Flash Fiction: Wisps

“Come on, Lettie. It’s getting dark. The Wisps will be out soon.” Emerson looked around the thick forest, her blue eyes wide.

“Stop with the toddler-tales,” Lettie groaned and plucked another jacaranda blossom from a tree. “You’re almost eight. You don’t really believe all that fairy nonsense, do you?” She sniffed the flower and walked deeper into the woods.

Emerson tried to swallow but it ended up a hiccup. She scuttled after her sister. “But Lettie! What if they’re true? What about Nora-Mae?”

Lettie tossed her curled blonde hair over her shoulder with impatience. “Grow up, Em. That story’s been around since Granny was born.”

“But Daddy said it was true. Nora-Mae disappeared long ago when she followed the lights, the ones that bounced along the path.” She curled her fists tight. “This path, Lettie.”

“It was just a story. Momma yelled at Daddy after he told you. I heard her in the kitchen when I was supposed to be practicing piano.”

“But Lettie….”

“It’s not true, Em.” Her voice rose an inch higher.

“Nora-Mae heard voices, too. The fairy voices that called her to come and play. The ones that led her away and got her lost, so she never got found again.”

Lettie huffed. “Fine. We’ll leave. Only to shut you up!”

She stomped back toward their home, her little sister close behind. Along the way they passed Charlotte, one of Lettie’s school-mates.

“Watch out for the Wisps, Char,” Lettie teased. “They might get ya.”

Charlotte laughed. The sun sank another few feet into the ground, trickles of faded light on the path. She only needed a handful of blossoms to complete her bouquet for the supper table. She’d be gone before the forest was dark.

Giggle.

She turned at the sound just beyond the trees to her left. Had Lettie and Emerson come back?

Giggle.

A light twinkled just over the small mound of earth that took the path in another direction. But then it was gone. What could it be?

Charlotte looked back toward her home. It wouldn’t hurt to look, right?

Then she followed the light as it bounced and danced across the ground and into the trees.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

rise-1503340_1280

Photo credit Pixabay

Advertisements

Flash Fiction Friday: Honey

“Heather, did you take the honey?”

The little girl withered.

“It was a full jar,” Momma said.

“Well….” Heather fidgeted with her dress.

Momma crossed her arms. “Did you give it to your imaginary friends again?”

Heather looked down.

“How many times have I told you?” her Momma huffed. “It’s a waste of food! We’ll get rats if you keep shoving food under the floorboards!”

She threw her hands up and stomped away.

Heather knelt and lifted the floorboard. “You okay, Scrimrim?” she said to her Brownie friend.

The fairy nodded and smiled, then took another lick of his honey.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

amelia-bartlett-176205.jpg

Photo Credit Unsplash by Amelia Bartlett

Flash Fiction Monday: Legends

“Good luck, Sarena!” Freyren said.

He held his tanned back straight as one hoof pounded the brambled ground in anticipation, a gentle smile on his lips. Those centaurs loved anything that had to do with adventure.

The sweet scent of blackberries followed me as I took flight. “Thanks, Frey!”

His son, Brayden, was just my age and had begged his dad to see me off. But lessons and responsibilities kept him away. Frey would surely tell my friend every detail when he got home from his afternoon rounds spent in the forest.

I stretched my wings long and wide while I floated close to the dirt, and moss, and bugs that tried to stay hidden. The smell of earthworms and newness filled my lungs as I soared in the shadows from the thick trees. Mother would yell that I wasted fairy dust just to fly a few yards forward, when my feet could’ve done the job. But I’d only come-of-age a month ago, the power to fly and use fairy dust now a reality. My fingers itched to grab another pinch so I could make some flowers grow.

A snap of a twig and I whirled in fright. “Oh, Rain. You’re so quiet, you scared me!”

I placed one hand across my chest, the weight of my new charm necklace heavy against my hand. That was one more thing I’d earned on the day I came-of-age. The third gift – a revelation – would come today. My heart skipped a beat.

