Friendship was very important to Nixie, the little Pixie.
One of her best friends named Roxy, a fire pixie who was also a princess, stopped attending classes. Her wealthy parents wanted her to focus on being groomed into a true queen in order to fulfill her royal duties, so school was no longer a focus. Consequently, the two besties lost touch.
It was okay, however, because Pixie still had Callie. Callie was a Celtic fairy. Other than Callie being slightly taller than Nixie, the two girls were practically twins with their identical golden hair, snow-white skin, icy-blue eyes, and soft faces. In fact, many would ask, “are you two sisters?“
Nixie met Callie way back when they were both four-years old, attending the same daycare. Nixie observed that Callie was the sweetest girl she had ever met, in fact, she was too nice. Other classmates would steal her toys while she was using them, and instead of getting mad, Callie would bow her head low and go find another toy to play with. This broke Nixie’s heart, watching her get bullied around like this.
“Why don’t you ever fight back?” Nixie asked Callie, approaching her for the first time.
“Huh?” Callie naively tilted her head.
“When people are mean to you, why don’t you get mad?”
“My mama taught me forgiveness,” she put her hand on her heart.
“But you’re letting everyone walk all over you!” Nixie was in disbelief.
“It’s okay,” she shrugged, “my sisters bully me all the time, so I’m used to it.”
“What about your brothers?”
“I don’t have any brothers, just four sisters.”
Nixie gasped as her jaw dropped to the ground, “no brothers? Who’s gonna teach you how to be tough, then?”
Callie bashfully shrugged.
“Stick with me,” Nixie put her arm around her new friend’s shoulders, “and I’ll teach you how to be tough.”
From then on, the two young girls were inseparable. Nixie found it rare to meet someone who was so kindhearted. She felt a need to look out for her.
There was one girl in their daycare class, a nymph named Kimmy, who was the biggest brat, and everyone knew it. She was always ordering everyone around, even during playtime.
Everyone in the class liked to play a game called “Munchkins,” based on their favorite classic fable, “Little Munchkins.” Kimmy was always the one to assign who the characters were.
“You’re Tati,” she pointed to Nixie, “and you’re Teetee,” she pointed to Callie. And then she pointed to every other person in the class, telling them who they were. Lastly, she proclaimed, “and I’m Angie the angel!” Everyone snickered, knowing that “Angie” was the brattiest munchkin of them all. It was incredibly fitting.
During their second year of schooling, Kimmy would try to be friends with Nixie. She would walk up to her and play hand-clapping games. Nixie was polite, but felt repulsed by her attitude, and so she always kept her distance.
She also feared that Kimmy had a crush on Figg — although Figg never seemed to look at her the way he looked at Nixie. Sure, Kimmy was one of the pretty girls — but her face was not soft like Nixie’s, nor was her mannerism graceful like Nixie’s.
Fast-forward to their fifth year of schooling, Kimmy and her besties acted like they ruled everyone. Kimmy’s mom dyed her hair blonde and let her wear makeup. Nixie only wore makeup for dance shows. Attempting to pay no attention to her, Nixie couldn’t help but constantly overhear others gossiping about how Kimmy was such a drama-queen.
Nixie had seriously withdrawn from boys after seeing how upset she could make them. In her elementary days, she thought boys were emotionless — but now she saw how much fury they could feel.
Of course, when it was time for the pupils to learn instruments, Nixie was assigned to play the French horn — with all boys. Meanwhile, the girls were assigned to more delicate instruments such as the harp, violin, and clarinet.
Nixie was mortified to by surrounded by neanderthals spitting, farting, burping, and making potty jokes while she rolled her eyes. She sat there in silence as they all goofed around, wondering how girls and boys could be so different from each other. She stared at the other girls from afar, imaging what thoughtful and intelligent conversations they were having, feeling so left out.
However — every now and then, to her dismay, Nixie found herself relating more to the boys than she did to the girls. They would say outrageous things that most girls would find offensive, and sometimes Nixie couldn’t help but laugh and agree. It was a little humiliating, but here and there she could admit to herself that she fit right in. In her family, she always felt a bit more similar to her brothers than her sisters.
There were try-outs for a student play. It was a musical for The Little Mermaid. All of Nixie’s friends from her dance lessons enthused about it and convinced her that she should also try out. She was hesitant, unsure about singing in front of everyone, but they told her she was guaranteed at least something with her background!
So, Nixie decided to give it a shot even though she was absolutely terrified. At first, she sang a song with a group. And then, she was asked to sing alone. Her voice was quiet and shaky.
“A little louder, please!”
Nixie tried, but she just couldn’t give it her all. There were too many familiar faces staring at her. She wondered why it was so easy to perform in front of hundreds of strangers, yet so difficult to sing in front of a small crowd of friends. She felt so exposed and vulnerable and didn’t like it at all.
