I’m thrilled to be part of this holiday blog hop with some fantastic authors- click on the link below to get the list of everyone participating.
Rules are stories must be inspired by the picture (below), include a winter holiday theme, a ‘bad boy’ characters and a gift of some kind and be between 500 – 3000 words. (I admit I’ve stretched these parameters quite a bit XP)
Stories are going to be posted between 1st and 7th Dec so check out the list and enjoy 🙂
Word count 2815
Not many people know this but the Fae grant the dying one wish before they cross the Great Divide. There are two rules—the wish cannot be for themselves, and it has to be for good.
As with all wishes they don’t always turn out as you might expect. Not every dying person uses their wish, not every dying person understands, and not every wish that every dying person makes turns out as they might want or expect. But some do. And the ones that work best? Well, they’re the ones to do with love.
And even Fae fall in love.
“Do I really have to wear this hat?” I tugged at the striped woolen object on my head. The object crushing my curls and making my head feel hot. I didn’t particularly like the heavy coat thing either.
I shifted uncomfortably in my clothes. I wasn’t yet used to the weight of this world. Across the Divide we were expressions of light. We had substance but it wasn’t quite the same. This world was more physical, it made our light dense and solid. Fae are not human but when we cross the Divide we look that way.
It’s snowing. You’ll get cold. Enwezor replied, smirking at me.
Snow was a wonder. Enwezor had promised to help me cross the Divide to somewhere with snow as his gift to me. Only this wasn’t real snow from the real sky. We were sitting in the middle of something that called itself a Christmas display in a shining bright building full of shops in London, England.
It was the best he could do.
I was sitting on a small hard rock and Enwezor was sitting next to me on a garish green mushroom covered in garish green sparkly stuff. He was glowing with silver light and not being particularly helpful.
No one else could see him—he was still in the Divide.
Besides you look cute. He gave me a lopsided smile.
He seemed to be enjoying how ridiculous I looked a little too much. I closed my eyes for a moment, I hoped it looked as though I was trying to center myself—really I was trying to concentrate on anything other than how much I was shaking. By the light, I was scared. I really hoped Enwezor couldn’t see the way my hands were trembling even as I gripped them together tight in my lap. Though I got the sense he knew something was up and was attempting to take my mind off things.
“What if say something wrong? What if he doesn’t like me?” I whispered suddenly. Sometimes I wished the words wouldn’t come pouring out of me like they did.
He doesn’t have to like you. You just have to be friendly.
That was my mission, my entire reason to cross the Divide into the human world and change into this heavy human looking body so full of sensations—to be friendly. I squeezed my eyes shut and filled my lungs with air until they felt ready to burst. It was going to be okay. If I was successful , perhaps this little mission would be the start of many. This was what I’d wanted, wasn’t it?
It was a great honor among Fae to be chosen to cross the Divide and be part of a wish. And I was truly honored. I had spent my entire existence in as close contact with humans as possible without actually crossing the Divide. Studying their ways (which were not so different from our ways—more like echoes) so one day I might be chosen. But I couldn’t hide I was a little disappointed that my mission hadn’t been something bigger and brighter than be friendly.
Yet here I was in this place full of shops waiting for the feeling inside me that would tell me now, this is the one, this is who you’ve come for.
The feeling was supposed to be like falling in love Enwezor told me–when it happens you’ll just know. Well love confused me utterly, so maybe I wouldn’t!
Enwezor laughed and I realised with an embarrassed groan I’d not shut down our telepathic link.
“Him!” I said suddenly. A balding man of about 50 human years was standing outside a shop staring at huge tree hung with lights in the window, looking a little lost.
Enwezor was right. It was like being hit with a bolt of light—I just knew! Jumping up off my rock I made my way across the Christmas display towards the man.
My being friendly took so little time. Within half an hour I was back at the Christmas display looking for Enwezor’s silver light.
“Eni?” I called softly.
His voice came from the little hut in the center of the display. It looked as though it had been made from giant biscuits. It took me a moment to realise his voice wasn’t in my head, it was here! My heart thumped hard. Enwezor must have crossed the Divide too!
People were stopping to watch as I scrambled desperately about the Christmas display trying not to kick over all the sparkly mushrooms and little squat, people-shaped ornaments to reach the hut.
