Thistle must die.

            Die he must.

            Be gone.

            No more.

            Bridget tossed. She buried her head under her pillow but still she heard them. Voices. Whispers in the night. Raspy and cold.

            When shall it be done?

            Right away.

            No.

            During the solstice.

            That is best

            Best it is.

            Bridget opened her eyes. The voices were right outside her window. Slowly she rose from her bed. She approached the window with trepidation and a racing heart. The moon was full. Full and bright. Right below her window the moon spilled light on a cluster of toadstools.

            How shall it be done?

            Poisoned boysenberries.

            That is best.

            Best it is.

            Bridget gasped. The voices were tiny beings. Tiny beings with wings. “Fairies.”

            The fairies looked up with orange glowing eyes.

            Bridget froze. She heard stories about these creatures. There were two kinds: light and dark. Seelie and Unseelie. These fairies were shades of midnight, violet and charcoal with spider-webbed wings. “They’re dark ones.” Bridget knew this couldn’t bode well. She quickly shut the window. But the fairies were quick as flies (three of the four made it inside her room).

            Hemlock.

            The fairies glanced back at the shut out fairy. Hemlock hit his twiggy fist on the window, until an owl scooped down and carried him away.

            Hemlock.

            He is gone.

            Gone is he.

            “Sorry about Hemlock.” Bridget had backed into the edge of her bed.

            The fairies tore their attention from the window and back on Bridget.

            Silence child.

            Don’t speak child.

            The fairies hovered inches from her face. She could clearly see that two of the fairies were male.

            She has the Sight. This came from the lone female. She was of violet hue with gossamer curls.

            She heard our plans.

            Our plans she heard.

            “I’m not going to tell anyone. Who would I tell?” She glanced at the door, it seemed so far away.

            Probably a spy for Thistle.

            Spy for Thistle. The male fairies chimed. Their angular midnight faces were too close to her nose.

            She must be silenced, Safflower.

            Lentil, Flaxseed, I can’t harm a child.

            She mustn’t tell what she heard.

            What she heard.

            “Mom,” Bridget screamed.

            Safflower’s wings moved furiously and she squeezed her right hand into a fist.

            Bridget felt her throat tighten; her scream grew faint and stayed on her tongue. Tears swam in her eyes.

            Bridget’s mom called her name through the door.    

            Safflower unclenched her fist.

            “Honey are you alright?” The knob turned.

            Lentil and Flaxseed exchanged frantic glances. Then Lentil spoke in a voice that was all too familiar to Bridget. I am okay mother. Bad dream, all is well.

            Bridget’s mouth dropped. That was her voice.

            “Do you want some warm milk?” her mom asked. The knob stop turning.

            No thanks. I am already asleep.

            “Okay honey.”

            “Don’t leave mom.” Bridget’s voice was just a whisper in her ear. “My voice give it back.” She glared at Safflower.

            No voice.

            No tell.

            Bridget clenched her jaw. She glanced around her room for something to use against the fairies. There was her unzipped messenger bag in the corner. Today’s discarded clothes draped over a chair. On the dresser next to her bed was her art project. A bunch of feathers, strings and beads. A poorly made dream catcher. “Fairy catcher,” she said in a whispery tone. Keeping her eyes on the fairies, she deftly reached for the dream catcher. Before the fairies could twitch a wing, they were caught in the fairy catcher.

            Bridget stepped back, arms folded, watching the fairies futile attempts at escaping. Lentil’s lower wing became dog-eared.

            This is devilment.

            Devilment this is.

            Let us out. Safflower glowered at Bridget through a fringe of feathers.

            Bridget pointed to her throat. “My voice,” she rasped. “Give it back.”

            Lentil and Flaxseed shook their heads.

            Bridget flopped on the edge of her bed. She watched with a smirk on her face as the fairies continued to struggle. Lentil now had two dog-eared wings.

            Okay. Safflower has one hand free. She opened her fisted hand slowly like a budding flower.

            Bridget felt a cool tingling in the back of her throat. Then like a swelling sea her voice rose. “That’s better.”

            Free us.

            Bridget grabbed a pair of scissors out of her pencil bag. Snip. Snip. The fairies were free. They flew toward the window, Lentil not as high on the count of his folded wings. The window was closed.

            Let us out.

            “Gladly.” Bridget raised the window a sliver. The fairies slipped out. The three glared at her one more time before darting into the night. Bridget couldn’t shake the feeling that those fairies would try to get back at her somehow. But she was the fairy catcher and with that thought she went to bed.

***

            Bridget awoke to sun sparkles on her window. Tap. Tap. She blinked. The sun sparkles were tapping on her window. Bridget slid from under her covers. And sat on the edge of the bed.

            Bridget, it is Thistle.

            Plus Clover.  A female chimed in.

            Relief washed over Bridget. She opened the window. There standing on her windowsill were two members of the Seelie court. Thistle was shades of sunlight and transparent wings. Clover was blue as morning sky with bits of clovers in her French braid.

            What have you learn?

            “They plan to kill you with poison boysenberries.” Bridget felt her heart rushing toward her throat.

            Is there proof. Clover’s face was etched with skepticism. She might have the Sight but can she be trusted.

            “I have proof.” Bridget took a pocket recorder from behind her window curtain.  She pushed play.

            Thistle must die.

            Die he must.

            Be gone.

            No more.

            Bridget pushed the stop button. “I hope that is proof enough.” She placed the recorder in between the fairies.

            Clover looked white as a cloud. That is disturbing.

            Thistle bowed before Bridget. Many thanks. Vital information. You’ve stopped war among the fey clan. Need anything?

            Bridget thought for a moment about Lentil, Flaxseed and Safflower and how they could harm her, maybe she should ask for protection. She smiled. “I don’t need anything, just doing my part for all of human and fairy kind.”

            We wish you well.

            Well we wish you. The fairies flew away with the recorder. Bridget waited until they were gone before she began working on her fairy catchers. She might have stopped one war, but if word got out that she was an informant for the Seelie court, she would have dark fairies swarming her window. She smiled as she finished one fairy catcher. She wasn’t afraid she was the fairy catcher after all.

           

           

 

             

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