Chapter 1 – Malicia

It was a beautiful day, indeed. There was a whiff of warm chocolate twinkpies enveloping the house. There was butter sizzling lusciously over the metal pan. The sweet scent from the kitchen was mouth-watering. I chuckled as I heard the clatter of the plates and bowls; I knew it was going to be a wonderful day.

I slipped my feet into my fuzzy cotton slippers, and almost pirouetted to the window. Elfin specks of snow rested peacefully on my window pane as I ran my finger through their soft back. I looked outside through the blushing glass and saw the hydrangeas in our garden in a sprightly pink. I could see the ivory orchids swept across our tall metal gates. It was early, indeed, but it was a day to be up with the sun.

I walked across to the other end of the room towards my bruised timber cupboard and took out a tall glass jar with only a quarter full of what seemed to be dead fireflies. I enchanted one of my stationery fireflies and raised my palm to the ceiling. The firefly flew majestically onward towards what emerged to be a sheet of the night sky, enveloping our room, appearing to be our roof; it was almost similar to an angel’s garden upside down. There were harps and birds, and golden leaves spread across.

Every year, I would take one of the stationery fireflies from my box, and enchant them. I would send them to the angel’s shrine, for it had been their rightful place. My mother had belonged to the angels too; she was beautiful like the sunshine in God’s arms. She brought me here, to the mortal world, almost mortal at least. She loved my father, and my two sisters the most, but she had forgotten the law of the heaven. She could not leave with a mortal. She was shattered into tiny stationery fireflies when I was very young. Every year on her birthday, I enchant one firefly and send it into the sky, hoping that she would reform herself.

I delivered a kiss to the sky, and looked at my sisters Ryla and Haiz. They were curled up sweetly together, drooling – not as elegantly as they would be expected to.

‘Wake up!’ I exclaimed and pulled their sheets. They did not seem to be enthused by the gesture, but casually slid off the bed due to lack of choice. I ran down the spiral staircase that led into our living room and saw the fire crackling over the wood. The fire kept transforming itself into faces of our family members.

I walked past the room and leapt onto my father. ‘Good morning, father’, I said sweetly with my most appealing smile. ‘Oh, you’, he smiled, ‘Happy Birthday to you, and your mother’, he sniffed. ‘A splitting image you are. The sleek brunette hair and full round cheeks; your hazel eyes sparkle just like hers’.’ He missed her deeply, who wouldn’t. He loved her so, and just like me, he hoped that one day, the fireflies will bring her back to us.

Ryla and Haiz came sliding down the staircase. ‘Good morning, girls! Fancy some breakfast? It’s my special’, he chuckled as his eyes lit up. He laid out five bowls, one for each of us and our horse Maddy. He created his special breakfast, one he would prepare on happy or celebratory occasions – on birthdays, after examinations, promotions, or just when he misses mom too much. It was a beautiful spread. A pile of bacon lay deliciously beside the toasts spread with orange marmalade; there was a bowl full of chocolate twinkpies and glasses of milk. He had also prepared a special meal for Maddy.

We sat down and helped ourselves religiously. There was immense chattering amongst ourselves, and an almost dangerous clattering of the glasses. There was nothing I could ask for more than to live in this moment longer.

After the hearty meal that made all of us feel bloated and sleepy again, dad got up and kissed all of us on the forehead and left for work. He grabbed his bag and instructed us to stay safe. ‘Let’s go, dear Maddy. The daily haul’, he patted Maddy and they set off quickly down the frosty path and disappeared instantly.

I packed some lunch for Ryla and Haiz, and waited for them to be dressed and ready. As they came down, their horse-ridden lavender carriage stood proudly in our pathway. Our old metal gates creaked open, and the girls got on the carriage. ‘Have a lovely day, you two. I shall see you for dinner’ I bade them goodbye, and did not realize that I stood there for way too long.

‘Well then, I should get going too.’ I said to myself. I packed my aged copy of ‘Literature through the Ages’ and headed of to the library underneath our house. I lifted a tile from our kitchen floor, and went down the broken marble staircase.

I entered through an old ebony door and sat down on a wooden chair next to the fireplace. Nobody but I knew about this tiny haven, a magical one. I sighed and summoned my diary. A leather bound notebook came flying out of the fire and placed itself on my lap. ‘Hello, mother’, I started.

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