This was my NaNoWriMo '08 story. I have since improved drastically in my writing style and storyline progression, yet I can't seem to let this story disappear forever. I have published it here for your enjoyment.
The Fae society was a world I lived in for nearly a year, planning details, structures, language styles and personalities. I am a part of it, it's a part of me, even though I left it behind years ago. I spent a long time building all the little bits and parts that add to the whole of this tale. There is an appendix/epilogue of the structures and details I recorded, which I'll upload at the end.
And finally, as an author who knows better now, I make apologies for my shameless self-insert. This was my first lengthy work of original fiction, and poor, younger me knew not what she was doing. ;)
No one believed me when I said I'd found a faerie.
My mom said I was regressing to the time when I had dreamed up amazingly silly stories of superheroes that travelled the world, and of princesses who turned out able to save themselves better than the knight sent to rescue them.
My sister just laughed at me. "Right…" she said sarcastically. "You found a fairy. And there's a unicorn in the shed, too, right?"
My dad smiled at me as if in agreement, nodded once, and went back to his project.
"Really! I did find one!" I implored them. "I can prove it – come look! She's hurt; she was caught in a spider's web, and I saved her." They just looked at me in disbelief, thinking I'd really lost it this time, and went back to whatever they'd been doing while I was out.
I sighed and went back to my room, kicking off my riding boots as I went. I looked on my window sill – she was still there, looking at me fearfully. I was glad to see her though, for I had begun to doubt that I'd really found her. Poor thing, she was terrified, her wings shaking uncontrollably. I leaned down to her, putting my elbow on the window sill. I was getting a closer look, and hoping to comfort her at the same time. Curiosity quickly overcame me.
She was small, about four inches high, with a wingspan of about eight inches, if her wings were spread wide. Her hair was long, hanging about to her waist, and was a dirty blonde color, with hints of red when the light hit it right. Everything about her seemed angular. Her face was long, pointed, and lightly tanned. I wasn't quite sure, but I thought I saw some freckles on her tiny nose. Her bright green eyes were slanted, not much, but enough to be noticeable. Her ears were small and pointed, wider in the middle than at the base. Her wings shone a translucent pale green, with blue shimmers near the base, at her back. She wore a dark green dress, the edges trailing what looked like grass fibers, and her feet were bare. All in all, I thought she was a rather pretty little thing. She looked like she could be one of Tolkien's elves that had been shrunk, I now realized with a bit of a smile.
But she was still frightened. I finally spoke to her, wondering if she could understand me. If she did, I must surely seem rude. I'd been staring at her for at least a minute or two now.
"Hey there, it's alright, little pixie… I'm not going to hurt you…" I trailed off. There wasn't much more I could tell her. It wasn't like she was one of the horses I rode, which could be calmed with a quiet word and a pat on the side - this was a creature that looked like a miniature human. Well, all but the wings. What was I thinking?
And yet, she looked at me with understanding. Did she know what I was saying? The thought that she could understand English surprised me, but it seemed possible. She was still shaking when she nodded her tiny head at me. I watched as she opened and closed her mouth… I couldn't understand what she was doing.
Then it dawned on me - she was talking! But I couldn't understand her; there was not a sound coming from her. I shook my head at her, still amazed that she understood me at all. I laid my hand, palm up, on the window sill in the hope that she would climb into it.
"What is it, little pixie? You can understand what I'm saying, can't you?" She nodded her head again, but remained where she was, looking outside as she confirmed my suspicion. I was shocked - this little creature was a sentient being… did she have thoughts and feelings like I did? Questions poured through my mind as I digested this discovery.
The tiny girl moved then, standing up slowly, and moved, not towards me, but away from both me and the window. She winced with pain as she settled herself against the wall, as far from the outside as possible. She was shivering again, I noticed, and, for the first time, I wondered about her comfort, rather than simply standing in wonder at her. She wrapped her arms around herself, and set her head on her knees.
I thought of what to do to make her more comfortable. Ideas popped up and just as quickly were rejected. Finally, though, I came up with the plan of gathering my sister's doll collection and using the furniture for the faerie. I wanted to make her as comfortable as possible.
