[Author’s Note : This is the Flash Fiction piece re-done. With no word limit. Just so I can see what I have to learn yet about writing Flash Fiction. It’s a much different story when there are no limits on the word count.]
The sun rose. And as it did, the darkness faded from the room Fauna slept in. Her family knew she would rise with the sun, and then go outside. Alone. Even though she was only four years old. They knew too that she would be OK. That no one from the village would bother her.
Fauna was a fairy. No one would come near her. She was not one of them. She was someone to avoid. And if things went badly, and Fauna developed that fairy magic, she would be taken into the foothills. And left on her own. That was the only way to protect the people of the village once a fairy’s magic came to life.
Fauna rose with the sun. As the colors of the room came to life again, Fauna got out of her bed. She didn’t even bother to change into her clothes, keeping her little night-shirt on. She flexed the tiny, little wings on her back, taking the time to look at them in the mirror. Those wings had started growing about six months before. They had changed everything. All of her clothes. The way people treated her. The way her parents treated her.
Fauna knew she didn’t fit in. Everything just felt wrong. And she felt so lonely. Her friends, the other children in the village, had stopped playing with her. Stopped talking with her. That’s why she got up ever day at dawn. And took a walk to the river. So she could watch the animals as they came out of the forest to drink water from the river. Fauna loved to watch the animals. Especially the deer.
And the animals would talk with her. They didn’t run from her. They didn’t avoid her. She could stand in the open, and watch them. And they would watch her. She could drink water from the river, and they would watch, just like she’d watched them.
Then, there were the birds. The birds would fly right up to her. And land on the ground. And they would bathe in the river. Fauna would watch. She would sing to them, and they would sing to her. It was so much fun! She loved to visit the river ever day at dawn.
That morning, Fauna left her home in the village, returning to the river in the forest. She walked to the edge of the water. Where she always stood, or sat. And she waited. A deer came out, antlers on its head. Fauna loved how noble it looked. So regal, with those antlers on its head. The way it would stand, holding its head up high. Such a proud sight. Such a beautiful being. Such a beautiful life.
The deer walked to the river, bowed its head and started drinking. Fauna watched. The deer drank its fill, and then looked up. Looking right across the river, straight at Fauna. Fauna waved at the deer, and she smiled. “Good morning, noble one,” she said. “May I have a drink too?” The deer nodded its head. So Fauna knelt, and dipped her hands in the water, and scooped up some to drink.
That’s when the world changed again. She heard it. The sound of bows unleashing arrows. THWIP! THWIP! THWIP! THWIP! She heard the sound four times. Fauna dropped her water on the ground. It splashed. Getting her feet wet. She stood there, in shock. For across the lake, her friend the deer stood for a moment. Four arrows sticking out of its right shoulder. The deer looked at its shoulder. As it did, the light in its eyes turned gray. Then was gone. Fading to nothing. Fauna watched as the deer collapsed. It was dead before it had fallen to the ground.
Her friend the deer was murdered. Right before her eyes. Fauna began to cry.
Across the river, four men from the village came out of the woods. They were about 100 feet from the deer. Fauna had not seen them. They’d been hiding. Waiting. For the deer. They’d planned to kill it.
She watched, as the men walked along the edge of the river. They were laughing and patting each other on the back. One of them explaining, “He came to get a drink. But it would be his last.” He held up his bow, pulled the string, and let it go. His three friends laughed. Each of them making that same bow and arrow motion. “We got him!”
They did not regret at all what they had done. They celebrated it! Fauna watched, and could not help but see how proud, and happy, the four men were. Celebrating the murder they had just performed. How could they be so cold! So ruthless!
Fauna understood that people killed animals. For food. It’s how they stayed alive. She couldn’t blame them for that. And her parents always prayed, at every meal. Thanking life for the gift of the meat. Her parents at least behaved as if they understood that something had to die for them to eat. That a life was taken so that they could continue on.
But the men across the river. Fauna stood motionless, shocked to see the way they behaved. As if murdering her friend the deer had been fun. As if it was a sport. Something they didn’t have to do. But that they liked to do. And as she watched, she heard them talking. Of the other animals they’d murdered overnight. And how they were going to go back into the woods, and hunt down even more. And murder them.
They were killing for sport. For fun. Not for food. Not to stay alive. Or to keep their families alive. Or the other villagers. They were just killing, because they could.
With that understanding, Fauna’s shock at the murder of her friend, the proud and noble deer, turned to rage. It set fire to the blood in her veins. She began to cry. Tears flowing freely from her eyes. Hot tears. Of anger. And of rage. It was as if they were leaving trails of fire down her cheeks.
She knew what she wished. She wished each of those men would know what it was like to die, felled by an arrow. Needlessly. Senselessly. Like they had murdered her friend. Like they had taken away a life for sport. Not for survival! For sport!
Fauna held up her arms, as if she were holding a bow. She drew the bow back, and let it go. She did this four times. It only took a couple of seconds. Each time she drew her imaginary bow, and let an imaginary arrow fly, one of the men across the river learned what it was like to die. Murdered. Senselessly. For no reason. To have their life taken away by someone else. Unexpectedly. Randomly.
Each time Fauna drew that bow, and loosed an arrow, one of the four men fell to the ground. His heart pierced. By an arrow made of wild magic. Each time Fauna drew her bow, and fired, one of those four men died. Each one died standing. And then fell to the ground.
Fauna stood there for a bit. Looking across the river. “I’m sorry, my dear friend,” she said to the deer. “I’m so very sorry that they murdered you.” Still crying at the senseless murder of her friend, Fauna turned from the river, and walked back to her home. In the village.
So it was that on that morning, with the coming of the dawn, Fauna’s wild magic first came to life. And her wild magic would change everything for her.