I wandered through the goblin market for a wish, and we heard the sound of a golden horn

I must admit this weeks prompt was difficult. I had some personal stuff to take care of and couldn’t write every day like I wanted. I also started with Autumn as a prompt but couldn’t quite get the feel of the season. I’m going to do a Halloween story at some point. Meanwhile, the prompt for this one is the title. I’m pretty proud of it and may go back to continue it…

 

Strong wind rattled the windows of our cottage so hard it woke me. It was still dark, but the waves crashing against the rocks told me that it was high tide. Morning would be upon us soon enough. I quietly slipped from the room, trying not to wake my sister.

I sat outside with my meager breakfast and watched the sunrise. If I was going to accomplish my goal, I’d need to be gone before my family woke. The goblin market was dangerous and my father would certainly try to talk me out of it.

Something had to be done. My father had been coming home with empty fishing nets for over six months. The little bit of washing and mending I did wouldn’t support us when the savings ran out. I had one hope. I folded one of my mother’s shawls into a bundle and set off.

The market was tucked in a valley, between the gold and silver mountains. The goblins only came down to set up the market when the moon was full. It was said that you could get all sorts of goods, both magical and not. I was only going for one thing, a wish. You couldn’t get the wish granted right at the market but, you could buy a marker for one.

I arrived just as the goblins were setting up. I’d been here once before but, the squat green creatures still unnerved me. I wandered from one stall to another. I passed by the ones selling weapons, jewelry, and food. I found what I was looking for nestled between a book shop and a table full of musical instruments.

He was a young goblin; his coloring was still bright and his eyes were sharp. There was barely hair growing from his ears. He’d still be a bit green at bartering. My mother could trade a bag of dirt for a bag of gold. She taught me everything she knew.

I looked over the tray of rings, he had on the counter.

“Ah, the lady has taste. What can I show you?”

I giggled shyly, at the complement.

“I’m looking for something special.”

“You’ve come to the right place.”

He untied one from its place.

“This one matches your eyes.”

I slid it on, the stone was a similar blue to my eyes. I smiled at it. Then I sighed loudly.

“I can get a ring anywhere.”

“True but, these rings are elvish. Each one will grant you a different power.”

“Power? Ooh. My friend Ana has one. Her hair can become whatever color she wants.”

“Yes. You want the pretty ring, yes?”

I held up my hand, considering. Then let out a heavy sigh.

“This is very pretty but, I’m just not sure. As I said, Ana already has one. What do you have, that’s not a ring?”

“I see where you’re going with this. You want a spell. Maybe there’s a boy? Yes? You need something for love?”

He pulled a tray from under the table. He handed me a small glass vial.

“Feel free to smell it; very fresh. It was made by a very talented witch. It’s never failed.”
It smelled like a peppermint flower.

“That is fresh.”

“A dab on you, a dab on your intended and he will be yours.”

I said, carefully. “it’s just that I don’t really have an…intended. What if I was wishing for someone?’

His expression closed. “You want a wish?”

“Do you have one?”

“Wishes are expensive. You think, you have something worth one?”

I pulled my mother’s shawl. I’d chosen it because I knew it wasn’t her favorite. The goblin’s eyes widened. The nostrils on his flat nose flared.

“Is that what I think it is?”

“A fairy silk shawl, knitted in one of the old royal patterns.”

He looked at me with suspicion.

“Where does a human girl get this?”

“My mother worked for the royal family in her youth. She was given many gifts. Its fine enough for the trade.”

“Hm, maybe I have a wish, maybe I don’t. What else do you have?”

“What else? That shawl is in perfect condition. How do I even know that you have a marker?”

He glanced around then flipped the tray of rings over. The markers were chips of wood painted with strange writing. They were warm to the touch and much heavier than I’d thought.  He was already fingering the shawl. It would have a price tag on it before I even left the stall.

“So, it’s a deal?” I asked.

“Yes, yes take it.”

