The Bone Fairies

By Annabelle Kennedy, TIWP Student

They called them Bone Fairies. 

They were said to be tall as giants, with gray skin, dark, empty eyes, and tall, curving horns made of bone, ridged and sharp. Dust-colored braids hung around their heads, the color of stone. Their faces were lined, and they had sharp teeth that started outside of the mouth and retreated back. Long shards of bone protruded from their backs and shoulders; their wings were pale and see-through, a skein of gray veins stretched between protruding sharp curves. And they were said to collect human skulls, hanging from ropes and knots on their necks. They were said to be bringers of death, destructive, dangerous, cruel. Bad omens, some people called them. The hostile, deadly cousins of tooth fairies, the ones who collected teeth from sleeping children who put them under their pillows at night, and in the morning left money, a gift for a gift. 

But this is not true. Bone fairies are not cruel. Tooth fairies are not sweet. 

It is very different. 

Tooth fairies are dangerous. They take a tooth, and another tooth, but only when it falls out, only when it comes time. But they are hungry for more. They barely restrain from taking everything. Leaving you starving with a mouth full of empty gums. Their beautiful, beloved faces hide a frightening truth; their brilliant smiles are made up of the teeth they steal, crooked and jagged and sharp—if you look close enough. Their bright eyes glint with the glow of madness; their voices are grating knives disguised as sweet words and hypnotizing tones. They use these features to deceive. To trick. If you fall under their spell, you will never come out alive. 

Bone fairies are gentle. Despite the tales, they are kind, gentle giants. Their eyes do not show madness, but deep sorrow and tenderness. They are invisible to us, walking among humans, taller than the tallest mountains and buildings, painted hundreds of colors by the light of the setting sun. 

They walk among the living, mourning them, mourning the tiny, insignificant lives of humans, as fleeting as stars, waiting for and dreading the day when the stars will finally flicker out. 

They walk among the dying, weeping for them, waiting for them to pass so they can be taken to wherever they need to go. And they are always there. 

They walk among the dead. Carrying their spirits to somewhere far beyond their understanding. Carrying the bodies that remain into the dark, where they will be burnt, the ashes stored away. They carry the bones with them, as a reminder. A monument to those who have left. 

Sometimes, if you listen carefully, you will hear the wailing, a howling, anguished chorus of voices. It will sound like the wind. People will try to tell you that it is the wind. It is not. It is them, mourning the dead. Mourning the stars.

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