I’m working on completing a short story that’s been in the works for years (inspired by one of my favorite former characters at the MN Renaissance Festival). There’s a submission deadline tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have it polished by then…but here’s a snippet.
Something clinked next to his ear, and it smelled like goat breath. Mitch cracked one crusty eye…a giant black hole of a nostril whuffed an inch from his face. He started with a yelp and sat up, but the world spun around him and he abruptly toppled back onto the grass.
Grass? The last thing he remembered was the taste of lovely grape-wine this morning. On the bridge post…wasn’t he on the bridge post? He opened his eyes, slowly this time, and groaned as he sat up. He felt like the full Thumper battalion drummed a marching tattoo in his skull, and his antennae drooped to brush his knees. He hauled himself up and tried to pull the wedge of cloth from his butt. The drums only pounded louder, reverberating in his sinuses for an eternity. Mitch flitted back up to his post (wobbling only a little in his landing) and abruptly the drums stopped.
Blinking in relief, the fairy looked straight into the eyes of Jeffrey’s father, King Robert of the Seventh Marsh. His steed, a royal goat in full panoply, stuck its nose in Mitch’s face for the second time that afternoon.
“My Lord!” Mitch dropped to one knee, landing roughly on the tip of his much-abused antenna.
“Mitchell,” said the sylph Lord quietly, thunder in his blue eyes. “Perhaps you could explain exactly where my son has gone.” Mitch shivered.
“I, well, er…” The throbbing resumed in his head as Mitch tried desperately to find an excuse, but as the pain peaked the confession dribbled from his mouth in a rush. “I couldn’t talk him out of it, Your Majesty! I tried and tried…he just left this morning, Majesty, and promised to be back in a few hours.” Sweat dribbled between his shoulder blades and down the back of his shabby trousers.
“THREE DAYS MITCHELL!” Full force thunderclaps shook the bridge, and Mitch looked at his King in horror. “It has been three full days since he left!”
“But…I…”A soldier investigating the scene held up the bottle for Robert’s inspection.
“Fifteen year old Napa, my Lord,” the rabbit-faced man said crisply. His Majesty sighed and gave Mitch the look.
In that moment Mitch was quite sure he was lucky that Sylph powers couldn’t literally eviscerate with their eyes. His wings fluttered wildly, a nervous tic causing a few more rips along the tattered edges. His pale face flushed all the way past the tips of his pointed ears. Mitch looked at his tiny feet and wrung his hands in terror, certain his next breath would be his last.
“Mitchell,” said the King softly, bending down to eye level with the minor fairy.
“GO GET HIM!” The Voice of Power blasted Mitch ass over antennae from the post. He landed hard and scrambled to stand at attention. “Don’t return without him.”
“Yes SIR! Right away my Lord!” The Thumper soldiers snickered as the entire line watched Mitchell limp down the stone bridge, trying to pick the tights from between his cheeks before he disappeared into the mists.