This short story is about a keen fairy, Willow, who has migrated to a new forest, but desperately misses her old homeland. When she makes a new enchanted human friend, she learns what home, help, hardship, fear, and self-sacrifice really mean.
Among the sweet-smelling lilacs and cool, cascading waters of Serenity Stream, the forest fairies, including myself, fluttered throughout the fresh summer air. We conversed with the butterflies, and even drifted over to the houses which lined Mellow Lane, about a mile or so away from our home, Serenity Forest.
Actually, “home” was merely a term that I loosely applied to this place where I spent a good portion of my life. To me, Serenity forest was a beautiful and pleasant land, but also…incomplete. My birthplace was Willow Wonderland, a patch of woods somewhere in the world…though I could never define the exact location. Despite the fact that I remembered so little of my life in Willow Wonderland, I had always been certain that a part of it continued to live on inside of me even after I moved. I did recall a few things—firstly, it was the place from which I received my name—Willow. My mother used to say that my long, stringy brown hair reminded her of the weeping willow trees that grew in our homeland. “Your roots are here, little one,” she would tell me. “But never be afraid to branch out and discover all that the world has to offer.”
When my mother and father would say good-night to me, Mother would sing me a soothing lullaby.
don’t you cry;
you’ve got a pillow in the sky…”
Her soft, serene voice never failed to lull me to sleep.
One day, my parents and I went for a stroll along the upper branches of a weeping willow. I had not yet learned to fly at this point, so my mother and father made sure that I didn’t fall off the edge. But suddenly, a vulture swooped down and snatched up the three of us.
In a flurry of panic, Mother instructed, “Willow, pull it out!”
“What?” I asked, utterly confused. Then, I realized that I was hanging from the vulture’s beak by a tendril of my hair.
“You’ll land safely; I promise!” Mother said. In one swift motion, I yanked out the piece of my hair from the vulture’s beak.
I fell from a high point, but landed safely, by some miracle. However, everything went black before I could notice where I was. The next thing I remembered was waking up in a warm bed of leaves inside a hollow tree stump. I had been taken in by another family of fairies, known as the Glittermans. They had discovered me lying unconscious at their front door; a frightened, nervous creature who desperately needed a home. Even though I was quite young at the time, I still remember this day, for it ushered in a new era of my life.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined that I would have the opportunity to return to Willow Wonderland, the place where I had breathed my first breath of fresh summer air.
In my later life around Serenity Forest, my comrades and I would often swim in the pitchers of lemonade which were left on numerous front porches. Occasionally, we’d nibble on the muffins or scones, for tasting human food was a special treat. Of course, no humans lived in Serenity Forest, but whenever I got the opportunity, I would fly to Mellow Lane and the neighboring avenues; watching these intriguing, strange creatures. I was fascinated by every aspect of them—the ways they looked, talked, and lived; the foods they ate, the dreams they dreamt.
Many a night I would leave my cozy tree stump dwelling, located in the heart of Serenity Forest. I’d fly to Mellow Lane, quietly slip through a door or window (since no one on the block locked their house at night) and gaze upon the sleeping humans before me. A few of them snored; some loudly, others in low murmurs. I would watch the way their bodies rose and fell with each breath, like the rising and falling of ocean tides.
I’d carefully placed my tiny palm on a human’s shoulder and perceive their dream right before my eyes. Since I wasn’t a sandman, I couldn’t give someone sweet dreams (as much as I would have liked to), nor could I make one fall asleep on a restless night. For these reasons, I sometimes wished I was a sandman instead of a forest fairy.
It broke my heart to see people preoccupied and awake at night; tossing and turning with immense anxiety and insomnia. A few times, I had witnessed horrid nightmares plague even the dreams of innocent children. They’d whimper and cry out in their sleep; begging to escape their imaginary yet potent anguish. All I could do was tap them awake, so they would realize that it had all been just a dream, and there was nothing to fear. Or was there?
