The bus had not been difficult to figure out, though it did take a few supervised trips for Nell to finally accept that he was able to navigate the city on his own. There were a few caveats, mostly involving when he could go (during the day only, be home by dark), and how often to get in touch (Very Often). But even those didn’t seem to bother Dair too much, as he was on the bus to one of the nature reserves the morning after Nell had finally granted him permission to go by himself.
The ride was uneventful, as he never looked away from the window but to give Nell periodic updates of the trip. There was an intensity to his stare that was lacking in the other passengers, who simply were looking out the window in order to not stare at the person sitting next to them. No, it seemed as if he was looking at something in particular, his head occasionally turning as he watched something pass by the window. But aside from cars and an increasing number of trees, there didn’t seem to be much of interest on the roads. Even once he floated off the bus he still glanced over his shoulder towards the road as if expecting something to be following him. It wasn’t until he had reached the edge of the forest that he turned his attention to what lay in front of him.
With a satisfied smile on his face, he hiked the strap of his bag higher on his shoulder and floated into the forest, ditching the path as soon as he could no longer hear the sounds of the road.
It seemed as if he stepped into another world when he left the path. Everything seemed to be….more. The leaves seemed greener, the air felt fresher, and everything felt welcoming in a way. Though there was a significant amount of underbrush, he never seemed to get tangled in any branches or vines, a stark contrast to his usual slow and awkward trips through the city. A leaf or twig occasionally brushed against him, though it felt more like someone reaching out to gently touch him than anything else. He drifted aimlessly through the trees, reaching out to occasionally rest his hand against a trunk or branch as he passed.
It had felt as if he had spent no time at all in the forest, but when his phone buzzed (a text from Nell, reminding him that his bus would be there soon), he saw that several hours had passed. With a frown he looked around, trying to see which direction the path was, as he had not been paying any attention to which direction he was going in. Probably not the best idea, all things considered. But as he turned, he noticed that the entrance to the path was behind him, though he could have sworn he hadn’t gotten turned around.
A branch nudged him in the back, and the leaves rustled above him though there was no wind.
Shaking his head he floated back onto the path, already mentally planning his next trip. As he reached the bus stop, he took one last glance at the forest.
He raised his phone, the half-typed message to Nell momentarily forgotten, and took a quick picture before boarding the bus. It wasn’t until he had taken his seat that he looked at it though, which only made his frown grow. Trees. The blurry shape of some hikers. That was it.
Not what he had seen at all.
Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:44 pm
Breakfast February 2017
The sounds of the morning had changed slightly ever since Nell had figured out what Dair was feeding on. There were still the usual sounds of food being chopped and dishes being rinsed, but a current of conversation filled the kitchen as well, interspersed liberally with laughter.
”Oky, okay, okay, how about this one. I….rode my bike to school every day, I had a Barbie I named Suzy when I was a kid, and I once set my cousin’s hair on fire.” Dair, who was sitting at the counter, wrinkled his nose as his rune flared briefly in response to the lie.
”How did you manage to do that?” he asked, getting only a dismissive wave from Nell as a response.
”It was a party, there was some drinking, not important! How’re you doing?” She gave him a quick look over his shoulder, giving him a pleased smile when he nodded and sat up from the counter. ”Good! Gotta say, kind of embarrassing that you ccan always tell when I’m lying?” She gave him another look over his shoulder, this one rather questioning, and grimaced when he shrugged. ”God, okay. Still. Pretty convenient when it comes to food, at least.” Dair snorted and began to float off, though he stopped when Nell continued talking.
”Which is good because I don’t think I’d be able to afford feeding two of us.”. He slowly turned around, eyes narrowing as he faced Nell who was grinning broadly at him. He hadn’t gotten far from the counter, still well within arms reach, and his gaze flickered down to the countertop for a moment before he looked back at Nell.
Her grin was even bigger than before, if it was possible.
”Gotta say, all of those sweaters are really putting a dent in the budg-Hey!” A grape, which had been sitting in a bowl on the counter, sailed across the kitchen and bounced off of her forehead. ”I cannotbelieve this!” A chunk of broccoli that she had been chopping was thrown right back at him, though it only bounced off of one of his branches. ”Betrayed by my own kid! How can I...Ack! No! Stop!” Her words dissolved into shrieks of laughter as a rain of grapes flew at her, forcing her to take cover behind the open door of the fridge.
Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:57 pm
What's out there? February 2017
He was prepared the next time he went to the forest. Kind of. He at least brought a portable phone charger and a blank notebook with him, since he found that taking a lot of pictures (and having to text Nell often to keep her from worrying too much) tended to drain his phone battery quickly. And it also didn’t take pictures of things that were there.
That was something he had been thinking over in the time between his two visits. Clearly there were things that lived in the forests and cities (though he didn’t see many of those), large things, things that were certainly startling to him. He just couldn’t figure out why they weren’t to everyone else. So maybe, he figured, if he showed them to people he would get some answers.
The whole ‘not showing up in pictures’ things was a bit of a snag in his plan, though. Hence the notebook.
Now, he would be the first to admit that his handwriting was not the best, and so he would not be surprised that his drawing skills were equally as terrible, but it would at least be something, right? There was only one way to find out, he supposed. When he left the bus this time he moved with purpose, once again abandoning the path almost as soon as he entered the forest. He still didn’t know the area enough to know precisely where he was going, but he had a rough idea of a clearing he had passed through on his last trip that he thought would work well.
Getting there wasn’t as easy as he had hoped, though. His memory of where it had been wasn’t as sharp as he had hoped, and by the time he had actually found it it was nearly time for him to head back to the bus stop. He let his bag slide to the ground with a huff and looked around the clearing critically. Trees. Trees. A variety of small scraggly plants that filled in the space between the tree trunks. A squirrel scurried through the branches above him, off in the distance he could hear a flock of crows bickering at each other, and directly behind him there was the crack of a twig being stepped on.
He spun around, at first unable to see anything that wasn’t branches or leaves, but after a moment something began to move. It was mostly obscured by the trees, but he could at least see that it was large and that he couldn’t quite compare it to anything else he had seen before. He fumbled for his phone and took a quick picture, but as expected, nothing showed up on the screen but trees. That was what the notebook was for, though. He dug the notebook and pen out of his bag and settled down on the ground with his back against a trunk. It didn’t give him the best view of it, but he wasn’t entirely sure that there was any way to see all of it unless it was in the open.
Regardless, he took a long look at it before he hunched over the notebook and began to draw.
537 words = 2 pts
Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:30 pm
A New Nest March 2017
His small notebook was quickly filling up, the pages covered with overlapping scribbles and notes that were frequently crossed out and amended with each trip. It wasn’t something he would think he would ever show someone, at least without tearing out a few pages and possibly just redoing it in a completely new book, but it was serviceable. A good portion of the Forest that he had been able to wander around was documented, a variety of landmarks both natural and clearly unnatural reproduced to the best of his ability, and a much edited map on the inside of the front cover did it’s best to link everything together.
But he knew that he was only scratching the surface of the forest, it was only a fifteen minute or so trek from the trails, and he had the sense that he could wander for hours and not come across the same space twice. A quick look at his phone showed that he didn’t quite have hours to wander around aimlessly though. With a sigh he set his notebook and pen to the side so he could grab his bag, shuffling around in it to make sure everything else was there before reaching back to grab the notebook.
Which wasn’t there.
He looked around with a frown, sighing once more when it became clear that it wasn’t next to him at all, nor within arms reach of where he was sitting. He floated up from the ground, making sure to take his bag with him lest it get grabbed by whatever it was as well. He was able to see most of the small clearing he was in once he was a bit higher in the air and easily spotted the notebook in a few moments. Movement in the grass around where it was made him hesitate before picking it up, his eyebrows furrowing slightly as he lowered himself closer to the ground to see what it was.
His pen was pushed out of a clump of grass, coming to rest innocently next to the notebook as if he had just put it down. The grass the pen had come from shook gently. Dair pondered his choices as he slowly picked up notebook and pen and stowed them safely in his bag. He had come across some pretty unpleasant looking things in the forest so far, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think that this could be something malicious. The grass continued to rustle, something chittering softly from within it.
After another moment of consideration he reached out to gently part the grass stems, eyebrows raising slightly before a broad smile grew on his face.
”Find anything good today?” Nell called as she walked in the door, the small bell above it chiming merrily. There was the usual clatter a** he took off her shoes, hung up her gym bag and dumped everything else in the laundry hamper before collapsing on the couch with a sigh.
