There was once a fairy who wanted very much to meet a child.
The fairy lived at the bottom of the garden behind the Big House, where the child lived, too. And every afternoon when the boy came out to play, the fairy would watch him from the safety of a flower, and wish with all her little heart that he would come to her. But he was never alone, because he was what his mother called a “delicate child”, and was always accompanied by one adult or another. So even if he came close on occasion, the fairy couldn’t do anything but hide, and she found this intensely frustrating.
Months passed in this way, until the fairy had almost given up hope. And yet the boy grew more and more rosy-cheeked and bright-eyed, and scampered across the grass with such energy that the fairy’s eyes grew misty just to look at him. He looked, she thought, utterly delicious.
Meanwhile, the fairy began to overhear talk among the adults when they came to the garden; talk which led her to understand that the family would soon be moving, and she was stricken to the heart at the thought that she would never get to come into contact with the boy. She grew so depressed that she began to wilt a little, and her wings began to droop and lose their lustre.
At last the day arrived when the house was filled with bustle, and the moving men came with their big van and began to take out furniture. The fairy, tears dripping from her large and expressive eyes, perched on top of her flower and watched the activity, thinking now that she would never be able to meet the boy again.
Suddenly, the back door eased open and the boy came into the garden, alone for once since his parents and everyone else was busy directing the packing and moving. He stood looking around, the set of his shoulders so forlorn that the fairy wanted to rush to him. But all she could do was sit on her flower and wait for him to wander her way.
At first it looked like she would be disappointed once again. The boy walked listlessly here and there, touching a tree here, plucking a blade of grass there, and once or twice he made as if to go back inside, only to turn back again. At last, with almost incredulous joy, she saw that he was moving in her direction, and she pushed herself up on her flower to make sure he’d see her.
It was with an amazingly delicate touch that he picked her off the flower, and held her cradled in his hands, peering at her with his wonderful limpid eyes, which she had so long admired from a distance. Then, wordlessly, he lowered his cheek to her mouth, so she could kiss him.
It was the chance she’d been waiting for.
Her proboscis darted out, propelled by its extensor muscles, the knife-like styluses at its end slicing through his skin like paper. She poured her digestive juices into him, quickly reducing his insides to a liquid soup which she sucked up until there was nothing left. Leaving the husk to fall on the grass, she climbed down the flower stalk and began burying herself in the ground, to have some peace and quiet while she digested her meal.
Just as she was drifting off to sleep, she heard voices in the distance, calling the boy.
When the screaming started, she burped contentedly, listening.
“Such a sweet little boy,” she murmured to herself.
Copyright B Purkayastha 2012