Years later, my youngest sister stands at the same height as me.
I don’t notice until the morning of her birthday when she yanks me out of bed and stands me up next to her. She grabs me by the shoulders and makes direct eye contact with me.
I sigh in disappointment. “Lunette, when did you grow so tall?”
Her smile expands and her pale pink eyes shine brighter. “I don’t know. But I’m your size now, Sis.”
I give her a sad grin of my own. “You’re all grown up now, aren’t you?”
“Would Mother have been proud of me?”
Lunette was young when Mother disappeared, so she doesn’t remember her. She still looks up to her, though.
When she was smaller she would draw pictures of her with wide, white wings and long hair the color of the night sky.
“I think so, I know I am.”
Her face glows and she skips out of my room.
Hours before the party, Faylinn tosses flower petals all around her, giving color to the room. She taps every lightning bug she sees, telling them to fly up high.
She dances around the room as she decorates.
“Fidget, aren’t you excited?” She prances to the table I’m seated at. “It’s the last party like this we can ever have again.”
“Exactly, none of the girls are babies anymore. They’re all adults now. Which, by the way, makes us even older. Everything’s gonna be different after this.”
Faylinn walks away again, throwing handfuls of confetti in any direction she can think of. I watch her flutter around, decorating the room with an enormous smile on her face.
I toss the thought around in my mind for a minute before voicing it.
“I’m just glad the others don’t know everything.”
The rest of our sisters still don’t know what happened to our mother. But that didn’t stop Faylinn and me from doing some digging.
We found the records of Loxy telling the chief about Mother’s stories. Almost immediately afterwards he came to our house and threw her into the river.
We also learned that whenever someone did something against our laws, they were drowned.
Fay’s smile fades and her feet fall to the floor. Her gold eyes fill with tears she won’t allow to fall.
“Do you think Loxy would have told me herself?”
“No, she didn’t want me to tell anyone.”
Faylinn plants herself in the seat next to me. She rests her empty flower basket on the table.
“Didn’t I deserve to know? Mother put me in charge too.”
“I know, maybe she thought she was protecting you?”
She lets out a frustrated huff, and after a quiet moment her smile returns. But it’s less bright and natural than what I would like it to be.
At the end of the party that night Loxy stands up to give a speech. Behind her, Faylinn and I roll our eyes. Fay tries unsuccessfully to hide her giggles behind her hands.
Turning sharply, Loxy gives her an icy glare.
For what feels like hours, Loxy goes on about stories of Lunette that none of us can recall. All of her empty words run together until the end. “When I accept the title of chief next week…”
Every gaze snaps up to meet her.
“What?” She gives me such a cold glare that I shift my eyes to my hands. She clears her throat and continues her speech, only now; everyone’s attention is locked on her.
I’m sure that wasn’t an accident.
“At the end of the week our current chief will be retiring and I will take over for him. It is a burden I must carry.” She wipes her eyes as if shooing away tears. “Excuse me. That is all.”
She sits down and dabs a cloth napkin at her dry eyes, leaning forward slightly.
Faylinn whistles for my attention. Once she’s sure she has it she floats a note behind Loxy’s back. I catch it with ease and unfold it under the table.
I scribble on the other side. I don’t know. The note hovers back over to her.
After the party only Fay and I are left. We clean the tables and stack the chairs silently. Once everything’s in order, she speaks up.
“What can we do about this? There’s no way Loxy would let us go explore outside the forest.”
“I don’t think there’s much we can do, other than ask her if we can go.”
She scoffs as she stacks the chairs. “There’s no way she’ll approve of it.”
I scoff back at her, earning a raised eyebrow. “Maybe she would send us away. You know how much she wants us to leave her alone so she can be the only one in charge.”
Faylinn twists her lavender hair around a finger, contemplating my point. “I guess you’re right.”
“We’ll ask her the night of the ceremony.”
“So, when she’s in a good mood.”
I laugh and toss a dirty rag at her. She catches it and throws it over her shoulder, on top of the pile of the rest of our used supplies.
“Come on, what would Chief Loxy say about throwing things?”
After the ceremony, Loxy beams down at me, the chief’s robe all but strangling her. The robe had been made for average sized fairies; my sister’s big.
Her smug grin takes over her face, making her appear almost kind.
“What do you want, Fidget?”
“Uh, Faylinn and I wanted to request permission to go to the human world.”
Most of her joy slides away. She rolls her eyes.
“Where is she then?”
That’s exactly the question I want answered. The two of us had agreed to talk to Loxy together. But I can’t let Loxy know about any of that.
“In her room, asleep. She left the party early.” I say. Loxy furrows her brows together; her smile now completely gone. Her gaze is full of concern.
It isn’t like her to worry about us, so I wonder if she knows something I don’t.
“No, Fidget, neither of you can leave here.”
“Why-” Loxy shoves me aside and brushes past me.
Faylinn comes up behind me and taps me on the shoulder. I turn around and her hopeful air fades away. I nod toward our sister and she blinks at me, confused.
“She said no.”
“Why not?” She asks tugging nervously at her long gray skirt.
“How should I know why she does anything?”
Something unreadable crosses across my sister’s face before she speaks.
“Fidget, don’t be so bitter. She must have some good reason for not letting us go, right? She’s the leader now; she must have a lot on her mind.”
I wonder why she’s changing her tune so quickly; she’s the one that wanted us to leave in the first place.
“She’s been chief for an hour, she hasn’t had time to be stressed yet.”
She sighs and straightens my robe over my wings. I wince as the fabric brushes against the tear in my right wing.
Recently, I caught my wing on a stray branch and ripped off the tip when Fay and I were teaching the younger fairies how to fly.
“Sorry.” She mutters. Loxy turns her head and makes eye contact with Faylinn; I had told her she went to bed. Loxy’s eyes narrow and she makes a beeline for us. “Got to go."
She ducks away, disappearing into the dark shadows of the room.
“Fidget, didn’t you tell me Faylinn had left the party?” Her extra height allows her to be more intimidating than she would be otherwise.
“She told me she did. She must have decided to come back.”
A faint growl escapes my sister’s lips, startling me. “Is everything okay Loxy?” I ask.
She gives me an unconvincing smile and flies away. I feel like she’s mocking me; it’s impossible to fly with uneven wings.
I turn to where Fay had snuck away earlier. She was nowhere to be seen.