The sparkles fell around her bare shoulders as she flicked her raven hair off her shoulder. At her feet a tiny red bird sang melodiously, its notes springing to life and turning to jewels.
Ka-lee-sha smiled. “The perfect gift for a Christmas wedding.”
Magda appeared. Laughing harshly she waved an elegant hand and the bird’s music stopped abruptly. Its colour faded and the jewels dropped to the ground.
“A grubby little sparrow and a handful of stones! What a fitting gift for Christmas wedding. Foolish child. Your magic is pathetic.”
“How could you Magda? You have no heart.”
“True”, the smile on Magda’s face was not pleasant to behold. “I have too much sense and power to play children’s games with my magic. Give that to your lovers,” and spinning on her heel she disappeared.
Ka-lee-sha knelt in the snow and cradled the bird to her, tears falling on its now rigid body. Hearing the bells calling all to the wedding, she forced a smile to her face and entered the grove where the couple were to be wed. Embarrassed at the insignificant gift she now held, Ka-lee-sha tucked it into her belt and stood with the others to watch the couple take their vows.
When the bride approached Ka-lee-sha at the end of the ceremony to receive the traditional gift, Ka-lee-sha’s face flamed.
“Why Ka-lee-sha, is that our present? Where did you find such an exquisite bird?”
Ka-lee-sha blinked and tried not to gape. On her shoulder was a miniature Phoenix, it’s feathers jewelled and glowing with life. One note it sang and one note only, but no-one hearing it would ever forget the significance of that note. Piercing joy, love and healing touched all those who heard it.
Magda, standing off in the shadows smiled a grim smile.
(Story and art copyright of Jenirose Hall, all rights reserved)