TIWC #6, The Dust Pixies, Part 6

*Gulp* It’s the last TIWC. ūüė¶ This has been a lot of fun, Grace! Thank you so much for hosting this lovely writing challenge. I’ve enjoyed writing this series and watching what twists and turns the writing prompts make.

Grace, I used all three prompts and the word “pencil” in my story. I also included something lost, something found, true love, heartbreak, and a betrayal.

Here’s a refresher from last chapter:

“But now he’s gone,… and I don’t know if he’ll ever return. Oh please, won’t you help me?”

I swallowed hard and glanced at Lise. She nodded her head ever so slightly. “”We’re in,” I said.

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Anabelle Rose took a deep breath and¬†gave us the background for the¬†‘case.’¬†“I have always dreaded¬†The Collecting.¬†Finn does that once a month, you know. Makes a trip out of it. He travels all over the house and¬†outdoors as well to¬†gather replacements for¬†our clothing,¬†pencil-wood, candles, and such things. I’m so lonely here by myself, but he insists that I stay here, where I’m safe. But that’s what worries me. If I’m not safe, neither is he. Before now he’s always managed to come home safe and sound, but this time… this time he hasn’t.” Anabelle Rose bit her lip, and continued in a quavering voice,¬†“Usually when I wake up in the mornings and see the sun rays dancing through the window,¬†it feels good to be alive. But with Finn gone, all I feel is heartbreak. I keep imagining all the terrible things that could have happened to him, but I can’t do anything about it. I’m only a fairy, after all.¬†I couldn’t do search for him on my own, and no one would dare help me, even if I worked up the courage to go and ask… except you.” Anabelle Rose glanced at us pleadingly.

I took the hint. “We’d be glad to¬†help you find Finn, Mrs….”

“Call me Anabelle,” she said.

“Then we’d be glad to help you, Anabelle. That’s actually why we came to the attic in the first place…” Then I told her about meeting Rosalind, about her story, about our quest. I realized, as I told the story, how far¬†Lise and I had gone¬†–¬†we had associated with a human and now with¬†a fairy. We had betrayed the dust pixies. We had become traitors. But somehow¬†I couldn’t find it in myself to be guilty. Now that I had met a human and a fairy for real, I liked them. It¬†felt wrong to¬†be against them¬†– they were really just like us.

After discussing the matter with Anabelle, we decided that the most logical place to start was outside, at the willow tree overhanging the brook.

“Finn knows his way around this house so well – I’m sure that wasn’t a problem for him. But he is a dust pixie, and dust pixie’s aren’t raised outdoors. If Finn could get in trouble anywhere at all, that’s where it would be. Outside. And I have a friend who lives at the willow tree. She keeps close track of everything that she can see from her tree – which is a lot, believe me.”

So that’s where we went. Outside. None of us had ever been outside before, and Fiona and Petre especially were awed as we flew out the attic window. We had seen The Outdoors of course, from windows, but the cool, fresh air and the glorious smell of leaves and grass and growing things were new to us. I loved it.

Anabelle confidently alit on one of the top branches of a beautiful, stately willow tree that shaded a whispering brook below. Anabelle knocked on a protruding knothole in the tree trunk. She waited, smiling, watching our amazed faces trying to take everything in. She seemed to feel better now that we had begun our quest.

Suddenly the knothole swung open and a fairy stepped out. Her light brown hair had strands of willow leaves braided into it and her eyes were olive green, just like the leaves. Her elegant, gray-green wings looked delicate yet strong. She looked, in fact, much like her tree: green and brown and graceful.

“Meet my friend Elaena,” Anabelle smiled. We all greeted her shyly and introduced ourselves. Elaena nodded pleasantly at us, but she was reserved and quiet for the most part. She¬†seemed a little shy as well.

“What has brought you here, Anabelle?” Elaena¬†inquired. So Anabelle told the fairy how Finn had gone missing¬†and explained that they had come to her for clues. Elaena stood still thoughtfully¬†for a moment,¬†silently opening and closing her wings.

“Yes, I have a clue,” she said at last, in a soft voice. “But I don’t think it’s a happy one.” Elaena spoke slowly, her eyes downcast.¬†“I saw Finn¬†enter¬†the Inner Forest, but I have not seen him return.”

Anabelle’s pale skin turned even paler. She gasped, and her hands flew to her mouth. She blinked hard against threatening tears. “No,” she whispered. “Please, no.”

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Now I understood her reaction.

