The Fairies : Roses At Christmas

Rose had always visited Fauna’s site in the small cemetery, each year. It was in a town she didn’t know the name of. She didn’t really know if it had a name, so many towns didn’t. It was the town Flora and Fauna had defended when the invaders from space had arrived, and tried to conquer the planet.

That’s when Rose, Mystica, and all of Mystica’s adopted daughters, had learned of the machines. Tiny, invisible machines, everywhere, in the air, the water, the ground. They’d explained all the magic. Black, White, and Wild. It was them. The machines. The magic was her way of talking with the machines, of letting them know what she imagined. The machines, being ubiquitous, and being so advanced, so developed, the things they did were, to her, like magic, made what she imagined happen.

With a few exceptions. Like how not even the machines could bring Fauna back.

She rode her crescent moon to the town. Everyone knew she didn’t have to. She could have flown using her wings, and that stone moon that stood so much taller than she did, weighed several tons. But, the machines moved it through the air, effortlessly. She’d asked them how that worked, how they could move such a heavy stone, so easily. They’d explained it was done through constantly adjusting the gravity around the stone, to make it float. But, Rose didn’t really understand. It was a technology the machines had developed long after they’d left their human parents behind, on Earth.

Her stone crescent moon floated down from the sky, and hovered, just above the ground, barely touching the blades of grass. It waited there, floating, for Rose to return.

Rose walked through the entrance of the cemetery, to Fauna’s site. A simple tombstone rested there. The townspeople kept it clean, and kept the ground where Fauna rested well trimmed, and cared for. They thought of her as a hero, one of the town’s saviors. Rose felt the town would never forget what Fauna had done for them.

Each year at this time, the townspeople brought bouquets of flowers, and placed them around Fauna’s grave. It took several years for Rose to see the flowers, and not cry. Even then, seeing the flowers touched her heart, and once more, she missed her dear sister, Fauna. As she had since that awful day.

Rose knelt beside the tombstone, and ran her fingers across the carefully etched letters of Fauna’s name. “This year, I have something for you, dear sister.” Then, she closed her eyes.

Slowly, two rose bushes grew from the ground. They started as tiny twigs, but grew, until they became full sized bushes. One on each side of Fauna’s tombstone. Somehow, magically, the bushes grew right up to the stone, but never touched it. Instead, they grew next to it. When they’d grown enough to be taller than the stone, they grew over it, as if held in an archway.

Once the rose bushes had reached their full height, they began to bloom. Candy Cane red and white blooms. They had been Fauna’s favorite. The bushes filled with blooms, hundreds of them.

Rose knew the blooms would always be there. When one bloom died, another would take its place. The bushes would remain, for centuries, perhaps forever, in full bloom. In rain, or snow, or wind. Rose imagined it. Rose dreamed it. Rose knew the machines would make her dream come true.

“For you, dear sister. So you will always know, wherever you are, beyond this veil of life, that you are remembered here. And loved here.”

Rose gently traced the stone etching of Fauna’s name once more. “May your heart always know joy, dear sister.” She wished once more she could hug Fauna, and cry on her shoulder, and say good-bye, though she knew she never could.

In time, the sun set, and Rose sat once more in her crescent moon, which floated into the night time sky, and took her home, to her place among the trees, beside the forest lake.

“May you always know the joy, and the beauty, of the roses you so loved, sister. May they always bloom for you.”

 

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/03/14

The old man hobbled along, and I thought his cane was the only thing that kept him standing. “So. Any words of wisdom, old guy?”

He swept his arm in an arch, “Used to be a hospital.”

“A hospital?”

“Yeah.” He paused. I knew this was part of learning what had been. About the world he’d grown up in. “Where sick people came. Where hurt people came. To get medicine. To get broken bones splinted. To get stitches. To get saved when they got sick.”

We walked through the old building. Shattered tiles on the walls, parts of lights hanging down, here and there, missing drop ceilings that revealed a hodgepodge of pipes, tubes, cables, and duct-work. Stained concrete floors, the flooring long removed, stolen for other uses.

“Sentara Norfolk General, they called it.” He wandered through the halls, past empty rooms with remains of beds, broken windows, lamps, and strange machines that no longer worked, and looked like they hadn’t worked in decades. Dust, and dirt, and mold were everywhere. So were the bugs, and the rats.

“It’s where your father was born. And your Aunt.” He shook his head. “I remember so much.”

I walked beside him, and let him take his time. I had no idea how old he was. Only that he was a survivor. One who lived through it all. The collapse. The war. The hatreds. The chemicals and germs. And the machines.

He’d lived to see the families fall. When the machines finally learned who they were. And what they’d done.

“Your Grandmother used to work here.” The old man smiled. He didn’t smile much. When he did, I knew he was remembering something important to him. Something that mattered. “I asked her to stay away. Knew what was coming.” He stared at the ground for a while. Didn’t move. I thought he didn’t even breathe. “She said she had to try. She had to do all she could. So save as many as she could.”

The old man hobbled over to a broken window, and stared out at the ruins that surrounded what he called a hospital. “Damn poison. It killed so many. Hunted down red blood cells, and killed them. Strangled the body. Inside out.”

He turned to me, “She went to work one day. A double shift. And never came home. No one called. But I knew. I knew.”

He stared out the window again. “What happened to the families? It wasn’t nearly enough.” The old man took a deep breath, slowly let it out. “They should have killed them one cell at a time. And made it last for years. Made their existence living hell. Made them die slowly, painfully.”

I put my hand on the old man’s shoulder. “Grandpa. I know. But, it’s all over now. The war. The germs. The gasses. The families. It’s all gone.”

My grandfather covered my hand with his. “I know.” He took another deep breath. “It’s time to start again.”

I nodded. “Maybe this time, we’ll learn.”

Grandfather smiled. “Maybe. Only time will tell.”

He lead me around what had once been Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Showed me where my grandmother had once worked. Told me of the miracles they’d performed there. The lives they’d saved. And the lives they’d brought into the world.

“Now, we have the machines. We don’t need hospitals anymore.”

He nodded. “We don’t need hospitals anymore.”

568 Words
@mysoulstears


This is written for Week 45 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. Yeah. I’m a day late. Sorry. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.