On Holiday

On Holiday

A fun fantasy romp with a modern twist.

By R.W. Van Sant

Part of the

Synaptic Overload Anthology


In our modern world, people travel to exotic places to vacation and take a break from the work a day lives. It is a chance to relax and have fun. What would happen if fairies came to the new world for a vacation? What would they do for fun?


“Oh, and wasn’t it a grand dance last night?” Rose leaned back against the corner wall and let the shadows conceal her fragile form. Tingles of excitement flowed through her small body. She hated waiting. Anticipation, however, always made the payoff that much better.

Cobwebs hung from the ceiling and fixtures tickling her nose. Time-settled dust billowed up in small clouds each time she tried to move. Since assuming her assigned place in the dusty attic, she had forced down more than one sneeze. She gave a glee-filled nod to her friend, who hid in the shadows across the decrepit wood floor. Knowing that it could collapse down on the first floor at any moment only added to the ambiance. The place was absolutely decrepit—and perfect.

“Indeed, it was.“ Birch rested lightly against the outer, sturdier wall.

“The music, the frolicking, dancing under the moonlight. Oh, how we twirled around in great winding circles.”

“I do believe we trampled down some of the farmer’s wheat.”

“And our darling Heather, was she not a free spirit? The way she weaved herself in and out, between the other dancers, was a sight. Inspiring to behold.”

“She is truly a force of nature.” Birch agreed, smiling.

The window grew bright with light from outside dirty, cracked glass, illuminating the dilapidated room. Faded wallpaper hung down in strips, barely clinging to the wall. Gaps revealed some of the wall’s original wooden planking.

“Trees died for this.” It almost brought Birch to tears. People tore apart the natural world to build their things, and then just left them to rot away. They used so many chemicals in things that even the rot was worthless. It was, more and more, the way of the world.

The light abruptly vanished, leaving only cobwebs and shadow.

Heather glided in through the doorway. “Did you see that? They’ve arrived. We’ll all be on T.V.! I could just pop.”

“Birch and I were just talking about the dance last night.” Rose smiled brightly.

“Yes,” Heather moved in close beside Rose. “But wasn’t it this morning’s hullabaloo that was all the fun?”

“I do believe that the farmer almost had a stroke.” Birch grinned at the memory.

“He but took a glance at his wheat field and yelled, ‘Cynthia! Circles, in the fields we’ve had a visitation. UFOs, Cindy’.”

“I haven’t laughed so hard in years.” Rose risked a short peek through the dark window. “Come look now, they are pulling some fancy-lookin’ gadgets outta that wagon of theirs.”

“It’ll take them a few minutes to get all that gear inside.” Birch looked at the decaying floors and wondered if the old house could handle all the added weight.

“Is everyone ready? Are you all in your assigned places?” The tour director, Leaf, entered the room, waving his arms around in motions that reminded Rose of the windmills she’d once seen when she vacationed in Holland. To be sure, she was having much more fun on this holiday. “Good, and know your parts?”

“Yes sir, Maple Leaf, sir. I play with the temperatures in the rooms; make them hotter or colder as the people pass by. I’ll blow a cold wind right up their skirts.” Heather fluttered her wings brightly, gave a mock salute to Leaf, and flew out the door.

“I whisper in voices that will stay on their recording machines but not be heard very well by the people,“ Rose whispered in her best ghostly voice. “Should I be scary, or mysterious?”

“Can you do something between? We don’t want their hair turning white, do we?”

“Don’t we? Guess not.” Rose sat back and contemplated a scary, mysterious message. She opted for letting the audio recorders record her saying, “Help me.”

“Yours is the hardest Birch, Bark. You get ta’ mess with all those electrical doodads they are carting in.  Can you handle it?”

“Sure as rain.” Birch faded into the wooden walls. The electromagnetic sensors wouldn’t know what hit them.

“I’ll move around making shadows and glowing balls of light. Ain’t America grand?” Maple Leaf flittered back down the stairway to check on the other fairy folk he’d brought along on this excursion, his third annual American Mischief Holiday. The whole affair was going rather well, he thought. Many of his customers had proclaimed it the best holiday they’d had in centuries.

Rose Blossom spun around in circles with giddiness. Back in Ireland, she couldn’t curdle a cup of cream without someone yelling fairy. In this new land, people didn’t know fairies. Since they couldn’t see the fair folk, they blamed ghosts, aliens and any other fool thing that got into their heads. Even so, the holiday was almost over, and she’d be happy to be back home. “Birch?”

“Yes, Rose?”

“The tour package says it’s to be the woods of the Pacific Northwest tomorrow night.”

Birch could hardly wait. To be back among the spirits of tree and greenery would be a welcome change from all the death around him. They were not his countrymen, but his kindred none the less. “I do believe it is.”

“What do Sasquatch sound like?”


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