As she hauled herself over a strand of grass, Sofire caught the familiar musky sent. Her nose shot straight into the air as her purple eyelashes dropped to her pink cheeks.She breathed in the scent for a moment until she was absolutely certain it was what she thought it was.Sofire immediately forgot about the pouring rain and the limp pink petals of her skirt that stuck to her.She scraped her dripping purple hair away from her green eyes and skipped over the last of the lawn and skidded onto the patio.Just as she pulled herself onto the paving stones a snail glided across her path, she jumped out of its way before she got slimed.Sofire waited patiently for Horace to move out of her way, quietly tapping the toe of her pointy purple shoe on the ground.
Finally, with Horace out of the way, Sofire ran through the gap in the brickwork, up the timbers holding the walls in place and out through the hole in Daniel’s bedroom above the bookshelf. Sofire managed to dry up the small river that traced her path with a bit of tissue and squeezed in between two books.She felt her bottom pinch out through the gap and onto the shelf just as the bedroom door opened and let in a stream of light.She hid her eyes underneath her arm to let them get used to the brightness.
“’Have you cleaned your teeth”, said Grandad. Sofire smiled a huge smile on hearing his voice.
“Yes Grandad, I’m ready now” replied Daniel’s squeaky tones as he climbed onto his bed and pulled the quilt over his chest.
“Ah are you now? Well I’d best make myself comfortable then.”
There was a rustle from the ground and Grandad stood up and took out a couple of tissues from his trousers pocket. He reached over and lay them on the book shelf close to where Sofire was hiding.She wiggled down deeper and looked up just as Grandad peered down and winked directly at her.Sofire pulled the tissues quietly over to where she sat, drying herself on one and pulling the other over her to keep her warm.With all three settled, Grandad took a sip of tea and replaced it on Daniel’s bedside cabinet with a clunk.
“Me and my brother used to love playing out in the garden.We always did right from when we could first walk. We would hide in the bushes and pretend to be soldiers, goodies, baddies, wolves, anything we fancied.Sometimes we made camps and other times we just made believe.Normally there was a skirmish of some kind, someone was usually shouting to us from the kitchen.As long as we played nicely and we stayed out of the end of the garden, we could do more or less whatever we liked.That was the rule, so Jon and me, we always kept out of the end of the garden.
“One day we heard a bit of a commotion from the house and went to investigate.As Jon was braver than me, he went through the door first.I peeped around the edge of the door and there I saw a little fluffy white and brown spaniel puppy.Jon was already on his knees with the puppy licking his face and wagging his tail so hard his whole body was wiggling.Then I was on the floor too and the three of us played there on the floor for ages.After a while, Mum made us leave the puppy alone for a sleep and made us clean ourselves up before dinner.From that moment on, our games in the garden were for three.
“Our little spaniel took on the role of deputy in our goodies and baddies games and in our cops and robbers skirmishes, so our Mum and Dad let us call the puppy Deputy.Jon made him a gold badge and we both thought he looked really proud when we put it on his collar.He seemed to take on a bit of a swagger in his walk and held his little head a little higher.We loved Deputy so much and he was so eager to please us.
“Then one day, while we were playing cops and robbers in the garden, Jon threw a hand grenade (that was a tennis ball to us) a little harder than we thought he could!The ball cleared my head and raised finger tips.It cleared the bushes right behind me and carried on going.Me and Jon turned to follow as Deputy flew past us both with his eyes fixed on the hand grenade.I called out his name but all he cared about was that flying object.I gasped as the ball and Deputy went straight through the trees and out to the back of the garden.
“Jon and I stared at each other for a couple of seconds, we both felt rooted to the spot.We knew the rules, we were not allowed out the back of the garden.But we couldn’t leave Deputy, he was our friend.If we went back for our parents, Deputy could be well and truly gone by the time we got back.I yelled to Jon that we had to go after him and we both set off at a fast run without any arguments.We both flew past the big trees and through the thick bushes at the back of the garden, pulling spider webs out of our eyes as we went.I rubbed my head a few times and sneezed while Jon unhooked himself from a spiky plant.I turned to help Jon but didn’t see where my feet were, just as he came unhooked I fell flat over and a big gold dust cloud flew up in the air around me.
“All of a sudden, I could hear the bird song clearer, I saw drops of dew slide along strands of grass. I could hear the tiniest little voices and laughter, lots and lots of tiny, squeaky laughter.I looked about me to try to find out what all the noise was and to my relief, I saw Deputy wagging his tail at me from beneath a big tree.He was smiling at me and leaning back against the tree with one front leg slightly held up.It was only when I looked at his leg at that strange angle that I realised he was having his belly tickled.That was why he was smiling, because he was getting his tummy tickled.The thing that took my breath away is that the thing tickling Deputy’s belly, looked incredibly like, what I’ve always imagined, a fairy to look like!”
