I’m cursed. That is all there is to it, I am cursed. Some would find this curse a blessing or a gift, but not me I hate it. Everyone says I am lucky to be born this way, to be able to communicate with the animals but they are very wrong.
I am the first of my kind, a mixed breed, half human and half nymph. My parents met and fell in love joining the two cultures; no one expected them to be able to have a child. My name is Ellie; I look like a normal person. I am average height, I am a little curvy and I have long curly strawberry blonde hair, basically a redhead.
I always new I was different; my parents didn’t tell me I was half nymph until I was older though. Growing up we lived around cities so I didn’t really know I had this so called gift, but then we moved back to my mother’s native land and everything changed.
Ellie looked out the window and sighed, trees there were trees everywhere. The nearest store was an hour away and the cell phone reception was terrible. Granted Ellie does not really have a social life, but still the reception was terrible. Ellie did not understand why she was here, why they had to move to her mother’s family home. Get back to their roots is what her mother said. Ugh, why so much nature.
“You smell that Ellie”, her father said while breathing in a big breath of air, “Fresh air. Smells nice, doesn’t it.”
Ellie rolled her eyes and went back to unpacking. That is when she heard it, a small voice. She looked up from the box and looked around the room; no one was there but her father. That is weird she thought, must be the new house. Then she heard it again coming from outside the window. She looked out and saw what looked like two squirrels talking; funny thing is she thought she understood them.
“Looks like new humans are moving in. Hope they do not cut down our trees.” Fat squirrel said.
“Maybe they will give us snacks in those hanging tiny houses.” Small squirrel said.
Ellie shook her head she must be imaging things, there is no way she understood that conversation. She put her headphones in her ears and went back to the boxes.
The next day Ellie’s father told her she would be home alone for a few hours while he went to get her mother. He also told her that if something happened, she could walk through the woods to the neighbor’s house for help.
“I’ll be fine dad; I am not a little kid anymore.” Ellie said.
“I know kiddo. I have my cell phone too if you have any questions. Bye, love you.” He said as he kissed the top of her head.
Ellie watched her father leave. Okay, she thought, everything is fine and will be fine. As she was organizing the dishes she looked out and saw the squirrels were back. She leaned her ears closer trying to see if she could here them again.
“Hmm, nothing I must have been tired yesterday. Of course squirrels don’t talk”, she said with a chuckle.
“I don’t believe it those squirrels were right.” The black crow said.
“No way new humans, we got to tell everyone.” Cardinal said.
“I am on it”, Crowed the crow, “New humans, new humans everyone.”
Ellie stood there listening. She blinked twice, shook her head then ran out the kitchen.
“Im not crazy, I am not crazy. Well then again I am sitting her talking to myself about not being crazy!” Ellie said as she paced the living room.
“This one is having a breakdown, wonder what for.” Cardinal said.
“You know humans they get scared over everything. She might have seen a spider.” Crow said laughing.
“I am not afraid of spiders. I am freaking out because the birds are talking!” Ellie screamed.
Crow and Cardinal glanced at each other then back at Ellie.
“Did she just talk to us like she understood us?” asked Cardinal.
“Yes, she did. How can I do that?” Ellie said. She was so confused. She must be having a mental breakdown.
The birds flew off and Ellie went outside for air when she saw the squirrels again. She got closer to them to see if she could understand them too. When the squirrels saw her they ran into the woods.
“Wait”, Ellie shouted, “I want to ask you a question.” But it was too late they were gone. Ellie looked around and realized she went too far into the woods. She grabbed her phone out of her pocket and no signal. Great, just great she thought. Ellie started walking, stopped turned right and started walking again.
“Crap, crap, double crap. Why did I chase those stupid squirrels?” Frustrated Ellie said kicking a rock.
“Who is she calling stupid?” Fat squirrel said.
“Yeah, at least we aren’t lost in the woods.” Small squirrel replied.
“Hey you lived here all your life, I just moved here.” Ellie snapped.
“Did she just?”
“I think she did.”
“Did you really just talk to us?” Fat squirrel said looking shocked.
“I think so”, Ellie said nervously, “I don’t know how, but I can understand you.”
The squirrels climbed up the tree to talk by themselves, and then some birds flew down talking to each other. It was just too much for Ellie, everyone was so loud and she could hear everything.
“Shut up!! Shut up, shut up, shut up! You are way too loud and all talking at once! Just be quiet!” Ellie shouted at the top of her lungs.
All the animals stopped for a second, then started talking again getting louder and louder. Ellie fell to the ground sobbing.
“I just want to go home. I want the craziness to stop.”
“There there, no need to cry. I can show you the way back to your home.” Cardinal said.
“Really, you can?” Ellie asked wiping her nose on her sleeve.
“Sure can, just follow me. Pay no attention to them. They are just curious about you; it has been awhile since we had someone, other than each other, to talk too.”
Cardinal and Ellie went through the woods and soon enough Ellie was back at her house. Her parents were back, Cardinal saw Ellie’s mother and stopped flying.
“Is that your family?” She asked.
