The Fairy and the Sky
She dips her tiny toes into the stream, tickled by fern leaves and sprinkled with fallen flora. They spin, synchronized with the gentle currents, and float by, pink as ever. Petal-soft.
As she sinks deeper, the water rises waist-high. The cool calms her rosy skin. Shadowing her like a silver-jeweled veil, the tips of her wings rest on the surface. Crystal blue droplets sparkle on the swell of her wings, and when she flutters them dry, shimmer water douses the creatures smaller than she, a sprinkle in their quaint world.
The water won’t hurt them. Or her fragile wings.
Pain comes in sheets from above. From the sky clouds. The others tell her of them. The dense fogs that smother beads of sun and evaporate wings like morning dew if one flies too close.
These clouds, they torment and kill. With them comes a tree-swaying rumble, as if the giants of legends have awoken from a golden slumber. In the night, she hears them screech, a foreign call of warning. Of danger. Those clouds, they sink beyond the canopy, quashing life as they drop, gray, dark, devilish, and sheened with mesmerizing rainbow light.
She avoids staring upward when she flies low, skims the stream waters with a delicate finger, leaving a trace of her on the canvas of glimmer. A tribe of dragonflies, periwinkle like the skies of her fond memory, accompany her downriver.
Look down, stay low, they sing. A hymn rooted in her mind like the bark towers in the soil, cultured with lives that belong there.
Why must she grow wings if she’ll never soar?
The stars don’t show tonight, masked behind the strange enemy, thick as the darkest night. Unpredictable as it, too.
Her clan ignores it like they do fungus, but she sneaks a glance. A ribbon of it smothers her mouth; silences her before she can speak.
Without the starlight, they entrust the blooming plants to illuminate the night. They cast a blue glow over everything like a sea-sent spell. She heard stories once of dancing blue lights sent from above. If only she could reach them, drink in their colors when she thirsted for life.
It’ll pass, some say. We mustn’t fear yet.
Days bend into nights, and nights gray into mornings. The heat, it swelters, and bubbles in her pixie skin. It melts the webs of spiders and burns holes in the leaves. The forest of her life fades away with her dreams.
The death fog weasels through the trees, melting without mercy. It lingers. It stays. It eradicates. Hides extermination behind negotiation. Waits for a surrender. We must leave, her clan says; we don’t have a choice.
Her heart, though small, drums against her chest with all the might of the hummingbird. It thumps hard, harder, until it pounds in her pointed little ears. Then it roars like a beastie, sets fire to her voice. She says this is our home. I’ll fly to fix it.
They warn of her wings and that there is pain in every truth. As there hides pain in truth, there hides bliss in ignorance. If the sweet nectars of life are, to indeed, live, she must fly. She mounts towards the skies, a spark in her heart. She flaps, she flutters, she beats past the pain. The clouds haunt her, weaken her, thin the dew-beaded lattice of her wings. She must work, push, try again and again. At the tip of the plume, and despite her storied pains, she feels but a moment of honest warmth on her skin. For the holes in her wings, she earns spots of caramel on her cheeks. Valor bests vanity, so she peers into the beyond, where a vile snake of black slithers sky bound. She spies monsters that sweat and shine and call. They sever trees faster than a butterfly splits its cocoon.
Behind the monsters and the hound of smoke lies the graveyard of the past; clean squares of trunk pile as fast as her eyes can see. The fallen virtues of the forest beg for her voice.
The truth does hurt. It splinters her heart like the logs. But life without truth, and truth without action, is not life at all.
The smoke burned her wings but grew her clear mind. Down she fell to the Earth she could save.