Going Up, Going Down

The Queen woke him up in the middle of the night, when the temperature was at its lowest. He huddled deep into the comforter and fumbled for his glasses on the nightstand. In the darkness they didn’t help much but he felt better with them on. “What do you want?” he said.

“Come with me,” commanded the Queen, all hauteur. “Right now. Come.”

“I can’t,” he said, then added when she just stared at him, “I’m in my underwear.”

“It does not matter. Come with me. Come now. Come to fairy land.”

Even through the blanket the cold was seeping in to him. He shivered and started laughing.

“Why do you laugh,” she frowned, “and hide within your blankets? Come with me, time is passing. There is no time for this foolishness.”

“This is impossible.” He scrubbed his hands through his hair and tried to make himself focus. “I can’t go with you to any fairy land, it’s ridiculous.”

“Pffft, what is that? Ridiculous. Phoo. I say you must come with me, and you will come with me.”

“I used to dream about this, when I was younger, about running off to magic and wildness. But now –” he spread his hands and started laughing again.

“What does magic have to do with your childhood dreams and foolishness? Stop your laughter, leave off clutching to your bed, and come with me.”

He started to say something but couldn’t think of what. She waited with the patience of certainty. Down below the great clock struck the hour slowly, one, two, three.