Through the leaves

Tulips, 2008

Tulips, 2008


The ladybird landed on the tip of the thick dark leaf closing its wings as it stopped.

Mabel hid behind the stem of a nearby flower. The ladybird was larger than she was. She could feel the breeze it created when it lifted off the leaf, its wings blurring in its flutter.

Mabel stepped onto a nearby pebble her foot tiny by comparison. She rubbed at the knots of bone that protruded from the top of her shoulder blades. They called them Ground Huggers the ones that couldn’t fly. The ones born without wings. Sometimes the knots bothered her. Once she was old enough she was left with others like her alone on the forest floor. They learnt fast to survive.

Mabel sneezed. Her sneezes were the smallest of sounds high pitched and silent to human ears. She rubbed her nose with the back of her hand and blinked as her eyes watered. She practised stepping from one pebble to the next, the bones and muscles in her feet tensing and flexing with her weight.

A low hum in the distance warned her of another visitor. Another ladybird hummed low over her head landing on the thick leaf near her with a gentle bounce. She counted three spots on each wing but couldn’t remember what that was supposed to mean. The ladybird paused before moving towards the tip of the leaf, lifting its wings and buzzing away.

Mabel closed her eyes in the cool breeze it left behind. The forest floor was hot and sticky with moisture. The trees and plants released thick clouds of oxygen and rain seeped into the hollows.

Feeling brave? Want to share your story? In the words of one Disney princess, Let it go, in the comments below.