Monday, May 30, 2016

The Fly in the Web--Part 6

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The woman stood stunned at this transformation and also at the new task she must fulfill or she may die. For three days she thought and thought. She thought of this and she thought of that. But she could not think of something that would be a proper gift for kindness. Not that would be as immediate and appropriate as fair punishment.

Her dog overheard her desperate questioning and he said he knew the answer. The woman got excited, thinking here was the answer she could give the fairy and therefore she might not die. The dog wagged its tail happily, in fact it wagged it so much that it knocked over a pretty vase, a cup and saucer, and a rare crystal figurine that the woman's grandmother had given her. But the woman was so excited and relieved that she did not care. She took the dog's paws in her hands and said, please, oh please, tell me.

The dog wagged its tail even more happily, threatening several more household items and said, "Give them a treat and a good rub behind the ears. That is a proper thank you for all things."

The woman was disappointed because she knew this would not work because humans did not like dog treats or ear rubs from nearly strangers. But she did not show it because she did not want to ruin the dog's happiness. Instead she thanked the dog and gave him a treat and a good rub behind the ears.

The gate also overheard her questioning, and it said it knew the answer to what would be a good gift for kindness. Again the woman grew excited that here was the answer she could give the fairy and therefore she might not die. The gate swung back and forth happily at the idea of being helpful and said, "Oil their hinges and give them a good coat of new paint. That is the proper thank you for all things."

The woman was again disappointed because she knew this would not work because humans did not have hinges or need painting. But she did not show it because she did not want to ruin the gate's happiness. Instead she thanked the gate and sprayed its hinges with WD-40 and gave it a coat of new paint.

Now the geraniums had seen all of this and had seen the woman's disappointment at each answer because plants are very perceptive creatures. It whispered to the woman, because it also did not want to ruin the dog's and gate's happiness by suggesting they were wrong, that it knew the answer to what would be a good gift to those who are kind. Again the woman got excited that here was the answer she could give the fairy and therefore she might not die.

The geraniums rustled their leaves and nodded their flowers in happiness of being helpful and said the proper thank you for kindness was to be repotted and watered regularly and have its dead flowers pinched off so it might grow new ones. Again the woman was disappointed because she knew humans do not grow in dirt or have flowers that need pinching. But she was extra careful not to show it, because plants are very perceptive, and she thanked the geraniums and repotted and watered them and everyday she pinched off the dead and dying flowers so it might grow new ones.

By the third day the woman still had no answer and was in despair nearly to tears because she knew without an answer she would die. The fairy returned with a pop. The woman trembled and her eyes fulled with tears.

But the fairy showed no pity or care. She asked, "Do you have an answer? What should be done for those who show kindness?"

The woman shook so much she could barely speak, but she knew to have no answer at all would go worse for her than having the wrong answer and so she said, "I don't know. It seems to be so very individual. The dog wanted a treat and a rub behind the ears, and the gate wanted oil on its hinges and a new coat of paint, and the geraniums wanted to be repotted and watered and to have is dying flowers pinched. Each had such vastly different answers and all of those are kindnesses in return, but there seems to be nothing one can do to bring about true justice for those who are kind as you did for me."

The woman stopped speaking, even more afraid than before. The fairy said nothing. An idea struck the woman. She remembered the dog wagging his tail in happiness and the gate swinging back and forth and the geraniums rustling their leaves and nodding their flowers. "Perhaps the reward for kindness is already there. Kindness brings a happiness all its own."

The fairy nodded sagely, but said nothing.

Suddenly a fit of anger and petulance struck the woman at the unfairness of it all. She grew reckless and stomped her foot because that was a silly answer. An even worse answer than giving treats and ear rubs or oil and paint or dirt and water. It was the silliest answer of them all and she hated it.

"I don't like this answer," the woman said. "Not one bit. I want justice. If it hadn't been for you there would have been no justice for me. The boys would have continued splashing people in their car, the other woman at work would be celebrating her promotion, and the gunman, even caught, would feel nothing and I would be dead. But for you, nothing would have harmed the wicked or helped the kind. If not for you, it would just be unfair and stay that way."

The woman was now so angry she could not stop and she stomped again. "I hate it. I wish it were different. I want karma. I want good things to happen to the good and bad things to happen to the bad. I want everything to turn out right. I want a promise that everything will turn out right and everyone will get their just desserts."

The woman finally stopped, and realized she had just been very rude to the fairy and she trembled even harder than before expecting the fairy to rise up and kill her on the spot. The woman nearly wished it so she wouldn't have to be in an unfair world anymore.

