Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has an urban setting. Works of urban fantasy are set primarily in the real world and contain aspects of fantasy, such as the discovery of earthbound mythological creatures, coexistence or conflict between humans and paranormal beings, and other changes to city life. The two share 90% of their genre DNA. However, the main differences are this: Urban fantasy focuses on an issue outside of a romantic relationship between two characters. Paranormal romance focuses on a romantic relationship between two characters and how outside forces affect that relationship. Trying to get out of the mindset of what has been done and examples can be difficult until I look at my son’s plant.
Our neighborhood in Magnolia Creek is every iconic family-friendly neighborhood street everyone paints. There is beautiful blooming trees and flowers during the spring and holiday decorations into the winter. There is a toy store that creates beautiful displays but has a special ‘display reveal’ just for Christmas. There’s the Ice Cream Parlor on the corner that serves remarkably creamy ice-cream-scoop cones and a Pizza Restaurant right next to it. The scent of marinara sauce and garlic will draw you right in the front door. There is the coffee shop/used bookstore next to an art supply store that has items from paint to photography. The pharmacy and grocery are not on the block but across the intersection tucked neatly behind large old oak trees as if it’s been there for centuries. Truth is, this small town has been around for centuries and the creatures within.
As you’re driving away from getting groceries, stopping for your favorite pizza, your going to drive towards the town’s nursery. This end of the main road leads into the town’s small plantation-inspired home neighborhoods complete with wrap around porches and iron gates. Past these homes, the road leads to farming lands and houses that are by themselves picture perfect on rolling hills. Before the neighborhood is my family’s Magnolia Creek Nursery, which is caddy-corner from the largest plantation style home which has been passed down through the family. The home came with the business or vice versa. Either way, I was born into this world, both worlds with a requirement of the name ‘Tabitha’ to always be in the family. I’m Tabitha but so is my mom and was my grandmother and her mother.
Our nursery grows and sells trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers, vegetable, fruit bushes, and herbs. We also have a beautiful assortment of stones and bricks. During Halloween, we sell some of the largest pumpkins in the tri-county area and bails of hay. At Christmas, we decorate the nursery, have snowman competitions, sell hot chocolate that features some of our greenhouse grown mint, and have the most magical looking trees for people to buy and decorate with their family’s ornaments. We even have a separate greenhouse for herbs. This was my specialty but not for reasons you would think. I do have a green thumb and can grow just about anything or help just about any dying plant. It’s my specialty because I can fill a certain order for certain customers due to my bilingual tongue. I was born with a rare gift that allowed me to speak to pixies. Our Nursery was home to the entire world’s population of these creatures. They do leave the safety of the nursery but it’s to help areas where there were wildfires or forestation that almost kill the wildlife.
A quick bit of information. THere are small towns all over the world that cater to the preservation of mythical creatures both small and large, winged and finned, dark and light. After the war on mythical creatures witches both good and bad have made a vow to protect what creatures are left. Have you ever drove through a picture-perfect town or the creepiest village as if you walked into a ghost story? If the town is too good to be true or to eerie that you wished wasn’t true, then it’s a foster town. Because both dark and light witches have vowed to take care of our world’s mythical creature there is an unspoken truce between us. There will be certain arguments from time to time but nothing that endangered our wards. Tabitha is a name that Pixies trust and is why the name must be passed down. In order to have a girl named Tabitha, I have 7 older brothers. They don’t have the gift of pixie speech which is Sylvan but they do have special jobs at the nursery to help take care of our wards from heavy lifting, being playful, to the protector.
The only danger to our mythical wards is each other. Some creatures are sworn enemies of others and some have an appetite that are like potato chips to them, you can’t eat just one. So our picture perfect or not so perfect towns are placed strategically around the world to keep mingling from occurring. It was a sunny morning when I went to the greenhouse to bid hello to the Pixies, bring them freshly baked bread and get ready for the day of filling herb orders for other witches when I noticed that the Pixies weren’t eating. I asked them what was wrong in their native tongue but all they did was prepare but for what I didn’t know. I went and asked my mom if there were any secret messages sent through flames but there was nothing. I tried to fill herbal orders but our herbs were luscious and green as usual.
