Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write on the theme “trying something new.”
This week’s contribution comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara is currently in Berlin, Germany, doing her best to catch up with semi-abandoned writing projects. Her YA novel “Mi chiamo Elisa” (My name is Elisa) was published in Italy by “Le Mezzelane Casa Editrice” in September 2020 and recently in Turkey with the title “Benim adım Elisa”. Her children’s book “Şebnem ve Schrödinger’in Kedisi” (Chiara and Schrödinger’s cat) was published this year in Turkey by Sia Kitap and in Italy with the title: “Chiara e il Gatto di Schrödinger”.
The Bridge to Fairy Land
(an “Inn at the End of Dreams” story)
by Chiara De Giorgi
|Photo by Mark Basarab on Unsplash|
You know how it is when you have a bad day, don’t you? Whatever you try to do, will be a fiasco.
You wake up feeling like strawberry jam for breakfast? Strawberry will be the only jam missing from the pantry. And you’ll spill your latte, too. On your favourite skirt. And you’ll rip your tights because there is a nail that sticks out just a bit on the stairs. And so on.
I was spending my Winter holidays at my grandparents’ inn and, after the nail on the stairs thing, I let out a frustrated groan.
“What is it, darling?” my grandmother wanted to know.
The chain of annoying things that had been happening all morning suddenly felt so stupid, that I was ashamed of myself. I mean, with all the real problems that there are in the world and all that.
“Nothing”, I grumbled.
However, the day did not get any better. On the contrary. After lunch, I wanted to help my grandparents clear the driveway from the snow. The handle of the snow shovel snapped in my hand, I slipped on the ice, fell, and got a blue-coloured bruise on my backside. A bunch of middle-schoolers were busy building a family of Snowmen and burst out laughing. How humiliating.
I went back inside, my grandmother gave me a cup of hot tea, and – do I have to tell you? – I burned my tongue. After that, I locked myself up in my room and texted my best friend, but she didn’t reply to my messages even if I could see she was online. What was it with the world and everything?
I was feeling increasingly restless, but I was wary of engaging in any activity, for fear of the consequences. What could I do? I remembered some characters in the movies, who pressed their faces into a pillow and screamed. It seemed to help them so I decided to give the pillow a try. It didn’t really help, especially because Lucy the cat had apparently recently slept on that pillow, so I ended up with a mouthful of cat fur. After that, I was too tired to even think. I lay on the bed, with my eyes fixed on the ceiling.
Maybe I could go for a walk, I thought after a while. A nice, slow walk in the snow.
And so I did. I started walking aimlessly on the Eastern Road, the one that leads to The Realm of Fairy Tales. I had no particular reason to go that way, I just did.
The path was covered with soft snow, that glistened in the pale sunlight of that wintry afternoon and crunched under my boots. The branches of the trees on both sides of the path were covered with minute icicles. It was a peaceful, postcard-perfect landscape and I soon felt calmer. I took a deep breath, I lifted my scarf a little and let the fresh air fill my nostrils.
I had never ventured more than a few steps along that road, so I was surprised at how soon I reached the bridge to Fairy Land. There, I had to stop. It is not wise, for a human, to cross that bridge unaccompanied. And even in that case, you need to be very careful. Fairy tale characters are ambiguous little fellows, you can never be sure they mean what they say. And you can never be sure of what you see and hear, either. It’s a tricky place.
So, I stood on the bridge and looked down. The brook was covered by a thin sheet of ice, under which I could see the water flowing. The sight mesmerised me and I did not notice the fairy who approached me silently, until she jingled the little bells that adorned her beret.
“Hay there”, she called. “Having a bad day, are we?”
I shrugged. “How would you know?”
“I’m a fairy”, she replied. As if that should explain anything.
She came up and stopped next to me, then she leaned over the bridge railing to look down.
“It’s pretty, isn’t it”, she said. It was not a question, so I did not answer. “This brook is born in Fairy Land”, she added. God, she really wanted to make conversation, didn’t she?
“If you drink just a sip of that water, do you know what happens?” she said.
I turned my head to look at her. She had a friendly smile and eyes that sparkled with amusement.
“You get an entire free day for yourself”, she went on. “An extra twenty-four hours to do anything you want. Like, I mean, anything. You know what they say: what happens in free day, stays in free day.”
“Really?” I said, using a tone that I hoped would convey all my utter dis-interest. Apparently, it did not.
“Yes!” she said enthusiastically. “Like, for real!” And then, after a one-second pause, she added: “It could compensate you for your bad day, you know. A way to even the score.”
“Even the score with what?”
She shrugged. “Life, I guess.”
Somewhere behind us, a snow-owl hooted. I went back to watching the brook.
“Hey, what would you do, if you had a free day?” she asked.
I sighed. I wasn’t in the mood for conversation, and I wasn’t in the mood for imagining a perfect day, so I replied with sarcasm.
“Well, since a free day is a fantastic thing, I guess it would be worth it to fill it with equally fantastic activities. Riding a unicorn, flying to the Moon, becoming a mermaid…”
She laughed and clapped her hands.
“That’s the spirit! I like it! Come with me!”
She ran down to the brook’s edge and beckoned me to follow. Reluctantly, I joined her.
She broke the thin sheet of ice that covered the brook and collected some water with her hands, then offered it to me.
“Here! Drink! You have to take it from a fairy”, she explained.
You should always be cautious with fairies, especially when they offer you food or drinks. However, I was in a sort of self-destructive mode and I was convinced that on that particular day things could not, statistically speaking, go worse. So I drank from her hands.
It took me quite a while to go back to the Inn, and that’s how I met Ian the werewolf. He came to rescue me: a mermaid riding a unicorn on the Moon.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com
Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/