But the fairy was not angry. Instead she looked very sad. After a moment she said, "I do to. That is why, when I saw your future, I decided to help you."

And with that the fairy disassembled and again became the fly. She flew off and the woman never saw her again. But from then on the woman knew the true, though unfair, secret of happiness and, except for moments of frustration at the unfairness of the world, truly did live happily ever after.

THE END

The end of my very first fairy tale! Thank you all for reading it and I hope you enjoyed it. I'm going to take a few days off from the fantastic, not to mention I have updates on my gothic blog to make. I will return with a new story for you on Thursday. See you then!! <3 <3 <3

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Fly in the Web-- Part 5

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Once inside the cricket again began to shake and to shiver and to come apart in pieces that enlarged until the same small woman stood proud as before, only this time she seemed to be wearing the black armor of a cricket carapace instead of a dress of glimmering fly scales.

The woman stared even more than the first time as the fairy was even more magical and wonderful to her after the experiences of the last few days than she had seemed even on the frist day. Inside of her welled a fountain of such relief and gratitude that she had no words even to say it.

The fairy understood this and as is the way with fairies, she preferred it.  All fairies hate to be told Thank You as it is the words one would tell an underling to dismiss them and fairies are never servants nor underlings nor menial nor drudge nor employee to anyone, human or otherwise, but especially not human.

Fortunately, although the woman did not know this, her dumbstruck mind skipped over the "Thank You" that would have been expected in common polite society, and instead realized that what should do was to offer her guest refreshments. "Would you like some coffee?" she asked. "I have some Diet Cola in the refrigerator, but I don't know how much carbination it has...." The woman trailed off, seeing nothing in the reaction of the fairy at all. The woman took a deep breath and let the fountain of gratitude finally release.

"I owe you everything. My job. My life." The woman would have continued but the fairy said, "Fair payment for what i owed you. Now we are even. What did you think of the justice meted out to the malicious?"

"It was fun to see," the woman said. And then she thought a moment. The boys who splashed water.  That punishment had been perfect. That they were doused instead and the small damage to the car seemed to perfectly fit the crime.

Then there was the office. Again, justice was meted out, and seemingly to the right people. Or was it? At the second presentation it had seemed that the entire office looked guilty.  As if they were all in on the scheme to get rid of her. And at the time she was angry enough to want them all fired. She'd even determined to do that on Monday morning. But now that anger had somehow blown away with the next events and she held no anger at them anymore. The punishments for her boss and her boss's boss were fair. Anyone boss involved in such a thing should be fired. But she couldn't help but feel for him. He was near retirement age, but had recently acquired a young wife and new baby to care for.

He had a big house that he could barely make payments on when he was working. He had a new expensive car. The woman suddenly could feel his insecurity. Why he felt he needed all of these things. Why he would wish to promote someone he could keep as a strand in his web, catching and sticking to his words and policies. The woman knew she would work hard, but would also follow her conscience above all. She saw why he could not promote her, and a small part of her, very small, just a sliver of a sliver, felt sorry for him. She did not know where this part came from. This sliver of a sliver. But she thought it must have been from the past three days.

The gunman, who had tried to kill her and her friends she could not fathom. Except that there would be people who loved him and would be shocked at this. That he had been a swaddled baby once and then a little boy who brought home painting and drawings from school. Yes, it was justice and she would not condemn what had saved her life. But she couldn't cheer it or feel happy for it either.

And so, after much thought, she answered, "Even when things are perfectly just, it doesn't mean that anything is easy."

The fairy nodded quietly. "This is true," she said. And it was neither a complement nor a condemnation. Neither good nor bad. It was a statement that let the woman know the fairy now though of her as more than a human. That the fairy considered her wise.

The fairy seemed lost in her own thoughts. Finally the woman said, "May I ask you another question?"

They fairy looked up and said, "Ask whatever you wish."

"What about the kind? There was justice for the wicked, but what about the kind? Shouldn't they receive more justice than the wicked?"

The fairy looked somewhat shocked at this query. "I've never thought of such a thing before."

"It stands to reason," the woman shrugged.

"Yes, it does, doesn't it?" The fairy frowned. Then she stomped her foot, suddenly angry. "You ask far too many questions, human. I don't have an answer for you. Why should I have? I'm not a philosopheress."