Sofire was still snuggling under her blanket tissue listening to the story when a flash of green light appeared next to her. She jumped in surprise and hid under her tissue.After a little while, she peeked her eyes over the tissue blanket and saw a fresh fairy rubbing his eyes.She knew he was a fresh fairy straight away because his green petals were still tightly wrapped around his head and body.Her eyes widened and her shoulders slumped down as the shock sunk in.As it hit her she grabbed hold of his tightly curled hand before he flew off and caused mayhem.She pulled him next to her, still yawning and rubbing his eyes, while she put her finger to her lips and mouthed ‘shhhhhh’.
They waited still as statues for a while, hiding under the tissue blanket. After what felt like ages, Sofire peered out through the books and over the shelf to see if Daniel had moved.Nothing had changed in the bedroom, Albert was taking a sip of his tea while his grandson was waiting for the next part of the story.Sofire leaned back against a book with her hand on her chest and took a deep breath.She then looked again at the fresh fairy, who by now was chewing on the corner of the tissue blanket.Sofire rolled her eyes at his stupidity and then let out a sigh of disappointment.It was like a hard twig had thumped her on the head, she knew the trouble she was in and decided she had better get them out of there quick.
She dragged the fresh fairy through the hole above the book shelf, back down the timbers and out through the crack in the brick. He was quite slow and felt wobbly on his legs as she pulled him.He didn’t put up a struggle but she knew he was looking about him in wonder at everything, as she dragged him along he kept bumping into her. Sofire knew creating a new fairy in a human household was about as bad a thing as a fairy could ever do, she had covered off most of the other things already in her 150 short years!If she could have got out of confronting it, she would have, but there was no hiding this accident.
Sofire tugged and dragged the fresh fairy across the lawn, clambering over long strands of grass and under unattended toys left by Daniel. After what felt like the longest, wettest run ever, they finally clambered through the bushes at the end of the garden and passed the big tall trees.As she ran through to the open meadow close to her home, she heard a tapping noise.She stopped dead in her tracks but the new fairy bumped straight into her and knocked her sliding along the ground.When she stopped sliding, Sofire slowly raised her muddy forehead to look up.In front of her was Karmy, the Wise One looking straight down at her.His face was bright red and puffed out over his big fluffy white beard and his purple wings were glowing while he tapped his pointy gold shoe right next to her head.
“How many times do I need to tell you?” yelled Karmy.
“I know, I know,” groaned Sofire shaking her head.“I picked up his scent and I couldn’t resist hearing the stories again.I guess Daniel believed too quickly because it was so fast when the flash appeared and this one turned up.”
“So the fresh fairy appeared in the grandson’s bedroom?” said Karmy, his eyes widening.
“I don’t think he noticed, I left it a bit of time and then quietly peeked over the edge of the shelf and he was still watching his grandfather drink his tea” mumbled Sofire.
“Oh that’s alright then!” yelled Karmy.“So Albert distracted him….that is the only explanation.We owe him again!”
“Sofire, your punishment is that this fresh fairy is now to be in your care until he is wise in the ways and can be trusted on his own.You must look after him morning, noon and night, make sure he knows where he can and can’t go. Teach him the ways and try to teach yourself too while you’re at it!You know as well as I do that if a human child’s mind believes in the fairy folk, the new fairy will appear to the nearest fairy to it.For that reason alone, how can you listen to a human telling a story about fairies?I can’t believe I have to have this conversation with you again.Go on, go and explain to your parents what you’ve done.Go Sofire, I don’t want to see you again until that fairy is trained up!”
Sofire pulled herself up from the ground where she had fallen and stood with her head stooped over and her shoulders drooping in shame. She looked at the fresh fairy out of the corner of her eye as he licked the side of a rock face.She sighed and looked at Karmy under her purple eyelashes.
“What will you name him Sofire?” asked Karmy.
“Flashster, because he appeared in a flash”, mumbled a miserable little Sofire.
“OK, that will do.Now get!”
Sofire turned to pull Flashster and his tongue away from the rock face and walked up the hill towards home. She knew they were going to be cross with her, not only had she gone to the human’s house to listen to stories, she had also been caught red handed and now had a new fairy charge with her.This was not going to make her any more popular with her parents and brother than it had with Karmy.Her brother would really enjoy reminding her of this, he hadn’t stopped dragging up the last time she got caught in a human’s bedroom.She gulped at the thought of that mouldy drink she’d fall into in Daniel’s bedroom and continued trudging through the moss up the hill to their home.
