Best Magic of All! 1st Place in Sept's Short Shots Contest
Three weeks after Sarah stumbled into the glade in the woods, she brought someone with her to see what she’d found. She and her friend got down on their hands and knees and crept forward, under the branches of a large pine and back out into the dappled sunlight.
“Remember that day I just ran and ran? The day I was so upset? Well, I ended up running here and tripped and fell. From where I landed, I could just see where we are now. I lay there, under the tree and cried. Then, I really looked at what was in front of me. And, you know? I felt just a bit better. Not a lot, but lighter somehow. I know it is silly, but I feel like this is a magic faery glade.”
“It isn’t silly,” replied her friend, Cate. “Sometimes, we need to grab on to anything at all that can make us feel even the slightest bit better. It does feel magical. You need to show this to Phoebe. Well, when she gets out of the hospital. She’d love it!”
Sarah nodded. “She would, wouldn’t she? I want to take some pictures of it to show her.” Still lying on the ground and balancing on her elbows, she took several pictures of the small mushrooms, one of an iridescent blue butterfly and another of a ladybug crawling through the grass.
Cate grinned at her friend. “She will love them. Maybe you could make up a story for her. One with faeries and the like.”
“Certainly is the perfect place for them! If they would be anywhere, it is here!” She looked at her watch. “I need to get back to the hospital. Thank you for coming with me today. She will be happy to see you!”
“I’ll be happy to see her. Sarah? You were right, I think. There’s just something about this place. I feel better, too.
After the women crept away, a minuscule faery crept out from behind the biggest mushroom. Not much more than a purple and pink flash of light when she flew, standing there, she was a vision in a myriad of purpled hues. Her short blond hair was a riot of tumbled curls and she smiled as she watched the women leave. Another faery, this one clothed in green, landed nearby.
“Those the ladies you told me about?” asked Cyrella, the green faery.
“Yes,” said Moira, the purple one.
“The Sarah-lady is so sad inside.”
“I know, but she is sad for her little girl. Most of the bigfolk only think about themselves. Not her.”
“I wish magic worked the way bigfolk think it does,” mused Cyrella.
“Yeah, me too. I looked in her mind. Her little girl is so beautiful.”
“You mean she is pretty?”
“Well, she is that and her hair is short and curly like mine! But no, I mean inside, where it counts.”
“Ah, her mother is too.”
Moira nodded. “Think they will come back?”
“I think so, especially when they figure out their fancy camera-phones can’t take pictures here. I felt bad about that, but,” and she shrugged. “It is what it is. For our safety, after all.”
“I know. She will think she moved when she realizes they are out of focus. I hope she comes back. I think she needs us. It is nice to be needed.”
“She definitely needs good thoughts now. I know that the bigfolk believe in other things way more than us faeries, but maybe we can help her some. If she does come back, that is.”
“I bet she does, we are very close to where her little girl is, after all.”
Sarah sat with her little girl in the big hospital bed. She and Phoebe were having a good morning together. The horrible meanie headaches, as Phoebe called them, were leaving her head alone and so she and her Mother were drawing picture of faeries. Sarah had told her daughter about the pretty little faery glen she’d found. Rather than being disappointed about the pictures, Phoebe decided they should draw their own.
“Look, Mommy. I drew a pretty purple faery,” said Phoebe holding up her picture.
“I bet that is exactly what a faery living there would look like!” said her mom.
“Can we put it up on the wall, over there?” she asked, pointing to the wall across from her bed. “Then I can see it when I wake up!”
“That is a good idea. Is this a good place?” asked her mom, holding it up to the wall.
“Uh huh,” replied Phoebe, yawning. “I’m awfully tired, Mommy.”
“Then why don’t you take a little nap, sweetheart. C’mon, cuddle up. Maybe you’ll dream of the faeries!”
“I’d like to dream of faeries,” she said sleepily.
“You didn’t? Moira! You know we are not supposed to go to the bigfolk places! What if you’d been seen or,” Cyrella shuddered delicately, “been caught?”
“I know, but I had to go. I needed to see the little girl. Phoebe has leukemia. She’s awfully sick, but she’s got the brightest smile. I don’t know how she does it.”
“Smile after the night that child had. She was really hurting. I peeked. It was like her head was exploding. Her mom, that Sarah-lady? She sat there holding her all night long. Don’t worry. She wouldn’t have seen me if I was standing there as big as she is! Her eyes and her thoughts were all for her little Phoebe. I tried to give her mom a bit of a good, hopeful nudge, but I don’t think I helped her any.”
“Probably not, she is too worried about her child.”
“Phoebe was drawing pictures of our glade today. She drew a picture of me! She even got my colors right!” smiled Moira.
“Uh huh. Nudged her, too, didn’t you?”
Moira looked the tiniest bit guilty. “Well, maybe a little,” she allowed. “I just want to help somehow.”
“The medicine the bigfolk are giving her will do that,” said Cyrella.
