She buried her head in her old pillow and pulled her thin blanket all the way over her head in a failed attempt to stop shivering from the cold that invaded her tiny dark room. The bed springs squeaked beneath her in protest as she tried to get into a comfortable position, allowing her tears to soak her pillow once again without suffocating. It was another one of those days where there was nothing else to do but cry yourself to sleep and wish that when you did wake up in the morning that nothing was the matter and all was fine and dandy, if only.
Something flickered across from her now sore eyelids, like a little light being shone directly at them. She decided she was imagining, who would bring light into her own tiny little dark room? Then suddenly it happened again and she opened her eyes, peeking from a big hole in the blanket, she watched the scene unfolding right in front of her in disbelief!
Elves! Tiny, happy, singing, magical elves! In her own little no-where! Sneaking in from hidden doorways and filling her version of the world with laughter, chatter, and warmth! The very same elves she saw only in cartoons of her childhood, with long bears and long pointy hats that snuck into toy or shoe shops at night and did kind things to unsuspecting humans while they slept away, what was it? A shoe shop they once fixed? Could it be? Could they truly be here for her now? Is this even real?
The elves worked together as a team, laughing and singing, painting the dark walls in rainbow colours and throwing away her junk. In place of old and broken picture frames, there are now new and gleaming colourful ones, erasing the darkness surrounding her cherished memories with a colourful swipe of their magic. An elf began patching up her blanket, starting at the bottom, and was closing in the various holes with a sparkly threat made of crushed crystals. She saw white patterned fabric covering the cracked old surfaces, bowls of fruits and chocolates placed on different, and new, tables, and her only chair given a makeover and fluffed up for her to snuggle in and read from the new stack of books placed right next to it. Someone somewhere lit up a fire, and now she was warm and content, her tears long dry and forgotten.
She wondered where the elves came from, and why were they here? Could they be so kind to do all of this, just for her pleasure, expecting nothing in return? What would they do if they knew she was watching them, her tears threatening to come back even harder after watching this fine display of graciousness? Would they perhaps let her join in the giggle and the jolly chants? Maybe even linger a bit more and breaking some of that delicious freshly baked bread over little cups of tea with her?
She waited though, too afraid to lift off the blanked, too scared to let them know she knew. She began humming along with their chant softly, feeling their perky spirit possessing her, making her almost delirious with glee. It was like being in a happy dream she didn’t want to wake up from even thought she knew she was sleeping, but this felt like anything but a dream, too real to dismiss.
Then suddenly it snuck up on her, a vicious storm of a sneeze threatening to explode from her nostrils, tickling all her senses at once. She tried suppressing it, not wanting the elves to go away by alerting them she was awake and watching. She sniffed once, twice, but in the end the treacherous sneeze won and thundered away, reverberating across all the corners of the room, scaring away the birds on the roof and of course the unsuspecting poor elves…
She opened her eyes quickly, the blanket thrown to the ground and her cover blown. She was afraid of what she might see, she desperately wanted to see the scared elves rooted to their place, scared to stillness by her sneeze, but then they’d whoop and let her join in. They were there for her after all, weren’t they? She almost didn’t dare open her eyes, wished she could pretend she was indeed still asleep and sneezing while asleep, but she knew like they did she was in to their plot and was well aware of it. It was time to welcome her new little magical friends and thank them, profusely.
When she finally did gather enough courage to prey her eyelids open, she looked around the room and saw nothing. There were no elves, nor chants, nor magical chanting and good deeds. There was no warm fire and sparkly thread, nor bowls of chocolate over white clothes against rainbow coloured walls. The darkness was still there, so was the putrid cold winning over the thin torn blanket. What was moving in the distance and bothering her sleep weren’t elves, but big fat slimy rats she couldn’t afford to exterminate lurking underneath her cracked bed. Of course they were only rats, did she expect magical elves, really and truly, to spring out of no where and do her any good? She knew it, and she realised she knew all along that she knew it, her loveable elves were nothing but rats all along, self-righteous manipulative rats that will reside underneath her bed forever, bothering in her wake and adding to her misery until she plucked the courage to get rid of them.
She sat upright in bed, threw off her good for nothing cover, and grabbed her cracked broom. There will be no sleeping tonight until she threw these rats out, once and for all.