Forest of Wonder & Dreams

Zeli sat under the gloaming tree, listening to the cicadas hum their twilight song. She felt the warmth of the sun slipping away, the breeze shifting from day to night as the cool began to settle. She ran her fingers along the smooth, unhatched egg that sat in the earth beside her.


"It was impossible for it to come alive, wasn't it?" Zeli spoke to the faeries. She knew they were waiting, watching. They were the keepers of the glen, the sprites of the wood that played their pipes and danced in the light of the full moon. They were terrifying and beautiful, haunting and fanciful, and as real as the ground that Zeli sat upon.


But there were many who didn't believe in the faeries, many who scolded Zeli for an imagination that ran as wild as the wind, painting pictures that only she, born sightless, could see.


"Wasn't it?" Zeli asked again. The forest was silent, the melodies of the insects hushed as they listened for the faeries reply.

In the quiet of the wood, the only sounds that remained were the echoes of birdcalls in the distance and a soft rush of water in the river that lay just beyond the trees. It was a peaceful place, one that had been her sanctuary since she was small.


The trees welcomed Zeli with their sheltering canopies, allowing her to feel the strength and age of their branches. The wind carried her along, giving her the gift to hear the songs that lay within the heart of the forest, leading her to the land of the faeries.


She was not much older than five when she found it, barely tall enough to reach up to Grandmother Oak's first branches. Now, Zeli could climb to the perch in her middle, a perfect place to listen to the whispers of the faeries and learn the secrets of the forest.


And one of those secrets was the egg.

She heard them now, whispering about it. They said that it was beautiful, a shiny robin's blue. They said that it was unique, that its magic was beyond any that had ever been born in the glen.


But they also said that it was dangerous, that it didn't belong here. And that they had cursed it, to make sure that nothing that came from it would ever live.

But the faeries couldn't feel as Zeli did, with their keen eyes always watchful, their swift minds tuned to listen for that which might spite them. Their hearts couldn't fathom the depth of wonder nor the miracle of imagination as hers could, how a story written in your soul could ever be as real as the river and the trees.


Zeli wrote stories, not with her eyes or pencil, but by listening, feeling and painting the words into her kinesthetic memory. She could feel the life within the egg; it was loud and frenetic and filled with vitality.


It was also, as the faeries said, a kind of magic that had never been alive in the glen, even one that was enchanted.


A ripple went through the hush, and Zeli felt a change in the air as the forest slipped into the shadows of an auspicious night with whispers of a full moon. A night in which dreams could become tangible, and impossibilities could become realities.


Zeli reached out to touch the egg’s smooth shell; it quivered in response, filling her with warmth like sun on a summer afternoon.

Slowly, the egg's surface began to crack open, the shell breaking away to reveal a wet, slippery body inside. The joy Zeli felt at its birth was indescribable, the relief palpable.


"You were supposed to be impossible," She laughed as she felt the tiny dragon scurry along her arms, its spiky tail and pointy claws filling her with sheer delight.


"And yet, here you are - Alive! And you are no threat at all, are you?" Zeli scolded the faeries for their fear and foolhardiness, then entreated them to pipe and dance, celebrating the birth of a new and magical friend.


For this was the enchanted glen, and ever may it be a place of wonder and dreams. A place where magic is real, and a place where the impossible might live.


 

AUTHOR

Stacie Eirich is a writer, singer and library associate. Her children's stories & poems have been published in Wee Tales, Storyberries, & Short Kids Stories. Her middle-grade fantasy series, The Dream Chronicles, is available on Amazon & at local bookstores. She lives near New Orleans, La with three cats, two kids and one fish.