Saying Sorry

 In Short Fiction, Stories

Grizila hobbled down the road, wondering again if this was worth it. Another spasm of pain shot up her leg. Bits of silver flaked off her crushed wing. The wind whistled through its ruptured filminess, barely held together with a crude, makeshift bandage, forcing more of the skin to bend and break. Her body begged her to stop. But no, she had made her decision and she would stick to it.

She shook her head to remind her body that her mind had overruled it. First came the crackle of her neck bones, snapping against one another, then she moaned aloud. Was there any part of her that was in good condition now?

Even had the men been less skillful with the aim of their rocks, in her old age she was much less artful at dodging. Her wings could hardly lift her a dandelion’s height from the ground. She could still hear them yelling, “Take that, old bitch! And it’s not half what you deserve, either!”

All she had done was come clean about how she used to sit on this fence by the side of the road and sometimes throw a stone or stick at passersby. Only for a bit of a giggle, to watch people trip up and drop their parcels. It was a bit of fun. That’s what fairies did. There wasn’t a lot to occupy her time, and really, that was one of the lazier and more harmless of amusements.

It was funny when a woman dropped a bundle of cheese and followed it headfirst, throwing up a grey dust cloud and bits of cheesy muck. The confused and angry look on her face was priceless. Or when a young boy on his way to the market dropped a sack of potatoes and scrambled after them. The bag split open, the potatoes went in every direction, and the boy didn’t know which way to run first. Watching him dart this way and that and his arms flailing like an octopus was hilarious!

 It wasn’t her fault that one of these men’s wives had tripped thirty years ago. Tripped! The human’s leg hit the stony ground with a loud cracking sound. Grizila’s ears still rang with the memory. It wasn’t her fault that the woman was never able to walk again. Not really. Was it?

Some people certainly knew how to hold a grudge. She hadn’t known that the woman’s injury lasted that long—fairies don’t hang around to check up on that sort of thing. This was where honesty got you. You tried to do the right thing and people didn’t even appreciate it!

The rocks and the bruises and the broken wing, that’s what happened when you confessed.

Before the men throwing rocks, there had been the man in the village. Grizila had told him candidly that fifty years ago, as a young and somewhat irresponsible sprite, she’d slipped a love potion into the tea he made, to inspire him to make false declarations of love to maidens at the village dance.

“Even the ugly ones. In fact, especially the ugly ones, I think that’s how I brewed the potion. The ugly ones were to get the most flowery, romantic declarations of all!” Grizila had admitted.

How could she have known that his wife had been one of the girls at the dance and that he’d enchanted her with his best speech of the night? And fifty years later, how could she know his wife was standing nearby, listening to this whole confession?

She hadn’t realised how hard old women could slap, either. Ouch! She had a feeling they mightn’t be husband and wife much longer. That ugly woman had an ugly tongue, and Grizila, running away fast, could still hear it from quite a distance.

But she’d set herself on this path. The Old One of Fairyland had told her she was dying. Grizila had a weak heart, a heavy heart, and the Old One didn’t know how to change that. They discussed how Grizila wanted to spend her final days. Most fairies nearing the end wanted to sit in Fairyland and drink blossom tea all day. Grizila wanted her last days to be remembered as a worthwhile time in her fairyhood.

“My days as a young fairy were so full of fun, but I don’t think they were very… well, meaningful,” she told the Old One. “I want to do something special before I go. Maybe write a book or carve a statue. So people will remember me in a good way. Because in the fun times, I think people remembered me in a not-so-good way!”

The Old One nodded.

“I’m not quite sure which I should do,” Grizila began. She’d spent most of her life playing tricks, not attending sculpting classes.

“Grizila, what did you do when you had fun?”

“I pranked people,” Grizila said. “I wasn’t a very nice fairy, to be honest, but I was very good at pranking! I just loved … being around humans and seeing them do silly things. And I was better at it than the other fairies. I liked that.”

“Some of those other fairies played pranks with you?”

“Yes, but many went off and did other things like making blossom tea or floral wreaths or even sculptures. I was the expert prankster among the fairies in my set. Now I realise that isn’t something to be so proud of.  I know inside it wasn’t always the right thing to do, but I don’t know what to do about it. People don’t think of me so kindly, but I want them to. Making humans cry isn’t quite as funny as it seemed back then. But… I just loved being the best.”

The Old One looked into Grizila’s eyes.