I often found that people of all ages had dreams which were abstractly based on events which were going on in their own lives. For example, a man who often expressed interest in getting a promotion at his job dreamt of coming to the end of a rainbow, and expecting to find a pot of gold. Except, when he actually looked inside, the pot was empty. I don’t think he ever got that promotion.
But on another occasion, I had watched the nightmare of a child whose parents were going through a divorce. The little boy dreamt that he was standing upon a rocky cliff. Suddenly, the cliff began to divide in two, and the young boy tried to cling to each side for dear life. His face was so unbelievably horror-stricken, and I could bear it no longer. When I woke him up from the nightmare, the little boy was sobbing hysterically and crying for his mother and father. These were the times when I wished I had my mother’s voice, so I could sing to sleep the weeping willows of the world.
On one starry summer night while wandering around the area of Mellow Lane, I came across a peculiar sight. I saw a person lying atop a sleeping bag on the sidewalk. When I came closer, I could perceive the silhouette of a girl. She didn’t see me at first, for her eyes were transfixed on the sky overhead. She was humming a tune softly to herself; its melody strangely familiar. I waited until she had dozed off before I witnessed her dreams. I perceived peaceful things, such as a beautiful sunset on a warm day, a blue ocean on a sandy beach, and fields of magnificent wildflowers.
It was much like a mini-vacation for me, as many dreams were. I got to travel to places that I had never actually been to, for the power of imagination and the fantasticality of dreamland were far more exciting than anywhere in the real world. Many of my classmates at Miss Gumphry’s School for Fairies traveled to numerous cities during summer vacation, but I was perfectly content with staying at “home”. The only thing that could’ve been better would be visiting my real home.
I watched as the girl made sand angels on the beach in her dream, and built grand castles from the sand. She had long red-orange hair that reached her waist, deep gold almond-shaped eyes, and skin the color of coffee. The child looked to be about eleven or twelve and wore old, tattered clothes. She seemed to be looking out into the distance, though it was unclear as to what she was seeking.
Suddenly, the scene changed. At first, I could scarcely believe my eyes! We were in Willow Wonderland, a place only present in my dreams—or so I thought. As we walked through the lush greenery (which was covered in snow in the winter, but now, in the summertime, was green as green could be), it was clear that this girl knew her way quite well. I followed her up a winding dirt path, which led to a series of willow trees carved with doors and windows.
All around me bustled vaguely familiar faces, which I had recalled seeing in the early years of my life. I realized that they were my extended family—grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins—though my mother and father were nowhere in sight. “I guess even dreams have their painful realities,” I muttered to myself.
Though I had not been as close to my extended family as I had been to my parents, I still felt the potent bonds of kinship all around me. My blood relatives—on both my mother’s and my father’s sides—had inhabited Willow Wonderland for centuries. If this was so, then why didn’t any of my relatives take me in when my parents were captured by the vulture? Better yet, how did I even end up in Serenity Forest to begin with? An answer to the first question came to my mind. I remembered that several dangerous creatures such as vultures and poisonous snakes lived in Willow Wonderland, and they caused a great amount of worry and fear among the residents. My parents did all they could to protect me, but they understood that I would never be completely safe in our homeland.
Soon, Willow Wonderland began to fade into the mist of morning, and I was quite groggy when I awoke. I had fallen asleep in the girl’s tendrils of long red hair. I yawned and stretched, and the girl continued to rest for a bit longer before she arose from her peaceful slumber. There was something about this child that made her different than the other humans I had seen. It wasn’t strange for girls to dream of fairies and princesses and fantasy lands—I had witnessed many dreams of these sorts—but how had she envisioned such a real place, a kind of land that few humans believed in? Had this girl been there before? Who was she? And why was she sleeping on the sidewalk?
I felt a newfound sense of bravery in that very moment, and perhaps trust as well. There were few occasions in the history of the Fairy Kingdoms when humans were let into our world, or given knowledge of it. Every now and then, Chosen Ones had come along, and these particular humans were meant to act as intercessors between various fairy kingdoms, and/or between the fairy world and the human world. My mother told me that these humans were enchanted, as well as extremely gifted and intuitive. They were often quiet and contemplative individuals, but it was easy for a fairy to tell if a person was one of the rare Chosen Ones.
