Once Upon a Time a froggie
Every body gave a part
Piece by piece
he was formed
No happily ever after
Catch the second episode of Fey Hollow: The Fairy Tale Murders!
Listen on spotify/apple podcasts :)
‘I don’t like you.’ Luna’s Father’s voice was deep and gravelly.
He was also tiny. Considering moments ago, he had an eye the size of a whole roundabout.
‘Nice to meet you too, sir?’
Metior frowns at me and turns away to the old lady mermaid elf and the large dark skinned man.
For his tiny frame, he had a lot of white hair puffing around his head like fried wire. Thin frame under a baggy dress like garment covered with dozens of pockets in different sizes.
We were inside what looked like a church, but instead of pews, there was large scientific looking equipment.
He walks towards the front of the building beckoning the misfit group we were to follow him.
At the front where an altar could have been was a round door on the floor. The door opens upwards but there is no ladder or secret passageway but a misty portal sparkling.
He jumps in without a word and the others follow. I stand there pondering what I have gotten myself. If being dead was really that bad for this hallucination was getting out of hand.
A knobbly hand pops out of the portal, making it transparent, and I could see the other side of it. There was an ordinary home with a table, chairs, carpets, a fridge and a regular looking kitchen stove, not a fire pit or run by water or glowing electricity.
The hand grabs my leg and pulls before I could hop into the portal.
In seconds I’m in a familiar world. I was in the dining room beside an open kitchen. The side of a staircase rose in front of the dining area, its side wall covered in paintings and photographs.
The large man was tinkering in the kitchen with the old lady helping out.
I found myself sitting on the floor under the dining table on top of a worn carpet looking at the wobbly knees of Luna’s father sitting on a dining chair.
‘If you would like to remain there and be fed scraps, I would be glad to do so.’
I crawl out from under the table, he points at the seat beside him.
‘Your name, boy?’ He picks up a tablet and begins scrolling through it.
‘I’m Ben Hart, Sir.’
‘Yes, I see that, a college graduate with a degree in business. No pursuit in life, I see.’
He was not exactly wrong; I had never really gotten to choose my life’s purpose. Simply followed my parent’s orders.
‘Dabbled in being a pilot. The irony. How long have you known Luna?’ his voice drops into a whisper at the point he mentions her name.
‘For nearly five years, we had been friends at work.’
‘Luna would never have worked in a corporate company, it would have bored her.’ He admonishes.
Which was right, she found it utterly dull and had begun a little trade on the side of her own creating jewellery from scraps. Hoping to quit from a large company that she thought only cared about profits.
‘She was, eventually creating an online Jewellery shop.’ I say, he nods his head but as he opens his mouth a girl’s voice interrupts him.
‘Well hello Metior, Darya, Kai and stranger; Good morning!’
The girl was Luna’s age, but she had a wild look to her while Luna looked docile and sweet.
I stand to introduce myself, ‘Hi, I’m Ben Hart.’ I stick my hand out, and she laughs. She pats my hand and walks past me to the kitchen.
Hello Ben, I’m Kera. You don’t look like from another world. What could Metior want with you?’
She plugs in the water kettle and begins heating up water. Takes out a cup from a cabinet and wiggles a mug my way. I nod my head.
‘Thank you, I never thought I would get to drink coffee again.’
Kera shuts the cabinet and gives me a shocked face, ‘Coffee? What’s coffee?’
I look at Metior, and he shakes his head, ignoring the situation and continues to read from his tablet more about my life or me with Luna, I’m unsure.
Kera laughs, ‘Just kidding, I’ve been to three or four worlds now. I am always glad to come home for some coffee. They don’t seem to have it anywhere there. Which is crazy, I know.’
She squints at me then at Metior.
‘He is from across the Barrier, nowhere else.’ he mumbles.
Her eyes go round, ‘I see why he needs the coffee. If I died, I would need ten cups.’
She quickly mixes the instant coffee for both of us and sits beside me, passing me a cup.
‘Well, what was being dead like?’ She gets comfortable with her elbow on the table with her chin cupped in her hand.
‘Nothing. Just emptiness.’ She nods her head, ‘Sounds deep.’
‘Sort of, cause I could see deep see fishes on the other side of this glass barrier. That’s where I saw Darya as a mermaid elf.’