“I’ve never used a marker. Does it work if I’m just holding it or do I have to rub it?”

He smiled.

“You simply say the incantation written on it.”

I looked at it again. I could read a bit of Elvish and every child in school knew their runes. This was something I’d never seen.

“What does it say?”

“I can sell you a translation but, I must warn you, it’s much more expensive than the wish itself.”

“What? That’s…that’s cheating!”

Suddenly, a horn sounded.

“Dirty mushrooms, it’s the guard!”

About a dozen of them stalked down the main aisle, their large horses kept anyone from leaving. Their thick leather armor gleamed in the sun.   A motion caught my eye and the rings were in front of me again. The goblin glanced at the wish I held. Our eyes met. There was fear in his. I slipped my hand into my pocket and dropped the wish. I casually picked up the potion vial.

“What goes on here?”

I turned and looked up. I’d heard elves were tall but he towered over us. His eyes were blue glass and his white hair had been trimmed almost to his scalp. His mouth in a grim line that made me wonder for a moment if he’d ever smiled. The little goblin stuttered incoherently.

“We are making a trade.”, I said, holding up the vial.

The guard ignored me as two more dragged the goblin out of the stall and held him between them.

An older goblin stepped from the growing crowd of onlookers.

“I’m the magistrate here. What is this about?”

“There was a complaint of illegally procured wishes. This is the stall number listed on the complaint.”

The official looked at the young goblin. “Tarr, is this true?”

The terrified creature tried to bow, hanging by his arms.

“Please, sir. I…I have no wishes. Check my manifest.”

The elf said. “There’s no need for that.”

He motioned to his waiting men and one slid down from a horse. As the guard approached, I realized that it was a woman. She pulled off her helmet and stood in front of us.

“If there are any wishes, Ozra will sense them.”

He nodded to the warrior and she walked behind the counter. I held my breath not daring to think about the object in my pocket. Ozra held her hands over the merchandise. She went straight to the ring case and flipped it over. The magistrate glared at the prisoner.

“Tarr? What is the meaning of this?”

“I…I didn’t know those were there. You must believe me. This isn’t even my stuff. Gunnar. Gunnar took sick and was too weak to make the journey. He asked me to come on his behalf.”

The older goblin looked at the guards.

“He speaks the truth. It is Gunnar that you seek.”

The guard said, “Pack all of this and take him.”

Ozra had closed her eyes again, her lashes fluttering.

“Wait. There’s something else…”

She took up my mother’s shawl and held it to the guard.

Her voice whispered in wonder, “Avi.”

He grabbed it and sniffed himself. He turned to Tarr.

“This doesn’t have a price tag yet. Where did you get this?”

The little goblin didn’t even look at me. “Please sire. I’ve had so many customers today. You can’t expect me to remember them all.”

“Perhaps a good lashing will jog your memory.”

I couldn’t stand by and let it happen. Wish or not.

“It’s mine.” I said, sounding braver than I felt.

Suddenly, all eyes were on me.

“Yours? Where did you get this?”

“It was my mother’s.”

“Where did your mother get it?”

“She worked for the royal family. It was a gift.”

He stepped forward. Stony faced, he hissed. “That is a lie.”

I stepped forward too. Our faces were inches apart. “My mother was not a liar.”

“I wasn’t calling your mother a liar. I was calling you one.”

“And you are nothing but a bully.”

He stood up straight and grabbed my arm.

“We’re taking you too.”

My thoughts went right to my father and sister. They didn’t’ even know where I’d gone. They’d be frantic if I didn’t return by sunset.

“I’m not going anywhere with you.”

I pulled my arm back as hard as I could but his grip was a steel vise. He yanked back. I suddenly found myself airborne and crashed into his hard chest. A wetness seeped into my shirt. My anger and fear melted away. I felt…what was it I was feeling? He let go and I was cold and alone. I looked into his deep blue eyes and into the deep well of his soul.

He looked down at his chest a wiped at it.

