As He Did Every Night

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A modern, gothic faerie tale short about a foundling and her father. Dulcie's daddy was bigger than most of the other dads she knew. He was super tall and had massively wide shoulders and thickly muscled arms, and he could toss her into the air and catch her again so easily. She was never ever afraid he would drop her. And in the sunshine, he left an enormous shadow she liked to try to trap with her toes as she followed behind on their woodland walks. But to know the truth of Dulcie's daddy, one would need to follow him beneath the Shadow Bridge.

Fantasy / Other
Stasia Morineaux
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

A Modern Gothic Faerie Tale

Seven-year-old Dulcie hiked her oversized Star Wars t-shirt above her knees so she could climb up onto the chunky wooden chair at the dining table. Settling into the oversized seat, she pushed her golden curls out of her eyes, and resting her elbows on the table nestled her chin into her palms. She watched her dad at the stove as he artfully flipped griddle cakes into the air. They spun twice then slapped back down into the cast iron pan. The scent of warming strawberries and vanilla wafted to her little nose making a huge smile burst onto her sleepy face.

“Good morning, Daddy!” She chirped.

The large figure turned from his cooking, skillet in hand, to see her sparkling blue eyes and wide smile—with its recently missing front tooth—fixed on him. “Good morning to you, my little finch. Did you bring your hearty appetite along to the table this morning?”

“I sure did.”

“That’s a good thing because I made your favorite!” He set a plate filled with strawberry griddle cakes and a pile of fruit in front of her, before wrapping his brawny arms around her for a gentle hug.

“Did you sleep well?”

“I did.”

“Did you have sweet dreams?”

“I did! I dreamed about having a pony of my very own and I named her Geneviève. And she was spotted and had the longest mane and tail ever. And she could talk to me!”

He ruffled her already sleep-tousled hair, and releasing a hearty laugh returned to his cooking duties.

Her daddy was bigger than most of the other dads she knew. He was super tall and had massively wide shoulders and thickly muscled arms, and he could toss her into the air and catch her again so easily. She was never ever afraid he would drop her. And in the sunshine, he left an enormous shadow she liked to try to trap with her toes as she followed behind on their woodland walks.

Dulcie loved his laugh. It was deep and robust and rumbled in his chest. The sound never failed to make her happy.

“Well,” he paused as he loaded up a platter with his own helping of food, “a pony which talks is a fine thing indeed.” He sat in the chair across from her; his body a much better fit to the overly large dining chair than hers. “Close your eyes tight, and no peeking.”

His little finch did as she was told, giggling and squirming as she scrunched her eyes closed tightly, because when her daddy told her to close her eyes tight, it always meant a surprise was coming.

“Okay, you can open them now.”

She did as she was told and discovered a fluffy, spotted plush pony now sitting in front of her plate.

“I know it’s not your dapple dream pony, and this one doesn’t speak, but—”

“Oh!” Dulcie squealed. “I love her, Daddy! Where did you find her?” She hugged the stuffed toy to her chest, testing out its squishability.

“The family I work for, well, their kids are all grown up, more or less, and they were sorting out some older toys for charity…I saw this girl and new she was for you.”

Dulcie tumbled, none too gracefully, from her chair, ran around the big table, and tossed herself against her father’s legs. He scooped her up and she threw her arms around him—or tried; her little arms barely made it halfway around him. But she still hugged him for all she was worth.

“Why don’t you eat up your brekkie and then we’ll go down to the creek and see what we can see.” Her dad set her gently down onto kitchen the floor.


The father and daughter were stretched out comfortably side by side next to the gurgling creek that ran through the meadow and toward the ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Shadow Bridge. Dulcie was pointing out a cloud to her daddy that she proclaimed was an elephant with a turtle on its back. The cotton-ball clouds drifted across the sky lazily.


“Yes, little finch?”

“Will you tell me the story of me?”


“Uh huh.”

