Steven L. Higgins
February 15, 2020
Steven L. Higgins, an avid reader, didn't take up the pen until he was 50 years old. He originally started writing fantasy/adventure when his youngest daughter was in middle school. That passion still remains with him even as that daughter now has children of her own in middle school.
He has published four novels; Life and Death and the Stuff In-between, A Hero at Heart, Time After Time, and One Thing Leads to Another.
He has lived at this end of the Willamette Valley since 1962, graduating from South Eugene High in 1967. Since 1999, he has been a part of the fiction writers group of the Lane Literary Guild.
A small male griffin with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. However he looks more like a mini-lion, being the size of a Golden Retriever but with short golden-tan fur and stout legs. He's friendly, outgoing, and can generally find the good in anyone but it seems those he meets sees the monster on the outside, and not the gentle heart within. However he does have one friend and her name is...
A faerie, a water nymph to be exact, standing 34 inches tall and in appearance resembling a young woman. She has pale green skin and long light blue hair that hangs down to her thighs. Her eyes are large and expressive―violet in color and mischievous by nature. She can be opinionated, bossy, controlling, and has a unique set of Faerie Rules.
A small blue and green world, noted for its lavender skies. Its name is derived from two word. Fay- meaning faerie or elf, and Terra- meaning dirt or earth. So faerie earth describes this place very well. What also marks this world as different from others is that all earth legend, fable, faerie tales inhabit this world. If you've heard a tall tale or read a faerie story, the characters have has made their way here to live.
One Thing Leads to Another
Chapter 1 Sometimes
“I know this is probably a dumb question...” Hespur began.
Crystabell stopped, turned, and stuck one hand on her hip. Her eyebrows raised expectantly.
“Well...,” Hespur hesitated. His tail gave a nervous swish. “Where are you taking me?” “Silly monster.” Crystabell shook her head. “I’m not taking you anywhere. We are going to look at something I just discovered. You’ll love it.”
“O-kaaay,” Hespur said. Goose pimples ran down the hair on all four of his legs. “You know, every time you say that, I get butterflies in my stomach because every time we get into trouble.”
Crystabell grinned and nudged a lock of light blue hair behind her pale green ear. “Every time?”
Hespur sighed. “99 out of 100.”
“Oh.” Crystabell turned and walked away at a brisk pace. “I guess I’ll have to try harder to get that one I missed.”
“Please, don’t.” Hespur hurried to catch her.
“This thing you found,” Hespur continued. “Is it something that you found before it got lost?”
“You'll see,” Crystabell said, being unusually tight lipped.
“We aren't going to get in trouble, are we?” he asked.
This time Crystabell grinned. “You'll see. This way.”She left the path, pushing through the underbrush and was immediately lost from sight.
Hespur rushed in after her, following the sound of the swishing branches in front of him until he stumbled into a clearing. He was surprised Crystabell wasn't there but was equally surprised instead to find a stone archway in the side of a hill. The archway looked ageless. It could have been built last week or last century. It was constructed out of large, polished black granite blocks, streaked with gold. Each stone was cut into a different size but fit so snugly against its neighbor, that the seams were no wider than a single page of a book.
As he approached the archway, a thousand pin pricks ran down his back bristling feathers and fur. There was a subtle form of magic at work here.
Crystabell stuck her head out from inside the archway and waved to him. “Come on slow poke.”
“Do I have to?” he asked, his voice squeaky high.
“No,” she said with a shrug, then she ducked back inside.
Hespur took a deep breath, his tail tingled with foreboding. He turned away, then turned back. If only his feet would grow roots and keep him right here. “Oh pickles,” he muttered and headed for the opening. “What kind of trouble is she finding now?”
Just inside the arch, he stopped. It had the musty smell of time long past and of old memories. He didn't feel he was in danger, but...something stirred deep inside him. And that something urged him forward through the long, stark hallway. Reluctantly he followed Crystabell who was already a fair distance ahead of him. He noticed that the floor was a single, continuous piece of sandstone and the ceiling arched high above. The walls on either side were strangely different. On the right, the wall was solid with a smooth surface colored a soft, neutral shade. The one on the left was rough and crumbly, and looked like it might collapse at any minute. But it was the light that really drew his attention. A steady, comfortable light lit the entire length of the hallway but it didn’t come from any specific place. It didn’t flicker like fire but was steady like sunlight and didn’t allow a shadow to form anywhere.
Up ahead was a stairway leading to a second floor. However, first they came to two full-length mirrors hanging across from each other. The mirror on the smooth wall was cloudy around the edges with spider-web cracks, its frame weathered and worn. A cobweb hung from the right hand corner down to the left side. The rough wall had a flawless mirror with a hand carved frame, gilded with gold.
Crystabell stopped at the beautiful mirror, fussing and running her fingers through her hair. Hespur, standing at her side, stared in confusion from one mirror to the other. There was only one reflection in each one. In the nice mirror on the left, he could see Crystabell but he couldn’t see himself. In the weathered one on the right, he could only see himself.