The woman took a step back, confused by this sudden change in demeanor of the fairy. "I did meet your kindness with justice. And more! You saved my life. I saved your life, your job, and your clothes. What more do you want? Justice for all the kind? Justice for all the evil? I just told you I spent quite a lot of energy to do what I did for you. Since that is not enough, you tell me what justice should be given to the kind. I'll return in 3 days for your answer and if it seems you do not have one, then it shall be as if you'd never seen me."

The woman started to protest, saying she hadn't meant it in such a mean way. That she was just... but it was no use. The fairy didn't even bother to change form. There was a small pop, and she was gone.

Part 6

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Fly in the Web-- Part 4

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

The third day

The third day was a weekend and passed quietly away. She worked in her garden. She scrubbed her floors. She watched television. And it seemed that nothing bad could happen to her that day.

Then a friend called and invited her out. Some of them were going to a local place and having food and beer and did she want to come out. She considered this seriously for some minutes, wondering if she could avoid the danger the fairy had foretold. Would it come to her if she went out? Or would it come to her if she stayed in? So far the fairy had been correct in her prediction, and the woman feared what would come next. She had a foreboding feeling in her stomach that said this time there would be the worst of trouble.

She looked at the clock and saw there were 3 hours left until midnight, when the day would be over and she would be safe. She thought of her options. The first to remain home and jumping at every shadow, watching the clock, and fearing for her life. Or the second, to go with friends where she would have warmth and support and the comfort of company and laughter. Not to mention she had yet to celebrate her new promotion. She even had yet to tell anyone of it. She agreed to go out and said she would meet her friends at the restaurant.

It was the sort of night that only comes once or twice a year. The moon was down and the stars shone brightly. Meteors fell from the sky leaving sparkling trails like rockets. The air had that indescribable smell of freshness that only comes in spring, and the night was warm enough to be comfortable and cool enough to refresh. The woman walked along, trying to enjoy the perfect evening, but she found it hard. She looked around every corner and eyed every person she passed, wondering if this was the danger that would come. She hurried along, as if something unknown were chasing her, going somewhere between a walk and a run until she saw the light of the restaurant and her friends in a group, talking in the light from the outside sign. She ran to them then, feeling safer in the group and they laughed that she was out of shape because she was breathing hard, not knowing she had nearly run the entire way.

They went inside. The little place had only a few tables crammed inside a little space and their group was large enough they took up two. Their waitress was the owner's granddaughter, who had only just turned 18 and was still learning to get used to the wider, womanly hips that seemed to have suddenly appeared on her. She had been born here, and knew three languages, English, the native tongue of her family, and Dutch because she had just come back from being an exchange student in Holland. She was working in the restaurant for the summer and looking forward to starting college in the fall. The owner came out of the kitchen to greet them and admonish them and give them grief for being such children and she should tell each of their mothers that they were out so late and they all groaned and laughed. The grandmother had never learned English and so remained in the kitchen as the other family waited tables. She knew everyone and always had a piece of candy or two in her purse to sneak to little ones in church. Everyone in their group had gotten a candy from her more than a dozen times growing up.

The woman looked around for any sort of trouble, but only saw the comforting walls and posters. The usual music playing. The people she had always known. They ordered their food and beer and ate and laughed, staying after the official closing because the grandmother had accounts to do and since she was up, she let them.

The woman began to relax and feel safe. She looked up at the clock and realized they'd been there for hours and it was now 10 minutes to midnight. Her friends got up and said it was time to leave and a sudden fear struck her. Outside suddenly no longer seem fresh and beautiful but like a dark and dangerous place. An open place where she would be alone and anything might come up from all sides.

No, she begged them. Not yet. One more beer. They hadn't yet celebrated her promotion. At the mention of the promotion everyone clamored to hear more since she hadn't said a word about it. They all sat down and someone called to the grandmother to come hear, that she had gotten a big promotion.

The woman glanced up at the clock. Seven minutes to midnight. She began to tell her story, beginning with explaining the important presentation. But she kept her eye on the clock. Five minutes to midnight. 4 minutes to midnight. 3. 2.

The door broke open with a crash. Some screamed. Some ducked. A man wearing all black and carrying a gun stepped inside. He had greasy blond hair and cold gray eyes. He spoke and said some things that are horrible to say and will not be repeated here. He blamed them all for all his troubles, even though not a one of them had ever seen him or met him before. He yelled at them obscenities and abuse and finally said, "If you won't go back to your own goddam country I'll get rid of every one of you." And with that he started shooting.

He shot towards the little granddaughter who had been too frightened to even move. The bullet missed her and sank into the wall. He shot at the group of friends who minutes before had been breathlessly hearing about good news and only succeeded at hitting the floor. He stepped closer and shot at one of the woman's friends.