Lacing his fingers behind his head, and still gazing up at the endless field of blue above him, he launched into the story he had recited to her so often there was no number to it anymore.

“Once upon a time there was a Night Guardian who was assigned to look after a household in the Ever After, as all Night Guardians are. It was his duty to protect the family from hardship and harm that might come about in the dark hours.

One night, as the moon rose high, he arrived at the grand home in that other world, and found it reduced to a mountain of rubble. During the day hours, a horrible and disastrous war had arrived and tore apart a village and a world and a family. It was the Hollows War and it ripped asunder two worlds, that of the Ever After and the Never After.

He wandered through the town, horrified, and made his way to the far end, where his charges lived. The entire village was a wasteland of smoke and flames.

With his heart lodged in his throat, he tore through the rubble, fighting his way to the center of what had once been a grand sort of mansion, to the place where the nursey would have been, if the house still stood.

Miraculously, the babe of the household was there, unscathed but for soot and ash. She had been shielded from the debris by her Day Guardian, who had not fared so well.

The Night Guardian didn’t hesitate to scoop the child up and make a hasty retreat to the Never After, where he would raise the baby girl as his own daughter.”

“And that baby was me.”

He tweaked her softly on her nose. “Yes, it was.”

Turning her eyes from her father and back to the sky, her brow scrunched down in thought, her smile became one of concentration as she bit her lip. He could see a question forming behind her eyes. “Were those people ever found? The other people from that home?”

“No. There was much searching for all of the village folk, but you were the only one ever discovered.”

“I’m glad it was you that found me.”

“Me too.”

“Sleep, my finch, and dreams attend thee,

All through the night

Guardian watchers I will send thee

All through the night

Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,

Hill and dale in slumber sleeping

I my loved ones’ watch am keeping,

All through the night

Guardians watching ever ’round,

Midnight slumber close surround,

All through the night

No forebodings should alarm thee,

I will let no peril harm thee,

All through the night

Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,

Hill and dale in slumber sleeping,

I my loved ones’ watch am keeping

All through the night”

Dulcie’s eyelids fluttered closed just before her father’s melodious lullaby ended, and she let out the softest of sighs as she settled into slumber. Her father gazed down, his eyes brimming with love and absolute joy for her in his life. Placing a tender kiss on the top of her head, as he did every night, he inhaled her softly-sweet little girl scent, which was faintly reminiscent of vanilla and summer, then he pulled the covers over her, tucking her in snuggly with her new plush pony.

With much care, he closed the heavy oak door at the front of their home, not wanting to disturb his little girl’s dreams. He glanced back once, spying the silhouette of Nanny behind the dimly lit window of Dulcie’s room. She sat in a chair next to his child’s bed, watching over her. As he did every night since she had come to be his little girl, he was leaving Nanny in charge of Dulcie’s well-being while he was off to work.

Reluctantly, as he did every night, he turned away from his home and trudged through the meadow, making his way to the creek where they had spent an idyllic day. He followed the water’s course along the bankside and soon found himself at the threshold of Shadow Bridge. The Night Guardian stepped into the creek. The cool water swirled around his legs, past him, continuing its way to beneath and beyond the bridge. When he reached the center of the underpass, a shimmering occurred in the water and all around him.

When he emerged from the other side of the bridge, he was no longer in Never After, but in Ever After.

He walked with heavy steps through the village, through the darkened streets. Much of the rubble from the war had been moved, displaced and rearranged as scavengers rooted through the remnants of the lost lives.

The Night Guardian continued along his route, making his way to the far end of town, where the saddest and largest heap of wreckage remained…undisturbed and unplundered. Upon spotting the mountain of ruins, a roar of rage tore from the Guardian’s mouth, tore through the silent village as his massive, dark-grey leathery wings unfolded from his body and lifted him into the star-speckled night sky. He landed at the uppermost ledge of what remained of the estate that had once been his night domicile, the home of his human charges, of his human daughter.

He perched, waiting and ever watchful, as he did every night.

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