We were all sitting down for dinner when my mother noticed that my brother Gunner was missing. My family went to look for my brother and I went to look after the pixies. When I got to the greenhouse they all swarmed over to me and hid under my apron, in my pockets, in my red curly tendrils, anywhere they could fit they were there. I could hear my brother hollering from the back of the nursery. The Pixies wouldn’t allow me to leave the greenhouse but I could see through the window that gunner was full of dirt and he was rubbing his wrists. My mother comes into the greenhouse,
‘Tabitha, I need you to do something that you would never do. I have prepared your room with all sorts of plants, potted trees and bushes, herbs, and some flowers. Essentially, I have turned your room into a greenhouse. Magnolia Creek is under attack.’ My mouth dropped open. I’m too young for a battle to protect the pixies. Who am I kidding, anyone is too young for this kind of battle. That’s when I realized this is because of an older witch. Before I could speak,
‘Tabitha listen to me. I need you to take the pixies to your room. You will have to make the walk alone. I need to stay behind and enchant the greenhouse and our nursery.’
I made sure all of my wards were with me and I didn’t walk. I ran and didn’t stop until I was in my room. The Pixies started to relax a little but the younger ones were still crying and upset. Usually, there is singing, playing, games, and helping plants grow but this time the younger ones stay close to my bed where my mother placed a large peace lily. I started to cast protection spells and incantations and the little ones worked on the peace lily. Gunnar was ok but he was the guard at my door. He’s one of the last lines of defense and I’m the last. My job is to keep these creatures safe because they have a job to do for future generations. I turned on the radio and learned that the entire town was started to turn dark and the greenery started to die. It was like the town was dying and without the pixies being able to go into the community to help ward off whatever this was attacking the town, it looked like every other town.
I could hear my mother yelling for Gunnar to stay put but to stay alert. THen I heard Gunnar outside my door, ‘Bram! What the hell are you…’ his question was stifled by what I wasn’t sure. Next thing I knew my door was pushed down by mud and the ugliest Goblin rode the mudslide into my room and after him, Bram entered. He was the warlock sworn to protect the goblin race from across the sea. The goblins do the opposite of what pixies do. Instead of helping things grow and live, they slowly torture and murder living things. Pixies and goblins will fight to the death if no one is there to intervene. More and more goblins came storming into my room and the Pixies were by my side in a matter of seconds. There was a flash and I thought I failed at my job. There were smoke and the scent of sulfur. When the air cleared I saw Bram on the floor with my mother and Gunnar standing over him with wands fashioned from herbs and apple branches. The goblins did seem to be affected any by Bram being unconscious and out of nowhere, I started speaking in a language that I didn’t even know. I looked at my mom as the Goblins started cowering and backing out of my room.
My mother stood beside me and said, ‘You are speaking Ghukliak. It’s the language of the Goblins. This means that you are both dark and light. This means you are the balance that is needed to maintain peace between all the mythical creature. THere is a lot to do!’ Her eyes were bright and her excitement was almost frightening. ‘Tabitha, first we are going to contact Bram’s family to work out a trade for the treacherous son. Then you will command these goblins to head home. Then we need to talk to the Mother Goddess and make arrangements for your future. The Pixies were back safely in their greenhouse feasting on honey wheat grain bread and Bram is the center of the arranged trade which came with him relinquishing his goblin wards over to me. I now have two mythical creature wards. I had spent some time with the goblins and they aren’t as bad as I thought. They just bring balance to life and view things differently.
The Mother Goddess was accepting of my dual abilities but informed me that I’m much more than I realize. My family and I were direct descendants of Brigid. It has taken many generations for both the light and dark to reside within one human form. It means that I have the heart that is needed to keep balance. I was then blessed with immortality. Whenever there is a threat of battles or an extinction of a creature I am there to keep balance.