Flashster was slowing down their sad walk up the hill and Sofire was glad of it. She was trying to work out how to tell her side of the story without it sounding like she was as bad as she knew she was.Her tiny little brow crumpled under the pressure of trying to make it sound like she had achieved something good.As they made their way over the top of the hill, Sofire’s family home rose up in front of them through the sunset. Its little red stone chimney appeared whirling gold smoke out of its top, glistening in the mist like a homely beacon.Sofire’s shoulders slumped further down knowing that it was not going to be a homely welcome at all tonight.
Flashster tripped over his feet but managed to catch himself, then made to run off towards the house. Sofire grabbed him by his orange wing and held tight while he flapped to get free.She knew him making a break for it and flying through the door was not the way to get her back into their good books.She stood still, tapping her purple pointy shoe on the moss covered floor making a tap-tap noise.Flashster wiggled and struggled, flapped his wings and kicked his green shoed feet while he grimaced in annoyance at having to stop still for more than two seconds.Sofire looked and him and huffed, she couldn’t think of an excuse and knew delaying it wasn’t going to help.So she walked back down the hill, dragging the fidgety Flashster behind her.
She knew they were watching her before she even looked up. She knew the heavy door was opening while she inspected the points on her purple shoes.She knew her parents were shaking their heads while her brother’s hand was clasped across his mouth stopping the giggles escaping.She knew it already so at least it wasn’t a surprise when she finally looked up and there they all were, exactly as she knew they would be.
“Well this is interesting” sighed Tyran, her father.
“Are you going to introduce us to your new friend?” said her mother with her red spikey haired head slightly tilting to the right.
It was now all far too much for Kaflinsk, who at that point laughed so hard he was rolling on the floor with his legs in the air. Both parents raised their eyes to heaven and then looked down at him with an ever so slightly more annoyed look than they had been looking at her with.What didn’t help matters was that Flashter dived onto the floor, next to Kaflinskm and rolled around, holding his belly and wiggling his legs in the air too.Sofire thought she was going to explode with embarrassment, she had heard that happens if you get that embarrassed.She tried to drag Flashter back to his feet but he was just too wiggly for her to get a good hold of.She sighed and looked back up at her parents with dread in her eyes.
“This is Flashter. The human child created him while his granddad told him about the stories” sighed Sofire.
“And, pray tell, why is he with you?” asked an already knowing Tyran.
“Because I was in his bedroom listening to the stories at the same time” mumbled Sofire, with her head bent down as far as it would go towards her chest.
“Oh, because you were in the human’s bedroom at the time” said Suprena with her hands on her hips and pink wings flapping.
There was a deathly silence, even Flashter had stopped rolling around and wiggling his legs in the air. Both parents turned on their heels and walked through the front door into the house, the silence was so dense it hurt Sofire’s head.As Sofire pulled Flashter into the house, he looked about at every tiny little detail, she thought about how it must look to him.The small fronted thatched cottage was nestled in between some thick shrubs with bright yellow glowing lights emanating from the windows.To a passer-by it would probably look like fireflies, but to the fairy folk it would be a cosy little homestead.The door was thick and heavy and made of wood with wide frames and a heavy knocker.The floor had dry grass spread out all over it to keep the warmth in and allowed them to take off their pointy shoes and wriggle their long pointy toes.Fairies middle toes are longer than their end ones which is why they need pointy shoes and why they need wiggling and tapping so much.
Sofire pulled off Flashter’s green shoes while his head bent this side and that as though trying to understand what she was doing. When he saw his foot escape for the first time, his eyes shone with excitement and he grabbed one, rolling straight backwards and rocking mesmerised by his pointy toes.Kaflinsk giggled around the doorway at Flashter who glanced up at him, smiled and made a similar giggling noise back.He then stopped with a start as if wondering what the noise was.Kaflinsk laughed even harder at this and wandered back into the other room.
“Is she going to have her hands full with this one” joked Kaflinsk to his parents.
“OK son, we know. Sofire, stop delaying, come in here and bring your friend with you” said her father sternly.
After what felt like hours and hours of being told off, of lots of the same things being said to her in many different ways. Sofire’s parents decided caring for Flashter would be punishment enough.They would have liked to ground her but they soon realised she couldn’t teach him the ways of the fairy world from their home.They told her she had to have him doing household chores, walking nicely and greeting fairies well in one week’s time.They would see how he had progressed in a week and decide on the next task.Sofire did not know how she would ever be able to lift her head again without the help of her hands.She just felt like sitting at the table with her head in them for the rest of her life, but her parents told her she had to go off to her room and start training Flashter straight away.