Ariel woke up at 11:55 PM. She tossed off her blanket, stood up and tied her favorite silver sweater around her waist. Silently, like a ghost, she slipped out the door and walked down the hallway She could hear her sister Sophie breathing as she walked past her room. Down the stairs, skip the creaky third step, past the dining table, jump over Fluffy the greyhound (Sophie picked the name when she was six), and out the den door. Ariel didn't know where she was going, or why she was going there, but it felt... right. It felt like there was something she needed to do.
Moonlight poured down on the figure moving silently across the dew-covered lawn. Ariel knew this path by heart. She and Sophie went there years ago to play faeries, but they stopped when Ariel entered middle school. Now, as a seventh grader, she didn't feel the least bit embarrassed to be visiting one of her childhood haunts.
As Ariel's bare foot stepped into the moonlit clearing, she felt a thrum of... joy? Power? Memories? It felt like someone was watching her. She glanced up at the moon and, as she always felt when she looked up at the sky, was awed by the great white disk sending down rays of milk-white light like so many chords of music.
Ariel slowly sat down across the clearing from the Faerie Circle that she and Sophie had played in. The ring of daisies never grew over, and the delicate white blooms always grew back whenever Sophie and Ariel had picked the flowers. Now the daisies were splashed lilac with moonbeams. Ariel sat and waited for Them. She had never seen Them before, but she knew that tonight was the night. They didn't let just anyone see Them.
Ariel glanced at her watch, pushing long black hair from her eyes. 11:58. Ariel shifted and promptly sat in a small puddle of water. It had rained during the day and the ground had little wet patches all over. Ariel peered into the shining liquid and saw her reflection—a thin pale girl with large violet eyes staring back at her. Ariel sat back and sighed. She wished her dark hair, now tipped with water, was capable of doing something other than just hanging straight around her face. And then she heard it. Or, rather, she didn't hear it. Everything went silent. Ariel looked at her wrist again. Beep. 12:00. Midnight.
Sparkling points of light poured by the dozens from the grand old oak tree at the edge of the clearing. Slowly, the Faeries appeared and sat on the daisies in the circle like chairs. Ariel could hardly breathe. The Faeries either didn't notice her or ignored her. They were indescribable in human words.
Each three-inch-tall Faerie had a shimmering dress in a color we do not have a name for. As the Queen sat down, her sheet of red corkscrew curls fanned out in an invisible breeze.
Then the Faeries slowly unfolded their wings, leapt into the air, and started to dance. Suddenly, they started to sing. The mixture of the Faeries' dance and their singing, so like angels' voices, was... incredible. It was moonbeams, light, the sun, stars, the four elements—water, fire, wind, and earth. It was rainbows and poetry. It was more than all of that. It was Magic. Pure and indescribable Magic.
It felt like they danced for years, but finally, they drifted back down to the Faerie Circle. Ariel was shaken out of her trance as each Faerie picked her daisy, and they arranged them in a pattern on the dirt. The Queen took her own beautiful daisy and placed it in the pattern, then made a call, like a bird, to the other Faeries. Ariel held her breath. It was over.
The shimmering Faeries flew back as softly as they had come—little orbs of shining light—and that is when Ariel dared to move. She looked at her watch. Beep. 1:00.
Suddenly curious, she moved to a standing position to look at the pattern the Faeries had created.
Her eyes widened when she saw her name, Ariel, spelled out in daisies, with the Queen's own pulsing daisy for the dot on the i. A breeze swept over Ariel's arms as she bent to pick up the Queen's daisy As she watched, the daisy disappeared, and in its place lay a gold chain with a pulsing, glowing, shimmering, iridescent pendant. The pendant was a capital F with Faerie wings.
Ariel sighed with joy.
She had watched the Faeries dance at midnight on the full moon.
She had been accepted.
She was one of Them now.