So I carefully took a step forward and tapped the girl on the shoulder. She looked confused for a second, but not surprised. When she spotted me and my glittering wings, she had a look of knowledge and understanding written on her face. Her golden eyes sparkled in the sun, and she said slowly, “You’re a forest fairy. Willow. From Willow Wonderland. And now you live in Serenity Forest.”
My jaw hung open. “How do you know who I am, when I’ve never seen you before in my life? Where do you come from? Where do you live?” I inquired, the words tumbling out of my mouth.
The girl patiently answered my questions. With a laugh, she began, “Yeah, I reckon it would be fitting for me to introduce you to myself after I introduced you to yourself. Anyways, I’m Rosita. I live on Lilac Lane, which is across from Mellow. My house is the last one on the left—the little shack that hasn’t been painted in decades.
“I like to sleep outside on warm nights. Plus, I try to leave the house as much as possible. There really isn’t much for me at home. Dad disappeared a long time ago, and Mom dates guys almost as frequently as a human heart beats—which is about 60 beats per minute, mind you. She’ll usually be out all night, and bring some weirdo back to the house with her. Then, she’ll have a hangover in the morning,” Rosita explained.
I nodded as she told me her life story. “But how do you know me?” I wanted to know.
“That’s an interesting story,” Rosita said. “I’ve known many residents of the Fairy Kingdoms for as long as I can remember. It’s a really cool world, y’know? I wish I could just live in the forests with the fairies forever and always. They’re awfully nice. But no! I have to live my human life too! It feels like the Fairy Kingdoms are the only places where I fit in. When I was little—I’ve been exposed to the world of fairies as far back as I can remember—I met your mother and father. They were good folks; very kindhearted and welcoming. They…made sure you’d land safely,” Rosita murmured.
“You…you were there?” I stuttered.
Rosita nodded. “Yes. The day the vulture came. I spent a great deal of my time in Willow Wonderland. But now, sometimes I have to take care of my mom. Or at least keep the house somewhat clean and go to school. So I can’t visit the Fairy Kingdoms as often. But your parents told me about you. They appointed me to be your protector, if anything ever happened to you. They trusted that I would make sure you were safe,” Rosita went on.
“How did I end up in Serenity Forest? How did I get separated from my home?” I asked.
“I caught you,” Rosita said simply. “I caught you in my hands when you fell.” She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and continued to gaze at me in the same endearing way that my mother had. To my surprise, I’d come across my unknown guardian angel, in a sense. Rosita had saved my life even before I could use my wings.
“I’m sorry I took you away from your home,” Rosita admitted. “Your parents told me to make the decision I thought would be best. And I knew that Willow Wonderland wasn’t safe for you. It used to be, before so many vultures and poisonous snakes came there. I was even a bit terrified of those woods myself. I had been familiar with another one of the Fairy Kingdoms—A.K.A. your current home, Serenity Forest. I visited there a few times, and it was, and still is, one of the safest Fairy Kingdoms I’ve ever known.
“However, it lacks…history and culture and diversity and celebration. All of the stuff that Willow Wonderland has. But, maybe, to a point, you can leave those things behind and harvest them anew. Look, I know what it’s like to live in a dysfunctional household—it isn’t fun, and it certainly isn’t safe. “The vulture that almost took you away and killed you—I’ve encountered plenty of those in the human world. They take the form of the crazy men that come home with my mother every night—always different ones. Sometimes, they’ll just leave me be and pretend that I’m invisible. But other times…they want something from me. Something that I’m not willing to give…”
Rosita’s voice began to tremble, and she paused for a moment. I could see little tears beginning to form in her eyes. I patted her shoulder softly, trying to comfort the crying girl. “I-I’m sorry, Rosita,” I murmured, not knowing what else to say. She didn’t have to explain. I had heard of such things happening, though I had never actually witnessed them. “It’s okay… You don’t have to talk about it anymore if you don’t want to. I’ll be here for you…if you ever need somebody. I’ll be here. I promise,” I whispered softly.
