Fantasy Fiction posted June 20, 2013

This work has reached the exceptional level
a fairy story ... without fairies ... (2321 words)

Cellophane Child

by visionary1234


“Shut your mouth, you stupid bitch!” the man snarled.  “And shut your fucking kid up too!  Everyone’s staring.  They’ll think you’re murdering the little shit!”

His young wife, Miranda, who didn’t look anything like a murderer, picked up '“her fucking kid”', a two-year-old Shirley Temple lookalike with bright strawberry hair, and held her close.  The little one pressed her face into her mother’s pale purple dress for comfort.  It was soft, and smelled of sunlight and all things good, just like her mother.

The man – let’s call him Mr Dregs – shoved his wife and daughter ahead of him. 

C’mon.  To the front of the line!”

He shoved them again, allowing himself a quick, toady smile.

“They’ll have to board us first if we have a squalling kid.  Move!”

He was correct on both counts.  Everyone was staring, and the three of them were invited to board immediately. 

They were headed for a vacation in snow country.  Normally, Miranda would not look forward to this because being cabin-bound in the cold made it difficult to escape her husband’s less than scintillating company.  But, this time, she had an ulterior motive.

Although Mr Dregs was only in his early thirties, he looked older – his face already reflected the ugliness that burned inside.  His mouth, with its thin, overly pink lips, dropped downwards at each end in a permanent expression of sulky dissatisfaction.

Miranda, on the other hand, had a young, sweet smattering of pale freckles across her nose and cheeks.  Her eyes were an unusual shade of grey, and her long soft hair was ash blonde, almost white.  “Almost white” would be a perfect description.  If she lay in the snow, you’d probably trip over her.  She’d simply blend in – something she’d always been very good at. 

Clearly, she did not look like a murderer at all.

Naturally graceful, light and angular, like a bird – an egret, to be precise – she seemed to float through life, barely disturbing the air when she moved.

Sometimes, she felt like a crinkled slip of cellophane, spiraling upward in an errant wind, then slowly settling, and absorbing the colors of whatever reality surrounded her, including people.  She took on their colors, but never her own.

Cruel and unkind parents will produce this kind of child, whose only defense is to ensure that she is never noticed.  Stay still.  Be invisible.  Never seek attention … because … he (Mr Crud, who should have been trustworthy, but was not) … might come to her room in the night.  
That’s when she would quickly close her eyes and squeeze the world out, focusing only on the beautiful white wings beating inside her head until she felt safe again.  But it wasn’t safe to open her eyes again until she was almost seventeen.

In fact, her birthday was the day he left.  Just like that.

Miranda remembered, because she wore her pretty purple nightgown the night before.  Purple was her favorite color.  She was clever, and had been reading all about it.   It was very interesting.

Did you know, for example, that colors therapeutically influence the body?  And that their healing powers have been used for thousands of years?

Specifically,” she learned, “the color purple is used to treat illnesses that are on a nervous and emotional level.  And purple has antiseptic properties, so it cleanses the body on a physical and spiritual level.  In magic, the color purple is used for healing, protection, and the development of clairvoyance, psychic powers, the calling of the deities and astral projection.”

Next morning, Miranda was still wearing her favorite-colored nightgown when she and her mother (rightfully known as Mrs Crud) received the dreadful news.

Everyone marveled at the bizarre nature of the accident, though of course they were careful to speak about it only in hushed and respectful tones.  But every so often, a giggle could be heard in the neighborhood, with a whispered “Served the old coot right!”

Of course, it wasn’t funny.  Not really.

It had been a freezing morning, and as Mr Crud stood waiting to cross the road so he could buy his ritual newspaper, a car sped past.  The driver was distracted.  He was playing that very nasty rap music – you know the kind I mean – very disrespectful to  mothers.  He chose to wind his window up quickly to keep out the cold at the exact moment that Mr Crud decided to toss one end of his long purple scarf around his neck for extra warmth. 