“What is this?”

He raised his eyes to mine and gently brushed the hair off my face.

“Beloved. Has someone been rough with you? Tell me who. I will slay them.”

Yes, I’d been struggling with someone. I was forgetting who. A quiet voice in my mind insisted that I was forgetting many things. I focused on that feeling, pushing all others to the side. It hit me like a splash of cold water. I released the guard’s hand. When had I taken his hand? I forced myself to stare at the ground.

Through gritted teeth, I said., “Tarr?”

“Y-Yes?”

“Did Gunnar tell you how long that love potion lasts.”

I heard everyone around us react. Tears streamed down my face. I missed him that much. If I looked at him, I knew it would be the end of me. His hand found mine again. I tried to concentrate on what was being said.

Even his growl was music to my ears, “Love spell?’

I said. “It was in the vial, I was holding. It smashed against your armor.”

“My brother, the captain of our squad, can’t have fallen under a simple love potion.”

It was the magistrate who said. “Gunnar’s potions are known for their potency. They must both be strong-willed and powerful to be able to resist as much as they are. I only have a small knowledge of the stuff, myself. Usually, you just apply a dab. I… I don’t know what an entire vial will do.”

My love’s strong arms wrapped around me from behind. He began to kiss down the side of my neck, sending shivers down my spine. I So many people. Why couldn’t they leave us alone?

Ozra said. “We can see what it does.”

“Begging your pardon, Mistress but, this is just the beginning. It hasn’t even gotten into their system yet.”

“And the antidote?”

“A love potion is meant to run its course. Only Gunnar would know of another way to break it.”

Ozra stood before us. Avi growled at her.

“Relax brother, I’m not going to hurt her. What’s your name, girl?”

Name? How could I think of something so trivial when he was kissing down the other side? I moaned softly. He responded with harder kisses. The voices faded into the background again.

The magistrate cleared his throat. “I believe that’s the lust starting.”

Avi ran his hand down my side. I leaned in and rubbed against him.

Ozra said. “That’s enough of that.’

She nodded to two of the guards and they moved as one. Ozra pulled me to her and the guards wrestled Avi to the ground. I struggled but I was no match for elvish strength. We watched as two more guards joined the fray.

Finally, Ozra said. “Avi, stop or I’ll kill her.”

Sure enough, I felt something sharp against my throat. I tried to hold very still. Avi looked up in terror.

“Ozra.” He whispered. “please.”

“I will not hurt her, if you promise to behave like our leader and not a besotted fool.”

He nodded and shook off his would-be captors. They all stood and brushed themselves off. Ozra sheathed her dagger but didn’t loosen her hold on me.

Avi began to give orders, deliberately not looking in our direction. Tarr was put in chains and led off and the magistrate oversaw the packing of his booth. I didn’t take my eyes off my love the whole time. I tested my own guard once or twice but she remained vigilant.

“I understand that you can’t help it but you are only going to hurt yourself if you persist, so try to have some patience.”

Finally, he came over to us. Ozra tensed as he cupped my cheek.

“I don’t even know your name.”

‘Brenna.”

“Brenna, you will come with us to find this Gunnar?”

I would go anywhere with him. “Yes. Of course.”

He smiled as if he’d been fearing a different answer. He turned to give an order. Without his eyes on me, I was able to think.

“Wait.” He turned back to me. “My family, they don’t know where I am. If I don’t return,,,”

Avi called, “Micah.’

The guard was nursing a bloody nose but stepped forward.

“Yes, Lord Avion?”

“Go to my lady’s home and let her family know that she is fine.”

Ozra said, “Ask the mother about the shawl.”

I said. “My mother has been dead for many years.”

Ozra said, “Ask the father about the shawl. He’s liking to know more than Brenna, here.”

She gently but firmly led me to the horses.

Avi stepped in our way.

“Where are you taking her?”
Ozra sighed. “Relax brother. It’s best if she rides beside me into the mountains. We need you keeping a clear head. I swear, I will keep her safe.”