“You have always been the best, Grizila. Why do you think that is?” She held out her hands and Grizila took them, steady and warm. For a moment, the Old One transported her back to those heady days as a pranking fairy.

She had been dancing about carelessly when group of humans had approached and she’d felt instantly energised. Their different shapes and sizes and the expressions on their faces had intrigued her.

No matter what tricks she played or if some of them failed, Grizila had always been ready for more, to keep going when other fairies moaned and returned to napping in their rose-petal beds and little leafy hammocks.

“I suppose being around humans is the best thing in the world to me,” said Grizila. “They’re interesting. I’m at my best when I’m around them.”

The Old One nodded. “And you never give up. You’re not well. You will need that persistence, that strength if you want to… do something special.”

“I need to go back to the people I’ve pranked,” Grizila said. “I work best when I’m with the humans. Except this time, I won’t prank. I’ll apologise. I’ll make it up to them.”

“You need to commit with your whole heart to make this journey. Your heart is growing weaker every day. You can feel it?”

“Something heavy is inside me,” Grizila had told the Old One before departing. “But I’m hoping it will become lighter as I make amends.”

Grizila imagined a beautiful, cleansing process, but apologising wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. She visited humans and explained her youthful folly and said sorry in a most sincere manner. Being truly sorry was what mattered, and that’s what Grizila had always been taught. Say sorry, Grizila. No, don’t just say it, mean it. People should acknowledge her sincerity, smile, and make her feel good. She deserved it. She had decided to say sorry when she could be sipping tea in a fairy field!

The humans would realise how much effort a fairy apology requires and open their arms to embrace her. They would be grateful and call her a hero, and she would bathe in their respect and admiration and know everything was set to right. Her body would feel lighter in that warmth.

But it hadn’t quite worked out that way. So far, people weren’t very understanding. Apologies were not easy. There was the spit and the stones and the curses. Each day, Grizila walked more slowly, and it took more effort for her heart to make its next “thump.” Every so often, a cramping in her chest tried to squeeze the organ into oblivion. Now it was her wing, her silly wing, that was collapsing and useless.

Who was next? Ah, a pair of families, and she had invited them to a proper meeting. This was very important.

Children are very important to humans. This prank needs to be on your ‘sorry list,’ Grizila,” the Old One had said.

Humans didn’t have the best sense of humour. Fairies could always see the light side, but humans tended to take life so much more seriously.

Grizila vowed she would apologise thoroughly for this misdeed. No popping in and blurting out an unrehearsed line as she had with the man and the love potion. She sent out invitation cards, duly engraved in fancy script, to both the Fotheringtonworth and Bogg families. However, with her limp and her damaged leg, she arrived at the hall far later than expected and wasn’t as presentable as she had hoped to be. Six people sat around the table, watching her stumble in.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” she mumbled as she entered. She had created another thing to apologise for, and she hadn’t even got to the real apology. When would her time for apologising end?

Farmer Bogg helped her to a chair, and Lady Fotheringtonworth smiled graciously. The Lady looked like a woman who was used to being the centre of attention, but Grizila was most interested in the children. Hadn’t they been just babies when she had last seen them? Now they were young men. Albert Fotheringtonworth and Samuel Bogg. How time flew! As babes they had looked almost the same, except for the old rags wrapped around the farmer’s boy and the brilliant gold embroidered cloth around the nobleman’s boy. Both had been crying and had looked up at her with those big brown eyes when she’d picked them up. Then she’d made the switch.

“I’m Grizila. I have some interestingimportantnews for you,” she began. How did one say this delicately? I suppose there wasn’t a way. Out with it, then.

She turned to Samuel Bogg. “You’re not his son,” she said, pointing at Farmer Bogg.

“What?” the two men asked.

Mrs. Bogg squealed.

“I knew it!” Farmer Bogg roared. “It was Big Gareth the Woodsman at the Hay Square Dance, wasn’t it? You’ve always had your eye on him. That’s why you’ve had him over chopping wood even though I could do it myself. You’ve been doing the dirty in the woodhouse for years!”

“Don’t accuse me. You’ll be sorry when you find out what’s in your dinner tonight!”

“The lower classes…” Lady Fotheringtonworth looked at the bickering couple smugly.

“You’re not his son, either,” Grizila said to Albert Fotheringtonworth. She pointed at Lord Fotheringtonworth. The elegant Lady’s face would have dropped off completely had it not been for the remarkable amount of makeup soldering it in place.

“That’s not true, Daddy, is it?” Albert asked, but Lord Fotheringtonworth’s attention was completely on Lady Fotheringtonworth.