”I think so,” he said quietly, barely loud enough for Nell to hear. She said something else to him, but he was too focused on the task on hand to pay much attention to her. From his bag he pulled five small skulls, probably some sort of rodent by the size, which had been darkened by dirt and age. Each was set reverently on the top of his bookcase in a small arc, and then given minute adjustments to their positions for a few minutes until he seemed pleased with their setup. Following the skulls were scraggly stalks of lavender and grass that look as if they had been freshly picked, each stalk placed almost as reverently as the skulls. Several knotted and broken lengths of string were coiled neatly and placed behind the skulls, followed by a tiny bell that lost its clapper and a small piece of metal that was vaguely thimble-shaped.
He floated back a bit to see how it looked from a distance, nodding in satisfaction at the final arrangement.
”So, what do you think?”
A tiny form, barely visible in the daylight, seemed to crawl out from one of the skulls, it’s tiny mouse nose twitching as it scampered from one side of the bookcase to the next. And the a second, and a third, and a fourth and fifth one joined it, until the shelf seemed to be teeming with tiny ghostly mice. Happy chittering and the faint jingling of bells could barely be heard, but it seemed to be enough to draw a smile from him.
Posted: Mon May 01, 2017 3:51 pm
MayDay May 1, 2017
The change of seasons was almost alarming in the forest. Dair had been used to the rather dreary, dull colors and bare branches of winter when he visited the forest, but seemingly overnight life erupted in the trees. Gone were the browns of dead leaves and grey of bare bark, replaced with greens that were almost blindingly bright. The quiet calm was broken by cheerful birdsong and the raucous chatter of squirrels. He could almost feel the life and energy moving through the plants, and fancied that if he listened hard enough he could hear the creaking and groaning of the trees as they stretched and grew from their winter’s rest.
The energy of the forest was infectious, and he found that rather than making a beeline for his usual spot in the clearing to simply sit and watch the world go by, he wove his way in and amongst the trees aimlessly, finding too much of interest that was just over there to settle in one place for more than a moment.
The trees began to slowly thin out and thick beams of sunlight set the foliage aglow and illuminating the small motes of pollen and dust that floated through the air, making them seem almost like living things that swirled around him playfully.
His wanderings halted as he found himself at the edge of a clearing he had never seen before. A hill, which he would have sworn wasn’t there before, rose gently from the swaying grasses and flowers, the light hitting it in such a way that made every blade of grass and every leaf seem gilded. He floated slowly into the open, his head cocked to the side as he heard the faint stirrings of music in the distance. Odd, he didn’t think he had gotten close enough to the edge of the forest to hear the noise from the road. But if anything else, it only seemed to grow louder as he moved closer to the hill.
He tried to ignore it and move on past the clearing, but when he tried to turn his mind to something else it changed and caught his attention once more. A breeze blew through the clearing, pushing against his back insistently and driving him closer towards the hill. The music swelled, nearly drowning out the sounds of the forest and becoming an almost palpable thing surrounding him.
With a final gust of wind the music died off until he could no longer hear the slightest bit of it, and he would have thought he had imagined it all had his ears not been ringing still. The usual quiet sounds of the forest seemed muted in the wake of the music, and the whole clearing felt...off somehow, like all of the colors were a shade off from what they should be and the movement of the plants didn’t quite match up with the rustling of the leaves he heard. A frown tugged at the corners of his mouth as he slowly turned in place, trying to spot something that was obviously out of the ordinary.
No such luck.
He turned back to where he had entered the clearing, pulling his phone out of his bag to check the time. Well, the mystery would have to wait until the next time, he barely had enough time to make it back to the bus stop in time as it was. With a disappointed sigh he stuffed the phone back in his bag, giving the hill in the clearing one final look before turning to leave.
Then something grabbed his wrist.
600 words =3 points
Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 7:31 pm
Well Met May 1, 2017
He let out a very undignified sound when he felt fingers curl around his wrist and tug him backwards into the clearing. Up until then he could have sworn that he was alone, if nothing else he would have seen if anyone else was in the clearing with him. But even if he could have convinced himself of that, there was no mistaking the fact that he was steadily being pulled towards the mound in the center of the clearing.