This time he hit and her friend collapsed with a sad groan and began to bleed on the floor but he was not dead. The man stepped closer with full intent to finish his murder. The woman instinctively flung herself between the gunman and her friend, wishing to shield him from further harm. The man held the gun steady and for a moment she looked straight into the barrel of the gun and she could never be sure but she thought she saw something in there, where her eyes shouldn't have been able to see anything at all. Her eyes went to the clock, just above the gunman's shoulder and saw the second hand tick. 15 seconds to midnight. 14. 13. The man aimed right between her eyes and pulled the trigger.

 There was a bang and a shriek.

No one ever could figure out how it happened. Even the gun experts were stunned, saying they'd never heard of anything like it. When the gunman pulled the trigger, the gun exploded into a million billion pieces. It blew off the man's hand and burned his face and neck. It seared his eyes, blinding him, and bits of metal lodged themselves in places where doctors could not take them out. The man spent the remainder of his days blind and in pain.

But, and this was something else no one could understand, no one else was injured. They were showered with slivers of metal that never cut and tinkled as they stood up and the metal fell off of their clothes.

The friend was fine. The bullet had gone cleanly through, barely scraping a bone. Many years later he would show the scar to his grandchildren and tell them how he was saved by the grace of god and the miracle that no one was hurt but the man pulling the trigger. The scar was big and round enough to be impressive and yet small enough to never be a bother and when he died the incident was even in his obituary, telling how he was the one who had been shot that night.

After the police and the ambulance had come and statements were taken and events gone over and everyone had mostly stopped quaking and holding hands, the woman went back to her ordinary home. There she found her ordinary dog dancing about, desperate to go out for a walk. She hurried, letting him out into the yard to relieve himself. Then she called him back. She was still too scared to take him for a walk. But the dog wouldn't come back. Instead he started to bark joyfully and spin in circles as if he were seeing a long lost friend again. The woman called him inside and this time he came, trotting along as a large cricket hopped beside him.

She opened the door and the dog went in, happy and expecting his treat, as was the nightly custom. But the woman wasn't going in and heading to kitchen to get the treat. She was still standing at the door, holding it open for the cricket. "Won't you come in?" she asked. And in two hops, the cricket came inside.

Part 5
Part 6

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Fly in the Web-- Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

The second day

The next day began as any other. The woman got up, went to work, and started to do her job. She was excited, because she had to give a big presentation for the president of the company that day and she greatly wanted to impress him.  She began to prepare for this when she noticed her presentation was missing.  She looked everywhere, but could not find it. She asked her co-workers and they all pleaded ignorance.

But the woman knew who had taken her work. It was another woman, also vying for promotion and giving a presentation that afternoon. But the woman had no proof of this and even if she had, there was little she could do with it. The other woman had worked with the company for a long time and she was great friends with boss and their boss's boss. When the woman had gone to them with complaints of sabotage before they simply told her to stop telling lies to get ahead and "playing the race card" and sent her about her work with a warning.

So the woman despaired, but refusing to give up completely, spent the morning trying to piece together in half a day what had been months of work and preparation. When the others went to lunch she continued to work, and by the time the presentation was to begin, she had cobbled together a sad and ugly version of what her beautiful presentation had been. The woman knew she had no hope, but she would not give up and show up with nothing but excuses. She would soldier on.

The presentation went off as badly as expected. She came off looking horribly stupid and ill-prepared in front of everyone, especially to the president of the company, whom she had barely met before and she knew this was a terrible first impression of her and her work.  The president of the company frowned while the other woman and her boss and her boss's boss all looked satisfied and smug.

She tried to explain about her missing presentation that she had left neatly by her desk the night before, but the president of the company was too angry to listen and told her she was foolish to lose something so important and that it spoke badly of her as an employee and she should consider herself on probation until he made a decision as to what to do with her.

The woman returned to her desk, nearly in tears, and began to pack up her things, knowing she would be fired later in the afternoon, while around her the entire office whooped with joy for the other woman and congratulated her, saying the promotion was as good as hers now. The woman had never felt so dejected and alone, and she went into the bathroom for a moment to wipe her eyes and try to hide that she was crying.

Later that afternoon her boss called her. He looked very stern. He brought her to his boss's office where his boss looked very stern. The president of the company was there and he also looked very stern. The woman looked from one man to the other and knew she was going to be fired. The president very gravely asked for her explanation. She again told her story. When he asked her where it could have gone she had no answer. She did not want to accuse anyone innocent, and while she suspected the guilty, she would not want to be the cause of any innocent person's distress. And so she simply said that she didn't know.

