A twisted fairy tale about a young girl who meets a creature out of a story book.
|“Do you want me to read you a story before bed?” Lidia’s mother asked as she helped the little girl into her bed. Lidia shook her head. She didn’t want to admit it, but the fairy tale stories that would have thrilled her weeks before were only scaring her now. It was sad. Her birthday had been a month before and her big sister Rachel had gotten her a grown up fairy tale book. It was a big book with gold pages and pretty drawings on each story. Lidia had been so excited to see the book. She loved it when her mommy or sister read to her. If someone had asked Lidia what her favorite time of the day was, she would have said story time.
That’s why it was so sad for her when she started having nightmares. Lidia knew fairy tale creatures, she loved them, but now she was seeing them in her dreams and they weren’t the happy beautiful characters from her fairy tale book. She dreamed that the fairies were watching her at night, whispering about how pretty she was. The fairies never showed themselves to her, but Lidia caught glimpses of them in the corner of her eyes. It was hard to tell what they looked like in the dark room, but if she looked really hard sometimes she could see the small shape of a creature with a twisted gray face.
It scared her. The fairies didn’t look like they did in the book. She wished they looked like they did in the book. They would be less frightening then. Closing her eyes, she tried to gather her courage. Rachel always told her only the best people in the world could gather their courage and face their fears. Lidia wanted to be one of those people, so, when she opened her eyes, she smiled at her mother. “Not tonight, Mommy.”
Her mother smiled and kissed her forehead. “Good night, Liddie”
“Night, Mommy.” She whispered as her mother turned off the light and shut her bedroom door. Lidia suddenly felt light headed. All the courage she had built up only minutes ago, faded quickly when the lights went out. She closed her eyes and pulled her blanket up to her chin. Hearing movement by her window, Lidia’s eyes burst open and she quickly scanned her room. Seeing nothing, her breathing slowed and she relaxed into her bed. There was nothing there. The fairies weren’t real. She was old enough to know that. Rachel told her the fairies weren’t real.
As Lidia closed her eyes again and began to nod off, she heard the faintest whisper come from under her bed. “You’re so pretty Lidia, so pretty. I wish I were pretty. I wish I looked like you. I want to be you Lidia. Can I be you, too?”
A whine of fear escaped Lidia’s lips before she could stop it and she sobbed “No!”
“Lidia,” The fairy wailed. “I hate what I am. I want to be human like you. I want to be your friend, Lidia. Don’t you want me to be your friend? I just want to play with you.”
“No, no, no!” Lidia cried, turning onto her side and burrowing her face into her pillow. “Go away!”
Feeling a sharp tug on her hair, Lidia gasped into her pillow. Too afraid to move, she asked, “What are you doing?”
“Lidia, you’re a mean person.” The fairy said and she could feel the fairy stroking her hair. “I thought you were going to be nice and let me share your life, but if you’re not, I don’t need you anymore. It’s more energy, but I can be you without your permission too.” Lidia felt the fairy’s small body lean closer to hers and then the voice whispered in her ear, “You should have told me yes.”
The fairy giggled. “I wouldn’t have had to kill you then.” The fairy’s hands tightened in Lidia’s hair to the point of pain and Lidia screamed.
Rachel shot up in bed. At first, she couldn’t figure out what had woken her, but then the sound came again, screaming. She barreled out of her room and slammed into the door to her sister’s room. The room was dark, too dark to see, and Rachel flicked on the light. Lidia was sitting up in her bed, gazing at her with her wide innocent eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Rachel asked, feeling her heart beat begin to slow. “You almost gave me a heart attack.”
“Nothing’s wrong, Rachel.” Lidia said, tilting her head to the side. “Why would something be wrong?”
“You screamed.” Rachel said stepping into the room.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Lidia said. Rachel looked at her sister closely. Something was wrong about the way she was acting. She almost seemed emotionless. “If I really did scream, wouldn’t Mommy and Daddy have come into the room too? You must have been dreaming.”
“Lidia, don’t play with me.” Rachel narrowed her eyes. “I know you screamed.”
“No, I didn’t silly.” Lidia giggled. “You must be tired.”
Rachel sighed. Maybe she had imagined it. Lidia had never lied to her before; she looked up to her big sister. “Alright,” Rachel conceded and crossed over to Lidia’s door. “Just, get some sleep, okay?”
“Yes, big sister.” Lidia said, watching Rachel as she crossed the room. “I love you.”
Rachel stopped and looked at the little girl. Lidia never used that tone. It was almost dead. Freaked out, she murmured, “Love you, too.” As she closed the door, Rachel caught a look at Lidia out of the corner of her eye, right before the light went out, and what stared at her was not her sister’s face. When the door closed, Rachel fell against the wall and clenched her fists. Those were not her sister’s eyes. Her sister had beautiful blue eyes, like the sky, but those eyes were opaque, like looking into a blind person’s eyes. For a second, she could have sworn, Lidia’s face resembled that of a monster’s. It had been gray and twisted like something out of a nightmare. Rachel shook her head. It couldn’t have been real.
The fairy sat in Lidia’s bed, humming a lullaby that she had heard the girl’s mother sing to her at night while trying to ease the child to sleep. The fairy smiled. Looking like Lidia was fun and Rachel was scared now and that was funny. Climbing out of the bed, the fairy lowered itself to the floor and lay down. She lifted the bed skirt and smiled at the real Lidia, who was lying in a pool of her own blood.
“I told you. You should have just let me be you. It would have been easier, but now you’re dead, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Don’t worry. Rachel will be with you soon. She’s still young enough to catch glimpses of the real me. You parents won’t be able to tell the difference, you know. They are going to think I’m you and when I cull your sister out, your parents are going to be all mine. Eventually, they will be with you too, Lidia.”
The fairy sighed and rolled on her back. It was tough getting used to being in a human body. They were so much larger than a changeling’s normal waif-like form. For a while, the fairy’s body would ache from stretching so large, but even the ache was part of the fun.
“Lidia, I’m going to have so much fun turning your parents into piteous husks.” The fairy licked her lips. “They love you so much. All that emotion will be so delicious.” The fairy paused, listening to the wind, and then smiled. “Don’t worry, Lidia. You won’t be lonely for long. I just want to play with Rachel for a little bit.”