“You're not dead dearie,” muttered the Old-Woman-Fairy to the blinking iris, where in the dilated pupil her charge stood transfixed, studying her reflected self with a look of utter bafflement on her oval face.
“Always the same...a dramatic clutch of the throat and terrified eyes...with frantic attempts to speak words in different tones, hum in different pitches, followed by red-faced rage, or a soundless tantrum and heaved unheard sobs...wish one of them would accept it with some semblance of dignity. It is, after all, for their own good.” The Old-Woman-Fairy grumbled as she kept an eye on the All-Seeing-Eye as she at the same time washed up her lunch plates: she'd had Tomato and Basil soup with a cream cheese and cucumber roll and a mug of Builder's tea.
“Anyone would think I did this for fun...,” she continued as she vigorously scrubbed the tea-stained mug and rinsed it under a trickle of cold water, but whether she was referring to the sink of dirty crockery or her job who can say for she commented or made disparaging remarks every single day, yet somehow failed to see the similarity between herself and her charges, and why it was that she had been chosen to temporarily dumb others.
Her attention having wandered, her charge no longer filled the glass eyeball set. Now where had that pale freckled slip of a thing gone to? The Old-Woman-Fairy tutted and tottered up to the blank central dot, “Show me the girl!” She commanded in her don't-mess-with-me voice and thumped it, whereupon its eyelid flickered several times until its tired pupil could again bring into focus the current subject, who was now sitting down but still speechlessly pawing her white throat in disbelief. “Don't you dare doze off on me!” The Old-Woman-Fairy reprimanded the Eye, and possibly the girl although she showed no such signs of doing so.
This particular charge hadn't been placed under the practised gaze of the Old-Woman-Fairy for very long, less than four months, but in that short spell of time, she'd come to know very well this Irish-blooded girl's articulated and unarticulated expressions. And she was infuriating! Never listening to reason, even if it was her own, and so indecisive you wanted to shake her! Even when she was doing nothing of interest at all, her brain was busy: chattering like a crazed monkey as it created obstacles where they were none, pulled apart every minor and major detail, over-identified with the thought of new horizons, worried about trivial items or dug up deeper ones. Silencing her tongue was the only way to put a stop to her over-analysis, and the Old-Woman-Fairy felt, as she always did, a sense of glee upon reaching this conclusion. There were, of course, other ways to silence charges, but muting the voice was by far her preferred method.
But that's not to say she wasn't a kindly Old-Woman-Fairy; the decision was always made in the best interests of her charge, but when all had been said and done, rethought many times over, really what else was there left to think or say. And she plainly didn't have as much patience with these young things having arrived at a wiser age. In her undergraduate years, she'd had more sympathy and had engineered the zapping of their voice bit-by-bit. “I was too soft,” she now said to student fairies to ward them off making the same mistake, “the shock is greater if you take the words right out of their mouth in one fell swoop. Fairy-technology, as you know, has moved on, yet the results are the same for our charges: Being unable to say nothing at all is a distraction tool – it forces humans to stay present.”
Picture Credit: In the midst of a tree sat a kindly-looking old woman by Arthur Rackham