Mrs. Bogg laughed at the uneasy silence. “Woohoo, not so hoighty toighty after all, are you, missus high and mighty with all your jewellery and gold? You’ve been opening your legs to all the lords and dukes, haven’t ya?”

“At least they’d be lords and dukes and not a common woodsman! I would have some taste!” Lady Fotheringtonworth snapped.

“Are you admitting to bedding others? Who? Lord of Featherstone? Duke of Greenlakes?”

“I never confirmed anything! It was hypothetical!”

“Hypothetical humping!”

“Now wait a moment, all of you,” Grizila interrupted. “This meeting was supposed to be about me, not you. Could you stop stealing the limelight with your pettiness? I’m going to DIE soon and I need to say…” She coughed. Specks of blood spattered on her hand, and she felt the squeeze in her chest again. It’s really happening. I must hurry up. Time is against me.

“This isn’t about bed-hopping. It’s about bassinet swapping. I confess, I swapped these two adorable lads as babies. I took this boy and put him in your cradle and took that one and put him in yours. It was a bit of a joke. I’m trying to put things right.”

She giggled. No one else seemed to think it was that funny.

“Your noble blood, sir, flows in this boy’s veins,” she said, pointing to Samuel. “And the honest heart that loves the land beats in the chest of this young man, Albert.”

“The true heir to Castlemaine is that boy in rags?” Lord Fotheringtonworth boomed. “Stand up, boy. Stand up when I speak to you. Hmm. I can see he has a good stature. What a fine broad chest he has! That’s my blood all right. What a Lord you will make.”

“No!” Albert said. He tugged at his father’s sleeve. “I have spent my entire life preparing for ruling Castlemaine! I am a great horseman.”

“A great horseman because your real family is from a filthy farm filled with them,” the nobleman said. “No doubt you would be good with cows and chickens, too. I don’t want an heir whose blood is impure. I’ll take this real son of mine and make something of him.”

“Do I have to go?” Samuel asked, gripping the elder farmer’s hand. “He looks so mean.”

“You’ve always earned your keep, Samuel,” said Farmer Bogg. “You’re our son and we’ll keep you.”

“What about me?” asked Albert.

“This… Samuel, is he? He’s of noble blood,” Lord Fotheringtonworth said. “He cannot stay as a lowly farmhand. I will not have it. He will come to Castlemaine and be brought up properly. You can have a stable of horses all your own, boy, and roast beef for every meal!”

“My own horses?” Samuel asked. He tried to shake off Farmer Bogg’s hand and leaned forward. “A whole stable sounds very good. And I do like the sound of roast beef every day. What else?”

“But what about me?” asked Albert. “Those are my horses!”

“Don’t you bribe my son away from me!” Farmer Bogg shouted.

“He’s not your son and he never was. The old hag confessed.”

“You’re not getting your claws into our Samuel!” Mrs. Bogg shrieked. Her eyes filled with tears. She grabbed at Lady Fotheringtonworth’s gold necklace and tried to strangle her. “Take that! And that! Oh, I hate you.”

“You could have me,” Albert whispered. Everyone was too busy fighting over who would have Samuel.

Grizila walked up to Albert and touched his shoulder. She hadn’t touched him since that long-ago day she had swapped him for Samuel. Back then they’d both been snug, warm pink things in swaddling clothes, practically identical. Now Albert quivered at her touch, and she felt how different he was from the strong, sure Samuel.

Even in rags, Samuel looked more dignified and glorious by the second.  Despite his bright blue and gold embroidery, Albert faded into the room’s walls. His eyes began to sting with tears.

Grizila had always liked humans. She loved watching their expressive faces when she was pranking them. Then a deeper feeling quivered inside her. Maybe there was something more than just saying sorry, something she could give him other than her words.

If she left Albert like this, he certainly wasn’t going to remember her kindly.

“If you’d like you could come with me. I’m not much. I’m dying. But I’d like to have some company. I don’t want to die alone.”

Albert nodded. He slowly helped her out of the room, and the bickering faded into the distance.

“I didn’t expect it to happen like this,” Grizila said. “But I should have. None of my apologies have gone the way they were supposed to.”

“Don’t worry about it,” said Albert. “It’s not like Father and Mother are the best people in the world. They won’t even notice I’m gone.” He sighed and wiped his face on his sleeve.

“I’m really sorry for that,” Grizila said.

