Congratulations to Melinda Moore, the winner of the Paint Splashes Contest. Melinda Moore reads and writes in The Land of Enchantment. She has a handful of short stories published along with a novella: A Sunset Finish. Please stop by her blog and read the winning stories in her Photo Flare writing contest at enchantedspark.com.
Here is her winning, enchanted fairy story:
FAIRY LIGHT PARADE
BY MELINDA MOORE
Clarise juggled indigo butterflies with wafts of air originating from her fingertips. Birds twittered a song in time with the butterfly circles, and Clarise pranced to it above the ground.
“Clarise!” Mother Superior’s sharp voice cut through the delight. Clarise fell to the ground, and the butterflies flew to the shelter of her golden hair.
“Honestly,” continued Mother Superior. “You should be preparing yourself for the Fairy Light Parade.”
“Is it time?” Clarise scrambled to stand up. Unable to do her chores correctly in her anticipation, she’d given up and hid in the garden where she worshiped God in her way—the joyous way.
Mother Superior sighed and softened her eyes. She was very young to be in charge of the nunnery—young and beautiful. She said, “I thought you should know, your parents will be taking you home at the end of the parade.”
Clarise’s eyes bulged. For eighteen years she’d thought she was the bastard child of the unmarried court wizard. “Parents? But I’m an orphan.”
Mother Superior stepped to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. “It’s not the custom to tell one such as you ahead of time, but you’re so filled with the grace of God, I—I wanted to at least say goodbye. I know I’ve been overly strict, but I think you would’ve made a wonderful nun.”
“Would’ve? What are you talking about? I plan to enter the sisterhood as soon as you allow me.”
One tear rolled off Mother Superior’s cheek. “Your parents are fairies. They’ll arrive at the parade to take you home.”
Clarise stepped out of her grip. “No. That can’t be right.”
“But it is.” The next words she spoke slowly as if to convey something important. “You are not the first fairy child to be brought up by this convent. Now go. Prepare yourself and go to the altar fire when the bell tolls.”
Clarise stood in the sanctuary in a red habit like the other nuns, wishing they wore color more often. Maybe her love of color and flavor and music had been a sign all along that she was a fairy. She narrowed her eyes at the sisters. Had they all known she was a fairy?
She tried to steady her voice as they sang the hymn of preparation. They were to shine the light of God for the fairies to cleanse themselves in, giving them God’s grace. Clarise shuddered. She didn’t want to live amongst those who only sought Him once a year. She calmed her nerves by floating above the ground and to the altar where God’s fire burned on the fairy candle. Everyone stopped singing.
She hovered above the altar, thinking she might see God’s face in the flame or hear his voice. Nothing. Lighting the first candle was for Mother Superior to do, but what did she care of rules anymore—she was a fairy. Clarise pulled the red fairy candle out of her habit and placed the wick in God’s fire. With one spark it lit. She floated above the ground singing the fairy welcome song as she headed down the aisle and out the door. One by one, the sisters followed.
Outside, lamps shone down on empty streets. Light glowed in the windows of the buildings, but Clarise didn’t see any people looking out—the night was too dangerous for those who didn’t carry the light of God.
Above, the yellow crescent moon gave color to the nearby clouds as if they too glowed with the light of God. In an act of defiance against her blood heritage, she dropped to the ground and walked like all the other nuns. Mother Superior caught up to her, but she hardly noticed as she pondered what her parents might be like as well as life in the fairy realm. She might have all the color and flavor and music she could ever imagine, but God would be absent.
She stopped walking and said to Mother Superior, “I can’t go there. I belong here.”
Mother Superior stopped, but the rest of the nuns moved on with their lit candles held close. “Perhaps God intends you to be His light in their realm.”
“Have other fairies gone back and kept his fire burning?”
Mother Superior shook her head. “But you’re strong in his love. You can succeed where they fail.”
Mother Superior’s fire burned brighter, and Clarise saw a silhouette dancing in the flame. She looked to her own candle and saw the same.
“They’re coming,” she whispered. She wanted to snuff her candle out. She could do that. She could blow a gale through the street and blow every flame out all the way to God’s Fire. And then she could remain another year at least.
The figures grew bigger. She’d have to blow it out soon. Mother Superior’s words passed through her mind: maybe she could be their savior in the fairy realm. She held her breath.
Wings unfurled out of the candle flame, and a fairy emerged nude and more beautiful than any human she’d ever beheld. Next to her, a male fairy flew out of Mother Superior’s candle—perfect like she imagined an angel to be. Soon the sky filled with tinkling laughter and ethereal voices. Clarise stood and gawked and filled with dread at living in the realm where fairy glory would overwhelm the grace of God. She was not strong enough. She could not carry
His grace to His lost people. But maybe—she had a thought.
Allowing her fairy impetuousness to take over, she waved her hands high and pushed a gale down the street, snuffing out every candle and God’s fire in the sanctuary. Over the gasps of horror from the nuns, she heard musical laughter roll out of Mother Superior. “Well done.” Something ripped Mother Superior’s habit, and wings opened up behind her back. She flew up and called to the dumbstruck fairies, “Welcome to your redemption.”