A Story for Children: Snit’s Wish
This story is titled Snit’s Wish and I first wrote it as a request from my mother. She felt I was writing too many creepy stories and she wanted “something nicer”. And so this story was born.
On a whim, I sent it to Writer’s Journal, where it won an honorary mention in 2005. Thank you mom!
The sun was just coming over the horizon, chasing away the shadows of night. A ladybug flitted along the shore, careful not to be caught in the spray of the splashing waves. One glance to the ocean made him catch his breath. The sea seemed to dance in the multitude of colors cast by the shining rays of first light. Without noticing, he slowed and swayed, hypnotized by the ocean’s grandeur.
He didn’t notice where he was going and was suddenly tangled in some sticky filament. Panicked, he thrashed and screamed. He had been caught in a spider’s web; even with his eyes open, he couldn’t see a thing!
“Finally caught you in my web, eh Snit?” Hearing that voice the ladybug instantly surrendered, aware that struggling was futile.
“Ah me,”—he responded, voice heavy with despair—“is there no hope for survival?”
The answer was a deep, musical laugh and a ray of morning sunlight streaming into his prison. He blinked furiously to focus on his escape route. Carefully untangling himself he waited for the opening to widen. An open hand waited for him and he warily alighted. It held him up at eye level where he met his best friend’s laughing look.
“Hi Demy”, Snit said wearily. The mermaid could barely contain her laughter.“Snit you should watch where you’re going or you really will end up tangled in a spider’s web.”
Snit squirmed uneasily on her palm. “Yeah, well…you should shear off that tangled mess you call hair.”
Demy ran her fingers through her long, sea soaked strands and slapped her aquamarine tail on the water. That’s when Snit noticed something.“HEY! What are you doing on the shore? You’ll die, Demy!”
He flew up in a panic and searched for something to help push her back into the open sea but stopped, confused, when he heard her laughter.“Easy, I’m ok. Look, the waves are steadily crashing on the shore. My tail is well hydrated and I can go back in whenever I please. Come back here.”
She offered her open palm again and Snit returned, still ill at ease. “Just rush to the open water if you feel woozy, ok?”
Snit sniffed nervously, trying to calm himself. Demy gave him her best reassuring smile and changed the subject.“So…how come you’re so late for our meeting? You forgot about me?” Demy pouted and looked down.
Snit flew up to her face and settled on her nose. “Don’t pout Demy, I could never forget you…” he hesitated, not sure what to say next.
Demy sensed there was something more he wasn’t sharing.“What’s on your mind?”
Snit hugged her nose and stuttered.“W-well…uh…I-I…m-met someone.”
“Snit, you’re in love!” He yelped when she plucked him from her nose and held him high, all smiles. “What’s her name? Where did you meet her? Have your parents met her yet? When do I get to meet her…Snit why are you so quiet?”
His antennae had slowly wilted with each question until they were finally completely drooped.
“Her name is Flutter. I met her in Mrs. Hanaleiah’s rose garden. No, they don’t know about her. I can bring her tomorrow if you like.”
Demy regarded him curiously.“Snit, what are you not telling me?”
He mumbled something under his breath that she didn’t quite catch.
Demy held him closer.“What’s that? I didn’t hear you.”
He spoke again, louder.Demy’s eyes widened and her mouth formed an “Oh” of understanding. She regarded the sea for a moment, deep in thought. Snit looked as well, but the sea’s magic had no effect on his troubled mind.
“A butterfly, eh? Flutter the butterfly. I knew that was an odd name for a ladybug…not that ‘Snit’ is any better but still…” Her voice trailed off and she sat there, thinking.
Snit couldn’t stand it; he took flight and flitted about incessantly.“If my parents find out… Why does it have to be that way Demy? So what if she’s a butterfly and I’m a ladybug, we belong together. I’ve never felt this way. I can’t live without her…” The mermaid listened quietly as her small friend continued ranting.“Humans have it so easy! They can fall in love with whomever they want… If we were human we could be together forever; don’t you think? I wish…we were human.”
