She loved her little secret. Maya’s teacher would tell her to put away her purse (the one Daddy bought her special last week – the one that was just the perfect size to hide it). She would comply, but her attention would never leave that little mermaid-scale bag.

Ms. Agner had enough of the bag. There was learning to be done. There were letters to learn and numbers to crunch and histories to be explored. She wanted so badly for Maya to find a passion for all the things she did, but Maya never took her eyes off that stupid mermaid purse. These girls, these little girls, and their obsession with mermaids nowadays. Maya was the worst of them when it came to obsession. Ms. Agner couldn’t figure out what it was about that particular purse, but Maya asking “what did you say?” for the thousandth time after Ms. Agner asked HER a question finally broke the bewildered teacher.

“Maya, I need you to give me your purse.”
“No!” Maya screamed, running to the back of the class where her cubby – and the purse – was.

Ms. Agner couldn’t stop herself from also running to the back of the class. The other students started screaming and laughing. Ms. Agner forgot them, focused only on that purse. Maya had gotten to it first, but Ms. Agner was bigger and stronger. She grabbed at the purse, and Maya was screaming. Tears streamed down her cheeks.

“It’s mine! It’s mine! Let go! It’s mine!” she cried.

Some of the students spoke out, shocked their teacher would act so violently.

“STOP SCREAMING,” Ms. Agner screamed.

Finally, there was silence, except for the sniffles and sobs of little Maya.

Ms. Agner ripped the purse away – and ripped was the right word as the contents scattered out of it. Maya screamed again.

On the floor lay a little shimmery figurine with iridescent silken wings. Or, that’s what Ms. Agner, and the rest of the class had thought at first. The figurine was luminous – was luminous, and the illumination was quickly fading. As they all looked on with bated breath, they saw the staggered, inconsistent rise and fall of its chest.

“You’ve killed her,” Maya whispered, crawling towards the little fairy. She gently – so gently – scooped the little body into her hands, eyes red and bleary, and walked out of the classroom.

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