October 6, 2010
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“Ouch!” I winced as I accidentally stuck myself with a pin.
“Are you okay?” Bethany Hastings asked anxiously, peering down at me.
“Just fine,” I sighed. Bethany was the latest client of the dressmaking business that I ran out of my parents’ basement. Homecoming season had just begun, and I was already swamped with requests.

I finished pinning up the hem and stood, appraising the length. “Is that where you wanted it?” I asked Bethany.

She beamed. “That’s perfect! Ooh, I love it so much! It’s amazing!” She twirled happily in the emerald chiffon gown.

After I sewed the finishing stitches, I slipped the dress into a garment bag and gave it to Bethany. She handed me a check for $250.

“Thank you, Aurora!” she sang, waltzing out the side door of the basement and into the cool fall air.

Once she was gone I plopped onto a nearby sofa. I loved sewing, but it was a ton of work. All the dressmaking left me little time for studying, which meant my grades were going down the toilet. However, I knew I’d be able to bring them back up before report cards came out in January. Maybe.

It was all worth it, though. In the year and a half that I’d been running Aurora Couture, hundreds of girls from both my school and the other high school in town had come to me for dresses to wear to prom, homecoming, and the winter formal. I had quite a bit of cash sitting in my savings account for college- design school, of course.

Over the next week, nearly thirty girls showed up in my basement for consultations and to get measured and fitted. I had enough fabric in the basement to clothe half of the country!
I was working on the freshman court’s dresses (for some reason they had all wanted to match each other) when the bell over the basement door rang. From my adjoining workroom I yelled, “Just a moment!” Whoever it was didn’t say anything, so I quickly finished the sleeve I was working on and went out to greet my customer.

“Hello,” said the regal, twenty-somethingish woman sitting on the sofa. I was surprised. All of my clients up until now had been teenage girls.

“What can I do for you, ma’am?” I asked.
The woman pursed her lips. “Well, I heard you are quite the talented dressmaker, and I have an event coming up.”

“Great! What do you have in mind? A cocktail dress, maybe something in black silk…?”

She shook her head. “It is a ball. Only the most elaborate gown will do.”
A ball? This lady was clearly not from around here.

“Well, what colors do you prefer?” I began, ready to go down the mental list I always did when a new client came in. She shook her head.

“You are the designer. You know what is best. I want the most elaborate piece you are capable of making. The more complicated the better.”

I nodded slowly, thinking, and then said, “Okay. But I’ll need your measurements and a picture of you.”

She agreed, and I grabbed my camera and measuring tape. I had to stand on a stool to measure her because she towered over me.

“All right,” I said when I was finished. “I just need your contact information now, and then you’ll be set.”

“Elyen Featherstone. I am currently staying at the Berringer Hotel in Philadelphia. You may contact me at room 852.” With that she picked up her handbag and glided out the door, leaving behind the scent of cinnamon.