He embraced me and breathed in my scent as I did with his. Ozra was pulling at me but his arms tightened. His lips found mine. I marveled at the softness. My hands slid behind his back and landed on his ass. He consumed my senses. Gentle but firm hands pulled me away. I whimpered at the loss. Ozra was once more holding me against her. Avi was running his hand over his hair watching me.

“This will be more difficult than I imagined.”

Ozra said. “Just stand still. I know you can do that. She and I will ride at the back of the line.”

He nodded, our eyes never breaking contact. Even as she led me away I turned.

“Well this is going to be interesting.” She said. I finally turned from him and looked at her.

“What will?”

“My brother has never been in love. He has always felt that he doesn’t have room for it in his life.”

“Well then he and I have one thing in common.”

She looked at me as we both climbed into our saddles.

“Brenna, with the stolen fairy shawl and a wish in her pocket, this is going to be a most interesting journey.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Pixie and the Tiara

This weeks writers prompt came from a tweet “There’s a girl on my flight carrying a very fancy tiara in a box.” I made it to 2000 words but I was a day late. Which means I’ll do a second story sometime this week.

“This will be the most important delivery, you’ve ever made.”

“What is it?”

Fairy Godmother stepped back revealing what sat on her desk.

Teeny gasped. “That’s not a wish.”

Teeny was the only pixie among the elves and sprites that usually worked for the Fairy Godmother. They delivered, granted wishes all over the world. Occasionally, the rulers of the various courts would ask them to deliver other things.

“No. We’ve been entrusted with the task of getting Princess Daffodil’s tiara to her coronation. I’ve assigned you the task. Somehow, you are the only courier I have, that has never lost or damaged anything.”

Teeny could believe it. The elves were swift and didn’t hesitate in pulling out their bows and swords to protect whatever they were delivering but, they were not careful in keeping it in one piece. Sprites had a tendency to trade and barter their deliveries. Teeny peered up at the tiara. It was a delicate masterpiece of filigreed silver, an oval moonstone set at its peak. It sat upon a black velvet pillow and was housed in a large glass box.

Fairy Godmother said. “. I’ve booked you a seat on a plane. The coronation is in Dublin. That’s too far for you to fly with such a heavy object.”

Pixies had the ability to change their size. Most being able to get as large as a human twelve-year-old. Teeny could only get about half that. Her parents had encouraged her to get this job to build her confidence. So far, she’d only been given easy runs, not exactly ego building.

Fairy Godmother continued, “This will be a dangerous mission. As soon as the princess is crowned, the Seelie Court will rule.  There are more than a few creatures that don’t want this to happen. Also, the case is enchanted. Only the princess may open it. And no spell can touch it. So, you can not shrink it or change it in any way.”

Teeny looked at it again. She’d have to carry it, just as it was.

“I understand, Fairy Godmother, I’ll do my best.”

“I know you will.”

The box wasn’t cumbersome but there was no mistaking what it was. Teeny was able to glamour herself to look like a short teenager. Her long hair in an updo and she draped a dress in a garment bag over her arm.

Fairy Godmother’s headquarters was above a mailbox store. Her sister Ione and Ione’s wife Sami ran it. They both watched her come down the stairs.

Sami’s eyes widened. “Is that what I think it is?”

“What do you think it is?”

The crown.”

Teeny got a bad feeling. “Why do you think that?”

“Because its glowing.”

Teeny groaned. “No. Everyone with the Sight will know exactly what it is.”
Ione said. “Isn’t the ceremony in Ireland?”

“Yes. I’m on my way to the airport now.”

“Well your cheerleader glamour will work on some.”

“I’m supposed to be a be a beauty pageant contestant.”

“Oh well, all of those humans are the same.”

‘So, I’ve got to get going.”

“Good luck, honey.”

“Thanks.”