“Thanks,” Rosita said, through a deluge of tears. “Anyways,” she went on, “there have been a few close calls. I remember, one time, it was around midnight—and this man woke me from my sleep. His eyes were small and beady, like a rat’s—and he had this twisted, devilish grin on his face. He smirked, and said, ‘I never knew that she had such a cute little daughter. Say, I wonder if you got as much as your momma does. Well, I reckon there’s only one way to find out…’”
Rosita shuddered at the memory.
“I ran out of the house as fast as I could. He almost got me, and grabbed me a couple of times. I’ve still got some bruises from that. But I was able to break away and escape. He chased me out of the house, and I ran and ran…Luckily, he wasn’t very fit, so he couldn’t keep up for long. But just the thought of what could’ve happened—what he could’ve done—that’s something that tears me apart. Thank God I never saw him again.” Rosita let out a great sigh of relief and turned to me.
“I…I hope that someday the vultures will be gone…for both of us. So we can both come home again,” I told her wistfully.
“Me too,” whispered Rosita. “Me too.”
That was how our friendship began. Rosita and I spent the sweet days of summer together; giggling and splashing in the cool waters of the creek, and catching butterflies but always setting them free. I took her back to Serenity Forest and introduced her to my adoptive family and comrades. Many of them had heard about her at one point or another, but no one in Serenity Forest had known her extremely well. Nevertheless, they could tell that she could be trusted, just as I had known. Rosita soon made several new friends in Serenity Forest. While it was clear that she was not one of our own species, she possessed several of the characteristics that most forest fairies had. Rosita was thin, graceful, and gentle, with a natural talent for weaving and storytelling. She would enthrall us for hours with her enchanting tales of dragons and princesses and brave knights in shining armor. We accepted and cherished Rosita, and we recognized her as a valuable member of our community.
When I told her about my journeys into the dreams of humans, she was not at all surprised. We were stargazing on a fairly cool night, and Rosita was tracing the constellations with her fingers.
“I saw you in my dream that night. And I knew who you were. I wanted to bring you back to Willow Wonderland in any way I could, so I willed myself to perceive it in my dreams,” Rosita told me.
“Is it possible for one to will themselves to dream something?” I asked.
“Well, I do it all the time,” Rosita replied. “It’s the only way I can escape all the pain and hardships of the real world. I make myself think of happy things, like blue skies and sunshine. I wouldn’t want the horrors of reality to haunt me even when I sleep.”
This notion fascinated me. Rosita’s life in the human world was unhappy, but she did not let her dreams be plagued by vultures and slimy men and fear. She had an eternal peace inside of her, and a spirit of positivity and determination rather than one of numbness and avoidance, as many others in her place would have had.
“Sometimes, to a point, one has to stop dwelling on things they can’t change or control, and make the best of what they have. Willow, I can’t completely save myself, and Lord knows what I can do for my mother. But I could save you, so I did. I wanted you to continue to thrive and live a safe, long life.
“I think that maybe I’m running away from my problems, by escaping to a Fairy Kingdom. But honestly, what could I accomplish by going home as things are right now, and how they’ve been for as long as I can remember? I reckon the best way to face your problems is to move forward instead of going back. That doesn’t mean running away from them—but being able to put the past behind you and deal with stuff. This is what I’m doing right now,” she said.
Rosita turned to me, her deep golden eyes gleaming thoughtfully. “But…I try to hold on to the happy memories, ‘cause they’re what helps me stay strong when things get tough. For instance, whenever I’m feeling down, there’s this little song I always sing. Your mother taught it to me,” Rosita said.
