Welcome back to the daily prompts. The second for this week.
She looked like a fairy
Anna was turning six and her excitement spilled over to family, friends and school mates. ‘I’ve never seen her so wound up,’ her mother told the other mums at the school gate. ‘Is there something special about turning six?’ The mums laughed and said no, but all the kids were looking forward to the party.
‘Picnic in the woods,’ Anna’s mum said. ‘She insists.’
Anna wanted to tell everyone why she insisted on a picnic in the woods, but she had promised not to say anything to anyone. Anna kept her promises, although this one buzzed inside her like a bee in a bottle.
Pink cloths were laid on the wooden picnic tables, balloons attached to low hanging branches, a gazebo set up in case it rained/was too hot – although neither of those seemed likely on this brilliant early summer day.
Anna and her friends splashed in the stream, built a dam of stones and branches, ate sausage rolls and egg sandwiches, packets of crips, and little fairy cakes.
Anna kept one of the fairy cakes aside, wrapped in a pink and purple paper serviette and tucked into her dress pocket. She shivered with anticipation, kept a close eye out for her chance.
It came when all the mums were gathered around the remains of the birthday picnic, sipping glasses of wine, deep in gossip. Anna suggested her friends play hide and seek – but we mustn’t go out of the picnic area, she warned them. Billy offered to be It, and everyone scattered, giggling. Anna scattered straight to where she needed to be, her heart going thump, thump, hoping, hoping …
It had happened a couple of weeks ago when Charlie, the cocker spaniel, chased after a deer. Mum told Anna to stay in the car while she looked for him. It was unlike him to run away, he wouldn’t be far.
Anna had meant to obey, but she quickly got bored. She left the car and wandered a little way into the woods – not too far – and that was when she heard a tiny voice singing a very weird song. The voice came from a stand of ferns. Anna tiptoed over and peered into the greenery. A tiny creature, no bigger than Anna’s hand, scowled up at her from its seat on an uncurled frond.
She looked like a fairy! Anna’s heart skipped.
‘What do you want?’ the fairy said, its tiny scowl deepening.
‘I’m looking for my dog,’ Anna said. ‘Have you seen him?’
‘What will you give me if I tell you where the great lolloping, silly dog is?’ The fairy tipped her head to the side and folded her little arms.
Anna was entranced.
‘What do you want?’ she countered.
‘Hmm … I know! People are always talking about fairy cake and I’ve always wanted to know if,’ she shuddered, ‘it was made from fairies or for fairies?’
Anna laughed. ‘Neither! It’s just the name of cakes for children to eat at parties.’
‘Oh.’ The fairy’s mouth drooped in disappointment.
‘It’s my birthday soon.’ Anna thought quickly. ‘I’ll bring you one then, if you can tell me where Charlie is.’
The fairy wrinkled its nose, thinking. ‘Ok, it’s a deal.’ She smiled slyly. ‘Your mum has him and they’re headed back to your car. But I still want my fairy cake or … or … I’ll … I’ll cast a spell on you!’
So now here is Anna, with a squashed fairy cake in her pocket, headed for the same stand of ferns. But, she hasn’t yet decided whether she’ll eat the fairy cake herself or keep her promise.
Because part of her is very curious to see what kind of spell the fairy would cast on her.
Find Cheryl’s flash fiction and short stories, including audio versions of some, here!