She stepped onto the street. Her phone chimed, the ride to the airport would be along any minute. Meanwhile, she was getting stares. Most fae avoided the city but, this one had a large amount of parks and greenery. Teeny watched everyone with suspicion. A black SUV pulled up in front of her. She climbed inside. They were already moving down the street before she looked at the driver.

“Dalton?” Teeny squeaked.

“Hey Teeny. How’s it going?”
“What are you doing?”

“What do you think? I need to take that package from you.”

Dalton was the traditional monster-under-the-bed. At full strength, he stood over seven feet tall. He was covered in a thick burgundy fur. Great tusks jutted from his flat face. He’d always been nice to Teeny, but this was the first time she was carrying anything of value.

“I..I can’t let you have it.”

“I don’t want to hurt you but, you’re not getting on that plane. Look there are others waiting for you. Creatures that don’t care about your well-being.”

They were leaving downtown. He turned onto the highway. It seemed like he was really heading to the airport. Teeny looked around. The sunroof. Her powers would allow her to fly through as if the glass wasn’t there. She just had to get the seatbelt off and make the leap without him grabbing her. Dalton had no powers other than brute strength. If he got ahold of her, it would be over.

“I’m glad that you don’t want to hurt me but, I don’t feel the same about you.”

He laughed. “Come on Teeny. What could you possibly do to hurt me?”

Now she was mad. “You know what? I’m going to get away from you and I’m going to get this crown to the princess in time for that coronation.”

“Hit me with your best shot, pixie.”

Suddenly, the garment bag flew off the seat next to her and plastered across the windshield. Dalton let out a shout. Then he was trying to drive and pulled it down at the same time. The vehicle began to swerve. They could hear screeching tires and horns blasting. Teeny had already loosened her seatbelt. She held tight to the box and leapt. She was out and airborne in seconds. She released her hold on the garment bag just in time for Dalton to avoid the guard rail.

She breathed a sigh of relief and headed toward the airport.  If she made it onto the plane she’d be safe. Airplanes had been built with protections and anti-magic charms. She just had to get there. Shadows blocked the sun above her. Wraiths. Little more than shadows, they were swift and vicious.  If they got ahold of her they’d rip off her wings and laugh as she fell.

All three of them had her in their sights. The one that flew up next to her smiled with big white teeth.

“I didn’t think you could be out in the daylight like this.”

“It’s true that we are greatly reduced without the blessings of the darkness but, we have more than enough to take out a snippet such as yourself.”

There was one on each side of her and one above. This was going to be tricky.

She smiled at the one to her right. “Bring it on.”

The two at her sides closed in as she stilled her wings. She heard them hit each other and felt the wind as they tumbled to the ground. She free fell a few feet before fluttering her wings. Below, the two wraiths were struggling to untangle themselves. The airport was less than a mile away but she still had one wraith to handle.  She darted up passed him. He took the bait, abandoning his friends. She flew as high as she dared. He was right behind her. She flew through a cloud hoping it would hide her for a moment. Her arms were getting tired from holding the box, her wings were getting tired from flying with the extra weight. Fairy godmother had been right, she would have never made it on her own.

Trying for the element of surprise one last time she stopped and turned, flying towards the ground as fast as she could. The wraith threw out his hand to catch her but she was just out of reach. As she neared the ground she spotted a familiar SUV barreling toward the airport. She changed direction and zoomed right at it. She slowed just enough for the wraith to get a foot closer. She was so close that she could she Dalton’s nostrils flaring. She flew closer still heading straight for him. His anger turned to surprise as he realized that she was charging right at him, the wraith on her tail. She skimmed the hood and pulled up at the very last second. Her toe hitting the roof.

The wraith wasn’t as small and fast. As she turned back to the airport, she laughed at the SUV pulled over with the wraiths legs sticking out of the broken windshield. She followed the signs to the loading zone for her airline. She was so close.

The automatic doors whooshed as she landed on the mat in front of them. The artificially cool air welcomed her. She headed for the ticket counter. The agent greeted her warmly.