“Okay, that’s all, thank you,” Nixie was dismissed before she could finish, to her relief.
And when the results came back for who got which part, Nixie saw that she didn’t make it… not even as an extra or understudy.
Sure, there was some disappointment, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Nixie felt like she didn’t really have time to take on a play anyway — with classes, dance lessons, hanging out with her friends, dinner with family, and having soothing alone-time.
And yet — everyone was so dramatic about it. Her teacher and all of her classmates kept going on about how shocked they were that she didn’t make it. It was making her very anxious.
“Wow,” one kid chimed in, “you’re a dancer, and they still didn’t cast you?”
It was all too much. Nixie had to excuse herself somewhere private where she could cool off. Everyone was making things so much worse. Why does everyone have to make a big deal out of everything? Why can’t anyone take anything with a grain of salt?
Their teacher stood over the ten and eleven-year olds to inform them about their next lesson — shapeshifting!
“Now, kids…” she wearily began… “I cannot stress this enough… do not try this at home! This is for informative purposes only! Do you understand?”
The children all nodded along, each and every one of them thinking, I can’t wait to try this at home!
“Shapeshifting is the act of transforming yourself into another form — typically another type of creature or animal, maybe even a plant. Now, it takes incredible skill to do this correctly. The more you learn about shapeshifting, the easier it is the spot a shapeshifter. Shapeshifters almost always have deceptive intentions — with few exceptions.”
She continued, “to protect ourselves from theft, we wear crystals to shield shapeshifters. The energy repels them, keeping us safe. However, some people purposely choose to have interactions with shapeshifters, whether it be business deals or pure entertainment. And the most common reason people choose to accept shapeshifters is for dating.”
The whole class burst out in uncomfortable giggles.
“That’s right,” she added, “there’s a lot of social anxiety with dating, and sometimes it’s the easiest way to put yourself out there… but I digress!”
Nixie wondered if her unmarried teacher ever dated, for it sounded like she was speaking from experience. Shuddering, it was too strange of a concept for her to even imagine.
“When amateurs attempt to shapeshift into someone or something, specific, they will always fail. Instead, they end up transforming into what we call ‘a shadow person.’ They become a blurry blob, like your shadow. It may be impossible to tell who they are, but you know for sure that it’s a shapeshifter, and most likely a young kid. That’s why it takes years and years of practice to get it right.”
Weeks passed, and Nixie’s curiosity about shapeshifting grew. She was too scared to try it, as were her friends, but she was still open to experiencing it. She started spending some alone time by the shore — without her crystals for protection.
One day, she finally saw it — a shadow person! Who could it be?With her heart racing, she sat still in the sand as the mysterious shadow approached her.
“Hey,” the shadow spoke in monotone — neither male nor female, “It’s Jojo from school! Remember? I moved away to another village last year, but we used to have classes together!”
“Hello,” Nixie smiled. She indeed remembered a girl named Jojo, but they were never that close — so why would she be talking to her?
“I have missed this beach since I moved!” the shadow said, “so I use shapeshifting as my only way to visit! I thought you looked familiar! Nixie, right?”
“Yeah,” she nodded, distrustfully, “if you want to travel then why not just teleport?”
“Because! I don’t want everyone to see me! But you’re nice, so I figured we could chat!”
“Sure,” Nixie agreed, unsure of what to think, but too intrigued to walk away.
The shadow went on to talk about her new school, why her family had to move, and what their new village was like. Nixie started to believe it was very possible that they were telling the truth.
And then, there it was — the golden question — “so, who do you have a crush on?”
Immediately, Nixie knew she was being tested, and replied, “no one.”
The shadow went on to ask more vexatious questions, such as, “what do you think of this person?” and “who’s the most annoying kid in your class?” and so on. Clearly, they were just trying to stir up trouble. So, Nixie excused herself and headed back home.
Filled with suspicion, she knew she wouldn’t be able to fall asleep until she found out who the shadow was. Could it be a boy — could it be Figg? Could it be a girl — one of my friends — one of my sisters? Could it actually be Jojo?
Nixie thought hard about what their teacher had taught them. Sadly, nature spirits do not have books they can read from or internet searches they can browse like the humans. Instead they rely on verbal wisdom passed down from their elders: parents, teachers, and greatest of all, nature.
Nixie visited Great Grandmother Tree in a nearby woodsy area. Placing her palms against the bark, she could feel her speak through her own thoughts. Nixie squeezed her eyes shut and pondered the question — how do I find out who a shapeshifter is? And in a mere few seconds, Great Grandmother crafted the perfect scheme for her.
The following day, Nixie headed back to the beach at the same exact spot as yesterday, without any of her crystals. Right on time, the same shadow ran up to her to talk more.
