s eyes grew dark and black, as did the sky over the Sycamore in the centre of the ring of cedars. The centre of Greenspan’s eyes began to glow bright green. Soon the green glow was blinding even the most eagle eyed of the Inside folk. This was forest magic strong and clean. It made the gathering feel warm and safe as they passed inside to the place where magic ruled everything and the outsiders knew nothing.

There was a long silence. Greenspan lowered his hands and smiled.
‘Let the Weird and Wonderful Carnival Circus begin!’ he roared to the gathering.
‘ARU!’ they shouted as one. Then the entire group piled down into the valley towards the lag where they could see the tents were already going up and the music had already begun.


Back at home Mrs Wilder was getting worried about James. He was always difficult to find when he ran off to the little woods, he probably had a hiding place there, but he always came back when he got hungry.
‘He must be starving!’ she said to herself, ‘where could he be?’ Mrs Wilder sat down at the kitchen table to wait. She would give him one more hour and then she would go and look for him.

Up in his Raven’s Den James was awestricken. What was happening down there? Below his vantage point he could see all manner of strange looking creatures. They walked, slid, crawled and hovered all the way down the hill towards the Lag Island in the middle of the river. Little tiny flying sprites spiralled through the air while slimy underground dwellers slid down the hill, tentacles flailing madly, upsetting some of the more normal looking sprites, who looked the same size and shape as James himself.
From the sea to the forest thousands of sprightly voices could be heard. Some were high-pitched and some were grumbling and thunderous. Together they created a beautiful constant hum of activity. It sounded like heaven to James. Nothing on earth could sound so beautiful and look as magical as the Speur looked today. Where had they all come from? James was goggle-eyed. Was he asleep? Quickly he stood up and head butted one of the trees large branched nearly knocking himself out. Thud! No, he wasn’t dreaming.

Down on the Lag Island itself, three huge golden disks rose slowly from the earth into the air, one by one they spiralled upwards to the sky. Beams of light connected them to each other and James could see some of the strange creatures being borne up and down in the beams from one disk to the other.
Was this real? James wondered, his eyes wide with excitement and his hair standing on end with joy. This was going to be an extraordinary day indeed.

James waited until there were only a couple of creatures left descending into the valley before he climbed out of the Sycamore tree just in time to see his mother peering through the trees calling his name.
‘James,’ she said, ‘James, are you there?’ James was surprised. She was standing right in front of him and asking was he there! Was she blind?
‘Ma, I’m here.’ James answered, waving his arms above his head, but his mother couldn’t see him any more.
‘Ma?’ he called to her again, realising the truth.
‘James,’ shouted Mrs Wilder, ‘Come home for dinner this minute, or I swear to god…!’ she fumed and cursed and stomped off back down towards home, promising to throw his dinner in the rubbish bin as soon as she got home.

There are lots of different types of people in the world. There are lots of types of boys and girls. Some children will think about consequences while some will just rush about not thinking of anything in particular. James was neither of these. He realised what was happening. He knew it was unbelievable and that he should go home and go to bed and hope his mother would be able to see him in the morning (Incidentally, this would have worked) but he wouldn’t do that, because it just wasn’t in his nature. This was indeed an amazing incident but it was also something much more important than that.

It was an adventure.


Turtle McTurnips was in a grand mood. It was just heavenly in the river today. All the sprites and crawlers and hovering maulers piled onto his watery hand to be borne across to the island to the weird and wonderful carnival circus. Turtle controlled the water with his mind, bending it into a friendly hand shape and lifting the next group off the wooden platform, Greenspan had most thoughtfully erected, and whooshing them across to the Carnival gates. The revellers then jumped onto the island side of the river and headed for the Magic blossom tent where they could drink the Magic Blossom and fly upwards to join in the fun.
James watched the giant turtle swim below the huge watery hand as he got closer to the riverbank. He was following a group of sombre sprites that were just about his size and wore big grey serious looking hoods over their heads. attempt at copying them consisted of wearing his jacket over his head and keeping his hands in his sleeves. He really didn’t look like them at all but with all the strange creatures wandering around he certainly wasn’t the oddest looking being about.
Most importantly, though James didn’t know it, none of the Insider people could see his eyes and the eyes of a fairy are very different from human eyes.

“Some eyes must see their world dissolve, replaced with lifeless ground.
The inside folk are doomed to watch, the golden islands drowned.
The human knows nothing, of the magiks all around.
Ignorance will let his eyes seem childlike, white and round*.”

