If humanity every made the endangered species list, who would be the ones adding us to it?
Today's story takes us back to the Myth and Science universe a few weeks before the events of "Flight from Mab's Castle." You don't need to be familiar with the universe to understand the story though.
You may also find the audio version here.
She saw vampires rubbing elbows with goblins, elves, and everything in between. It was nothing like what her father had told her.
Aishling supposed she shouldn't be surprised. How would a country elf know anything of the High Queen’s court? Her family tended their ancestral forest and did the occasional favor for the few humans who still called to them.
The offerings began to decline since some humans started calling the Fae peoples superstitious fantasies. Then the notion of science came along, and the offerings all but stopped. After months without a call from the human realm, they hadn’t enough work to go around. So her father reached out to old friends in Mab’s court to have Aishling hired on at the castle.
Helping the kitchen staff and serving at a feast was her first assignment. The influx of Seelie and Unseelie aristocracy made Aishling’s head spin and her heart nearly beat out of her chest.
“What’s this I hear about your family establishing a human preserve?” an elegant water sprite asked a vampire couple. “Do tell me it’s a joke.”
Although she tried to ignore all that was said around her as she’d been instructed, the mention of humans caught Aishling’s attention as she filled their goblets. She didn’t dare look at them as she continued on working like she didn’t care what they said.
“Preserve isn’t quite the word for it, but it’s essentially correct,” one of the vampires replied.
“Whatever for?” The sprite gave a derisive chuckle. “The planet’s infested with the vermin.”
“Don’t you ever leave your river?” the other vampire said with a roll of her eyes. “Their numbers have been diminishing for years.”
“Really?” The sprite sat up straighter in her chair and sounded rather pleased by the news.
Aishling’s hands trembled as she heard confirmation of what her family feared the past several months, and she nearly knocked over one of the goblets she was filling. She managed to catch it before causing a mess, but her erratic movements caught the attention of the group. The vampires frowned at her, and the sprite raised an eyebrow. Feeling her face flush, Aishling bowed to them and mumbled an apology. The three accepted it without a word and turned away from her, forgetting her as fast as they’d noticed.
“Yes,” the first vampire grumbled. “We can hardly allow or favorite prey to go extinct, so we decided to begin raising them.”
“Oh, what a bother!” the sprite exclaimed. “There are less troublesome species.”
“True,” the second vampire agreed, “but none as tasty.” She shared a rather nasty grin with her friends. “They’re not so difficult to domesticate, if you understand the species.”
The first gestured to the room as a whole. “Every court has at least a dozen.” He scoffed. “Queen Mab alone keeps a small colony as trained pets.”
Aishling continued on with her duties, mulling over what she’d heard, and the beginnings of an idea started taking shape in the back of her mind.
Each story in this series is 500 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first line generator like this one or reader suggestions like "Don't Forget Me" and "Culture Shock." I much prefer working from reader suggestions over generators, but to do that, I need to hear from you.
If you have a prompt you'd like to see done, comment below, send it to my Tumblr asks, Tweet it at me, or leave a comment on any of the audio stories from this series. I'll screen shot it, write it, and post it for you.
A. B. England is a small business owner, home-schooling mom, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves fantasy, mythology, and all flavors of science fiction.
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