Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | February 24, 2009

River Sparkles

Mt. Misery, MA. January 3, 2009.


The flutter of magic brushed past Fern’s skin. She was so close now. Water rushed and gurgled, sparkles laughing in a language few understood.

You’ve been gone too long, friend.

A veil of lacy ice shielded the edges of the river from view. It had indeed been too long. Another week, and everything would be deep in winter slumber.

Yes, but I am here now. Fern dipped her hands into the flowing water, running her sun-darkened fingers along the edge of the ice.

The sparkles danced along the river’s surface, reaching out for her hand, grasping, swinging. Fern lifted up the glowing light, saw its tiny arms and legs and face, its striped fur like a honey bee, and of course… its wings. A question formed in the tiny creature’s twinkling light.

Where are your wings, friend?

The fairy sparkles in the water echoed, where are your wings? where are your wings?

Fern sat on the frozen earth beside the river and hung her head. “Gone.”

She spoke out loud, not in the dancing, shimmering language of the fairies, but they understood.

Fern’s shirt covered up the scars: two long, thin marks of itchy, stinging red. She wasn’t used to the shirt–to the feel of fabric against her back. Sighing, she took it off, turned her bare back to the river.

The lights winked out, one by one. No… they were saying. We don’t believe it. No.

Fern had only traveled west at the river mouth’s request. The old fairy bid her go, so she went. To see what the fires in the sky meant. Well, she had her answer. The inventors were inventing, and to fuel their inventions, they stole her wings.

“They said I was the finest specimin they’d ever seen. What does that even mean?” Fern cried out.

The sparkle fairies didn’t know. Or, perhaps, they didn’t understand. Theirs was a world of light and flow and laughter. Not of danger, fear, and loss.

That was why Fern came here, first. She had to get herself together before facing the river’s mouth. Who was a wingless water sprite, anyway? Was she even alive anymore? Would she still call this branch of the river home?



  1. oh no! This one is sad!

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