Snit flew to Demy’s nose again, hugged her for comfort and quietly wept. She sighed and was speechless. The sun was now fully in the sky and she could barely see the remainder of last night’s stars.
She loved coming here every morning to meet Snit. Demy remembered the first time they met. Snit had flown too close to the open water, mesmerized by its vastness, and was water logged when it started to rain. She had been there, enjoying the view of the ocean—her home—and the sky. Demy saved his life and it had been the beginning of a beautiful and long lasting friendship. Now here they were; Snit was in trouble again and Demy felt compelled to rescue him, but also felt sheer loneliness. Even though she was genuinely happy that Snit had found love, deep down she felt as if someone had taken away a part of her heart. Perhaps she, like Flutter, had fallen in love with an impossible dream.
“Snit, listen to me. Do you really love her?”
Snit was shaken from his depression by the seriousness in his friend’s voice.
“With my very being.”
The ladybug and mermaid looked at each other for a moment. Demy finally looked away.“I can help you with your problem Snit.” He barely heard her whisper.
“What do you mean, Demy?”
She looked at him and gave him a tender smile.“We mermaids are magical creatures after all. I can help you, but only if you are both committed to your love.”
Snit didn’t know how to respond to such a wonderful offer.“Demy…thank you. What do I need to do?”
Demy closed her eyes and held them shut as she gave him instructions. A few hours passed and they spent it together, telling each other stories and enjoying one another’s company. Finally it was time for them to depart. Demy did something she had never done before: she gave him a gentle kiss and said “Goodbye”.
The next day, just before sunrise, Snit and Flutter hurried to the usual meeting spot.
“Can your friend really help us, Snit? I find it hard to believe”, Flutter said.
“Oh, but won’t it be wonderful, Flutter? Imagine us—humans! If anyone can help us, it’s Demy. She—DEMY!” Snit screamed in horror at the sight before him.
Demy, his best friend lay far inland, away from the waves lapping at the shore. They rushed to her side as fast as their wings allowed. Demy was barely conscious, chanting something unintelligible.
“Demy! Quick Flutter, find something to help drag her to the sea or she’ll die!”
Snit landed on her eyes, nose and lips—helpless—as Flutter darted around in panic, looking for help.“This…is the way it has to be…Snit. You’ll be happy…”
The realization of what Demy was saying hit Snit like a rock. “NO, Demy! I didn’t know my wish meant you would die! I don’t want to be human if it means I have to lose you. Please Demy, I love you!” Snit hugged her nose as tightly as he could and cried. There was nothing he or Flutter could do to save the mermaid. Flutter settled on Demy’s hair, crying.
“You won’t lose me Snit. You won’t even…remember me, but I’ll always be near you…protecting you. I love you too…”
Among shadows and friends the mermaid took her last breath.
Snit and Flutter were beyond grief and guilt. They never noticed Demy’s body glowing brightly. It grew in intensity and soothed their troubled tears, enveloping them in warmth and sending them to a dreamless sleep.
When they woke they were entwined in each other’s arms. “…Arms? We have arms?” Snit sat up straight, and felt a pressure settle on his chest—he had a chest! A beautiful, aquamarine stone hung on twine was around his neck. He knew without a doubt it was magical, making him human.
“Flutter! We’re human!” He shook her, not noticing the tears flowing down his cheeks. Flutter looked at him and then at herself—she had a stone identical to Snit’s around her neck—and laughed, giddy with joy until she noticed Snit’s tears.
“Snit, why are you crying?”
“I don’t know…I feel like I’ve just lost something precious…I just can’t remember…Wasn’t there someone here just now?” Snit struggled to remember but he could not.
Flutter held him tightly.“Oh but it doesn’t matter now! We’re human! We have a whole new life to begin, Snit.”He smiled and turned to see his first morning as a human.
Snit held the stone close to his heart and said: “I love you.”