“There you are, I’ve been looking everywhere for you!” The voice that drifted back to him was like the dry crackling of leaves melodious and twisted intriguingly among the natural sounds of the forest. He was finally pulled to a stop and unceremoniously turned around, the person’s hands now on his shoulders as they looked at him appraisingly. The woman who stood before him was gaunt, seemingly be put together entirely from flat planes and sharp angles willowy and lithe, clothed in rags and tatters of fine cloth clothes that seemed to be pieced together from countless eras and cultures. Her hair was piled artlessly on her head, a cascade of curls the color of dried bones cornsilk tumbling across her forehead and shoulders. Bright blue eyes looked down on him as she took in his appearance, and by the frown that twisted her lips, she wasn’t impressed by what she saw.
“Well, we’ll definitely have to do something about this, she doesn’t tolerate…” she trailed off, plucking at the edge of his shirt with the tips of her fingers, as if she wanted to touch it as little as possible.
”Wait, what, I…” his head twisted around trying to follow the woman as she walked in a slow circle around him, one hand remaining on his shoulder to keep him from moving too much. ”Who are you?” he managed to croak out when she finally came to a stop in front of him again.
”Hmm? Oh, where are my manners,” she laughed lightly, the sound surprisingly similar to the crackling of a fire birds chirping in the trees. With a baring of her teeth charming smile, she bobbed a quick curtsy. ”You may call me Larkspur. And you are Dair, yes?” She all but beamed as he nodded slowly with a dazed expression.
”Excellent. Now come, we must hurry, she doesn’t like to be kept waiting.” Once again she grabbed his wrist and began steadily pulling him up the mound. As they neared the top he noticed that there was a circle that encompassed the top, picked out in mushrooms.
”Wait, but...Where are you taking me? And who is ‘she’?” He tried in vain to tug his hand out of Larkspur’s, but she only tightened her grip as they steadily moved towards the top of the mound.
”The Queen, of course!” she said with a laugh. There was a glint of amusement in her eyes as she looked back over her shoulder at him.
”She has personally requested your presence at court this Beltain.”
Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:59 pm
If he had a stomach, he would have said that it felt like the bottom had dropped out of his. Instead, he simply felt lightheaded and dizzy as Larkspur pulled him into the circle of mushrooms. He couldn’t necessarily pinpoint what happened, but when he floated over the line of mushrooms it felt as if the world gave a sideways lurch, and he was left with the impression that he had somehow managed to travel a great distance while only moving a few feet.
The forest itself didn’t look much different than it had before upon first glance, but the longer he looked around the more things he noticed that were off. The colors of the plants and leaves seemed both deeper and brighter, a shade of green that he couldn’t have imagined existing moments ago. The tiny motes of dust and pollen that had drifted through the air now glowed with an inner light and moved against the wind as if they were alive, floating lazily around his and Larkspur’s heads.
Something moved in the shadows of the trees.
His head snapped around, eyes widening as he tried to pick out what it was from the overlapping, shifting shapes of the forest. It was...it was…
It was gone.
Hands settled onto his shoulder and turned him back around until he was facing Larkspur once more, her hands settling back on her hips and her mouth pursed in disapproval. She began to walk a slow circle around him, eyeing him critically with a quiet tutting noise, shaking her head once she stood in front of him again.
”I’ll be humiliated if I bring you to court like this, especially today of all days,” she said, plucking at his sweater with the tips of her fingers as if it were filthy. ”Now, let’s see…” She pursed her lips once more, her eyebrows furrowing in concentration as she smoothed her palms down his shoulders. She had to grab him a moment later as he tried to squirm away,as in the wake of her hands his clothes started to writhe as if they were alive.
”There! That’s much better!”He was given a final pat on the shoulder before she brushed off an invisible piece of lint from his shoulder and stepped back. Once again she gave him an appraising look, but this time she nodded with a smile. ”Now, let’s go! We’re going to be late, and wouldn’t that be a shame.” Rather than pulling him along as she had been doing she simply gestured for him to follow and took back off down the hill.
Dair took a moment to look down at himself before he followed, and had he been moving he would have halted to a stop. His clothes, which, to be fair, were not the nicest by that point, had changed from his usual comfortable layers to something that was more similar to the outfit he was born in. A dark blue shirt replaced his worn black sweater, more form-fitting than he preferred, and much fancier than anything he owned. Abstract designs were picked out in silver threads and beads mimicking the texture of his arms which were left bare below to elbow as if they were being put on display. He likely would have stayed where he was for much longer, too stunned at the casual display of magic to do anything had Larkspur not shouted at him from the bottom of the hill.
