“Is it true that Brownies play tricks on people, Wesley? Like spoil milk and break dishes?” the little girl asked. She sat, legs crossed, beneath an oak tree.
Wesley scrunched his nose. “Brownies? What d’you mean, Ellie?”
“Faeries.” Ellie tilted her blonde head of curls, blue eyes blinking at her sibling.
“Oh, right. Yeah.” He scratched a hand through his shaggy black hair but avoided eye contact with his little sister.
Lyre watched as she balanced on a tree branch above them. They often came to this spot and she marveled at the children’s interactions.
“Not hiding here again, are you?” a deep male voice came from behind her shoulder.
She jumped. Her own brother was seated one branch above hers.
Lyre swatted at him. “Shhh. Keep it down. They’ll hear you.”
“Why do you like to spy on them, so? I’ll never understand you.” Maven’s words were buffered by a kind voice and a twinkle of mirth in his gaze. He leaned against the tree, both arms hooked around his knees, his pale hair and dark skin in contrast of one another.
She looked back down. “I like to watch them. They’re fascinating. She’s asking if Brownies are real.”
Maven snorted. “They’re so naïve.”
Lyre frowned. “Don’t be mean, Maven. They’re little. What about us? I still don’t know if you’re telling the truth about Merxies? Are they really small creatures that play tricks on us?”
Her brother laughed. “Guess you’ll never know.” With a wink, he grabbed an acorn and dropped it onto Wesley’s head. Then he flew off.
“Hey!” Wesley yelled, looking up.
Lyre slunk back into the shadows.
“Let’s go. It’s the Brownies!” Ellie hiccuped.
Wesley groaned as the children walked away.
Lyre’s shoulders sank. Not all Brownies were bad. She could be their friend. Maybe.
The tree jolted, almost knocking her off. She gasped. It shook again.
Whispers floated on the wind. “Watch out for Merxie’s, Lyre. They’re tricksters.”
Her eyes grew wide. “No,” she whispered. “They can’t be real.”
The tree trembled once more and her heart plummeted to her belly. Maybe some fairytales are true! She didn’t need to stick around to find out.
With a gulp, the Brownie leaped from the branch and flew away.
©Laura L. Zimmerman 2018