They left Rose at the northern edge of the Black Mountains with her hands and feet tied so she couldn’t walk. Her father never looked back. The other men nodded, and patted him on the back, and spoke of how it was best for everyone.
Rose sat with her hands tied behind her, and her ankles bound. She pulled her knees in, and wished she could figure out how to untie the ropes. “This is not what I wanted for my birthday party.” Her tummy growled, and her head hurt.
She watched the sun move through the sky, the clouds come and go, and birds as they flew by. She leaned back, and stared at the sky. “I hope Daddy comes back soon, and feeds me, and takes me home.”
It was hard, but Rose rolled to the top of the hill she was on. She sat up, and looked around. In one direction, the hills grew bigger and turned into mountains with black tops. To either side of her were hills. She’d never been so far from home she couldn’t see it. But she couldn’t see it anywhere. Her father, and the others were gone too. She couldn’t see them anywhere.
In the opposite direction from the mountains, the hills grew smaller, and she saw a big forest a long way off. It looked better than the mountains behind her. She rolled to her knees, and then managed to stand.
She started hopping toward the forest. She fell over a few times, but she got the hang of it, and before long was hopping along. It kept her busy, so she didn’t think about being hungry, or thirsty, or alone.
When it got dark, Rose sat down. Something was horribly wrong. “Why isn’t Daddy coming to get me?”
Rose cried. “This isn’t what I wanted for my birthday.” It was getting cold and her feet and hands hurt from being tied together. She was thirsty, and hungry. And scared. She heard noises. Scraping, rustling, chirping, popping, clicking, scratching noises. She cried, and cried. “Why did you leave me here, Daddy? Why?”
That’s when she saw the fairy. The fairy with a broken wing. That fairy smiled, “Did they leave you here? Alone?”
Rose nodded, “My Daddy left me here.” She wanted to wipe the tears from her cheeks and rub her tired eyes. “He told me to never talk to strangers.”
“Oh,” the fairy smiled and sat on the ground. “Is he coming back?”
Rose wanted to say yes. To jump up and down and say, “He’s coming back for me!” But her father hadn’t come back all day. He and the others had gone away. They’d left her, and somehow she knew, “He’s not coming back, is he?”
“Oh, little one,” the fairy frowned, “I’m so sorry.” The fairy held her and she cried for a long time.
When Rose stopped crying, the fairy untied Rose, then helped her clean up. The fairy even had clean clothes for Rose. “Look at you! Such a pretty girl!” Then, the fairy pulled a jar of water from her bag, and let Rose drink all she wanted.
Rose wasn’t afraid of the fairy anymore. The fairy held out her hand, “You need someplace to sleep, don’t you?”
“My name is Mystica. I live near here, in the forest, with my daughters, Sunshine, Musica, and Dream.” She held her hand out for Rose to take. “What’s your name?”
“What a pretty name!”
Rose took Mystica’s hand. “I have an extra house you can stay in. And lots to eat. If you want to visit.”
Rose nodded, “OK.”
Mystica picked Rose up, carried her on her arm and stepped forward. Rose blinked. The hills were gone. They were beside a lake in the middle of a forest. Three other girls were playing by the edge of the lake. Mystica put Rose down. The other girls rushed over, and hugged her, and welcomed here. Before long, all four of them were playing.
Mystica smiled. She’d found Rose in time. Another child with the gift of wild magic was safe.
Welcome to year 3, week 2 (Week 3.02) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “A Forest” by The Cure. Please, go read the other stories in this week’s challenge.