It Came on the Breeze
By Laura McHale Holland
It came on the breeze, sidled through Gracie’s nose and lodged in her throat. The vibration was ever so slight, just a hint of sensation. She forgot all about it as she spent the day splashing and sunbathing at the community pool with her girlfriends. But when she checked email one last time before bed, her laptop monitor emitted a strong sepia light. Her heart thump thumped. The light dissipated. Her pulse settled down. She went to sleep.
Then, in the night, her world split open to a thundrous sound directly above. She looked up to a wide crack splitting her bedroom ceiling, the attic and roof. From a sepia orb suspended above the house desended thousands of faerie-like beings, each about an inch tall and carrying a harp or flute. They swarmed her, jigged all over her and played melodies reminiscent of ancient folk songs, but more strident, discordant.
Behind Gracie’s bedroom door, her mother’s voice boomed, “Gracie, what’s going on in there? Turn that awful music down!”
At that, her visitors retreated; the crack in Gracie’s universe closed.
“Thank you.” Her mom strode away, satisfied.
Gracie rolled on her side, thinking maybe she’d been dreaming. Then she saw a tiny harp on her pillow. She dropped the harp into a velvet pouch she kept on her headboard. It landed on a ring of fake garnet and gold she’d gotten from a vending machine while shopping with her mom. In her sleep, she dreamed of flying among the stars.
In the morning, she peeked inside the pouch. The ring was gone, but the harp remained. “Gracie, time for breakfast,” her mom called. The voice sounded weak, as though far, far away. Gracie tucked the pouch into her T-shirt pocket. It vibrated every so slightly as she padded toward the kitchen.
Photo is from ketrin 1407’s flickr photo stream.