[Story] Story a Week 30

[[ Prompt: A story about a magical object

This story is partly based on fact, I had an adopted ‘Grandma Fairy’ and she owned all of the things described here. Well, not the locket 🙂 ]]

“I think that’s the last box,” said Abby, wiping the dust and cobwebs off on her jeans. She and her mother were surrounded by a small mountain of them, having finished bringing them down from the attic. That was the hot, sweaty part — now was the bittersweet part, going through their contents and deciding how to divide them up. Grandma Fairy was not actually Abby’s grandmother by blood, rather a close friend of her mother’s, but she’d stepped into the role with enthusiasm since Abby’s actual grandparents had died when she was very small. She and her husband, Jack, had never had children of their own and delighted in having a grandchild around to spoil. Abby had always loved going to visit Grandma Fairy’s house, not only because there were guaranteed to be warm cookies, but because she had Fancy Things. Their own house, while comfortable, had all the associated chaos and clutter of any house with small children; Abby’s parents couldn’t have Fancy Things around when she was little.

Grandma Fairy’s house, though, was packed with them. Abby could remember some of the objects distinctly, as clearly as she remembered the sweet, warm smell of Grandpa Jack’s pipe tobacco. There was a cuckoo clock on the wall, and Abby would sit enraptured, waiting for the little bird to pop out when the clock’s hands marked another hour. She had a bronze statue of a naked lady, and Abby remembered being both scandalized by her nakedness — and her little bronze nipples — and struck by her elegance. There was a hanging plant holder with a little statue of a cherub nestled in among the leaves, and it was surrounded by little beads that lit up that looked like falling water. The best part was that Grandma Fairy never shouted or told Abby not to touch them, so long as she was careful with them, which she was. She remembered walking in the garden of the backyard, hand in hand, peeking between the green rows to try to find pixies in the mornings.

It was sad to think that all of those things might lie in these boxes, carefully packed away now that Grandma Fairy had passed on. Some of them might be valuable, Abby thought, perhaps to an antique shop. She might like to keep one or two things for herself, though her dorm room didn’t really have room, nor would it fit in with her decor. Still, it would be nice to have something tangible to remember her by. Abby felt guilty for not visiting more, especially in these last few years when Grandma Fairy’s health had begun to falter. But Abby had been in high school, busy with her schoolwork and studying for exams, going to theater practice and talking with her friends. It was the way of things, she tried to tell herself, but she didn’t feel any less guilty about it.

Abby’s mother sat on the couch and began to pick through the nearest box, and Abby did likewise, sitting cross-legged on the floor. A lot of the boxes contained old clothing, purses and the like, and Abby thought she might like to save some of those. They were old enough that they would be considered vintage, and quirky enough that Abby could wear them to class. She thought Grandma Fairy would be tickled by the idea that her old clothes were going to classes at college. Abby made a pile of those she liked, to try them on later. There was something solid and heavy in the box, wrapped inside of a scarf.  Carefully, she took it out. It was one of those miniature cedar chests, and Abby vaguely remembered seeing it on Grandma Fairy’s dresser all those years ago. There was no lock, so she opened the lid. She was surprised to see an envelope laying on top of the contents, and even more surprised when she saw her name — Abby — written across its face. Had it been a card that Grandma Fairy had never got to send? Abby took it out and opened it. It was an ordinary notecard, the kind that all grandmas seem to have, with a delicate painting of flowers and birds on the front. Inside was written only a few words: “Never stop believing. – Grandma Fairy”

Abby looked at the words, puzzled. She wasn’t sure what they meant, exactly. Below the envelope was some jewelry, mostly costume, along with some chains. Something large caught  Abby’s eye, and she drew it out carefully. She remembered this locket now, in fact she’d been quite obsessed with it and asked to have it for about six months, though Abby barely remembered that now. It was gold in color, though surely not pure gold, perhaps plated though. The outer surface of the locket depicted a celestial compass, overlapped by an old-fashioned sun and moon complete with faces. Inside, the left half held a very old black and white photograph of a woman that Abby presumed to be a younger Grandma Fairy. The right half was a miniature painting, exquisite in its tiny detail. If Abby held it up close she could see the miniscule brush strokes that made up the scene. It showed a small girl with curly brown hair, sitting at a table in a sun-lit kitchen. A grandma with oven mitts was bringing a tray of cookies to the table. Abby smiled, knowing it had to be a painting of her and Grandma Fairy. But something nagged at her mind. Though she wasn’t certain, she remembered the scene inside being something else. A rainy scene at night, the lights reflected in smudged patches on the wet pavement. Maybe she’d switched it out, Abby reasoned. Or maybe the other painting was behind this one. But she couldn’t see any seam or place to change the painting, it appeared to have been done directly onto the metal surface of the locket. She clapped it closed with a soft click and set it atop the pile of clothing. She’d definitely want to keep that.

Later that night, Abby hung her new clothes in her closet. She’d selected a few that were really nice, and she couldn’t wait to wear them to class next week. Aside from how they looked, it would be nice to have a little bit of Grandma Fairy with her. She could wear the locket, too. She picked it up and walked it to her dresser, where she kept her jewelry box. Something made her want to look inside again, and when she did, she very nearly dropped it in surprise.

The painting had changed again, Abby was certain of it.

It now showed a lakeside at sunset, the dock stark black against the brightly colored sky. Two figures, one small and one large, sat on it. Abby remembered that too, fishing on the dock with Grandpa Jack. Her hands shaking slightly, she turned the locket over, inspecting it again. Was there some kind of battery or something in it? But even still, she could see the individual strokes of paint, made with a tiny brush. It wasn’t an image or a projection. It was a real painting. If she put her finger on it, she could feel the tiny ridges of the paint.

Grandma Fairy had always believed in things like pixies and unicorns and brownies, and Abby had loved to hear all of her stories when she was little. As she grew, her belief eventually faded, as it does with the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny and, eventually, even Santa Claus. But what if there really was something happening here? The locket had changed, Abby was sure of it. She stepped nearer and peeked inside it again. Now, a Christmas scene, the tree twinkling with tiny specks of color, snow piling on the windowsill outside. Never stop believing, Grandma Fairy had written. Was this what she had meant? Abby knew she couldn’t show it to anyone, they’d think she was crazy. Or maybe they wouldn’t see it at all. Whatever it was, it was something special between herself and Grandma Fairy. She was sure of that much, at least.

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