We had traveled down the brook in Elaena’s bark boat. That was quite an experience for Lyri, my siblings, and I. I nearly lost my balance getting in, and Petre did lose his balance. Twice. Then¬†Lyri and Fiona who were sitting in the back of the¬†boat¬†almost got catapulted into the water when the front end hit a rock. Despite these difficulties, however, I found that I enjoyed boating. I the push of the water against the paddles. I loved the sound of the brook laughing at us and singing to us. I loved the feeling of gliding through the water.

But the brook changed when it reached the Inner Forest. Instead of¬†bubbling with laughter, it flowed sullenly onward, barely making a sound. It was darker here in the Inner Forest too. Lyri’s eyes reflected her worry into mine. I couldn’t help but reflect it back. Mighty trees rose around us, their lush crowns of leaves blocking most of the sunlight. Moss dripped from their arms and ran down their trunks. It felt like the attic, but different. Spookier. Our paddles silently churned the water. No one spoke.

Finally we docked at a small, flat rock to the side of the stream. We hauled the boat ashore, tied it to a nearby sapling, and set off on foot. I carried Petre on my back, and Lyri and Fiona walked close together. Everything was silent, as if waiting with bated breath.

Suddenly Anabelle stopped short and let out a piercing wail.

She had found Finn. He was bound to a tree, eyes closed in despair and exhaustion. He opened them when he heard his wife’s cry, but immediately shook his head and motioned us to stay away.

But he was too late.

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YIKES! Major cliff-hanger! That was really fun to write. ūüôā

Since TIWC is over and The Dust Pixies, apparently, is not, I’ve decided to continue the series! *Everyone applauds* *Or maybe boos* I hope it’s the former. ūüėČ

Thanks for reading, readers! XD

***Allison***

P. S. I got an Instagram account!

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TIWC #5: The Dust Pixies, Part 5

Phew, I’ve been posting a lot of writing lately, haven’t I? When TIWC is over my posts should get back to normal again, so enjoy the writing while you can! XD

Are you ready to read another episode of The Dust Pixies? Grace, I used all three prompts and included “pencil” in my story.

Here’s an excerpt from the last chapter in case you need a refresher:

We all¬†heard the lady dust pixie cry¬†out eagerly, ‚ÄúFinn, is that you?‚ÄĚ

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Lyri and I looked at each other in shock and excitement. Was this success so soon?

The door opened and the beautiful dust pixie I had seen inside stood before us.

Character prompt.:

She was slender but very tall, taller than any dust pixie I had ever seen. And she was also¬†very, very clean.¬†I didn’t see a speck of dust on her.¬†Though her¬†face was crumpled with grief, her eyes¬†were lit by hope…¬†which quickly faded when she saw who it was standing at the door.

“Oh, it’s not Finn…” she whispered, her turquoise-gray eyes downcast. But she quickly regained her composure, ran her fingers through her chocolate curls, and smiled at us – but just with¬†her mouth, not her eyes.

“Hello, there,” she said in a falsely cheerful voice. “We don’t get many visitors in these parts. What can I help you with, children?”

I stepped forward boldly and extended my hand. “Hello, Miss! I’m Mae, and you are…” I cocked my head questioningly.

“My name is Anabelle Rose,” the lady said softly.

“You have a lovely name,” I said politely, and I meant it. “Actually we have come to find the person you were just calling… Finn, I believe?”

Anabelle Rose started. “You came to find Finn?¬†Then they must have sent you after all.¬†Oh, thank you so much, my dear ones! Do come inside and I’ll tell you all I know.” Anabelle Rose ushered us through the door and into the house of a dust pixie’s dream. All our mouths dropped open in unison at the splendor before us. Now that I was inside the house, the¬†forest wall¬†seemed even more surreal. I saw also that a cozy fire was burning in a small stone fireplace and that the whole house was lit by a complicated system of flaming candles.

“Oh, it’s beautiful,” Lyri breathed in awe. We silently nodded our heads.

Petre had flown over to a wall and was trying to enter the forest. He didn’t seem to be making¬†much headway. Fiona flew over to him and tapped the wall. It sounded like cardboard.

“What is this thing?” Fiona asked.

“Oh, yes,” Anabelle Rose sniffed and smiled again – this time for real. “Finn did that for me. Aren’t they beautiful?”

We oohed and ahhed in reply.

“He cut those pictures from a magazine and glued them to the wall because I love the forest. I used to live there, you know.”

And in a split second everything was changed. I gasped. Oh my. Well that explained a lot: it explained why she was so tall, and clean… and beautiful.¬†Anabelle Rose wasn’t a dust pixie at all.

She was a fairy.

And dust pixies hated fairies with all their hearts.

