A widowed mother fights to keep her stories alive after her husband's passing.
| Melinda tapped her fingers idly on her lap top as she gazed blankly out the window. The sun was pouring through and all the little specks of dust danced gracefully on the air, twisting and turning like lovers on a dance floor. She blinked slowly to keep her eyes from drying out and moved her gaze to focus on what was outside the window. This time she didn't openly stare but examined the way the grass was lit up and how the flowers swayed in the breeze. All this beauty she could watch but not enjoy. Melinda had a deadline fast approaching and the worst thing that could happen hit her in the early hours of the morning. Writers block completely halted any train of thought and barred all avenues her story could venture down. She blew out a breath in frustration, paying no attention as it swayed one blond curl away from her face and back again.
"How hard can it be to write children's stories, he said." She mumbled to herself as she looked back at her nearly finished story.
With a small cringe of regret and pain she closed her eyes and cradled her head in her hands. The 'he' she had referred to was her husband, Joshua, of whom had gotten himself killed over a year prior. Melinda had started writing kid's stories for their daughter, Kimmie, when she was only a week old, and Joshua had encouraged her to pursue it professionally. And she had for the past three years, only two of which she had her 'partner in crime' to proof read them. After Joshua had died, so did the muse that inspired her playful stories of Leander Willowgrass. Leander, an adventurous yet moral young faerie, had been loosely based on the charm that was Joshua. His playful and adventurous side had often gotten him in trouble growing up, much as Leander's would do for him. But in the end all turns out well for the hero of the day, until Joshua's last excursion. Now only Leander lived on to adventure and toil and play, while his real world counter part's story ended so soon.
In truth Melinda was waiting for her inspiration to hit, something akin to lightning striking. Kimmie was with her grandmother so the house was eerily quiet. For a long time she sat there, eyes closed, cradling her buzzing head, hoping for some inkling of inspiration to pop up. From somewhere in the room a flutter, as if a dragon fly had somehow materialized in her office. A smile quirked the corner of her dry lips as she listened for the tell tale sound of wings again. And as if on cue the delicate wings buzzed again gently, accompanied by a soft flutter of air across her hand. It had landed somewhere on her keyboard and was now pacing impatiently back and forth across the keys. The steady 'click, click, click' of each key made Melinda's smile widen and she fought to repress a girlish giggle. She peeked through her fingers at the small figure, barely keeping his patience, walking back and forth with his fisted hands resting on his hips. He was dressed in his finest clothes, which consisted of a long brown tunic like top and a lighter brown material for the pants. His golden skin sparkled in the sun as his translucent wings flitted with agitation.
Melinda noted, to her surprise that indeed he was in his finest apparel. Gold and green ivy like embroidery wove in intricate patterns along the neck and sides of his tunic as well as down the outside of his pants and along the hem. Topping off his rather regal look was his very thin and very needle like sword, that hung delicately from a belt that matched his tunic. Even his long wild hair was neatly pulled back at his nape so the fire red curls could lay between his wings. His green eyes seemed to burn through Melinda's hands as he waited for her to notice him there. Being only as tall as a dollar bill was long, Leander made for a funny sight in his anger. After a few more moments of his pacing Melinda leaned back and stretched feigning surprise when she saw the faerie practically dancing across her keys with impatience.
“Why, Leander, when did you get here?” She smiled and crossed her arms as he rolled his eyes.
“Miss Melinda, I am in great turmoil on this early morning.” Leander breathed out, his voice surprisingly deep for one so small. Melinda noted, to her dismay, that it resembled Joshua's.
“And what sort of trouble have you gotten yourself into this time?” She quirked an eyebrow, and smiled at him playfully.
“Tis no trouble of mine, I assure you. But as you can plainly tell I am in my finest and that could only mean one dire situation is upon me.” He sat down on the space bar and rested his elbows on his knees so he could prop a hand under his chin. His wings drooped down with his unhappy mood, as if the weight of his predicament held them down.
Melinda sat forward resting her forearms on her desk. “Leander, tell me what's wrong. Why are you so upset and what is this situation?”
