By Jordan Slaughter (Sun Valley High School, Aston, PA)
Come here little child, into this world of light and harmony where you are always protected. Stray from the path of the corrupt and open the door. Yes, that wooden door to which you gave no second glance. The sunlight trickles down on it and the light brown wood appears golden. It sits, slanting into the hill surrounding it, still waiting for its old timber mouth to be opened and for someone to be engulfed into its stomach. Leave behind the world you once knew and come into ours. Where there was once darkness in your life, there is now only light.
* * * *
Charlotte opened the door. The cold wooden handle seemed to tremble under her touch in anticipation, but why, she did not know.
Maybe I should go back to Mommy, she thought, but the faintest sliver of violet behind the door piqued the five year olds interest immediately. Behind the door a magnificent violet color shone, blinding Charlotte, but also bringing a comforting warmth upon her.
“Come here Charlotte,” a soft female voice behind the door sang out to her. The child could not resist. The voice was too sweet and by this point her curiosity made her blind to the situation.
Charlotte took one more look behind her, regarding the world she was about to leave and thinking. She nodded to herself, well it will only be for a little while and I don’t want to go back to Mommy right now after she drank that bad smelling juice. She’ll find me before dinner time. With that, she walked into the light.
A lengthy oak stairwell was placed behind the door leading down to the unknown. Charlotte gave no second thought and proceeded to skip down the stairs with a grin on her freckled face. All Charlotte could do was smile and hum gently to herself.
“Ring around the rosy, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down,” she hummed over and over again as she proceeded her way down, finally reaching the bottom.
She carefully stepped onto the purple, pillow-like grass, fearing the first touch of it on her feet as though it would be fire. Her eyes wandered around the mystical forest that surrounded her. Grass went on for as far as the eyes could see and trees– spotted with violets on their branches– were aiming at incredible heights in the sky with little animals scurrying around them. The fragrance of the air was so sweet and the hint of honey tickled her nose. The soft sea-breeze wind seemed to be humming her favorite tune and Charlotte smiled in pleasure. This place was so unlike the siren-filled, trashy neighborhood she was used to.
“Oh, Charlotte it’s about time you got here darling!” The same soothing voice exclaimed, but she was no were in sight. Charlotte spun around and around, seeing nothing but the beauty that swathed her.
“Where are you?” Charlotte cried out.
“In front of you silly,” the voice chuckled. Charlotte stopped moving and looked right in front of her at the small being that hung in the air before her. The woman was not over seven inches and everything about her screamed small from her tiny pointy nose to her delicate tiny hands, but oh was she gorgeous; her very essence glowed. Her blood-red hair hung beyond the point of her backside and she wore a sprinkled ember green dress, matching the color of her eyes. What caught Charlotte’s eyes the most was the fact the little woman had wings like that of a butterfly. They reached far over the point of the woman’s head and they were colored a bright crystal blue.
“What’s your name and why do you have wings?” Charlotte giggled. “I don’t have them and neither does Mommy.”
“My name is Meredith and it’s just the way of my people. This is how we were born. You and I are two different kinds of beings, Charlotte, but that’s okay. We are going to be the best of friends.”
“Oh, I’d like that. Then I could tell Mary-Lewis and Mary-Beth that I’m friends with a person who has wings and they don’t. Maybe then they wouldn’t call me mean names and lock me in the girl’s bathroom.”
“Oh Charlotte,” the little woman said. “Here no one will be mean to you. Only happiness will torment you, my darling, from here on out. Okay? Now take my hand we are going on an adventure.”
The girl took her hand and on touch she instantly shrunk like the women. She giggled in the happiness of being tiny and thought, wow, if only the Marys’ could see me now. The little woman held tight onto Charlotte and they flew deeper into the world of magic.
Throughout the whole flight Charlotte smiled and hummed. The woman took her on a tour of the little majestic world. They saw things Charlotte only dreamed of. Charlotte and the woman flew through small villages that were placed on the body of trees and homes to friendly gnomes that had miniature unicorns and griffins as pets. The pets joined them in the air and rubbed up against Charlotte, caressing her. Together they visited a large pond that radiated with life in and around it. It was a majestic pond that was a light purple color and was so clear the bottom could be seen.
Little fish and nymphs swam in its beauty and trees covered the pond, shielding it off from everything else.
“Hey, Charlotte, wanna do something fun?” Meredith said.
Charlotte nodded even though she was already having the time of her life. With the acceptance, the woman let go of Charlotte’s hand and dropped her in the pond.
Water enclosed around Charlotte, but she was not panicked. The touch reminded her of the strong male arms that used to embrace her. So unlike the harsh touches of her mother after a few drinks. The water was at such a perfect temperature and brought such a calming sensation to the little girl. Her clothes clung to her tiny body and fish swam to her and tickled her nose. Finally, coming up for air she looked to the sky, seeing the woman smiling down at her.
“Will you not come down and play too?” Charlotte questioned.
“No, this is all you,” smiled Meredith. “Have fun.”
With that Charlotte played her little heart out for the rest of the afternoon in the pond, smiling and humming the whole time.
Later that day, Meredith and Charlotte lay on the soft grass looking out into the vast forest. All was quiet and still in the small utopia and all that could faintly be heard was the humming of Charlotte’s soft song. “Ring around the rosy, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”
“Is that your favorite song?” The woman said looking over at Charlotte with her wings encasing her tiny body in a cocoon.
Charlotte had to think about that question for a second. She prodded her mind thinking about the answer. “Yes, ever since I can remember I’ve always known it and sung it to myself. I remember a man singing it to me when I was a baby. But those could just be dreams. That’s what Mommy says anyway; that I can’t remember that kind of stuff. But I remember him rocking me in his arms and singing that song all of the time.”
The woman only smiled sadly in response as if she knew something Charlotte did not and looked out into the small world again. “Oh child,” she said in a small voice. “The world is a beautiful place, but beauty is danger. Here you will never have to fear anything and you can come here anytime you want. One day you will be here forever. Would you like that?”
“Oh yes,” Charlotte smiled. “I would love that very much.”
“Then it will be so.” The woman smiled happily and reached over, pulling Charlotte into her embrace. “Now sleep child. We’ll have more fun tomorrow night.”
“But I don’t wanna yet,” though even as she said it the child had begun to drift off. Hums of Ring around the Rosy clouded her mind and warm hands shook her awake.
* * * *
“Charlotte, honey, wake up. You’re talking in your sleep again,” Charlotte’s mom rocked her gently awake.
“Oh Mommy, I had the greatest dream tonight!” Charlotte exclaimed.
“Really, baby girl? The same dream that had the little woman with wings?”
“Yeah, but oh, this time she took me to a pond and we played with fishes. We also talked about the man that we talk about sometimes.”
“Oh really?” A sad look crossed her mother’s face, but left quickly leaving no trace it was ever there. Her mom lay next to her on her small bed. “Want to tell me the whole story?”
Charlotte took a deep breath not knowing where to begin and smiled, excited to recount the night she had in the mystical forest. “Well there was a door…”