The little boy, the star-eyed flower fairy and the gingerbread house
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Once upon a time, in a very far away and forgotten land, there lived a little boy.

The little boy and his family lived in a cottage right at the outskirts of a mysterious and ancient forest, filled with dark, menancing trees so tall they reached the sky.
So close from home… Yet so far, as that little boy always wanted to explore it. That was his biggest wish. But no matter how much he asked, his wish was always denied.

"Mama, can I go and play in the forest?" He often asked.
"No, sweetie" His stern mother always said. "The forest is no place for little kids like you."
"And why is that, mama?" The little boy insisted.
"Because fairies live in that forest. And they are bad creatures, scary and dangerous. You will get hurt if you go there."
And everytime, the little boy kept quiet after his mother's final warning, playing inside the house. Just him all alone.

One summer evening however, the little boy went against his mother's wishes for the first time in his life. He escaped and ventured inside the forest.
He walked, and walked, until the cottage was nothing but a dot in the distance. Going deeper and deeper, walking more and more among the sea of leaves.
Soon enough, the little boy realized he couldn't see his house anymore. He looked around, and all he could see were those huge trees surrounding him.
The little boy was lost.
He began crying for help, over and over again until his throat got sore.
But nobody came.

However, when all hope was lost and the little boy thought his time has come, someone appeared.

A little girl, more or less his age. Her delicate skin was as white as snow. Her long, flowy hair was blond and shiny like wheat under a summer afternoon. She had cloven hooves instead of feet, rosy cheeks and lips and a warm, kind smile. However, what the little boy got fixated on the most were her eyes: big, beautiful and shiny, like staring at a starry sky.

"Hello!" She greeted. "Why are you crying? Are you lost?"
"… Yes." The little boy shyly answered, looking at her completely enchanted. "Who are you?"
"Me? I'm a fairy!"
"A fairy?!" The little boy replied in surprise
"Yes!" The fairy giggled.
"You can't be a fairy." He said. "Mama said fairies were bad creatures, scary and dangerous. And you are not bad, scary nor dangerous."
The fairy's smile became wider.
"Do you really think so?" She whispered.
"Yes" The little boy nodded. "You seem really kind, and you're pretty."
"Oh, thank you!" She gasped. "You're really kind and pretty too. I will help you get out of this place!"
"You will? Really?"
"Of course! Just hold my hand and follow me."

Together, the pair traveled through the forest, the little boy always keeping close to the fairy, until the cottage appeared in the distance again.
Forever grateful and with a big smile on his face, the little boy thanked the fairy, ready to return home. But before he could let go, she grasped his hand tightly.

"Wait!" The fairy called for him. "You haven't given me a gift yet!"
"… A gift?" The little boy replied in confusion.
The fairy nodded, her smile widening again.
"When a person receives a good deed from someone, they need to gift a good deed in return." She explained. "That way, both people are at peace and their bond grows, because they were equally nice to each other!"
"Oh, makes sense!" The little boy gasped. "And what counts as a gift?"
"Anything is a gift, as long as you pour your heart into it!" The fairy said. "But sometimes, people may have a preference for certain gifts. My preference, for example, are flowers!"
"Yes! Any kind of flower, I love them all. My dream has always been to have a big, beautiful garden. And what about you?"
"Yes! What is your biggest wish?"
The little boy, awestuck and with a spark of sadness in his eyes, kept silent for a bit, thinking about his answer before replying:
"I wish… for a friend." He said.
"And I'll be that friend. I'll always be by your side and you will never be alone again. That's my gift for you." The fairy smiled warmly, now holding both his hands tenderly. "Everytime you want, whenever you feel alone, or sad, come to the forest. I will appear and we can play together for as long as you like. And you can help me make my big, beautiful garden by bringing me flowers!
Since you didn't know, I will let this slip. But remember my words, never stop being kind to me!"

Since that wonderful day, the little boy sneaked away from his house often to play with his new best friend.
The more the days passed, the longer and more frequent the visits, and it was the happiest the little boy ever was.
In each visit, the little boy gifted the fairy a flower, only the prettiest ones he found. The fairy was always grateful of the gifts, and soon enough, she began making requests:

"Bring me poppies!"
"Bring me daisies!"
"Bring me forget-me-nots!"
"Bring me dandelions!"