*Tantimus Brain of the Winds and the Elvin council (hys 1265 – 1991)

So you see, it would only take the sight of James’ eyes to raise the alarum and have the whole carnival down on his brave young head. Fairy’s eyes are not white nor are they round and by his presence James was committing a serious crime. Humans could not enter the fairy world. It hadn’t been done since 952 A.D. by a young boy named Brian. It was said that the Dru as punishment for his offence took the human boy’s soul. But what the Dru did was never truly understood and the words of Tantimus the wind sprite were often used when trying to interpret the Almighty Fairy leader’s decisions.

James knew none of this of course. His hooded hopeful eyes were popping out of their sockets. His imagination could never have invented all of this, could it? It was real. All of this was happening here, in his valley. But why had he never seen it before?
Just then a black cloud shaped not unlike the sprites James had been following, shot over his shoulder towards another sprite shaped cloud. The two flew together at a tremendous pace exploding into flame on impact and suddenly there were two flaming sprites dancing around cheering, delighted to see one another.
‘Remarkable.’ James remarked as the sprites greeted each other with enthusiasm.
‘Bhanu my old wisp!’ the smaller fire sprite cheered, ‘how do you keep yourself looking so fierce?’
‘Ah Ain you silly old camp fire, don’t you remember? My family has grown by one.’ Bhanu the larger more brightly burning sprite grinned a flaming grin and whoomped Ain, the smaller, on his billowing back.
‘Cigar Ain?’ he asked proffering an already badly burned Cuban cigar.
‘Ain Searing actually’ said Ain Searing.
‘What?’ Bhanu chortled, ‘you’re not one of these double name nuts are you?’ he sighed shaking his head. ‘An insider has one name Ain, be proud of it!’ hearing this Ain shrugged off his old friends embrace and quite pointedly said.
‘I am Ain Searing and surely I have a right to choose a second name when some of the Elvin council themselves have two?’ saying this he trudged off, his flame dimming with every step, like he didn’t believe himself, until he was a black cloud again floating through the air.
‘Sorry’ whispered Bhanu; ‘I was just…’ he stopped. His old friend was already hovering nervously over the water beast’s platform. Bhanu looked depressed.
‘WOW!’ shouted a tiny voice from right behind James, making him jump with fright. Another black cloud shot past James colliding with Bhanu causing him to smile that huge fiery smile again.
‘It’s a big worm!’ said Bale to her father, pointing at Turtle McTurnips in amazement.
‘No no, that’s Turtle! He’s water!’ said Bhanu.
‘Water?’ asked Bale
‘Yes, the same way you and I are fire, Mr McTurnips is water’
‘Mr McTurnips?’ Bale laughed, ‘aren’t they…?’
‘Yes little spark of mine, but Turtle doesn’t know about land things, he thinks it’s exotic. Everyone seems to be taking a second name these days. At least Turtle picked his because he liked the sound of it and for no other reason,’ Bhanu watched his old friend Ain board the watery hand, ‘unlike some others.’ He said, sounding unhappy.
‘I wanna go on the turnip thing!’ Bale flashed a smile at her father. Bhanu smiled she was twenty-five in the Human Year System (hys) but she was already becoming a full sprite.
‘Off we go then!’ he laughed and the two flew forwards to the platform, still burning brightly chattering away to each other, looking forward to the weirdness ahead.