We had been at war¬†as long as¬†anyone could remember. We dust pixies hated the fairies’¬†wild, forest ways, and they hated our so-called “wimpiness.” Imagine disliking someone just because they had manners enough to live inside, in the¬†dust like decent folk! And now one of these contemptible fairies stood before our very eyes. I’d never thought I’d see the day…

The worst part was, I had actually begun to like Anabel Rose Рto feel sorry for her even! Well that would end now. My eyes became icy and I spoke coldly to my friend and siblings.

“I don’t think this fairy,” I spat out the word, “will be able to help us after all. Let’s go.” Lyri and Fiona’s eyes grew round with the realization of what I had just said. A fairy! Petre was too little to understand, but he whimpered when he saw our expressions.

Anabelle Rose caught my arm. “Wait!” she cried out, sobbing, “Wait! Won’t you hear me out? Won’t you help me?” Her voice fell to a whisper. “Please. Please help me,” she pleaded. “Let me explain.” When we didn’t move toward the door, she took a deep, shuddering breath and waved us into luxurious chairs by the fire. “Sit down,” she said, “and listen to my story.”

“I grew up as a fairy, it’s true, but I always wanted to see what the inside of a house looked like. I¬†eagerly gleaned¬†any little scraps of information I could from my elders about humans and houses… and dust pixies. But for the most part they turned away with faces of stone and refused to reply. One day I determined to¬†find out¬†for myself. I crept into a crack at the side of the house and wound my way through the walls. I ended up here,¬†in this attic. I was awestruck by the mysterious human treasures this room held, and by its resounding silence, which was¬†nothing like the constant rustling and bird songs of the forest. I poked around for a bit, but just as I was crawling back into the hole, I heard the sound of footsteps.

“It was a boy of some sort. He was awfully dirty, but I liked him, even then.” Anabelle¬†Rose smiled a little at the remembrance.¬†“I didn’t know that he was a dust pixie until he came closer to the box I was hiding behind. Then I couldn’t help but gasp. Instantly the boy was on the alert. He picked up a¬†broken, pointed thing (a pencil, I later learned) and advanced slowly toward me. I was petrified by fright; I couldn’t move a wing.When the¬†boy¬†reached me he¬†just as surprised to see a fairy as I had been to see a dust pixie. We stared at each other for a long time, unsure and uncertain. Finally the boy held out his hand.

‘My name’s Finn,’ he said. ‘What’s yours?’

“After that I often crept up the attic at nights. Finn would be there waiting for me with a candle stub glowing in his hand. Together we explored every inch of this attic. We learned so much from each other – I, about the ways of dust pixies, and he, about the ways of fairies. Gradually our friendship became stronger and stronger until it ripened into love. We were married one night as the full moon shone through the attic window…” Anabelle Rose paused with a dreamy look on her face. “Of course, my parents didn’t approve of the marriage one bit. They all but cast me from their family in fact. They said I was a traitor. Maybe I am. But I did what I had to do. I married Finn, and I still don’t regret it.

“But now he’s gone,” she said, the tide of tears rising once again in her beautiful eyes. “Gone, and I don’t know if he’ll ever return. Oh please, won’t you help me? I have no one else to turn to!”

I swallowed hard and glanced at Lyri. She nodded her head ever so slightly. I felt as if I were standing on a hill, looking out to sea, and about to set foot in a ship for the very first time. I had a feeling this journey would change my life.

“We’re in,” I said.

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Ooh, the plot thickens!

***Allison***

TIWC #4: The Dust Pixies, Part 4

Helloooo! I’m back with the fourth part of The Dust Pixies!

Grace, I used all three prompts and included “pencil” in my story.

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It was hard¬†work to¬†convince Mother and Father that I truly hadn’t gone looking for Rosalind, but that she had found me by accident. It was even harder to convince them¬†that Lyri and I should go search for Finn.¬†But finally my parents bent to my pleading.

“Yess!” I hugged my parents and flew circles around Lise in ecstasy. Adventure was my middle name, and this¬†promised to be an¬†epic one. (But seriously, my middle name really is Adventure. Petre’s middle name is Courage, and¬†Fiona’s is Freedom. Dust pixies traditionally have those types of middle names.)

We’d determined the attic would be the best place to start our search. It was rarely frequented by dust pixies, which meant it was ideal for a reclusive orphan like Finn. We flew down the¬†dim corridor in the wall, our excited whispers echoing off the cold stone walls. Suddenly we heard an echoing thud, then a scuttering sound of feet on the passageway.

“What was that?” Lyri hissed.

My heart leapt to my throat. I knew that sound: mouse. Mice are somewhat legendary creatures, for normally they’re even more scared of us than we are of them, but legend has it that when a mouse is trapped in¬†a tight spot (like this corridor), they will fight for their lives. I wanted to keep the one life I had if it was at all possible.