I turned away from the window and went from my room to my siblings' toy room. Knowing they wouldn't believe me if I told them the reason, I simply knelt at the stack of bins that housed my youngest sister's doll collection. She won't miss a couple of small blankets, I thought as I pulled them from the top bin. I also borrowed a small cup and plate, a bed, and a couch and table. My hands full, I took them back to my room, shutting the door behind me.
I started walking towards the window where she was still sitting, but turned to my bed at the last minute, setting the collection of furniture on the comforter. Reaching over to my nightstand, I pulled the top drawer out, and dumped the pile of papers, pencils, and key chains out of it and into the drawer below. I'd organize it later. Carefully, I laid out the toy furniture, remembering with a smile that the last time I'd made a doll house had been when I was eight. I set the bed in the now-empty drawer, laying the mattress out with the blankets on it. The couch and table went on the other side of the drawer. Finally done, I placed the tiny room on the top of my nightstand. Now the girl had a home her size! Maybe not quite her size… she was a bit smaller than my old dolls. But at least she had somewhere to sleep, now.
I looked over to her, noting her interest in what I was doing. My tiny guest was sitting at the edge of the window sill now, looking down onto my bed. Her expression showed more curiosity than fear now. I was glad to see that change, at least.
"Would you like to come see it?" I asked her, again holding out my hand to her. She looked down at the little room, and something about it must have convinced her that I wouldn't hurt her, for she nodded. She stood again, winced once, and walked slowly to my hand.
My, but she was tiny! Her feet were smaller than my fingernail, and they tickled when she stood on my hand. Her wings dragged behind her, and I noticed a small trail of shimmery powder falling from one of them; there was some on my hand. I carefully raised my hand from the windowsill, but apparently not carefully enough; she had to grab my thumb to stay upright. Slowly, carefully, I lowered my hand into the drawer, and let it rest on the bottom. I saw, rather than heard, her sigh in relief, and I did the same. She was alright.
She sat on my hand, and slid to the 'floor' of her room, her wings leaving more of the powder behind. I wondered if this was normal, but of course she couldn't tell me even if I'd asked her. She walked over to the bed, and pulled the blanket from it to wrap around herself. I realized then that her shaking might have been from cold; she had been sitting next to my window, and there might have been a draft that I couldn't feel. There were far too many things that I'd need to think about if I was going to care for her.
It never occurred to me not to care for her. I was the one to always bring home lost and hurt animals and nurse them back to health. Several times I'd brought an orphaned kitten home and stayed up nights feeding it from a small bottle. I'd rescued a dog, saved baby birds; I'd even had a frog for a while. This was not much different… only my newest rescue could understand me!
I wondered what she ate. She was so small, and I didn't think that she would be able to eat any of my food. Birdseed seemed to be an insult, at least from my thinking. Nuts? Berries? Fruit? What did a faerie eat? And what did she drink? I racked my brain for ideas, and finally settled on water- every creature needed water to survive, and it would give me some time to think, and come up with other ideas of foods for her to eat.
I took the little cup and went to the kitchen, filling it to overflowing with water. It took only a few drops to fill it, but I could always get more if she needed it. Glancing around the kitchen, my eyes fell on some fruit my mom had left in a basket. Grabbing an apple, I sliced it into pieces. I took one slice and cut the corner off, making a small sliver about half an inch long. It would still be big for her, but maybe she could eat it. I also grabbed a grape, some peanuts, and a bag of sunflower seeds. I would try to offer her all of these.
"What are you doing? Are you taking a snack to your bedroom?" my younger brother, James, asked as he came around the corner. He looked at the toy cup in my hand, then back to me. "A Barbie cup," he said, raising his right eyebrow. I laughed nervously, then dumped the water into the sink, and grabbed a normal - sized cup for myself.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you, Jamie. No one else does. It's for my faerie."
"O… Kay… you're feeding your fairy statues? You're crazy, Kat!" He rolled his eyes and walked away, bouncing his balloon toy as he went. I smiled at his back, and then turned back to the task at hand. If he wanted to think I was playing with my collection of glass and metal figurines, so be it. At least he wouldn't try to bother me with endless questions about it… I had other brothers who would do that.