Leander's sigh was barely audible as he looked down at his bare feet. “Father is making me marry, and that means I can no longer be the free faerie I am now.” He looked up almost apologetically. “And that means I can no longer visit or help you.”
Melinda's heart skipped a beat as she stared down at the little faerie in shock. The one tie she had left to her husband was also leaving her. “But surely once you have your own little brood you could return for more adventures?” A hint of hope tinted her voice as she held her breath.
“No, Miss Melinda, This is the end for me, and for the stories you write of my adventures. I am forbidden to return after I say my goodbyes.” At this last word he looked out the window to the sun soaked yard beyond. Melinda followed his gaze and saw at the edge of the flower bed were a group of faeries in brightly colored clothing. One of which caught her eye more than the rest. A female, wearing a long trailing dress of gossamer and her white blond hair tied and braided with ribbons and flowers. This she suspected was to be his bride, one who would take away the one piece of her husband she had left. Melinda's eyes brimmed with tears as she bit her lip to stop a sob from escaping. “What's her name?” Melinda whispered.
Leander sighed and looked down at his toes again. “Mina Thistlerose.”
Melinda's tears momentarily forgotten, she looked down at the down trodden young faerie and tilted her head. “A flower faerie marrying a wood faerie? That's a bit odd isn't it?”
As he nodded solemnly, strands of his hair escaped and fell across his face. “It is not love, Miss Melinda, it is a duty to my family.” He stood with his hands fisted at his sides again and looked up at Melinda. “I thank you for sharing my stories with your people, but I must go.”
Melinda finally let the sob escape as Leander took flight and disappeared into the sunshine that she had been admiring only minutes ago. Pushing to her feet she ran to the window and looked out at the garden. She was only in time to see the flash of his fiery hair and the brilliant glint of his sword before the wedding party disappeared into the flowers. Falling to her knees beside the window, her tears staining her face, Melinda scanned the garden over and over again. She did this for longer than she realized, and soon the soft padding of little feet brought her back from the search. The sun had nearly set and no doubt, Kimmie, was back with stories of how her and her grandmother had spent their day. She turned from the window, her body protesting from the long hours of crying and sitting on the hardwood floor. Just as she stood and righted herself, as she wiped the tears from her eyes, her little girl danced through the door.
“Mama!” Kimmie squealed enthusiastically, as she rushed forward to hug Melinda's legs. Melinda smiled the best she could and ran a hand gently over her daughters soft brown curls. She had Joshua's coloring and eyes, but all of Melinda's other features.
“Hey baby girl, did you have fun with Nana today?” As Melinda looked up her mother walked through the door looking stunning as ever, with her lightly frosted hair swept up into a loose braid. They looked at each other as only a mother and daughter could, knowing something was wrong but neither saying anything. Kimmie was retelling her adventures of the day, her voice barely breaking through to Melinda. Her nods and smiles seemed to satisfy the little one as she kept talking. When she was finally done Melinda crouched down and smiled at Kimmie.
“It sounds like you had quite the day. And I think that it might just be a certain little girl's bed time soon.”
Kimmie pouted as only the young can do and batted her thick lashes.
“Mama, can I stay up with you?”
“No, hunny. Mommy's got lots of work to do and I can't leave Leander with no adventure.”
Melinda's stomach twisted at the mention of her little faerie's name. Kimmie smiled brightly and jumped up and down with excitement.
“Mama! I want to hear the story!”
Melinda chuckled softly. “Well I have to finish it or I can't read it to you tomorrow night.”
Kimmie squealed with delight and turned running for her room. By the time Melinda came to tuck her in the little girl was changed and already trying to tuck herself in.
For a long moments after Kimmie was tucked in and fast asleep, Melinda watched her, memorizing her sweet little face. She hesitated before leaving, not wanting to face the questions she knew her mother had in store for her. Turning slowly she took measured steps from her daughters room and into the hallway. Entering the kitchen she sat down at the table across from her patiently waiting mother.