Grizila limped a little while longer but soon, despite her determination, she begged to stop. Albert collected some leaves and branches and made a strange, makeshift shelter.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said. “At home, we always had a castle and servants, and well, I guess I’m pretty useless at most things.”

“No, the roof is just right,” said Grizila.

“It’s only made of leaves,” Albert said. “It has holes in it and won’t keep rain out.”

“It’s perfect,” Grizila said. “Look over there. See the dark green leaf shaped like a heart on that bush? And that tree over there with the yellow fruit? Bring me some of the leaves and fruit, and I will turn them into a hearty meal.”

Albert did as he was told, and Grizila mustered up the bit of fairy cheekiness she had left in her to give the ingredients new life. Not just a few yellow fruits and leaves, but a feast of warm vegetable and beef pie, grilled fish, roasted carrots and beans, a spread of colourful rainbow cupcakes, and hot herbal tea in little mugs.

“Eat up because we need to travel soon,” Grizila said.

“You aren’t well,” Albert said. “You should rest. If you keep travelling, you’ll make yourself sicker.”

“I’ll keep getting sicker anyway. I need to keep going. I need to apologise.”

“You didn’t tell me what all these apologies are about. Have you swapped other children, too?”

Grizila shook her head. “No, but I have done many things I should say sorry for. When I was young, I played some bad pranks. It was just for fun, but it was wrong. I wanted to make up for it, but most people haven’t been understanding.”

“I know what you mean,” Albert said. “When I was little, I had a governess and put a frog in her pocket as a joke, but she didn’t think it was funny. I said sorry, but she was very cross and never forgave me. She called me Dirty Bertie when my parents weren’t around.”

“My pranks have been much worse than that. I swapped you and Samuel, and I am sorry.”

“It wasn’t the right thing,” conceded Albert. “But if Mother and Father and Farmer Bogg and his wife were nicer, it wouldn’t have turned into such a mess. They don’t want me, and they don’t care. Maybe I’m just someone no one could want.”

“Nonsense.” Grizila reached over and gave him a hug. She told him everything—about the Old One, the pranks she had played in her youth, the men on the road who had thrown things at her.

“That’s so cruel! It’s so much worse than Dirty Bertie. Surely they should see that you were only trying to do the right thing!” he said. “How can people be so ungrateful?”

Grizila smiled. “That’s so… good of you, Albert.”

“You’re good too, Grizila. I know you are. People have been awful not to give you a proper chance.”

Grizila felt the hard and heavy squeezing of her heart loosen and become less painful. So this was what it felt like to make a friend. It had been a long time.

“I have to keep going. I said I’d make things right, and I will.”

“You’re the bravest person I ever met,” said Albert. “Far braver than all those soldiers Father talks about commanding. I’ll help you get there, Grizila. Let me help you with your wing.”

Albert tried to re-patch the wing. Grizila grumbled that she was never going to fly again at this stage of her life so maybe they should just rip it off. The fragile pane was shattered in so many places, and she wondered if it would ever properly regrow. There was only so much a fairy could do. The ribbon bandage was falling off. It trailed in the dirt and never properly covered all the gaps in her wing. While the wind whistled through the gaps h, new holes had formed.

Albert took his beautiful, embroidered jacket and tore it to make patches for the holes in Grizila’s wing. Grizila showed him how to collect flower pollen and turn it into a fragrant, waxy glue with a quick enchantment. Soon she had wings that glistened with patches of blue and gold.

“It’s so beautiful, so stylish,” she cried, and for the first time in a long while, she laughed and flapped her wings a little, forgetting she was old and weak. She put her arms around Albert and swayed from side to side, and he began to smile and laugh, too.

“Grizila, you’re beautiful. These colours are truly you.”

She looked in his eyes, and he didn’t seem so distant. “I’m glad to be all dressed up because I’ve got someone important to see,” she said. “Let’s get going.”

Albert nodded. “All right. But promise me you’ll let me look after you, and you’ll tell me when it aches. Then we can stop for breaks and some water. Who are we seeing?”

“Someone who reminds me of you,” Grizila said. “Someone very kind. That’s why I think this prank was the worst of all. Perhaps you won’t think I’m a good person after this.”

“It can’t be that bad.”

“It was. Now that I’ve met you, it’s even more important I see her, Albert. Look how good you’ve been to me. Oh, I shouldn’t have done what I did!”

Albert said nothing. He took Grizila’s hand and let her lean on his shoulder. As they hobbled down the road, Grizila poured her heart out about the kind woman, Annie.

