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Note: For the teen writing class I’m teaching this year, the first assignment was a piece of flash fiction based on an assigned fairy tale. Since I’m trying to do the assignments along with the kids, I thought I’d share mine. This one is certainly shorter than usual, but I figured I could bend the rules for me. :) Enjoy!
I have been a daughter of the sea, my tail fin flashing as I slide through the water.
I have been a child of earth, dancing upon two feet though the steps felt like knives.
I have been, for mere moments out of eternity, almost nothing, just a bit of brine and sea foam.
And now I am a spirit of air, lithe upon the wind, tossed about on invisible currents. No body but a puff of air, no tail, no feet, no brine.
In the sea, I was innocent, naive, but free. On the earth I suffered, but oh the exquisite joy of that pain. In the wind I am witness to all the world at once, its beauty and its misery. I change lives, right wrongs, nudge people. It is amazing what a gust of wind can do. But for all that, I am only an observer, I experience nothing for myself.
Where do I belong, I wonder. It is the question that passes through me, rustling through my thoughts like the breeze through the grass. Where is my soul meant to be? For I have, I am told, finally earned that soul.
It is a question I cannot answer, though I have asked it often in my three hundred years of wind.
My time in the air is over. I can feel the change in me, but I do not know where it will lead. Perhaps I finally will disappear, from air to brine forever despite that promise of immortality. Perhaps I will return to earth or sea. Or perhaps, I think to myself, I will rise up from the wind into fire, one final element. Perhaps I will rage into storm, a bolt of lightning crashing down through the air, over the sea, striking at a ship made by men of the earth. Perhaps I will set the ship afire in a great burst of power, and the cycle will be complete.
Will there be, far below me, in the water, another child of the sea to rescue the human flotsam of my destruction? Would she look to me for wisdom if she knew my tale? And what would I tell her?