“Orlaithe’s the real name,” he booms, holding out a large hand for you to shake, which you do as you tell him your own name.
“But you probably already knew that,” you say as you take back your hand. His wink in response confirms your suspicion.
“Orlaithe,” you think. Much less mainstream than “Liam” or something. In the back of your head, you recall the elves and their merry titles.
“Most of ‘em just call me Orl. Sounds like Earl but with an Irish flare. Better tan callin’ me Leppie or Leper,” he remarks, snorting in laughter at his own crude joke.
“So what’s going on with dear ol’ Jack?” he asks, returning to the snow globe.
Your feelings of happiness and wonder disappear, remembering your grave situation. “He’s really sick. Or something like that. I don’t know if I can say he’s ‘sick,’ but something is very wrong with him.” You then proceed to tell the Leprechaun all about Jack’s condition, right from when it started up to when you left him earlier that evening.
His brow is furrowed in concentration. Though if it’s from thinking of a solution for Jack or just him focusing on a particular rough spot in the globe’s surface, you’re not sure.
He’s quiet for a long while after you’ve ended your mini-story, though.
He scrubs the globe a final time before setting it down on the counter just in front of you.
“Wait here,” he tells you. “I’m gonna go grab sometin’ from the back. Don’t burn the place down,” he finishes with another wink as he turns and leaves into the back room.
Even though you aren’t completely sure that he’s going back there to grab you something that will help Jack, you feel instantly relieved. As if just telling someone else was almost enough to make the situation better. You know that Orl will help you somehow, even if all he ends up doing is lending an ear.
Beginning to get bored and wanting to get the image of Jack’s pain-filled face out of your head before you break down, you take an interest in the snow globe sitting expectantly before you.
Just like everything else in this store, it’s an incredible work of art.
It’s a pretty good size. There’s no way you could pick it up with just one hand. Not without running the serious risk of dropping and breaking it, anyway. The glass globe is sitting on a pedestal consisting of several snow-dusted evergreen pine trees, the crafted forest giving way to just pure white patches of snow on occasion around the globe’s circumference. You see little tiny birds dotting a few of the branches, hardly visible unless you really look. Details were not forgotten though. Each feather, each eye and beak is carefully carved, the paint applied with a careful and steady hand with seemingly one goal in mind—accuracy. The tops of a few trees stretch up and onto the delicate glass of the globe itself, providing not only gorgeous decoration but also a wonderful, snug nest.
Wait…a few of those trees aren’t just simply on the outside of the glass. No…half of the tree is on the outside, but the other half is on the inside of the globe, as if each had meant to go through in one direction or the other but got stuck in its passage. This effect creates a perfect transition into the trees found within the globe, which become progressively smaller and thinning out the further you travel into the center of the artwork.
After the trees comes a snowy white bank, which borders an iced-over lake. So beautiful and serene, so wintery and exquisite. It looks like a real frozen lake was shrunk down and placed into the globe, the glossy surface of many shades of blue slightly glistening in the shop’s lights. You’re mesmerized by its tranquility, as if you were standing in the scene yourself…
Wait, haven’t you been to this place before?
You see little white lines swirl in some places on the lake’s surface, as if someone has been skating on it. You follow on of them until your eyes land on something truly incredible.
A small figurine standing towards the end of the lake.
No, wait. Not just standing. The right leg is slightly elevated, arms a bit away from the sides for balance. Frozen in a gliding position, in an easy yet elegant ice skating trick. Upon further inspection, you see that the figurine strongly resembles you. In fact, there’s no mistaking it. From the hair color to the placement and shape of your cheekbones, even your height in proportion to the surrounding trees. Needless to say, the clothes it has on are your clothes.
And then…then there are the skates. They’re your skates. The ones that Jack made you. But on this little mini-you. They even glint and shimmer the same way that yours do.
One thing catches you as being odd, though.
If this is a snow globe, then where’s the snow?
Sure, there’s plenty of crafted snow all over and in the thing. But not the kind that “falls” when you shake it, like your typical snow globe.
Being who you are, you just have to know why there isn’t any of this other snow. Maybe there’s something more to the globe than meets the eye. If there’s one thing that you’ve learned from the past few months, it’s that things can be more than they appear to be, that things may not always be as they seem. So, slowly and carefully, you pick up the globe in both of your hands, looking up briefly in erroneous guilt to see if the Leprechaun is anywhere nearby, watching.
You barely lift it up off of the counter, just enough so you can get a peek under it.
That’s when you see a little wind-up key. Like you find on music boxes. Or snow globes that play music or have some other moving part.
You twist the key and delicately set the globe back down on the counter.
The little figurine-you begins to skate along the lake’s surface, turning and twisting and twirling along the previous skate lines, though being pulled by some unseen mechanism. Mini-you skates as a slow, music-box version of “White Christmas” plays. Each note rings through your ears, settling deep in your heart as you watch the skater go around the lake. Then, it begins to snow. Not in the store, no, but in the globe. From out of absolutely nowhere, the snow falls. It looks so real. This isn’t the fake snow you find in most snow globes, not the small flakes of glitter or paper. Each snowflake vanishes just before it hits the bottom, cycling back to the top of the globe to live and fall once again.
You hardly notice the song end and Orlaithe lean back on the opposite side of the counter.
“It’s a real beau’y, isn’t it?” he asks, looking at the globe as well.
You jump back, startled. “I-I’m sorry! I just got so curious and—”
He chuckles and stands up straight, holding up his hand to stop you. “’s all right, luv. Here, give this to Jack.” He hands you a small rectangular vial made of deep blue glass. “It should relieve some o’ the pain, though it won’t fix him up completely. That’s out of my field.”
You grip onto the vial, which is just barely longer than your palm is wide. A lifeline. Something that will help Jack. A piece of precious, priceless gold.
“Thank you,” you manage to softly whisper.
“Anythin’ I can do to help a friend in need, even if it’s not much,” he says, smiling.
He picks up the globe and is holding it out in front of him, staring into its depths. He sighs. “One of my favorite pieces yet. Almost as if it takes you in and transports you right there, doesn’t it?”
You’re just about ready to slap yourself upside the head.
How could you have been so ridiculously stupid?
More help has always been there with you. Just a whisper and a toss away.
Your hand reaches over your jacket pocket, where you always keep it.
North’s magic snow globe.
The Leprechaun winks at you.
“I’ll see you again soon, darlin’.”
You bid him a hurried farewell, shutting the door behind you. Even with North's snow globe, you're happy you didn't go straight to the Pole first. Something tells you you'd still have to get this...this vial of...stuff to make sure Jack could make the trip.
Still not wanting to take your eyes off the place quite yet, you back up away from it, keeping your eyes fixed on it.
Just barely visible is a faint rainbow—no more than a few feet in length—bending from the roof of the shack.
Must be more visible and bigger after a rain, you figure.
Then you notice something else.
No wonder you hadn’t seen it before. The sign practically blends in with the side of the shack. But it’s there all right. A little round sign in the shape of a cauldron, made of the same wood as the store is, casually hanging a foot or two to the left of the door.
“Pot o’ Gold” it reads.
Clever, you think as you turn from the store, smiling and filled with hope. Real clever.
And you look up to find yourself standing in your own street once more.