When she had no answer the president said he respected that she would not accuse others for her own guilt, but that her boss and her boss's boss had been telling him that her work was subpar and ill prepared and had been for some time now. The president said it was clear she was not prepared, and he couldn't afford dead weight in the company. She could consider herself terminated.

The woman tried not to cry. Despite her coworkers, she had always loved her job and worked diligently and hard. And now she was being fired through no fault of her own. She stood in the office and stared dumbly at the president of the company, wanting to say something, but not knowing what. The president became uncomfortable under her wide, hurt gaze and said, "You can go now."

Just then, the largest and loveliest monarch butterfly flew through an open window (no one could remember opening it, in fact, no one knew before that the windows could be opened) and landed on a poster borad that was tucked away in a corner behind the desk.

Now the president of the company was very fond of butterflies. His mother had been a scientist who studied them and his earliest memory was being where the monarchs wintered in the south and watching them fly about them by hte hundreds and thousands, surrounding him in their black and gold and he looked up and saw a sky so blue between the thousands of wings that it nearly made him cry. But of all the thousands of butterflies he had ever seen, this was the largest and most beautiful and he felt a need to get closer to look at it.

He stood up, awed, and rather than frightening it, the butterfly stayed on the poster board, slowly flapping its wings as though it were preening under the attention. The president of the company was too focused on the butterfly to see it, but the woman's boss and her boss's boss blanched the color of day old oatmeal because they knew the very poster board the butterfly had landed on was the stolen presentation of the woman. They held their breaths and hoped the butterfly would fly away.

But the butterfly did not move. It stayed there, preening under the president's attention, until, in a fit of panic, the boss's boss suddenly launched himself at the butterfly, shouting, and swatting at it.

But the butterfly eluded him, quickly walking to the underside of the poster, the part that faced the wall.

The president got annoyed and told the boss's boss to sit down. It was only a butterfly, and the boss's boss sat because there was nothing more he could do.

The president carefully lifted the poster board to reveal the butterfly and as he did the woman saw her own presentation.

"That's my presentation!" she cried and pointed her finger at it.

"What do you mean?" asked the president, suddenly confounded.

"That's my missing presentation." As if to confirm the accusation, the butterfly flew off the poster board and landed on the woman's outstretched finger.

The president looked down at the poster and saw a thumb drive taped to it with the woman's name on it and knew it truly was her missing presentation. On her finger the butterfly preened once more and then flew up and out of the window, out into the bright sunshine.

"What does this mean?" he asked. And though her boss and her boss's boss stammered and protested ignorance, their guilty faces gave them away. The president now called all the office back into the conference room and told the woman to give her real presentation.

It was the best work anyone had ever seen. The graphics were beautiful, the information thorough, but never boring, and her delivery calm and clear. The president was immediately impressed. He looked around the room at the various pale and sweating faces and knew why the woman's work had suddenly gone missing that morning.

He promoted the woman on the spot and fired her boss's boss. Her boss he demoted down to her former position for being a part of the collusion and sabotage of a fine employee and for lying about her work. From then on the woman's career was as stellar as her work. The company grew and she became vice president and then president after the current president retired. All her employees loved her as the best boss they'd ever had and the president never regretted the day he promoted her, nor forgot that he had nearly fired her because of a wicked plot, except for a butterfly that flew into the room. He filled his garden with milkweed, the food of monarch butterflies, so they would always have a place to fly to.

As for the other woman, without the support and patronage of those higher up than her, her slipshod work was clearly seen. She ended her career in a dead end middle management position, until, on her retirement, it became clear that she had defrauded the company for thousands of dollars. She died in jail.

Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Fly in the Web-- Part 2

Part 1

The first day

From her little cubical she could not see the rain that fell all that day, but she could hear the drops on the roof and she knew her walk home would be wet and cold. Especially since she had forgotten her umbrella. But by the time she was ready to leave the rain had stopped and the sun was beginning to see if it wanted to come out again that day or just remain tucked away behind the clouds.

The streets were very dirty and they were not well drained and so there were many puddles near the curb. Sometimes passing cars would run through them and may a big splash on the sidewalk next to it. Some sections of the sidewalk were nearly dry and some were still very wet because of this. But the road was wide and it was simple for drivers to avoid the puddles unless they wanted to see the splash.

