How is life? Enjoying spring? I am :)
This is actually the novel I was working on when I joined Blogger, but my skills weren't/aren't enough to complete it. It is set in what I now believe is the Western Kingdom, counterpart of the Eastern Kingdom where my cycle about the three brothers was set (It's in the story list for those who don't know it and got curious ;)). Anyway, it was always my intention to make a short story version for children out of the first chapters and I did. I actually finished it hoping I could give it to Matthew Funk, who has an awesome fundraising project to help the survivors of the Japanese indescribable catastrophe; fairytales for Japan, but I haven't heard back from him and I'm not very patient with not publishing something finished. It's a vice, I know, can't help it.
The story is suitable for all ages, but targeted at children, so I'd appreciate any feedback on whether or not you'd tell this to your (future) children, so I can mend it where needed. I hope to post it on another blog - still in progress - for kids.
And sorry if I'm being terribly slow to respond lately, it's been awfully busy. I really need a break... (from life, so I can finally get my stuff finished and catch up on things that are important).
Macy and the fairies
There was a hint of magic in the air that morning.
The little girl hopped from stone to stone along the path by her father’s side. Macy so loved those Sunday walks whenever the weather was nice. And it was nice. Nice and sunny and warm.
In her hand she held a lush bunch of wild flowers. Every now and then she stopped to add another growing alongside the road. They would look great on the kitchen table. Mother would be pleased.
She set out to jump again, humming a catchy chorus, skipping one stone each leap and trying hard to keep her balance swinging her arms around. Then something swift caught her eye.
It quickly moved from left to right and back in front of her, made a full circle and then dashed off, disappearing into the shrubs. Another feathery creature launched from the green at high speed. Was it a little bird that had come out to enjoy the day? It was so small and so quick she had trouble keeping track of it. She froze. Where did it go? She turned round and spied on every single thing that appeared to be moving.
There was another... And another! They were everywhere around her.
“Daddy, daddy, look, daddy!”
Daddy was busy conversing with a friend over a cigarette and did not respond to her jerking his hand and pointing at the tiny firefly-like beings.
They seemed to be leaving. One by one they retreated into the wall of plants and left her sight.
The last of them circled her head a single time then rushed off into the bush. Impulsive as she was, she plunged after it, head first into the green.
And so the legend unfolds.
“Wait, wait, little bird!”
She cried after it, but it kept speeding up no less. Running as fast as she could she tried to catch up to the dazzling creature, stretching her tiny hand out to it until she could almost reach it, managed to touch it. She poked it with a fingertip and pulled back quickly. It was warm.
The little creature stopped and turned to look at her. Now she could see that the feathers were not feathers at all but long thin green leaves bound together into some sort of dress with a miniature green hat.
It was like a tiny woman, radiant and beautiful, with an oval face, long hair, pointed ears, big, dark eyes and the bright wings of a butterfly.
“What a strange bird you are.” The child said. Fearlessly.
The elfin woman startled. The girl turned to face the park. It was so far away she could barely see it, just a green spot in the distance. Then she noticed that the butterfly-woman was hurrying away as fast as her little wings could carry her.
The girl kept her eyes on the butterfly-creature and chased her, tripping over everything in her way. Green smudges formed on her beautiful freshly-washed Sunday dress. Her little bonnet slid off her head and released an abundance of wild curls. Smeared with grass and dirt she followed the butterfly-girl across a meadow full of fragrant flowers, buzzing with pretty birdies in the sundriest attires, as if they were trying to blend in with the foliage.
They popped up to look at her, whispering to each other and pointing.
“Can she see us?” She heard them gossip in their high-pitched voices.
To her right, just inches away from her hand, another was staring at her with open mouth above the blossoms.
“Oh, hello.” The girl murmured in a cheerful tone.
The little being hid behind a leaf shyly, then peeped at her from the sides.
“Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”
The little one giggled and showed her tiny head, before hiding again.
