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Fall, 2001
24-Hour Short Story Contest
3rd Place Winner!

TOPIC OF THIS CONTEST WAS:
She shivered violently while running through the cold night air. Orange, yellow and red leaves crackled beneath her tiny shoes when she stepped on them. Why hadn't her father picked her up from school as he promised? Now she'd be late for her own Halloween Party.



Feeorin's Awkward Reality Test
by Nikaya Dahn Ashley, Roanoke, VA

Feeorin had been waiting for Halloween all year; on that day she would get to be human for 24 hours. The day before, she dyed her stunning, green hair a modest shade of brown and stitched the wing-holes shut in her favorite dress. At precisely 12:01 a.m. October 31st, her iridescent wings vanished and her long, pointy ears shortened and rounded. She spent the early morning consulting her Fairies Attempting Realistic Transformations (F.A.R.T.) book to learn everything possible about humans. She was going to be a substitute teacher, so she could deal with the most fascinating humans of all: children.

Feeorin's dad had decided to be a taxi driver. They rushed off to school leaving Feeorin's wand and F.A.R.T. behind.

She found the classroom, slipped in the door, and a throng of ghosts and goblins surrounded her. Her skin crawled, and she ruffled her nonexistent wings in an attempt to escape before she realized these were students dressed in costumes. They scrambled to the little desks, so Feeorin sat behind the big desk and introduced herself. "I'm Feeorin, and I'm a substitute teacher today." Immediately, the little monsters yelped and began running amuck. She wasn't sure what to do, so she followed the first F.A.R.T. ordinance, "When in doubt, copy the actions of those around you."

Feeorin jumped on the desk; she spotted a little pixie near the front. She squealed her fiercest war cry and pounced at the little girl chasing her around the room.

"What are you doing?" screamed the little pixie. Feeorin noticed they had all stopped and were staring at her.

"Why, I eat nasty little pixies for breakfast."

"I'm not a pixie," the child giggled, "I'm a fairy."

Feeorin chortled, "You are no fairy, dear. Fairies have pointed ears and are beautiful. Pixies are mean, ugly little creatures. YOU are a pixie."

"I AM A FAIRY!" The teary-eyed child screamed. "It's my sister's costume, but Mom made me wear it. I don't believe in fairies anyway!" The girl stomped her foot hard on Feeorin's and smiled.

"Don't say such things!" Feeorin knew a fairy had died because of what the brat said, and she prayed to the Gods it was none of her family. "Don't ever say that!" She clapped her hands and rubbed her foot. The little girl saw Feeorin's fear and repeated the painful statement. She chanted until the entire class joined in repeating, "I don't believe in fairies!" In her mind, Feeorin saw fairies dropping dead all over the world, and she clapped with all her might.

****************

A man who called himself "principal" came and made the spiteful cretins behave. He had the pixie girl write an apology letter. As soon as the pixie finished, the principal told Feeorin she should leave. Outside, Feeorin opened the note to see what the pixie girl had written.

"I'm sorry I stomped on yur foot. I still don't beleev in fairees."

The note confirmed to Feeorin that the girl was a stupid pixie, because fairies are smart enough to spell simple English words. She sat on the steps and pondered what to do. She failed desperately at being a substitute teacher and had incited the murder of possibly hundreds of her kind. She had many hours left of being human and without her wand and F.A.R.T. she would never be able to change back, find her father, or get home.

She wandered down the street and discovered a little bookstore. Hoping to find something that might be of use, she rushed through the door, right up to the counter. An old man looked at her suspiciously. "Can I help you?"

"Yes, I need a F.A.R.T. please."

"Excuse me?" "F.A.R.T., do you have one?" The man gawked wide-eyed before he broke into a rolling, raucous laugh.

"I get it! Trick or treat, right?"

"This is neither a trick nor a treat! I need a F.A.R.T. now, or I might die!" He laughed so hard spit flew from his fat face.

"I've felt that way before!" He struggled to catch his breath. "If you're serious, lady, there is a pharmacy three blocks down the street."

Feeorin ran from the building on the verge of tears and raced for this other store. She found nothing funny about her situation. At the pharmacy, Feeorin searched every nook, but found not a trace of a F.A.R.T.. She told a white-coated man she needed a F.A.R.T. badly, and he gave her a bottle of pills. The directions said to swallow two with water, but needing immediate results, she opened her mouth and gulped them all.

Feeling no different, she trudged back towards school to wait for her father.

****************

The children had been gone for an hour and Feeorin was going to miss her own Halloween party. Her father never came for her. Her fear that the pixie girl had killed him was ever increasing, but not as strongly as the pressure in her stomach. She thought her belly was about to explode, when suddenly a loud "ppphhhttt" escaped her bottom. She was propelled off the steps where she'd been sitting. Before she could gain her balance, another mini-explosion shot her across the sidewalk. She realized that the pills were making her expel gas, thus pushing her forward faster than her feet could run. Those pills must be the human equivalent for wings, she thought as she jerkily ran towards home.

She shivered violently while running through the cold night. Orange, yellow and red leaves crackled beneath her tiny shoes when she stepped on them. Why hadn't her father picked her up from school as he promised? She prayed he hadn't died in the verbal massacre that morning. She scooted towards the forest outside town craning her neck to peer in every taxi. None of them held her father.

As she broke through the trees, she heard minute shouts of joy from all directions as her family fluttered towards her. For the first time, she realized how truly tiny fairies are. Her father whisked out his wand, "poofed" her back into fairy form, and grasped her tightly.

"Fairies were dropping like flies today! Why didn't you change back and come home?" He squeezed her so hard she was afraid he'd crush her wings.

"I forgot my wand and F.A.R.T.; I didn't know what to do!"

"I've told you, never travel without your wand, and never transform without taking at least an abridged F.A.R.T.!"

"I know dad, I know...I was just so excited."

"Well, it's like I've always said...Absence makes the F.A.R.T. grow fonder."


What Nikaya won:
$200 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website
1 - Freelance Income Kit Includes:
-- 1-year subscription to the Write Markets Report
-- How to Write, Publish and $ell Ebooks
-- How to Publish a Profitable Emag
-- How to Be a Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Special (includes the book; database of 6000+ newspapers; and database of 100+ syndicates)


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