Believe it or not, this week's story is set back in the Myth & Science universe again just a few hours after the events of "Fateful Meeting."
It did go 150 words or so over the usual limit, but it worked so well, I decided to keep it. I'll be extra careful not to "cheat" next week.
“You can’t just call something magic and expect me to believe you.” Benari released an irritated burble, and the tentacles lining his jaw writhed. “We helped you make your medicine. You promised to tell us how to get back home.”
“I did tell you!” Eralee stomped her foot and planted her fists on her hips. “It’s not my fault you don’t believe me.” She pointed at Isaac. “This one served in Mab’s castle for three years. He can cast it.”
“I still don’t see how saying a few words and twisting your fingers about will make any sort of difference,” said Benari. “We need a map or a compass or something concrete to find our way out of this forest.”
Eralee laughed. “No mortal tool will get you out of a return to start spell.”
“There’s no spell. We’re just lost!” Benari tossed his major tentacles in the air.
“It’s been three days,” Isaac said. “No matter which way we go or how we mark the trail, we keep coming back to the same spot. We’re not just lost, Benari.”
“Who cares?” Ukira asked. Her usual pink had darkened to a maroon. Her facial tentacles were curled up close to jaw and cheeks, and she wrung her mains. “Who cares if it’s a spell or tech as long as we can go home? I miss Mama and Papa.”
“I’ve got to get back,” Eralee said. She slung the strap of her now full basket over her shoulder, careful of her torn wing.
“Thank you,” Isaac said, kneeling down to address the tiny, winged humanoid. “Are you sure you’re strong enough to get back on your own.”
The pixie looked down the darkening path with a frown, and an uncertain whine escaped her. “Not really, but I’ve got to get this medicine back as soon as possible. If wing wither goes untreated for too long…”
“The weakness becomes permanent,” Isaac finished.
Eralee turned to look back up at Isaac with wide eyes. Her lilac hair fanned out around her head for a moment before a breeze blew strands of it across her face, making her sputter and scrape it back. “How?”
“I overheard Mab’s advisers talking about another outbreak in the southern colony last winter,” Isaac answered. He gestured to one of the larger trees. “There’s a hollow there. You could camp there while I take these two home, and I’ll carry you back.”
Eralee’s eyes glimmered with what Benari could only guess were tears. He’d heard about crying, but he’d never seen anyone do it. Brablethracks didn’t have tear ducts, and Isaac was the only human he’d ever met.
“You’d do that?” she asked.
Isaac nodded. “I’m trapped in your realm now anyway,” he said. “Might as well make myself useful.”
Eralee’s eyes shifted to look at Benari and his sister. “They’re just as trapped as you are,” she said. “You know that.”
“I’m hoping Fae water doesn’t affect Brablethracks the same as it does us humans,” Isaac said.
She nodded before setting her basket back down and dashing over to a small bush across the path. Plucking a leaf, she murmured something over it, making a few complicated gestures. It glowed for a moment before the light died down.
Trotting back over to Benari, she held out the leaf. “I know you distrust anything to do with magic, but take this anyway,” she said. “If you experience the unquenchable thirst like mortals who taste Fae waters, return as you did before. Then hold the leaf in your palm and say, seek. It will lead you to me, and Isaac with me.”
“Why?” Benari asked the miniscule humanoid.
“No one should be lost and friendless,” she answered. “No matter how irritating they might be.”
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, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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