Ahead of our author talk with Sara Maitland, Lockerbie Writers chose the prompt ‘Fairy Tales’ for our last meeting. Each person wrote something unique and put their own imaginative spin on the theme. I’m delighted to be able to share some of these pieces with you now, and hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed listening to them at the meeting.
The third and final piece which I have to share with you comes from Kath J. Rennie. This story, about a child who believes that fairies will save her from her suffering, is a change of pace from the others which I have shared here this week, and demonstrates the variety of stories which we at Lockerbie Writers are lucky enough to hear at every meeting. Kath’s stories are often fuelled by human emotion and the harsh realities of life, and this touching tale is no different.
Dedicated to all children in this world who hold onto hope of a better life.
‘Moonbeams and Dreams’ by Kath J. Rennie
She sits shivering on the edge of her bed, listening for any sounds from the room below: all is quiet; all must by now, be in their beds.
It feels safe to rise.
She tiptoes over to the bedroom window, where moonlight shines brilliantly through flower laden, tattered curtains. They hang precariously on sagging curtain-wire, which, if her mother could afford; she had been told, would be replaced.
Each step taken has the floorboards creak in resistance: She inhales the cold air; holds it within; until her lungs cry out in for release.
Shadowed idols’ eyes follow her every movement. She feels brave as they look down from the ill-gotten magazine poster: Surely she will be forgiven for her impetuous action? And surely, it wouldn’t have been missed?
One day, she muses; she’ll become a pop star; help other girls; somewhere in the world: they’ll look up at her; talk to her, about their difficult lives.
The posters also hang insecurely; the sellotape at each corner is yellowed and curled -She’d asked her mother to buy more of the tape; but another had shouted; “There’s no spare money for trivialities; shut up with your whining, girl!’
Mother had mixed a little flour with water in a cup, for her daughter, until a gluey consistence.
“Here; use this, and don’t mither when he’s about!”
It had been attempted, but it had smelt; stained her prized possession..
The shabby curtains are opened; slowly; diligently, should a tug on them have the wired hook ends loosen their grip on prominent, two inch, rusted nails, which she finds unsightly; as too, the threadbare carpet; the bedding and peeling bits of old paintwork.
She leans on the splintered window ledge; cups her face in her hands, then silently yelps as an elbow is pierced. This annoys her; she whispers to the full moon; stood proud in the darkened sky, of it; and of her dreams.
“One day; I will live in a house where everything in it will be new, and sparkling clean. I will have a maid to do all the chores, so I won’t have to do them anymore: I won’t live in it all the time as I’ll be travelling the world; singing to audiences.”
The moon shines even brighter in response, and countless stars shimmer in agreement.
At this time of year; even though bitterly cold; she adores in the dead of night. She finds the view nicer than on a summer’s day, as there are no people in their back gardens which back on to hers, with their noisy, laughing children, and their very noisy animals which bark; meow and fight constantly.
She can look for fairies she’s heard can be found, if you really look.
The times spent looking for them had been fruitless. She blames the over-growth of grass, and weeds; and the family cat; which is a good cat, but does its business in the garden, and surely the fairies wouldn’t like that?
How she wishes the family cat was up in the bedroom with her, tonight, to cuddle it; have it cuddle in to her.
She ponders on this thought and promises herself to have many of them, one day: her maid can look after them, too.
Thinking is something often done when staring up, out through the bedroom window. Tonight; the perfect globe has her entranced.
She wonders if there is indeed a man who lives on it.
Can he see her?
If he can; could he tell the other man, who lives up there, somewhere, in the universe, that she is sad and has tried her best to make contact with Him; on her knees; on the worn-out carpet, where coldness seeps in through gapping gaps in the floor-boards: can he also be told that she attends, every Sunday, in Saint Mark’s church, the morning service, where the vicar preaches, of God’s love, and of being saved from evil.
Her splintered elbow begins to sting. She urges the man in the moon to hurry up; so the other man can send an Angel to surround her cold body with its wings; envelope her in safety.
She closes her eyes and envisions the miracle happening. The moment brings a flush of warmth throughout her body; then all goes dark, and colder, as the moon is shrouded by cloud.
The moment is lost. Any heat dispels as a gust of icy-wind blows in through the cracked window-panes, and a drunken, growling sound is heard on the staircase, as steps are missed and cursed.
A tune plays in her head; one she’s heard many times on the radio; fell in love with.
Mother loves the Beatles songs also; but not as much as her; she sings their song ‘Help’ all the time; at school, where a board duster had been thrown at her for not keeping quiet: She’s sang it when out playing on the streets; alone; because the other girls said she smells; calls her nasty names, because she pees her bed.
Another reason, for not sleeping, at night.
The curtains are fretfully closed.
Quick tip-toed steps are taken back to her creaky bed; the less than inadequate scratchy blanket (army surplus) pulled swiftly over her shaking body, and head; she sings in her head he last line of her favourite song…’Won’t somebody please, please help me; help me; help me…eeee.