“You're a mess Melinda, have you been crying all day again?” Her mother's voice was gentle and soft as she reached across the table to take Melinda's hands in her own.
Melinda let out a breath and nodded, squeezing her mothers hands gently. “Leander's gone forever, Mom.” Her mother's annoyed breath was barely audible, but none the less made Melinda cringe. They had often had the argument that Leander was, in fact, not real. And his appearance after Joshua's death was her way of holding on to her dead husband.
“Mel... have you been taking the anti depressants the doctor prescribed?” The question wasn't meant to hurt but Melinda pulled away and hugged her arms around her middle as if punched.
“I'm not crazy, Mom. I know what I see and, yes I've been taking them. Even though they prevent me from writing.” Melinda's voice became harsh and cold as she spoke the lie. Her thoughts went to the bottle of pills left untouched for the past few days. Her mother pulled her hands back and folded them lightly in front of her.
“Melinda, I have watched for the past year and a half as you've slowly secluded yourself in that office. The book you started before the accident is not even close to being finished. I hear you talking to someone when no one is there. I'm concerned for you.” She paused and took a breath. “I'm concerned for Kimmie”
Melinda let out a huff of anger and pushed to her feet. Her curls hanging loosely around her face obscured her view of her mother. She went to say something but thought better of it, she knew her mother was only trying to help her. She could never understand Leander, and Leander had chosen to stay hidden when her mother was around. Instead of starting a full on fight, Melinda only nodded.
“I understand, and I am trying to get better. I would rather write and get better than go back to an institution though.”
Her mother sighed and with a nod that she felt more than saw, Melinda turned and headed back to her office. When she finally reached her sanctuary she shut and locked the door behind her. She leaned her back against the door and closed her eyes. After a few moments, she thought she heard the gentle buzz of wings again and her eyes shot open. Frantically she started searching the room for a hint of golden skin or a flash of fiery hair, but none met her gaze. Her lip trembled with her tears of disappointment and she shuffled over to her desk, falling into more than sitting in her chair. Her tears flowed down her face with no accompanying sobs and no movement other than her shallow breath. She shook her head as if to clear it and opened her right hand desk drawer. Inside were the hated pills that she refused to take. Melinda took them out and opened the bottle, looking inside she sighed.
“Might as well take them since I won't see Leaner or Joshua either way any more.” She shook a hand full of pills out into her hand and took them, swallowing with out the aid of water and then sat back closing her eyes. This time the noise she heard was definitely the buzz of Leander's wings, she couldn't mistake them for any other in the world. Her eyes flew open and at the window was the smiling face of her little faerie friend. Melinda's heart gave a leap and she rushed to the window to open it for him. Battered and a little bloody, Leander stumbled across the threshold.
“My God! What happened?” Melinda gasped quietly.
“I refused to marry that garish princess of the flowers.” The roguish smile that lit up his face was dashing in a way that would set any one's heart a-flutter. But not Melinda's. She had seen this smile many times and never did it seem to make her heart seem to stop beating. She pushed the feeling away as she slid to the floor heavier than she intended, sitting with her face near the window so she could talk to the young faerie.
“I can imagine there was a great adventure to follow your refusal.” She smiled dreamily.
“Aye, Miss Melinda, there was and I barely escaped the clutches of yet another bullfrog!” Leander exclaimed excitedly. His hand quickly pulling his needle like sword and parrying invisible attacks.
“I had to make it back to you Miss Melinda, I could not leave you alone, and my story unfinished.”
Melinda's eyes seem to grow heavier and heavier as she gazed upon her little friend, the one that was all the charm of the man she loved. The man she lost.
“Leander your story will never end, as long as you come to visit me. Your adventures will last forever.” With this Melinda's eyes closed and her breath grew shallow, in the distance she could hear a pounding. An annoyance that was easily ignored.
“Miss Melinda, if you'll let me, I would like to take you to my forest to write. That way you could be in my adventures! And if you say they will last forever, then we will write them forever.”
Melinda's head slumped as Leander lead her away to his forest, to spend her days running from bullfrogs, chasing bees and having glorious adventures.