“Hi honey. Traveling by yourself today?”

“Um yes ma’am. My…um…family couldn’t make it to see me win this baby.”

“Oh, isn’t that lovely. Congratulations.”

“Thank you.”

“Well, everything seems to be in order.”

A feeling of dread went through the lobby. The usual noise of the crowd died down in a wave. A wave that was moving closer to her. She’d never felt it herself but she knew exactly what or who it was. One of the Unseelie Court’s highest-ranking lieutenants. He was one that wouldn’t care what happened to her. The spell he’d placed over the mortals had overtaken the ticket agent.

She grabbed the ticket and ran. She passed the line for security, the guards frozen. She ran faster. She could practically feel her lungs working. The corners of the box digging into her palms. They were just starting board as she hit the gate. She bounced nervously, waiting for her row to be called. She was so close. Finally, she stepped onto the plane and settled into her seat.

She wrapped her arms around her prize like a teddy bear and rested her cheek on the cool surface of box. She’d made it. She sent out a quick text to the Fairy Godmother before they made her turn off her Wi-Fi.

A pair of fierce elves in Seelie Court livery, met her as she stepped off the plane. She felt very small walking between them. They led her to the tallest elf she’d ever seen. A look of relief crossed his face as he took her in. She was suddenly glad that she’d thought to freshen up in the restroom. The glamour had held but underneath, she’d been a mess.

“Good afternoon, lady.”, he said, as he took a bow.

“Um…good afternoon.”, she said, bowing awkwardly back.

She tried to hand him the tiara but he refused it.

“Not yet. Your quest isn’t quite finished.”

“Quest? No. I’m just the courier.”

He smiled. “You must deliver it to the recipient, herself then. We must go quickly. It will be starting soon.”

“What is? Oh, the coronation. I…I can’t. I’m just a small pixie.”

“Don’t worry about that.”

She held tight to the box as they drove through the city and out into the most beautiful countryside that she’d ever seen. They drove until the sun began to set. They stopped at the edge of an ancient grove of trees. She could hear the murmur of a large crowd and the brightness of a bonfire glowed over the tops of the trees. The tall elf led the way.

She’d never seen such a large gathering of fae. There were creatures that she’d never seen before. All seated around the fire on rows of benches. Conversations stopped as she followed the elves. They watched as she was led to the center.

The princess was as beautiful they’d said. She held her hand out to Teeny.

“Ah, there’s my knight now.”

She looked around but saw no knight. She did see a face that she recognized and stopped in her tracks.

“Fairy Godmother? How-how did you get here.”

“I flew myself.”

“I don’t understand. Why would you make me go through all of that, if you were going to be here anyway?”

She smiled. “The crown had to be delivered by a brave knight. When they asked, I could think of nobody braver or more noble than you. You were my knight.”

The princess said. “She’s actually my knight. Come bring my crown.”

Teeny stepped in front of the princess as the others were doing. She held the box up to her. The princess lifted the lid of the box and pulled the tiara off the pillow. She set it on her head and everyone cheered.

Teeny found Fairy Godmother afterward.

“You did well. I’m very proud of you, Teeny.”

“Thanks. I just hope I don’t have to do it again.”

“Really? I know that you got this job to prove yourself. I imagine this run did that. But if you want to stay on, I just received some requests for you.”

“What? They want me?’

She smiled. “I told you yesterday. I can think of no one better. When we get home, we’ll take about a raise.”

Teeny smiled. “I’m going to need some hazard pay, then. I lost my favorite dress in Dalton’s car.”

Fairy Godmother laughed. “I’ll see what I can do.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bored

writing-prompt#2

This is my week 2 writing prompt. I didn’t quite make it to my 2000 wordcount minimum but I got it done in one day. 

“If I wanted to work late, I would have applied at a Mini-mart. At least there might have been some activity.”, Ava said, as she thumped her purse on the desk.

“Quit your bitching, or you might find yourself there, yet.”, Brie said.

