A scene in a fantasy/reality setting.
Callie stared, unblinking, at the little person standing on the dark green leaf of a rose bush, whose fragrance had attracted her attention. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Rubbing her eyes, she blinked several time but the image in front of did not dissipate.
A fae, aka fairy, stood resting on the leaf, looking up at her with serious and pleading eyes. She, yes she, stood little more than 7 inches tall, about as big as Callie’s own hand. She wore a skirt and tank made out of deerskin and her brown hair was plaited down her back, ending just above her waist in an intricate braid. Her hair framed her round face and showed the green flecks in her wide hazel eyes. Her wings were translucent, illuminating only when the sun flickered on them. Every so often she flexed her wings, sending out little puffs of air that Callie could feel across her face.
“Hello,” came the soft voice of the, well, creature. Cause what else would one call a little person with wings? Fairy. That’s what, her mind told her. She shook her head to clear the thought away, because there were no such things as fairies. She’d always known that, even when she was young and naïve. Then what is it you’re staring at? Her mind intoned.
And that’s when she flashed back to the days of prosperity, when the harvest was good and the ground fertile. Her Ma and Papa would always leave little presents on the edge of the sprawling mass of trees that bordered their land to the south for what they called the wee folk, as a thanks for blessing them with good crops.
Callie remembered that, instead of sitting and listening to the stories of mystical creatures and songs spreading through the night, she would study her big book on botany. Her Ma and Papa had bought it for her after several weeks of scrimping and saving every last penny.
Confused as to why her Ma and Papa would put out food and drink and little pieces of cloth and leather, Callie rationalized at the young age of 5 that her Ma and Papa were keeping up pretenses so that the stories the young ones were told became more real to them. She was certain her Ma and Papa returned later in the night to pick up the supplies and bring them home. And this explanation suited her just fine, until she turned thirteen and started questioning everything. That’s when she learned the truth.
In the kitchen one morning, kneading dough with her mother, Callie had blurted out, “Why do you and Papa keep leaving perfectly good food, drink, and clothing scraps out for creatures that don’t exist? Surely you know by now that the younger kids don’t believe those stories any more. You don’t have to keep up appearances.”
Her Ma had stop kneading and turned to look steadily at her. Her long dirty blond hair hung in a single braid down her back, her blue eyes sad and serious as she studied her only daughter. Pursing her red chapped lips, she replied, “Well, that’s too bad that they don’t understand where our luck and good fortune comes from. They will surely learn someday to pay tribute to those that help provide for us. And since they provide for us, we provide for them. It’s a relationship that our people have cultivated over the generations, and to not do so would be to forsake our own good fortune. “
She had stared at her Ma, aghast and disbelieving. Her Ma actually believed in fairies! And she believed they were the reason for the good crops! ‘That was ridiculous’ she had thought. At thirteen she had become somewhat of an expert on botany and had collected many more books about the subject. That her Ma and Papa believed in fairies instead of the rain, wind, and other elements that caused their good crops and therefore good fortune was incredible. A little piece of her faith in her Ma’s and Papa’s intelligence died that day.
“Hello,” said the fae again, obviously impatient with Callie’s silence. Her voice was small and musical with a soothing lilt to it.
Callie knew she should say something, but she couldn’t get any words out. Instead, glancing one last time at the fae, Callie straightened and sprinted down the hill into the multi-roomed hut her Papa had built for the family when Callie was around three. Dashing through the kitchen and living area, she ran inside her room, shut the door, and collapsed on her bed, face down.
Could she really have seen a fae? And if she did, what did that mean? That they were real, and everything she’d always believed was wrong? No, she couldn’t have seen what she thought. She had to have been hallucinating, yeah, that’s it. She was hallucinating. She probably had heat stroke, since she wasn’t used to living without A/C. When she 18 she had gone away to University and that’s where she discovered all the modern conveniences that she had hadn’t when she was young. Now 21, she had gotten used to those conveniences and must be having a hard time adjusting. Even though, her mind whispered, it wasn’t that hot out.
Still, she clung to that hope for the next few minutes as her thoughts raced; however, her thoughts betrayed her. She couldn’t shake the image of the little person and the voice echoed in her ears. Could hallucinations talk? She wondered. She didn’t think so. However, she wouldn’t know, she tried reasoning, because she had not studied psychology at University.
Something inside her, her own little voice, nagged at her. You saw what you saw. You what she was. She was a fae. You know this. Your Ma and Papa were right. The little voice chanted over and over, growing louder until she couldn’t deny it any longer. She had seen a fairy.
“Ahem, hello!” came that little voice again, annoyed now and persistent.
Callie lifted her head to see the fae standing right in front of her on her bedspread, a patchwork quilt that her Ma had made. Shaking her head one last time, her last desperate attempt at disbelieving, she tried to get the image to fade. When it wouldn’t, she sighed, resigned.
“Hi,” Callie replied softly.