It was unfortunate that the scarf’s long fringe caught tightly in the window as the car continued on its merry way, and Mr Crud met his well-deserved Isadora Duncan-style death.  Apparently, the driver was also using his new iPhone and was horrified when he eventually cottoned on to what had occurred.  (And now, of course, no one is allowed to drive while talking on a cell phone – just in case you were wondering how that law came about).

Of course, Miranda had nothing at all to do with Mr Crud’s death – though she does remember contemplating the faint possibility of it the evening before, as she was putting on her nightgown.  And she thought about it again as she carefully placed the beautiful woolen purple scarf she’d knitted for her father on the peg in the hall, ready for him to grab on his way out the door in the morning.  Actually, if she were to admit the whole truth to herself, she would admit that she thought about this quite a lot.

Aaah … the power of Purple.

“His scarf?” she whispered, looking up at the tall young policeman who had come to break the news. 

She dabbed her strangely tearless eyes with the corner of her nightgown.

“The beautiful purple scarf I made for him?” she inquired.

The young man was a pushover.

“I’ll get it back to you,” he swore.  “Something to remember your dad by, hmm?”

“Oh yes,” she sighed.

Meanwhile, Mrs Crud waddled into the kitchen to help herself to a second cup of instant coffee, generously laced with “a little something” for the shock.  Later, she’d have yet a third cup, this time with “a big something”, poured from a slim silver flask which she kept in her shabby dressing-gown pocket. 

The moon-eyed young man obligingly retrieved the scarf, which Miranda washed and washed, making it soft and beautiful again, until it smelled of sunlight.  Then she smiled, packed it away in white tissue paper at the back of her lingerie drawer, and for many years went on with her cellophane life.
The crass Mrs Crud had the good manners to die the next year, but painfully learned responses to cruelty such as that which Miranda had endured don’t die nearly so easily as Mrs C, and Miranda continued to ‘blend’ into other peoples’ landscapes well into womanhood, marriage and first motherhood – until one day, she noticed how her husband was looking at Joanie, their little girl.

Miranda would know that look anywhere.

That was the day she went to the back of her lingerie drawer and unwrapped the beautiful purple scarf.  And she started thinking.  And thinking, and thinking … a lot … just like she used to do … about the future.  Her future.  And that of her little girl.

Was it finally time for her to shape her own life?  Was she strong enough? Pure enough in heart?

The white wings fluttered again in her head, closing the world out, and allowing her to think of just that … one … thing, that she wanted – that she needed – most. For her little girl's sake.  But she could never, ever speak it aloud.  If they knew, people would think of her as a murderer, and of course, she wasn’t.

Purple.  The color of healing.

The color of protection.

The color of focus and intent.

One day, very soon after that ‘look’, her unpleasant husband came home to a wonderful surprise – his favorite bloody steak with super-size baked potato smothered in sour cream, white as snow – white as the wonderful snow where they’d be going for their ‘special’ vacation.  Miranda had personally booked their tickets.

She looked fetching that evening, in her new purple dress.  Little Joanie wore one to match.

She looked just as pretty in that dress as she relaxed into her airline seat today. Her eyes were almost closed.  Little Joanie was safely buckled in for take-off and was sleepily holding her cuddle-bear.  Mr Dregs couldn’t wait to be up and away, so he could make the most of the freebie alcohol. 

The takeoff was textbook smooth.  Poor Mr Dregs always got a little nervous on takeoff and landing. He gripped his armrest as the nose of the giant plane tipped up sharply.  This was the part Miranda liked best. She always felt that she could keep going upwards forever, breaking all earth’s boundaries – up, up, up, until eventually she could pop out into nothing but deep, dark purple sky and streaks of glorious stars.

She stretched, opened her eyes, and peered out the porthole.  Yes! They were here!

“Look, Mommy,” said little Joanie, pointing sleepily.  “Aren’t they your special birdies?”

“Yes, my love, they are,” whispered Miranda softly.  “They’re called Snowy White Egrets, and they’re here to set us free.”