I grabbed Lyri’s¬†hand¬†and raced to the corridor exit. Lyri’s hand was sweaty and trembling in mine.

“It’s okay, it’s going to be okay,” I assured here¬†in a not-very-confident whisper.

We were backed up against the wall when we saw it. Or them. Two shadowy figures were creeping towards us, their eyes gleaming menacingly. Suddenly they stepped into a pool of candlelight and I gasped.

“Fiona and Petre? What are you doing here?” I was so happy that it was my siblings instead of mice I couldn’t even scold them properly.

Fiona said in a¬†small, guilty voice, “We… we wanted to help you find Finn.” Petre sniffled, though in his case it wasn’t from guilt, it was from¬†his unfortunate dust allergy.

I sighed, but Lyri whispered into my ear, “They can come, can’t they? We’ll have¬†more people to help in case… well, in case anything goes wrong.”

I pondered this. Fiona and Petre wouldn’t exactly save us from a band of mice, but Lyri did have a point. “Okay, guys,” I decided at length,¬†“let’s go find Finn.”

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“It’s spooky up here,” Fiona shivered. I agreed, but kept my expression as¬†brave as I could.

Petre, on the other hand,¬†was lost in the joys of a boy and his candle – sending flickering light to one side, then the other, then¬†tipping the candle stub up and watching wide-eyed as the¬†weak circle¬†of light cut through the darkness. I couldn’t help but smile at his simple joy. At least he wasn’t scared.

The attic was a mysterious treasure trove, a haven for dust pixies. Cardboard boxes stuffed the place, heaps of magazines lay piled on the floor,¬†pieces of trash and bits of fabric lay everywhere. Swiveling my head from side to side, I inspected what little I could see of the room¬†for any signs of dust pixie habitation. Suddenly I stopped, and Lyri, Fiona, and Petre all crashed into me at the abrupt halt. The candle light snuffed out, and we where left in total darkness… except for the one ray of light that I had stopped for.

It was coming from a little hole in an overturned cardboard box. I motioned everyone to be silent, and we flew up closer to the mysterious beam of light. Now I could see that the light was coming from a keyhole in a tiny wooden door. Lyri caught her breath beside me and squeezed my hand. I squeezed her hand back.

But then Petre¬†just had to sneeze,¬†and the¬†ray of light disappeared.¬†I wanted to scream in frustration, but I didn’t dare. Why did my little brother have to come along, and why did he have to be allergic to dust of all things, and why did he have to sneeze¬†right then?! I clenched my fist and took a few deep breaths. It’s okay, Mae. It’s okay. It’s not Petre’s fault he has dust allergies.

I fluttered over to the rest of the group. “Listen, guys. One of us should go look through that little hole in the door. We have to see what – or who – is in there.”

“I nominate you,” Lyri whispered with a small smile. Fiona and Petre nodded their solemn agreement.

I took a deep breath, hugged them all, and glided silently up to the door. Just as I reached it the light flicked back on. I heard¬†a sound¬†coming from inside the box –¬†the sound of sobbing. I pressed my eye to the keyhole and tried not to gasp out loud.

What was this place? A lady dust pixie sat weeping softly, her head in her hands. Long, dark brown hair flowed down her back, crowned with a¬†glistening headband,¬†and she was¬†cloaked in a beautiful, soft white fur. A¬†luxurious matchbox¬†bed was pushed into one corner. Short but perfectly sharpened pencils held up¬†the large¬†box which¬†overflowed with soft wool quilts topped off with a fluffy cottonball pillow. A matchbox chest of drawers with button handles stood close beside the bed. Many other marvelous pieces of furniture met my eye, but the best thing of all was the walls. The whole room appeared to be¬†inside of¬†a miniature, misty forest of evergreens. My eyes couldn’t open wide enough to take in all of the wonders.

After a few moments the lady dust pixie arose from her seat and fluttered about the house, flying this way and that, still weeping. I had never seen someone look so lost in their own home.

I could barely tear myself away from the keyhole to call the others. They flew up eagerly, questioning me beneath their breath, but only I shook my head and knocked on the door.

We all¬†heard the lady dust pixie cry¬†out eagerly, “Finn, is that you?”

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Duh-duh-duh-DUN! ūüėÄ That was a lot of fun to write. I hope you liked it, guys!

***Allison***

TIWC #3: The Dust Pixies, Part 3

Wohoo! I’m back with another part of The Dust Pixies, guys! ūüėÄ

Grace, I used all three prompts (in bold) and included “pencil” in my story.