Years back, she’d been flying. Her wings were young and strong.  Grizila was a little too carefree, and she hit a branch and fell in a pile of dung.

She screamed, for not only did the dung smell absolutely disgusting but the fall had not been an easy one. The ground below the smelly stuff was hard; she thought she might have broken something.

“Are you all right?” a woman’s voice said from behind her.

Did she look all right? She was screaming and covered in filth. Blood streaked her face where the branch had scratched her. Grizila curbed her sharp tongue and let the woman take her into the house, fix her some tea and cake, and clean her up. She allowed her arm to be bandaged.

“These are delicious cakes,” Grizila said.

“I’ve always wanted to start my own bakery,” Annie confided. “But it’s one of those dreams, not for the likes of me.”

Annie chatted with Grizila, plied her with cakes and tea, and kept changing her bandages. It was a pleasant visit, but when Grizila was back to good health, she was itching to leave. Life was too short to be hanging around in one place. There were sparkly things to see and pranks to play, and Grizila only cared about frolicking, flittering from one place to another, and flying as fast as a young fairy could.

“I’ll pay you back well. You’ve been very kind.” It was an offhand comment, a vague memory of etiquette; Grizila did not think about what it really meant.

“You don’t have to,” Annie said.

“Oh, but I will.”

With the flick of her wrist, some well-chosen herbs, and a few chants, Grizila had left a pile of fairy gold in Annie’s backyard.

Fairy gold glittered more than ordinary money, and Grizila had a knack for making piles of it. However, after it was made—sometimes it took hours, sometimes months, depending on her recipe—the gold transformed into something else, like mouldy bread, piles of sand, autumn leaves, or dog dung. It was amusing to buy a little cake, a piece of jewellery or a sparkly scarf and know that a few days later that merchant who tried to rip you off with their exorbitant prices would open their bag and have nothing but some sand or the foul stench of animal faeces.

“You gave that Annie woman animal faeces?” said Albert. “After she rescued you from a pile of it? Oh, Grizila!”

“I know. It’s hard to explain,” Grizila said. “Making fairy gold is a habit. I just—I wasn’t even thinking about it. It was the same when I switched you and Samuel. That’s how fairies are brought up. We aren’t supposed to think, we just do, and then we laugh. It’s a glorious, happy life, but ever since I was told I was at the end of it, I’ve been thinking. My life was so full of fun, I thought there could only be good memories. But they seem sort of empty. I heard that Annie tried to start a bakery with the gold I left, and she got in trouble because it wasn’t real money. I’m truly going to make it up now. I know words won’t be enough.”

“Life was fun for you, but I guess it wasn’t so much for other people. I suppose the same could be said for the Lord of Castlemaine.”

Grizila was silent. The whole point of pranking was to poke and to stir, not to make sure everything was comfortable. Comfortable would have been boring—or would it? She rested her head on Albert’s steady shoulder. Even when he expressed disappointment in her, he was still her friend. He looked at her warmly and held her firmly. Grizila had many fairy friends flit out of her life, great for a laugh and a prank, but none of them here now. Not one of them had ever looked at her the way Albert did.

“My pranking days are behind me,” she said. “I’m very sorry. About what happened to you and to Annie, especially. I know just saying sorry won’t change things back for you.”

“I’m all right,” said Albert. “I feel really bad about Annie, and I’ll help you make it up to her. I don’t want to be like my father—whoever he is, nobleman or farmer. I don’t want to use people. That’s what he does, thinks of them as tools.”

“I’ll make her up a pot of real gold,” Grizila said. “It’s the least I can do.”

When Grizila and Albert arrived, Annie’s yard was full of litter, overrun with greedy rats. There was paint peeling away from the wooden boards, the windows were dark, and the plants were dying.

“This place looks dead.” Albert toed the parched grass. Grizila wished he hadn’t said that word.

“I’m going in anyway,” Grizila said. She took a long, fallen tree branch and swept rats aside in her fight to the front door. “Shoo! Shoo!”

“Do we have to go up here?” said Albert, wrinkling his nose. “This is disgusting! She’s gone away, Grizila. Maybe we can leave her a note. If your hand is hurt, I’ll write it out for you.”

“It doesn’t have the same meaning at all,” Grizila said. “Are you with me, or not?”

Albert groaned. “I’m with you. But be careful. That rat almost hit me in the face.”

The door fell in easily, and Grizila called out, “Annie! Annie!”

There was no answer.