“It’s okay, you can come out.” The girl said, kneeling down slowly. “I’m Macy. What’s your name?”
She gently slid the leaf out of the way with a fingertip. The elfin creature gasped. “Are you a monster?” She asked in a voice as small as her posture.
Macy laughed her child’s laugh. “Who, me? No, silly, I’m a girl.”
“Are you going to eat me?”
“Why would I eat you, you don’t look particularly tasty and you’re far too small.” She teased. The butterfly-girl sighed in relief and stepped with upright toes unto the girl’s pointing index-finger. Macy raised her hand to watch the creature more closely.
“What a peculiar butterfly.” She said puzzled.
“Butterfly? I’m not a butterfly, and I’m not peculiar either, I’m a fairy!”
“A fairy?” The girl said, pondering. “I’ve never met a fairy before.”
“Then how can you say I’m peculiar?” The fairy bent over to look at her. “You look pretty strange to me yourself.”
“I don’t think so.” The girl muttered.
Another fairy called out a strange word she didn’t understand. “Eyla!”
“Oh, we’re not supposed to talk to humans.”
Around them the buzzing slowly but surely diminished. Everywhere minute bundles of light disappeared into the distance. The fairies were leaving.
The fairy shrugged in panic. “They’re calling me. I have to go. Bye.”
“No, wait... I...” It was no use. She watched her head off towards the horizon.
She should go back to the park. Daddy must be out searching for her by now. He would be angry. She looked down her stained dress. Mummy would be too.
The little girl looked back one more time and sighed. Ah, what an adventure. How quickly it came to an end. She made her way back reluctantly, shuffling across the grass. What would she tell her parents? That she got lost? She wasn’t supposed to wander off like that. And she couldn’t tell them she followed the fairies... They wouldn’t believe her. She could say she followed the butterflies though. Yes, she’d tell them she followed the butterflies!
But where was the park? There was not a hedge in sight. She’d been so focussed on the fairies that she paid no mind to her surroundings and now there was no telling which way she'd come. She was lost.
She shivered in her summer dress and clasped her arms around her tiny body for warmth. The little girl looked up at the sky. The sun was already setting. It would be dark soon. She shrugged, afraid. Tears were beginning to well up. What was she going to do now? She sniffed. Where could she go? There was not a single house in sight, no road, no people.
She rolled up into a ball on the ground on a nest of low ferns, humming comforting songs to herself, all alone in the wild. In the distance was a threatening howling sound emerged. She gasped and started sobbing, spooked by all the frightening sounds of the nightfall around her.
With the world pitch black and the cool night air biting her skin, the little girl brought her hands to her face and started crying incessantly.
Then she heard a buzzing sound behind her. She sprung up and looked around. There was nothing to see, but the enervating tone gained force. It was as if a mosquito was zooming around the back of her head.
She made a full turn, waving around. Now she heard it by her right ear, she turned towards it, then her left, in front of her again.
“What you doing?” A little voice said.
She made a few pirouettes, but she could not make out anyone in the meadow with her. “Hello?” She said, swinging at the buzz.
“Hey, stop hitting me!” The voice cried out.
She got up and stood perfectly still, perplexed, where did it voice come from? “Who are you?” She asked, confused.
“My name is Tuli.”
“Tuli? What a strange name.” She bent over and checked the grass. Nothing. “Where are you?”
“Right here, silly!”
She turned around towards the noise. A tiny little boy with wings that resembled a bee’s as well as a fairy’s, was humming around in circles in front of her.
“Oh, there you are. Hello.” She shook the boy’s hand with her pinkie and dried her tears with a final sob.
He popped up in front of her so close to her face it made her leap back. He looked gigantic from that angle. “Why you crying?” He asked in his high child’s voice.
She sighed and sniffed again. “Because...” She stammered. “Because I can’t find my way back home.”
“Oh.” Said the tiny boy. “But you can come with me, you know, I could take you to the Fairy Queen. Queen Hämarik will now what to do.”
