Monday, August 8, 2011

The Day Misty Flew

The Day Misty Flew
by J. P. Estillana

No one in the family knew how—and why—Misty disappeared.
Except I.

I didn’t tell it to them, lest they would not believe me. Perhaps they never really would.

That happened on her last birthday I was with her. She would be turning nineteen next week if she was found, or, if God truly listens,was still alive. I was nine then, she eight. All she wanted that day was a creamy, dainty strawberry cake for her, me, mama, and papa—something worth craving upon our little celebration. It was strawberry season then; season of fairies, too. Farmers down the hill were busy harvesting their crop. Mama told us to look for ourselves because she would go to the city and be out until lunch. We promised her that we would and just catch dragonflies—our only wonderful childhood activity—at the nearby brook, down the hill. Mama walked out of the house; we watched her as we stood by the door.

As soon as she faded out of the view, my little sister grabbed my hand and ushered me to the outside. She was heading first to the water. She turned and spoke: “Darla, quick, there are so many of them!”

Above the abundant sea of grass were armies of dragonflies, with their stout, dark orange—while others were bright green—bodies and crystalline wings, rocketing through the air and creating ripples as they tapped the surface of the indolent brook.
Then, turning my eyes to hers, Misty, the little one and always also< the brave one, I saw a soulful bliss, something very rare to her for we had often envied things to each other. But I love her though, and it is so unbearable that I had not shown it to her even in the least way. Now she is gone I don’t know if there would be any other chance again.

I smiled at her and started to caper towards where she stood when an alarming echo of breaking from the house stirred our quiet moment. I stopped, and the joy that was glimmering in her eyes had abated, replaced by caution.

She, too, heard the distant shatter, and said: “What’s that?”
We quickly made our way back and panted as we threw the door open. The cookie jar that was on the table where a decrepit telephone had used to be was shattered and a black fairy smaller than an adult’s knuckle was munching on the choco chip cookies scattered on the floor. It ceased its greedy intension once Misty and I entered. Misty ran to the window and shut it. The fairy, alerted, fluttered away, then swooped past her; her cheeks revealed a short thin line of ruby red blood.

“Close the door,” Misty, fumed, shouted at me, and I obeyed immediately.

She climbed the curtain, pulling it down, and then there was a
clanging on the floor. She flung it to the air, chasing insistently our tiny intruder. The creature’s agility was awfully great, nevertheless, to Misty’s ensuing audacity it was nothing but a mythical strength. By the curtain she finally caught it, as if netting a flying fish.

It was struggling inside captivity, so she smashed it onto the floor thrice until it stopped moving, dying instantly. Blood seeped through the fabric, and none of us hinted what to do.

“You killed a fairy,” I said.

“I had to.”

“But mama said fairies are dwindling, they are listed among the
endangered. You defy the law of protecting them; you will be
punished.”

“I am, if you tell anybody. Will you let your sister be punished?” My rapid-firing against her sympathetic countenance was a loss. I tried to resent the air, but I couldn’t, so I just said: “No.”

“Besides, people hunt for their meat. But we don’t feast on
fairies—do we, Darla?”

“No.”I nodded. “What are we going to do now?”

“We’ll,” she wrinkled her nose and pouted, “incinerate it.”

And that’s what we did.

We waited till it was charred. And when it was nothing but burned
ashes, Misty gingerly collected all the remains into a cup as it
cooled.

“Elders believe the fairy ash make things levitate,” she began,
without looking up from the stove.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged.

“Darla, sprinkle the dust over me.” She rose, passing to me the cup.

“I can’t,” I refused, turning my back to her, but I was nonetheless swirled back by her gentle grip.

“Yes, you can.”

“No, I won’t, even if I can.”

“Darla, it’s my birthday. Please…”

I frowned, then grunted as I took the cup.

“If something bad happened, don’t put the blame on me. You
promised?” I said.

“Oh, sure.” My sister simpered and closed her eyes, and it made feel giddy and appalled at the same time.

I ladled the ash in my hands and showered it to her. They glittered around her, and then I put down the cup, went to the door.

“Darla, Darla! Look!”

I spun and suddenly felt a kick to my stomach seeing her feet lifting up off the floor. My mouth dropped open and my fingers trembled. She was in a gradual float.

“It’s amazing, Darla. I am weightless!” she turned facing the
ceiling. “Look, I will crawl this,” she mused, and then she did crawl.

“Open the door, Darla, I’m going out.”

“No,” I snapped back. “And stop mentioning my name!”

“Please, please, please…”

She carried on begging, but I ignored her, only gawked at her.

“I’ll do it myself,” she resigned.

That sent a flash of light into my head. Misty crawled too briskly. I stood muted and motionless, and did not stop her. Only when she opened the window I was aware again.

“No, go back inside,” I said.

But I was too late, Misty was out.

I wobbled out of the house. Her imminent flight to the vast sky
compelled my chest to pound. She was grasping the clothesline when I found her.

“Help, Darla. I can’t go down.”

But the wind eddied; I had to protect my eyes with my arm as it
gusted past me.

Misty anchored around the cord but it collapsed. Its length whipped a gaping wound on her neck which dribbled blood excessively. She screamed and weakly lost her grip. She trashed, flailing in the open air, kicking, throwing arms, gasping as she went up and up, and away.

She was a solitary dot pressed on the blueness, wailing as she was being taken away.

“Darla!” she called for the last time. And then she was gone.

And that’s it, the how and why Misty had not celebrated the rest of her birthdays. She is still missing, still lost in the empty heavens.

But our faith of her coming back one day and be home never flags.
Will I ever hear her saying my name again as resonating as on the day she had flown away? Maybe yes, maybe no, and maybe never again, for I really don’t know.

______________________________________

Author bio of J. P. Estillana:
I live in Bulacan, Philippines. I studied Graphic Arts and Printing Technology at the Technological University of the Philippines - something quite far from writing. I liberate my thoughts while keeping our sari-sari store (a mini built-in-a-house convenience store) on guard at night, and watch people as they come and go off the store. From them I draw characters for my stories. I read a lot of fiction and try to write more as much as possible. I love kwek-kwek, isaw, taho, and sago't gulaman.

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