Deathlyhallows

Maya

United States

Message to Readers

This is VERY MUCH a work in progress. As you can see, there is an entire section of this piece, (2c) that has not been written yet. I would love for ideas concerning that blank (2c is intended to tie the two story lines together, and in addition show what drove the faries to leave their home.) and thoughts concerning the rest of the piece.

Of Faries and Fire

September 3, 2015

FREE WRITING

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She had not tasted a fall this crisp since she was a child. The last time the sun had danced and the wind had spun, the last time this pigmented fire had so enlightened the trees, she had walked by, a smile on her face and a cloud baring her sight. The world was far more pleasant then, when she couldn't see things for what they were. But it was shrouded in light, leaving no room for shadows. As such she could not see the context for things, nor their character.
Yes, it was much better now. The world hurt, but she would endure the pain time and time again if only to revel in the spontaneous beauty of it all.
A knock sounded at the door.
Back when her eyes shone like burnished gold, her hair the color of autumn wind, her grandmother had told her a story.
There was a river in the middle of the woods. It was a strange place for a reason that no one could justly put to words, and, while there had never been a disastrous incident of any sort, the local children were warned to stay well away from it.  
Even the most reluctant had to admit- the river was different. The leaves held still in the breeze, and should the wind became strong they would reluctantly twist and sway. But even then, they were silent. The dirt and pebbles that lined the riverbank were soft- muted, somehow gentle. The sky was always still, as simultaneously lifeless and lush as the rest of the landscape. It was said that the same clouds had hung over that spot for one hundred years, ever since the new dam had created the river in the first place. The water, to, reeked of abnormality. It was silken, eerily smooth, as if born from a painting, a dream, or a softer, rolling, breathless sort of world.
The whole place was like that, unnervingly laden with the still, cloaked in pastel and the space between sighs, between tears.
It was here, in the shadow of the silent trees, a realm of spots and splurts of sunlight, that the fay made their home.
They were fierce little things, quick to defend and quicker to attack. They inhabited the hollows of tree trunks, or made nests in the bend and intersection of the branches, homes they would fight for and defend with their lives. They needn't have argued about anything else- the forest surrounding the riverbed was devoid of all other creatures with plenty of space for their kind, and, should one of their own violate the strictly unspoken laws of the colony, he or she was quickly disposed of. This did not happen often, however, as there was not much to rebel against. Fairies are not known for complicated tastes, and an abandoned patch of forest, ample sustenance, and wonderful trees was more than enough to keep them satisfied for years.
Sometimes, however, we must come to the conclusion that peace is simply the prequel and sequel to war. (Or is it the other way around?)
Breaze does not hold still for eternity. And eventually, all calm waters must know the joy of current, the exhilaration of the moment when the wave begins to crash.
The door opened to reveal a small, pigtailed head peaking out from around her mother. The two briefly made eye contact, before the young girl looked away and busied herself with studying the rather successful endeavors of two ants carrying their fallen comrade across the steps. The young girl’s mother looked up at the older woman standing shyly in the doorway, as if she, too, wanted someone to hide behind.
“We were in the area. We thought we’d stop by.”
“Of course. Come in.”
2c
“Mom, I can’t believe you still live here.” The woman ran her hand along the wall curiously, slowly, as if trying to memorize its texture, its touch. She paused for a moment, lost in remembering, and sighed. Turning, she regarded her mother with an air of importance, of authority. “You must be lonely.”
“I’m alright, thank you.” The older woman busied herself with the tea kettle, in a manner rather more methodical, measured, than would normally be deemed appropriate for such a simple task.
“No, mom, i don't feel good about it. I know you love it here, but… Come to the city. I swear, you’ll find things you love there, too. The bustle of the crowd, the smell of concrete and cobblestones… You could get to know your granddaughter. Auri’s sick of all these impromptu visits, stopping by whenever we’re in town. She wants to know her grandmother.” At this the small girl, Auri, stopped swirling her fingers through her mother's hair and again briefly glanced at her grandmother before turning away.
“Auri, do you want to go outside? Look how nice it is out. Go and run in the yard for a bit, why don't you?” The small girl nodded and ran out the door, glad to be rid of the almost tactile tension filling the room. As soon as she was gone, two cups of tea were planted on the table with rather more force than entirely necessary.
“Sugar?”
“What? Oh… No, thank you…” They sipped their tea in silence for a few seconds before the older of the two cut in.
“I know that Auri needs a grandmother. But I need this place, too. I’d go insane anywhere else. I’ll… I’ll visit more. You’re right, I should. But I couldn't leave. You couldn't possibly expect me to leave.”
“Mom, you grew up here. You raised me here. Don’t you think it time for a bit of change?”
“I have change. That's why I love it here so much. The world is always changing. And here, where there’s nothing to disrupt it… The shadows are never the same twice. Every day I wake up and the world right outside my window has altered itself completely over night. It’s always changing. And I’ve gotten to watch that, be part of that, for years. In the city, you fall into a routine and even though you're caught up in the center of progress and possibility you go about your day the same way, each time, and it's indistinguishable from the last. Here, I could repeat the same routine every day for fifty years and no day would ever be the same as any other.”
“I know. I adore this place too. But it worries me, you out here all alone…”
“I don’t want you to worry. But I need to stay. Please understand.”
“I do. I really do. But… I just…”
“I’m sorry.”
“Me too. Me too, mom.” She leaned her head against her mothers shoulders, softly, as if afraid of breaking her. The older woman noticed.
“I’m not a baby bird, dear. I won’t shatter.” And with that she turned and hugged her daughter close. “Let me tell you a story…..”
They fled that night, for they had no other choice. They fled because their home had been destroyed, by fire and by fear. They fled because the wind was too strong and the water too angry, they fled because what had once been home was now the barest shell of a memory. They fled because the clouds changed now, and the leaves blew too fast. They fled for many reasons. But mostly, they fled because they had no reason to stay. Because remembering hurt to much. Where they went, no one knows.
But there are stories- there will always be stories, and no matter how outlandish or otherworldly or downright impossible, they call to an elemental and instinctive part of our humanity. There are stories, and they are heard.
There are some that say that in last pieces of the year, as the leaves begin to twist and shrivel and die, when the air is crisp and sweet as honey, when the apples crunch and the wind sings its melancholy song, the fairies live again. It is said that in their maddeningly quick retreat, they left behind their wings, for they got lodged in the branches, and in their haste were forgotten. It is said that every autumn, when all else begins to die, the wings are set free, if only for a moment. It is said that as they fall towards the earth, they take flight again, their oranges and reds and yellows and all a matter of pigmented fire enlightening the trees, if only for an instant, before the wind and the water and the now moving clouds devour them, and the forest by the river again eats away at silence.
The fall had been glorious that year, though short. It had come in spurts and flashes, and now it retreated, ever humble, into the earth.
The dying leaves were devoured by the soil, fallen branches picked up and swept away, in much the same manner that leftover popcorn and cotton candy sticks are picked up after a show, the quiet oppressive in light of the multitude of sounds that recently filled the air. In a small house on the edge of nowhere, an old woman and her daughter watched a small girl play in the yard, dancing on the fire coated earth. As she moved, hair whirling about her face, her bare feet kicked up the leaves and sent them tumbling, a miniature whirlwind, her laughter joining the fairies in an eerily familiar song.

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