By Virginia Frances Sterret, Old French Fairy Tales, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Esmeena knelt on the cobalt blue tiles in her long, azure gown and gave the small deer a hug. He had just come from patrolling the castle’s grounds.
Then she stood, and said to the cat meowing plaintively at her feet, “Honestly, Reggie, I am working on it.”
He was her brother, and she had accidentally turned him into a cat while trying to cast a spell. “I’ve had a lot of responsibility since Mother’s been gone.”
Their mother was at a Council Meeting of Orwan chiefs. The Council was trying to decide if they should intervene here on Earth, now that humans seemed bent on destroying it. Wars, demagogues, fracking—the list of horrors and craziness seemed to grow daily. Thousands of years ago, the Orwan had come to Earth from the Planet of the Blue Ponies, (which was why they loved blue so much). They generally kept to their own realm, invisible to humans.
“I’m sure it’s not all that terrible,” Esmeena continued, “there is that female cat who seems to like you. And after all, you do still have all your. . .um. . .parts.”
At that, Reggie tried to spring at her, but he miscalculated the width of the table between them. With all four legs stretched out wide, he slid right over the table and crashed onto the floor on the other side.
“You are the least graceful cat I’ve ever seen,” said Esmeena.
Just then the massive castle door was flung open. Their mother entered, wearing a midnight blue cape and a frown.
She looked at Reggie, muttered some words, snapped her fingers, and he returned to his normal form. He rose from the floor, all gangly arms and legs.
“Esmeena, what has been going on here?”
“I was trying to reinforce the barrier,” Esmeena said.
“Didn’t you think I would check on it before I left? But why did you think a sparkling rainbow-colored barrier would make the castle invisible to humans?”
“Everything is so dark now. I just wanted to make something light and cheerful.”
“Child,” said her mother, “I can see I still have much to teach you. Don’t you know the light is within you? We carry it in our hearts.” She touched her chest, then picked up a candle that now glowed brightly in the darkness of winter night.
“Come,” she said to her children, “the moon is humming. It’s time. Let’s go celebrate the solstice.”
This story is for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge.
The prompt was the painting above.