December 6


Short Stories Fiction


Din is another story I wrote for my writing course from the Institute of Children’s Literature. I tried to weave an element of possible romance into this story with a battle against nature. I feel the story is rushed. One problem I had with the Institute is that they give you very short word counts. I had to fit stories under so many words, and some stories needed more words to really make it feel like a good story.

But the word count is made to help me learn to write what I want to write and get the story across in a short amount of time. It did help me. I think, though, that this story could use a lot more words to make it better. I liked the character development in this story though. I felt that I knew the characters and they seemed realistic.

I hope you enjoy the story. Please comment and let me know what you think.


Cuyler Callahan



“Stop touching that!” Tina let out her breath, “You are so stupid.” Annoyed with her golden haired little brother, Din, Tina fluttered her translucent fairy wings in irritation and flew over to him, landing hard on her silk slippers, snatching the wooden music box from Din. “Why don’t you grow up?”

“I’m sorry.” Din looked down at the green leaf floor of their leaf-globe home.

“You always say that, but you don’t mean it.” Tina straitened her blue, silk tunic. “Mom and dad aren’t around to watch you any more, and I am tired of doing it. Why don’t you just run away.”

Big blue eyes looked up at her; tears slid down Din’s face. Tina looked up at the leafs overlapping, creating the ceiling of the protective globe from the elements; hating seeing her brother sad. Looking down showed Din had left, the small leaf door still flapping lightly.

“Fine, just leave. Better off without you anyways.”

Stamping out onto the branch leading to the house, Tina’s slippers left the ground, wings buzzing furiously. Golden hair floated in the wind straight over her back. Flying helped Tina to think. I wish I wasn’t so mean to Din. He is only a little boy, to young to even fly yet. Feeling terrible, Tina knew bullying Din more and more would not help him. I am to hard on him. Watching leaf globe homes go by, and other fairies at daily activities, helped calm her nerves.

“Every one to your homes! Battle comes again. To your homes!” A fairy guard in brown battle armor yelled, zooming around low to the tree bark below Tina. Deep warning horns sounded.

“Oh, not again. Can’t beetles make their homes in trees without current residence.” Tina sighed and turned sharply back, flying speedily home.

Tina expected Din had come home and cried himself to sleep as usual. Pushing through the leaf door however revealed no sign of Din.

Oh, Din…Where are you? Panic stricken and worried enough to lose her breakfast, Tina raced out of her home. She flew to her nearest neighbor, Granny Homeo. “Granny Homeo, Granny Homeo!” Tina pounded on her leaf door, resounding a barely audible tang.

A year passed- seemingly to Tina’s worried fairy brain- before the leaf door opened. “What is it dear?” the old lady fairy croaked out, tattered, brittle wings shaking.

“Din is missing, have you seen him?”

“I saw him run past, out the city.”

“Out the city! I have to find him.”

Leaving Granny Homeo at her door, Tina brought up speed she had never accessed in her life; powered by ten times the worry of just a missing brother. Out the city past guards yelling for her to stop she flew. Gravity’s free fall and her wing power sent Tina hurtling down the steep trunk of the fairy tree. She told him to grow up. She knew her brother more then anyone; fighting the beetles when he grew up he always said. Why did she have to encourage him? Ground looming before her, she stopped to survey the gruesome scene.

Fairy soldiers in brown, leather battle armor blocked giant green and black beetles from the fairy tree. Throwing spears into the tremendous beetle masses didn’t stop their insective instincts of marching to a new home.

Chaotic order ruled the battle. How will I find him in this? How would he even get down here? Self control shattered at fear for her brother’s safeties pounding. What if he fell off the tree? He can’t fly. He is down there somewhere, helpless.”

I must help him. No thought of self safety brought Tina hovering above the battle field. “Din, Din. Where are you?” The roar of battle, the squeaks of the beetles, the moan of the dieing, all over road her voice; no use.

