My grandfather was a peculiar old chap. Every morning he’d wake up, get out of bed and sit down on his favourite chair with a cup of milk tea, nothing too unusual really. But if you’d grown up with him as I had, you’d start to notice the… well, the other things. As a kid, I had admired my grandfather, almost like a fan would admire their favourite celebrity, that sort of relationship. I never once doubted him when he said there was a pixie living in our garden. But now, he says that something bad’s going to happen, “and it’s gonna be ‘cause of that damned pixie I tell ya!” He started saying a few weeks back. “Ya ‘ear my words young lass! You ‘ear every word me go sayin’. Ya ‘ear me?”
I did hear him, though it wouldn’t make a difference to me, or anyone else if I hadn’t. I was beginning to realise that my grandad wasn’t all that he seemed.
I was sitting in the living room with Ma, who was knitting, and Grandad, who was reading the daily paper. I was finishing off a flax basket that I was making for a friend.
Suddenly, Grandad threw his paper on the ground and bellowed in a loud voice, “Florence!” He shouted at me, “Ya heed my words ye young lass! That pixie’ll be the death of us, you’ll see! I feel it in me bones!”
Ma looked up from her knitting and glared at Grandad through her narrow spectacles. “Leave the poor girl alone! Lucky for you, you’re Frank’s father, or I’d have left you here long ago!” she scolded him in a warning tone.
Frankenstein, or ‘Frank’ as my Ma referred to him as, was my Da, long gone. He had died in a car accident when I was younger. I had been in the car too, but Da had dived in front of me to protect me from the collision. Needless to say, he died, and I didn’t, or I wouldn’t be telling you this story. As fate would have it, the accident has left me with a small brown scar on my right forearm, which Grandad says looks like the pixie which is apparently living in our garden, but I just say that it looks like rotten luck. Grandad agrees, but only because he thinks that the pixie in our garden is rotten luck. Whoever heard of such a thing as a pixie in the garden?
I have finally, (or not so finally,) drawn to the conclusion that my grandad is really quite mad.
But again, this is precisely the reason why nobody believed him when he told us that the world was going to die and that the birds that sang in the treetops every morning, and the worms that nurtured our soils would soon be no more. All because of that Pixie.
The morning breeze brushed past me as I stood in the garden, plucking some flowers to give to Ma for her birthday. A noise startled me, and I turned around hurriedly, clutching the flowers in my hands so tightly that they slowly began to break off their stems.
“Who’s there?” I called out. The silence concluded that there was either nobody there, or if there was, they didn’t want to be found. I decided to explore further by looking behind some of the bushes. ‘It’s nothing,’ I told myself over and over again. I couldn’t explain why, but I suddenly felt the urge to hide. I heard rustling the bushes all the time when I was out in the garden, but I think all of Grandad’s ‘warnings’ of pixies were finally starting to get to me. I looked behind the bush, examining every place an animal would be able to hide in. There was nothing there, but for some reason, this gave me more worry than comfort.
All of a sudden, a sharp pain shot up my leg and I cried out in anguish. I shook my leg around, and a tiny, human-like figure went flying from my foot and through the air. My eyebrows furrowed as I looked questioningly at the creature lying on the grass. I knelt down and carefully reached out to poke it.
“Get back!” It cried suddenly.
I was startled. “W…what are you?” I stammered.
“None of your business!” Replied the creature rudely.
Then a thought suddenly struck me, “Are you a pixie?” I asked carefully.
The creature laughed contemptuously. “And you’re one of those humans, I suppose?” The pixie asked.
“I am actually,” I replied.
“You’re what?” The pixie questioned.
“Um, a human. You just said-”
“Shut up! I don’t care a fig about you and your fibs! It was a rhetorical question, Dumbo!” The pixie remarked sarcastically.
I huffed in frustration. “Well, I didn’t ask if you were a pixie either then!” I cried.
The pixie cackled wickedly. “But you did!”
“Liar, liar, pants on fire!” The pixie chorused.
“Just shut up!” I exclaimed.
“You shut up!” the pixie shouted back.
My face flushed with anger. “You little… Arg!”
“You little… Arg!” The pixie jeered.
“That’s it!” I turned on my heels and stamped back to the house. Ma took one look at the sour expression on my face and knew something was up. “Hey, Flo!” She called to me. I ignored her and kept on walking.
“Florence!” Ma persisted.
I relinquished and whirled around to face her. “What now?” I snapped.
“Whoa, whoa, watch it Florence! You’re acting as if you’ve finally found that dreaded pixie Granda’s been going on about! That creature’s really beginning to get on my nerves.”
“I did,” I retorted.
“You did what Florence?” Ma asked.
“Found the pixie,” I remarked as I continued into the house, leaving Ma staring, dumbfoundedly after me.
The next morning, I awoke to find Ma standing over me.
“I didn’t do anything!” I squeaked hurriedly.
“Then what’s this?” Ma aked, holding up the bunch of flowers I had picked from the garden the day before. I watched as they cascaded down to the floor in succession.
Blast! I’d forgotten to give them to Ma for her birthday yesterday.
“I’m sorry Ma, truly I am. I meant to give them to you yesterday, but I must’ve forgotten-”
“That’s enough Florence! You know dead well what I’m talking about.”
I racked my brain for something I could have possibly done wrong.
“Nothing,” I concluded aloud.
“Nothing?” Ma asked.
“Hm? Oh, I didn’t realise I’d spoken, sorry. I don’t know what I’ve done Ma, but if you tell me what, I’m sure there’s an explanation-”
“It ain’t the poor girls fault Lizzie!” Grandad cried as he appeared in the doorway. It was the-”
“Don’t you dare say, ‘pixie,’ or I’ll bury your guts under the apple tree!” My Ma snapped.
“But it is!” Grandad cried. “That darned pixie came into our garden last night and made a real mess of our garden, ya know Florence girl, and if it shouldn’t take someone like ya Ma to notice that it was all the job of that stupid, good-for-nothing, boorish…” Grandad never finished his sentence however, as all of a sudden, the garage door had just come off its hinges and crashed to the floor. “Well if I be darned!” Ma remarked.
“I told you so!” Grandad replied.
“Yes, yes you did, didn’t you?” Ma murmed, dazed.
“We can go down there now and stop it though, can’t we Grandad?” I asked excitedly.
“Yes-” Grandad started to say, before Ma interrupted him.
“No!” She cried. “Absolutely not!” She bellowed as she stormed out of the room, leaving Grandad and me staring, astounded at each other.
Problems kept occurring for the rest of the week with issues such as no internet connection, no electricity, no water. The roof caved in, and the water hose started spurting water whenever we finally dared to venture outside; we got drenched. But by the time Ma finally consented to let us investigate, the pixie was long gone.
But questions kept buzzing around my head; ‘Why had there been a pixie in the garden? And why hadn’t Ma wanted us to find it?’
But one thing was for sure; I would never doubt Grandad again when he said there was a pixie living in our garden.