On the tenth visit on the tenth week following her tenth birth day, she took ten additional steps beyond the Big Tree Boundary.
She went Farther.
At first nothing happened. The woods looked as they had before. The trees no different in the Farther Realm than they were in the land she’d known and was allowed in until then: Green branches, a ground springy with the fallen leaves, wind whispering in the tree tops, birds’ song.
Then the light shifted and the air shimmered with a sense of something else. A being with.
She shuddered. Not in fear but with expectation. Not everyone went Farther, and none she knew spoke of what they’d found.
She stilled. The world around her blinked. The forest floor awoke.
Her heart raced and she inhaled. Her soul spoke. She knew it! She knew it! She’d be among the few allowed to see Fair Folk.