Are you ready to hear the girl’s story (and find out her name)? I’ll add all of the parts to a new page in the “Stories” tab shortly. In case you need a refresher, here’s an excerpt from the last chapter:

‚Äú…Oh, I can‚Äôt believe it! I‚Äôd¬†almost forgotten about that day!‚ÄĚ She took a deep breath and continued in a calmer voice, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm sorry. Let me explain‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

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“There used to be six of them, but now only he was left. Finn had survived for two years without his family, living all alone in the dusty corner under my dresser.

Maxim Knight | Matt Mason | Falling Skies:

(From Grace’s prompts. She said character prompt via Pinterest)

One night when I was four years old, Finn peeked out from under the dresser as I was laying in bed. The tiny movement caught my eye. I was extremely paranoid about mice and spiders and other such critters when I was little, and any little movement spooked me, especially at night. I tried to keep calm and summon the courage to go ‚Äúsquash the spider‚ÄĚ with my bed slippers, but I was paralyzed with fear. When Finn saw how still I was, he thought I was asleep and decided it was safe to venture out. When the little whatever-it-was flew up in the air, I was so scared I couldn‚Äôt help but cry out. Finn immediately tumbled to the ground and scurried under the dresser, just in time to evade my parents who came running at my scream. They patiently searched under my dresser for the offending critter, but found nothing.

I tried to go back to sleep after that, but my pounding heart beat sleep out of my head. Finally I crept up to the dresser, wielding my fluffy slippers, and waited with trembling hands for the villain to appear. I had to wait quite a while, for Finn was very cautious ‚Äď he had to be. When Finn finally appeared, I squeezed my eyes shut and slapped down the slipper. My eyes popped open when I heard a tiny yelp. This was no spider! I carefully picked up my slipper and peered at what appeared to be a moving blob of dust with wings. The wings were crushed. The dust lifted itself painfully off the ground and raised a terrified, tearstained face to me. I gasped in amazement. The so-called spider was actually a little boy! I clumsily picked him up in my chubby fingers and set him on my bed.

‚ÄúAre you okay?‚ÄĚ I whispered.

The boy with wings sniffled, but nodded his curly head. His dark eyes were wide with terror.

‚ÄúPlease don‚Äôt hurt me,‚ÄĚ he murmured, ‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt do anything wrong‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI thought you were a spider,‚ÄĚ I¬†told him seriously, ‚Äúbut you‚Äôre not, so of course I won‚Äôt hurt you. Why, you look just like my brother, only lots and lots smaller. What is your name? My real name‚Äôs Rosalind, but it‚Äôs Rosie for short.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI‚Äôm Finn,‚ÄĚ said the little boy, wiping the tears from his dusty face with his big jacket.

‚ÄúWhy are you so small?‚ÄĚ I asked curiously, ‚ÄúAnd why do you have wings? Can you tell me how to grow wings? I want to fly too!‚ÄĚ

Finn looked mournfully over his shoulder at his tattered wings. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm not small – you‚Äôre just big. And my wings aren‚Äôt really wings anymore. It‚Äôs a good thing your shoe wasn‚Äôt heavier or you would have squashed me!‚ÄĚ

He looked kind of mad, so I said hastily, ‚ÄúOh I‚Äôm¬† truly sorry, Finn-with-wings. I‚Äôll help you make them better. I can be a good nurse! Mama says I can, truly!‚ÄĚ

And thus my friendship with Finn began. I smuggled him bits of food and gave him a lovely soft bed and plenty of furniture from my dollhouse. I tried to bandage his wings with a large band-aid, but Finn was firmly opposed that, so I gleefully stuck it on my arm instead.

A few weeks after I had met him, Finn disappeared. I never knew what happened to him, and though I mourned his loss quite lustily for a while (my parents chuckled over my distress about my ‚Äúimaginary friend‚ÄĚ), eventually other things took over my attention. I remembered him from time to time when I was older, but only as a misty destination on my rambling road of dreams. I never truly recalled those days with Finn until I met you, Mae. You set off a little spark in my head that wouldn‚Äôt go out.”

“So that‚Äôs my story.‚ÄĚ Rosalind ended. ‚ÄúI wonder if Finn is still alive. I would love to see him again‚Ķ‚ÄĚ She propped her head in her hands and smiled dreamily.

Lyri, who had been trembling behind me until about halfway through Rosalind’s story, finally spoke up in a quavering voice.

‚ÄúExcuse me, but maybe we can help.¬†I don’t know of any “Finns”¬†around here, but we can ask around.‚ÄĚ I could tell Lyri had been touched by Rosalind‚Äôs story. I agreed with her.

