Jacob is a photographer and artist. One day, as he is walking through the woods, he catches a glimpse of a fairy, a tiny, flying human-shaped creature.
He knows no one will believe him, not even his lover Robert, so the following day Jacob ventures back into the woods whereupon he discovers more than he bargains for. An old oak lying across the rushing waters of a small river is the gateway to another world.
Fairy Land is a place of wonders where he meets Kellen, a fairy soldier, Faena, a vain beauty, and King Utrin. Jacob is eager to return home to Robert, but the fairy king gives Jacob a task he must complete before they will show him the way back. He must break the energy barrier between Fairy Land and the Demon Realm for the fairy soldiers to pass through.
In the realm of the Demons, Jacob meets Xavier, from whom he discovers what the fairies have been hiding from him -- time passes differently in these realms than on earth. Devastated, far away in both time and distance from his home and beloved Robert, what is the twist that returns the smile to Jacob’s face? The surprise that brings the joy back to his now miserable existence?
“It is a source of great magic,” Kellen replied sounding like the last word on all things photographic.
“It’s just my camera. It records images. I’ll show you.” Then remembering what happened last time the flash went off, he warned them. “There might be a bright light, but it’s okay. It won’t hurt you.”
Jacob aimed the camera at the fairies, who had moved in closer to Artur and Elrad.
“Smile,” he said and he pressed the button.
There was indeed a flash and poor Peony, still very small, even though she was full-sized, ducked behind Lilit.
“See,” said Jacob. “Nothing to be frightened of and if you come here, you can see yourselves.”
He waited until the fairies had drawn nearer and then held the camera up to show the recorded image. “There you are,” he said.
There were oohs and ahhs from the fairies as they examined themselves in the photo. As Jacob’s first fairy photo, of Kellen, had been nothing more than a flash of light, Jacob was quietly surprised that this one had worked out. Perhaps the flash had something to do with Kellen’s transformation. It was possible the camera had simply caught the energy Kellen had expended while changing form.
“How is that possible?” asked Lilit.
“What are you going to do with us?” asked Peony timidly. “Are we to be slaves?”
Jacob laughed. “No. I’m not going to do anything with you,” he said. “It’s not really you in the picture. Here you go. Look.”
He pressed ‘delete’ and the screen went blank. Peony screamed and the others gasped.
Jacob laughed. “Don’t worry. It was just a picture. An image. See, you’re all still here. No harm has been done.”
The fairies examined their arms and legs, and began nodding when they realised to their delight, that nothing had happened to them.
But Jacob had seen the time stamp at the bottom right-hand side of the picture before he deleted it and more time had passed than he’d imagined. He thought of Robert, driving home from the city and arriving home to an empty house.
“I have to be going,” said Jacob. “It’s been really nice talking to you, and I hope I can again.”
He stood up and bowed politely.
“Wait,” said Kellen. “Where are you going?”
“Home,” said Jacob.
“Where is your home?” asked Peony looking up at him with big blue eyes.
Jacob raised his hand and pointed a finger, though something inside, some instinct, told him he was about to get some bad news. “I live…” He swallowed. “…just over there.”
The fairies looked at each other and then at Jacob.
“But no one lives over there,” said Kellen, getting to his feet to join Jacob.
“There are no houses over there,” said Faena, twirling a lock of blonde hair around her finger and looking at Jacob seductively.
Jacob felt ill. “I do,” he said moving away from the group. “I live over there.”
Kellen went to grab his arm, but he jerked himself out of the way and almost stumbled. He continued walking, hurrying through the grass with pure dread coursing through his veins. He ran and ran until the trees began to thin and eventually became a field of grass and wildflowers. Nothing looked familiar. Where were the puddles? The fences? There should have been a road somewhere nearby and a tin shed. But there were none of those things.
Out of breath, he stopped and rested, allowing the fairies, who’d been following along behind, a chance to catch up.
“Where am I?” he asked, his face etched with worry. “How am I going to get home?”
The fairies began talking in their rapid squeaks and squeals.
“We can help you get home,” said Kellen placing an arm around Jacob’s shoulders.
“But you have to do something for us first,” said Faena, adjusting the neckline of her tunic.