We're back to the Myth and Science Universe today with a story set a day or two after the events of "Fateful Meeting" and "Friends at First Fight."
Having read at least those two stories helps fill in the backstory, but it's not necessary to understand what's going on in today's flash fiction.
I apologize for the delay in posting. I prefer to wait until I have the audio ready to post at the same time, and I wanted C. L. to help record the male voices as he's been doing with the last several audios. However, with the beginning of warmer weather, our neighbors have been mowing lawns and playing on four wheelers until late in the evening, meaning we couldn't cut a clean recording. So I finally gave up and just recorded it all myself this morning.
Recording narration and voicing three characters is no joke, even for such a short piece, is no joke! Props to all the voice actors out there. You don't really understand what a physical strain that kind of vocal gymnastics can be until you actually give it a shot.
“Silence is the best reply to a fool,” Eralee whispered in Isaac’s ear from where she rode on his shoulder.
Brow creasing in confusion, Isaac glanced her way, murmuring an articulate, “Huh?”
“Owyn’s a specist idiot,” Eralee explained, “but we’ll have to get past him if you want into Astrakane. So keep quiet, no matter what he says.” Eralee’s cheeks flushed a pale purple, and she couldn’t seem to meet his gaze. “Or what I say,” she mumbled.
“Ah, I get it,” Isaac assured her at a whisper as they approached the hollow’s guardpost.
From everything he’d learned during his time serving in Mab’s fortress, aside from the odd place like Mab’s capital city, the different Fae species seemed to live in settlements segregated by species. It made a fair amount of sense for a society whose peoples ranged from teeny vegetarians to massive hunters, but it also fostered a lot of interspecies conflict.
Being so far out from Garrigill, Isaac expected Astrakane to be a typical pixie village situated in the branches of an ancient tree. From the look of the massive, sprawling Yew twinkling up ahead, he wasn’t far off, but the guard stationed at its base certainly didn’t look like a pixie. He looked more like an elf or newly turned vampire, the more human looking among the fae peoples he’d seen.
“Now ‘ere’s something you don’t see every day,” the guard rumbled as they reached the tree. “What’s a pretty thing like you doing with garbage like this ‘un, Era?”
The scared old elf, as Isaac could see now by the sloping points of the man’s ears, leaned in and peered at Eralee through narrowed eyes. She smoothed her hands over her clothes and scraped the hair ruffled by the elf’s rather heavy breathing back.
“You know perfectly well, it’s Eralee,” she said with a prim sniff. “And what I do with my property is my own affair, Captain. Now if you’d excuse us, these medicines won’t deliver themselves.”
“You went n’ got yerself a human then?” The elf’s attention slid from Eralee to Isaac, and he frowned. “What for?”
His eyes shifted enough to focus back on Eralee, and she stretched herself as tall as she could reach, which was maybe all of three inches. On a good day. Seeing the pixie facing down a rather tall elf was like seeing David’s stand against Goliath played out, but even then the size of the two was skewed to ludicrous proportions.
The thought Owyn could reach out and squash his new friend between fat fingers before he could react flashed through his mind with graphic clarity. Isaac’s heart rate picked up, and his pulse began to thunder in his ears. He didn’t dare breath as he waited for Eralee’s reply.
“I ripped a wing,” she grumbled, grimacing as she lifted the wing in question as proof. Eralee allowed it to fall and shrugged. “When a half grown human bumbled onto my path, well,” she trailed off. “I’m not one to look in the mouths of gift horses.”
Owyn’s expression smoothed, and he stood back up. The motion allowed Isaac to breathe a bit easier with the added distance, but it also served to prove how much larger this elf was than him. Isaac wondered if another millennium would pass in the outside world before he managed to hit puberty.
“Ah well then, I can deliver you the rest of the way, and you can be rid of it,” the guard offered.
“Thank you, Captain,” said Eralee, “but I must decline.” She turned her attention to Isaac, and he bit the inside of his cheek to keep from reacting to the way she stroked his hair as one might a beloved pet. “I caught him, and I’m afraid I might have broke him.” Looking back at the elven captain, she continued. “I can’t just set him loose to die on his own, now can I? I’m responsible for the pup.”
Owyn frowned again, and his eyes flicked over Isaac before returning to Eralee. “Make sure you get it proper shots and papers if you’re going to keep it,” he grumbled. “I won’t be returning an unmarked runaway.”
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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