Two Excerpts from Gift of Story, A Faerie's Tale for Childish Grown-Ups. Available now at www.carmenmclark.com
“You expect me to believe that?” I ask.
What Juniper and I have is no friendship; it is more a master and servant dynamic. She looks at me like I’m subhuman.
“Of course,” she says and goes on brushing her perfectly silky brick red hair. Juniper is ethereal, but then, she is a faerie.
She doesn’t have wings, or if she does they are hidden. I kind of don’t want to see them; it seems a little too fantastical and I’m not ready for that. She looks human, I mean, she’s roughly my height, and has two arms, legs and one head, but there is something magnetizing about her. People stare at her when we walk down the street together. She has delicate features, is graceful in action and her clothes are a mix of lace, leather and every color in the rainbow. Need a purple shirt or a blue skirt? Her style is impeccable. Right now she’s wearing tight leather pants and an avocado green tunic shirt with a thick black belt. With her red hair wildly framing her face, I’m telling you, she looks like a rock goddess. I watch her, her fingers combing through the long strands, and a pang courses through my body. She is like all the pretty girls, a total bitch. I want to brush her off but then she pulls me in. Is it magic? Curiosity? I've never met a faerie before. She is but isn't what I'd expect. Not that I'm making any sense. Maybe it’s the vodka; we’ve run out of mixer and I’ve been sipping it straight for half an hour. Juniper could drink me under the table; I have to be careful around her. To my one she has three and doesn’t show it.
“Hi? Hello? Where did you go, silly Charlotte?” Juniper waves her hand in front of my face, snapping me out of my thoughts. “I want to go out. Let’s go somewhere, one of those dance clubs,” she says.
“Are you kidding?” I ask. “I hate dance clubs. They play horrible music and everyone’s gyrating, and lets face it, straight up dry humping. And it always smells like kitty litter and ass.”
Juniper looks at me puzzled. “I don’t know that.”
“No, the other, dry…”
“Humping, you know, it’s like, uh, having sex but with your clothes on so you’re not actually Doing It?”
Juniper looks at me horrified. “That sounds stupid. And uncomfortable.”
I sigh. “It is.”
Juniper jumps up and claps her hands once as if to command attention. “We are going and we will watch these stupid humans do this thing and it will be fun.” She turns to me, “They will have this vodka right?”
I snort, of course she thinks of alcohol. “Can you at least leave me alone for an hour? I’m writing this for you after all.” She actually has the temerity to stomp into my room and slam my door. Just as I’m hunkering down to get some writing done, the telephone rings. Caller ID says it’s my sister. Okay. I’ll answer, talk for ten minutes and then get back to writing. Yeah, fucking right. I can never go less then half an hour with Joan, and I don’t even remember what we talk about.
Missy Wendolyn pulled back her hair from her eyes and began to fix a hole in her stockings. She sang softly to herself to help the time go by. A song passed down through generations and roughly twenty-three verses long. With the chorus repeated between each verse, the song lasted a good two hours in human time, which, for a faerie, was no time at all. After the first couple of verses she felt peacefulness ebbing from the little girl, guessing that the child had fallen into a deep sleep. Stealthily Wendolyn made her way to the flowers. Again, as she neared the tent, her body began to reverberate, and she knew there was something different about this child. Picking the pollen for the coins was not easy and Missy Wendolyn spent years apprenticing under Master Lightleaf. Wendolyn was a smart faerie; she learned quickly and could memorize spells after one look. She was young for her job but had shown such promise that Master Lightleaf himself taught her. He rarely did that before retiring but he knew she was a gifted student and deserved his time. She shrunk down small enough to fit into the flowers and gently did her job, all the while thinking of the girl. The flowers were not far from where the girl slept so Wendolyn could still feel the odd tingles. She wished she had someone to talk it over with, to share it because she’d never experienced such a thing. In the old country, so she’d been told, faeries and humans had mingled regularly; there were many half-breeds. She herself had never met one but figured she’d feel the same tingles that she felt right now. Not that she herself looked much different from humans but they were just so…non-magical. There was intrigue about humans for sure but since her people had come to this country, they’d made a clear point to stay away from them. Humans had the tendency to make situations very complicated. What if, though, that there had been a tryst betwixt human and faerie? Was this child the product of passionate faerie/human relations? Suddenly realizing she had almost killed the flower by extracting too much pollen she cursed herself and put her questions aside. They would have to wait for now she had to focus on the task at hand.