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The Fleeing of the Trees

For so long the trees have been silent.Their stillness is natural, for nothing has come to wake them up.But she comes and whispers; their limbs stir, and their long-shut eyes flick awake.The call is not expected, made of two feet, pressed into land where feet have not been for a very long time.Planted, as it were, by someone who has almost failed her duty.She has been a guardian of the forest for an eon.Perhaps longer; she has lost count. When her guardianship was still new, she watched, heeding the smallest breath of wind, watching where it went, how long it lasted.The feel of its dance curling in and about the trees she watched over.She saw everything, and nothing was as it should not have been. Centuries, as they do, caused her to grow lazy.Too often did she go and frolic with the wind’s small spirals, that danced further each day from the forest.And she all but forgot her charges.Until the day the wind changed.Sharp, bitter, ice.A cold gasp, with nothing of the close winter air that…

The Fairy's Thumb

'Hey! Hey, I say!Are you awake?’
It was a small, ringing voice that Emma could have sworn came from somewhere around the tip of her nose.But that couldn’t be right.She hadn’t even opened her eyes yet.She was simply, she thought with blurry thoughts, on the edge of a vivid dream, almost, but not quite, awake. But that did not explain the tickling feeling on the end of her nose. ‘Hey!’ the voice tinkled. Emma’s eyes flew open to a sight that made her blink twice and stare narrowly.For perched just in front of where her eyes crossed sat a small creature.A small creature with wings. Every muscle in Emma’s body froze.She didn’t even blink. ‘Are you up?Of course you’re up!You have to be up.Your eyes are open.’As quickly and as fast as the tiny creature with the small tinkling voice spoke, it stopped.The creature bent forward toward one of Emma’s eyes. Suddenly Emma heard the sound of a tiny hand against skin, and felt its sting. ‘Ouch!’ she exclaimed. ‘Aha!I knew it.I knew humans only slept w…

The Gift of the Trial

I found myself alone in darkness, counting my blessings, for they were all I had to keep me from sinking.It began on a normal day, in a normal house, on a slightly better than normal couch, where I sat.Staring out my window—a normal window.Watching the passers-by.My nerves were on edge—and yes, this too was normal.But they—my nerves—walked a fine line between annoyance and longing.Annoyance at the sounds from the people beneath, spurting and bubbling like a confused faucet.Longing for whatever the close comradery was that caused them all to communicate freely with one another. I clutched my notebook fervently to my chest, as though I would somehow become a better writer the closer it came.And I waited.For the words to form, for that thing—whatever it was—to catch and light the burning fire that caused words to pour from my pen.Closing my eyes, I made three wishes—they were all the same. A cry from underneath my window startled me away from the self-loathing that had almost surfac…

Clara and the Faeries

They came for her in the night.Dancing, darting, a response to the dreamer’s pleas, the faeries came, and spirited her away.But let us start at the beginning, for faeries do not often come at anyone’s call.Only the downtrodden, those who are at a breaking point; the ones who might give them what they want. And Clara had something they wanted very much indeed. She had woken that morning, slipping silently out of her bed to see out her window.Frost had come during the night, biting every leaf, twig, and blade of grass.The world was painted over with milky ice.Clara thought it achingly beautiful.She put her little chin on her hands and sighed, her warm breath making a cloud on the window until she had to wipe it with the edge of her nightgown. Descending from the window’s ledge slowly, and tiptoeing to the door, she twisted the brass handle with her hand in her nightgown’s sleeve to keep her hand from getting cold.Clara willed her feet to silence as she crept along the hallway.She lo…

The Mountain Crone

If you look high up into the corner of the sky, just on the outer edge of the horizon, you might see a snow-topped peak pushing up, up and out of the clouds.It only ever appears with the barest hint of its thick white cap—and so is often mistaken for a cloud.
This is all to the advantage of the old woman who lives there. Hard bitten and ugly she looks to those lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the crone.It’s the luckier still who climb the tall peak and find themselves invited in for a cup of tea.The tea is very good.But its not the tea that makes the climber lucky—the luck is all in the conversation.For she happens to be a woman who tells the truth. Naturally, our story unfolds with a climber, one of the luckiest, who upon reaching her summit, found herself invited in for a cup of tea. The hut atop the crest was small and came as a surprise.Smoke curled from a tiny chimney.A plain wooden door, crooked from swelling and shrinking in the on and off moisture of the mountain, barred en…

The Fairy and I

Once, when I was very young, I snuck into the forest by moonlight.
By chance, perhaps, a fairy landed on a branch so close to my face I could see the glimmering of her pale eyes, alight with the glow of a thriving moonlit night.Her hair of spun silver, and delicate wings, her pale skin, and graceful movement inspired a thrill of joy that sang in my body from the tips of my toes to the ends of my hair.She was the most beautiful creature my child-eyes had seen—or so I had thought in that moment. For I would come to learn that I was quite mistaken. “Oh, you are so very beautiful!” I exclaimed, holding my fingertips back though they longed to touch, to make certain with another sense the truth of what my eyes saw. The fairy raised her delicate silver eyebrows, her eyes wide with surprise. “Do you really think so?” “Indeed, fairy, I think you are the most beautiful of all I have ever seen!”I spoke my impassioned truth again. “Ah,” the fairy sighed, and took in all of me.“But you are ver…