A dog approaches and to her horror, it is not a dog, but a wolf. She tries to drive her wheelchair as fast as possible, but the road is very unstable due to the many bumps and potholes and her wheelchair starts to swing violently. He catches up with me, she thinks.
She hears his footsteps behind her and feels his breath on her neck. He smells fresh meat, of course. Now it has happened to me, she thinks, and her stomach aches with fear.
It looks like the wolf is playing a game with her. He’s not in such a hurry to jump her. She looks at him and then he quickly comes her way. Fleurtje lets go of her joystick and the wheelchair immediately stops. The wolf flies over her and lands uncomfortably on the ground. She stares at the beast and anxiously awaits if he attacks her again. She wants to leave as soon as possible, but she can no longer move from fear. The wolf is standing firmly on his feet again and looks at her with his tongue sticking out. He creeps towards her and Fleurtje can only look at him. She is forced to keep looking at him. He gets closer and closer and just when he wants to strike, another wolf jumps out of nowhere on top of her attacker. A fight between the two wolves follows. She sees the battle, with her for dessert. Her first attacker loses out and disappears with his tail between his legs. For a moment Fleur is happy that the danger has passed, but that is soon over. Finally, there is the other one. It is even bigger than the first.
When the wolf approaches her with bowed head, he stands next to her chair. She remains stationary and waits. Then he sits down next to her and looks at her with a friendly look.
‘Am I your prey now? I’m really not that good. Well, I don’t seem intelligent. Am I chatting to a wolf, ‘ mumbles Fleur.
She takes a good look at the wolf. Something in him looks familiar to her, but she cannot put it into words. Then the wolf gets up and turns around. A little further on he stops and looks back. It seems like he wants me to follow him, she thinks.
She follows him and every time he comes to a bend he pauses to see if she is still following him, then he walks stately ahead of her again. Meanwhile, she wonders a thousand times whether it is wise to follow him. For a moment she does not pay close attention to the road and does not see the large stone that is on the road. Her wheelchair gets shaky and she is scrambled. Suddenly she feels a pang of pain in her neck. The wolf immediately turns and sits down next to her. She carefully looks over the tray of her wheelchair and it soon becomes clear to her what happened. She tries to reverse the wheelchair a bit and then forward it again.
‘It’s still working,’ she shouts happily, and the wolf nods his head as if he understands what she means.
Fleur is aware that he is awfully close to her and she says timidly: ‘What do you want. Why don’t you tear me apart or do you lead me to your hole and tear me there? That’s it, of course, you are too lazy to drag me to your hole yourself.’
The wolf starts to growl and pulls his lip. She looks at him and for a moment she thinks she recognizes something in him. Trip, but who is Trip, she wonders and whispers his name. ‘Trip.’
The wolf has laid down and looks at her in a friendly and questioning way.
Fleur takes a deep breath and shouts, ‘Go away, you ugly beast. If Trip knows this, then… then… he will eat you with skin and hair!’
The wolf gets up and makes a soft whine, then he turns, and he walks in front of her again. Ahead he stretches out on his side.
Fleur has no idea where she is. There is no other option than to follow the wolf, she thinks. She looks around once more and then puts her wheelchair in its forward position again. She must go up a hill and the wheelchair is having trouble getting up. She realizes that the battery must be low and hopes that she will reach the top before it is empty.
Finally, she is upstairs and takes a deep breath. That was equally exciting. I don’t want to think about what would have happened if he the battery halfway were stopped. From the hill, she has a slight overview of the forest. Relieved, she gives a sigh of relief. She discovers she is on the edge of the forest. Then Trip comes over and lays his head on the tray of her wheelchair. He sadly looks at her, as if he wants to say, ‘That was it.’
Fleur gently strokes his head and kisses his wet nose. ‘I don’t know what you mean, but thank you for your help,’ she whispers.
The wolf looks at her for a moment, then turns and walks back into the forest. He stops and makes a whining sound.
Fleurtje looks after him and eventually sees him disappear between the trees. She understands that she now must manage it on her own and sets her wheelchair in motion. With her battery running low, she hopes there is enough power left to lead her to the end of the path. When she reaches the bottom of the hill, she looks around. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that seems familiar to her. In the end, she decides to follow the road, because she is almost certain that it is the one, she saw from above and that will lead her to the end of the forest. Then she suddenly hears a click, and her wheelchair stops. I’m done with that, she thinks, and helplessly she puts both hands in the air.
After a while, she sees a cyclist approaching and waves to him. Surprised, he waves back and drives on. Fleurtje calls out: ‘Sir, will you help me,’ and then the man stops.
He puts his bicycle against a tree and asks: ‘How can I help you?’
‘My battery is empty, and I can’t go on,’ Fleur replies.
