Wednesday, January 7, 2015


One Winged Beauty
By Linda M. Crate

She was not daunted by the fact he was a gypsy.

It only made her more curious. She had read books about them, but that wasn't quite the same as knowing one. They seemed to have a certain mystique about them.

He growled, turning to face her. "Stop following me," he snapped, his dark brown eyes flashing in irritation. He straightened the fabric hairband in his hair woven of many colors, shaking his head so that the golden hoop hanging on his left ear swung at her in disapproval.


"Excuse me?"

"You don't scare me."

He snorted. "I don't?" he asked her.

"No. I've read about gypsies, but I've never known one. Everyone says that they're mean and cruel, but I think that sort of stereotyping lends to say more about the person saying it than those whom they're insulting, don't you think?"

He smiled at her. "You are most peculiar."

"Perhaps," she agreed.

A year later the pair sat with hands knotted on the side of a bridge. Moss grew beneath their fingers but she liked the feel of it. "Aife, what are you thinking?" she asked.

He took in her countenance. Her long flowing lustrous red locks, the contrast of his white pallid flesh against the bronze of hers, her almond shaped green eyes, and her beautiful golden wings with scarlet dragons. "How crazy a beauty like you is to fall for a scoundrel like me." His one wing beat furiously in his embarrassment. He had only been born with one and she had been the only one not to insult him for it. Ever.

She watched his little green wing crested with gold and white moons and trimmed in the same elegant gold as hers were, and she smiled. "Don't be embarrassed. You're beautiful, too."

"Your family will hate me."

"They will love you," she soothed.

Aife looked like he rather thought not, but he said nothing, following only reluctantly when she stood brushing off her long white silken dress with all it's many layers of eloquence. He knocked uncertainly at the door and was met by Orvetta's family. A nosy sister that looked the same age as Orvetta with thick unruly black hair, bronze skin, and black eyes peeped out at him. The rest of the five siblings were brothers and they all looked curiously at him, as well. One was taller than the sister, but the rest were still growing. The taller one had a thick mane of long red hair, pale skin, and obsidian eyes. All the others had black hair as Orvetta's twin and bronze skin with green eyes.

"All right, all right, let him breathe," came a voice. He recognized the woman as lady Syn. She was more lovely in person than they gave her credit for in ballads. Her hair was the same wondrous scarlet as Orvetta's but her eyes were black as an ebony pitch which contrasted beautifully and mysteriously against her pale white skin.

Orvetta's mother was a beauteous woman in her own right and the way she carried herself intimidated him a bit.

"It's okay, she's a dragon, she intimidates everyone," Orvetta whispered into his ear.

"Dragons have very good hearing, Orvetta, and I really don't think I'm all that intimidating."

"Until you annoy her that is," grinned Orvetta's father, peeking over his wife's shoulder. He had long black tresses, the same green eyes as Orvetta possessed, and the same dark skin.

Aife watched as the family hugged and embraced one another. Lady Syn broke apart from the others and observed him and watched his little wing twitch in what seemed to be a twinge of embarrassment.

"Why are you embarrassed?"

"You're all so beautiful, but then you have I. Barely worthy of your daughter's love—."

"You are beautiful. Just the way you are."

"I told him the same thing," Orvetta nodded.

Later that night as Aife gazed upon the countenance of the woman he had been courting for a year now, he smiled. His eyes watched as she walked across the bridge, tossing her shoes into the river below, closing her eyes as she walked, allowing the silk of her dress to dance across the moss as butterflies and dragonflies seemed to pirouette in the wind and all the spaces between her wings. "Your family was nice, but you'll never meet my parents."


"Because I ran away from home. They told me that I would never have anyone to support me other than them and that I'd never make anything of myself. I vowed to prove them wrong."

"Oh, Aife. Perhaps, they didn't mean—."

"I know what you will say and one day I will forgive them, Orvetta. But I can't. Not now, it's too painful."

"Just don't let it destroy you," she warned, hopping off the bridge, shoes forgotten. She drew near to him.

He smiled taking her hand in his own. "I won't." He cleared his throat. "Will you marry me, Orvetta?"

Magic seemed to well up and dance in her eyes and her eyes laughed with all the joy shimmering in her cheeks. "Aye, aye, a thousand times aye!"

Aife laughed. "Who would think such a beauty would fall for someone like me?"

Orvetta shook her head fervently. "Nay. It is I that is lucky to have such a one-winged beauty for my own. No one will ever hurt you, my love. Not while I'm around."

"Likewise, my lady," Aife smiled, his heart content. He knew he would always love her just as she would always love him and that was all the comfort in the world he needed.

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Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. She currently resides in Meadville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014) were published. Her fantasy novel Amethyst Epiphany is forthcoming from Assent Publishing.


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