She tossed her hair and began to pack her homework to leave.

“I’m sorry that you couldn’t unload your closing shifts onto Dean this month but, you don’t have to take it out on the rest of us. Everything is done. Why don’t you find a book to read? This is a library, after all.”

Brie laughed. She knew full well that, Ava had only gotten the job to look smart on her resume. She and the others teased her all the time. Ava hadn’t realized that the library, being so close to the colleges, would have late hours some nights. The librarians rotated so you’d only have to close on week per month. Ava had gotten Dean to take her turn. His new girlfriend made him impervious to her charms.

As soon as, Brie left, Ava pulled out her phone and settled in. Aside from the usual post-day class, pre-night class rush, the evening was quiet. She was in the breakroom, staring at the snack machine, when the counter bell dinged.  She hid a sigh when she saw who it was.

“Hey Bryan.”

He was cute in a geeky way but, he had no social skills.

“Hi Ava. I sent you a third friend request. Did you get it this time?”
“Oh, I’ve been busy with school and stuff. I’ll look for it later.”

“Cool.”

After an awkward pause, that seemed to last minutes, Ava said. “So, did you need something?”

“Right! I’m on the waiting list for the new Lords of the Dark Kingdom book. Has it been returned yet?”

“Did you get an email?”

“No.”

Another awkward pause.

“I’ll go look.”

She was just turning to tell him it wasn’t there. Something flew by his head.

“Did you see that?”

“See what?”

He turned to look where she was staring.

“Has that poster of the bird always been over that water fountain?”, she asked.

“I think so. Are you alright?”

“Fine. I’m fine. Um…your book isn’t in yet.”

“Ok. Thanks for checking.”

Ava spotted shadows out of the corner of her eye twice more but, didn’t see anything when she looked up from her phone.

Around five, a boy came up to the counter. He looked about nine. He was dressed in black velvet shorts and jacket.

“Are you in some kind of play?”, Ava asked.

“No, why do you ask?”

“Um…the outfit?”

“What’s wrong with my outfit?”
“Oh. Um…nothing. I guess. What do you need?”

“I wish to complain. The selection of fairy tales in your children’s’ department is woeful.”

“Woeful?” Who was this kid? “Are you alone? Where are your parents.”

“All of them are about princesses and dragons. Where are you books about real fairies?”

“Real fairies? You mean like the little ones with wings and fairy dust?”

“That would do for a start.”

“Where did you say your parents are? I’m not a babysitter.”

“I not being a problem, am I?”

“Well no.”

“Then can you lead me to the fairies?”
“Um sure.”

Shortly after bringing the boy to mythology area of the children’s department, it was time for her to walk the stacks and close up the third floor. Stepping off the elevator, she ducked as a large gray shape came at her.  She looked as the bird flew off toward the research lab. She couldn’t leave it locked up here all night. There were policies about everything else, there would be one about this. She searched the whole floor. It was gone.

She disabled the elevator and locked the door to the third=floor stairwell. The lights coming into the lobby seemed exceptionally bright. That poster was definitely new. Settling at the desk, she pulled out her phone. Her sister was supposed to be bringing her dinner. She hadn’t texted though.

A fluttering made her look up. An owl was sitting on the counter, blinking at her. Carefully, she stood up.

“Nice bird. Good bird.”, she said, slowly walking toward it.

Just as she reached it, it flew into the stacks. She ran after it but again it was gone. She turned and ran into the little boy.

“Oh sorry. This is going to sound weird but, have you seen…”

“An owl? No. I need you to find more books.”

“I gave you every kids book that has the word fairy in it.”

“I want the ones in the adult section now.”

Ava sighed and brought him to the mythology section on the second floor. As she was coming down, the bell dinged. There was Bryan again.

‘I’m ready to check out. Are you sure that you’re alright? You look winded.”

“I’m fine. It’s just a busy night.”

