In your mind, you are on fire. A low gravelly voice speaks but you can’t hear the words, you can only hear the flames, whipping and crackling and roaring. Your skin cracks and falls away, but you don’t feel pain. You feel a blazing triumph, a knowledge that this is good and right, that you are alone and there is fire and you are dying, but the water will come.
The fire dies away. You’re on a couch, your skin is whole and healthy, and you must be inside the cabin.
The person with the wings is looming over you and everything is blurry and you feel a bit dizzy, still, but not as bad as before, when everything went black.
Your vision slowly clears. Your mind doesn’t. You’re in the cabin and there is the person with the wings, but still, somewhere, there is the fire and the voice, and the dream felt real and this, the cabin and the wings and the couch, it doesn’t.
“You scared me there, girl. All falling down and stuff. So I lugged you in here.”
The person with the wings sits down next to you, and you wonder how it must feel, to have her wings squished into the wall like that. Do her wings have nerve endings? They’re sort of transparent and glowy and they make noises, sort of…shimmering noises. She’s not grimacing in pain or screaming or anything, so it must not hurt.
You cross your legs and look at her. She looks back at you.
“So, you gonna talk or anything? It’s not every day that some girl comes along and faceplants into the sand right outside my fairy house.”
So she’s a fairy? You guess that makes sense, with the wings and all. You don’t seem to have torn shirts and skull tattoos and black gloves and long black nails in your mental box for fairy, but hey, your mental boxes are all kind of mixed up right now anyway.
What do you tell her? That you kind of remember having fur and nails even longer than hers and eating things that were alive and bled and may have been happy families? That you don’t remember anything before that, but that you think that whatever you were doing before, it had something to do with waterfalls and fire and a gravelly voice and it was really really scary, except for the fire bit, which honestly felt sort of badass?
She looks sort of impatient. Maybe you should say something. You uncross your legs.
“Umm, thank you for bringing me in here?”
“That’s all ya got? No ‘I am a princess from the lost world of Xxaniep, here to save you all from the Dread Lord Andrew and his Cowplant of Doom?’ Or even just, you know, ‘Hey man, I was at this wild party last night, and there was some awesome pollen punch there, like you don’t even know, and you should come with me because they’re throwing another kegger tonight, wooooo!’ I mean come on, girl. You had to be blitzed and/or a magical princess from a far away land to just go all fally down like that. Or maybe…”
“Maybe you’re Zombie Mary! You walked past the graveyard to get here, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU? And oh man. I bet a zombie bit you, and you came here, and you fell down because your body is turning all undead and green and stuff, inside right now where I can’t see, but eventually it’ll be outside too, and you’re here to bite me and make me into a zombie, and make me bite people, and then we’ll all be zombies, just limping around, our heads at right angles, repeating ‘SCCRUH. SCCRUH.’ to ourselves, and also sometimes ‘MURDER!’, and then we’ll all go murder people, except there won’t be anyone alive, so we’ll have to murder each other, and it’ll be this whole big zombie murder orgy and all because I brought you in here when I should have killed you! Oh man!”
“I can smell it on you, you know. You’re rotting on the inside.”
You close your eyes. You pretend that you are cold and sad and all alone on a deserted street, at night, warming your hands over a fire in a trash can, but they can never get warm, never, and you will always be alone and also you will probably die soon.
This relaxes you and helps you ignore the fairy. You breathe out, slowly. You are in your safe place, and if the fairy comes for you you can make the claws come out, somehow, and then you can find out what fairy tastes like.
“Man, you smell ripe. Bet you’ll be turning all green and icky on the outside too soon. I know. I’m a necrofairy. I ain’t scared no walking corpses. That’s, like, my day job right there, working with decaying corpses. Actually, I have one in my bedroom at home, but you don’t need to know about that.”
You breathe in, slowly, and you imagine yourself on the deserted street, all alone, with the fire and your cold hands.
“So yeah, you best watch out with your zombie murder horde plan, because I know like sixty different ways to kill you, right now. And then I can reanimate your corpse and make you do whatever I want, and you know what? I can leave parts out, if I want. Yeah. Like, I could take your tongue, just like that, so you couldn’t even talk! Or maybe your teeth, so you couldn’t bite. That might be better. Zombie licks don’t infect anyone, so letting you keep your tongue would be okay really.”
