At noon, September 19th, a giant earthquake hit Pixie Hollow. Mahogany had been sorting berries and nuts for the animals and got thrown to the ground. She hit her head on a wall and blacked out.
When she awoke a minute or two later, she felt something wet against her face and something like bricks weighing on her body, making it hard to move. As her vision cleared more and her consciousness returned, she realized the wetness was a overripe raspberry smashed under her head, and the heaviness on top of her was the weight of all the berries and nuts she had been sorting, thrown to the ground along with her.
What happened? she wondered, trying to sit up. Immediately she had to lay back down, though. Her head was pounding from the impact with the wall and she knew any effort to get up right now would put her straight back on the ground with dizziness. Wow. I better see a nursing-talent fairy as soon as possible. Just as soon as this pain passes…
Finally able to sit up without falling back down again, Mahogany had gotten onto her hands and knees and was crawling through the rubble out of Knothole Pantry. She knew she couldn’t walk or fly all the way to the fairy infirmary in her current state. Her first thought was to find Fawn, the mentor fairy for all the animal talents. Surely Fawn could get Brother Dove to fly her to the infirmary.
But when she got outside, blinking against the sun, she saw chaos. The Pumpkin Patch looked totally different. There were lots of injured fairies like herself, some of the uninjured ones trying to help the injured ones. Part of the problem as that the earthquake had shaken down loads of acorns and other nuts from the trees, pelting fairies and animals everywhere in the Autumn Woods. Even the pumpkins had taken a beating. The sunlight was hazy through the dust that had risen from the earth. And suddenly Mahogany felt a cold lump in her stomach as she realized, Something very bad must have happened to break the pixie magic that protects us from disasters like this!
A squirrel was shakily coming down a tree he had clung to while the earth shook. “Squirrel! Friend squirrel!” said Mahogany in squirrel chatter. His black, shiny eyes lit up with excitement and comfort. He ran right over, chattering all the way, so fast that she could hardly follow: “What a big shake! All my food flew out of my home, after all my hard work to collect it! I had to hold onto the tree so tightly during the big shake. I thought I would fly right off with all my food. The birds all flew away. I wish I had wings to fly away. I was more scared than when I see a hawk in the sky! How do you speak squirrel? Do you know about the big shake?”
Mahogany chittered back at the squirrel: “I hurt my head. I need help to get to Fawn’s Hideout quickly. Do you know Fawn? She lives in Maple Tree Hill. She is the best squirrel-speaker in Pixie Hollow and always has a stash of nuts and berries for animals when they visit.”
The squirrel squeaked, “Ohhhhh! The one with all the delicious food! Yes, I know her house. She is north. She helped me collect my food. It’s all gone now. I need her help to get more!”
“I need her help, too,” Mahogany said. “Let’s go together. Can I ride your back?”
The squirrel chattered in surprise at her, bouncing around in a circle. “You with wings! You want to ride on me!”
“I’m hurt,” Mahogany repeated. “I need your help to get their safely.”
The squirrel chattered excitedly again, but hopped in front of her. Grateful, she climbed up onto his back. “Thank you, Mr. Squirrel. Let’s go find Fawn.” She and the squirrel bounded off in the direction of Maple Tree Hill.
On the way, they saw more of the same chaos. The squirrel, whose name in squirrel talk was Chippety-squeak, chattered a commentary on all of it. “Look at all the hurt fairies! And animals, too. I never saw such a thing in all my life. Such a big shake. Do you know what happened? Someone should know. Maybe the one we are visiting will know.” They hopped over the last log bridge over the stream that surrounds Maple Tree Hill and ran up to Fawn’s front door, nearly colliding with Fawn as she ran out, arms full of fabric and foodstuffs.
“Mahogany! What happened to your head?!” Fawn asked, horrified when she saw the big red stain on the side of her face.
“No, no, it’s just raspberry juice, don’t worry!” stammered Mahogany. “But I did hit my head pretty hard and I need to get to the infirmary. Can you get Brother Dove to fly me over there?”
“You and every other fairy in the Hollow!” Fawn said, slapping her forehead with one free hand. “Brother Dove has been flying back and forth as fast as his wings can take him! I’ve gotten a few other birds to join in, too, but I’m having trouble locating a lot of them. That earthquake scared them pretty bad. I have animal-talent fairies searching all over for them, but some of them might have even left the Hollow!”
Mahogany had never heard of any animals leaving the safe, protected Hollow before. But Pixie Hollow didn’t seem so safe and protected anymore.
“Tell ya what,” Fawn continued, pulling one piece of fabric off her pile. “Take this rag. I’ve been dunking them in the stream and delivering them to all the hurt fairies I can. Hold it to your head, and just sit and rest here while I deliver these, and I’ll see if I can get another bird over here to take ya to the infirmary soon.” Mahogany nodded that she understood.
“Chippety-squeak, can you run over there and get Mahogany that mushroom cap?” Chippety-squeak trotted off and Fawn said to Mahogany, “It’s not quite a pillow, but it’ll do. Can’t have you fainting while I’m gone!” Chippety-squeak returned with the makeshift pillow and dropped it behind Mahogany. “Actually, Chip, I could use your help with the other fairies, too,” Fawn said to him. He chittered excitedly. “Flaptastic!” Fawn said and turned back to Mahogany. “Take it easy, chipmunk. I’ll be back soon.”
Mahogany laid her head back on the pillow and rested.