With a start he floated quickly down the hill, looking around in awe as they set off down a path that he was sure hadn’t been there a moment ago.
609 words=3 points
Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:08 pm
The first thing he noticed that the trees began to change. It soon began to feel like he was walking downhill, for they grew taller and taller as they moved down the path. The rich greens that he saw around the hill slowly faded away in favor of trunks of a silvery grey, the nearest leaves only a darker blur far above him. Nothing grew between the trunks, but the shadows on either side of the path were dark enough to look like tangible things and were somehow foreboding enough to keep him from looking at them for too long.
Larkspur didn’t seem to pay any mind to this as she strode confidently down the path, looking over her shoulder every so often to make sure he was following, and urging him to hurry up when he was lagging behind. Eventually the shadows started to lighten as the trees grew farther apart, until they seemed to be growing with an almost unnatural regularity. A bright, cool light could be seen at the end of the path, bright enough to illuminate the forest around him but also hide what was beyond the light, or even what was making it. Regardless of Larkspur’s urging, Dair slowed down to a stop to fully take in his surroundings.
The trees around him were smooth enough to look like they had no bark and grew with unnatural straightness, far taller than should have been possible. Their branches, which seemed to start growing hundreds of feet up the trunks, intertwined with each other in intricate patterns that created an archway above the path and a steady drift of tiny silver leaves that fell down and nevertheless didn’t seem to pile up along the path. He felt none of the welcome that he usually felt in the woods, only a sense of awareness and that he was being watched.
Ever so faintly, the sounds of laughter and conversation floated down the path with an errant breeze that was warmer than the forest and carried with it the smell of flowers.
Larkspur had become nothing more than a hazy silhouette as she continued down the path, and Dair was given one final chance to perhaps turn back and head back to the hill and to home. He hesitated for a moment to look over his shoulder, feeling a brief niggling of doubt as he thought of the consequences about leaving for who knows how long and worrying Nell and others.
The breeze gently blew down the path again, plucking at his air and clothes and bringing the inviting sounds and scents of the gathering that awaited at the end of the path.
Staying for just a bit wouldn’t hurt, would it?
After all, he had been invited, it would be rude not to.
Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:31 pm
The trees that had lined the pathway opened up to encircle a large clearing, becoming something of a living wall that rose up impossibly tall. Their entwined branches cast complex shifting shadows on the ground below, making the scene in front of him more dizzying than it already was. Dozens of figures glided through the center of the clearing, all moving in tune to music that seemed to becoming from nowhere in particular. Everywhere he looked his eye caught on something, here a dress that seemed to be made entirely of live butterflies, there a person whose outfit seemed to be nothing but strategically placed gemstones. Each figure was as fantastically attired, with fashions ranging from every conceivable time period and culture, and a few that were too alien to come from anything he had seen before.
The crowd as a whole shifted in elaborate patterns that begged the eye to follow them, and he likely would have if Larkspur hadn’t slipped her hand into the crook of his elbow and began to once again gently tow him along in her wake.
”There’ll be time enough for that later, come, come!” Faces flashed past him as heads turned to watch him, peering curiously at him through masks or elaborately applied makeup as they all seemed to flow out of their way without prompting. A sort of aisle formed as the crowd split in half as if on cue, all but forcing his attention towards what lay at the other side of the clearing.
A platform rose slightly above the crowd, set back enough that it was mostly cast in shadow. He could see that there was some sort of throne set in the center and that someone was sitting in it, as well as someone standing just behind them. There was a slight gesture from the sitting figure which seemed to be enough for Larkspur, for she took a deep breath and once again led him onwards. Her grip on his arm tightened slightly as she straightened her back and lifted her chin, a triumphant smile lingering at the corners of her mouth.
A sense of dread slowly grew in him as they approached the dais, heightened by the multitude of staring eyes that looked a bit more than simply curious. The seated figure leaned forwards as they grew nearer, one of their hands absently waving as if they were brushing away a mosquito. The music died away as the light steadily grew brighter, casting the scene in an unworldly golden glow.
