Fantastical (Fantasyland 3) - Page 1

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  • Chapter One

    Holy Crap

    I heard birds.

    They were singing. Not chirping. Singing. It wasn’t birdsong. It was just plain, old song but in chirps. It was hard to describe but there it was.

    A lot of it.

    It made me open my eyes.

    Then I blinked and felt it. I was lying down in a bed but not my bed. The mattress was strange, very soft, very plush. I wasn’t on it, I was in it. It partially enveloped my body like a warm, comfortable, squashy cloud.

    What on earth?

    I stared at the sun washed walls, felt the bed and heard the strange birdsong.

    One thing I knew for certain. I was not home.

    I shot straight to sitting in the bed and looked around the room.

    I was in a four-poster bed, gossamer, pale lilac curtains all around, a fluffy, pale lilac-covered duvet on top. The walls of the room were an even paler lilac and I looked around at the bizarre, white furniture.

    A big wardrobe with scrolled feet, the sides bowed in, the top an arch. It was bulky and yet delicate. A miracle of construction. There was no way that wardrobe could stand on those flimsy, curled feet but it was.

    Two tall dressers: one that zigged at the top, zagged in the middle and zigged again at the bottom; another whose drawers went up like steps on one side, a different miracle of construction for it appeared to be teetering yet stood true.

    Then there was a dressing table with a big oval mirror on the top and two smaller ones to its side. The dressing table was also delicate with curly whirls for legs, around the mirrors and carved into the three drawers down either side. It was covered in fragile, intricate glass bottles, all of them in various shades of purple.

    “Holy crap, I’m dreaming,” I whispered.

    That had to be it. I was dreaming. Dreaming the most freaking real dream I had ever had in my life.

    Suddenly, the door flew open. I jumped and looked to my right to see a blonde woman dance into the room wearing and old-fashioned blinding white nightgown, the voluminous kind that had a string at the neckline and gathers all around.

    Yeesh, how did she get that nightgown so white? I was never good at keeping whites white. They always grayed out.

    It had to be new.

    Oh wait, this was a dream. Of course it would be that white.

    “Cora!” she cried my name, whirling into the room, “Cora, Cora, Cora! Today is the best day of my life!”

    She stopped at the foot of the bed, shoved a diaphanous curtain aside and smiled down at me while I stared up at her.

    Whoa. Seriously. She was gorgeous. Bright blue eyes. Thick blonde hair. Delicate features. Petite. A stunner.

    “Can you believe it?” she asked then clapped her hands. “I’m getting married today!”

    “Uh –” I started but she rocked swiftly up to her toes and then danced gracefully on them to one of the two sets of French doors that were on either side of the dressing table.

    She flung them open, the birdsong stopped, she stepped out on a Juliet balcony and threw her arms up and out to the sides.

    Then she let out two beautiful, perfect notes in a gorgeous soprano, the birdsong started again, in earnest this time (and I thought it was earnest before) and I blinked through the sheer curtains as I saw a tiny colorful bird (and I knew there were colorful birds in the world but there weren’t birds that colorful) alight on her outstretched hand.

    She brought the bird to her face and the bird chirped gaily at her instead of flying away.

    Then she told the bird, “I’m getting married to the man I love today, Aggie! Isn’t that marvelous?”

    The bird chirped happily at her and then pecked her nose, not like a peck, more like a kiss.

    She giggled and it, too, sounded like a happy song.

    Whoa!

    I blinked.

    That was when I knew.

    I was dreaming I was in one of those animated movies.

    Wow.

    Cool! What an awesome dream!

    She turned and the bird hopped up to her shoulder and somehow kept its place as she danced on her toes back to the bed with more grace than any human I’d ever seen. Then again, seeing as she was part of a dream, she could be as graceful as any character in an animated movie that my mind could make up.

    She threw the side curtains aside and ordered merrily, “Get up, silly! We have to get ready! So much to do, so much to do! Tra la! Tra la, la, la, la! Tra, la, la, la, la!”

    She emitted the tra la’s in her gorgeous voice while whirling toward the door and the bird fluttered off her shoulder onto the bed as she did so. Then it hopped to me, looked in my eyes and chirped.

    God, I swear I knew that the bird was saying, “Heya.”

    Holy crap.

    “Heya,” I whispered to the bird.

    That was when I could swear the bird’s eyes lit up with a smile.

    Holy crap!

    “Up, Cora, you can’t be lazy today! I stayed with you to make certain you got up and got ready in plenty of time. As my matron of honor, you have to be nearly as beautiful as me!” she called from the door then threw her shining, golden blonde mane back and laughed a sing-song laugh before she tipped her head back down and smiled a stunning smile at me. “Not that that will be hard, my exquisite sister.”

    She clapped her hands with delight again and exited the door, closing it behind her.

    I stared at the door. Then I looked back down at the bird who was still looking up at me.

    “This is a way cool dream,” I told the bird and it tipped its head to the side like my words were confusing.

    Then it took two hops so it was sitting on my thigh.

    Awesome!

    Then it said, “Chirp chirp,” which I took to mean, “You aren’t dreaming.”

    “I am so totally dreaming,” I told the bird.

    The bird replied, “Chirp, chirp, chirpity, chirp,” which came to me as chirps but I knew meant, “No, really, this isn’t a dream, Cora.”

    “It’s a dream, bird, I know this first off because people don’t talk to birds or, at least, know what they’re saying. Unless, of course, they’re bonkers,” I returned.

    The bird tilted its head again and then chirped, “Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp,” (with a bunch more chirps) which meant, “Are you ill? Of course people talk to birds. And bunnies. And deer. And mice. And my name is Agglethorpe. You and everyone call me Aggie.”

    “There it is,” I told the bird. “Your name is Agglethorpe. That’s a perfectly ludicrous name that only could be given to a bird in a dream or a Disney movie.”

    That was when the bird hopped forward and pecked my hand, which kind of hurt, and then looked up at me and chirped what I took to mean, “My name isn’t ludicrous! I know this because you gave it to me!”