13 The mean witch

Noortje is ill and is well wrapped under the covers. Her mother sat next to her bed all night
‘Honey, please get well soon,’ she whispers.
Noortje shivers but does not have a fever. Finally, the doctor comes.
‘Noortje are you sick and that with this nice weather.’
Noortje hardly moves, she cannot say anything.
The doctor checks her from head to toe. Press on her belly and listen to her lungs.
‘Well, what can I do?’ He mutters and scratches behind his ear.
‘I do not understand it at all. She has no fever. Her lungs are clean and do not squeak. Her belly feels smooth. Strange. Are you in pain somewhere,’ the doctor asks?
Noortje does not answer. Every now and then she opens her eyes and stares into thin air
Mama looks at the doctor and asks, ‘Doctor, what has she got, you can see she is extremely sick. What could it be?’
‘Well, I don’t know. I really do not know. I think it is best that we will bring her to the hospital.
An ambulance takes Noortje to the nearest hospital. The doctor is waiting for her and she is taken to a room where they will examine her. The doctors send Mom to another room, where a nice nurse is taken care of her.
‘Can I make a phone call,’ she asks the nurse. ‘My husband works abroad. He needs to know that Noortje is sick.’
The sister takes her to a room where she can call. Mother hears her husband’s phone ringing and he softly calls his name.
‘Sweetheart…., with me. Noortje is seriously ill, but they do not know what it is. Can you come back home, Please?’
‘Of course, honey, I will come to you as soon as possible,’ Dad replies.
Mother puts down the receiver and knows that it may take a while before Noortjes daddy is home. She sits down sadly. The doctors do everything they can, but they cannot find what makes Noortje so sick. They cannot explain the heavy breathing and the red bumps that appear on the body of Noortje. Noortje closes her eyes and whatever the doctors do, she does not wake up.
The doctor comes to Mom.
‘Is she dying,’ mommy stuttered. ‘Please don’t let her die. It can’t be that bad, can it?’
An older doctor also does not know what to say. Everyone is busy to look in their reports so that they can find a solution for the illness.
‘Do you have the results,’ mommy asks.
‘Yes ma’am, but all results are perfect. It looks healthy. I must tell you honestly, we do not know. I’m going to contact my other colleagues and I hoop that they can get us on the right track.’
Mommy holds the hand and whit her other hand she dabs the sweaty face of Noortje dry. Noortje is still shivering and her face is red.

Two days before

Noortje is gazing at the ceiling and does not understand anything that happened today. Outside she hears wings fluttering, which makes a singing sound. She walks to the window and sees that mother swan tries to catch her attention. She sneaks out. The swans are waiting for her by the lake.
‘Honey, listen. We know you are quite shocked, but it is true. Your mom really was a Fairy. The branch man was telling the truth,’ whispers mommy swan. ‘The witch is on warpath, but we don’t know exactly what she is going to do. You must watch out for her. We too have been enchanted by her. You must do something.
‘But what can I do,’ Noortje asks.
‘I don’t know, honey,’ Mommy Swan replies. ‘We know that you also have powers that you do not yet know they exist, but I can say no more.’
Mommy swan flies away and leaves Noortje in doubt.
‘Ha ha ha ha,’ she hears a horrible laugh above her head. ‘One day I will be able to get your mommy’s beauty,’ the witch screams from the big tree. ‘Before you are ready to master the magic, I already have her beauty!’
Noortje does not understand it. Am I all already in a bad dream, she thinks?
She looks at the tree and without thinking she climbs into the tree. It is already dark, but the moon is high in the sky. Heavy curved branches contrast darkly with the light of the moon. The higher she climbs, the more anxious she becomes.
‘Come on sweet girl,’ shouts the mean witch. ‘Shall I turn you into a swan too, ha, ha, …!’
Noortje gets tired and her body starts to tremble from the effort.
‘Come on girl, a few more twigs. It is going well.’
Noortjes does not understand it. Why did I climb that tree and what does that witch want from me? I should have been comfortable in my bed, she thinks.
She looks down, but only sees a dark hole. She feels her legs tremble, and, in her belly, she feels a strange feeling. She would prefer to let go, but she realizes that she cannot survive this height.
‘Come on baby, just a little bit and then you are on the fairytale cloud.’
Suddenly it becomes clear. Indeed, she sees the fairytale cloud. Now she knows that she no longer must be afraid, that is what she is thinking.
‘Jump on it,’ shouts the witch as nicely as possible.
Noortje sees that the distance between the tree and the fairytale cloud is large, but she is convinced that she can bridge the distance. She stands on the thickest branch to jump on the cloud.
‘Don’t do it,’ shouts a voice. ‘Please, do not do it. You never make it….’
It is too late. She jumps, but claps against the cloud and falls.

A few days later in the hospital

Again, Mommy dabs the moisture from Noortje’s forehead. Still the doctors cannot do anything for her and have no idea what is going on with her. Mommy asked if she could take Noortje home and the doctors agreed. Every day, the doctor comes by to see if Noortje’s condition changes. Dad came home as soon as possible and at home, they can do nothing but take good care of her and hope that things will get better soon.
‘How’s she doing,’ asks daddy.
‘I hope for a miracle,’ mommy answer. ‘Her breathing is faster.’
Noortje’s body suddenly starts to shake from head to toe and she sits up screaming. Waving her arms and screaming for mom. It is a terrible look for them to see this. Mother tries to calm Noortje, but nothing helps.
Suddenly she falls back and is completely still. The red face turns white and the bumps suddenly disappear. She lies in bed quiet and peacefully.
Mom and dad sit next to the bed and comfort each other. They look at their daughter’s face lying in her bed with a peaceful look and a smile around her face.
Dad gets up and says, ‘I’m going to call the doctor to tell her she died.’ He walks to the door but then he hears a familiar voice that asks: ‘Is it tomorrow already?’
Noortje rubs her eyes and sits up straight. ‘I’ve been dreaming about it again. I dreamed that Mommy was a real fairy. Or no, was … or is still.’
Mom and dad do not even hear what she says anymore and hugs her lovingly.

End