She laughs out loud, ‘Darya! How come he got to see you in your original form? So jealous, right now!’
Darya slams a wooden spoon on the pan, ‘you will see it one day little Kera, do not worry.’ Darya seemed to be making scrambled eggs while Kai was tossing some sausages in the air. For a mermaid elf and a giant, they were quite comfortable in the kitchen.
Kera shrugs admittedly, ‘I’m sure we will, I just can’t wait to go to Metior though.’ She sips her cup, missing the glance Darya sends to Kai and Metior whose eyes stopped for a second scanning the tablet.
Kera gets up and heads to the kitchen to grab something lost in thought.
Kera looks ordinary, long curly dark brown hair with almond sharp light brown eyes on an oval, round face with a button-like nose and small plump lips. She returns from the kitchen with a slice of brownie.
‘Would you like some? Got to live in the moment, you never know when they’ll suck you through a portal and into a world with nothing but cold raw rabbit meat from a hunt.’
That was a little specific.
Kera chuckles, enjoying my awkward discomfort.
‘Just kidding, but it could happen. It happened to Misty.’
A groan comes from the staircase. Large male feet appear slowly going down the steps. He was lanky, dressed in a crumpled white t-shirt and black pants.
‘Hello, Misty, how was your sleep?’ Kera asks sweetly.
The boy enters the dining room space with messy black hair streaked with silver. He had bright ocean green eyes that now stared daggers at Kera.
‘When will you stop calling me that?’ He growls.
He looked exhausted, he had stubble that could be days old and dark shadows under his eyes. His clothes looked slept in and dirty like he hasn’t changed in days.
‘Ben Hart, Mr Grouchy over there is Lucian also known to me as Misty. He’s a partner in crime of a sort.’
‘More experienced than you, but you act like a know it all.’ Lucian passes by without a glance my way to the kitchen and makes himself a cup of coffee.
‘I like being better.’ Kera says smugly sipping her own.
‘Still can’t transform though.’ Lucian smirks.
Kera rolls her eyes, ‘I’ve been to more places than you.’
‘Enough.’ Interrupts Metior, just as Darya and Kia place breakfast on the table.
Lucian slips into the seat opposite me next to Metior while Darya and Kia take up the remaining two places.
I realise that in this world Darya and Kai seem unable to read my mind. I smile for the first time feeling comforted.
We can all hear your thoughts. That was Kera in my head.
We’re just being polite and try to ignore it.
Try imagining a barrier of a sort covering your thoughts.
Like a bubble around you.
In my head, she sounds kinder and gentler, less loud, a little like Luna.
I create an impenetrable wall surrounding my mind, like the barrier I had fallen through.
Can you hear me now?
There’s no answer.
‘Let us eat,’ began Metior.
Kera smiles at me, making Lucian frown a little.
‘We shall reunite Luna with Ben today. Once together, I shall finally bring you to Metior City. It is time you learn your prophecy’s.’
Kera glances at Lucian, I could sense something between them. An understanding.
Luna, we’re coming.
I was raised to be oblivious of the world around me. It was easier to bend me to the will of my father and his court. I had spent my youth playing dress up with beautiful gowns and hiding in my room in self-pity.
Now I sit in the Evergreen Library and I feel foolish.
Eydollon has a massive library bigger than the whole of the Evergreen compound but I had never thought to explore it further than Eydollon’s history and laws. I was conforming myself to past beliefs.
Here the books about the other parts of Eludemare are beyond that I could believe. Kera beside me is as astounded.
“Holy Moly there’s such thing as shapeshifters here. There’s this Cateline that’s rumoured to have turned a fox into a shapeshifter. How cool is that?!”
I roll my eyes. Ever since she had begun reading the books along with me she had lowered her guard down and exposed she was not from Eydollon for I had been to every part of my kingdom and her accent and way of speaking was not from any part. However, the way she read about the rest of Eludemare she seemed unaware of its existence as much as I.
Oddest of all, she had the ability to read the texts of all the different languages although never being to the places.
“Kera, where are you from?” she freezes and looks up to me uncertain what to say.
She sighs, “Here.”
“I’ve read about dragons, shapeshifters, Jinn’s, floating cities, reincarnated Gods what can’t you possibly say that could shock me further than that. I already know you are not from Eydollon.” I slam the book I’m reading shut on the table in frustration.