A woman sat in the throne, her hands grasping it’s arms as she leaned forward to peer at him eagerly. That was all he could comprehend for the longest moment. He could notice her in parts, a sheet of silvery hair that fell over one shoulder that reflected the lights in more colors than should be possible, a shadowy dress that seemed as if it were cut from the night sky, eyes slitted like a cats that gleamed the cool grey of the winter sky. As a whole, though…
If he were asked, he wouldn’t be able to say what he actually looked like. He could describe her as the way the sun broke through the clouds after a bleary day, or how the waves of the ocean would batter at a cliffside during a storm, or the sensation of stepping out into a freezing wind after being in a heated room all day. The queen’s lips curled into a welcoming smile, showing a flash of brilliant white teeth.
”At last, our wayward child returns. You are most welcome!”
601 words=3 points
Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:57 pm
Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:37 pm
He had been aware, in some vague way, that time had been passing. The lighting in the clearing had slowly shifted from cool to warm and back again, the music wandering from quick and lively to slow and and stately, the countless dancers seamlessly changing their steps as if given a cue ahead of time. He had been presented to countless people, but even now their faces were nothing but fuzzy impressions in his mind. Nettle with living butterflies in her hair, Henbane with skin like molten metal, Jessamine who had tattoos that moved as if they were alive. All of the fair folk he had seen thus far paled in comparison to his meeting with the queen. The image of her smiling beatifically down at him and laughing in amusement at his name still were as fresh as if it had just happened, and he had a feeling that they would remain so no matter how much time had passed.
All too soon, though, Hemlock was ushering him back through the clearing towards the path he had come in by, shooing him along as if he were a stray chicken when he turned to see what was causing the remaining crowd to part in a neat line in their wake.
”Time enough for that later!” she chided as she grabbed him by the elbow and began to tow him along at a faster pace. ”Beltane is at an end, we wouldn’t want to keep you for too long!” The path was much longer this time, the otherworldly glow of the forest dimming to the much more mundane lighting of a sun that was beginning to set.
”We’ll be seeing more of each other soon, I think.” The hill hadn’t changed a bit since he had left it, a fact that his mind struggled to comprehend. The sounds and senses of the real world grew more solid with each passing moment, and though he could still dimly hear the sound of music behind him, it was swiftly fading into the noises of the forest. The feeling of something rustling being pressed into his hands brought his attention back to the moment, and he looked up in time to receive a quick kiss on the cheek before Larkspur turned on her heel and ran back to the quickly disappearing land of the faerie.
”You had best hurry, you don’t want to be late!” she called over her shoulder before she vanished entirely, a comment that left him even more confused than he was.
Until the alarm on his phone went off, signalling that he needed to hurry back to the bus station to get home.
The circlet of flowers was gingerly put in his bag before he began to pick his way through the trees back to the road.
463 words=2 points
Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:35 pm
Where Has the Time Gone... May 1, 2017
Something wasn’t quite right.
He had come up with dozens of explanations of where he had been that he could tell Nell that would, hopefully, not make her worry too much, and more importantly not cause her to keep him from going out to the forest again. But when he came home, quietly, timidly, she only asked how his trip was, as if he had only been gone a few hours. His phone, as well, showed it to be the same day that he had left, albeit a few hours after he had been brought into Faerie. Nell’s calendar in the kitchen, the same day, the clock on his tablet? Same day, same time.
A question, then, that he would have to ask Hemlock the next time he saw her (for she did say that they would meet again soon, right?). He could, he suppose, talk to Nell about it, but after having dodged a panicked guardian once, he wasn’t about to tempt fate and purposefully make her worry.
His response to her question, then, was an uninterested shrug and a quiet ”Alright.” Which wasn’t….quite wrong, he supposed. He retreated quickly up to his room under the pretense of being tired (not a stretch of the imagination in the long run, and which Nell seemed to agree with once she got a closer look at him), and though he pulled the curtain to his room closed and burrowed under the blanket, he wasn’t quite ready to fall asleep yet.
A few hours later of fruitless searching on the internet got him no closer to an answer, aside from Probably Drugs or Maybe Aliens, neither of which were right in the slightest of senses. Any information he could find on the fae was a bit closer to what he had experienced, but it was still either very broad information that was too general to get much use out of, or weirdly too specific and didn’t apply to what he had experienced. WIth a frustrated groan he pushed the tablet aside and buried his face in his pillows for a few moments before sitting up and plugging the tablet in to charge.
He was left sitting in the near dark of his room, frowning at the circle of flowers that had been placed gently on top of the various forest detritus on top of his bookshelf, which was currently being examined by several ghostly mice. The flowers, when he had a chance to get a better look at them, looked as if they had been freshly picked, and didn’t seem to have suffered any from being stuffed into his bag for a few hours. They still gave of a heady, thick scent that he could smell from his bed, one that didn’t smell similar to any other flowers he had smelled thus far.
