Short List


Midnight. Claire has finally stopped crying. Clever little girl. She’s got mum and dad frantic with her ‘help-me’ tears. They spoil her; she only has to look upset and they’ll coddle her with kisses. Stupid parents. I could leave them faultless in this, but if they used their eyes – even just for a second – they may have gained some insight.

My phone buzzes.

R u ready?

I send back a nodding emoticon, a smile painted on his yellow face. “You should be happy.” But people forget. In this world, there aren’t any fairies to grant your wishes.

I sneak out the back door, ignoring the creaking wood. I know my parents won’t wake up. They are always tired after getting Claire to sleep. Their eyes will be glued shut, until the ‘monsters under the bed’ wake their baby again.

We’re meeting at the park. We decided to bring half the materials each. That way, he said, we have to be together. I wonder if the spell will work if he isn’t here – where is he? His last text was half an hour ago. The park is only a fifteen minute walk from his house.

Where r u? I text. Wait a few minutes. Impatient, dad says. Start to cry. Fragile, comments mum. They should not be speaking now. I only want to hear his voice.

But he is not here.

To distract myself, I watch my tears splash on the ground. The grass glimmers with dew, and a winding path forms, sparkling like crushed diamonds. A sweet voice whispers, “It will be all right.” Dragonfly-wings, speckled with gold, brush my cheek.

In the distance, there is the gentle chuckle of an old waterfall. I follow the path. Tall trees dry my eyes with their loving leaves, and the golden dust of fairies tickles my tongue. I reach the waterfall.

Somewhere – far away – a baby screams.

The waterfall wavers for a moment, but decides to stay. Pure, clear liquid rushes through and over its stones. Here, is perfect. I don’t need him anymore.

I cast the spell. Magic begins. My eyes close and fairyland follows me into my dreams. My head rests on the soft grass of a meadow. The fairies cover me with a blanket of flowers and weave me a lullaby. But over their hypnotic voices, a long, unpleasant sound echoes, begging me to wake up.



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