A girl trying to find her dead parents discovers the truth of her fairy ancestry instead.
|September 18, 1967
Today in school we learned of our ancestry, the people who came before us. How hurt I was, knowing I had no proper family, just Mrs. Figgs as a guardian. When we were asked to share what we already knew about our family, I was stuck. I burst into clouds of anger and tears, and ran from the room. Mrs. Figgs was kind and didn’t give me a spanking. But I still felt as dull and as worthless as the fog when it spreads throughout the harbor, and blocks the sun from view.
I pushed open the cemetery gates excitedly, forgetting to hold up my dress from the mud splattered ground. Could this possibly be the burial ground of my own parents? Mrs. Figgs had been sympathetic of my loss in parental guidance, so she took me in, vowing to keep me safe from the blowing wind of trouble. But I needed more than just her, more than the vague memories she tried to pour into me. I needed something solid, that wouldn’t wisp away from my grasp just when I needed it. And, this was my chance! I could really find my parents.
* * *
I liked my last name. It was Harpsong, and when you said it, it sounded like the soft twang of a musical instrument. But now, as Mrs. Figgs was flipping through the booklet of people buried at this place, I felt differently about it. Something was wrong with it. It felt fake, like the energetic blow of a storm of trombones, instead of its real, calm, ching of the harp string. I was disappointed with the feeling.
“Molly, honey, over he-are!” Called Mrs. Figgs. “I think I found something!”
Goodness, I thought, wincing at her screechy voice, she is really excited.
“What?” I asked. Though she was always getting on my nerves, I didn’t care. I needed to hear what she had to say.
“Darling. In the little booklet here, there seems to be something about your parents. I am just not sure.”
“What does it say?” I asked. Eagerly, I raced to stand beside her. Just then, a tall man walked up to us.
“I’m sorry.” He said shortly. “The cemetery is now closed.” Then he pointed to the gates, as if excusing us. As obedient Mrs. Figgs ushers me toward it, looking back nervously at the man. I didn’t like him either. But later in my life, I would hate him. What I didn’t know was that something was going on in the cemetery that night.
I ran ahead through the garden, my mothers’ favorite place, according to Ms. Figgs.
The flowers were in bloom, but had been pounded down by the rainfall the night before. I didn’t want to talk to Ms. Figgs. As I had predicted, my coat was hanging on the peg on the front porch. It was my slicker but it was warm and fuzzy on the inside. It had started to drizzle, so I slipped it on. Pulling the extra large hood over my head, I started to run. I clattered past the over grown hedges on a cobblestone path. Soon the path wore down to dirt and I found myself in the forest.
For a moment or two, I looked around. Then I saw it. A big oak that towered above all the other trees. I tightened the laces on my boots and hoisted up my damp skirts. How I wished that I didn’t have to wear a dress. But nothing could be done of that now, so I made do. I pulled a string out of the pocket of my slicker and pulled my skirts up. Then I tied them in the back at my waist. Underneath, I was wearing thick tights and bloomers, the best I could do for now. I grabbed hold of the biggest branch at the bottom of the tree. It was damp and slippery, but I managed to hoist myself up. When I started to climb, I felt right. Something inside me told me this was where I belonged. I let my hair slip from the uncomfortable bun and it draped my back in tan waves. Halfway up the tree was a swaying rope ladder that I had made myself. Ms. Figgs knew nothing of my walks in the woods. She thought she had forbidden me from the dark forest beyond the hedges. I took hold of the sides of the ladder and went up. At the top of the tree, the very top, was my tree house. I had constructed it. One dreary day, I found myself particularly mad at Ms. Figgs. I crept out of the house and went into the woods. It was dark and I was tired. But I saw the oak and felt power in my body. I climbed the whole way up, and decided to make a tree house. My only freedom. I worked for several days, trying to make it just right. I made a triangular house, with a roof. I would sit up there and read, brood or just listen to the sounds of nature. Today I was here to think. Soon I would ask Ms. Figgs what she had been about to tell me. But first…Ms. Figgs had told me that the cemetery closed at 4:30 but today it closed at 3:00. We had looked at the schedule outside the cemetery and Sunday’s times were 9:00 to 4:30. But the tall man had dismissed us at 3:00. That couldn’t possibly be right. Someone who worked at the cemetery would know exactly when it closed. He didn’t. A thought burst into my mind. Could that mean the man didn’t work at the cemetery? And if so, what was he doing and why did he tell us to leave? My brow creased. But I couldn’t find the answers to my questions tonight. Ms. Figgs was having a dinner party and would not hear of me skipping it. I sighed. Grabbing the first rung of the ladder, I inched downwards. I had to be careful in the rain. I jumped slightly onto a branch and climbed down. Then I ran to the house and hung my slicker on the peg. I knew my boots were muddy and wet, so I slipped them off at the front door. Ms. Figgs was in the kitchen cleaning. She was humming some song that her Aunt Myrtle used to sing to her. I tiptoed past the kitchen door which was wide open. Then I turned around and walked into the kitchen, pretending to come from my room.
“Ms. Figgs?” I questioned innocently. She turned her head and murmured to show she was listening.
“Ms. Figgs, what were you about to tell me before the man told us to leave? You said you found something…” I waited for her to answer.
“Did I, now?” She replied. “I’m afraid I don’t remember. But don’t worry. We’ll go some other time.”
My heart sank. Silently I walked up the stairs and into my room. I fell onto my bed with a groan. Slowly I turned onto my stomach and stuck my hand under the mattress. I pulled out a photo album. The photos were black and white and gray, the best camera had been used. I looked at my moms photo. It showed her smiling sweetly. She was so pretty, but didn’t look a bit like me. Except her mouth. I had her wide lips and straight teeth. I loved my smile because it reminded me of mom. But I looked more like dad. His photograph was more serious. His tan, curly hair was slicked back and did not show how curly his hair really was. I had his eyes, nose, and hair. I looked at his photo then at myself in the mirror. I had a straight long nose, blue eyes, and curly tan hair. Mine was not so curly, more wavy. I frowned. Why did they have to go?