We were one of those open, nosy neighborhoods you see on TV shows about ethnic enclaves in urban environments, only we were white American mutts and the three story apartment buildings on our street were by far the largest in our town. Still, everyone knew everyone’s business, and everyone talked about it. If anyone was worried about privacy, they didn’t do anything about it because they didn’t want to set a precedent that would stop them from doing their own snooping.Often we gossiped between windows. Almost invariably we peaked into them. Sometimes people had curtains up, but usually shears. Then Mr. Klempfer moved in, and there went the neighborhood.Mr. Klempfer perverted our habits. When he left for work in the morning, the blinds were wide open. When he came home to eat lunch, shuddered. When we went back to work, open. When he came home at night closed. Then, at about 9:30pm he would open the blinds and stand in front of his window, his body drenched with sweat, his muscles visibly pulsing, and the apartment visible behind him a complete wreck. He would wave to the neighborhood, and then close the blinds. A few minutes later, the lights were out.You can imagine the speculation. The naïve among us suggested he was working out. The perverted suggested he was up to something twisted and sexual. Those with a more laid back but fruitful imagination were convinced that every night he flew into a rage and destroyed his apartment to vent his fury at an unfulfilled life.No one was ready for the day the dead children started to show up on the sidewalk.
The fairy flew out of the tree line flying over a grassy yard below an old man writing at his window. The man's hands moved with the exuberance of a younger man and the urgency of one who knew his time was short. Pucker was proud of the man's creativity. Pucker was the source. Fairies, muses -- Pucker didn't care to quibble over terms. Actions mattered. Pucker prepared for his approach, glad the man liked to open his windows and feel of morning's breath in his beard. A small fairy sat on a blade of grass and Pucker halted and then zipped down to flutter over the younger fairy."That's my window, my Behold," said Pucker.The fairy's wings had few lines, only a trace of color -- a blemish. "I'm searching for my Behold.""Lovely." His words had the melody of flowers, pollen and bees, but he felt the sadness of rain and the need and envy of parched earth. "However, you don't want to share beholds."The fairy looked at him with eyes like still ponds to reflect the sky. They blinked a couple times, fairy dust twinkling. "Why?""Because, each and every fairy has magic and a person can only handle so much magic before it is too much.""I see," said the young fairy.However, the fairy didn't move and Pucker heard dark clouds in the lad's voice. Pucker was unsure the fairy understood."Three other windows. Are they free?"Pucker knew little beyond his behold. Occasionally the old man muttered, gossip and half-heard tales about the neighbor with the metal siding always pulled down over his windows to leave his flat dark as a tomb. A child cried from the downstairs window that was halfway open. Too young to need a muse, he hadn't lost his already, but maybe the child's parents might need someone to maintain their behold. Pucker nodded at the window. "You could try there." His words dripped with too much honey. He watched the youth buzz his wings and fly through the window waiting to make sure that he tried that household, that behold, before he returned home.
Interesting twist in the last line. Living in a basement apartment I understand Mr. Klempfer's desire for privacy... but privacy isn't supposed to call dead children ;) Nice voice, well written.
Nevets, to echo Aidan...nice voice. Very nice. Can't say I'm surprised at the ending. haAidan, this "Behold" is wonderful. Once again, your images make me sigh.
hahahaha Deb, you're getting calloused to my willingness to kill children in fiction. This is a sad moment. hahahahaI like the balance in this one, Aidan, between some of the rich imagery you specialize in with a few gentler touches. It makes the thicker bits really stand out nicely.