Angry words came through the electronic box the humans called a cell phone. Ivy flew on silent wings from her customary station on the mantel across the wide parlor. The man she now looked to for protection, August T. Moray, was so absorbed in his conversation that he did not take notice of the green and white Pixie landing on his shoulder. This close to his ear, Ivy could hear the man who yelled at him through the black plastic box.
She preened her green wings with the white outline and vein tracery while she pretended not to listen. August’s mother and Ivy’s protector, Penelope, had sewn her a very pretty dress with similar white accents at hem and cuff, and along the full skirt.
She hummed her own special music in hopes of soothing August and the man who yelled at him.
Dum dee dum, dum.
Penelope had left her body and gone away. Ivy understood that she would not return. But she hoped she’d find her friend somewhere. Soon. She was incredibly lonely without her. Penelope’s son offered her company. But he was not yet a friend.
August stood very straight, barely turning his head at the sounds of hammers and saws in other places in the only home Ivy could remember. Remodeling and updating, he called it. The house had “issues” before he could sell it.
“Your mother is dead. I can no longer depend on her money to give me justice,” came the angry voice through the box.
And her man, she had to remember to call him August, feared that anger. So Ivy knew that she should too.
Dum dee dum, dum.
“I can take money out of the trust for your legal fees, brother.” August’s voice sounded calm, but his posture shouted fear. “Mama’s will said I could.”
“She wasn’t my mother and I read her will just before she died. I get nothing more from her inheritance, nothing, especially legal fees.”
“I am executor of the trust. I decide how to use the money…”
“I don’t need money. I need you to find the evidence and destroy it.”
“Are you certain any evidence still exists? It’s been fifteen years and no law enforcement agency has even whispered they have it.”
“Tammy swore she hid it in the house.”
August gulped without speaking. He looked frightened. Then he said quietly, “Tammy’s been dead five years.”
Ivy had lived with Penelope long enough to learn to read human reactions. August didn’t want to go looking for the “evidence.” And he feared any mention of the person “Tammy.”
The angry voice was silent, waiting for compliance. Ivy had encountered this man when he was a child and lived here with Penelope, her short-term mate, and her son August. She knew the bully child’s tactics that continued into adulthood, and didn’t like them.
“I will do what I can from here,” August said on a sigh. “I can’t leave just yet.”
“No! You have to go back and get that evidence now. Otherwise I’ll have to….”
“Okay, okay. I’ll do it.” August pocketed the phone and looked to Ivy with bleak eyes. “I have to leave, Ivy. This house is for sale, as soon as the renovations are complete, someone other than my family, your family, will live here. You’ll have to move into the garden.”
“You can’t leave me! I haven’t lived wild in a very long time. Penelope took me in when she and I were both very small children and I lost… I… Pixies aren’t meant to survive winter alone without protection.”
“I’m sorry Ivy. I don’t know what else…”
“Take me with you.”
“I don’t know.” He paused and gulped again. “I don’t have much of a garden at my house. I don’t know where you’d live.”
She flitted around the room in a lopsided circle and returned to perch on his shoulder. “You promised your mother that you would take care of me.”
He dropped his head. “I know. Our winters are milder in Oregon than here in New England. You could probably find a good tree to make your home.”
“Will there be others of my kind?”
She hummed hopefully Dum dee dum, dum.
“I’m sure there will be. My town is full of Pixies. You can find your own tribe and no longer be alone. In fact, I know just the tree for you, a tall and strong walnut. It will welcome you. You will attract an entire tribe of wild Pixies that need a home. You will be their queen.”
“My own tree? A tribe of my own? I like that. When do we leave?”
“My step-brother insists I go immediately.”
“I do not understand. I have had many brothers. I will call the new members of my tribe my brothers. What is a step brother?”
“It is very complicated.”