Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Faeries

It was a footrace, and Cam was first to the house. He whooped. "Sara saw the fairies!" he said.

Sara was just a step behind him. She stomped her foot. "I did not."

"She said so," he told their mother (she was laying flat in the darkened parlor, holding a wet cloth on her eyes, trying to relieve a headache). "She said so. She did. She said they were dancing. In circles, like this-" And he spread out his arms and danced.

Sara put her face on the carpet and howled.

"You know better than to tell nonsense," their mother said. She raised herself up on an elbow. "I don't hold with lies."

"Not a lie! We were hiding. She came out from behind the tree, yelling. There was red marks on her and grass in her hair and her dress torn and she said the fairies spoke to her. She said she saw them -- and they saw her -- and they pinched her -- like this!" He kicked. Her screams shifted upwards.

"Stop that noise," said the woman, angrily. "Sara, give me your arms."

"You won't," said the little girl. She came to her feet, hiding her arms behind her back. "You won't. I won't let you."

"Secrets!" shouted her brother. "Secrets and lies!"

"You won't see my arms! They haven't anything on them! I didn't see anything!"

"No, you did not," said their mother. "Fairies aren't real."

"No," said Sara. "I didn't. They aren't. I didn't."

"Yes," said Cam. "Momma, look her dress."

The woman gave a little squeal. "Sara! You didn't! Your good dress! Foolishness on a Sunday, -- shame on you, shame on you," and she hissed, giving the girl a shake. Sara stood passive.

The woman was inflamed. She snatched up the damp cloth from where it had fallen and scrubbed at her daughter's skin.

Cam wrenched her wrists in a burn; he pried her hands open and Sara attacked him, shrieking, but again he had the advantage and his fists stayed closed.

After a moment Sara awoke to her mother's temper. She drew back, and stood stiff and still.

"Look," said Cam in a strange voice.

And Sara began to cry. She covered her face. "I promised," she said, in great jerking sobs. "I promised I wouldn't tell."

"Look," Cam said again, and opened his hands.

Submitted by Shaker F. Lynd

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