“I know that,” Moira said sharply. “But staying positive will help all of them, won’t it? Do you know she has a daddy and a big brother? Her brother’s name is Jack. He is so good with her. He brings her surprises and plays with her.”
“Hmm,” said Cyrella. “My big brother never played with me! Her brother must really love her!”
“He does,” smiled Moira. “It really shows, too. They are a very nice family. They shouldn’t have to be going through this,” she continued, sadly.
“No one should,” agreed the other faery. “Well, you’ve seen them now. You are not going to go back, are you?”
Moira looked at the mushroom she was sitting on. She shrugged. “Maybe.”
Moira looked at her friend. “I can’t not,” she said simply.
“How do you spell Moira?” asked Phoebe.
“M-o-i-r-a,” answered her mother. They were drawing more faery pictures a few days later. “Why?”
“That’s the faery’s name. I had a nice dream about her. It made me feel happy. She said I should think about the faery glade when my mean old headachies come. Do you think it will help?”
“It just might, sweetie,” said her mother. “It certainly couldn’t hurt any!”
“Mommy? Can you go back and see the faery place again? Maybe you could bring one of my pictures and leave it there. I bet the faeries would like it!”
“Of course, I can do that,” smiled her mom. “Maybe I can go when your daddy comes later.”
“Okay,” Phoebe smiled. “I’m going to draw an extra pretty one for my Moira-faery.” Phoebe picked up a crayon and started drawing. A little bit later though, the crayon dropped from her hand and she was sound asleep. Sarah picked up the picture. It was of a purple fairy sitting on a mushroom. Next to it, Phoebe had drawn her mom sitting on the ground looking at the faery.
Later that afternoon, after her nap, Phoebe finished her picture. “Do you think the faery will like it, Mommy?”
“Of course. I thought you’d draw one of you and the faery.”
“I drew you because I want you to see her too!”
“Ah,” said Sarah. “You never know, maybe I will!”
Later that afternoon, Sarah walked back to the faery glen. In her pocket was the carefully folded picture her daughter had drawn. Sitting on a nearby root, Sarah removed the picture from her pocket, unfolded it and placed it near the mushrooms. She found a small rock and placed it on the edge of the picture so it wouldn’t blow away. Leaning back against the tree, Sarah closed her eyes for a moment. She was so very tired. She was trying to be so strong for everyone, but it was so hard. It was the hardest thing she’d ever done in her whole life.
A gentle breeze ruffled her hair and a meadowlark sang cheerfully nearby. After a few minutes, Sarah relaxed and fell asleep.
She saw a purple faery standing on Phoebe’s drawing. She was smiling when she looked over to Sarah. “You must be Moira. Phoebe said that is your name. I’m Sarah.”
“I know and I am,” smiled the faery. Her voice sounded like a myriad of tiny bells on the breeze.
“Phoebe wanted me to see you. I can’t believe I am,” said Sarah softly.
“Stranger things have happened,” said Moira. “I’m not allowed to really let the bigfolk see me, but since you are asleep, I’m taking a chance. I want to tell you something. You know that magic, the way bigfolk think of magic, at any rate, isn’t really real, right?”
Sarah nodded. “I wish it were though.”
“You’d wish all this away. I know.”
Sarah nodded, a tear slipping unnoticed down her cheek.
“In your world, there is another kind of magic bigger than anything I could do. Do you want me to tell you what it is?” Moira didn’t even pause, but kept talking as she flitted over to Sarah’s bent-up knee. “It is right in there,” she continued, pointing at Sarah’s heart. “And in there,” she said, pointing to Sarah’s head. “You see, Phoebe simply believes. Belief is a very strong magic. So are the prayers you bigfolk say.”
Moira sat and continued. “You have to believe she will be okay. You all do. Heart and mind. When she hurts, you have to believe it the hardest! It doesn’t always work, just like your bigfolk prayers don’t, but without believing there is nothing. It is very, very important!”
Sarah looked at the little faery. “It is so hard. I am so frightened for her.”
“I know you are. How can you not be? It is okay to be scared. But believe she will get better!”
“Phoebe said she had a dream about you.”
“I know,” Moira said. “I tried to help her a little. See that pebble over there?” Moira pointed underneath the biggest mushroom. Sarah reached over and picked it up. It was grey and pink and it sparkled.
“Put it in a little bag or something that Phoebe can hold. Tell her you found it here and that it has a teensy bit of faery magic in it. It won’t make her stop hurting and it can’t stop her headaches, but it is full of something that can help her.”
“What is it full of?” asked Sarah.
“What do you think?” Moira questioned in return.
“Exactly. Hope is the most powerful magic there is. It is time to wake up now, Sarah and go back to your precious Phoebe. She is a most special little girl, as are both your children. You are very lucky, your husband and you. Wake up now.”
“And so I woke up and in my hand was this little pebble.” Sarah handed it to Phoebe.
“A magic pebble, Mommy!” squealed Phoebe. “A hope-pebble we can share!”