She nodded and wiped her eyes with her sleeve.
The little bee-boy babbled on, she could hardly make it out all of the words, and started humming a cheerful chorus, winding sideways to the melody. The light of his tail dancing in the sky lit the way and she kept her eyes on it, crawling over rocks and tree trunks after him through the dark, into the densest forest.
They headed out through the woods that never seemed to end. It was getting difficult for the little girl to discern the paths the fairy-boy led her over, she couldn’t tell one thing from another and everywhere she looked, there were long creepy shadows forming. The trees, the plants, they seemed to her predators about to launch. She shuddered.
“Is it... still far?” She asked her tiny little guide in a shaky voice.
“We’re almost there.” She sighed. Her feet were so sore and she was so terribly tired. The gap between the girl and her fairy increased as she started to fall behind. She caught glimpses of other lights lurking behind the stems of trees. They were staring at her, following them wherever they went. She stopped and watched them while Tuli kept moving ahead. Eventually, he was swallowed up into the dimness of the forest and even his song died out. She was left all alone.
“Tuli?” There was no response and in the forest more and more of those twinkling lights appeared. Tiny voices resonated from all around her, giggles and chuckles from behind the trees, constantly moving in circles around her.
Then a pair of gold gleaming eyes appeared in the shadows. The girl stumbled back in fright. They came closer.
“Here comes the queen.” “The queen.” “Queen Hämarik, the priestess of light!” “She’s come to the human girl’s aid!” The high voices in the shadows cried out all at once.
From the darkness the Daughter of the Moon, queen of the fairies, strode forward. She was a tall, slender woman enveloped in light, with a soft, kind face and a sweet melancholy smile. On her back were large transparent wings. The girl looked at her in awe. She was clothed in a delicate white gown, had big discs of eyes like liquid gold as bright as midday sun, pointy ears and hair like silver in which the moon was reflected, the same shade of bluish grey on her lips. A silver tiara with a shiny moon-shaped diamond on top was on her head and she held a sceptre that was almost as long as she was, with the same emblem on it. There was the faint sound of tiny bells at her ankles when she walked.
The woman had an aura of magic around her and a smile that concealed more than it gave way as elusive and mysterious as the moonlit night itself. She was so brilliant Macy could see herself reflected in her skin, glistening in the moonlight, as if she was looking into a mirror. She looked utterly divine.
“Are you an angel?” The little girl asked.
The queen smiled and bent down before Macy. “No child. I’m Hämarik, the Fairy Queen and guardian of this forest and lost children. I’ll take you home.”
Her voice sounded like mystic midnight wind gongs swaying in a gentle breeze. It was soothing. Drowsily, the girl nodded and sunk away in the fairy’s arms. Queen Hämarik, fairest of fairies, picked the girl up and rocked her carefully, like something precious and fragile. There was a faint hint of lilacs about her. Macy smiled. It reminded her of her mother. With a slight rustle, they lift off and floated through the heavens, all the while Hämarik hummed softly lullabies of old, as aged as the earth and as soft as the murmurs of the sea on the quietest of days. Macy slowly dozed off.
Hardly even did she notice the familiar softness of her own bed and the imprint of a fairy’s kiss on her cheek.
“Goodnight, dear fairy.” Macy whispered.
“Farewell, darling human child, may you be blessed and dream only sweetness from now on.”
She briefly tapped the bed and it began to rock the child to sleep like a cradle, to the rhythm of her own deep breathing.
With as faint a noise as cane bending in a summer breeze, she dissolved into the night air, spread out with the leaves in the wind.
Fast asleep, the little girl did not hear the door crack and her mother slip in, relieved to find her daughter safe and happily lost in the land at the other side of the rainbow, where pixies live and dreams come true. The land you can only see, once your eyes are closed.
With a final glance and tug at the fairy mobile above Macy’s bed, she tip-toed out of the room, smiling.