The fairy's requests for flowers grew more and more specific. And the little boy always tried his best in his searches, no matter how difficult the task:

"Bring me the brightest red roses!"
"Bring me the most beautiful carnations!"
"Bring me the most mysterious looking violets!"
"Bring me the best smelling jasmines!"

Time passed, and the little boy changed.
He was not a little boy anymore. But a man.
Despite growing up and becoming big and strong, the man never stopped visiting and getting comfort from his fairy. And her requests for gifts also changed completely:

"Bring me eggs!"
"Bring me flour!"
"Bring me butter!"
"Bring me spice and molasses!"

Finally, when she had everything she needed, the fairy used her magic and built a beautiful house, using all the gifts she got since she was a child.
The house was big, sturdy, comfortable and smelled like freshly-baked gingerbread, surrounded by a beautiful garden made with all the flowers the man collected for her through the years.
"I built this house for us to live in, as a gift for you." The fairy said. "What will you gift me in return?"
And without thinking twice, the man gave the fairy his heart.

The man and the fairy lived a happy, quiet life in their new home. He took care of the house, and she tended to the flowers. The couple always made sure the place was as beautiful as it could be.
The man was forever grateful of his fairy. She let him live with him, took care of him and gave him lots of love, hugs and kisses, and all he had to do in return was gift her things she asked for, mostly in the form of chores or attention. But he didn't mind at all, the gifts given weren't important. What really mattered for the man was the fact someone finally cared for him this much.

They were happy together.
And everything was perfect.

One day, the man wanted to go outside the forest. He did nothing wrong, he thought, he just wanted to have a walk around the town!
But even if good faithed, the fairy appeared and stopped him right when he spotted the roofs and chimneys.
"Where are you going?" She inquired.
"To the town." He replied.
The fairy held the man's hand tightly.
"But you can't exit the forest!"
"… Why?"
"If you go to the town, I can't come with you, you'll be on your own. And I don't want you to feel lonely and sad, I want you to be happy! Here with me!"
And the man never abandoned the forest again.

Another day, the man wanted to stroll through the garden. It was a perfect spring day, and he wanted to enjoy the beautiful flowers!
But right when he approached one of the roses to smell it, the fairy appeared and held it away from him.
"What are you doing?" She asked
"Smelling the flowers."
The fairy gave the man one of her big and warm smiles.
"But you can't do that!"
"… Why?"
"You gave these flowers to me as a gift. That means they aren't yours anymore, they're mine now, and you need to ask before you can come in here. Otherwise it'd be very rude! Don't you think?"
And the man never visited the garden without permission again.

Yet another day, the man wanted to exit the house. He was tired after having been cleaning for a long while, he just wanted a break!
But when he placed his hand on the doorknob, the fairy appeared, grabbing his wrist gently.
"Why are you going outside?" She said.
"I want to rest and have some fresh air."
The fairy tightened her grasp. There was no smile this time.
"You won't."
"… Why?"
"I made this house for us. For you. Why would you even want to leave it? Don't you like your gift?"
And the man never went outside again.

Time passed after that incident, but even if everything was happy and perfect, the man couldn't forget it.
At first, he didn't care. The fairy was right! She made this perfect house for him to enjoy, what was the point of leaving? But even if his mind kept repeating that everything was okay, his guts kept insisting something was not right.
The more time he spent thinking about what happened, the more it helped him realize.
And when he did, everything began to change.

His home was not as pleasant to stay in anymore.
The fairy's innocent wishes for gifts became demands he was forced to comply.
But when he finally reached a conclusion, it was too late.

The man was trapped.

The more time he spent inside, the more he hated it. Unable to leave, the house his fairy made turned into his prison.
And he has been too blind to see it.

The warm and cozy enviroment became as cold and unwelcoming as a tomb. The soft and spongy walls began hardening and losing their caramel color, turning into a sad and dull grey. Mold, flies, rats, roaches and maggots crept through each crack and corner, devouring it like a disease. And the otherwise pleasant smell of gingerbread became stagnant and rancid, reeking of death and bile.
It was so bad and hostile, it reached a point when the man became too frightened to clean and take care of the house, worrying he will be next to be buried inside that hell. And everytime he didn't do his chores, nor obeyed what was said, he was met with harsh scolds from the fairy.