So. His first trip away from home was likely to another world, and all he was left with was a flower crown and an inability to tell most people about it.
Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:59 pm
Negotiations May, 2017
Nell closed the hood of the car with a bit more force than necessary and put her hands on her hips, frowning at her, up until now, trusty vehicle. It was an old car and had gotten her through quite a few ordeals, but it looked like it had finally kicked the bucket. With a sigh she turned back towards the apartment where Dair was hovering in the doorway and threw her hands up in the air. ”Looks like we’re going shopping, c’mon, help me get all this junk out of here.”
Dair didn’t bother taking his sunglasses off as they entered into the car dealership, the harsh fluorescent light inside was worse in his mind than the sun was. He followed after Nell as they were ushered into an office set right off of the showroom by one of the salesmen, the man gesturing Nell into a seat in front of his desk before pulling out another chair for Dair after a moment of hesitation. Both took a seat and took a moment to settle themselves while the man moved to the other side of the desk and began to lay out a number of various forms and paperwork.
“O-kay Miss Wilson, looks like we found something that fits your needs, let me just see what we’re working with…” The man’s voice was overly peppy and a bit too large for the small room, his smile not budging an inch as he flipped through a folder, nodding occasionally as if he had been expecting what was written there. “Looks like your old car’s had quite the life, hasn’t it! But with the trade-in value and your credit score, I’m sure we can get this price down to something we’ll both be happy with, eh?” He beamed at both of them, his grin not quite reaching his eyes. He took a pen- a red one- from a cup on his desk and crossed out a few things on one of the pages on the desk, scribbling a new number at the bottom before sliding it across to Nell.
Nell picked it up, eyes slowly skimming the page before her eyes skipped to the bottom and the hand-written number. Her lips pursed slightly as she glanced over at Dair, who was studiously hunched over his phone, looking for all the world like any normal teenager.
He gave his head a miniscule shake.
”I had looked up some of the pricing y’all had on your website before I came over, and I thought, with my credit being what it is, that I might’ve been able to do a bit better?” She gave the salesman a small smile, her head tilting to the side slightly as she slid the paper back across the desk at him. The man’s smile flickered for the slightest second before he flipped through the file again, his eyebrows raising and eyes widening in an over-exaggerated expression of surprise.
“Oh, will you look at that, sorry ma’am, looks like there was a typo! Can’t get good help these days, you know.” He laughed, and Nell smiled, crossing her legs and clasping her hands over her knee. “Looks like you were right, this one should be spot-on.” The paper was given back to her, the original number crossed out and a slightly lower price written underneath. Nell hummed thoughtfully, leaning back in her chair slightly so she could see Dair out her peripheral vision a bit more clearly.
Once again he shook his head.
With a sigh she shook her head. I’m sorry, but if that’s really the best you can offer…” she trailed off meaningfully, uncrossing her legs and reaching down to grab her purse as if she were about to get up and leave.
“Now. Now Miss Wilson, let’s not be too hasty, let me go speak with my supervisor a moment.” A note of panic was in his voice as he stood up, gesturing for her to remain seated as he scooted around the desk and out the door. Both Nell and Dair watched him go silently, silence filling up the office for a moment before Nell clapped her hands together, grinning like a cat that had gotten into a bowl full of cream.
”Dair, I know using your powers like this probably counts as cheating, and you should, um, probably not learn from this example, but…”
”He’s not being honest on his side of the deal,” Dair said quietly, still looking down at his phone screen, though Nell could still see the edge of a smile on his face. ”No need for us to, either.”
”I suppose...” She didn’t seem too convinced by his view on the situation, but before she could say anything further on the matter another salesman walked into the office. This one was likely higher on the totem pole, which she guessed solely on the fact that this one was wearing a suit jacket.
“Hello, Miss Wilson! And this must be...You must be in charge of this charming young gentleman here! I have a boy that’s just about your age myself!” he said with a booming laugh that died off abruptly as Dair slowly looked up at him. The giant sunglasses that hid his eyes lessened the unsettling effect of his stare, but his words were enough to put a dent in the man’s cheerful facade.