The man admires her wheelchair. You do have a special wheelchair. Very cool with those special wheels.’
Fleur nods proudly and answers: ‘He is also incredibly special, but without electricity, I will not get any further.’
‘I’ll help you. Wait here, I’ll go get your help. Don’t go away!’
Well, don’t go away, she thinks. If I could leave, I wouldn’t need his help anyway. The man gets on his bicycle again and Fleurtje sees him quickly disappear.
Bored, Fleur takes in the surroundings again. The forest smells wonderful and relaxes her. She rhythmically taps a familiar tune on the tray of her wheelchair. Then she notices the ring on her finger. She doesn’t recognize it and wonders how she got it. She lets it turn around her finger and then suddenly a bird comes to sit on the edge of her chair. He pecks the blade a few times and produces soft chirps. Fleurtje starts talking to him without realizing it and tells him one of the fairy tales that Mommy once read to her. He keeps looking at her intently and listens to her patients.
‘Well, yes. What am I doing now? I’m telling a bird a fairytale. It shouldn’t get any crazier, ‘ she whispers and chases him away.
The waiting is long, and she hopes that help will come soon. She sees the buds of the trees begin to sprout and a sultry wind caresses her hair. Suddenly she notices that several animals are playing around her wheelchair. It turns out that not only the bird has been fascinated to listen to her fairy tale, but also a bunch of other animals.
Her attention is distracted by hearing sirens in the distance. The noise gets louder and louder and soon she is surrounded by cops and a man who takes care of her wheelchair.
She is taken to the police station and there she is interrogated. Fleurtje doesn’t understand what is happening. A picture of her hangs on the wall and the officer tells her she was missing and untraceable. They ask her where she has been all this time, but Fleurtje cannot answer that. She cannot remember. Eventually, they bring her to the hospital for a examine to see if she is healthy. In the meantime, they try to reach her mother, but unfortunately, they can’t get in touch with her. They decided to take her home with the police car. Fortunately, it is not far, her wheelchair is also loaded into the car. The technician has installed a new battery. ‘sweetheart, now you can ahead for a while. He is a bit stronger than the previous one. You need it with such a special chair,’ he told her, and she kindly thanked him for it.
The car stops in front of her house and the officer rings the doorbell. ‘Your mother will be surprised. She lives in constant fear and the grief shows her. I just hope she’s home. We were unable to reach her.’
Fleur just nods and waits anxiously. Then they hear rumbling behind the door and the lock is taken off. The door opens and Mommy appears at the door. Fleurtje hardly recognizes mom. Mommy yells and puts her hands to her face and shouts, ‘This can’t be true, oh no, this isn’t possible. Don’t let this be a dream.’
‘Good afternoon, ma’am,’ greetings the agent. ‘Can we come in?’
Mommy walks up to Fleur and takes her in her arms. She cannot believe what is happening to her.
‘Mom, shall we go in?’
Mommy steps aside and lets her ride in. ‘Dear darling, where are you come from?’ For a moment she stares at her and her inquisitive look sees that she looks a lot more grown-up than the last time she saw her daughter. They quickly enter the house. Mother hugs her again and lifts Fleurtje out of the wheelchair. They sit on the couch together and Mother wants to know what she can remember. ‘Honey, where have you been all this time?’
‘You know mom, I can only remember that I was sitting on Grandma’s porch and suddenly standing in a dark forest. There was a wolf who wanted to attack me, but it was so weird. Suddenly there was another wolf who saved me. His name was Trip, that’s all I know.
‘Trip the wolf, who is that,’ asks Mom.
Fleurtje shrugs and says she doesn’t know. The policeman looks at both in bewilderment and thinks she is making it all up.
‘Oh, child, you must have been so afraid,’ and mother looks questioningly at the policeman.
‘In my opinion, your daughter is confused. We are of course happy that she is healthy. But if she is somewhat rested, we need to be questioning her again. Just like you, we don’t understand anything about all of it.’
‘You are right, how do we explain where she has been all this time,’ Mother replies.
‘I do not understand, the policeman shrugs. Let her recover first. We have no explanation for it.’
‘I’m back anyway. Maybe my memory will come back soon,’ Fleur whispers.
The officer apologizes and tells her that she must go. Mother takes her to the door and says goodbye to the policewomen.
When Fleurt’s mother closes the door, she pauses for a moment. Now remains her the difficult task of telling her girl that Grandma has died. In the living room, she sits down next to her on the couch and takes both off her hands in hers. She swallows a few times and then says: ‘Honey, listen. It may not be the right time, but I must tell you something. It’s about grandma. She recently died.’
Fleur squints her eyes and thinks carefully. ‘It’s crazy, Mom. I just know, but I don’t know-how. I don’t have a clue, really.’
