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Summer of Hope

For The Summer Solstice Challenge

By Jessica PhoenixPublished about a month ago 5 min read
Top Story - June 2024
Summer of Hope
Photo by Philip Mackie on Unsplash

The sun shined brightly in the sky, mocking Essie with its light.

For those who were fortunate, Summer Solstice meant celebrating and grand feasts, dancing and singing, along with many other great activities.

But for the elves, it only meant hardship.

Long ago, in ancient times, a ship named The Golden Sparrow sailed over to elven lands, full of wizards. The wizards had enslaved the elves who had lived in the San'Rakai forest, a forest full of magic and magical creatures.

Ever since then, the elves had preformed labor for the wizards, whether they were old or young, sick or not. The wizards were merciless, heartless beings who didn't care for the well-being of the elves.

Unfortunately, Essie was one of them.

Essie was a 6 year old elf working on the land of a wizard named Quintan. He was sadistic, hostile, and downright cruel. When he had bought Essie, he bought her alone, separating her from her family. She cried herself to sleep every night, missing them and wishing they were there with her.

But alas, they could not be. Essie was forced to till Quintan's farm alone, every single day, under the heat of the sun, and wasn't allowed to complain. There used to be a 35 year old elf who helped her, but he had crossed the master one day, and after that, she never again saw him.

When Summer Solstice came around, it only meant more work for poor Essie.

Along with having to work under the sun alone even longer than a normal summer day, she had to set up the master's house and get it ready for the parties he always hosted to celebrate Summer Solstice.

Essie, of course, was never invited to it, even though she lived on his land.

She stared longingly at a young wizard playing around with his friend, wishing she could be in his place. Why did fate choose to make her a slave, and not him?

He suddenly looked over, and they stared into each other's eyes for a moment before his friend came over and tapped him on the shoulder, then began whispering to him. They both ran away after that, and Essie's heart dropped like a stone in water.

"Why me?" She whispered quietly, looking up at the sky. She said it again, more loudly that time, "Why me?"

"ESSIE!" A voice suddenly shouted from the master's house. Quintan stood by the porch, clad in a long, blue wizard's robe and hat. There was a scowl on his face, darkening his features.

Dread creeping into her with each step, Essie began to walk toward him. Once she arrived at the foot of the porch, she looked up at Quintan and asked in a quiet voice, "W-what do you n-need, Master?"

"Speak up!" He barked, stomping over to her. She flinched.

"Did you need something?" She asked louder.

"I don't keep you alive just so you can stand around my fields and be completely useless. Quit daydreaming and get to work!" Quintan snapped, then reached down and clamped a hand around her little arm, holding her in an iron grip before dragging her back over to the fields she worked on and throwing her into the floor, getting her already-dirty little dress even dirtier. "I expect the entire field to be tilled and planted by the time I return from the Solstice Celebration. Get to it!"

Speaking through the lump in her throat, Essie said in a small, trembling voice, "Yes sir."

In a whirl of blue robes, he began walking away, muttering angrily to himself as he did.

A small tear traced a path down Essie's muddy cheek, but she quickly wiped it, then pulled her knees into her chest and wrapped her small arms around them as she watched the master's enchanted carriage pull him out of the yard and into the woods.

"Hey, are you alright?"

Essie whipped her head around as the she heard a voice speak suddenly behind her. The sun was behind the person, so she couldn't look directly at them, but she saw a hand offering to help her up.

She took it uncertainly, hauling herself onto her feet and brushing dirt off the bottom of her dress. Then she looked up at the elf who had helped her up and found that it was a boy who looked around 16, wearing a ripped brown tunic and shorts. He gave her a small smile.

"Hi, I'm Tarnac." He said to her in a kind voice. "Master bought me yesterday. Are you okay?"

"Um... yes. Yes, I'm okay." She said, returning his smile with a little one of her own. She was completely thrown off by the fact that he was being nice to her.

"Alright, just wanted to check. I saw the master throw you down, and I just needed to make sure you were okay." He said. She gaped at him for a moment, and when he saw how she wasn't answering, he said quietly, "He hasn't been treating you well, has he?"

Her face fell, and she hurriedly turned her eyes to the ground before she burst into tears.

"You know," Tarnac went on, "I've heard rumors around town that the comet that usually passes through during Summer Solstice will be a Wishing Comet this year."

At that, she let out a gasp. As far as she knew, there had only been one Wishing Comet that had ever passed over the San'Rakai forest, and it happened many millennia ago. It was said that if you made a wish on it as it passed overhead, it would be granted.

"Are you sure?" Essie asked Tarnac softly.

"Like I said, it's a rumor." He answered in a likewise tone, "But we're about to find out if it's true in about 5 minutes, when the comet comes."

He was right. They stood together for five minutes, eyes turned to the sky, not willing to miss a second of the comet passing overhead.

After five minutes had passed, a clear, bell-like peal split the air, and there seemed to be a small explosion in the horizon before the comet promptly flew over their heads, and Essie gasped, quickly closing her eyes and getting to her knees before she missed her chance.

She made her wish...

She held it in her heart...

She hoped for it to come true...

Then, the next day, when she woke up...


About the Creator

Jessica Phoenix

I like to dig deep into things and find out their true meanings, and while I don't always succeed, it's exhilarating to try.

I write for challenges sometimes, but you'll also find me writing little stories for fun.



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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (10)

  • ROCK 23 days ago

    Oh, this killed me! So many questions; congratulations on Top Story.

  • Sohan Lal26 days ago


  • Congrats on TS

  • Megan Malcolm27 days ago

    What a fun read! So curious about what happened next. Congratulations on top story!

  • I liked Essie a lot too

  • Ohh that last paragraph about the bell-like peal was stunningly gorgeous and full of visceral detail ❤️💕🥰👏👏

  • Congratulations on having your story featured as a top story on Vocal! This is a remarkable achievement, and it's clear why your work has received such recognition. Your storytelling is truly exceptional. The narrative was not only compelling but also beautifully crafted, holding my attention from start to finish. The way you developed the characters and plot was masterful, making the story both engaging and thought-provoking. Your unique voice and perspective shine through, setting your work apart. It’s evident that you poured a lot of passion and effort into this piece, and it has certainly paid off. I look forward to reading more of your incredible stories in the future. Keep up the fantastic work! Best regards, Dr. Jay

  • shanmuga priya28 days ago

    Congratulations on this stunning achievement...🎉🎉🎉

  • Novel Allen30 days ago

    Next day she was a princess in a castle. Dreams come true in fairyland. Hoping the best for the little lady. Great entry.

  • Jessica Phoenix (Author)about a month ago

    Isn't it funny that I submitted this story coincidently on the day of Summer Solstice?

Jessica PhoenixWritten by Jessica Phoenix

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