Flash Fiction – A Fairy’s Lullaby

I remember thinking that I didn’t know where I was, didn’t remember who I was anymore. I had been lost inside my own imagination for so long it was strange to come crashing out of it in such an ordinary place. It was anyone’s guess why she took me into the gas station. Perhaps she liked showing me off; the doll she had found and decided to keep.

The air was staler here, as if the clouds trapped the used air beneath them like sentries on a tower wall. My body felt sticky from the cloying heat of the summer afternoon. It didn’t feel anything like what I remembered of home and as soon as the thought occurred to me, I chastised myself for remembering. Home was no more. The home I used to know was no longer the place I lived.

I spent most of my time now inside my own mind. It was safe there. I even found a friend there. She would coax me in whenever things turned dark outside and she would hold me until the shaking went away. Sometimes it didn’t, but she stayed with me and held me, patting my back and singing me a lullaby.

Care is heavy, therefore sleep you,
You are care, and care must keep you;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

It was always the same song, but her voice was captivating. She was light and love and everything I had lost, but more importantly, she was my home now. I could still feel her, hovering around the edges, ready to pull me back in if the ordinary trip turned to razor sharp edges and darkness.

I floated around the edges of reality, feeling the strange air on my face and my hand in hers. I didn’t know the woman, but I walked where she led because to do something other was the darkness I fled from. She walked into the store, the bell clinging behind us, reminding me of my friend. I blinked and looked to both sides to see if she was there, but she wasn’t visible. I kept a watch out, though, because I wondered if maybe she was hiding from me. It was a game we had played many times and it was one of my favorites. A few times I caught flashes of twinkling green but it was there a few moments and gone. I smiled, knowing she was playing the game.

My footsteps must have stalled in my wanderings because my hand was gripped tighter and my arm was yanked and I heard surly words thrown in my direction.

“Keep up. We need to hurry.”

I didn’t raise my head; didn’t give any indication that I’d heard. I just made sure to match my steps with hers, knowing her tone could change from surly to harsh in seconds. She quickly carried us through the store, snatching bags and bottles from the shelves. It wasn’t long before we stopped at a counter that was just level with my head. I knew better than to look up, so I kept my gaze steady, hoping my friend would understand that I couldn’t look for her right now.

The clinking of the register delighted me, but I struggled to keep my face steady.

It was a man’s voice I heard as he spoke to the woman next to me.

“Good day, Ma’am. Will this be all for you?”

I heard her grunt in return but nothing else.

“How about you, Little Lady. Did you get something sweet to eat?”

There was a pause before the woman snapped at him, “Leave her be. She don’t want nothin’.”

The register continued it’s ringing but the woman’s hand surrounding mine grew sweaty and started squeezing tighter and tighter. I didn’t know what was happening but I was feeling the need to float away. The darkness was coming soon.

The man’s voice came from far away, a distant voice on a faraway hill. “That’ll be seven forty three, Ma’am. Did you need to pay for gas?”

“No.” Her hand was tighter than ever on mine as I felt her lean her other arm across the counter and hand him something.

“She your daughter?” the man asked in what sounded to me light a winsome voice.

“Ain’t none of your business,” she snapped back.

My heart started thudding in my breast, a great sonic boom, over and over again and it was harder and harder to hear what the man was saying. Just behind the sound of my heart’s boom in my ears, I heard tinkling bells and I could see a bright flash of light behind my eyes.

“The thing is,” the man said politely, “she looks awfully familiar.”

“Just give me my change so I can leave. Ain’t none of your business!” The sharp edges of her voice sent shivers of fear through my body and the tinkling started to overpower the sonic boom in my ears.

Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise ;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

I heard the lullaby in my head and the sonic boom turned into music in my ears. My friend was back and she sang to me, cradling me in her arms, letting me know that everything would be okay now. I was safe now.

They were words she hadn’t spoken before. Before she had said she would keep me safe from harm, she would stop my tears.

I floated for a while, feeling the darkness slowly receding in the distance, not really sure if it was real or if it was a dream I would awake from and find myself back in the darkness again. It wasn’t until I heard a sound so lovely, so beautiful that it overpowered my friend’s lullaby and snapped me back.

“Laney, it’s Mommy. Do you remember me?”


Chuck Wendig’s Challenge this week was to write a 1,000 word flash fiction based on the picture he provided. As soon as I saw the picture, I started thinking of this story. Without the lullaby, the total word count is 1,006. The lullaby is called Cradle Song and it was written by Thomas Drekker. I took some liberties and put down the last half first because it flowed better with my story.

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