The rusted out Toyota was filled with boys who wanted to see the splash. They were three brothers just out from school and enjoying the freedom of the eldest now having a license. They were not going anywhere in particular except to find the roads with especially big puddles, call out scores based on how big the splash, and declare extra points for dousing pedestrians.

The boys saw the woman and knew she was the perfect target, dressed as she was in her nice work clothes and with no umbrella. They bellowed with joy at the trouble they were about to cause.

The car hit the puddle perfectly. A tidal wave of muddy water rose into the air, so high it arced over the woman's head. She had just enough time to look up and see the underside of the wave before it came crashing down.

But not on her.

Inside the car the boys howled with shock as they were doused in dirty water. The car swerved first this way, then that way, until it finally ran off the road and into a pole.

The boys got out, shaking water from their clothes and barking swear words at each other, wondering what had just happened. The woman laughed and went home completely dry and warm. The boys went home as well, cold, wet, and angry at each other because they didn't understand how to be angry with themselves.

The car was mostly undamaged, but the bumper needed to be replaced and those are expensive.  They had to work all summer to pay for the repairs.Their parents were angry and took away the eldest's car privileges and they had to go back to riding the bus to school.

Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

I will try in the future to make the posts long enough that they are only about 2 or 3 parts, not much waiting for the next bit. But at the moment I am writing in bits and snatches as I finish my finals for school, so this one might take until Saturday. I'm not entirely sure what would be easiest for the readers, so if you have ideas on how you'd like this structured, how many posts for a story, and so forth, let me know in the comments. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Fly in the Web--Part 1

There once was a woman who had a quite normal job and a quite normal home. She had a normal dog and a normal cat and a gate and a small garden and she was very happy.

One morning, as she weeded her garden before work, she saw a beautiful spiderweb strung between two delphinium with a beautiful spider the shape of a diamond with black and yellow stripes. She was not afraid of spiders and in fact loved them in her garden where they killed the mosquitoes and pests. She was a very practical sort of woman and found that spiders generally left one alone and did their job well. But this spider was quite dead. She gently touched it to be sure and the spider did not move. Dead. But the web still shook because a fly had gotten caught in the sticky threads and was struggling mightily to get free.

Now the woman did not like flies any more than anyone else likes them. But as she watched the fly she began to feel sorry for it.  Had the spider been alive it would have been simply an act of nature.  But the spider was dead, leaving the fly to struggle until it died of exhaustion. It was an impractical thing to do, but something in the woman's heart moved and it seemed a terrible way to die, even for a fly. So she reached down and carefully pulled the fly from the sticky threads.

The fly sat on her hand for a moment as though relieved and catching its breath. The woman thought herself silly for imagining a fly feeling relieved and catching its breath. And yet, this fly certainly seemed to be doing so. She let the fly rest on her hand, though she had a practical urge to slap it and squash it dead. Had she seen it in her house she would have gotten her flyswatter. But she let the fly be, since she had saved it, it seemed a waste to now kill it.

And then the most extraordinary thing happened. The fly began to tremble all over, shaking as if it had a fever. Then it began to shake apart, pieces flying off. The pieces grew larger and reassembled and when it stopped moving there stood before the woman a small, dark woman, only about a foot tall. She was dressed in black with black hair that hung like ropes down her back. Her skin was so dark a brown the whites of her eyes seemed to shine. Her dress shimmered, like the iridescent scales of a fly's body. And yet, despite the blackness of her dress, she seemed to shine as though a light was within her.

She was the most beautiful person the woman had ever seen. The woman stepped back in awe of the tiny woman's beauty and the surprise of witnessing the transformation, which had taken only an instant.

The fairy (for what else could she be?) reached out her hand and took the woman's hand in hers and said, "I owe you much for your kindness. Without you I would surly have died in that web. As my thank you for your kindness, accept my gift. Three times in the next three days, someone will try to harm you, in ways big and small.  But these evildoers will not succeed for you are under my protection. There will be justice to the evildoers and not a hair on your head will be harmed."

And with this the pieces of the fairy flew apart and shrank and reassembled until all that was left was a fly, buzzing away past her head.

The woman was truly shocked and wondered two things.  The first was if all flies were truly fairies in disguise and she had been killing them all along. And the second, more worrisome thought was that someone would try to harm her three times in the next three days. She couldn't think of anyone who would bear any sort of grudge against her.

But again, she was a very practical woman and she had to get ready to go to work, so she decided not to worry over it. But of course finding out someone means to harm you is impossible not to worry about, and so she worried.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6