“Wait!” I called, running outside to catch up to her before she drove off. But the driveway was empty, the street deserted but for a little girl on a scooter. Bemused, I hurried back inside from the chilly air.
I spent the next few days working nearly nonstop on Elyen Featherstone’s gown, neglecting my homework and friends. I even had to call some of my other clients to tell them their dresses would be a few days late.
Finally I finished it. I put it on a mannequin and stepped back to admire my work. The iridescent midnight blue chiffon shimmered subtly over the black silk lining, and the drapery over the collarbone was perfect. The beading along the bodice was beautiful and ridiculously intricate. This dress was my best work yet.
Euphoric at finishing the masterpiece, I looked up the phone number of the Berringer Hotel. The receptionist connected me to Elyen’s suite, and I waited breathlessly for her to answer.
“Hello?” said a cool voice on the other end.
“Hello, Ms. Featherstone? This is Aurora Stuart.” I said, trying to sound professional and not like a giddy teenager.
“Ah, yes, the little dressmaker. Is my gown complete?”
“Yes, ma’am, I just need you to come in for a final fitting.”
“Very well. I am on my way.” She hung up.
While waiting for her to arrive, I flitted around nervously, straightening shelves that were already tidy and fluffing the already plump pillows. At last the door opened, and Elyen walked in. She raised an eyebrow as if to say ‘Well, where is it?’
Excitedly I wheeled the mannequin out of my workroom. Elyen stared at the gown, an inscrutable expression on her face. Without warning, she beamed hugely. “It’s splendid,” she whispered. She ducked behind the changing screen to put it on.
After gazing at it in the mirror a few seconds longer, she turned to me. “I am infinitely happy, for this is the gown I have always dreamed of, and I have something to ask of you.”
“What is it?” I answered curiously.
“In my homeland, dressmakers, especially those as talented as you, are tremendously revered. It is customary-no, expected, that an invitation to the ball one is attending be extended to the dressmaker. You must come!”
“Uh…” I stammered, taken aback. “Where is your homeland?”
“It’s not important,” she responded impatiently. “Your family will never notice you’re gone, and you will have a fabulous time with us. Please have on your most striking dress tomorrow at precisely 3:00 in the afternoon. I will come to pick you up. ” She vanished out the door.
The next day I dressed in a floaty rose-hued gown that made my skin glow. As I waited, I asked myself, not for the first time, why I was about to allow a near stranger to whisk me off to a foreign country. I felt I could trust her, though I wasn’t totally convinced. Right on time, Elyen sashayed through the door, clad in the magnificent dress.
“Take my hand and close your eyes,” she instructed, doing the same. Suddenly we weren’t in my basement anymore. I opened my eyes to a sumptuous room.
“There you are, Elyen!” cried someone behind us. We turned to see a lovely, tall woman with long black hair and…wings?
“I see you brought the greima,” said someone else, wryly. This lady had wings, too.
“Elyen, why didn’t you tell me it was a costume ball?” I said, annoyed. The two other women giggled. I turned to Elyen and gasped. “When did you put wings on?”
“Well, Aurora, for one thing, this is not a costume ball. You are in Faerieland-the royal palace, to be exact. We are all fairies. And as Rumi said, you are a greima, a non-fairy,” Elyen explained.
“This is a joke, right? You can’t be serious!” I said anxiously.
“I am afraid not,” smirked the red-haired Rumi.
“Come now, don’t look so frightened. Fairies are peaceful creatures. We just like to have a good time. Why don’t you join us, and have some fun? After all, it’s not often that a greima has a chance to visit our land.” soothed the other fairy.
“Nilana is right, Aurora. Come with us,” encouraged Elyen.
“Well…okay, then,” I conceded. The three fairies swept out of the room with me in tow.
The next hours were a blur of dancing and music. I don’t know how long I spent in that opulent ballroom, waltzing with the finest members of fairy society. Too bad nobody would believe my stories when I went back home.
Dozens of Elyen’s friends flounced up to me to commission dresses after seeing her gown. I promised them I would start as soon as I got back home, but Elyen said, “Nonsense! Aurora can begin now. She is not even tired!”
I wasn’t tired, which was amazing, considering all the dancing I’d been doing, but that wasn’t why I was protesting. “Elyen, I need to go home at some point.”
She waved my concern away. “As I said before, your family won’t notice you are gone. Time flows differently in your world than it does here.”
So I began. Rumi led me to a space far from the noisy ballroom. It had no windows, but there was plenty of room to work. Dozens of bolts of sumptuous fabrics lined the walls. I eagerly got to work.
I lost track of time while creating the innumerable dresses that the fairy court wanted. I might have been there for days or weeks or months. I never tired and never became hungry or thirsty. Finally the line of fairies eager to have a dress made by a greima was gone. Elyen came into the room carrying a tray full of delicious-looking food. Suddenly I was famished.
“Are you hungry?” she asked, setting the tray down. I nodded and grabbed a flaky pastry.
As I was stuffing it in my mouth, I jokingly asked Elyen if the fairies were ever going to let me go home. She shook her head solemnly, and I stared at her in horror, seeing she was serious.
Elyen smiled cruelly. “You’ve seen our society. You know our secrets. And don’t you know? Once a greima tastes fairy food, he or she can never leave Faerieland. Besides, how could we let you go? You are too good at making dresses!”

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This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

Mbookrooted said...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm
;) It's cute, i like the way you write and how most of it seems to flow. I agree that maybe Aurora should have a bit more detail in her character and more personality-it has a lot of good potenitotal. Reminds me a bit of the "Wings" and "Spells" book by Aprilynne Pike [;
IamtheStargirl said...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Hahahahah, the ending was expected, but still a bit of a surprise :)

Superb work, you are vastly talented, this story is so different and intriguing.

Thank you ever-so-much for sharing! :)

juliam This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 5:37 pm

This is an excellent idea, I'll give you that, but the way it's portrayed doesn't really match. When writing a story, you want to give your characters distinctive personality, which you can do by adding in detail after detail. When you skimmed over it, focusing more on dialogue, we (the readers) get the message, but we aren't left shell-shocked or otherwise emotionally impacted, which we probably would have, had the characters been more developed. 

But even so, it was good :)

TheWordSmith said...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm
The ending was very unexpected! Your story kept me hooked at the way through to the end. Nice work!
You had some really good word choice in there, too.
mudpuppy said...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 9:25 am
I think I like your faries alot better than any I have previously read about. :) I also like how you use fairy mythology. :) The ending was spooky, but perfect for this type of story. ;)
Amiee said...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 2:02 am
*gasps* AHHHH!!!! that's scary, the ending. i have a question? did you name the character "Aurora" on purpose? the pin pricking thingymajiger and blah blah
IamtheStargirl replied...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Hmmm, that's a really good point, I hadn't thought of that...

Thanks for pointing it out :)

(I'm not the author, by the way. Just so you don't get confused.)

Alexia_Grey said...
Oct. 7, 2010 at 11:52 pm
WOW!! That is a BRILLIANT story! Great Job!! ... Are you into Dress-making yourself? The ending was unexpected but i loved it! keep writing!
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