He wouldn’t believe her about the owl. She hardly believed her. Once Bryan left she sat down to the dinner that was sitting on the desk. A text on her phone told her that her sister had been in a hurry. Before she could take a bite of her sandwich, someone cleared their throat. She looked up to at the most beautiful boy, she’d ever seen.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt your dinner but, I’m looking for a boy. I think he might be in here.”

He had a light accent that she couldn’t place. His eyes were a bright green and his long hair was so black that it shined in the light.

“I think I know who you’re talking about. He’s on the second floor in mythology. Would you like me to take you up there?”

“That’s probably not a good idea but, thank you.”

“No problem. The elevator is off but you can take the stairs.”

He nodded and headed that way. Ava took her bite. She was halfway through her fries, when she heard shouting.

“Watch out.”

An owl swooped low over her head and aimed for the door. It hit them hard enough to open them but, she’d just switched the security to night. Nobody could go in or out unless she hit the button. The owl fell back and turned to go the other way. Cute boy was right behind it.

“Wait.”, She called as he disappeared into the stacks.

Suddenly the bird flew out of a section, saw her and flew into a different one. Cute boy ran towards her. She simply pointed to where the bird had gone. He took off in that direction.

She heard a crash and ran toward it. Cute boy was picking himself off a pile of books. The owl watched him from above. It looked like it was laughing at him.

“Miss, it would be best if you went back to your dinner.”

“What’s going on here?”
“I apologize but I need to get that boy home before his parents do.”

“What boy?”

He just looked at the owl. Who shook its feathers and settled back down. Cute boy, who was also, apparently, crazy boy, started putting the books back on the cart. Ava kneeled down to help.

“That’s not a boy.”

“I can assure you that it is. He is my nephew, Ian, and my brother is going to kill me if I don’t get him home, right now.”

The last part was directed to the bird. She decided to play along.

She asked the bird, “Is that why you were looking into mythology? Do you not know what you are?”

Cute boy stood up and placed the last stack of books on the cart. He laughed.

“Oh, he knows exactly what he is. It’s what we both are.”

“Owls?”

“No. We are fae. We are phooka.”

“Isn’t that a dance?”

“That’s a polka.”

Ava started to lead him back towards the front. She wasn’t sure what to believe. She wasn’t ready to admit that fairies were real.  She had to sit down.  If the owl really was the curious boy from earlier, he’d follow.

“Phooka are shapeshifters. We are an old type of faerie. In fact, I just moved here from Ireland.”

They’d gotten back to the front and she sat in one of the lobby chairs.

“Your accent, it doesn’t sound Irish.” At least it didn’t sound like the Irish she’d heard on tv.

“As I said, we are an old people. We are far removed from modern Ireland. My brother and his family have been here for a while. My nephew doesn’t have any accent at all.”

The owl had flown out and perched on the counter again. He was listening intently. It really wasn’t the boy. Was it?

“Let’s say I believe you. Don’t fairies live in the woods and stuff?”

“Phooka are drawn to the chaos of the city. We also seek places that need a little action.”

She looked around.

“Yeah, well this is a library.”

“He wasn’t drawn to the place. He was drawn to you. You needed the chaos.”

Suddenly, the little boy, Ian, was standing next us. He curled up in the seat on the other side of his uncle.

Cute boy said, “Some part of you needed a little chaos. Ian is young. He doesn’t have the control over it yet. He also loves books so he probably didn’t fight it too hard.”

Ava considered her night. It had been the most exciting night, she’d had at work.

“Nobody needs chaos.”

“Oh, but they do. In some situations, it comes with important life lessons. Sometimes, it brings change. In your case, I think you just needed a bit of excitement. I can’t imagine this place offers a lot of that.”

She laughed.

“Yeah, my job is pretty quiet.”

“So, are you ok? This must be a bit of a surprise.”

She looked at cute boy. And held out her hand.

“I’m Ava.”

He smiled and took it.

“Liam.”

So, Liam. What are you guys doing tomorrow night.”