The unicorn stuck his head out from under a collection of leaves and neighed. I giggled. Not many Wood Folk spoke his language, but I understood enough to get by. Rain had come by to wish me well. And to remind me not to run out of dust and land face first in the creek beside the wood. Which may have happened the first time I attempted to use the stuff, although I preferred to keep that part a distant memory.

I flew over and brushed a clump of silvery mane from his eyes, a quick kiss to his nose. “Stay right here and I’ll be sure to give all the juicy details, as soon as I’m back!” He grumbled something else and I threw my head back in laughter. “You promise?” Another grumble, another kiss.

“Tavia!” my mother’s voice rang through the trees and foliage.

The swallow stalled in my throat. This was it! It was time to see if the legends were true.

“Wait!” I breathed, as I flew to the tree above, where she sat. “Lorian. I didn’t get to see her yet today! She’ll want to send me off with a blessing, too.”

My mother huffed, a flutter to her wings. “We’ve no time, Tavia. The Gathering begins in ten minutes. You’ll have to visit the lake once we’re finished. Besides, the merfolk have their own rituals to attend today. I’m sure Lorian has a line of mermaids waiting to usher her into adulthood.”

Adulthood. My belly twisted in circles. Thirteen hardly seemed like an adult, despite the rules of The Forest. I had turned thirteen, and was now full Fairy. Lorian faced her thirteenth tomorrow. What would it be like when Brayden came-of-age next year, with the Centaurs?

“Come, Tavia. We must finish what has begun.”

My mother swept off the branch, I trailed close behind. Needles pricked at my fingers and toes. What if I hadn’t used enough dust? A wibble and wobble would be so embarrassing in front of the others my age, also come to see The Forbidden.

On we went, past the caves that marked the end of our territory, over the water that separated our world from Theirs. These were lands I’d never seen before. Lands I was destined never to see again. Not for a while, anyway. Not until my own offspring came-of-age and it was my turn to lead them on this journey.

Fairy blood pulsed in my veins, my wings already fatigued from the length of the flight. They would grow strong, one day soon.

“Up ahead!” my mother said with delight. “I see them!”

We fell in line behind the rest of the Fair Folk – the parents and those that had come-of-age. I recognized a few but truly knew none. Another swallow got caught in my throat.

“We move together as one,” Elder Sprine said. “Remain in the trees and settle onto a branch as quickly as possible. Once there, be sure not to make any sudden movements, so as not to attract attention. We will stay for thirty minutes only, then I will signal for us to leave in unity. Remember, any sign of danger and put up an alarm. We will retreat without question.”

I nodded along with all the other newly minted adults. The parents remained stoic, albeit amused. This was such a big deal for us Fair Folk, I didn’t want to be the one to screw things up. I made a mental checklist: fairy dust at my fingertips, stick by my mother’s side, listen for the signal to leave. Stay hidden. Got it.

A minute later, our group had risen above the horizon, each with our own branch on which to rest. The sound of music and laughter echoed across the field. A scent I didn’t recognize drifted by, sweet and assaulting at the same time. I narrowed my eyes. Tents and bright colors and strange ribbons wrapped around a pole. A Spring Festival, they called it.

My mother leaned in to whisper. “So what do you think, Tavia? Do you believe the legends now?”

I exhaled, unable to contain the excitement that welled deep within my core.

“Humans. Humans are real.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2016

sunbeam-540589_1280

Photo cred pixabay

Flash Fiction Friday: Rebirth

A bright globe, orange and yellow and shades of white, blazed above. Light that accosted her eyes, caused her to squint.

Where was she?

Pain ached through her limbs, a zip along her back, as she pushed up. Then another sensation, a pulse and a twitter, a flap to her sides. A flutter that made her jump.

Wings! She had wings that glistened around her! 

Skin pale and smooth, flawless, alabaster, untouched by the mustard orb in the sky.

Her lips pressed together. Who was she? 

“Hello, Illinora,” a voice rumbled beside her. “Welcome to our world.”

 

© Laura L. Zimmerman 2016

dragonfly-wing-615240_1280