Mr Dregs snickered.  Miranda merely smiled as she straightened her husband’s beautiful purple woolen scarf, which was draped around his neck.  She’d given it to him a couple of days ago for his birthday.  It smelled brand new and looked very expensive, so for once, Mr Dregs was mildly pleased.

The plane was now starting to level out.

“Look, Mommy. More birdies!”

Little Joanie was very observant.

It was no longer just the odd one or two birds.  Suddenly, there were six.

Then, in the blink of an eye, sixty-six.

And in the blink of a second eye, six hundred … then, six thousand … then, sixty-six thousand … then SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND!

The passengers were staring, ooh-ing and aah-ing, first in wonder, and then becoming fearful.  What was happening?

Mr Dregs no longer snickered.  The egrets turned their heads as one, and looked him straight in the eye.  Miranda could swear that some of them even winked at her.




The four giant jet engines started to cough a little.  The plane bounced.
Some of the passengers squealed in fright.   Mr Dregs let out a high shriek of pure terror as the whole plane started to shudder.

The engines spluttered and roared as they sucked the beautiful white birds to their sure doom.  Miranda squeezed her eyes shut and felt the white wings beating inside her head.  She held Joanie tightly. 

She couldn’t bear to look!

But how could she bear not to?

She expected to see sprays of feathers and blood spurting from the engines in much the same way as her home garden chipper-shredder spat out tree branches and leaves, reducing them to something unrecognizable.  But that’s not what she saw. 

At that moment, the engines gave a convulsive shimmy, let out a deafening yowl, and the whole plane exploded in a giant flash of light.

The plane exploded and--

All time ceased.  The sky turned purple with a million shooting stars, specks of soul light floating … glorious … and-- 

In slow motion, Miranda observed the whole universe whirl by her.  And she noticed the strangest thing.  Some of the soul lights were the plane’s passengers!  They were drifting … and they seemed to be asleep, resting on comfy cotton-puff clouds – just like you see in those silly mattress advertisements on TV.  Each passenger looked ten years younger and wore an expression of total bliss. 

Miranda could swear she heard music.  It definitely wasn’t rap.

Oh dear.  There was just one exception to this happy passenger crowd scene. 

The unfortunate Mr Dregs appeared to have his eyes super-glued wide open, his face forever frozen, contemplating what lay before him as he spiraled none-too-gently down to earth.

The white wings beat more softly in Miranda’s head now and Joanie snuggled in close.  Even the cuddle-bear came along for the ride as the world dissolved into vast, deep … peaceful … celebratory … purple.

What’s the music? Miranda’s ears twitched pleasantly. Harps?

The next thing she knew, she was yawning herself awake in bright butter-yellow sunshine as she and Joanie lay in the thick, velvety green grass of a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers – just like a Swiss chocolate box. The only witnesses to their mysterious landing were several red-spotted cows.  They stopped chewing for at least twenty seconds as they noted with interest the new additions to their landscape – two hundred happy, sleeping people. 

Oops.  Not quite.

Make that one hundred and ninety-nine.

Next morning, the newspapers had the story.

This time, it was a young doctor who came to break the bad news to a newly widowed, but strangely glowing mother and her little girl.  They seemed to take the news very bravely.

“Thank you,” Miranda whispered, looking upwards … way, way upwards.

The young doctor, who bore a striking resemblance to Prince Charming, was immediately smitten, and bent a few rules to retrieve what was left of Miranda’s husband – a beautiful scarf, made of the finest, softest wool.  It was bright, golden yellow.


But Miranda was not at all surprised.  Yes!  Yellow! 
“Yellow:  the color of the future.  A protective color, but also the symbol of warmth, joy and wisdom.  This color gives one courage and self-confidence.  In magic, yellow is used for divination, attraction, astral projection and to enhance spiritual wisdom and power.”

Yellow … Miranda’s new favorite color … 



quotes directly from - if you'd like to learn more about the magical and mystical properties of colors

Please note that in Australia/UK/Canada it's perfectly acceptable to write "Mr" and "Mrs" without the period - "Mr." and "Mrs." are not necessary, ok?
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