For Children

Rosalie Steiner

A Christmas Swap

2013 7th-8th Grade Prose Honorable Mention

A changeling is a fairy switched at birth with a human infant and then raised like normal human being. The infant I replaced was named Jane. We switched on Christmas Eve.

So now, as I sit in my room, snow is falling gently from the deep blue, almost black sky, as the full moon casts a soft glow on the blanket of snow that covers the rooftops of the houses resting on a bed of the pure white substance. I let out a gentle sigh, picking fuzz off of my socks as I slide off of my bed. The house is silent, and the springs of the bed creak loudly, echoing through the empty house. In the kitchen, I can see the knives sitting on the countertop.  I pick them up with a cloth. Fairies can’t touch metal, after all. Looking across the street, I can see the soft glow of candles sitting in the windowsills in a house across from me.

From behind the glass, I can barely make out the silhouette of a pine tree with colorful decorations hanging off of the branches. Looking at the kitchen, it seems dull and colorless compared to the neighboring houses.

Maybe I can brighten it up with lights.

In my closet, I open a box and curled neatly inside are fairy lights. There are brightly colored reds, oranges, yellows and greens, especially greens. Grabbing a roll of tape, I shove the box back in my closet and begin to string up the lights.

Fairy lights are different from regular lights that humans wrap around trees. They change color automatically without any use for electricity, and they give off an almost eerie, but soothing, glow. It enchants the mind, and as I finish hanging them up, I almost get lost in the dancing row of colors myself.

I hear the ringing of the doorbell, and I walk to the front door, opening it a crack. A family, with a baby boy, no more then seven months old, and a little girl that looks about five are standing at the door with pots covered by tin foil.

“Hello...” I say, stunned. What are they doing here? I know that they are neighbors, but I have never actually met them.

“Hello!  I’m Jackie Stevens.  This is my husband, Richard, and our daughter, Lillian, and our son, Jack. We noticed that you are alone here most of the time, so we thought we could lighten up the mood!”  The mother spoke happily, as she gave me a bright smile. I nod, and step aside almost automatically. My eyes linger on the little boy for a second before I close the door behind them. These people are strange.  I see them set down the food.  Quite useless really, I can’t taste human food. We talk for a bit, but then they ask about the lights in my room.
“You can look at the lights, if you want.” I smile sweetly, deceitfully, leading them into the room. Their eyes widen, as they ogle the shimmering globes. I can see the reflection of the lights in their eyes, and know they will be enchanted within seconds. Slowly, discreetly, I pick up the sleeping little boy, and bring him into room next to the basement, where I place him in a carefully woven carriage. The parents won’t be waking up anytime soon as long as they stare at the lights. They won’t even hear when the Folk in the woods arrive to swap the baby.  One family down and successfully switched!  A small smirk curls on my lips.

Humans are such foolish creatures.