“Necrofairy got your teeth!”
The fairy comes for you and the dark deserted street and the fire in the trash can disappears, and you’re on the couch and she’s coming for you, and you’ve got to figure out how to get the claws to come.
“Hey, hey, what are you doing?! I didn’t get bitten by a zombie, okay? Also, I have claws, you know. Last night I had fur, and claws, and I ate happy families! Or possibly a shark! So I can eat a necrofairy, no problem!”
You go into great detail, describing the full moon and the wild and the blood, and the power, and your mouth seems to remember it a lot better than your brain does, and then the fairy interrupts you, just as you were getting to the really good part, the part with the fangs and the dripping blood.
“Whoa. Whoa. You’re a werewolf?!”
Werewolf. Of course. That makes sense. Why didn’t you think of that earlier? But then you haven’t really been thinking, and there was the sun and the mountains and the waterfall, and you don’t even know who you are, so really how could you have expected yourself to realize that you were a werewolf?
The fairy is silent, for the first time since you woke up, so that’s nice.
Also, wait. Fairies and werewolves are real? And you’re talking to a fairy who claims she can reanimate dead bodies, and you’re a werewolf, and whoa what is this you don’t even.
You’re getting dizzy again.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t know! Although that does explain the smell. Oh man. You ate something last night, I tell you what. Look, okay, I won’t turn you into my toothless corpse slave if you won’t eat me. Does that sound good?”
You don’t want to be making deals with fairies to not eat them in return for them not turning you into a toothless walking corpse right now. You want your deserted street. You want your fire in a trash can. Possibly you even want to be licked by a zombie.
But no, you’re here on this ugly couch with this stupid teeth-stealing necrofairy, and you’re a werewolf, and you don’t know how to handle that, like at all.
“You okay? You’re not going to turn on me, are you? They don’t even try to deliver the paper out here, so I don’t have any rolled up newspapers handy. Good dog. Goooood dog.”
Your head really hurts, and you just want everything to be quiet right now. Especially the fairy.
“I am not a dog, all right? Shut up. Now. Or I will get the claws, and you won’t like me with claws. Okay? God.”
There is blessed silence and peace for a nanosecond, and then the fairy starts tapping her fingers on her thighs.
“So. You’re a werewolf. That must be pretty cool, right? Like with all the howling and the hunting and the blood. Awesome, yeah. So, umm. Do you know who cursed you?”
Curse? Who cursed you?
“I don’t know. God, maybe.”
The fairy keeps tapping her fingers, and talking.
“Oh, well, it’s just that werewolves around here, yeah…well, you know. So I thought I’d ask.”
No, actually. You don’t know. You sigh. You may as well tell her.
“I don’t really remember anything before last night. I don’t even know where ‘around here’ is, or who I am, or anything except that I had fur and claws and fangs last night, and then the sun came and it hurt and then I didn’t have the claws anymore, and then I walked here, and I saw you, and everything went dark, and then you woke me up.”
The fingers stop tapping. Thank you, lord.
The fairy gets up and suddenly seems all important and serious business. You look at her, unsure about this change and what it might mean.
“Come on. We’re taking you to see Lus.”
You realize that you now know the name of someone you’ve never met, but you don’t know the name of someone who tried to take your teeth so you couldn’t bite them when they made you into their walking corpse slave.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
Glitterface walks out and you follow her. You see her little fairy house, still sitting there glowing quietly to itself.
You don’t see the fairy anywhere though, and you were just a second behind her.
Then you round the corner, and you see her beyond the bushes. She can fly. Of course.
“Hey, not all of us have wings!”
You run to catch up, noting that the sky is still fairly blue, that it must not be too late yet.
But the hill is a really big hill, and it takes forever to run up it.
Finally you reach the top, where Glitterface is waiting. With a cab. You get in.
The driver looks normal, which kind of surprises you. You didn’t think anyone was normal in this town.
Her eyes in the rearview mirror are focused on Glitterface.
“So where are we going?”
Glitterface answers. “The Toadstool.”
The cab moves forward, and you look out the window. Watching the town go by.
Wondering what will happen when it gets fully dark, and the moon comes out.
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