‚ÄúOf course! He could still be living under your dresser, right?‚ÄĚ

Rosalind shook her head sadly. ‚ÄúWe got rid of that dresser years ago. He could be anywhere‚Ķ or nowhere.”

I was now firmly resolved to find Finn. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt worry, Rosalind. We‚Äôll hunt him down.‚ÄĚ Lyri and I left her with a mission in our heads, a chewed up pencil in our hands, and a new friend named Rosalind in our hearts. Maybe humans weren‚Äôt so bad after all.

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I hope you liked that, dearest readers! ūüėÄ

Oh, and before I forget, I have entirely too many things to post and not enough time to post them.¬†ūüėȬ†Would you like to help me choose? Which post(s) would you like to see next?

***Allison***

TIWC #2: The Dust Pixies, Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of Grace’s TIWC and part 2 of The Dust Pixies! I’m so glad you guys liked the last part! (Click here to¬†read it.) Thanks so much for your sweet comments. ‚ô•

Grace, I used all three prompts and included “pencil” in my story. ūüôā

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Father wasn’t exactly pleased to hear that I had met a human. “You¬†did WHAT?! Mae, sweetheart,¬†you know¬†how dangerous that is.¬†If the humans find us they could destroy our whole colony in the flick of a duster!”

“But Father, she was nice! She was like Lyri, like one of us.” Lyri is my best friend. She’s dark haired and quiet,¬†a lot¬†like the human girl – and just the opposite of blond,¬†boisterous me.

“Mae, honey, humans just act¬†friendly way to trick you. They’ll only hurt you if you try to befriend them.” Father firmly latched the corral gate to contain the excited dust bunnies and¬†looked me straight in the eye. “I don’t want you to ever get close to a human again, do you understand? You may think this girl can be trusted, but she can’t. Dust pixie history is filled with massacres and deaths caused by traitorous humans. Don’t let that happen, Mae. Now I mean that. You are not to visit that human ever again.” Father gave me a serious look that told me he meant what he said.

I nodded sadly. “Yes, Father. I understand.”

I glared at the¬†baby dust bunny who had caused all this mess. “You,” I said angrily,¬†“are in big trouble.” The bunny just twitched its nose and¬†peered at me mischievously, its eyes twinkling. My heart melted. “Oh you little rascal!” I squeezed the little fluffball and smiled.

I told Lyri all about it the next day. Her family lived under the piano Рin fact, Lyri was an excellent pianist, having taught herself from the piano books the humans left open.

Lyri listened wide-eyed to my harrowing account. “You mean you actually talked to a human?”

I nodded proudly. “I want to go see her again, but Father says absolutely not.” I sighed. “Someday, though,¬†I’ve got¬†to find her again.¬†Someday for sure.”

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One year later…

I bounced¬†over to Lyri’s house and rapped on her door.¬†I¬†stared at¬†the “No. 2” imprinted in black upon the yellow pencil-planks, just as I always did while waiting for Lyri to answer. And as always I marveled that the words were nearly erased by dents¬†from¬†human teeth marks long ago. Humans must be strange creatures indeed to chew wood!

Suddenly the No. 2 swung out of sight and I found myself staring instead at Lyri’s excited face. “Are you ready?”

“Nope, are you?”

It took Lyri a moment to realize I was teasing. That was the thing with Lyri – she always took things so literally.

“Ha ha,” she said sarcastically, “very funny.” Lyri and I had both been looking forward to this¬†Collecting since forever. Finally we were old enough to¬†scavenge¬†for string, cracker bits, matchboxes, and the countless other¬†human leftovers¬†we dust pixies used every day. I hitched my dust-bunny-wool collecting sack higher on my shoulders, Lyric gave her lilac wings a quick stretch, and we set off.

We lost no time in slipping into the secret entrance behind the fireplace. Long ago the dust pixies had found that the best way to get from one side of the house to the other was to travel through the walls. The narrow, vaulted stone space between the walls was lit by candle stubs, many of which were nearly burnt down. Lyric and I gathered up the wax drippings to melt down into future candles. At last we came to the end of the tunnel; I peeked cautiously out the peephole in the wall.

“All clear,” I whispered.

Lyri and I stepped out of the dark tunnel and into…

Oh no.¬†Something long and yellow was rolling towards us. It¬†was labeled “No. 2.” And¬†it was dented with human teeth marks.¬†Human.

pencil (663x497).jpg

Lyri clutched my hand and we shrank back against the baseboard. I lifted my trembling face up, up, and saw the same dark hair and wide gray blue eyes of the girl I had met last year on Round-up day. We had to get out of here. Father had warned me.

