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A Mixed Up Messed Up Sort of Fairytale
There lies a land… somewhere out there, that I know will help me find my voice; Cama’s sight; and Lei’s ears.
I am Rae, one of three sisters, each with a crippling disability: Cama is blind and Lei is deaf. And I? I am mute.
Our mother and father are long dead. We’ve taken care of ourselves for a while now. We’re Wanderers: nomads, you could say… but really, we’re just following our footsteps, wherever they may take us; we don’t stay put long. So, we’ve never had a solid place to call home.
It was hard at first, when we all were young, to communicate with one another. Cama can speak, but I cannot, and Lei can’t hear anyways, so she doesn’t know what words sound like – let alone form them herself – but Lei and I can use sign language – but Cama can’t see it.
It seems impossible, doesn’t it? At first, it seemed so… we got frustrated easily, being toddlers, but we have a system now: I sign to Lei, or her to me, and we let Cama ¬feel our signing with her hands; that’s how she understands us. Cama can speak to me, and I can sign it to Lei, so she understands. I can hear and see, but I have no voice – so signing is my voice.
We can’t communicate with one another without all three of us working together. Cama can speak to other people and hear them speak back – and myself and Lei can sign to others. It’s only within us three that is a disability within itself.
It doesn’t matter how far, or how impossible it seems to get to that land – I will. We will. And we shall be whole.
There is but one person that has stayed by our sides all our lives: our Auntie Maylie. She is a Wanderer, too, and she understands better than anyone how restless we three are – despite our disabilities.
We: Lei, Cama, Auntie Maylie and I, live in a land called Apalazia, ruled by a just and kind King and Queen: King Manorc and Queen Corla. They have two children: Princess Caye, and Prince Ramar. Prince Ramar is 14 (my age) and Princess Caye is 12 (Lei’s age). Cama is 13, our family’s middle child. And, because I am the oldest, it’s my responsibility to take care of Cama and Lei. Mother and Father told me so, the day before they died.
“Rae… we’re not going to be around forever. You’re the oldest and most capable of your sisters, despite your speech hindrance. Your sisters would be lost without you to guide them. That’s all we ask. Auntie Maylie will be there to help you along the way, until you can do it yourself; she won’t be around forever either.”
I never realized why they told me this when I was so young; it never occurred to me that they would die the next day. They were so young, too.
And, I have done my best these past nine years. You’d think that at five years old, you can’t understand that huge responsibility, let alone carry it out and lead your two younger sisters. But as my parents said, Auntie Maylie was there to help me until I could do it myself.
I woke up to rain one night; I had been restless and couldn’t fall asleep. The hard drops of rain on our tent’s roof had been the culprit of waking me up from what little sleep I had managed to get. The rain was loud and obnoxious. All rain is the same to me. So, although I was still exhausted, I got up.
Auntie Maylie was up as well. Her cot was empty and the tents front flap wasn’t tied closed properly. I pulled on my simple leather shoes and read cloak, deciding to go out and find her and see what she was doing.
When I stepped outside the tent, the rain was even louder and it was still dark; the rain was coming down relentlessly. I squinted through it, trying to see if Auntie Maylie was nearby, but that was absurd. Why would she be standing out in the pouring rain? There were no stars. Auntie Maylie’s trade was fortune telling by the star constellations and movements. So, why would she be out here?
I began to walk through the camp – the jumbled little clusters of tents, arranged in no particular order – looking for a lamp or candle aflame in one of them: a sign that Auntie Maylie was off visiting someone. But, I saw no sign of her, or that anyone else was awake.
I was frustrated, cold, and wet. I decided to go back to the tent and dry off because this was stupid. I should’ve just stayed in bed. I was too curious for my own good.
I was coming to the edge of the camp where our tent was, when I noticed something glimmering: a light of some sort, off in the distance. My curiosity rekindled, I walked past the tent and to the edge of the forest we were camping by where the light was glimmering from inside.
Once I got under the canopy, the rain was quieter and it didn’t make it down as easily though the leaves and branches. I pulled off my cloak’s hood - letting it fall on the back of my shoulders – and walked towards the light which was getting steadily bigger and brighter. And I got closer, I detected a faint hum, coming from the direction of the light.
Then, the light got very dim and my head began to swim and my eyes unfocused dizzily. I felt weak and I could barely walk. But, somehow I kept on walking. There was this sudden uncontrollable yearning for me to get to that light. It was overpowering me and the light got dimmer and I felt sick and discombobulated. Suddenly, it went out and I sank to my knees, slipping into unconsciousness.
When I awoke, it was very bright.
As quickly as I opened my eyes it became dark again. There was sudden bout of laughter - quiet laughter - then voices.
“Sell you we will… as slave to witches in Black Market… we will. You bring a healthy sum… you will.” Then the voices cackled and realization hit me: I had been lured into a Black Pixie nest. I was terrified, but couldn’t cry out; the tears just flowed silently down my face, and I made the horrific face of sobbing with no sound.
My eyes were clenched tightly, but I could just picture their nervous glances to on another.
“Why don’t you speak, scream, or threaten?” asked a sweet but terrifying voice. I sat up, trying not to pass out again, but my head was still swimming. I signed: “I’m mute,” to the darkness, not knowing whether they understood how I spoke or not.
There was some surprised chattering so I guess the message got across. Then the first voice spoke again.
“Still, healthy sum you bring. Oh, yes… You cannot spill your Masters secrets, or beguile them with lies. But, charm we place on you, so you can’t run away.”
I began to feel funny, and felt something being tied tightly around my left ankle. Then, I was unable to move.
The Black Pixies began to cackle again, and they said in unison, almost singing,
“Sleep, sleep now… little pet, little slave. You will fetch a healthy sum…” and the cackling began to fade, as did my consciousness.