Axiom - February 2000
Transitions - John Kirk
Faery - michelle
(page 12/18)

Transitions

Karen stood with her friends outside the Great Hall, as they waited for their turn to take the oath of adulthood. They were all fidgeting in their amber gowns, as this was a significant day. Then the call came through for their group, and as they filed in to take their seats, Karen could see her parents at the back of the room, beaming with pride. Then the alderman began his speech, as he had so many times before.

"Welcome, all of you, on this proud day. You are about to pledge your allegiance to the guiding principle of our society, and to accept the accompanying duties and privileges. But before you do, let me remind you all of what this means. For these are not simply empty words - you must understand their significance. Our culture has a union of religion and science. We do not dismiss concepts that cannot be proven, only those which have been disproved. It would be wonderful if dragons and unicorns really existed, but they do not. It is perfectly acceptable to tell tales about them, but our adults must recognise that these fantastic stories have no basis in society. However, there is no need to deprive our children of entertainment. I myself took great pleasure in waiting for Santa Claus to visit each year. There is no such person, but I do not resent my parents for deceiving me; far from it. I think that the bible put it best: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

"Now it is your turn to put them aside. To symbolise this, there is one simple assertion that you must make: tell us that you do not believe in fairies. I am sure that you are all familiar with the story of Peter Pan, where Tinkerbell claims that a fairy dies whenever a person makes this claim. As a child, this would doubtless have concerned you. But now you are on the threshold of adulthood, so you should recognise the fallacy. By making this statement, you demonstrate courage in your convictions, and the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality."

Karen squirmed in her seat, and Robin nudged her, whispering "Come on, we've been through this before." It was true; Karen had been reluctant about this for some time. In fact, she had originally planned to take the oath the previous year, but had backed out, saying that she didn't feel ready. This year, she thought that she had her doubts under control; after all, it wasn't as if she believed in fairies. The problem was, she didn't disbelieve in them either. And the thought of condemning an innocent being to death did bother her. However, at 13, she was at the expected age to take the oath. Theoretically, she still had a choice about whether to proceed; however, it would be unprecedented to refuse at such a late stage. And then there were her parents to consider, who would be mortified if she caused an embarrassing scene in front of everyone.

"Right," she decided, "I'll do it. It's like the alderman said; I need to stand up for what I believe. I won't allow myself to be intimidated by a work of fiction." But as she raised her hand and repeated the words of the oath, her mind echoed with a tiny scream.

John Kirk

'Faery', by michelle