“Lyri, get back in the tunnel,” I breathed. But already the¬†human¬†had stooped¬†down to get a closer look at us. We cowered together in terror, hearts¬†thumping together. I could hear Lyri gasping for breath.

“You came back,” the human girl whispered with a soft smile on her face. “I knew you would. Please don’t be scared; I won’t hurt you – I promise. I just want to be friends.”

Friends. Father’s voice¬†echoed like an alarm in my head “Humans just act friendly to trick you. They’ll only hurt you if you try to befriend them.”

“No,” I gasped. “We don’t want to be friends with a human. Go away.”

The girl shook her head, gently but firmly. “I won’t go away¬†yet. I¬†have to¬†know who you are. You remind me of something, something familiar, something I can’t quite remember… Who are you? What are you?”

I gulped, but obediently answered the giant’s question. “I’m Mae, and this is my friend Lyri. We’re dust pixies…”

The girl cut me off with a sudden cry. “So¬†that’s what you are,” she whispered in awe. “Dust pixies. Of course! And that little dusty thing that you were carrying when we first met must have been a dust bunny!” The¬†girl was growing more and more excited. “I should have known! It’s really you. Oh, I can’t believe it! I’d¬†almost forgotten about that day!” She took a deep breath and continued in a calmer voice, “I’m sorry. Let me explain…”

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Duh-duh-DUN! ūüėÄ

I hope you enjoyed this part! Have you found any evidence of dust pixies in your house since you read the first part?¬†ūüėČ

***Allison***

P. S. True story: I set out to find a picture of a chewed up pencil on Pinterest. Nope, no luck. On the web in general? Not quite what I was aiming for. Did we have an actual chewed up pencil in our house? Nuh-uh. So guess what I did? I chewed one up myself. Ta-daa!

A VERY EXCITING DEVELOPEMENT!! + TIWC #1

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY! *Gasp, wheeze, puff* I have… 1,002 FOLLOWERSSSSS!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS! HOW IS THIS HAPPENING? THANK YOU GUYS SO VERY,¬†EXTREMELY, TERRIFICALLY, ETC. MUCH! *Takes a deep breath*

Phew. Guys. This is sooo amazing! I don’t know what else to say. Wheeeee!

Of course I’ll have to do something exciting for this, right?! Let me think… Ooh, maybe a giveaway! I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do yet, but trust me, I’ll do¬†a celebratory post soon and tell you what I’ve decided then.¬†Do you guys have any suggestions? It’s really hard to talk normally and not shout…

*Faints from excitement*

Maybe we’d better move on to the¬†already planned part¬†of the post or I’m going to explode.

Ahem. I’m participating in Grace’s lovely¬†Think to Ink Writing Challenge! This is my first entry. Grace, I used all three prompts and included “pencil” in my story. ūüôā I bolded (is that even a word) the spots where I used the prompts.

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“Mae, get up! It’s round-up day!”¬†My little sister¬†stage-whispered into my ear.¬†I groaned and buried further under my covers.

“Go away, Fiona,” I muttered. Why couldn’t she just leave me in peace… *snore*

“AHHHH! FIONAAAAA!” I leaped out of bed and frantically shook off¬†the freezing cold water. Now I was wide awake and not in a good mood.

Fiona giggled and gave me a wicked grin. “Shhh! Don’t wake up Petre,” she whispered loudly.

“Fiona!” I whirled around to¬†give her a good tongue lashing, but stopped when I noticed the calendar hanging on the wall.¬†Today was marked with a big red circle and a conglomeration of smiley faces. “WHAT?! It’s round-up day? Why didn’t you just tell me?”

Fiona sighed and rolled her eyes.

I’d looked forward to round-up day all year. Petre¬†had cried for days when he learned that at 4 years old he was still too young to come along, and Fiona was overjoyed to go on her first round-up trip as an early 10th birthday present.

While I’m introducing my siblings, I’d better introduce myself too. I’m Mae Lyra, and I’m 13 years old. Oh, and one other little thing you should know about me:

I’m¬†a¬†dust pixie.

Dozens of us, sometimes hundreds, live in every house.¬†We live mainly under beds, sofas, and in the jillions of unnoticed crevices around your home.¬†Dust pixies are good at many things, but my family carries¬†on the tradition of one of the¬†dust pixies’ most time-honored occupations: raising dust bunnies.

