My family smiles

It’s finally here.

My new life.

My flock induction.

Every year, those deemed worthy are given the honor of moving past a fairly and into a full fairy. These flock inductions can be the highlight of lives, but they can also be the downfall. They determine what you will do for the rest of your life.

My flock has been with me since we were born. We learned how to fly together, we learned how to talk together, and we learned the basics of every possible option in our lives together.

Shaylee, my inseparable twin sister, and I come from generations of human allies, and that is what we are best at—it must be in our blood.

I have been to one induction for every year of my life, and I remember them all since we fairies have very superb memories.

But now it isn’t time to watch. Now, it is time to be the one watched. The dazzling fairly turned into a majestic fairy.

“Alette,” The flock leader announces as I look over towards my sister, and she nudges me on.

On the outside, I am radiating with confidence, just like everyone in my family has been. We have to be strong. That is the difference between us and the Loderbees.

On the inside, however, there couldn’t be any more butterflies in the cage that is my stomach. All trapped inside, hopelessly fluttering around, searching for an exit.

One last glance at Shaylee is all I need to walk through the door that decides my fate. One last glance at my other half saves me from becoming an eternal joke in my family: the one who couldn’t stay strong.

The examination begins.

The crowd outside—filled with fairies and fairlies of all ages—is oblivious to what lies behind the door. Of everything I am about to do. They mingle and talk, whether nervous, excited, or content, knowing nothing of how I am doing.

In a blink of an eye, my brain and body have been tested beyond belief and my test—consisting of simulations, flying time trials, logic tests, and simple math—is over.

I tried my hardest at everything; I didn’t want to get a magnificent job based on false qualities.

It’s Shaylee’s turn now.

I can’t decide if I am more nervous now waiting for the results of my own fate or for Shaylee as I question how she’s doing. I flap around, pacing in front of my family, friends, and neighbors who are blind to me. Devoted to their own conversations, they ignore us barely-fairlies.

Shaylee’s face returns to the glowing door. She looks as if she’s seen a ghost. What I was too stressed to see before our tests is evident now. Heavy bags lie under her eyes from our countless nights of studying and practicing. Her hair lies unbrushed against her face. A mirror of a foreign me stares at me, yearning for comfort.

We rush to hug each other and sit back down in the benches for barely-fairlies, staring ahead as the rest of our flock is meticulously examined for every flaw and every beauty they have ever gained.

After what seems like a twinkling but is really three hours, the exams are done, and we as barely fairlies are sent home to prepare for the ceremony. Our flock walks out hand in hand. Our wings hang low with fear and exhaustion.

The air outside is fresh; the world seems different. It seems brighter and more full of life, like the exam was locking it down into a pit of despair.

Our flock has one final hug, and we meander our separate ways to our houses.

Shaylee and I make it to our house to find our entire family already there, waiting for us to utilize them in any way we need.

The tiny house is buzzing with activity: making us dinner, getting us ready, even just waiting. All hands are on deck. You would think it’s our wedding day, but that’s what happens on flock inductions. The day they gain another helper to their job. An increase in the fun of the family.

At the end of the night, my wings are shined, my hair is out of its crazy tangle of messiness, and I am wearing one of the most beautiful dresses I could ever imagine: teal with lace around the sleeves, flowing like a river. It was made carefully by my mother.

“Alette! Shaylee! Wait,” our oldest sister calls as we are heading back to the examination and ceremony hall, following the party of our family. “I have something for you.”

She pulls out two beautiful wands that shimmer in the sun. Both are engraved with stunning woodwork; one is of a forest scene with our favorite animals wrapping up the handle, and the other is of splashes of color that is the personality of Shaylee in a nutshell.

“We aren’t supposed to get wands until one year of being a fairy.” I point out.

“Yeah, but you deserve it, and I couldn’t wait to give them to you. You’ll have to use them slowly so you don’t burn yourself or your wands out, but you are two of the most amazing fairies I’ve ever met, so here you go.”

A tear streak stains my face, and I give her a gigantic hug.

“No crying now. We have a ceremony to get to,” she says as we take the wands and start to catch up to our family far ahead of us.

The air outside is fresh; the world seems different. It seems brighter and more full of life, like the exam was locking it down into a pit of despair.

The ceremony hall is filled with every fairy I’ve ever seen. Our flock is waiting for us in the front row, nervously excited. We split off from our family and take a seat. The only row not buzzing with energy, we are exhausted and ready for this to be over. For our life to be laid out in front of us so our very controlling selves can be prepared.

The anticipation is over.

The speakers reach the microphone. They start thanking everyone for being here. They make a speech about the rest of our lives. Then the names start to be called.

Easton. Fairy council.

Nidaw. Fairly teacher.

Shaylee. Engineer.

My head whips left. Engineer? She nods it off and indicates for me to continue listening. They hadn’t called my name yet.

Chepi. Human ally.

Alette. Animal ally.

Animal ally. Animal ally. Neither of us are human allies?

Suddenly, I am scared. I want to run. I want to scream and cry. The generations of human allies? Gone. My twin and I received jobs we loved and found fun and relatively easy, but the rest of our family won’t know what to do. We have always been human allies.

I glance at Shaylee. She doesn’t seem scared or confused. She looks happy. Whispering to Easton, talking about their new jobs.

My head finds the rest of my family. They smile at me. They look thrilled and excited. Not at all disappointed or confused. They are happy.

They smile at me. They aren’t mad.

They smile at me. So I smile back at them, and, for the first time ever, I am truly excited for the rest of my life to begin.