Rejected Files: The Nine Sisters

[Hi! The Rejected Files is where I post stories or essays that have been turned down for publication, but that I still have a soft spot for. This is a little vignette/fairy tale I wrote a few weeks ago. I hope you like it!]

Once a young woman named Aurora was waiting for a bus. She had to go to a big office building and explain them why they should give her a job. She was poor and very frightened.

A grackle with one leg landed on the stop sign next to her. It squawked and squawked. Aurora tried to ignore it, but it only got louder. Finally she looked up at the grackle.

“What do you want?” she asked it.

“59 and Shepherd,” the grackle shrieked.

Aurora thought maybe the grackle knew something that could help her. So she began walking to the intersection of Route 59 and Shepherd Drive. It was a very bright day, but thunder rumbled in the distance. As she walked along, something caught her eye: a perfect red apple, shining in the grass outside of an apartment complex. Aurora picked the apple up and put it in her purse. Then she kept walking.

After a few minutes, she saw another red apple, this time in the middle of the street. It had one child’s bite taken out of it. Aurora hesitated, then took that apple too and put it in her purse.

It was a long walk to Shepherd Drive. When she was nearly there, she saw a third apple on the sidewalk, right before her. This one was eaten down to its core and browning in the sun. She left that apple alone.

Finally she reached the 59 overpass, just as it began to rain. An old woman with twigs in her long hair was standing in the shade. She held a cardboard sign that said “God Bless.” The old woman peered at Aurora.

Aurora didn’t know what to do. She felt bad for the old woman, so she offered her the two apples from her purse. It was raining very hard now. There was lightning in the sky.

The old woman took the apples from Aurora and gobbled them down to nothing. She spat the seeds onto the ground, where they grew into six beautiful girls.

“Oh,” the girls said. “But there should be nine of us.”

“I left one of the apples on the sidewalk,” Aurora confessed.

So the girls pushed Aurora out into the rain. Aurora waited for the rest of her life to see another apple in the street, but her chance had come and gone.

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