”I’m not even one yet,” With that said he went back t looking at his phone, seeming to ignore the rest of the room.
”Sorry about that, you know how they are at that age,” Nell said with a smile.
The salesman didn’t seem convinced.
He cleared his throat a bit awkwardly before picking up the threads of the conversation, trying to act as if the last few moments hadn’t happened. “So Danny was showing me your info, and I was able to make some adjustments, I think you’ll be happier with these numbers.” Dair didn’t even wait for the man to finish handing the papers over before he shook his head, slumping further down into his seat. Nell, at least, gave the pretense of looking over his offer some effort before shaking her own head and handing it back.
”I’m sorry, but if this is really the best you can do…”
Nell at least had the self restraint to wait until they were out of view of the showroom to give Dair a high-five, and she nearly danced her way across the parking lot towards her new car. Dair paused in the middle of the row, pushing his sunglasses up on his forehead for a moment too look at it before he sighed and let them fall back into place.
”Hey, if you wanted to pick the color you could have paid for it!” she shot back as she ducked into the driver’s seat with a happy squeal, tossing her purse and paperwork into the backseat carelessly as she gestured for Dair to hurry up and get in the car.
Their lives had fallen into a comfortable routine by now, aided greatly by the fact that Dair tended to wake up around the same time that Nell did. Dair got dressed and straightened up his room (never quite to Nell’s standards, but that was something of a losing battle) while Nell showered and got ready for work, and both usually had enough time to sit in the living room and watch the sunrise before she had to leave. On days when Dair planned on going out (which was more often than not now) Nell would at least attempt to tame his hair into something tolerably presentable despite the fact that it seemed to never stay that way for more than five minutes at a time.
It was in the middle of this that Dair broke the companionable silence that filled their home. He tried to turn to look at Nell while he did, but she firmly turned his head back around so he was facing forwards again. With a sigh he hunched his shoulders and fidgeted with the sleeve of his sweater as he spoke, his tone clearly hesitant if she couldn’t tell from his body language.
”Nell?” Her response was a muffled ’Mmph?’ as she was holding a few hairties in her lips while she braided his hair back. ”Can I ask a favor of you?”That made her hands still for a moment before she continued to braid, but much slower this time. He took the quiet hum from her as assent and took a deep breath and squared his shoulders before continuing.
”I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell anyone about my...abilities.” Again her hands stopped moving, and again there was another noncommittal noise that he could really interpret as anything. Silence once again fell over the room as Nell tied off one of the braids, her fingers carefully sectioning off another section of hair and beginning to braid that one.
”Why’s that?” With one less hairtie to talk around she could at least make herself understood, even if her voice was rather muffled. Her tone was kept carefully neutral in an attempt to not influence his question too much, though she couldn’t keep the concerned from off her face.
”I just...think it would make people uncomfortable,” he said slowly, carefully turning each word over in his head before speaking. ”Knowing if they were lying, that is.” His gaze fell down to his hands and the ragged hem of his sweater, nervously picking at the loose threads while he waited for Nell to speak. The rhythmic tugging at his hair never faltered as he spoke, and soon Nell was pulling the newly finished braid and the rest back to tie it out of his face.
”Of course,” A wave of relief washed through him and he sighed, his shoulders relaxing... ”But-” ...and tensing once more. ”It’s not something you should abuse, Dair. Sometimes people lie for bad reasons and people get hurt because of it, sure, but sometimes people lie for personal reasons, because the truth isn’t something they want people to know.” She gave him a gentle pat on the head to let him know that she was done, pulling her legs up to rest her chin on her knees as he floated up from his spot on the floor. ”Just because you can point out when people are lying, doesn’t mean you should, yeah?” A small smile curled up the corners of her mouth, though he thought that it seemed a bit sad rather than happy. ”Can you promise me that you’ll think about why things are being said as well as what before you act on it?” Her words froze Dair to the spot, his eyes narrowing slightly as he stared at his guardian who had no reservations about staring right back at him.
He frowned as he turned her words over in his head, trying to examine them from every angle and every possibility. Nell sat patiently, shifting slightly to get a bit more comfortable. He was silent for a few long moments before he took a deep breath and nodded. Nell’s smile grew into a broad grin as she hopped off of the shelf, planting a kiss on his forehead and zooming off to grab the rest of the things she needed for work.
”You’re a good kid, Dair. C’mon, lemme drop you off at the bus stop.”