The shadow continued pestering her with the same questions, but Nixie kept cutting in to say “bananas!”
“Huh?” the shadow would stop, and Nixie would look back blankly until she continued.
Again, Nixie kept cutting her off with “bananas!” and the shadow would pause for a moment but keep going on.
Returning home for dinner, Nixie wondered if this shadow person was a family member. Waiting until silence, when everyone was stuffing food in their mouth, Nixie shouted, “bananas!” A few laughed while everyone else was focused on their food. Not getting the reaction she was looking for, she figured it must be someone from school who was messing with her.
The following day during class, Nixie waited until meditation, when everyone was mute. Then she went ahead and shouted, “bananas!”
Immediately, two girls jerked their heads up widened their eyes.
“Both of you?” Nixie blurted out.
“How’d you know?” they gasped.
And it wasn’t even until that moment when she knew for sure that it was them — Petunia and Juniper! They were obnoxious girls who were always trying to start drama.
From then on, Nixie would stay far away from the shapeshifting world, for it was far too risky — at least that’s what she told herself for now.
Even after catching them red-handed, the two troublesome girls still continued to poke at Nixie. It was tense, being forced to sit through class all day with people who wanted to see her crack. Nixie tried so hard to keep the peace and stay out of everyone’s way. Yet there were some people who couldn’t resist rocking the boat.
As Nixie grew up, love was slowly morphing from a fantasy into a reality. And the thought of romance was now making her cringe. Imagining being close to a boy at this age was daunting like never before. It was no longer elementary days of innocent little pecks and hugs. The duality of male verses female was becoming much more prominent among her and her peers.
Nixie gagged, why do all the adults seem to be absolutely obsessed with the most disgusting act one can do?
As much as she attempted to bury herself away from it all, she still couldn’t help but feel like she was madly in love with Figg. After all this time of separation, he continued to live in her head. It was frustrating to only see him in passing glances. She needed him, she craved him, she breathed him! She had to talk to him, but she just couldn’t!
Towards the end of the year, classes of all ages and levels came together to watch the school play, The Little Mermaid. Nixie was stoked to see Figg and his friends sitting right behind her! She looked back and glanced at him — admiring how handsome he was. And he glanced back in her direction.
Just then, she overheard his friend say, “I think she likes you!”
Nixie’s ears perked up, curious as to what his response would be — in which he replied, “she’s just looking around…”
Afterwards, Nixie replayed that moment over and over again in her mind, digging and analyzing what it could mean. It wasn’t negative, she decided, although it wasn’t necessarily positive…
When she spotted Figg sitting alone at the beach one day, it seemed like the perfect time to strike. But it was like there was an invisible wall holding her back. With each step she took towards him, her feet jerked two steps backwards. Her heart was yearning for him, but her mind and body stubbornly refused to give in.
That’s when Nixie decided to shapeshift into a shadow person. She dug a hole into the sand where she dropped her crystals, closed her eyes, focused hard, and recited the spell, “shadow of the day, bearer of the night, darkness be the way, shield me from the light!”
And poof! Nixie transformed into a shadow!
Her heart pounded as she made her way towards Figg. He was drawing doodles in the sand with his pointer finger. His energy felt vulnerable and that’s when she knew he wasn’t wearing his crystals. This would be the perfect chance to try talking to him!
Taking a leap without a second thought, Nixie let out a great, “hi!”
“Hi there,” Figg replied with hesitance, “who are you?”
Talking to Figg was a piece of cake with her identity hidden. For so long, she had imagined this moment. It had been years since that one time they swam together — the last time they ever spoke one-on-one, face-to-face. A rush of confidence took over. She decided, now that I’ve made it this far, I might as well reveal myself!
“It’s me!” Nixie ecstatically confessed, “Nixie!”
“Nice try,” he responded, to her disappointment.
Self-assurance shattered, Nixie sighed, “what do you mean?”
He glared at her with squinted eyes, “I know this is Flint.” That was the name of Figg’s best friend. Nixie disliked Flint — he seemed like a bully.
“No,” Nixie explained, “I’m really Nixie.”
“I know it’s just you pretending to be Nixie,” he said with disdain, “you’ve done this before.”
“What?” Nixie was absolutely flabbergasted. Her mind began racing. Flint was pretending to be me? Why? To make fun of me, or to make fun of Figg? Does he think that Figg has a crush on me? Or does he know that I have a crush on Figg?
“Bye,” Figg left in a huff.
Nixie decided to let it go. Perhaps she would be saving herself great embarrassment, letting him think she was just one of his friends who was messing with him. What does it mean? She kept asking herself, does this mean he loves me or he hates me?
It was strange to feel such a deep connection with someone she barely ever talked to. All those years of knowing each other, it’s like their only language was through indirect codes. He always left her doubting him, yet faithfully believing in him at the same time.