For a moment the images blurred. When the images clarified they ignored Hespur and Crystabell and turned toward one another. Hespur’s image raised his brow. “Well, here they are.” The voice was Hespur’s except it had a slight smokey echo. “Do you suppose they have any idea what’s in store for them?”
Crystabell’s reflection nudged a lock of blue hair behind her ear and shrugged. “The griffin? Perhaps,” the image said with Crystabell’s voice and an echo. “I doubt the faerie has a clue.”
“Hey,” Crystabell complained, shoving a lock of hair behind her ear. “Its not nice to talk about someone behind their back.”
Her image turned to her, all wide-eyed and innocent. “Oh. I didn’t realize this was your back.”
The two reflections and Hespur watched Crystabell storm off. Hespur glanced at the images that were now looking at him with amused smiles. He slowly backed away. “I apologize for Crystabell. Sometimes she's a little hard-headed.”
Crystabell's reflection smiled at him from the mirror. “Only sometimes?”
“Hespur!” shouted the real Crystabell from down the hall. He jumped with a start and raced after her. The two images stared across at one another as they faded away, their smiles the last things to disappear.
“Did you notice those mirrors?” Hespur asked, as he rushed up to Crystabell. “They were talking to us. Or we were talking to us. It's all a little confusing.”
“Big deal. Mouthy magic mirrors.” She stood in the foyer in front of the stairs, her arms crossed over her chest. She was definitely annoyed over something more than the mirrors.
“Watch.” She turned and put her foot on the bottom step of the stairs. As she put her weight down, it sunk into the floor. The other steps moved down one position, replacing the missing one and pushing Crystabell's foot out of the way.
Then she tried walking up the stairs. However she never got any higher than the second step because the stairway kept pace, disappearing into the floor behind her. With a burst of speed, Crystabell charged up the stairs but still only got to the fourth step as the stairway sped up to keep pace with her.
Crystabell stopped and crossed her arms over her chest, again. The speed of the stairway slowed and it deposited her gently on the floor. She stared at Hespur and nodded at the second floor balcony. “Well? Fly me up there.”
“Were you in here before, weren't you?” Hespur asked. “Is this why you brought me? Because you couldn't get to the top?”
“You can fly me up,” Crystabell repeated.
“How can you ask me to do that!” Hespur shuddered. “You know I don't fly.” He examined the balcony and immediately regretted it. The short glimpse he gave it created a riot of butterflies in his stomach. Even if...if, he could jump or fly that high, it was out of the question. Out of the question. “I guess we'll just have to leave,” he said.
“Why would we leave?” she asked. “I haven't explored up there yet?”
Hespur could tell she wasn't about to go anywhere. Well, maybe it would be alright. Maybe all the weirdness of this place was down here. “Fine. Let's be logical about this problem,” he told her, as he studied the stairs.
Crystabell sighed great big and scrunched her eyes shut. “Do we have to?”
He ignored her. “The stairs are obviously here to be used or why put them here.”
“Is this going to take long?” Crystabell was never the one to suffer in silence. She pressed her fingers to her temples, massaging them gently.
“If these stairs go into the floor when we step on them down here,” Hespur reasoned, “would the ones at the top rise up when someone tried to walk down on them?”
Hespur backed up to the bottom step and put his rear paws on it. The staircase moved one step closer to the top.
“Oh, that was too simple,” Crystabell protested, as she sped past him up the stairs backwards. The staircase kept pace with Crystabell so Hespur only had to stand on it and be carried to the top.
The balcony was just off a hallway that ran to the left and right as far as they could see. Every twenty steps there was either a door or an archway big enough to accommodate someone twice as tall as Crystabell. The first door they came to she grabbed the handle and tugged it open.
They stepped into a large round room. As they circled the room they counted thirteen bookcases crowded with books, radiating out from a round table in the center. A library. The shelves towered over them, reaching up high over head and into the far distance, toward the unseen ceiling.
As they walked down the aisle between two of the bookcases, Hespur read out loud a book title;
“Little Red Riding Hood—In My Own Words, by the Wolf.”
Crystabell ran her fingers across the smooth, cool leather bindings of the books on the other side of the isle and read,
“Becoming The Perfect House Guest, by Snow White.”
"...Let Me Give You Some Good Advise, by Jim Cricket...”
“...Getting Your Own Way, by the Red Queen.”
Crystabell pulled the book out and opened it. “Humm, pretty red cover but it's only two pages long.”
“You need to put that back,” Hespur said. “It's not lost.”
Crystabell fingered the cover before she slipped it back on the shelf. “Don't worry. Its not my shade of red.” Hespur scanned the book titles, again;
“Because A Road Is Yellow, Doesn't Mean It's Gold, by Dorothy Gale,”
“...Gingerbread Housing; A Bad Idea Or Just The Waste Of A Good Dessert?, by Hansel and Gretel,” Crystabell read.
“...When Your Boyfriend Won't Grow Up, by Wendy Darling...”
“...The Ups And Downs Of Traveling Alone, by Alice...”
Hespur's spotted three books laying on the round table in the middle of the room and went over to investigate. Along with the books he discovered that someone had carved their name in the table top—Arthur.