Blackness. Sweet, pure blackness. The world is perfect. No worries. But wait- Is the world supposed to be this way? This perfect calmness is almost erie. It’s not right. Hey, look! This is new. Shapes! Indistinct suggestions. Brown, orange. A lot of red. And what’s that color? Yellow? Is it yellow? Wow, I’ve never felt this before. But what have I felt before? What am I exactly? I know I have eyes, fingers, and -UGH! What’s that? Oh, yeah. Pain. Sharp pain in my… wings. That’s right, I’m a fairy. What do fairies do, again? I- I think they live. How do I do that? I should try breathing, probably. Where’s my nose? Oh, there. In… Out. Ahhhh that feels so good. In, out. In, out. In, out. I think this is more what life should be like. There is pain. I need to breathe. What else is there? My blood. I need to get it moving. That’s better. Hey, living isn’t so hard! But wait! There’s more to the world. But what else can there be? Another being, perhaps? How do I know? Oh, yeah. I open my eyes.
Claudius eyes felt like they were glued shut, but she forced them open. Claudia’s thoughts were instantly flooded with blinding sight and light. At first all she could see was white. her eyelids felt raw- she guessed she hadn’t opened them for a while. Smells and sounds swam around her. The smells of chemicals and magic swirled and blended and there was a humming sound surrounding her. Her ears were ringing. Claudia guessed she hadn’t used them in a while either. Now the pain was more clear. It filled her wings and spiked up and down her spine. She even felt sore in the center of her chest. Claudia breathed. Memories came flooding back. She was a butterfly fairy, she worked very hard. She lived alone in a patch of tulips. So what was she doing in a shabby little underground room? There were wires scattered everywhere. There were also herbs, magic bottles, a cauldron. There were tubes sticking out of her neck and arms. Ivy was covering her wings. Claudia realized that she was in a hospital room. A very cheap hospital room. There was a strange droning noise. Claudia sighed. The strange noise hiccuped, then continued. Claudia cleared her throat. The noise apparently was coming from an elf with a very large head in the corner, sleeping. He jolted awake upon hearing Claudia.
“Huh?” he said, puzzled. “Who’s there? There’s an innocent patient in here!”
The young elf looked around for a minute before tickling the idea that Claudia had made the noise.
“Is it possible? She was dying- I mean-”
The elf started sweating uncontrollably and muttering under his breath as he checked the monitor. He moved on to the crystal ball hanging in midair. The elf continued muttering, but now part of it was to himself and the other half was mystical and probably directed to the crystal ball.
“it just doesn’t make sense!” he he groaned.
“Hem!” Claudia coughed again.
The elves eyes got even wider. He spoke excitedly and very quickly.
“I can’t believe it! It’s a miracle! I have to tell Mr. Reeds! What should we do? It’s never happened before. I wonder how long she’s been conscious. Maybe more tests…”
The trail of words continued, seemingly endlessly, following the young elf out the door and down the long hall. Claudia couldn’t move her wings which were attached to the bed she was on. She realized that the magic ivy treating her wings was overgrown and bound her to the bed. She couldn’t help thinking, how long have I been here? This ivy is at least a few months old. she sighed and weighed her options. It may have been the medicine or fumes in the air, but Claudia had it fixed in her mind to get out of there. At least walking. Maybe if she could reach the scissors on the table she could cut her way through. She thought of what the scissors may have been used for and dropped the idea. Claudia decided to curse the ivy off. Slowly and quietly, Claudia spoke and repeated an incantation. Her sweet musical magic coaxed the ivy off her wings and reduced it to a mere shoot growing out of the wall. Great, she thought. Now step two. Claudia didn’t know if she had the energy, or even the strength to do so much as lift a finger, let alone walk. Claudia thought for a moment. She tried to remember why she was there. After a second of focused thought and forceful reflection, Claudia felt as though she suddenly saw the link to all her scattered memories. Why the room was so familiar, her “friends” at the tree, the whole accident, her life until the present was clearer than ever before, even clearer than before the
accident. She remembered the only night with visitors, and how they treated her. Fresh frustration bloomed in her. Claudia remembered why she wanted to stay alive. Newly motivated, Claudia sucked up her courage, shunned her uncertainty, and sat up. It hurt, but was easier than she thought it would be. Claudia turned her body and slid her legs off the bed. The movement summoned shooting Pain in her wings. She took a step. Claudia’s eyes bulged with the combination of pain and determination. She took another step. She knew she couldn’t take back any steps, and that the steps would change her life, but she kept going. Step after painful step, Claudia made her way across the room. She observed the little bottles and vials of potions, chemicals, cures, and various ingredients. She saw grubs, midnight dew, turtle shell, lavender, and painkillers. She saw state-of-the-art equipment and mysterious reed curtains and enchanted looking glasses and wands. After examining the room, Claudia opened the door. She peeked out into the hall to see if the coast was clear, then, when she was satisfied, Claudia walked out. Claudia’s pain disappeared as her nerves took over. She kept looking over her shoulder in anxiety. She had obviously underestimated the length of the hall, and in 5 minutes she had almost scaled the entire hallway. A door opened close behind Claudia, making her jump. Thinking quickly, Claudia ran around the corner. It felt great. She heard and recognized the voice of the young elf who had watched her. She ran faster. Claudia sprinted past hospital rooms and elves. She passed gnarled roots and brilliant pillars. She spotted a streak of natural light and followed it up an exit tunnel. She thought with wonder that she had just been running, possibly faster than ever before. Then she laughed when she realized that she was flying. Claudia soared through the layers of undergrowth, vines, trees, and, finally, into the the sky. She overlooked the entire realm. Where should she go? Where could she go? Claudia spotted the last fairy she remembered from before she woke up. A new friend dressed in purple who visited her in her illness. Claudia excitedly dove toward Orchid, wondering what she would say,how she would react. Claudia landed in front of her with a flourish and said,
“Hi! It’s me, Claudia. From the hospital!”
Orchid replied, “Who?”