Friday, July 1, 2011

The Faeries of Gidropark

"Mommy, mommy," Andriy blathered. "I want to see the circus."

Olek hated the way his brother, Andriy, used mommy. Especially when Mommy had that faraway look she got when the whiskey bottle sloshed, her eyes rolling all googly as she watched daddies wading across Gidropark's beaches. She raised the bottle for another gulp.

Olek punched Andriy. "Shush," Olek whispered. "You'll make it worse when she's like this."

Andriy kicked sand, the grains blown over his mother, calling attention to the two of them. "I'll be good at the circus. Mommy can stay. I'll watch Olek."

She teetered, unable to get the money into Andriy's hands, the bills blowing into the wind. Andriy chased the cash. Mommy had barely looked at them.

Olek followed his brother through a depression in the park, large cement slabs lining the edge of the hill like an overrun outdoor amphitheater, tufts of weeds poking through the edges of the cement. Tires were half-buried around a stump.

Andriy pushed Olek and he fell into the grass. "Stay here."

"You promised mommy."

"You didn't want to disturb her."

"But --"

"No buts. "

"But you've got money for both of us."

"Money for me and cotton candy."

"I'll tell mommy."

"Like she'll care."

Andriy was right, if he told mommy, she wouldn't do anything. She'd barely be able to take her eyes off the waves, off the daddies, off the fact that she'd been abandoned. Unfair. Olek watched the clouds pass. Fluffy wolfs, bears, and guns chased across the sky.

Olek poked at the stump, covered with a layer of leather protecting the rings from the sky. It looked like a tiny stage and Olek crawled onto it.

The world became black. "Hey!" Olek yelled. The color came back, but the grass looked more vibrant, like the day after rain. A figure moved towards him, but he couldn't focus the images into a single man. The man was upside down. Olek stood on his hands.

A faery floated through the air, glowing balls in his hands, juggling them, his hands moving so fast they became a blur. Another lady did the splits, one hand in the grass, her legs splayed across the sky, her wings spread wide. After she finished stretching, she moved through the air in smooth arcs. The first faery floated to join her and they moved like a rope-less trapeze.

Someone pushed Olek from behind and he fell off the stump.

"Whatcha doing?" Andriy asked.

"I thought you were going to see the circus."

"I did."

Olek climbed back onto the stump, he wanted to see the faeries who moved through the air. It was better than the circus would've been. Andriy grabbed Olek's wrist and pulled his brother back to the beach, where mommy sat slumped on her towel.

"Circus was fun," Andriy said. "Wasn't it Olek."

Olek hated his brother. "Yeah, especially the trapeze."

"The trapeze?" Andriy asked.

Inspired by Yelena Yemchuk's photographs of Gidropark.


  1. No matter how exotic the names, kids can so often be the same. What did Andriy see?

  2. The brother is mean! The faeries were nice though. Maybe.

  3. Nice work Aidan! Brothers can be be such pains. I liked Olek's imagination and the jibe at the end.

  4. Hi there Aidan -- liked the slightly 'flat' feel to this. Reminded me of going to seaside towns well past their best, and an intriguing place to see fairies.

    Right at the start I did get quite confused as to who was being referenced by the 'she' (Olek, Andrily or Mommy): "Olek hated the way Andriy used mommy. She had that..." (got it was Mommy in the end). Thought for a while you were describing a group of childish alcoholics. ;)

    Off to my local park with a fairy net...


  5. @John, Andriy got his wish to see the circus. Although, I'm betting he wasn't as happy as he thought with the fungus-stained tent (probably with teenagers hooking up in the dark seedy light in the background).

    @Sonia, I'm usually fond of faeries with a strong pryankster attitude. Olek escaped fairly well off, only losing a couple of hours.

    @Craig, Thanks, brothers can be so competitive and they live for those jibes.

    @Stephen, Thanks for the comment. I've slightly modified the opening and I think it will work a little better. BTW, I'd watch out with that net, they might not be as benign as they lead you to believe. ;)

  6. Oh this was really beautiful. I'm glad Olek got to see the pretty visions instead of the no doubt cruddy circus Andriy no doubt saw.

  7. I like circuses and I would love to see the one that Olek saw.

  8. Aww, a faery circus! So sweet:)

  9. strangely dystopian vibe to this Aiden, was reminded of films like stalker or rumblefish where the world is painted in dull or black and White tones and you have a moment of magical realism shot in colour.

  10. I'm glad he had a magical moment, and I see a bit of a creepiness in it too... I wonder if he could talk to those fairies, if they'd help him with his brother. Hmm!

  11. I had the cutest image when Olek stood on his hands gazing at the faeries. So lovely. I'm not the biggest fan of his brother but I guess you'd expect him to have some issues with a mother like that.

  12. Olek definitely got the better deal! And no sugar comedown from cotton candy to boot :-)

  13. It's imagery sparks the imagination, inviting us to believe in magic. Hueneme Concord Mw2 This piece captures the essence of folklore and the enduring allure of faerie tales.