The Faerie Blues
Neeka sat in her room amongst a pile of plushies; her face buried in a particularly worn and pathetic space faerie that seemed to get flatter by the day. Every few minutes she would sigh melodramatically and shove her face further into the already squished and long suffering toy.
Her room was cast in deep shadow; she’d pulled the curtains shut earlier that day to keep her friend Char from fluttering up to her window and tapping on the windowpane to check on her. Once she had decided to wallow in self-pity it was simply required to sulk all day without respite. The small green Cybunny flipped over on her bed, tossing her faerie plushie high into the air before catching it her outstretched paws. It seemed to let out a little puff of air when she clasped it tightly in her grasp again.
“Why can’t I be brave like you?” she asked it. Small tears developed at the outer tips of her eyes as she shoved the toy against her nose with a watery smile. “Then I wouldn’t have any problems. I could just stand up to all those people who hate me so much! I-I could win wars; e-everyone would want to be my friend!"
Neeka looked around her room again, still sniffling. Faeries decorated the shadowed walls and any snow globe she could get her fuzzy little paws on riddled her many shelves. A pair of earth faerie wings sat propped in a corner, drooping lazily in the gloom. After minutes of contemplation she burst into long drawn-out sobs that she’d been trying to hold back.
“Whyyyyyyyy?!” she shrieked mournfully, throwing herself back down onto the pillow, careful to sandwich the sad little space faerie between her face and the pillowcase. She proceeded to emit a wave of loud mournful gurgling sounds.
Suddenly a loud knock came at the door. “Neeka?”
Neeka froze, it was the voice of her mom... and she never had a good thing to say when she got upset like this. “What, Mom?” her voice had gone small.
“The Pant Devil or the Grundo Leader didn’t steal that old moldy plush toy of yours, did they?”
“No! And it’s the Space Faerie, mom! The greatest faerie in the world! She’s not moldy!”
“Well, that’s good,” her mother remarked mildly. “So tell me dear, why does it sound like you’re at a funeral?”
“It doesn’t matter! Nothing matters! Why should it? I hate the world!” With that, a fresh wave of sorrow, accompanied by a high-pitched shriek of despair, burst out of Neeka.
“That’s all well and good, hon,” her mom said flatly. “However, I don’t think hiding in that cave of a room is gonna help you much, dear. I’m going to go fetch your buddy; he’ll pull you out of this.” She heard her mother’s footsteps click down the stairs and the sound of the front door opening then shutting again on its creaky hinges.
A sense of impending doom swept over Neeka. She knew her mom was going to go get Char, and there wasn’t a thing she could have done or said that would have stopped her from carrying out the awful deed. Sometimes she really disliked Char; he always laughed off everything that was so serious to her and she really didn’t feel like talking to him now.
“Neeka?” Again there was a questioning voice at the door, only this time it was softer and male.
“Just go away,” she whimpered quietly.
There was a long pause. “I’m not going to leave, so I might as well come in,” he said, and there was a sense of finality in his voice that Neeka never seemed to have the strength to refuse.
A ray of light gradually appeared as Char nudged the door open slowly, the aptly named Fire Scorchio’s face emerging in the doorway. Awkwardly he shuffled into the room, comically stumbling over more plushies that had been thrown to the floor earlier in a fit of rage. Neeka peered at him, her eyes showing through the arms of her withered Space Faerie plushie.
“That thing’s not gonna act as a shield, you know,” he said, pointing at her prized toy and smiling at her. “If you want me to prove it, I’ll chuck another one of your plushies at you... like that sloth faerie one over there. I bet they could take on the Space Faerie any day.”
“Could not!” Neeka shrieked, forgetting her sadness in a moment of incredulous horror.
“Yeah, I know, but you’re so easy to tease.” He looked up at her softly again. “So what’s all this about you hating the world? Seems sorta silly hating a rock, Neeka.”
“I guess I don’t,” she hiccupped. “It’s just that Mitsy told me that she hated me earlier today and that everybody else hated me too and that n-nobody would ever be my friend.”
Char started to chuckle and it took him a moment before he could respond. “Well, gee, Neeka, I wonder why. You only shoved her into the Rainbow Fountain a week ago when she was prancing around gloating about being faerie. That color’s never looked quite right on her after she bumped into that Chomby that was being painted biscuit.”
The way Char put it, she almost wanted to chuckle along with him. She stopped herself after a moment though, trying to force her face into a serious expression again. “She’ll never ever forgive me, will she?” Suddenly it became all too easy to feel serious and tears again began to press at her eyes; in response she pressed her plushie fiercely to her chest.
“Naw, probably not. A pile of dung has a better personality than that spoiled brat of a Uni anyway, though; you’re not missing out on much. You know she was only bragging because she knew it’d drive you crazy as a meepit, Neeka. Everyone knows that being painted faerie is your lifelong dream; she was rubbing it in your face is all.”
“I shouldn’t have pushed her, though.”
“To be honest, Neeka, I was about to push her too. I don’t care what sort of silly spiteful thing Mitsy says to you, you are my friend. I hope Boochi zaps her into a baby so the only rude things she can say are gooo and gaaa.” Char waddled around the room in a ridiculous pantomime of the proud Uni as a drooling baby.
Neeka sat there watching him stony faced for a moment, then very suddenly erupted into fits of laughter about twice as loud as her previous screams of sadness. The Scorchio fell over with a look of pretend surprise on his face and Neeka followed suit, toppling off her bed and landing with a soft thump on her bedroom floor.
Char got up and walked over to where Neeka lay, curled up on the ground still giggling madly, her old plushie now being used to stifle laughter. “Feeling better now, huh?”
“Mmffch bevvturr,” she chuckled though the toy.
“I’ll take that as a much better. Now come on. I think if you squeeze that doll of yours any harder, it’ll pop an eye or something.”
Neeka drew back in concern to study her plushie carefully, then let out more peals of joyous laughter. “She doesn’t have any! Both the eyes popped out so long ago I can’t even remember!”
Char held out a hand to her which she grasped tightly with her paw as he helped her up. “Come on now, Neeka, it’s time to go outside. Maybe we’ll get a Fountain Faerie Quest or something if we wander around enough.”
The two ran hand in hand down the stairs and out the door, their laughter still echoing in the room. The dilapidated Space Faerie plushie lay silent on Neeka’s bed, forgotten in her joy, and when her mom went in to get the wash she could have sworn she saw it faintly smiling.