As Apricot headed back to the Glen with her beautiful new wings, she thought about her special friend Krystal and how she had given Apricot the most precious of gifts. They had such little time together and when Apricot thought of never seeing her again, tears filled her big brown eyes.
As the day turned into a late, miserable afternoon Apricot was tired and knew that she would be not be back in the Glen before it got dark, she looked to the sky and saw the snow clouds gathering. With the thought of more snow and no shelter, Apricot felt afraid. What would she do? She decided that she should stop and maybe with some rest, she could think of a plan. She spotted a large old oak tree which was still grasping onto some of its leaves which were old and dying. With a little flit, she headed down and landed awkwardly on one of its top branches; she still hadn’t mastered her new wings!
Apricot sat for a moment or two catching her breath and as she did she thought that all her life she had envied the other fairies with their lacy like wings as she watched them fluttering and swooping around her but now, having wings seemed like a chore and it took a lot of effort to land, to take off and very tiring to keep up in the air. She was sure that she would get used to her exquisite gift but for now she was cold and miserable.
Without warning Apricot was startled from her thoughts by the hooting of an owl. She couldn’t see him but she knew he was close, she felt comforted by the fact that she was not completely alone but she knew that the many mystical creatures lived in the forest and not all of them were friendly especially to fairies – and then there were humans but she was so far into the trees, she did not expect to bump into any of those!
The owl hooted again as if to reassure her, she glanced for side to side but still could not see him. She suddenly felt very alone, how she wished Krystal was here. Apricot put her head in her hands and started to cry. Soon her sobs grew louder and the more she tried to stop, the harder she cried; she was sure that at any moment her heart would break into pieces like shattered icicles. She watched her tears dripping down on to the last of the decaying leaves of the oak tree and she felt so abandoned.
“Now there missy, what is all this noise?”
Apricots sobs caught in her throat as she looked up straight into the eyes of a big barn owl. He had a big heart shaped face which looked a little grumpy but not too scary. His wings which he flapped impatiently were dark but his belly was the purest white like the snow. She had seen owls from a distance before as they often flew around the Glen at dusk but she had never actually come face to face with one. Her teacher Miss Serendipity had told her about how wise and intelligent these creatures were but that they were notorious for not being the most-friendly of birds and usually “kept themselves to themselves” as she put it.
“I’m sorry Sir if I disturbed you” muttered Apricot in between her sniffs “but I have had a very bad day and I am very sad, hungry and really tired and I have nowhere to go, its dark and cold and I am………the tears came again just as Apricot managed to get her last word out “scared”.
“Now there, there missy stop this snivelling, we will have none of that. All this sobbing doesn’t do anybody any good and with this chilly wind, you are likely to your eyelashes all frozen up”.
Apricot raised her voice with an indignant “But” she was quickly stopped as the owl raised one wing and silently hushed her protests. Sheepishly and muttering under her breath, Apricot drew her dragonfly wings about her body and looked away from the piercing eyes of the owl.
“Right now, that’s better” remarked the owl. “Shall we start again? My name is Benedict and you are?”
“OK Apricot, it’s getting dark and cold and I know you fairy folk don’t have much in the way of sense when it comes to dressing for the cold, so we best be on our way.”
As Apricot glanced around her, she realised that it was almost dark and she couldn’t see too much, her eyes weren’t accustomed to the blackness of night.
“Best you climb aboard missy, don’t want you bumping into anything now do we?”
Without uttering a word, Apricot slipped her hands around Benedict’s neck and climbed onto his back, she snuggled into his thick warm feathers and held on tight. Benedict spread his beautiful large wings, gracefully and with ease he took flight. Apricot smiled as she remembered her first attempt at flight with her new wings but this only made her think of Krystal once again and she buried her head into Benedict’s feathers so that he wouldn’t hear her sobbing once again.
The night was dark and the snow glistened like jewels on everything it touched, the forest was quiet except for the swish of Benedict’s wings against the cold night air. Apricot didn’t know where they going, she hadn’t thought to ask but she felt safe. Even though Benedict seemed a little scary she was sure that for tonight anyway she had a new friend.