At Fawcett International Airport, the clear morning gave way to a cloudy drizzle as Caitlin O’Malley went to board her plane at the terminal. Billy Batson, Freddy Freeman, Mary Batson, and Willie B were there to say their final goodbyes.
“Don’t forget to call when you get there, Cait, and keep in touch,” said Billy as he once again hugged his friend, this time both of their eyes fresh with tears. The others waved farewell as Billy carried Cait’s bags up to the gate. Handing them to her, Cait gave Billy a peck on his cheek and then headed to the plane. Moments later, the plane lifted up from the runway and into the dark clouds, out of sight. The four youths headed on home in the rain, knowing they have most likely seen the last of their good friend Caitlin O’Malley.
As they filed into the car and drove toward home, in a nearby alley, a bright light shone, unnoticed by anyone. Once it disappeared, a young girl about fifteen years of age walked out of the alleyway and looked around as if it was her first time in Fawcett City.
“So this is the place where Caitlin O’Malley lived? Definitely different from where I come from. I think this will be an interesting place to explore.” With that, the girl walked out into the misty air, and if one looked closely, an outline of what appeared to be a pair of wings could be seen from her back as the moisture of the dew briefly made them shine, then disappear.
After a short walk down the street, the young girl approached the apartment home where Caitlin lived. Upon opening the door, she saw an elderly couple dusting and cleaning the living room.
“Hello,” said the young girl as the two came to greet their guest.
“Ah, you must be the new tenant Caitlin told us about. Welcome. I’m Mr. Potter, and this is my wife, but everyone calls us Pa and Ma Potter.”
“Thank you. My name is Flo — er, uh… Florence… ah… Fair — Florence Fair,” she said, stuttering a bit. Cait had already told her the importance of maintaining her secret from people.
Ma Potter handed Pa the papers to the lease. “Just sign here, Miss Fair, and you’ll be all set. I don’t know how you came up with a year’s rent in advance, but any friend of Caitlin is a friend of ours.” Florence signed the papers, and Pa Potter gave her the keys to the apartment.
“Thank you for your hospitality and your welcome,” said Florence in a low, sweet voice. She shook Pa and Ma Potter’s hands, and they excused themselves from the room. “Take care, and feel free to call us if you need anything.”
Once the door was closed and locked, Florence looked around at her new surroundings, and in an instant, a light enveloped the girl, and an amazing transformation took place. Where once stood a girl now stood, of all things, a pixie. Dressed in a plant-like costume, complete with little fairy wings, she had changed into her true identity as Flora, a plant elemental faerie.
“Hmmm… the realm of the mortals doesn’t seem too bad, though it lacks the comfort of Fairyland,” mused the pixie. “Soon, I’ll have to take a quest out in the world and see what it has to offer me. Wouldn’t Mr. and Mrs. Potter be surprised if they knew the payment for the apartment was made with gold. Good thing I know leprechauns and where they keep their pot of gold. However, in order to interact with humans, I’ll need to find a job.”
As she laid down on the rather comfortable couch, the phone rang. Looking confused by the ringing, Flora located the telephone and picked up the receiver. The phone stopped ringing once she did this, and with a puzzled look on her face, she put the phone back down.
“I wonder what type of machine that is?” And once again, it started ringing. Once more Flora picked up the phone, and this time she heard a voice.
Flora stared at the receiver for a moment, then finally figured out how it worked as she said “Hello” back, though through the wrong end.
“Flora? Is that you?!” said the voice, and the pixie recognized it; it was Caitlin O’Malley. “I’m sorry, Flora. I forgot there are no telephones from where you’re from. It’s what humans use to communicate over long distances without the use of mystical powers.”
Turning the phone right-side up, Flora could hear Cait clearly. “Ah, Caitlin. It’s good to hear from you again.”
“Are you settled in, Flora?” asked the white witch. “Everything is set, and I trust you met Pa and Ma Potter. They are really sweet and will help you out with anything you may need. That said, Flora, are you sure you really want to go through with this?”
There was a bit of hesitation, then Flora answered back, “Yes, Caitlin. For years I have wondered about the world of mortals, ever since hearing the old stories about how one such person entered near our world nearly forty years ago.”
Caitlin answered back, “Yes, I remember the story. Captain Marvel told it to me once. An explorer found a civilization with Butterfly People and Hawkmen. The explorer’s mind was poisoned and was going to lead the hawks into the real world to attack it. Thanks to Captain Marvel and the Butterfly People, the person was cured, the invasion never took place, and the world remained hidden from mortals.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Human Hawks,” Captain Marvel Adventures #143 (April, 1953).]
“Correct. Fairyland is connected to the countries of the Hawkmen and Butterfly People. My mother is queen of the pixies, and when she told me of that adventure, it piqued my curiosity. I was able to contact you because of your special abilities and knew my plans of making it to the mortal world would finally come true, despite the objections of the queen mother. Now that I’m here, I can see if I can interact amongst them. Though you have told me much, my friend, there’s much I need to learn, and I will do my best.”
“Very good, Flora. Before I leave, I want to thank you for saving Billy Batson, Willie B, and myself from the Black Magician. Billy saw a flash of light, which I figured was you. Do your best, and if you need any assistance, get hold of Billy, since I most likely will no longer be available to anyone.” Caitlin’s voice trailed off a bit after making the last remark.
“Billy… he’s the one that uses the magic lightning of the wizard Shazam to change into Captain Marvel,” said Flora. “I’m very sorry you will no longer be around, Caitlin. Though we have never met face to face, you have been a very near and dear friend to me, and I will never forget you. Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome, my pixie friend,” said Cait. “Take care.” And with a click, a dial tone could be heard.
Flora hung up the phone and then went into the bedroom and laid down on the bed. “There was such great sadness in Caitlin’s voice, as though she did not want to leave her friends and life but had no choice in the matter. She wouldn’t go into detail on exactly why. I only hope I can live up to her expectations and carry on in her place.”
As she pointed her finger at the light switch and mystically turned off the light within the bedroom, Flora closed her eyes and fell asleep in her new home on her new world in a place called Fawcett City.