Dress – and what a beautiful one. After a few weeks off, I found some inspiration for this one.
Once upon a time, I wrote a flash fiction to the title “The Thirteen Snowflake.” It shouldn’t be on the blog now, since I think it’s in one of the Unexpected Twisty Tales volumes. It’s certainly in Willoughby the Narrator, possibly as part of the Castle Marsh Narrathon, but Willoughby did tell the same stories at several narrathons. People requested their favourites, apart from anything else. There was once a prospect of more tales of that fairy and her friend, destined for somewhere entirely different. So this is from that world.
Thanks as always to KL Caley and her continuation of #writephoto on New2Writing.com. This one’s just under 500 words.
The Graduation Dress
She wasn’t really a fairy. She wasn’t even a fairy-in-training.
Just looking at the rest of her class showed how she stood out. The wrong size, the wrong colour.
Fairies were golden, elfin, with gossamer wings. They did have different colours, but that depended on their roles in life.
Guardians took on a sort of shimmering, ethereal quality, so that their target had no idea they were there.
“Human’s aren’t exactly stupid,” Malputo had explained to her class. “They just lack clear sight. In fact, they lack clarity in a number of essentials. But with our help, they achieve great things.”
Malputo had once been a Guardian. Her charges had not achieved great things. They had short lives, shorter than most humans, because of collisions with metal objects.
“If Malputo was such a great Guardian,” her friend Clarifice whispered one day, “why did her charges have such awful accidents. Surely she should have guarded them better.”
She had thought about it, then shrugged her shoulders. She always considered things carefully before making a response. Flitterwick laughed at her for that. With his orange-tint, he was surely destined to be a flower guardian. Or maybe a bee-haver.
It was a lovely colour. Streaks through his hair that suggested he’d have really flashy wings, when they came.
But her, what was going to happen to her? Brown. Almost wrinkled. What sort of wings would want to join with her drab and, frankly, dessicated-looking skin?
The great day dawned.
One by one they were called out, given their new tunics, dresses, leotards… and then their wings.
The snow fairies went first. It went from light to dark, and she was the darkest. There had never been a darker one, not in her lifetime.
Clarifice donned her azure blue tunic, accepted her wings, which flashed white when she quivered them, and flew off to the oceans of the world.
Sure enough, Flitterwick got an orange striped tunic, and gold wings with orange streaks. Nobody would miss him as he flew through the bee meadows.
And then, she was on her own.
“Patience, you have shown your true colours over and over again. We congratulate you on your forbearance. Here is your dress…”
Patience gasped as she slipped on the drab garment, which then fluttered around her, showing green shoots peeping from the ivy, dried leaves and lichen of the dark of the year. Her energies lifted, she spun around, and the leaves stood out from her body, starting a small whirlwind as they shed.
Then her wings came, dappled umber with hints of greens.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“You are beautiful, my dear, and your trees will love you. Go now, and guard the forests. They have much need of you.”
And Patience started her new life as Guardian of the forests of the world.
© J M Pett 2022