After our father disappeared our mother loved to tell us stories that the chief banned. My only older sister, Loxy, was a purist and didn’t want to know about the outside.
She hated Mother’s tales and constantly threatened her by telling everyone what she was up to.
One day when we were all gathered around Mother’s jar of fireflies, she told us about the evil fairies that lived across the pond. She told us they were tall with crimson skin and haunting eyes.
The fairies that lived in our forest were small with skin as white as freshly fallen snow, and bright eyes. The evil fairies lived in decaying trees, hiding from anything joyful.
“Remember girls, stay away from their forest, those are dangerous fairies, and they are not to be trusted.” We all leaned in close to her soft voice. All except Loxy of course.
“Mother,” We all turned at her harsh tone. “Why would there be evil fairies? Especially near here, so close to us good fairies.”
“Because not everyone is good, Loxy. You need to learn that if you ever want to go into the human world, there’s evil everywhere.”
She scowled and flew away from our tree, probably to tell her equally bitter friends what had been said.
“Where’s the human world, Mother?” My voice chimed in the silence left by my sister.
Mother’s smile lit the room the way fireflies could never hope to. Her white skin glimmered in the faint light. Her light red hair was twisted up in a bun on top of her head.
Her ears came to a soft point and were curved slightly.
“There is only one way to get there, child. You must be sent there by the chief, with the invitation of humans.”
“Would you get to see the humans?” Faylinn, the oldest one after me, was practically beaming.
“Of course you would.”
The rest of the night we asked questions about the humans that she mostly half answered. Fay and I smiled at each other the whole time.
The next day my mother disappeared.
Loxy told us before breakfast that she had gotten lost crossing the pond. She was checking on her bread in the oven the whole time she talked to us.
When her story was finished, she gave us a false smile.
“Why would she try to cross the pond? That’s where the evil fairies live.” My sisters all turned to me, confusion in their eyes.
“I mean, she always warned us not to go over there, why would she do this?”
“Fidget, Faylinn, can I talk to you in the sitting room for a moment.”
We made no move to get up.
The three of us fluttered into the next room and each perched on one of the many chairs in the room. Loxy sighed and untied her pink, floral apron.
“Why would she leave us? You’re not even of age yet.”
“Before she left, she wrote a note to the three of us, saying that since we’re the oldest, we’re in charge. I’m over the two of course.”
Her cold silver eyes darted between us, daring either of us to question her leadership. Neither of us spoke.
Fay glared and stomped back into the kitchen. Loxy watched her leave before leaning closer to me, whispering into my ear. “Mother drowned in the pond, don’t tell anyone.”
She raised her eyebrows before strutting through the doorway so she could fly up to her bedroom. Faylinn grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into the corner of the kitchen, away from our sisters.
“Didn’t Mother always say she’d put you in charge, Fidget?”
“Yeah, she did. Doesn’t really matter now; does it?”
Faylinn’s light gold eyes begun to fill with tears and a hint of anger. Her eyes were so much like Mother’s, soft and warm.
At that moment I decided I would do whatever I could to make sure to protect what was left of my family.