A suburban fantasy story by
From head to toe, she was no taller than a quarter stood on its edge. Her tiny wings were lacy, delicate, a lovely shade of powder blue with silvery lines that traced the edges and curled toward the point where they emerged from her back. They fluttered almost as fast as a hummingbird's, so the pattern appeared only as sparkly silver light.
Her feet, however, weren't moving. They were stuck. What had appeared to be a solid surface was instead as soft and sticky as honey, and she'd sunk in up to her ankles. She tugged at first one foot, then the other, but it was no use.
Now she threw her arms up to protect herself as something hurtled down toward her...
Only a minute or so earlier, a gust of wind had trapped her here.
Faeries weren't meant to be indoors. In a kitchen. In the suburbs.
But the flowers beneath the window in the backyard had been so enticing, their scent wafting upward and catching her attention as she flitted by. Promising herself only a quick sniff, she'd descended and hovered over them.
That quickly, a door had opened and a boy tossed an empty orange juice carton into a recycle bin, while at the same time the wind went whoosh! and she found herself inside as the door slammed shut.
“Dere's a faery in dere.”
“Eat your Cheerios, Roxie.” The toddler's older sister pushed the little oatie O's to the center of the bowl. As usual, Roxie had already slurped down the milk. Now she glared at her brother, on the other side of the kitchen table.
“You eated her.”
“You ated her up.”
Middle school-aged Ben stopped staring at his Gameboy long enough to gobble down the rest of his peanut butter and faery sandwich, and gave his nearly three year old sister a big, loud smooch on the top of her head.
“Ate who up?” LeeAnn asked.
Fifteen year old LeeAnn, totally in charge until their mom's business trip was over, was generally the only one who listened to rambling toddlerese on these early school mornings, and listen was a bit of a stretch. Mainly, she just repeated bits and pieces of those little nonsensical sentences. It seemed bordering on neglect for everyone to ignore the kid.
“Da faery. She shitted on the peanut butter and den he smushed her wif the bread.”
Her brother and middle sister Grace broke into giggle fits.
“Pleeeeease tell me you meant sitted, Roxie. 'Cause I don't mind munching on faeries, but blechhh!, not shit!” Ben laughed as he snatched his jacket off a chair.
“Put a quarter in the swear jar, alleged faery murderer,” LeeAnn said.
“Dad didn't hear me say it, so it doesn't count.”
“Well, I heard it.”
“He doesn't like snitches, you know.”
“Or foul-mouthed little dorks, either.”
They smirked at each other, then he and his Wolverine backpack were out the kitchen door. At twelve years old, he had places to be and hell to raise. Well, heck. PG-rated.
“He eated her.”
“Are we still on that?”
Big brown eyes stared at LeeAnn, all soulful and pained and full of someday-I'll-be-repeating-this-on-a-shrink's-couch seriousness. The lone Cheerio dangling from her brown curls looked downright suicidal.
Roxie had a rich imagination that LeeAnn loved and usually played along with, but some days time was tight. Last weekend when the toddler was absolutely certain she'd seen Mary Poppins fly by her bedroom window—umbrella and all—there was no school bus to catch.
“Sorry, time to go. Mrs. Waite will be here to pick you up for daycare any minute, and then I have to get to school.”
“Wait, nooooo! I see dat! I see dat! Anuvver faery wif blue wings. On da window thingy. She's pretty. I want her. Gimme her, gimme her! Lanny!” Her arms were outstretched, her fingers all grabby. LeeAnn picked her up and plucked that last Cheerio from her hair.
“You can see the faery when you get home, ok?”
Roxie's lower lip was stuck out, but it wasn't quivering. No crying on the way. Good.
She looked over her big sister's shoulder as she was carried out of the room. She waved.
“Bye-bye, faery-lady. See you la‒”
Wilson the cat, all white except for one black splotch on his chin that looked like a goatee, jumped up on the windowsill, spied this second set of pretty blue, glittery wings flittering, and with a flick of his tongue...
Well, you can guess the rest.
Seconds later, LeeAnn strapped Roxie into Mrs. Waite's car seat, not even noticing that her little sister's eyes were so big and round, or how quiet she'd become. It was too early in the morning for a toddler to digest such a profound life lesson.
But there it was: Nature can be cruel.
Also, as Wilson would have told her if he could talk, faery wings tickle on the way down.
Copyright ©2014 Nik Barnabee. All Rights Reserved.