A Fragile Immortality
10 year old girl/Statue
There once was a little girl who lived in a small town near the great capital. She lived with her mother and father and big sister. Their house was small, but cozy. Her father was a teacher, where she went to school every day and her mother was a baker, who sold bread. Her big sister was her favorite person in the world. And they all loved her very dearly.
Her parents liked to play pretend with the little girl and her sister. They also liked to play pretend with their grown up friends. One spring day, they went to a large hotel, to play pretend with their friends. While her parents were off playing, the little girl and her big sister found some other kids who were waiting on their parents and they started to play a new game. The boy whose game it was, asked if the little girl would help fetch some drinks. Being the helpful, cheery girl she was, she hopped up. The boy took her hand, which was odd, and led her down a different hallway and through a door…
A beautiful man was there. He was impossibly tall and impossibly pale, with bright fire of hair. The girl, not knowing she shouldn’t watch, became entranced by the flowing hair, flickering like flame. Then, she was led to a beautiful garden, filled with statues and fountains. Each statue or fountain was of a person, but evoked a different mood. There was a fountain statue of two small children, a little boy and a little girl, who she supposed were brother and sister, playing in the water that filled her with joy. There was a fountain of a happy little girl with an umbrella and a basket of goodies, who filled her with anticipation. There was a statue of a man with a sword, with braziers lit where his eyes should be, who seems angry and made her anxious to defend herself. There was one of a nearly naked woman, with a ribbon of cloth not really providing modesty for her, that made her start to have feelings she was too young to have.
Finally, they reached a lonely, back corner of the garden. There was a pool, but it was missing its fountain. The fiery man turned to her and stroked her cheek, turning her head up towards him. Her eyes brimmed in tears at the brightness of his fire, but she leaned into his hand as it stroked her cheek. The rest of her grew cold as he drew her warmth out through his hand. The little girl wanted nothing more in the world but to please the fiery man. With a voice with warmth like a cozy, winter fireplace fire, he spoke, “You will be my melancholy little girl, will you not?” He picked her up from the hips and placed her on the pedestal in the pool. The world turned cold as he handed her a bucked filled with water. He whispered, warm breath on the cold stone, “You will stay here now. Think of home, little darling.” She gazed down, as his words filled her with longing for home and then could move no more.
There she stood, pouring out her bucket. Stone girls have no tears but the ones that fall from the skies during the rains of a Spring that would never end. Often, she would hear voices, calls of anger or lust or joy. Those active emotions seemed, from what she heard, to have many guests. But few craved a melancholy statue. The little statue had only the birds to keep her company, and the chattering of the squirrels- who would never come into the fountain. The fall of the water was her song, a steady soothing background to her silent tears. All she knew was cold and water and longing. Longing for that which would never come- whatever that was.
Then, one day, her bucket was empty, and the singing of the fountain stopped. At first, she thought it was a dream, the warmth of her master’s hand, stroking her cheek. Then, she could move and he took her into her arms and she did her best to please him, because he was her master and she had no warmth but him. It hurt some, but it was for him and she was pleased. She fell asleep, warm and safe, in the arms of her master. When she woke, she was holding her never ending bucket again, but she longed for the day her master would come to her again.
The fountain of yearning had more guests, more viewers, and few, rare nights, when she would be warm and safe with her master. Then, one day, she awakened to the warmth of her master’s hand, stroking her cheek and she turned eagerly to him. And he took her hand and put it into the hand of another and said, “Go with him, for now.” The little girl had not spoken since she came, so her throat was chalky, like stone. “No!” she croaked out, as she reached for her master, his face turning red at her refusal. “GO!” The command burned her to the core. “Please?” she wept as he turned from her. She went with the one her master had given her to, and there were many more tears that night, because the one who took her was not warm and he wanted things from her that she did not know how to do. It was a nightmare and she knew not when it would end until the pain overtook her.
Then, she was standing with her bucket once more, filled with tears that could not fall. And when the warm hand of her master woke her, he did not want her and gave her to others. Until one day, he gave her away.
The new master loved the tears of the little girl and taught her to sing her sorrow, so that he could hear it as a delicate background. And he did his best to make her sorrow grow, every day that he was there. He would travel on business for long stretches, but the absence just made the sorrow and the pain more sharp when he returned. After one particularly long absence, he brought home another girl with a little boy cowering behind her. He laughed out loud that he was pleased with his set. He told his little girl of sorrow, “Soon, these two will cry more prettily than you ever have, because they have another to cry for. I wonder if I could find a sister of yours?” And the little girl remembered a big sister that she could always hide behind and she remembered hope and a fear stronger than any she had ever felt. Nothing should happen to her sister! And when the master left the next time, she knew that the master was looking for her sister and she was filled with fear. The little girl went to find the new girl and boy. But the boy was in a cage and she could not free him. She explained to the new girl and boy how she had to leave to keep her sister safe. The new girl and boy understood and told her how to find the place where the master had gotten them from the other world.
The little girl fled. She journeyed off the road, and ran through rivers to keep the hounds from finding her. She turned west on the night with two moons. Running and running, all she knew is she had to find her sister first. She ran past the second North Star and then she tore through the hedge, into a goblin faire. It was cold, fall weather and it shocked the little girl who could only remember Spring. She wandered the faire, keeping to the shadows, just knowing that any fae would know who she belonged to at first glance. But the rain on her face reminded her of her first master and the sorrow welled up in her and she couldn’t keep from singing her sorrow, because that’s what her hated master had taught her. She tranced as she sang. Then saw a vision. Aged by untold years of toil in Arcadia, dressed as the servants were dressed, she recognized her sister. Dazed, she wandered towards the woman and she remembered a name, “Is it you? Is it really you, Abby?” Then, the little girl paled, her sister was just a worker, if they saw her with her sister, HE would get her, “I hoped they wouldn’t get you. I’m sorry!” All the anguish she knew was in those words. Then, she fled.
As she ran, her sister and another were close behind. She didn’t know if it was her sister’s master or another taken one, but she had to get out and far from her sister or they would take her. She ran past the crowds of mortals and fae and goblins. And into a field filled with cars. She stopped- stunned. Cars were too metal, they couldn’t be in Arcadia. And she remembered the make believe her parents loved. The man that had been chasing arrived first, but stood off a ways looking a bit confused, and then her sister’s arms were around her and they were both crying.
When she could speak again, she whispered, “Am I really back? Is this a dream?”
And her sister replied with her name, that she had forgotten, “Melinda, my little sister.”