Angela. The word tickled my mind when I was almost asleep, giving me goosebumps even though I was buried under thick blankets and a huge pile of teddy bears hugging me goodnight. She was here again.
Tell me what you wish for… I can grant it, for a small price of course. She was doing it again, asking me to wish for something. Mom always said I needed to work for what I wanted. Rainbow Teddy was for pulling weeds for a week. I ignored her.
Invisible boney fingers longer than a human’s lightly touched my shoulder as I fell sleep. Dream about it, my sweet. She started singing about children and crunchy bones.
Nibbles died. My tears fell to her fluffy white body, soaking into her fur as I clutched her to my chest, running to show Mom.
“She was an old rabbit, sweety. We’ll bury her tonight when Dad gets home.”
“How do I fix her?” I pleaded.
“Oh honey, there is nothing you can do. Sometimes there are things you can’t fix no matter how much you try.” She reached down to take Nibbles away but I ran to my room, hugging my first friend.
“I’ll make my first wish!” I called out.
Very good. What is it you wish for my pet? The deep woman’s voice in my mind gave me goosebumps again. I could feel her fingers in my hair as she walked around me.
“Fix Nibbles,” I whimpered.
As you wish.
She became visible, her hand rushing towards the side of my head. Something was inside my ear, tingling. Twist, crack, splinter. Knives were stabbing deep inside. I could hear the snap at the same time as my scream. Black spots filled my vision and I fell to the floor.
“Angela!” Mom ran through the open doorway, not seeing the tall, dark lady with wings. The fairy godmother chuckled. I saw what looked like a small string of three tiny bones in the creature’s hands, broken and white, ripped from inside my ear. She popped them into her mouth and began to crunch.
I looked down at Nibbles, still in my arms. She was moving, her eyes bright. Her long white ears lying flat against her head as she began to struggle, long feet flailing.
Resurrection has a high price, my dear. The words echoed through my head.
Six months later, the sunbeams on the funeral held in the backyard shone through the x-ray I was holding. I could see where the missing bones from my left ear I could no longer hear out of should be. My missing pieces. There was a shadow of fairy wings over the dark picture, and any other picture taken of me now.
“Do you wish to say a few words over Nibbles?” Mom asked.
I couldn’t cry for Nibbles again. I shook my head, my heart frozen. Regret hit me as vertigo, my new friend, showed up again. Ground became sky as I hit the grass. I had gotten Nibbles for only a few more months. Not worth it. I would never wish again.
“We have to get rid of most of our stuff so we can move to the new apartment,” Mom explained. “There won’t be as much room there. You can only take one of your old stuffed animals.”
Would that lady fairy creature be left behind with the empty home? With excitement, I dumped all my teddy bears, unicorns, and dragons into a donation bag except Rainbow Teddy. We were moving away from the mistake I had made three years ago.
We got situated in the van and drove to the new apartment complex. It was on the other side of town, twenty minutes away. But would it be far enough?
I sat Rainbow Teddy on my new twin-sized bed with a blue comforter and pulled out the polaroid camera I had gotten for my birthday. My lungs squeezed tight as the camera slipped in my clammy grip. Would she be there? Was I free?
Flash. The small picture slowly emerged from the base of the camera. I took it and held it with two fingers, waiting for it to develop.
I shook it to air it out more, make it develop faster. My slick fingers fumbled. The photo hit the floor. My heart dropped with it.
It was face down, picture side on the carpet.
Gingerly, I bent down to pick up my hope of a more normal life. My head tilted forward and my world flipped and spun. I froze in place, gripping the side of my bed, trying not to throw up from the vertigo. Why was I moving my head again? What was worth this?
Once the room righted itself and I could swallow again, I grasped the closest corner of the small polaroid and flipped it. There she was, a haze with glinting teeth that crunched bones like candy, wide dragonfly-like wings spread out behind me. She had followed. I would never be able to escape. There was nothing I could do. I would pay almost anything to get rid of this fairy
phantom so I could have my life to myself for the first time since her original nighttime whisper. No more inquiries about what I wanted and promises to fulfill every dream I could have with the price of bone. No more long, invisible fingers caressing me in my sleep while dark lullabies echoed in my mind.
You can’t escape me, my pet.
“I wish you would leave me alone and never come back.”
Laura Nettles is a California girl living in Canada. She lights creatures for horror films and enjoys penning her own tormenting tales. Follow her at lauranettles.com.