Here is the prologue of a book I just started writing this week. Thanks to my sister who came up with the first inspiration. Hint: “Istagun” is the name of this fantasy island, and it actually is a Maltese word that means “Season.” But this prologue alone isn’t going to tell you the whole story world, it’s just a teaser. 😉 Hope you enjoy!
I poised my head to the side, tucking the cherry blossom in my curly brunet hair. The sun was shining sweetly on the bright dainty fairies who hovered about to till the ground to the south and water the sprouted carrots and onions toward the north. Everything was always growing, and there was always a flower or vegetable ready to harvest.
“Dahlia, your sistah wants you,” a four-year-old boy called to me from the little thatched hut.
I smiled at him, glad to have friends at every corner, though I could hardly remember all their names. Stepping passed him, I entered the hut full of crying human babies attended to by the mother fairies. I rushed to my eight-year-old sister’s bedside, where Hollis lay dead silent in the midst of the infants’ cries.
It always struck me how pale she looked. For some reason I hadn’t gotten it into my head yet that she wasn’t the same carefree girl she was a year ago. She was delicate, ailing; a tumor had arisen on her forehead last month, swelling larger every day.
I knelt beside her and clasped my hand around hers. “What is it, Hollis?”
She gazed up at me, her solemn blue eyes feverish, desperate, experiencing something I did not understand. Something no one but her could understand in the middle of cheerful Spring.
“I’m not so sure I want to live anymore,” she whispered, her breath as fragile as the pixies about us.
I pulled the cherry blossom out of my hair and tucked it in between her fingers. “Don’t say that, Hollis.”
She gripped my hand so hard for a split second, and then let go. “You don’t know anything, Dahlia. You don’t know where we came from, or where Andrea went—and all the rest of the older ones.”
I bit my lip. For a younger sister, she seemed smarter than I was. Wiser. Maybe that’s what the pain did to her. I was fourteen years old, and so was Andrea when she left. So were all the others.
“You think they’re going to take me away?” I asked gently.
“Don’t act so innocent,” Hollis said. “Of course they’re going to take you away.”
Tears poured down her cheeks now, unable to resist themselves. I covered her with my body, trying to give her safety, relief. “Oh, Hollis,” I murmured, “I have no idea where we came from. You’re right about everything, Hollis. You never believed me, did you?”
She wept into my chest, clinging to me as tightly as her weak hands could. “Yeah,” she said feebly. “Across the sea and over the mountains was all you could think of. But I knew better. The fairies come in girls and boys, too. When they’re older, one boy and one girl decide to live together, and then somehow they have a baby fairy.”
I held Hollis’ neck, chuckling. “So, you figured it out, too. They’re called mothers and fathers. That’s why we’re sisters—we have the same mother and father. The fairies said so.”
Relaxing, she rested her head back into the pillow, content that I’d spoken the truth once and for all, though she’d already guessed it.
“I will never leave you,” I assured her, as if it were something I could control. “Maybe we’ll never get to see our parents, and I’m not sure why. But we’ll always have each other. That’s one thing you can be sure of.”
I had to lie, to keep her dreaming, hoping, and alive. It didn’t matter that she didn’t believe me, for as long as she knew that I loved her, she had reason to fight away her longings of escaping this life.
Hollis’ eyes fluttered, threatening to close. “But what if I die?” she said softly. “What will happen to you?”
It had been last year that this disease fell upon my sister. The fairies said it would never leave her, that there was no cure—not even with the potions. Worst of all, they hinted that she had a shorter lifespan than most humans.
“Death,” I said. “Is that another thing you learned about from watching the fairies?”
At her grimace, I managed a tight smile to reassure her, for it hurt me to see her so uneasy. “Well, Hollis, there’s a million things I’m uncertain of, and that I can’t control. But no matter what happens, you’re not going to die. Do you believe me?”
Her fingers loosened her hold on my hand as her eyelids shut firmly at last, her mind drifting off into a slumber that would temporarily ease her pain.
Of course she didn’t believe me. Leaning forward, I planted a kiss on the tumor-less part of her forehead. “There is one thing I can truly promise you, Hollis: I will never forget you, no matter what happens.”