“Maybe she’s, you know…” Albert’s voice trailed off. “It’s been a long time.”

“She can’t be,” Grizila said. “I need to tell her I’m sorry!”

The place smelled of mould, and Albert held his nose as they searched each room. It wasn’t at all like the beautiful mansion he grew up in. But when he thought of Annie, he pushed past his revulsion. They opened a door, and a new horror greeted them. A nest of cockroaches was disrupted, and a cloud of dust billowed in their faces. A disintegrating shelf of rotting food fell to the floor. Albert wiped cobwebs from his hair as he passed through the doorway.

Finally, they found Annie. She was lying in bed among tangled and grimy sheets. Her body was skeletal, her skin was light grey. She did not seem to recognise Grizila, but she did not order her away. Albert found it hard to match the dull, grey thing on the bed with the picture Grizila had painted of the bright, kind young woman who baked such delicious cakes. The stench around her was foul, not the enticing smell of fresh baking. His first instinct was to run to her and straighten out those bedclothes. Grizila walked to Annie’s side and bent over her face.

“What happened? Why are you here, like this?”

Annie writhed. “If only I could be out of my misery,” she whispered. “You’re the first people to visit me in, oh, God knows how long. Whoever you are. I don’t care. I was certain I’d die alone.”

“I’m sorry, Annie. So sorry. I came here to bring you gold…”

Annie moaned. “Not more gold! I hate gold. I started my business. I made promises, and I paid them. I always keep my promises. Then people said the gold turned to crap—literally. I didn’t know what they were talking about, but they wouldn’t listen. They beat me and ransacked my house. I have nothing but enemies. No one has trusted me since. Everyone curses my name. I haven’t been outside this house for years. When I got ill, the doctor would not see me. He said he didn’t want to be paid in dung.”

“But I could give you real gold! Not dung!”

“Please, no gold. I hate the bloody idea of it!” Annie’s tiny frame could barely let out a sound above a whisper, but it was forceful. “Now I will die in pain, and I just want it to be over.”

Albert looked at the two old women. “Grizila, money will do nothing for her now. Apologies are useless, too. There’s only one thing she could possibly want.” Albert placed Annie’s gnarled hand in Grizila’s. “Someone who cares.”

Annie’s hand slightly tightened its grip, and a small smile curved on her face. Grizila looked up at Albert. “Thank you. Thank you for being my friend. I wanted to make things right for you.”

“Thanks for being mine, Grizila. Don’t worry about me now. You’ve taught me something special. I want to be the kind of person who cares about other people. I’m glad I’m not Lord of Castlemaine. I really am.”

Grizila nodded and coughed. More blood appeared on her arm and the back of her hand, but she did not let go. It’s time. I’ve done what I wanted to do. I’ll make these last minutes mean something.

“I’ll stay with you, Annie.”

Grizila pressed Annie’s fragile fingers against her cheek. Soon the only sound in the room was their breathing and an occasional cough. The coughs grew raspier until it was only Grizila coughing and Annie’s hand went limp.

Grizila kept on holding it till her own breath dissolved into the air.

 

Rebecca Fung is from Sydney, Australia and loves to write a range of fiction stories from fantasy and horror to children’s fiction. She loves owls, mandarins and chocolate and can often be found on the sofa with her face buried in a book. She has published a children’s fantasy book, ‘Princess Hayley’s Comet’.

Photo by Chris on Unsplash

Creator Spotlight:

Rebecca Fung
Author of “Saying Sorry”

What inspired you to write this story/poem? 

I have always loved writing stories that look on the darker side of fantasy – especially the darker side of things we expect to be very light and fun – like fairies. I really wanted to write a story that saw a fairy from their not-so-light side. I also read a book about apologies and how important a good apology was to making yourself and others better (and why so many people made bad apologies) and this story came together. 

What do you hope readers take from this story/poem? 

Mainly I hope they enjoy the story! I think the story says something about how anyone can change – no matter how late in life – and how our actions have consequences we can’t always foresee or control, but we still need to take responsibility for our decisions. 

To give other writers hope, would you mind sharing with us how many edits and/or submissions this story/poem has been through?

I don’t know how often this was edited, exactly. Many times, trying to get Grizila’s journey just right. I usually plan stories but this time I wrote the story without the ending in mind – I had an idea of several things that would happen to Grizila and that was it, so it needed editing to become cohesive. I did submit this once elsewhere before it was picked up by Apparition Lit, where I received some great feedback and it was edited again before publishing!

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