Ah, this is closer. Today's assignment was to write a story in third person, limited. That point of view refers to a speaker who is an onlooker, who may see the events that go on behind the scenes, but has only the most limited knowledge of what is going on inside a character's mind. I enjoy third person quite a lot. I prefer third person, omniscient. Perhaps that's because I'm lazy, perhaps because I tend to write ensemble books and I find that third person, omniscient works best.
At any rate, this story started when my daughter grew jealous of my writing. This is not unusual. In fact, all of my children can be playing happily, paying me no mind, but the act of my picking up a notebook and pen is somehow a call to arms. Suddenly everyone needs a snack, a hug, to play, to reach something that they cannot. Often, I don't mind. Why am I doing this if not for them, after all? On the times I simply must get work done, a gentle shoo-ing works, well, as well as anything. Anyhow, in this instance my daughter was much more wily. She did not ask me to stop writing. She simply asked me to write a story for her. We were creekin' at the moment, and I simply looked around and started a simple tale based on what I saw. The thing is, I rather like it. A really, really like it. It is a short little story now, but I think it may very well become the first chapter of something bigger.
The Last Fairy
One blustery day in October an evil wind began to blow. The doe felt it and bounded off across the glade, flashing her white tail in warning. The timber rattlers felt it in their dens, and coiled and struck at one another hissing, "this is my bit of rock, go and get your own." The coyotes felt it and sang their moonsongs, even though the sun still shone. Clouds gathered on the horizon, black and pendulous. Suddenly, lightning split the sky, a signal, an order, and the fury descended.
The trees bowed before it,powerless, as the gale ripped golden leaves from the branches. The rains came first, and then the hail, solid balls the size of the bitter apples that hung on the gnarled old crab apple tree. The hail clattered and rattled, ripping plants to shreds and sending an unlucky fox yelping to his den. In the distance figures moved amongst the chaos, darting this way and that, blowing off course only to right themselves a moment later. As they drew closer to the meeting place, a sheltered cove formed by the roots of a tree long since fallen the identity of the brave, or perhaps mad, creatures became clear.
A bedraggled, crimson cardinal flew at the top of the formation, his wings providing a big of shelter to the quartet of dragonflies that flew below. Six honeybees flew in a triangle at point position, their needle like stingers poised and ready for battle. AS the group approached the cove, one of the bees took a direct hit from a piece of hail, spun to one side, and was still among the sodden grass. Immediately one of the other bees flew into position, filling the hole in the ranks. In the middle of the formation another figure flew, battling bravely against the storm. At first glance, it appeared to be yet another dragonfly; the same long, iridescent wings beat against the wind. As the squadron began their approach into the cove, however, her identity became clear. It was a fairy, one of the ancient ones. Her long, white hair was pulled back from her face into a bun from which only a few strands had escaped despite the buffeting winds. Her face was as deeply lined and wrinkled as the shell of a walnut, and her gossamer wings sparkled in the dim light. In her hands, she carried what appeared to be a large seed. Finally, the group made it to safety, landing still in formation among the roots, directly in front of the small General who waited for them.
The General bowed deeply and removed his plumed helmet. "Madam," he said respectfully. The fairy gave him a brief not, but wasted no time on formalities. Her eyes scanned the shadows in the deepest nooks of the cave, but it was empty save for the General's gallant steed, a bright eyed field mouse with an armored tail and sweat darkened leather saddle.
"The others?" she asked. The General shook his head sorrowfully. "I'm sorry," he said, "but you are the first." The fairy's face twisted in grief, and a single tear fell from one eye and wound its way down the fissured cheek. "So the rumors are true?" the General asked. The fairy nodded. "Maleithe," she said, "and much sooner than we expected." Her eyelids drooped, and she swayed a bit on her feet. Behind her, a dragonfly sneezed.
"My apologies," the General said, bowing low, "You must be exhausted. Perhaps you'd like to rest." "In a moment," she replied, "but first. . . " gingerly she sat the seed on the loamy ground by her feet. She reached into the pocket of her frilled apron and pulled out a shimmering wand no bigger than a splinter. The cardinal chattered excitedly and the General removed his cap, a look of awe on his handsome face. He looked much younger with the helmet off,his dark hair rolling back in waves from a clear, fine brow. For the first time in that long, long day the fairy smiled a bit. She spoke a single syllable and the tip of the wand glowed pink, a cheerful, healthy pink that spoke of springtime, of hope. Outside the cove the storm died down a bit. The honeybees started to hum a low, lilting harmony. The dragonflies joined in, providing a flowing melody. The storm receded even more. With a wave of the wand and a single word a hole opened in the dark earth. The song grew louder still and it seemed the wind could hardly be heard. The bees and the dragonflies sang, they sang a song of victory, of triumph. The General's cheeks flushed and the mouse and the cardinal looked on with their bright black eyes. The fairy bent, gingerly laying the seed in the hole, tucking it in like she would a babe. The song reached a triumphant crescendo, the fairy lifted her wand and gave a shout. There was a flash of blue and then utter silence inside the cove and out. The hole was filled with earth, brushed smooth, without a sign to show that it had ever been disturbed. The elder fairy faded a bit, grew transparent. The General could see the roots behind her. She smiled at him kindly, and his heart beat faster in his chest. "There now," she said. "Now it's up to you. . . and to her." With that, she was gone.