- The wolves came in. That’s what happens when you leave the front door open at night, which is exactly what I did. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
- I was in the kitchen warming up some midnight milk for myself when I saw their shadows slinking along the hallway, breaking up the moonbeams across the floor. I heard their panting, smelled breath most foul. I froze, of course. But–and I guess this was stupid of me but I still had my wits about and what else was I to do with them–I tried to figure out just by looking at their shadows if these wolves were scared, bored, or hungry.
- You’d think the hungry ones are the most dangerous, but these aren’t ordinary wolves. And if they were bored, I was as good as dead.
- Very quietly, I shut off the gas. Stove dials would make too much noise, and so would my bunny slippers. I slid the biggest knife we had from its place in the wooden holder with the brood of ducks on it before I realized that one, I tended to focus on the most mundane things when I am scared, and two, I sure as hell didn’t know how to wield a knife.
- Well, not against wolves like these anyway. It just wasn’t in me. They couldn’t help that they’d been corrupted any more than I could help fixing what had been done. Why did this always seem to happen? I was planning a quiet few years this time with no conflict, no involvement in anything. The wolves were always the first to come. I knew they’d be followed by elves, dwarves, pixies — all needing my help and here we’d go again.
- I clenched my teeth and sliced the big knife over the palm of my hand. The blood flowed and I cupped my hand to collect it. Then I watched the milk turn pink as I turned my hand over the saucepan.
- I lifted the pan in absolute silence and squatted down to cast the grisly mixture across the floor. The wolves smelled it immediately and closed in to lap it up. I didn’t move a muscle, counting on the distraction to keep them interested until they started to change. Luck was with me and it didn’t take long. Their matted fur smoothed and their rank panting mellowed to something not much worse than dog breath. There were three of them and they padded over to surround me, nuzzling my skin with their night-chilled noses.
- “Good boys,” I mutter. “Go.”
- They stare up at me as though they expect something else.
- “Go!” It is a harsh command, but they linger. Why? I have nothing more to give them.
- My heart thuds in my chest when I realize what the pack is – not hellhounds, werewolves, or skinchangers. These are Cu Sith, and it’s taken me this long to see the greenish tint in their dark fur.
- I don’t expect to be alone, but my breath still catches when I look up: Melvina.
- This is why you don’t leave the door open. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
- “Maleficent thing,” I say, “you tricked me.”
- She wears embroidered brocade. Impractical for the weather, but the Sidhe have no need for practical things.
- “Such silly magic,” Melvina shakes her head when she sees the pink paste on the floor. “A child’s trick. It would not work against beasts of the Fair Folk.”
- “I did not know they were the Sidhe’s hounds,” I reply.
- “You say our name?” Melvina grimaces.
- “I have your wrath already. What do you want?” I answer.
- “A favor.”
- “Your special talents are needed again.” Melvina says, “A cait sith has gone rogue, he has renounced his loyalties to the Fair Folk and has started to cause mischief where ever he pleases.”
- This was bad, while the Fair Folk enjoy their mischief making, it always occurs in accordance with a plan. These plans are so baroque that sometimes even members of the Fair Folk don’t know what is going on. I sigh and resign myself to helping them yet again, chaos like this could have dire repercussions in the world.
- “Go on,” I said, “Give me the details.
- Melvina smiles, “We appreciate the imposition that this is and are grateful for your help. The cait sith has been spotted in Dublin and has already cause quite a ruckus tipping over fruit stands and scaring the local cows, some of which have stopped giving milk. If this continues, the human world could figure out what is going on, and I know you don’t want that to happen.
- No, I didn’t want that to happen. I go and retrieve the satchel that I keep for emergencies and by the time I get back Mervina has summoned a portal to Dublin.
The Fair Folks Favor
a guest Dec 16th, 2013 42 Never
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