The Essence of A River Fairy

By: Maya Breininger

Note: This is a student generated work of short fiction

I never learned how to activate my essence.
Even as the morning dew weighed down my delicate wings and ruined my ability to fly, even as I hid from the earth walkers under grass blades and lilly pods, I had never once felt the magical tingle of a flower growing at my touch. I hadn’t earned it.

I was a river fairy, I was.

Or so I thought I was.

But as my friends grew older, and as their earthly essence manifested, mine stunted to a point where my only power was helping the snails cross over the moss covered rocks.

So I found myself punting pebbles into the small lake left of the oak tree, cursing the essence distributors for skipping over me.

Then, a sound similar to the fall of dewdrops, I hear footsteps approaching me.

“You there!” An oily voice exudes. “Yes, you! Little one!”

“I am called Lo’ak.” My eyebrows furrow, and I refuse to turn around to the creature behind me.

“Lo’ak.” They taste my name on their tongue. “Lo’ak.”

“Yes. Why do you bother me?” I wonder aloud, wrapping my arms around my knees. “You are a river fairy, Lo’ak?” The stranger asks, their voice dripping with command. “I am.” I finally stand, and turn around to match the oily voice with a face. “But what are you?”

I faced a female as tall as auburn wall, with sun kissed skin, and hair the color of daisies. My eyes widened as I recognized her distinct outfit, and the realization hit me like the wind through the overpass. This woman was an Essence Distributor.

“You will come with me. We need a female river fairy; a monk has been hurt. He lies by the entrance to the oak tree.”

“I would not be of use to you.” I sit back down on the soil. I could not help but be angry with her; all my life I had waited for my essence, but it skipped past me.

“At your age, you have not been graced?” The woman looked a mix of surprise and disgust.

“No,” I say.

Her face froze in a confused expression as she stared at me, and I began to grow uncomfortable.

“I have told you my name. I think it is only fair that I know yours.” I say.

“I am called Kayla. I am an Essence Distributor; I bestow the power of fire onto young burn fairies.” It occured to me now that her voice was not an annoying oil, but a smooth, buttery coconut oil that soothed my ears.

“I can tell you are discontent, Lo’ak. But I cannot give you what you wish. I do not reside in the River Domain, therefore I cannot distribute river powers.”

“Kayla, everyone has their powers, except me. Everyone can embrace their talent and help the home tree. Except me. It has always been this way. I have these wings, but I cannot fly. I am to help the River, but I cannot bend water. Not only am I discontent, I am useless.”

She let out a smoky sigh, and sat beside me. “Fairy roads have increased tremendously to accommodate those who cannot fly. Magical herbs with healing properties have been found to replace the essence of river fae.”

“Are you trying to make me feel better? All you have shown me is that the fairy race has had to make great amendments because of those who are powerless.” My wings wilt behind me, and my heart sinks.

“I am trying to tell you, that even as someone with no powers, you rely too much on them. How do you think essence is earned, by hard work? No, it is when a Fae or Fairy has found their calling, a special talent that only they can achieve. The essence of air, earth, water or fire is then distributed to that individual, to help them achieve their goal.”
I blink once. Then twice.

“Leave me, Kayla. You speak nonsense.”

After a moment of silence, she complies, and stands up away from me.

“Very well then.” She swiveled on her heel, and marched away from me.
I held it in for as long as possible, but as the woman who held the power to change my life walked away from me, I found it impossible not to jump at the chance.

“Wait!” I shot up from my seat, and climbed up the vine to the oak tree. “Wait, Kayla!” In my haste, of course, I flapped my wings to propel my sprint. But to my greatest surprise, thrill and excitement, my feet began to lift off the ground. I realized then; I was flying.

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