After the excitement of announcing the winners of my two short story competitions over the past two weeks, it’s back to my Monday Motivations slot. This week, I’m going to give you five themes to get your creative brain going. Read them then close your eyes and see where your imagination takes you:
Here’s my story on the theme of fairies:
She’s seeing things again. My dear, sweet, Eleanor. I watch her and yearn to reach out my hand and stroke her long, brown hair, to tuck it back behind her ears. The tiny girl turns. She knows I am watching. Such sadness in those glorious eyes. My fingers are edging nearer. I stop. I can’t touch her. I mustn’t. My dear, sweet, Eleanor, only seven years old.
She turns back and sobs, clutching her teddy. Dear teddy, so old and worn from constant hugs and tears trapped beneath the fading fur.
Her sobbing slows. She stops. Her head leans on one side and her fringe falls forward, hiding her face. She flings back her head and the smile twitches at the corner of her mouth. She listens and a light illuminates her. Her eyes dance, alive once more and her thin fingers tap teddy to a tune only she can hear. They’re here. Oh, Eleanor, the fairies have come again.
Her smile slowly spreads as mine vanishes. Her tears have dried and mine replace them. Why Eleanor? Oh, why?
Her hands reach out and open up as if to catch a ball. She pulls back. She has one in her grasp. Yellow, pink, purple; only she knows the colour of the wings, the hue of the dress, the feel of hair and feet flitting over flesh. She turns to me and holds out her hand. I can’t see them. I can’t see them, Eleanor.
I turn away. I can bear no more. But I have to look back. Eleanor is dancing now, with her arms raised above her head and her eyes glancing gleefully in all directions. They’re everywhere, aren’t they, Eleanor? She won’t look at me now. She doesn’t need me anymore, not when they’re here. This is the only time she smiles, the only time she feels anything. Why Eleanor? What terrible thing made you create such a wondrous world? Is the real word so terrible, so bad?
I am shaking with sobs now. I know the answer. I know the things Eleanor has seen. Things a seven year old shouldn’t see, shouldn’t ever know anything about. And I could do nothing about it. I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t save her.
But it wasn’t always like this. Her daddy used to make her smile. All the time. He worked hard at the shop and came home as early as he could to read her a bedtime story. He used to bring sweets home every Friday. Fizzy cola bottles were the best. So sugary and sweet. Daddy used to swing her round and round. Mummy used to scold him for getting Eleanor all excited before bedtime and then he would pull out a bottle of perfume and Mummy would fling her arms around him in forgiveness. Her Mummy didn’t mind really. All she wanted was for her Eleanor to be happy. And they were happy. All of them. Such a happy family.
Then everything changed. It was all Daddy’s fault. Horrible, horrible Daddy. Poor Eleanor. Poor Eleanor, who had been feeling sick all day at school and who had come home early with Mummy. Mummy had gone to school straight from work when they couldn’t get hold of Daddy at the shop. They said Daddy had taken the afternoon off work and gone home.
Dear Eleanor. She ran up those stairs when she saw his car outside, all thoughts of sickness suddenly gone. Her fast footsteps didn’t give Mrs Draper from number three much time to wrap Daddy’s dressing gown round herself.
Daddy shouted at Eleanor. He shouted at her like he had never shouted before. Mummy came up after her. She was so shocked and so hurt. For a moment, her face had crumpled and the floor had threatened to claim her. Then anger kicked in. Anger at how Daddy had spoken to their daughter. Anger at Daddy for what he had done. Anger at Mrs Draper.
Mummy told Eleanor to go downstairs then while she marched on, pulling at Daddy’s dressing gown. Eleanor didn’t know what was going on. She thought her Daddy was ill. Why else would he be in bed? Perhaps Mrs Draper was ill, too. But she knew something was wrong. It was in their voices and their faces.
Eleanor couldn’t move. She watched the ugly folds of flesh emerge as the emerald green gown fell to the floor. She stood rigid as Daddy leapt up, pulling his trousers past his hips and launched himself at Mummy. Mummy was wild, lashing out viciously and verbally.
Eleanor should have gone. She would have known what was to come next, but she wouldn’t have seen it. It wouldn’t have blasted into her conscious, raw and ragged, day in, day out until the only thing that made sense were the fairies.
The knife came from nowhere. Eleanor hadn’t seen it before. All she saw was a shimmer of silver and then there was a sea of scarlet. Mummy didn’t even get a chance to scream. Mrs Draper did. She screamed before she ran down the stairs and out of the house. She didn’t even stop to pick up her clothes.
Eleanor is still now. She is holding out her arms, beckoning the fairies to her. But not scarlet ones. There won’t be any scarlet fairies. Eleanor doesn’t like scarlet.
I wish I could see them. I wish I could be there with Eleanor and feel the flutter of their wings. I wish they would invite me into their magical world and spare me my suffering. Eleanor is fading now. I can’t see her.
“Come back, Eleanor, come back.”
I look around the room. It is so bright, so stark, so empty. The people will be here soon. They think they are helping. I don’t want their help. I don’t want to remember the bad time. I want the fairies to come again. I used to see them. All colours of the rainbow and more besides. Except scarlet. I don’t like scarlet. But they were my friends. For years and years. My only friends, apart from teddy.
The door opens. They’re here.
“Come on, Eleanor, time for your medication.”
I reach for my teddy. Perhaps one day the fairies will come back.