The aroma of roast beef stew wafted throughout the kitchen. The window was unhinged, protruding outwards, allowing a slow stream of air to escape through the crack. Pots started to rattle, swinging from side to side. The pot-hooks barely stayed in place as the rusting screws unraveled to the edges of the bolt-holes.
The kettle whistled for attention as a rotund woman in her seventies staggered towards the oven. The woman grabbed a swampy towel off a hanger and removed the kettle from the burner. She emptied the pot into a porcelain mug.
The mug thudded down onto the worn wooden table and cast a murky shadow.
“Charlotte…!” the old woman yelled, “come drink your tea.” The woman turned towards the decaying sink. As she faced the window, a shadow crept into the nook. Slipping and sliding, it undulated over the glossy stone tiles. Slowly, the silhouette reflected on the wall and the shadow of a hand reached for the cupboard. The shadow gradually manifested itself in frills and bows, and a figure of a little girl took shape. How she had climbed onto the mountainous counter was a mystery. She reached for the cookie jar on the top shelf, slipping her fingertips along the dusty shelf where the jar lay concealed. She clutched the delights and ran to the table where the old lady expected her to be.
“Charlotte…! Are you coming?” she hollered again.
“Yes, Mrs. Huntington,” Charlotte replied upon sitting down in the chair.
“You know that monsters only like to eat the sweetest girls; you should watch out eating all this sugar.” The girl immediately sat straight up, little cookie crumbs bulging from the rim of her lips. Eventually her shoulders curled forward over the hot steam of the cup, the taste of the sugary sweet still lingering on her tongue. Mrs. Huntington wiped dish soap residue off her hands and turned to face the girl. The girl launched into a storm of questions.
“How did you know I took a cookie? Do you have eyes at the back of your head? Are you a magician!?” The old woman sighed and limped towards the table. She took hold of the chair and pulled it beneath herself. She sighed again. Mrs. Huntington’s declining body could not handle the energy the little radiated girl.
“Charlotte, calm down. I promise I am not a witch,” she chuckled, “I have something for you.” The little girl’s ears perked up. Mrs. Huntington began to recount a story of fairies, magic, and talismans. She slowly curled her hands and slipped her fingertips into her coat pocket. A silver chain appeared before them.
The almost-shiny metal was concealed by a thick layer of dust. A complicated chain was intertwined and finally at the end there was a beautifully developed clip, which had been customized especially for the chain. A swinging pendulum had been hung at the end of the string. Magically, the necklace compelled the girl’s eyes and her pupils followed the swinging chain from side to side. She felt an immediate connection with the item. She had been enchanted.
“Charlotte, this necklace has been passed down in my family for generations.” She proudly gestured to the mysterious necklace. “I believe this would suit you perfectly. The stories it beholds will bring enchantment into your life wherever you go.”
“Thank you! I love it!” she was ready to leave, not completely realizing its sentimental value.
The little girl fled towards the door, yet the old woman was able to catch her before she left the house. She gently stroked the girl’s silky skin to remove the rough cookie crumbs. She wished her farewell and the two parted ways.
“Maybe this will finally give me luck in finding a real life fairy.” The woman giggled under her breath.
The smell of soft evening dew filled the outdoors. The meager girl walked through the meadow, imprints of her feet soaked into the grass. The sun dipped below the horizon, the fleeting colors of dusk began to fade away. The thick forest began to conceal more and more of the rich red radiant skies.
Charlotte galloped through the forest like a pony, curious yet dainty and a little bit cautious. The darkness devoured her like a wolf as she grazed for magic, still searching for a sign. She stopped and dropped the amulet. It landed in a nearby cradle of leaves and grasses.
Round tears drizzled down her silky porcelain skin, she was tired of the childish games. The distance she covered with her tiny feet started catching up with her in the form of deep fatigue.
“There is no magic here” She cried out for her guardian angel, “I just wanna go home!” But her home was far and the journey long. Her hands were empty as she curled them up into her frowning face. She glanced at a strangely unnatural glow, her eyes overflowing with tears. Still she could make out a submerged reflection of light coming from behind the blade of grass. The girl was intrigued; she quickly sniffed away the oozing mucus. Anomalously, Charlotte still disappointed, followed the light which led to the amulet.
“Are you a fairy?” the girl asked, enchanted. In an amused tone she said, “could you lead me to your house?” The light slowly drifted towards the shimmering jewels on the amulet; it was cradled and unharmed. It had been blanketed in old remains of dry hay encasing it. She picked it up ferociously!
“Lead the way, fairy!” she jumped cheerfully. The two began their expedition to the fairy’s hideout. The girl was craving the warmth of a kitchen stove, reminiscing of a home cooked meal. The two ventured out into the darkening forest, Charlotte now holding onto the amulet gingerly. She’d gained hope and was ready to complete her journey.
They walked for many hours over a small off road, scraps of wood and leaves encased the muddy path. They were nearing the end of the trail. The two walked hand in hand; scared but passionate, the girl followed the glowing creature into a pitch black cave. The girls’ eyes had adjusted to the dark skies of the night, yet the cave was darker, so dark that Charlotte could only use the fairy’s glow as a sort of maneuvering device. They hadn’t gone far into the cave.
Her eyes began slowly to flutter, and her eyelids transformed into bulky weights. She felt her shutters closing. She began to sit down, but as soon as she put her finger tips onto the dusty rocks beneath her a swarm of fairy dust swirled around her.
Lights! Like an infinite amount of suns every edge of the cave lit up and millions of fairies appeared before her. They were dancing around the girl and she felt a feeling of warmth and a full stomach, as if she was home in one of her many childhood fairytales. The pleasantly, sweet smell of fairy-dust had overpowered her nostrils and she began to sneeze. With every sneeze, her fairy friends were whooshed away, but then came hurtling back. She was emerged in a bubble, surrounded by fairies. Euphoric, all her senses were pulled to the max and she could hear the flapping of each individual fairly. The taste of their sprinkling magic filled her with power. They spent the rest of the night prancing around their dusty castle.
Light fell upon them.
Morning came and the fairies disappeared .
Fireflies glistening before her.