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FICTON: Beaded Sweat & Tears by Krista Duggin  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The last rain drops dripped silently from the leaves of the trees, sliding down branches and trunks unaware of the fall they would take. Then again, perhaps they knew of the fall; maybe they knew that their fall from the trees was inevitable, and merely welcomed it by urging themselves to the tip of their leaf, the point where by their will or God’s they would fall to earth and water its soil.

Trees over grown and wild sprouted from the earth in curious forms. Some grew to appear as though they were far too tall, too large, too ideal. Their natural shine and rustic feel could only be imagined in a dream. The trees leaves rich in green color would quietly fall every now and again from their branch; with the wind on their backs they would fall as beautifully as an angel would from grace.

The grass shone with a layer of morning due. Its blades had through the years become overgrown, turning the simple forest into a jungle where a tiger fitted in black and white stripes could lurk beneath the grasses cover and go unnoticed until its final decision to pounce upon its unsuspecting prey.

She came from the edge of the forest, making her way as quietly as she could through the blades of grass that were intimidating as knifes, past the trees that would frighten souls with faces of souls they would see from memories. Her dress would billow with the wind she created with her steps.

While she would walk she would attempt to make not a sound. She knew of the creatures that dwelled within the hollows of these stunning trees, so frightening in their beauty. She’d learned not to upset the trees and the inhabitants of the forest.

Minding her steps, she quietly walked between the trees. A slight breeze blew through the forest and caught her hair. It blew wildly for a second, finding freedom from gravity, yet still being connected to the woman’s scalp, before falling back to its place. As much as her soul wished to hum a tune, she knew better than to upset her surroundings by humming something off key.

Upon entering the forest’s center, she heard a running stream and water colliding. She twirled herself, spinning, arms stretched out, forcing her dress and hair to move about in a way that resembled a hurricane at an alarming speed. The air was crisp, clean, pure, and in that moment nothing seemed more wonderful than to breathe. With an intake of air through her nose, out through her mouth, she fell to the grass. There she hid from the world amongst its tall blades.

A tiny fairy flew from the small hollow of a near by tree with a flutter of its magnificent wings to land upon her nose. The golden and shining creature, the length and width of her biggest finger, could fly to the tallest branch of the most deadly tree, yet choose to rest upon the woman’s face.

The fairy’s aura of joy spread throughout the woman as it danced playfully on the tip of her nose. Its warmth nestled deep within her soul’s crevasses, into the farthest reaches of her heart. In sweeping gestures, its arms moved while its wings gracefully lifted it into the air.

Entranced, she watched while lying on her back, hidden in the tall grass. Suddenly the fairy stopped mid-pirouette, freezing in the air where it had been moving as easily as a virus through a body. The fairy’s face turned to look the woman in her eyes, staring with undiluted attention. It walked along the bridge of her nose, until she reached the space directly between the woman’s eyebrows. Once there, the fairy’s foot stomped three times, sending forth a loud echo of emptiness throughout the forest.

At first, only one head peeked from the hollow of a tree, looking at the scene with wide eyes. It flew from the tree to gently land beside the other fairy on the woman’s forehead. The fairy again stomped its foot, harder, to emit an echo throughout the forest.

Then hundreds looked on with curiosity. From every inch she could see from her precarious position on the forest floor, hundreds of golden, shimmering creatures were springing forth from the hollows of trees. They would fly to her and others would circle her, while most would stand upon the blades of grasses green tips. Before the hundred fairies that had come forth, the fairy stomped its foot a final time.

She lay there motionless in fright and wonder. Never had the creatures acted in such a way, never had she seen so many at once. The fairies intimidated her with their perfection and peculiar nature, but never had they frightened her to such an extreme as this.

The fairy that had danced with such grace and poise now held out its delicate hands to its comrades. Its nails began to lengthen and sharpen into thin knives. Staring at what is hands had become, the fairy grinned.

It turned away from the mass of creatures and walked hands at its sides, nails sharp - back to the tip of the woman’s nose. Once there, it turned on its golden heel to look the woman in her eyes. Its hands rose from its sides slowly above its head, nails glistening in the light that slipped through the leaves of the forest. Its body tense, the fairy’s fingers spread and curled.

She instantly knew what was to come and climbed to her feet. With the sudden movement caused by her refusal to lie still, the fairy flew off of her nose in a tumble. While the fairy flew upwards at the last moment before it crashed into the dirt, the woman began to flee toward the trees.

First the fairy that had danced followed suit, then the fairy with curiosity, finally the hundred fairies that had come to watch the event. They gave chase, flying after her with great speed, golden flickers of light. Each of their nails became as daggers, easily able to slice through petals and perfectly shaped to be driven into a blossoming flower’s heart.

As she ran for her life, the creatures clawed at her dress and skin. Some fisted her hair, tugging, pulling, and cutting until little remained. Before she could cry out in pain or fear, the ground gave way before her. She stumbled back onto her heels to steady herself; her breaths as ragged as her clothes.

Stretched beside her a river fell over the cliff’s edge into an expanse below. Fairies flew past her in a daze, over the stream and then back to their chase. The fairy that had been dancing on the tip of her nose pulled at her ear as far as the skin would allow and then some.

She beat the creatures away with her hands. Many realized that their toy would not play with them and flew back into the forest. Others were shooed and flew near by to watch while sharpening their nails across their teeth. Two remained to wreak havoc on the woman; but eventually they were plucked and tossed into the air.

Free of their torment, she stood still and regained herself. A salty breeze bit her cold. She closed her eyes, held her arms. When she opened them, a single golden fairy hovered at her line of vision. It stretched forth its right hand, its nails the fine point of a needle, and pushed them into the woman’s forehead.

A single red dot of blood began to emerge from her lily white skin as she began to fall backwards. Eyes round, she watched the fairy shrink in size as she fell farther away, closer to earth. Air rushed past her body, her now torn dress and chopped hair blew wildly upward in the wind. Just as the fairy became nothing more than a glimmer high above, she gasped.

Her frail body collided with the stream and sunk to the floor. The water went through her soul and found refuge in the deep corners of her mind. It washed over her, cleansing her of all sins. She could feel the currents change at a beings will around her; she could feel that she was not alone and opened her eyes to see a creature swim before her.

The creature’s hair flowed as it swam around the woman with watchful eyes. The sides of its neck moved as it would intake water to keep itself alive; its scales would glisten in the light that reflected off of the stream’s surface.

She watched, her mind slowing, her mouth falling open slightly to breathe in air while instead breathed water. Not realizing this immediately, she continued unknowingly, amazed by what she saw before her.

The siren gave her an apprehensive look before swimming close enough to become face to face. Staring into the woman’s eyes, the creature observed the woman’s life and soul. After a time the siren nodded deep in thought of what would be.

The creature gently took her face into the palm of its hand, turning her line of vision to view the creature. It laid her frail body on the stream’s floor without a fight, for the woman was beginning to walk the narrow road to meet Death in the valley just outside of the forest. Hesitating for a moment, the siren brought her head within an inch from the woman’s and breathed into her life.

The woman’s eyes brightened and she looked at the creature before her with wonder, fully understanding the water goddess. It took her by the wrist gently, as a guide, and swam out to sea.

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 12:32 AM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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