Enwezor poked his head out of the doorway. His pale human-looking form was still giving off a slight glow. The glow wore off after a few minutes but we were supposed to keep hidden until it had. I cocked my head, noticing the way his bright hair was shaved down to almost nothing, emphasizing his sharp features, his wide mouth, his easy smile. He looked subtly different in this human form. I liked it. It made me want to stare.
“This feels so ass-odd,” he said licking his lips. “The air tastes all sort of…colourful. I think I’ve got goosebumps. You had a hard-on yet?”
I rolled my eyes. “Put some clothes on,” I said, closing the door.
Back in the Divide we prepared our bodies for what it would feel like if we were chosen to cross, but, like everything else, what we learned was just an echo of what being here was really like. The reality was intense. I don’t know why I was playing it down—my human looking form was fascinating. Before, I’d been too worried about my mission, and the wish, to truly explore it. Now I wanted to feel everything.
I touched my skin, my hair…yet I stopped when I saw the people surrounding the display watching. Tentatively, I held up my hand and waved. A few people waved back—kids mostly. Eventually they went away.
I really didn’t mean to laugh but when Enwezor came out of the hut dressed in a dark green jumpsuit with ELF written on the back, I couldn’t help it. We knew about elves from human stories. We knew why such stories existed. We knew how wrong most of them were. Though not all. There were some that touched on the truth.
Enwezor grinned wryly, his eyes glittering like the sparkly tops of the mushrooms, full of mischief and wonder.
“You look good,” I said. I meant it—I couldn’t take my eyes off him. But I could tell he thought I was still laughing at him.
We stepped out of the display and the lights of the brightest shop caught my eye. I gripped Enwezor’s sleeve and tugged him toward it.
“Why did you cross the Divide?” I asked.
I suspected he wasn’t supposed to be here.
Enwezor shrugged. “What happened with your wish?”
“It was a man named Tony. He’d lost his wife recently. He didn’t know what he was going to do without her. I just listened to him talk really.”
I’d never met a soul quite so sad. I’d barely said a thing. I might have touched his arm and nodded a few times but his words rushed around me like light and heat, like rivers tumbling down the mountains of this world. I could feel the release he felt for letting them out.
“I looked on the Schedule—your mission was to reach out to him so your light could restore his faith in humanity. It was his wife’s wish. She was worried he wouldn’t want to go on without her. Looks like you succeeded. You’ve probably saved his life. In so little time too. You’re a natural. Ironic really, considering you’re not human.”
Wish granters like me were not given access to the true reasons for our mission because looking on the Schedule of Light was not permitted. There were decrees against it, decrees that if broken were punishable by banishment. Enwezor knew this. Not that that would ever have stopped him doing anything he set his mind on doing.
“You’re not really supposed to be here, are you?” I said as we wandered inside the shop which, as well as being full of light, was full of wide triangle shaped trees, all decorated with a wonder of colour and shining brightness.
There seemed to be no reason for Enwezor to cross the Divide. My mission was complete. Each mission was allotted a timescale in 24 earth hour blocks. I had 22 more earth hours here if I needed them but I was done.
I ran my fingers along a string of tiny lights and smiled. Fae were attracted to warmth and light. I was beginning to love this shop.
“Have you never wondered what it would be like to show someone how you felt about them like humans do?”
“Hmmm…Like how?” I picked up a delicate glass animal and held it up to the light. I loved watching objects change in the light. The thing I’d find most difficult about living as a human would be the nights. The lightless dark would be terrifying.
“Like sex,” he said quietly.
I spun around. Enwezor actually looked nervous. I’d never seen him look nervous before, he was always so sure, so certain.
“Sex?” I repeated. “Why?”
I knew what sex was. It was a human thing. If Fae bonded it was with the light in one other. But human sex was the same principle. I’d studied the mechanics. In their physical body Fae were permitted to have sex with a human if they desired it and if it became part of the wish. I had no idea why Enwezor was looking at me like he was at that moment. Though weirdly it was making my heavy heart race and my stomach feel full of flickering lights. I opened my telepathic link.
Why? I pressed.
Enwezor didn’t respond. He was studying a jeweled bauble as if it had all the many facets of love inscribed inside it.
“I think I’m in love with you, Jai Jai.”
He glanced at me, his pale skin flushed. He looked as though he felt a little ill.
My eyes could not have opened any wider.