As James was jostled and bustled up the steps to the top of the platform, he was finally able to close his mouth and get a hold of himself.
Though he was dumbfounded, as we all would be if we were witnessing such a completely peculiar episode, James wasn’t thinking of the Weird and Wonderful Carnival Circus, no. James was thinking of the fiery girl he’d seen and how beautiful and wild she was. And, he was also disgusted that he felt this way about anybody, or anything for that matter especially a girl.
A million miles away from what was happening James wandered across the platform and straight off the other side, landing with a tremendous splosh in the river.
Unfortunately James found it extremely difficult to struggle to the surface. The Jacket around his head was suffocating him and stopping him from swimming so he had to take it off before he made a break for the surface, but is was so far away and he had so little breath that he thought for a moment that he wasn’t going to make it.
He would drown before he could find out what sort of adventures this Fair would have for him, before he could see the fiery girl again. His lungs emptied long before he reached the open air and James Wilder, only for the tiniest moment, gave up. Then he was saved.
‘Sorry about that’ said a voice above James, as he coughed and spluttered his life rushing back into him. James could feel himself being lifted high in the air and was mightily relieved,
‘Thought you was a stone or a rock or something,’ said an angle winged boy hovering above James, ‘I couldn’t feel your magic, are you ill?’ The strange creature smiled at him. James still couldn’t speak, he was too busy breathing.
‘Your face looks funny!’ said Penna, which was the air sprite’s name, ‘will I call one of the earth healers?’ Again, James was still too busy to answer, so Penna went on chattering as he placed James on the riverbank.
‘No wings, no flames, nearly drowned, you must be of the earth?’ Asked Penna, not seeming to care whether his questions were answered or not.
‘I’m ok,’ said James glad to feel the ground underneath him once more, ‘thank you.’ he said looking directly up at his saviour who landed easily in front of him, folding his wings back and grinning largely.
‘Dear me,’ said Penna. ‘Your eyes are ruined!’ he looked shocked and surprisingly human now that his wings were behind him. Except the eyes James thought.
‘Oh!’ James exclaimed, ‘broken, no no I’ll be fine.’ James lowered his gaze realising that his eyes were betraying him.
‘I hurt them earlier, but I’ll be fine’ he began to walk away but kept bumping into people, or more accurately, things.
‘Let me help you, poor blind earth thingy, we lucky wind sprites need to look out for our lesser…em, I mean you… lesser… I mean you other beings…’ Penna stopped speaking. It was hard for a wind sprite to understand why every creatures would not just live in the sky and forget all this mother earth rubbish but he did realise he was insulting the funny little cave dweller.
‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘Let me get you a hat or a veil or something to help your eyes with the light.’ Penna darted off and came back with a dark blue strip of cloth. It felt like silk but was much softer and thinner.
‘A lot of you earthies are wearing these,’ explained Penna tying the strip over James’ eyes. Amazingly James could see perfectly through the cloth, it was just like a pair of blue-tinted sunglasses. He felt a flood of relief and turned to Penna.
‘Your name is Penna,’ said James, ‘how do I know that?’
‘You’re a funny one,’ said Penna, taking James by the arm, ‘Let’s get you some Magic Blossom and join in the fun above, eh? I can’t wait to have a go of the guillotine!’
‘Yeah, me either.’ said James. Oh dear, he thought.


Something felt wrong to Greenspan, he was unusually tired. He slumped against the giant sycamore weary and bemused. Even though he had spent the entire day going back and forth between the different crossover points using his magic to deliver the Insider folk to Carnival Circus, he should not be so tired.
All insiders have their own internal magic. This meant that when Greenspan cast his crossing spell the magic inside the gnomes, nymphs, sprites and dryads reacted with his and helped him to transport the entire group to the circus. So Greenspan should have hardly used any magic at all, but he felt as tired as the time he had had to lift a human out from under a circus elephant two years ago!
‘Maybe I am getting old Karine.’ He said to the giant tree.
‘No my friend,’ whispered the sycamore, ‘there is something else.’ The tree groaned to emphasise the last.
‘What then?’ asked Greenspan leaning against Karine’s trunk for comfort, ‘why do I feel so drained?’
‘A new friend of mine has drained you so.’ Karine the Sycamore answered, lifting Greenspan up into her boughs to a little room made in the middle of the brambles and brush that had lodged there.
‘What’s this?’ asked Greenspan to no avail. Karine was finished talking for the moment. The tree’s huge slow intellect drifted down into her roots and into the soil of the forest, to sing with the rest of the growing life below leaving Greenspan to work the rest out for himself.

Up in James’ Ravens den, Greenspan did indeed read the signs correctly and he was horrified!

How could he have let this happen?

There were at least five thousand insider folk at the Weird and Wonderful Carnival Circus at this very moment. Amongst the burrowing slugs and gnomes, the sprites and dryads, the sky imps and nymphs, was a human. Most likely a boy!
The others were bad enough but the hobgoblins, Bulbisards and worse were also at the circus in their hundreds. Practically a whole battalion of the anti-humanist league! Their coloured bands around their heads, or arms, or tentacles, marked them out from the crowd.
Greenspan had hoped that there would be no trouble from them this year and there usually wouldn’t be at such a happy occasion, but a human boy? It was disastrous!


Gurgles Putragore was a dirty little hobgoblin, oh yes! He was proud of his smell and his matted hairy rump. He was wearing his favourite earrings, the same ones his mother had hatefully twisted into his ears during his fiftieth birthday beating. Oh the rust was building up nicely on them now and he even felt his ears might be infected. Hopefully he would have lovely green puss dribbling down his neck by the end of the week.
Like a lot of the visitors to the Weird and Wonderful Carnival Circus, Gurgles wasn’t able to fly. He could hover on a jet of steam if he used his fire magic, but that would sap his strength after a while and probably burn some of the tents down. So Gurgles stood up to full height (three feet), straightened his Anti-humanist League armband and marched over to the Magic Blossom tent looking ruthless and impressive. At least he thought so.