Then, she softly began to hum the calming melody which had been an integral part of my childhood. Soon, her humming drifted into singing, and each note became smooth and serene.
don’t you cry;
you’ve got a pillow in the sky.
don’t you mourn;
you’ve had grace since the day you were born.
soul so deep;
you’ll be safe as you soundly sleep.
hold on tight;
trust in the coming morning light.
cry no more;
the love will be with you forevermore.
Oh, the love will be with you forevermore!”
After the song was over, I lay back and said softly, “I reckon it’s always good to have a refuge.”
“Yeah,” Rosita agreed. “And it’s wonderful to have great friends like you. A whole network of people who love and care about you—that’s a haven and a home. And if everyone had that, then the world would be a much happier place,” she continued.
And one wouldn’t have only dreams and memories to look to for comfort, I mused silently.
A few days later, Rosita told me that she was going on a mysterious expedition, but that she must go alone. “I promise, I’ll be back by sunset,” she assured me.
I wondered where Rosita could be going. What if something happened to her? I prayed for the safety of my wise and brave friend. Thankfully, she came back minutes before the sun slipped away. Rosita had a broad and jubilant smile on her face, and her eyes were gleaming with excitement.
“Willow, I have the best news!” she exclaimed gleefully. “I traveled to Willow Wonderland, and I talked with some of your kin. They told me that the land is safe now, for the vultures and poisonous snakes and other horrid creatures are gone! Many have died off, and others have fled! Isn’t that absolutely wonderful?” Rosita said with great felicity.
Tears of thankfulness and joy trickled down my face. “I can’t believe it! Finally, I’ll be able to come home! But, I must ask, where is Willow Wonderland?”
Rosita laughed merrily. “Why, it’s not far at all! Just about three miles away from the Mellowville Town Square. It took me a while to get there, of course, but fairies can travel much faster, since they have wings. I think we should embark tomorrow, and rest up tonight for the journey. Does that sound like a plan?” Rosita asked.
I nodded eagerly. “Tomorrow it is, then!”
Rosita packed us for the journey, since she felt the potent need to be prepared, no matter what came our way. I felt much safer having someone with me, for it had been a long time since I had last been to Willow Wonderland, and I could’ve very easily gotten lost. Thankfully, Rosita was a wonderful navigator, and she knew the way now just as well as she had known the way in her dream.
“Willow, until we pass Mellowville Town Square, I think it’ll be safest if you travel in my pocket,” Rosita told me. “Or else, someone might see you.”
“That’s true,” I said. “But luckily, fairies are quite good at keeping themselves hidden from the human world. I mean, occasionally, a little child will spot a fairy, but that’s no big deal. Because when they say, ‘Ooh! Mommy, look! I found a fairy!’ no one believes them, and older kids and adults just brush it off as silly childhood imaginings.
“But, the truth is, it is the inner child inside of every person which keeps the fairies alive. Just knowing that there’s a part of humanity, no matter how small, that believes in us is sometimes all we need to keep thriving,” I explained.
Rosita had a somber expression on her face. “Yeah,” she muttered. “No one ever really believes kids anyways. Grown-ups just don’t listen. They don’t understand that sometimes us kids do know what we’re talking about. That’s the hardest part.”
Her golden eyes were cast downward, as to hide the tears which were flooding her eyes again.
An eerie feeling passed through the woods, and I swallowed hard. Something told me that we weren’t alone. But Rosita had said that the creatures were no longer present, so what was there to fear? I tried the best I could to let go of the premonition, and I nearly completely succeeded in doing so. Yet a part of the eerie feeling still lingered in my gut.
We traveled for the next few moments without saying anything, until I broke the silence a while later. “You know, I never thought home could be so close; right in the same town as Serenity Forest. For all I knew, Willow Wonderland could’ve been oceans and mountains and countries away!”
Rosita nodded. “Sometimes home is closer than you think. Maybe it isn’t so much a place as it is a sense of belonging and security. Where everything will be okay.” She looked out into the distance, a contemplative expression present on her face.