He was the Fae I looked up to. The Fae I searched out when I had things tangled up in my mind. He was my best friend, I realised. The Fae I would chose above all others. And he was in love with me.
In love with me. The words took my breath away.
My body was flooded with sensations. Sensations I’d never felt in such strong physical form before–warmth, heat…and longing…such longing to be close to him as though this body of mine were made for longing above everything else. Made for this ache. I was confused and yet…I wasn’t.
It was as if I’d known something all along but was only now realising it.
We’d been close as friends since that first moment we were introduced by the fountain of light. I’d been so fascinated by him, by the stories I’d heard of his rule breaking. And recently we had never been without one another. I didn’t want that to change. Ever. Even just the thought that it might terrified me.
I closed my mouth, and tried to swallow my surprise. I tied to find my tongue.
Enwezor’s shoulders slumped. He looked as though he wished he’d said nothing.
“Don’t pity me,” he said softly. Sadly.
Pity him? I frowned and shook my head. There was no way I would ever pity him.
“I should have told you long ago but I thought we’d have more time. I just needed you to know, Jai Jai,” he said.
“And now I know,” I managed to whisper at last.
With shaking hands, I reached out and touched his face. The warmth of his skin seemed to flow through my fingertips. But it wasn’t enough. I needed more. I needed something I could not articulate. I cupped the back of his skull with my hands and tugged him forwards until his lips met mine. I didn’t know what I was doing but I crushed our mouths together and swallowed his shock, his words, as I breathed him in.
For a moment we were lost. Stepped out of time. I felt brighter and more full of light than I had ever felt before.
But Enwezor pulled my hands away, held them squeezing tight, so tight it hurt. His eyes searched mine, our foreheads touching.
I was aware people had stopped to stare. But I didn’t care.
“I think I want to bond with you, Eni,” I whispered. But I wasn’t thinking any longer. I didn’t need to think. I knew.
Enwezor closed his eyes. He looked as though he was in pain. “I need to tell you something else, Jai Jai,” he said not looking at me.
He was beginning to scare me now.
“This is it. There is no going back after you’ve granted a wish.” He took a deep breath and all the air in the room seemed to vanish inside him. “We can’t sustain this physical form, it uses all the light inside us. There will be nothing of us left to return across the Divide. After this it’s starlight. “
“What?” I pulled out of his grasp. I was confused and beginning to panic. I thought of all the people I knew. None of them had granted wishes. I knew no one who had crossed the Divide. Those who had were spoken of constantly, we never questioned their absence.
“What about the allotted earth hours?” I said helplessly.
“It’s the time we have left.”
“Why? Why can’t I go back?” I wanted to go home to everything I knew.
“Once you take this form there is no way to reverse it.”
“How do you know?!” I cried, wishing that for once he could be wrong. Yet I knew he would never lie to me. He wouldn’t say this if he wasn’t sure.
I stared at Enwezor. Enwezor who had followed me here, been there for me always, and was standing in front of me no longer as an expression of light but as physical as I was.
“Why did you come?” I whispered. Now he would fade with me. I shivered and wrapped my arms around myself. I felt so cold.
“I love you Jai Jai. I didn’t want to be without you. I’d rather have these hours with you than an eternity without. “
I slapped him. I couldn’t help it. It was a physical response that had no equivalent across the Divide. But then I pulled him roughly into my arms and held him tight, my fists gripping the rough fabric of his elf outfit so hard it hurt, my cheek pressed against the soft spikes of his hair.
“I’m sorry,” I sobbed. And I was. I’d pushed to be chosen. I knew I had. I’d wished it for myself and those were the worst kind of wishes. Now I wished I could take it all back.
“If Fae are granted wishes mine would be for you,” I whispered, my lips against the warm shell of his ear. If this was all we had left I would make it count.
“Maybe we are,” Enwezor whispered back. “Maybe the humans grant our wishes. And maybe they don’t, but know this Jai Jai, your light will never be alone.”
22 hours was not a life time. It was nowhere near enough. But I would not waste those hours on regret.
If wishes were granted to the Fae, mine was for Enwezor to be loved. And I wished it now, not at the moment of my fading. I wished it while I still had the chance to prove it.
I knew even without our link that his would be the same for me.
Our love would be a light shining out from the dark.
When time and the world would dissolve around us, we would share a light so bright and blinding nothing else would ever compare.
And maybe that light would be bright enough to take us home.