I filled the larger cup, then grabbed the whole lot and took them to my room. I pushed the door open with my back, set the foods down on my desk, and went to close the door. As I turned back to the desk, I saw that the faerie had come to the "wall" of her room - the clear side of the drawer. She was watching intently, probably wondering what I was doing. I gently placed the apple sliver, a grape, a peanut, and a sunflower seed on the little toy table. I dipped the small cup in my large one and set it next to the food. Smiling at her, I walked back to my desk and sat in my chair, enjoying my own snack, and hoping she'd eat hers.
"Ka - tie!" I looked up as my name was called. "Mom needs you!" I sighed, putting my snack down, and looked at the small girl.
"I'll be back soon, I promise. Eat your food; there's plenty more if you want it. See you soon, Pixie!" I had determined that I'd call her that until I figured out what her name really was. She looked nothing like the stories described, but hey- I wasn't about to contradict what I was seeing with my own eyes.
I walked out of my room, looking back once as I shut the door. I prayed she'd like what I'd given her, and that she would not be as frightened of me later. This had to be stressful to her.
It turned out that it was not till late that evening that I was able to get back to my room. I had been occupied with chores until supper, and couldn't escape. I had rushed through them, but then had to eat supper, and guests were coming over. Actually, it was a typical day for our family, but with Pixie on my mind, I really wasn't completely there, mentally.
I smiled my way through the evening, and once everyone was gone, rushed through getting the siblings to bed so I could go back to my room. I opened the door softly, thinking Pixie might have fallen asleep. I was right.
She was curled up on the little bed, her wings hanging off the side. The blanket covered her body, but she'd left her wings uncovered. A faerie habit, perhaps? The food on the table showed signs of being eaten: the water was half gone, and the sunflower seed, apple, and peanut had all been tasted. The grape was still there, but I quickly realized why, looking at her. A grape, to her, was like a watermelon to me - far too big to eat, and very messy. I resolved to cut it before I gave it to her again.
I changed into pajamas as quietly as I could, and climbed into my bed, turning out the light as I did so. In the morning, I'd think about how to communicate with her. There had to be a way she could talk to me.
A microphone! The thought occurred to me in church, Wednesday night, four days later. As I listened to my dad preach the sermon, he made the comment he'd said many times before.
"I'm loud enough that I don't need a microphone! I think that, in the body of the Church, God gave me the job of being the mouth!"
The congregation laughed, and I smiled. I'd heard him say it before, having listened to him preach for fifteen out of my twenty – one years. This time, though, I realized that the microphone could amplify smaller, quiet sounds. I determined to get Pixie a microphone as soon as I got home. I had one on my stereo system, and maybe I could convince her to talk into it! The rest of church was a bit of a blur, I'll admit, because my mind was wandering, thinking about how to convince Pixie to talk into the microphone.
After service that night, I dug through my old shelves in the back of my closet, looking for the old stereo. I hadn't used it in ages, but it was still there, covered in a ratty t - shirt and dust. I pulled it out of the closet, blowing the dust off of it as I went.
Pixie stood up on her bed, watching over the rim of the drawer at what I was doing. She had calmed down in the time since I had brought her here, I thought. She no longer jumped when I stood up quickly, and she was eating quite a bit more than when she'd first tried my food.
She was a great listener. I had spent last night just talking to her, and studying her reactions. She seemed curious about the way I lived, the foods I ate, and what I did with my free time - mostly reading and drawing. I told her about how people interacted with each other, and of how we lived. She would nod, seeming to understand. I had yet to make her laugh, though.
I had learned, by asking yes – and – no – questions, that her wing had been hurt just before I'd rescued her from that spider web. That explained the 'dust' that had fallen from her wings. Not the 'fairy dust' I'd thought it was earlier. I hoped she'd be alright, but I didn't know what to do to help her heal her wing. Maybe today would change that.
She watched me as I plugged in the stereo. Electricity was a novelty to her- I guess the faeries were too small to have that sort of technology. Music blared from the speakers as I inserted the plug into the wall. Apparently I'd forgotten to turn it off last time I'd used it. I quickly turned the noise down; hearing yells from the toy room - "Turn it down!" "It's too loud!" "What are you doing?"
