Martha Silver grew old, nonetheless, and there was no magic that could save her from age. Her bones weakened and cracked, the men who loved her abandoned her for ones younger and more beautiful, and eventually, the fairies could no longer reach her. She had finally grown up, and was now too jaded and weary for imagination. One day she threw up her lunch, and the next thing she knew, she was in a hospital bed, looking at x-ray images that spoke to her death, and as she withered one evening, an evening that she was sure would be her last, she noticed something glowing in the room, floating in the air. It was a spec of some kind, and it was joined by another, and another, until the whole room itself seemed to be filled with fireflies, and if there had not been a golf-ball shaped tumor gnawing on her brain, Martha Silver would've remembered that such things were not fireflies at all, but the fairies who had made her life so extraordinary. 

Danny-Do-Good paused and pressed his front teeth over his lower lip. He had written enough about things ending so badly, he thought. Now it was time to write something nice, and the words flowed again.

As Martha Gram Silver’s story ended, the fairies swarmed over the X-ray images on the wall. Streaks of light followed them, and when they were done making their passes the images were clean again, and Martha, the sweet little girl who had fallen in love with magic on a farm, so long ago, was no longer a host to death. She would live a good many years after that, sharing her story with children, painting pictures of that which most people banished to childhood fancy. 

Danny-Do-Good wore his pencil down the nub. His hand cramped. He tossed the pencil into the grass (Danny-Do-Good had never littered before), folded up the pages of The Life of Martha Gram Silver, and shoved them in his back pocket. 

* * *

Later that afternoon, he returned to the hospital, snuck through the same window as before, right through the abandoned imaging room and down the hallway. All of the rooms were dark, and he realized that he had no idea which room was actually the one that belonged to the old woman.

Then an idea occurred to Danny. The ring he had picked off the floor was still in his pocket. The ring that had taken him to Gram’s room in the first place. The ring that had burned him. He pulled it out and looked at the deep purple eyes and the plume, and with a measure of confidence this time, tossed it into the darkness. It clinked and clanged, as it had before, and for a brief moment, it let off a glow. The glow was bright enough for Danny-Do-Good to see where the ring had landed—squarely in front of a door on the left. 

When he approached the door, as he expected, a light clicked on. Martha was in her bed, facing the sheet of plywood over the window. As Danny entered the room, he heard the distinct sound of sobs and the sucking of nasal discharge. Martha was bawling. Her shoulders rose and fell in an almost mechanical, jerky motion. Danny approached.

Miss Silver? 

The bawling stopped, as if flicked off with a switch. 

Who, little boy, is Miss Silver? Her question was more of a growl than an utterance. More of an accusation than a question.

Sorry, I mean. Gram? Gram. I finished your story. 

Previous Page                                                                Next Page