We had now reached the entrance to Willow Wonderland, and memories of long ago came flooding back to me. The clearing was lined with tall weeping willow trees, and from there, I could see the tangle of shrubs, greenery, and undergrowth. About a quarter of a mile away from us was the residential part of Willow Wonderland, which could be found behind the sagging branches of a weeping willow tree.
Rosita and I stopped for a moment to take in all the scenery. The late afternoon sun shone through the trees, and the branches of the weeping willows swayed in the soft wind. Everything was just as it was meant to be, or so it seemed. But something told me otherwise. Rosita realized this too, and she was silently but intensely apprehensive. Her palms were sweaty and shaking with fear. Neither of us said anything, for no words were needed. The terrifying reality was ever present—something, or someone was following us.
Perhaps the sounds around us had been drowned out by our skyrocketing heartbeats and anxious hyperventilating. Ironically, in the midst of our trepidation, we could not hear fate’s warning to flee or hide. It was too late to go back now, for we would only be confronted by our predator. And if we moved forward, then it would pursue us. So, in essence, we were trapped.
Now, it seemed like our hearts had stopped beating for a moment, and we held our breaths. I could clearly make out the sound of footsteps walking over the leaves and branches, coming closer and closer to us with every step.
In a spirit of bravery, Rosita shouted, “Who is there? What do you want? Yes, we’re here! There’s no need to hide anymore! Show yourself! We’re…we’re not afraid!”
Her breaths came out ragged, and her deep golden eyes flashed with courage and steadfastness.
Just then, we heard a low and sick laugh, and the figure came out of the bushes behind us. As he came into view, I became petrified with fear. His appearance fit the description that Rosita had given me before—a man with tiny, beady, eyes as creepy and devious as a rat’s. They glinted with evil and disturbing pleasure, as well as malevolent longing. He wasn’t brawny or muscular, but he wasn’t weak or feeble-looking, either. His wicked intentions alone were enough to do us harm.
He wore a devilish, unbearably evil grin on his face, and he carried a large, half-full bottle of liquor in his hand. It was him.
For a minute, nobody moved or said anything, and time stopped. Finally, the dirty man’s despicable voice broke through the stillness and silence, like a sharp knife cutting through bread.
“Well, well, well,” he said, his disgusting smirk growing wider. “It looks like I struck gold! Not one, but two pretty little ladies. Of course, one of them’s a very little lady!” He looked from Rosita to me, and then transfixed his wrathful gaze upon both of us at once. I could feel my breakfast coming back up, and I doubted that anyone knew that fairies could vomit too.
Rosita trembled immensely, but she stood strong. “You…you get out of here. You’re not gonna be getting anything…except big trouble!”
The perverted man laughed again. “Silly, silly little girl. In trouble with who? Your momma certainly isn’t gonna do anything about it. Why, she’s passed out in your little shack, right where I left her. She’d rather be there than with you. Haven’t you realized that by now? Anyways, who’s gonna get me? We’re the only ones here. All alone, where anything can happen.”
I couldn’t move, and I froze in midair. In a split second, he grabbed me tight in his fist, with the hand that wasn’t holding the liquor bottle. I tried to wiggle myself free, but my efforts were futile. The evil man was crushing my ribs, and I was gasping for breath.
“You let her go!” Rosita shrieked.
“I wouldn’t dream of it!” he barked spitefully. Rosita took a few steps towards him, ready to fight for a friend. Forcefully, he wrestled her to the ground and threw her against a weeping willow tree.
Then, he began to mock her. “Awww. Poor little girl. Are you sad that I took your fairy friend? Now, after I’m done with her, if you’re a good girl and cooperate, then I’ll think about giving her back.” He clenched me tighter in his fist.
“You shut up, you…despicable ******!” Rosita shouted. Never had I seen her so enraged and infuriated. But if I had learned something about Rosita, it was that she wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in.
“Willow, open the pouch!” she said frantically. “Open the pouch!”
What did she mean?
As Rosita tried to get up, the merciless beast vigorously threw his liquor bottle at her head. Shards of broken glass flew everywhere, and Rosita was so covered in blood that I couldn’t tell what redness was her hair and what redness was the dripping blood.
