(This amazing image was created by Ben Phillips)
Our Little Green Friend
I went with Jaye to meet the strange little fellow she had found at the bottom of our garden yesterday. Sitting beside him, I wondered if he could speak.
He looked real to me.
‘I may be small, young lady, but I’m not deaf. I can hear your thoughts. They’re very noisy.’
I apologised, asking who he was.
‘You can call me Toby.’
I asked that he refrain from reading my thoughts, that I would rather speak with him.
He agreed. Immediately my thoughts burst back into action. He looked like Mr Mushroom Head. The longer I looked at him, I thought he could be Merlin in a new form. I swear to God he winked at that thought.
‘I need a favour, ladies. ‘
‘Anything,’ I said, believing him to be Merlin, come for a visit.
‘I need to stay a while until the covering over my heart has grown. You see, like this, I am vulnerable.’
My words came out in a rush. ‘Stay as long as you like.’
I hoped he understood, for it didn’t sound right in my head. Calming down before speaking again, I asked if his other arm would grow at the same time. ‘How long will it take?’
‘A month or so, weather permitting.’
I had to ask if he would be safe from our cat. ‘Should I put some kind of guard around you?’
‘No need, I will be perfectly safe. Merlin will not harm me. Rather, he will keep me company.’
I was shocked to realise that he knew the name of our cat. ‘How did you come to be here?’
‘Let me just say, I am lucky to have escaped an ill wind. I landed here, exhausted, three days ago. I tire now, ladies. I need sleep.’
We both stood to leave.
‘Before you go, there is one more thing I need. If we have no rain for a day or more, I will need a little watering, as it’s the one thing I cannot conjure.’
You will have as much water as you like, I thought.
As we walked away, I heard his thought. I hope she doesn’t drown me, trying to be helpful…
Back inside the house, Jaye put the kettle on to boil. I couldn’t sit still, my skin was tingling, tiny darts running up my arm. ‘Did you hear what he said, did you see him wink? He used the word, ‘conjure’. Why would he do that, if he wasn’t a wizard of some kind?’
Jaye waited for me to calm down, as she knew I would. ‘I did see the wink. One thing’s for sure. It isn’t some kind of fungus as I first thought.’
Later that evening, I snuck down the garden to say goodnight. At first, I thought he had gone. I didn’t know what I had been expecting, for him to be standing there with his eyes closed? Of course, he wasn’t. The top hat that looked so like a mushroom, or Merlin’s wizardy hat, had collapsed. He must be sleeping underneath. I crept away, as quietly as I could, so as not to wake him. I heard his small sleepy voice whisper ‘Goodnight.’
I answered, without moving my lips.
Our friend stayed for three months. He had warned us not to be sad, should we find him gone. ‘I will try to visit as often as I can. If you cannot see me, you will always hear my voice.’
Sunday morning I found him gone. In his place, a flower grew, one we cannot find in any book or online. It is three inches tall, shaped like a beautiful blue butterfly. A wonderful gift that we keep secret.
I heard his voice in my head, a little water is all he needs…
My heart was broken. I wanted him to stay.
The gift he left never grows old, never fades. I think it will be here long after we are gone…