Flying higher for a better view, Tina looked right as a large mass tumbled into her. A beetle in flight had a scruff of her green, silk leg stocking in its mandibles. It drug her through the air- her wings useless against its beastly momentum- to the fairy tree flinging her against its bark. She grasped the rough bark with nimble hands as she gained stability. The beetle ripped at the bark, digging its new home.

“Oh, no you don’t. Get him men.” Five soldiers flew overhead, landing on the beetle, stabbing it with spears. A screamed produced a fairy holding his handless arm. The beetle squeaked, falling dead into its own pit, dropping the hand from its mandibles.

“Get Janaa to a fairy healer,” the obvious commander ordered.

“Can you tell me where my little brother is?” Tina yelled over the bustle- overriding her horror at the poor soldiers fate.

The commander turned around. “You should be up in the city.”

“I know. I think my brother is down here though.”

“All civilians have been evacuated to the tree top.”

“I know my brother is down here, now tell me if you have seen him,” Tina commanded, face red with frustration.

“I have miss, I seen a little tike with wing sprouts fall to the forest floor,” another soldier answered, near the fallen beetle. “ I saw him land on the pebble pile.” He pointed down with his bloodied spear. “It’s swarmed over with beetles, you’ll never make it alive.” The soldier took off his helmet. Brown hair glinted with the dim forest sunlight, lighting his handsome face. “If the commander permits, may I help the miss retrieve her brother?”

The commander nodded curtly.

Tina bubbled with excitement and dread. Would she find her brother alive or dead? She knew his location, but if he died could she fathom the idea of living with herself?

She jumped and gave the commander a hug, the soldier who volunteered his life to help: a kiss. “Thank you. Please let us go before it’s to late.”

The soldier saluted his commander, placed his helmet back on his head, then jetted down the tree with tremendous speed. They dived to the pebbles. Tina hovered softly, looking for her brother. She screamed to see a beetle walking over top of his motionless body.

Tina raced to his body and kicked the beetle in the face while landing it screeched and scurried away. Another came and snapped at her on its way past towards the tree. She trembled in fear at the beasts. A beetle took to the air a little distance off with a buzz. Tina climbed over another pebble and reached Din’s body lying face down between two pebbles. The soldier landed beside her, bloodied more then before. Two beetles lay dead near each other not far off.

“Can you lift him?” the soldier asked.

“I think so, at least to the tree.” Tina doubted she could carry her little brother any further.

“Do so, I’ll watch your back.” Giving a smile through his helmet, he raced off, jumping on the back of another rumbling beetle, driving a spear into its head.

Tina pulled her little brother into her arms and raised slowly into the air. She could already feel her wings straining for more power. Moving slowly over the battle towards the tree, her brother started slipping from her arms. Only a little farther.

“Faster, you need to go faster.” Tina heard the soldier call behind her. Blackish green masses of beetles flew past her, some brushing her. She heard a warning horn blow below her. Fairies popped into the air, fighting the air assault.

Tina struggled through the mess, holding onto her brother by his arm. Just as Din slipped from her grasp she used her knees and pushed him onto the bark of the fairy tree, grasping it with her hands. Using her body she pushed against Din’s to press him to the tree. Battle raged around her but she couldn’t do anything. The helpful soldier grabbed the bark beside her with gloved hands. “I’ll watch your back.” He pushed off into the fray around her.

Din woke up under Tina. He mumbled a whisper to Tina with half closed eyes, “Tina, have I grown up?”

“No, and I don’t want you too.” She smiled at him worriedly and brushed his hair with her fingers. “I am so sorry. Can you forgive me?”

“Yes,” Din said, passing into sleep again.

The soldier twirled his spear near her, fighting beetle after beetle. When it seemed the worst was over, no more came. Another horn sounded in the forest. A horn Tina knew since birth that said battle had ended. “I’ll grab some men to take your brother to the fairy healer,” the soldier said, hovering in the air beside Tina. He sped away up the fairy tree before Tina could say anything.

“What’s your name,” Tina whispered to herself, “I won’t forget you?”


battle, beatles, Cuyler's writing, fairies, fantasy, fiction, institute of children's literature, short story, story, Writing

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