“How could you do that to my best friend? How could you?” I screamed at the evil man.
To my disgust, he merely chuckled gleefully and said, “Now the little fairy talks! Ha! I guess it’s just you and me now, since she isn’t gonna bother us anymore. What a relief! She was getting to be more trouble than she was worth!”
Salty tears stung my eyes, and I cried more than I ever had in my life. There was nothing I could do. Rosita slumped against the tree trunk, and her spirit left her body.
With one last attempt to save somebody or something, I recalled what Rosita had told me to do—open the pouch. I always wore a leather pouch around my waist, using it to carry items such as food and books. But what could be in it now?
I opened the pouch with great difficulty, for I could barely move inside the evil creature’s clenched fist. Slowly, I took out its contents, which I could not see at first. But I felt a smaller bag inside the pouch, filled with something. Carefully, I pulled my arms out of the beast’s hand, along with the little bag. I realized that it was filled with a purple, glittery dust.
Since I was not among the most magical of fairies, I had only encountered fairy dust a few times before. I had known that it could be used on humans, to stun them for a short period of time. So, I quickly untied the bag, reached into it, and threw the fairy dust at the wicked human with all of my might.
“What—” he began, but soon, he fell backwards and released me from his painful grasp. The man had a shocked, stupefied expression on his face, and he did not move.
As fast as I could, I rushed to the residential area of Willow Wonderland, and saw the smiling faces of the other fairies, many of whom were my kin. Indeed, they were happy to see me, but there was a bit of terror present in each of them, as well as in me.
“What is the matter?” one of them asked. “I sensed evil from somewhere in the forest. Are you alright, Willow, dear?”
“I can’t explain it all right now,” I said in a rush of words. “But there’s an evil human near the entrance to Willow Wonderland…he just killed my best friend, Rosita.”
When I said her name, there was a shared look of sadness and grief among all of the fairies. They knew her well, for she had positively impacted many of the Fairy Kingdoms over the past few years. She was an intercessor, a Chosen One, and now, a martyr.
“Show us to the wicked human!” the fairies instructed. They anxiously followed me through the trees until we came to the place where the sick, perverted man lay temporarily unconscious on the ground.
I could not bear to look at his face, much less the dead body of my caring, determined friend.
“He’ll wake up soon, and then he’ll want to kill me, or…do worse things that I can’t even imagine!” I said with extreme fear. “Please…get him out of here. Do whatever you can. So he’ll never hurt anybody ever again! Just…make him go away…” I said through an ocean of tears.
One of the fairies, a distant relative of mine, said to me, “Dearie, when goodness is destroyed, a new seed is planted soon after, from which more goodness can grow. But when evil is destroyed, it is a great victory, and as a result, more goodness also grows. All will be alright.”
Soon, each of the fairies transfixed their gaze upon the unconscious man. They did not chase him with spears or pull out his fingernails, but somehow, in a much kinder way, a feeling of eternal peace pervaded throughout Willow Wonderland. The weeping willows, which had previously been mourning, now had a more hopeful look about them.
Slowly, the unconscious figure of the evil man faded away until it was fully gone. He had disappeared like a hologram, and I no longer felt the unbearable terror inside of me.
Overhead, a condescending vulture flew, but this time, no one ran. It suddenly let out a cry of defeat and fell to the ground, landing with a thump. Everyone cheered upon the victory.
When I was finally able to look upon the place where Rosita’s empty body lay sprawled out, I noticed a tiny rose blooming beside her.
After that day, I rediscovered home, and all that I had loved and missed about it. I’d return to Serenity Forest every now and then, but it would never be quite the same, or nearly as significant to me, as my birthplace.
And ever so often, on a starry summer night, I’d come to the weeping willow tree that was Rosita’s burial site. Amid the soft chirping of crickets and hoots of owls, I would hear the sweet, calming tune once again.
don’t you cry;
you’ve got a pillow in the sky…”
And I would always sing along.