“Yes, that is my mom and dad. Mom use to live here when she was a kid, so she made us move back.”
“I thought that was her. I must tell the others.”
“Wait, you know my mom. How?”
“Ask her yourself, it should come from her. Ask her about the nymphs.” Cardinal said flying away.
Ellie ran the rest of the way. Wondering what the bird meant, but she was going to find out.
Later that night Ellie spoke with her mother.
“Hey mom, what are nymphs?”
“What brought this question on?”
“A little birdie told me to ask you.” Ellie said winking.
“Are you being sarcastic or did a bird really speak to you?”
“Would I be crazy if one did?” Ellie asked, “Mom is there something you are not telling me? You look a little scared.”
“My sweet Ellie, I need to tell you a story.”
“A long time ago humans and nymphs lived together, coexisting. Then the humans became mean and started taking the nymph lands and seas. The nymphs did not want to fight with the humans, they are peaceful creatures. Once the humans set eyes on the nymphs and realized how beautiful they were the humans came up with a wild idea which the nymphs agreed too. One assigned leader from the nymphs and one from the humans would meet if there was any problems. Your father and I happen to be those leaders; and we fell in love. Each group agreed it would be okay to get married, but we could not speak as leaders anymore. We agreed. We lived here for a while, but then I become pregnant with you. We did not know we could even conceive a child, we did not know how the clans would react so we left to protect you.”
“So wait, you are telling me I am half nymph? What even is that?” Ellie asked confused.
“Nymphs are guardians of sorts. They watch over animals and the earth. I happen to be a forest nymph, so that is why you can speak to the animals.”
“Why now? Why didn’t I speak to them before? Why did we move back?”
“There aren’t many forest animals in the city, so you might have had this gift since birth. We moved back because my clan needs me to be a spokesperson again. They found out about you, and are okay with it surprisingly.”
“Can you talk to animals? Is that why you were always working with them at vet clinics?” Ellie asked.
“Yes dear, I can. Sorry you had to find out this way, but it is such an amazing gift.”
“Gift? You think this is a gift? Are you serious? Everyone is so loud and noisy!”
“You just have to get use to it Ellie, you will see.” Her mother said as she kissed her head and walked away.
The next morning Ellie saw her mother outside the window talking to Cardinal. This is crazy Ellie thought. Ellie saw moment out the corner of her eye; she turned her head and saw a family of raccoons limping up to her mother. One must be hurt, Ellie thought, maybe I should go help.
“Hey mom, is the raccoon okay?”
“Yes, she just stumbled into a human camp and the humans through things at her.”
“That is not nice, this is there home. The humans should respect that.” Ellie said.
“Spoken like a nymph, or at least half one.” Her mother said with a wink.
“Maybe we should go talk to them about it.”
“That isn’t up to us. I will go to the nymph council and talk to the human spokesperson and see if he or she can help.”
A week later more animals showed up at the house and they all were complaining about how some humans are invading their homes and hurting them; Ellie heard enough, she was going to have a talk with them. Her mother probably would not approve but something had to be done. Ellie knew being part nymph she had to help but she was still getting use to all of this. Mind made up Ellie went to go have a talk with the humans doing the damage.
Ellie’s mother watched her daughter walk into the woods with some animals. The council meeting went well, although the new human spokesperson denied any involvement. If more cases came up it would be dealt with. She also had to tell them of her daughter’s new found gift to communicate with animals. The council said that would be dealt with later too.
Ellie arrived at the camp the raccoons and deer said the humans were at.
“Excuse me. Hello, is anyone here?”
A scary looking man walks out and says, “What do you want? Are you lost or something? Go away leave me alone.”
“Can you please stop hurting the animals? This is their home and you should respect that. Just because they walk in your camp doesn’t mean you should throw things at them.”
“I didn’t hurt no animals, and even I did you have no proof.” He said smirking.
“Yes I do, and if you do not stop you will face consequences.”
“Who is going to dish them out, you? Ha, I would like to see you try.”
Ellie felt her blood boil. How dare he, how dare he hurt innocent animals then mock her. She felt a connection she hadn’t felt before. She focused on it and then the animals of the forest came running to her. The trees starting blowing in the wind and the vines started curling around the man’s feet. The man looked around frantically, he looked scared. Ellie stopped this isn’t the way to handle this.
“Please stop hurting the animals and respect this land. Understood?”
“Yes, I do”, the man said smiling, “You did what was needed, good job.”
Now it was Ellie’s turn to look confused. What is he talking about? With a wave of his hand the vines went back and the trees stopped moving.
“Im sorry for this Ellie, but we had to test your abilities. My name is Shawn and I am the head council member for the nymphs. Your mother told us about your communication gift, but not the nature influencer. I am mighty impressed, you could have taken me out but you didn’t. Why?”
“It is not how to handle the situation, I knew scaring you would get you to back down. So this was a test and I passed. What do we do now?”
“We want you to be the spokesperson for both humans and nymphs. After all you have a say in both, you are the one and only of your kind and can speak for both.”
Ellie smiled. She liked that idea surprisingly. So maybe she wasn’t cursed after all, but gifted and part of something great.