Sharon’s note: You’ll notice a lot of repetitive themes is my work. One of them is the fae (or fay, or fey, whichever spelling you like). You’ll see them a lot because I think they’re cool. I’ve seen people say that fae are out as far as modern/urban fantasy are concerned. They have been done a lot. So has everything else. Everything is already on the table, all you can do it add something to it. But isn’t worth showing up in the first place.
Nana had crappy taste in beer. I was still enjoying it, but not for the taste. Nostalgia made every more palatable. Wrinkling my nose, I took one last swig from the can and leaned down to blow out the candle.
There was someone standing at the treeline. The chair clattered to the ground as I shot to my feet. It wasn’t just a humanoid figure, it was a man who almost seemed to glow in the night.
The Shining Ones. The name crept unbidden from my memory. According to my grandmother, they were part of the Beautiful Host that would come to the mortal world. In that moment I had to admit that I’d never stopped believing in the frightening creatures Nana had told me about. The first thing I’d put in my new apartment was an iron horse shoe, end up like a U so the luck wouldn’t run out.
“My, my. What is your name, lovely girl?” The fae spoke, and Nana was almost right. She had said their voices were like beautiful music chased by evil bells. He had a beautiful voice, but there was a sound a little like feedback from a microphone and a nagging suspicion that I wasn’t actually hearing what I thought I was. This was some kind of illusion.
“Are you going to give me your name in return?” My heart was pounding so hard I could feel the blood rushing in my ears. Faerie 101 was that you never gave the fae your real name.
He smirked. Or, I thought he did. There was an almost itchy sensation behind my eyes as part of my brain screamed at me that this wasn’t what I was really seeing, either. Why, oh why had I stopped carrying that iron nail in my pocket?
“Just for tonight, you can call me Conall.” He executed a little half bow, all the while keeping eye contact.
“Alright, then. Just for tonight you can call me . . . Beth.” Beth was not my name. It was the first name I came up, some random one I’d heard at Nana’s funeral. It wasn’t a lie, since I wasn’t trying to tell him it was my name, and it was very important not to lie to a fae.
He tilted his head to indicate the carnage of mushrooms, now all withered and dead. “Was it you who destroyed the faerie ring?”
I swallowed hard. “Why do you want to know?”
“Because, that was my gateway back home, and if I am going to have to expend the energy to make another, I would very much like to know who destroyed it.”
Shit shit shit shit. He sounded angry. I couldn’t be sure, but I thought he did. Half-panicking, I scraped the barrel of my memories for a good answer. When all else fails, stick to facts.
“By human law, this is my land. If I did destroy them, it was my right.”
“So you did do it.” Conall took a step towards me, I took one back.
“I didn’t say that,” I said so fast I almost stumbled over the words.
“So, I ask one more time,” he said as the pleasant mask began to slip and I saw something terrifying lurk underneath. “Did you destroy my gate?”