Credit: Zindy

Every fairy is born with three curses…

Only the youngest fairies can fly. As they age, they grow too big for their wings and become subject to mortal physics. Vivian and Mirth, children with light bodies and aerial dreams, fly over the forest, chasing birds of prey. Their mothers remain bound to the earth, vestigial wings fluttering with anxiety.

Vivian slices through the air, a gleeful would-be predator. She rides a current and reaches out for a hawk. It squawks angrily and zooms away, leaving Vivian holding a single brown feather. Red-haired Mirth, slightly older and slower than her friend, laughs like a fiend.

Vivian pouts. “I’m going to use one of my three wishes to stay light and fast forever.”

Mirth snorts. “We get three curses, not three wishes. A curse is something you wish for someone else that comes with a terrible price.”

Puberty comes to all girls, even fairies. Grounded by their increasingly soft and unpredictable bodies, Vivian and Mirth drink elderflower spirits while their parents sleep. Running through the humid, moonlit forest, half-drunk on stolen liquor and hormones, is almost as fun as hurtling through a rain-choked cloud.

Vivian, no longer a weightless, agile sprite, trips on a root and collapses onto a pile of rotting leaves that stick to her face and hair.

“Well, isn’t that fashionable!” chuckles Mirth, her antic green eyes reflecting the moon and stars.

Vivian, who envies her friend’s dramatic coloring, sighs. Something died in these leaves, she can smell it. Now she is wet, cold, and faintly redolent of decayed rodent. The fun, for her, is over. “I want to go home.”

Mirth frowns. “You promised we’d watch the sunrise.”

“Well, I’ve changed my mind,” snaps Vivian, walking away in the wrong direction, towards the human settlement.

Mirth has always regretted not calling after her friend.

To be continued.

Hi there! This story has a new home. It’s been prettied up and added to this anthology.