Wow, am I glad to get this one finished! For a flash fiction piece, it took a ridiculously long time to write. But, it's done now - enjoy!
Fairy Fluff hovered near the holly tree at the heart of Spookies Wood. It looked perfect! She pushed her way into the almost cave-like interior
and smiled with satisfaction; this would be an excellent site for her winter home. Rather than risk damaging her wings by forcing her way through the prickly
foliage again, she flew downwards, landing on the ground.
The floor of the Wood was covered in twigs and she soon gathered quite a pile. She flew back to the spot she had chosen for building her shelter
to measure the distance between trunk and branch, then returned to the ground to sort her sticks. The short ones were set aside but the long ones were
quickly trimmed with the use of a cutting spell.
Then began the task of carrying them up to the branch. She could have used magic to create her shelter, but she had found such
constructions had a habit of falling apart at the worst moment. Whether this was because of some problem with her spells or a caprice of the Universe, she
did not know.
It was really earlier in the autumn than she would have wished to begin her winter shelter; the one she had built last winter had
barely lasted the whole season, and she had started it much later. However, her current shelter was falling apart and she needed something. She hoped that building on an evergreen would provide extra protection.
By sunset, about half her roof was in place and she flew wearily back to her current shelter. Like all her spring, summer and autumn
homes, it was built on the edge of the wood, where the vague boundary between inside and outside created a place of mystery, neither one nor the other.
The shelter was a sorry sight, even in the twilight. Two nights of wind and one of heavy rain had almost destroyed it. She had awoken
this morning to soggy bedding, so she had laid it on the branch to dry. She dragged the almost-dry wool and feathers back inside, and sank into sleep.
The next morning, she awoke with a stiff neck thanks to a draft that came through the gaps. She climbed out of the shelter and aimed a
kick at a corner of the roof. The whole thing shivered, then collapsed. Well, that was that! She grabbed an armful of bedding and made her way back to the holly.
She spent the morning hauling up the rest of the sticks for the roof, then wove grass and plant stems to hold them together. A layer of
moss completed the job and that night, she had the best sleep for days in her makeshift bed.
Experience had taught her winter shelters should have two layers. With the outer shell complete, she moved on to the inner one. The
method of construction was the same but the sticks could be less robust. By the end of the third day, the inner roof was complete as was the back wall, on the
windward side, made from a double layer of bark.
On the fourth day, she stuffed the space between inner and outer roofs with leaves that were still green and flexible, pushing the pile
down every time the space seemed full and forcing in another leaf. The thicker and more compact the leaves, the more comfortable her winter. Her final job was to build the front wall using more bark.
She awoke in the morning knowing her shelter was almost complete. It had rained in the night but she had stayed dry. Giving her mossy
roof a pat that was part gratitude, part affection she flew off in search of bedding.
Feathers, both waterproof flight feathers, and soft downy ones, were easy to come by and she soon had a good pile. Then she set off for
the local fields where she found both course sheep's wool and silky alpaca. Her sleeping nest was also built in layers; feathers, sheep's wool, alpaca wool and
down. In the afternoon, she wove a screen that would be used as a door.
That night, she snuggled down into her warm, cosy nest, pulled the screen to behind her, and slept and slept and slept.
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