“I don’t know if I can tell you. One thing I will say though is, I’m here to help you somehow.”
“I’ve seen in your mind you are from another world.”
“Since we’re being honest and prying into each other’s faces, I hope I wasn’t sent here to be sacrificed to be your next face. It’s not that pretty anyway.” Kera rises to walk away but I pull her towards me.
She tries to fight, eyes growing round and frightened. I was growing tired of her rebelliousness and fear.
I grab her shoulders tightly and look deep into her eyes like the other girls she’s seen me take their faces. I could feel her shaking but she defies herself from uttering a sound.
“I made you my servant because I could not take something you are unwilling to give. Have I not proven I would not hurt you. Why must you make it so hard to become a friend?”
“You want to be friends? Would you be friends with the King of Ubel after finding out he turned his court into the Skotos?” I let her go like I was burnt. She saw me equal to that of King Ubel.
She immediately begins to apologize but I throw her out of the library with a brush of my hand slamming the library doors shut at her face.
I could feel my inner fire burning out of my skin and the face of the latest girl burning off at the edges.
I was a monster but not like the King of Uvelin that I knew.
My old true senses returning slowly, my ordinary human senses burning away.
How could I have been so blind to think someone could be my friend.
A hand grabs my arm and I try to shake it off but it holds firm tightly.
If i did not stop the fire I would be faceless to the rulers tomorrow. I could not find a willing sacrifice in time.
“Don’t fight it.” It was the voice of the man her stepmother had brought to introduce me.
“Let go of me. You don’t understand!”
“I do, I was abandoned in the streets of Uvelin to become an odd faceless boy child serving a provincial lord. He used my powers to feed him an endless supply of dumplings.”
“Dumplings?” The fire inside me snuffs out, wisps of it flicker out the tips of my fingers and hair.
The man chuckles letting my arm go. “Long story short, I had been caught on the street creating a dumpling out of thin air. I was hungry.”
I couldn’t help imagine a scrawny little boy with dumplings before him only to be disturbed by men to take him to the provincial lord.
“I wasn’t that scrawny, I was only caught because I had gotten greedy and hadn’t been careful. I usually eat in the safety of an abandoned church cellar.” As he says this I could see it in my mind from his perspective. He was sharing his memories with me.
“We can do that? Share memories?” I ask creating a barrier in my mind.
“Yes, only in our true form. No need to build a wall against me, I would not pry if not invited.”
“But I could see into Kera’s dreams without her permission.”
“She is not like us. We mustn’t share our gifts with others. They may take advantage of it.”
“Kera is different.”
The man sits down in Kera’s seat and beckons me to sit down.
I look around and the world around me feels different, I could not help feeling relieved to have my senses undiluted but I could not stop seeing my father’s judging and disapproving eyes.
I look back at the man and I notice he looks different. He was naked but for bright orange flames flickering around the edges with darker swirls across his body covering the important sections.
I could feel a flush rise up to my face if I had one.
“What you see is my true form as I see you since we have met. although right now you seem to be a little pinkish like you were blushing.”
“What are we?” ignoring his comment.
“You know the answer to that, your stepmother has shared our people to you. Well, half of our true people. We were born in human form, encased. While they are in their true form entirely.”
“You’ve met them?” I sit in disbelief.
“I have travelled around Eludemare, looking for others like us. There are many, taking many different forms of work to use their unique abilities. You are the only other person with a similar ability to create from our energies. Most of our kind have simple abilities and are kind and humble while there are those who are angry and hunger for more power. We are no different from human folk in terms of greed.”
“I meant the true versions of the Shinkami, you have met them?”
He nods, “I met one in my travels, he was quite arrogant but he says no human or half Shinkami can enter their domain. I have yet to try.”
The library grows quiet. I look at the clock and see that time had moved on quickly. It was time to go back to my quarters.
“I think I better get back to check on Kera.”
The man stands and holds his arm out. “I’ll walk you.”
“I’m Joaquin by the way.” He says as I hook my arm with his.
The library doors open.
“People call me the Faceless one back home.” Joaquin chuckles, “Your real name?”
Kera stands at the door looking forlorn as she looks up her face turns to amazement.
I look through her eyes and I too am speechless.
We look formidable.