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The Untold Tales

By Rose MorningMist

“Why does it have to rain?”

I look down at my brother, Dustin, who’s wings are drooping.

“Because otherwise there would be no water,” I tell him. “It would all run out. At least, that’s what Mum says.”

“But why does it have to rain now?

“Maybe the clouds are busy later.” I say.

Dustin sits down on the floor of the living room and folds his arms. “But we were going to go out today,” he says, “And the rain ruined it!”

Out. At last, after weeks of waiting, our mother and father had organised a day for us to leave the house. To go out. To breathe in the fresh air, to stretch our wings, to finally see the sky again without having to press our faces against the window, trying to find the blue.

Mum says it’s dangerous for kids like us to go outside. She says there are bad people out there, fairies and sparrowmen who will try to take us away if we’re not careful.

Of course, Dustin doesn’t know this. Mum says he’s too young to understand. I guess she’s right – he’s only five, after all. As for me, I’m a big fairy – I just turned seven last month.

“Come on, there’s plenty of other things we can do.” I say, sitting down beside him.

“I guess…” He grumbles. Then, his face suddenly lights up. “Can you tell me about one of your adventures?”

I grin. “Have I ever told you about the beach?”

Dustin shakes his head.

“It’s beautiful there,” I tell him. “I used to go with Mum and Dad, almost every day.” This was before Dustin was born, when kids like us could play outside whenever they wanted. Before Mum and Dad started looking so worried and tired all the time.

“You should see it, Dustin! The ocean is like a giant lake, so big you can’t see the end of it. There’s big shady trees and soft sand and -”

“What’s sand?” he interrupts.

I think for a moment. “It’s a bit like dirt, but it’s a different colour – sort of golden,” I say. “And if you mix water with it sticks together and you can make things with it, like castles and mountains, and you can decorate it with shells.”

“Like the ones you have in our room?”

I nod. “They come in all shapes and sizes too. Flat ones and round ones and ones with spirals – and all different colours! Pink, white, brown, yellow -”

“Blue?” he asks.

I frown. “I don’t know.” I say. “I’ve never seen a blue one before.”

“When I go to the beach,” says Dustin, “I’m going to find a blue shell, and bring it home so I can-”

Tap, tap, tap…

The knocking makes me jump, and I gasp, ducking below the window.

“Shh!” I cover Dustin’s mouth with my hands, and he stops talking, his eyes wide. He may not understand why, but he knows the rules for when we have visitors are important – be quiet and stay out of sight.

I hear footsteps coming down the stairs and look up in time to see Mum rush in, a sewing needle and the pair of gloves she’s been working on still in her hands. Dad says I’m going to look a lot like her when she grows up. I hope so – I think Mum looks beautiful, with her long dark hair always tied up in messy buns, and a smile that makes all your problems seem to melt away. My hair is too short to tie up properly right now – it’s only grown down to my shoulders since my last haircut. Like my hair, my eyes are black, and my skin is pale. Mum says the last one is because I don’t spend a lot of time in the sun. That, and something about ‘genetics’. I don’t really get it.

I start to ask her if she knows what’s happening, but she interrupts me.

“Rose, you need to take Dustin upstairs,” She speaks quickly and quietly, dashing around the room as she does, collecting toys, family photographs – anything that could give us away – to hide in the boxes up in the attic. “Stay in your room until I come and get you. Quickly!”

Whoever’s at the front door downstairs is knocking again. I stumble to my feet, grab Dustin’s hand and pull him to his. Unlike me, Dustin has brown hair, a bit like Dad’s, and his eyes are an icy blue. His skin is also pale, but not as light as mine.

As quietly as possible, we hurry up the stairs to our room. It’s the safest place in the house for us to hide – the door is disguised, hidden at the back of a special wardrobe Dad built. Sometimes, Dustin and I pretend our room is a secret base and try to spy on our parents. We aren’t very good at it though – they always catch us.

I open the wardrobe doors and we climb in, closing them behind us.

“Rose, who’s-”

I put my finger to my lips. Dustin nods, and helps push the old coats and jackets out of the way, so I can find the right butterfly carving at the back. It takes me longer than normal – usually I don’t have to look for the secret button in the dark – but I eventually get open, and we crawl through.

Our bedroom is small, but cosy. On the left side is my bed, with a soft feather blanket and lots of pillows. A large wooden chest sits at the end of my bed, filled with my clothes – dresses, jumpers, dress-ups – all sorts of outfits. The chest is covered in pictures – Mum helped paint it after she and Dad had first put it together. She painted the flowers on the front, and I painted a butterflies on the sides, like the ones on our bedroom door. Dustin said he wanted to paint something on my chest too, so Mum helped him paint some stars on the lid. Next to my bed, there’s a table with some draws that I keep my toys and shell collection in. Dustin’s side of the room is almost the same – a bed, chest and table, except his chest is painted with colourful stripes. He and I had a lot of fun painting it, even if we did get in trouble for the mess. On his bedside table sits Dr Cuddles, the teddy bear Mum and Dad gave him for Christmas a few years ago.

Like everyone who lives on the lake, our home is inside a waterlily bud, so all the walls and floors are made from soft petals. The flower is grown specially by Garden Talents for pixies to live inside. Some are pink, others are white, and some, like our home, are light blue.

We can’t really do anything until the visitor leaves, so the two of us sit on the floor in silence. We don’t have a window in our room, and we can’t risk lighting the lanterns, so we’ll have to wait in darkness.

Curious about what’s happening downstairs, I lie down on my stomach and press my ear against the floor. Dad once told us that the reason we have pointy ears is to help us pixies hear things better, which could be why if I lay here and don’t make much noise, I can sometimes hear what people are saying below.

A stranger is speaking – their voice is deep, so whoever knocked is probably a sparrowman. I can hear Dad talking too, but I can’t make out what they’re saying… It’s harder when they’re two floors down instead of one. They talk for a few minutes, then I hear the front door close and footsteps coming up the stairs. My heart races. It could be Mum, coming to tell Dustin and I that we can come out now. Or it could be the man who knocked, looking for us. I hold my breath. The door opens, and-

“Are you two alright?”

“Mum!” Dustin jumps up and runs to her, wrapping his arms around her legs.

“Who was it?” I say as I get to my feet.

She sighs and rubs her face. “A member of the Never Council.”

“What did he want?” I ask nervously. The Never Council has been here before – they work for Queen Clarion, the ruler of Pixie Hollow. They’ve even searched the house a few times. They’re the ones who will try to take us from our parents if they find out we exist.

I decided a long time ago that I don’t like the Queen – it’s her fault we’re stuck inside all day. It’s her fault Dustin has never seen sand or the ocean before.

“Nothing serious sweetheart, just our memberships,” Mum says. “I forgot to pay for this month. They were just chasing it up.”

I don’t realise how scared I was until my body relaxes.

We’re safe again.

Dustin tugs at her shirt. “Mum, why do we have to hide every time someone visits?”

He asks this every time we have visitors. I always feel a little guilty for keep such a big secret from him, even though I know it’s to protect him.

“It’s nothing to worry about, sweetheart – just a precaution. Now, come downstairs,” she continues, before Dustin can start an argument. “Your father brought some cake home from work.”

Any curiosity or anger on Dustin’s face disappears as we look at each other excitedly.

Cake!

~~

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