And the worst thing was that she was changing too.

Her pale and beautiful skin became sickly, like the one of a spectre. Her blond hair lost its softness, looking like dried straws and twigs instead of strands of wheat, curling together like macabre fingers grasping the sky. Each time the man heard hooves approaching he became even more tense than before, his body hairs bristeling like hedgehog quills, hoping they went away. Her rosy cheeks had lost all their color, and her lips were charred and devoid of softness.
But that was nothing compared to her smile. The otherwise comforting gesture of hers became a sign of dread and danger. Pearly teeth, sharp like needles and tough like iron, creeping in a grin too big to be human. Despite his fear and discomfort, the man was too scared to talk back or do anything, all because of that smile, thinking the fairy would bite his head off if he went against her wishes.

Even if she changed, the fairy still loved the man very much, calling his name and cuddling with him constantly like she always did since they were children. And the man could only lay frozen like a doll as she hugged him. Looking at her beautiful and star-filled eyes didn't bring him comfort anymore.

"I want you to give me another gift." The fairy said each time she held the man close.
Most of the time, the man didn't talk back. But sometimes, he had enough courage to do so:
"… And what if I don't?"
The always patient fairy held him tightly each time he mustered that question.
"If you don't gift me anything, that means you'll break the promise we made to each other all those years ago. You won't be kind anymore, but a really bad person instead. And that will make me very sad. Because of what you did, I won't love you anymore. I will crush the heart you so kindly gave to me into dust and toss it very far away. I will burn the beautiful garden you worked so hard to collect to a crisp. And most importantly, I will make you leave, as this beautiful house won't be yours anymore."
And that was enough of an answer for the man to keep silent and let her proceed.
After all she had done for him? It just made sense.

The gift the fairy asked for was what was left of the man's bare body.
His ear, his eye, his nose, his finger, his hand, his leg, his lung, his kidney or his liver… Each day, the fairy took a different piece of him. It hurt a lot, but the man always let her. It was better than being alone or being screamed at, always cluthing onto her tightly for reassurance and love after giving her all the gifts she wanted.

But one day.

The fairy didn't even ask for a gift before it happened. She hugged the man tightly, and laid her hands on him like she always did. But without any warning whatsoever, she sunk her claws in his beaten flesh.
Tearing into the man's body like if he were soft clay, the fairy began ripping his entrails apart, cuddleling and kissing every part of him from the inside out as she explored him so vehemently. Every hair plucked, every organ squished, every bone torn, every chunk of meat pulled apart, all was music to her ears.
Going on for what seemed like hours, she finally found what she was searching for:
A little seed. One the man had been keeping inside of him all this time. And without saying a word, the fairy rushed outside, planting it in her garden as she smiled.

The man was left devastated.
Everything was too sudden, and before he knew it, it culminated into the biggest and longest pain he lived through. She could have asked for such an important gift, but she didn't. And that was what hurt him the most.
He didn't want to live anymore. He cried a lot that night and the ones to come.
He couldn't call for anyone, not even the fairy so he could beg her to come to his side and comfort him. Because she had already taken his mouth away long ago.

The seed the fairy took and planted soon sprouted from the ground. Growing taller and stronger, it became a magical fairy tree.
The tree suddenly showed signs of bearing fruit: A singular flower appeared in one of its lower branches.
The flower then turned into an apple, big, healthy and pretty. And during one rainy day, the apple transformed into a beautiful baby.

Both the man and the fairy were together in the garden when the magic happened. At the sight of the newly formed baby, the man gently picked it from the tree, holding it with all the love and care in the world as it stopped crying, giggleling and calling for him.
"This will be my last and best gift for you." The fairy said, despite the man not taking his eyes off the little thing. "I made it with all my love so we can raise it. The three together, a family, living in our big and beautiful house."

The fairy then reached her hands towards the man, asking him silently to give her the baby. When he did as asked, she gave him a radiant smile, her beautiful eyes shining more than ever.
"What will you gift me in return?"

And without thinking twice, the man gave his answer:


I'm sorry, dear.

I love you so much.

It took me too long to notice. But I know what you did.
What you've been doing to me, all these years.

I'm tired of that.

But this is not about me.


It's all for her.

For her sake, you don't scare me anymore.

And for once in your life, you are the one getting no gift.

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