"Sorry!" I shouted. "I'm just plugging in my old stereo!" I could hear groans, but I ignored them. My brothers played loud music all the time.
"Okay, Pixie, let me show you this." I connected the microphone to the jack, and then placed the whole contraption on my desk. "This is a stereo. It can play music, or you can use the microphone to make sounds louder."
I held out my hand to her, and she climbed into it. Gently, slowly, I raised my hand and set it on the desk. I'd gotten better at this; so had she. It had taken us a few days, but she didn't fall when I set my hand down anymore. It had been quite the accomplishment, in my opinion.
She walked up to the stereo, dwarfed by its large size. It was only a foot high, but it towered over her. She ran her hands over the buttons for the tape player, trying to push them, but not succeeding. I showed her the CD buttons, and she was able to press them. Music from Barlow Girl started playing, thankfully softer this time.
"Broken Heart, one more time,
Pick yourself up, Why even cry?
Broken pieces, in your hands,
Wonder how you'll make it whole?
You know, you pray,
This can't be the Way.
You cry, you say,
Something's got to change,
And mend this Porcelain Heart of mine.
Someone said, 'A Broken heart,
Would sting at first,
Then make you stronger.'
You wonder why, this pain remains.
Were hearts made whole just to break?
You know, you pray,
This can't be the Way.
You cry, you say,
Something's got to change,
And mend this Porcelain Heart of mine.
Creator, only You, take the brokenness,
And create it into beauty once again…"*
I watched her reaction as she listened to the song. Her eyes grew wide as she heard the bridge. "Creator" seemed to be a name she knew. Could Faeries know about God, too? This would be amazing news. I couldn't wait to hear her speak.
I pressed the stop button after the song was over. Looking at her bright green eyes, slanted in such an alien manner, I explained my idea to her.
If her eyes could get wider, they did. She pointed at herself, then at the microphone sitting next to her. A smile burst across her face. She nodded, and walked close to the large, round sphere of wires.
I flipped the switch on the microphone, and then tapped it to make sure the sound was on. It was, and a loud thump echoed through the speakers.
"Go ahead, Pixie- talk into it. I'll fix the volume so I can hear you." I turned the knob on the volume control to its highest setting. I heard scratching from her hands, as she grasped the wires on the microphone head, then, for the first time, I heard her voice.
"I AM NOT A PIXIE!"
I jumped, as did she, at the volume coming from the stereo. I rapidly turned the knob down, surprised at her yell. Her voice had a more normal tone as she continued.
"Pixies are the males of the Fae! Faeries are the females. Would you like it if I called you 'Boy'? No. My name is Araenna. I am a faerie. Not a pixie."
"I'm sorry, Pix - I mean, Araenna. I didn't know." I felt my face turning a shade of pink as I was berated by the four inch tall frustrated faerie.
"No," she replied, "I guess you wouldn't. Your ears are so large, but you hear so little." She looked at her little room in the drawer, and her features softened. "You can call me Rae. Thank you for caring for me. I have liked being waited on. It's not something I'm used to."
"It's no problem, Rae. I'm glad to help. I've never cared for a faerie before. I wasn't quite sure what to do, to be honest. I was guessing at the foods."
She smiled, and we talked for a while longer. Time ticked away quickly, unfortunately. Before long, it was time for me to go to supper. I did not want to leave, but I had to. I had become so attached to the little faerie. Now that we could talk …
As I left, I placed her drawer room on its side, allowing her to walk freely around my room. I left a small Bible on the desk as well. It was a church day, after all. Maybe she could read a passage or two.
That night, we talked long after bedtime. Araenna told me about the Fae, and how they lived. She told me about her life and the town she had lived in, Faerfeld. She told me about how she struggled with the daily life of a faerie, and then, she told me about how she'd ended up needing rescue from the most unlikely of heroes - a human.
She started her story with the activities of the day before she was to be formally engaged. That had been April, seven months ago. That day would change the rest of her life.
*"Porcelain Heart" by BarlowGirl