Mother puts her arms around her again and Fleurtje calls out: ‘Hey, mom. Carefully, you hug me to death.’
‘Sorry child, but I am so happy to have you back. So nice. I am so grateful,’ Mother replies.
‘Me too, Mom. Me too,’ and Fleurtje smacks her on both cheeks.
The return of Fleurtje is big news in the village. Flowers and fruit baskets are delivered. The postman delivers a huge stack of cards and Fleurtje personally writes everyone a sweet thank you note. Fleur and her mother are visibly improving and one morning the doorbell rings. When mother opens the front door, she sees the teacher and Fleur’s classmates. ‘May we come in,’ the teacher asks.
‘Yes of course. Come on everyone. Fleur is still in her room, I’ll go and get her,’ Mother replies.
The children look around lost. None of them has ever been to this house. Most are uncomfortable. After all, Fleur was not so friendly to most of them. Even though they are happy that she is back home safely, they have not forgotten how unkind she was to them. They have heard from their parents that she has changed enormously and that there is nothing left of the old Fleur.
Fleur enters the room and almost immediately there is a cosy and relaxed atmosphere. Time is, as it were, forgotten and before you know it, it is time to leave again.
They promise to come back soon and they do. They like to listen to the stories which Fleur is telling them. They are beautiful and exciting; she has a special story for every child. Her stories become so popular that Mother decides to schedule special times because otherwise, it would be too exhausting for Fleur. Soon there is no room in the house to receive all the children and the school management decides to make the gym available to her. They come from all classes to listen to her stories. Parents, grandfathers and grandmothers, toddlers, they are all fascinated listening to her. Fleur does not have any trouble telling the stories and fairytales. On the contrary, she enjoys it a lot. When she tells, it is incredibly quiet in the room. The village newspaper regularly writes an article about her and the national press is soon drawn to it. They would also like to interview her. They often stand in front of Fleur’s house and Fleur regularly declines their offer. One day she says to mother: ‘Let them in for once, but all at once, and I will talk to them.’
‘Are you sure? Some can be very ugly. I don’t know, but I can’t stop you,’ Mother replies.
‘It’s oke. I know what I’m doing, let them in.’
One by one they come in and fire their questions at her.
‘Is it true that you are the youngest fairytale teller and that you conjure them up, as it were,’ asks one of the journalists?
‘Do you want me to prove it to you?’
‘Yes, prove it. I don’t believe it or value it,’ shouts one of the journalists.
‘Are you sure sir,’ asks Fleur and the man kinks?
‘Then it is better that you leave our house now so that the others can do their work and make their own judgment.’
Fleur asks her mother to escort the man outside and the man follows her sneeringly.
‘If there are others who have no faith in me, you are free to go, reminds Fleur.
She asks the remaining journalists to take their seats and they all do.
‘Is everyone sitting,’ she asks, and those present give her a friendly nod.
Mother now looks around and its amazes her that they do what her daughter asks of them. Everyone is listening to her. You can hear a pin drop; it is that quiet when they listen to her. Mother doesn’t understand.
For a moment, the story stumbles and people look at her disappointed.
‘Good. Where was I? Oh yes, I remember,’ she continues.
The rest of the stories flow out of her sleeve again. When she’s done, the journalists get up again. A few feel stiff, from the tense posture he or she has been in during the fascinating stories. They all agree that there is no doubt. Fleur is the best and most captivating fairytale storyteller on the planet.
There is one more thing they want and that is a picture of her. Selfies are also taken because they are of course also vain. In the picture with the best fairytale storyteller, that doesn’t happen every day. Tired and satisfied, Fleur and her mother see the last journalist leave. Almost all the national newspapers publish about this phenomenon.
Fortunately, after a while, quieter times set in. Fleur still tells her stories full of devotion, but not every day anymore. At one of the meetings, Fleur’s attention wanes. The gym is surrounded by large windows and on one off the window frames, she suddenly discovers a squirrel. She stops telling and looks at him fascinated. It is getting restless in the hall. They did not understand why she interrupts her story so suddenly. Then the squirrel jumps away and disappears again. Fleur feels enormous fatigue and tries to resume her story, but she fails. Disappointed, she looks at her mother, who understands that something must be wrong. ‘What’s up honey,’ she asks.
Fleur can’t explain it. ‘I don’t know, but I suddenly I am feeling so tired.’
Mother tells the visitors that it is very annoying, but that they really have to stop. ‘We are very sorry,’ she explains.
The parents take their children and try to explain to them that Fleur probably has the flu and that she will retell the story some other time.
At home, Fleur falls on the couch exhausted and Mother puts a nice warm blanket over her. Fleur stares at the ceiling and does not understand what has happened. She sees the squirrel again in her mind. It moved her to something, but she does not understand what that. At least not yet.
The End of Part 7