Today's story is set back in the Myth and Science universe most of an hour after the events of "The More Things Change." Having read the other flash fictions can be helpful, but it's not needed to understand and enjoy the story.
You can also find the audio version, as well as a playlist with all the stories in the universe so far in chronological order, on the Eng Family Vlogs channel over on YouTube.
“I’ve got a weird feeling about that place,” Isaac murmured to Eralee.
The pixie glanced back at him over her shoulder, and his stomach did a little flip seeing her wide, violet eyes watching him. It was weird being a bit shorter than her now when she’d fit in the palm of his hand with room to spare not an hour before. If it weren’t for the residual pain of his bones bumping together as he was shrunk down, he wouldn’t believe such a thing was possible, even after years in the Fae realm.
Eralee winced and looked back toward the rather impressive doors ahead.
Isaac’s gait faltered, and a whole flock of butterflies started fluttering about in his stomach. Eralee kept walking, and the leash she’d put on him as he was recovering from the reduction spell snapped taut.
“What’s in there?” he asked, swallowing past a lump that’d formed in his throat. The unfamiliar and unwelcome collar that’d come with the leash felt tighter in that moment, and Isaac stepped back, tugging on the leash on reflex.
Eralee turned, pulling on the leash as she did. “I know you’re scared, Isaac, but you have to stop,” she said. The tone of her voice was weird, somewhere between a concerned friend and one someone might use with a spooked horse. She grasped the leash in her free hand, gripping it just enough to prevent Isaac from backing away as she walked forward. “I’m sorry, but Owyn wasn’t wrong. If you’re to stay in Astrakane, I’m going to have to get you the required vaccinations and papers, especially with an epidemic brewing.”
Confusion brought Isaac to a halt as he asked, “What’s a vaccination?”
Having gotten close enough, Eralee reached out toward Isaac’s arm. It wasn’t a quick movement, and until just now, she hadn’t given him any real reason not to trust her, humiliation aside. But nerves and confusion still had him flinching away from her touch.
“They’re a kind of medicine used to prevent the contraction of disease,” Eralee explained.
“Humans can’t catch wing whither,” Isaac argued. “We don’t have wings.”
“That’s not entirely true,” Eralee answered with a shake of her head. “The symptoms are different, of course, but a few cases of humans with the virus have been recorded.” She scrunched up her forehead and bit her bottom lip. The expression was so human it looked odd worn on the pixie’s delicate features and powder blue complexion. “There’s speculation it’s a human virus, and it wouldn’t even exist in the Fae realm if it’d remained cut off from yours,” she continued at a whisper. “You’ve already been exposed! Can’t you see, this is vital not only for you to stay in Astrakane, but for your continued health?”
“Is that all?” Isaac asked. He cast the doors a wary glance before looking back to Eralee. “Just go get this medicine,” he grimaced and sighed, “get the papers naming me your pet, and then I’m good?”
Eralee nodded and gave him a pained looking smile. “I know this is weird and humiliating for you,” she muttered. “I’m sorry about that, but there are strict rules regarding humans here, even those who’ve undergone the reduction spell.” Eralee grimaced. “It’s this, or you get dragged through those doors by enforcers. They’ll take you far past the little clinic just on the other side, way back beyond the hospital wing to where humans are used for testing.”
A chill shuddered down Isaac’s spine at the certainty in Eralee’s voice. He’d take being reduced to a pet over a lab rat any day. She at least seemed to be among the friendliest of her kind he’d met.
He sighed and moved forward just enough to let the leash he wore go slack. “You’re just trying to protect me?”
“Alright then.” Isaac tugged at his collar, trying to loosen it enough to be at least a bit more comfortable, before dropping his hands to his sides. “Lead the way.”
Each story in this series is 700 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first prompt 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, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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