At the beginning of every spring we release our herds out into the wide world (a.k.a. our humans’ house) to feed upon dirt and grime and to grow bigger and fluffier each month. By wintertime the herds are majorly fluffy and ready to be sheared. There are always a few casualties (and once I saw the mother human wipe out my friend’s whole herd of dust¬†bunnies¬†in one fell swoop when she vacuumed under a bed), but for the most part it’s a profitable business. Dust bunny wool is highly valued in the dust pixie world. It can be spun into thread or yarn, woven to make traditional wool bed covers, and sewn¬†to make¬†the warmest, fluffiest coats and garments available.

Everything in¬†our house is dusty – and that’s just the way we like it. It’s considered unhealthy to wash our natural dust off (that’s why I was so mad at Fiona for dumping water on me). Since we’re pixies, we obviously have wings, but in most other ways we’re like tiny versions of the humans we live with. We build homes and furniture (from the humans’ trash) and eat three meals a day (from the humans’ dropped crumbs). We have jobs, families, and friends. But even though we’re so similar, even though our very lives depend on them,¬†dust pixies are mortally afraid of humans.¬†Who wouldn’t be afraid of huge, lumbering¬†giants that can crush your whole world beneath one foot?

Humans were our main concern as Fiona, my father, and I flew off through the dim light, leaving Mother to fix breakfast for Petre when he awoke. It wasn’t even¬†5:00 a.m. We still had plenty of time before the humans usually got up, but with humans you could never be¬†sure of anything.

Our first stop was the sofa. Goodness, those dust bunnies had multiplied fast! We herded about 100 bunnies of all sizes into a makeshift corral made from broken popsicle sticks, pencil stubs, and Superglue. One little bunny escaped the herd and hopped off to explore.

“I’ll get it!” I yelled. The baby bunny¬†twitched its dusty nose ferociously as if daring me to catch it, and so the chase began.

“Come back here you little fluffball!” I panted as I flew this way and that.¬†The little rascal had scampered all¬†the way into one of the humans’ bedrooms. Should I go in? The¬†bunny was so close I could practically touch it. Surely I would get it this time! I flew softly over to the bunny, who¬†padded over to the¬†window sill and sat on its haunches, nose quivering, whiskers twitching.

The Dust Pixie.jpg

Slowly, gently, I held out my hand for the bunny to sniff, then grabbed it. It was so soft, like a stuffed animal! Petre would have loved it Рbut he would have had a coughing fit for sure. My brother was one of the very few dust pixies who were actually allergic to dust. Yeah, kind of unfortunate when dust is your life.

I cuddled the ball of fuzz close and prepared to fly back to the corral when I heard a rustling noise coming from the bed.

Oh no. Not now. Please don’t wake up now!

But she did.¬†This¬†human¬†was a quiet,¬†dark haired young woman of about twenty, but that was all I knew about her. We dust pixies didn’t stick around for such juicy¬†facts – it was too dangerous.

The girl sighed and sat up in bed.

No! No, don’t get up!

She got up. And what’s more she came over to the windowsill. The bunny and I dropped low, using our dustiness as a natural camouflage. Unfortunately, the girl was a good housekeeper – the windowsill was spotless. She propped her elbows on the windowsill and stared out at the fading¬†night sky. Perhaps I could have escaped had not the bunny chosen that moment to scramble out of my grasp. She looked down with a dreamy expression on her face when she heard the scuffle.¬†The girl saw¬†the¬†“clump of dust,” and bent down, frowning, to flick it off. Her eyes widened when she saw that we were no mere clump of dust.

We both sat there, staring at each other in fear and surprise. She didn’t speak, she didn’t make a sound, but the wild¬†look in her eyes told me exactly what she was thinking. Am I still dreaming? She bent down even closer and stared at me with huge blue-gray eyes. When she blinked, her eyelashes brushed my face.

“Please,” I whispered, “please don’t hurt me.”

When she heard my voice, the girl jumped back and clapped a hand over her mouth to keep from screaming. Nope, she wasn’t dreaming. She stood there, breathing hard, then answered in a slow whisper.

“I would never¬†hurt you… whatever you are. I’ll just close my eyes and you can go back to wherever you live – I won’t peek, I promise.” The girl squeezed her eyes tightly shut.

I was amazed. This human was actually kind! I whispered a heartfelt “Thank you,” caught up the baby dust bunny,¬†and flew out of the room as fast as I could.

Boy, would I have a story to tell my father.

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This was so much fun to write! I love creating alternate worlds like this. ūüôā I’m probably going to continue this story as TIWC progresses.

Oh, and I combined and edited this picture and this picture to make the photo of Mae and the dust bunny. I love how it turned out! The bunny in the actual photo looked like an real life dust bunny Рkind of like Willow! XD

Did you like the “dust pixies”?

***Allison***

P. S. I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE 1,000 FOLLOWERS! AAHHHHHHH!