Coal Dust

Chapter One

Once upon a time in a faraway land, where the mountains reached the stars and the hills were running hollow, there was a young girl named Aria. When she was a child her father worked in the coal mines so her mother could stay home and look after her. Aria didn't have much growing up but she was appreciative of the things she did have because her father kept the food on the table and the lights on and her mother prepared the meals and kept up with the house.

She looked forward to seeing her father every day, although he looks as though he had been playing in black glitter paint and everything he touched did too. As Aria got older she started seeing fewer and fewer trains each year carrying the coal her father helped dig, before she knew it he was out of a job. Aria wanted to somehow help her father because she knew how much her family was struggling to make odds and ends meet. So one day she told her parents "I'm going to town to search for a job." Arias's parents waved her off as she headed into town and she was determined to come back baring only great news. 

She thought maybe the town bakery would take her in so that was her first stop, but when she got to the bakery she asked: "Can I please speak to the owner?" And the retailer replied "Sure thing." He then yelled out "Hey little Tim, there's a gal here to see ya!" To Arias's surprise, little Tim wasn't little. In fact, she had to look up to speak to him. "How can I help you?" Said little Tim but all she could say back was "I need, uh." her face became red "Well you see, I was wondering if you needed any extra help." She swallowed. "Ohh I see. Well sorry, I can't help you there. Try the mini-mart down the street." He patted her head. She left with no hesitation.

When she reached the mini-mart it already had a sign up that said "NO HELP NEEDED" by then she started to give up hope and realized that she probably won't be bringing home any good news at all.

An old woman with a hunched over back was delivering papers nearby when the wind blew them right out of her hands. "Oh my!" Said the old woman but Aria quickly collected each and every paper for poor old women. "Thank you! Thank you so much!" Said the old woman. "It's the least I could do since I happen to be standing here." Smiled Aria "Is there any way I could repay you?" Said the old woman but Aris replied: "you don't happen to need someone to help you with your papers do you?" She half smiled already knowing the answer. "No I sure don't, but maybe I could repay you by giving you one of my newspapers." The old woman grinned. "Maybe you'll find a job In the job section of the newspaper." Aria thought it was a great idea. "Thank you!" She replied taking the paper to a nearby bus bench to read.

She looked around to be sure there were no distractions and when there wasn't she immediately opened it. before she could even read the first line, the illustrations on the paper began talking! "Hello, pretty lady." Said a little man wearing a sombrero in the left corner but a fairy at the right bottom waved her wand at him, causing his head to be swallowed by his hat. "Don't mind him, he doesn't know any better." Aria thought she was losing her mind. She said: "You can't talk, your just paper!" Then a Farmer at the left bottom said: "Well that isn't very nice." he began wiping tears from his eyes and all the man with the swallowed head could do is mumble. Which made Aria Feel bad. "Oh im sorry! I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."  But the fairy told her "That's okay, he cries about everything." Aria looked around to make sure no one saw her speaking to her newspaper so no one thought she was crazy.

"How are you talking and why me?" Aria demanded an answer. The fairy replied "You were chosen." But Aria didn't know what she meant "Chosen for what?" The farmer said "Your granted one wish for you act of kindness." He was emotional about that too. "Well, what would I wish for?" said Aria but the illustration was quick to act, they turned the paper for her which had an article about the mountains being dry out of coal. "The hills are hollow!" said Aria. The little man with the sombrero finally got his head out of his hat. "You could wish for a fortune!"  but Aria knew that would only solve her problems and not the towns. "I wish for the mountains to produce unlimited coal." The man gasps. "Very well, for your wish to come true you must travel to your father's coal mines and take a hand full of the purest coal dust and wish for the mountains to produce unlimited coal." Said the fairy. 

So Aria arrived at her father's coal mines which was the same as it had been when she was a child. Across a fence was a mountain of crumbled coal turned into dust. "I'll climb this fence and I'll make my wish and then my father will have his job back," Aria told herself.  Once she climbed the fence she was covered in black dust just as her father would be when he came home. She grabbed the biggest hand full of the black coal dust and closed her eyes and said "I wish for these mountains to produced unlimited coal." then she blew the coal dust towards the mountains. 

Aria left the coal mines covered in black thick dust to return home. When she arrived home all her family had been gathered at her house "Where have you been?" asked Arias mother who looked in complete shock. "Wheres father, I have news for him," Aria told her. but her mother began crying "He passed away while you were gone, it was sudden." Aria dropped to her knees. Then a man came by throwing papers to everyone. "The hollow hills aren't hollow anymore!" the man shouted as people collected the papers. Aria felt as though she was tricked and betrayed.


#434 in Short stories
#1725 in Fantasy

Story about: princess, magic, coal miners

Edited: 04.09.2019

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