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As promised, here’s the second story I wrote for #FlashFicHive the first week of June.

I added this GIF because I really like the nuance.

Choosing a World

By Ronel Janse van Vuuren

They ran through the streets, invisible to all but their own kind. They laughed, stopped a moment to kiss before continuing their wild dance through the city.

Everywhere they went colours changed, drinks caused more mischief than it should and graffiti came to life, slinging insults to passers-by.

Aine was happy. It had been that way with Dimitri for centuries. Yet… The acorn in her pocket burned her. The message it contained was the first she’d had from Faerie since she’d left with the love of her life so long ago. But she couldn’t share it with Dimitri. Neither could she answer nor ignore it.

She grinned as a new tattoo linked the human to a nearby Fae for the night. Unlike legends of Phoukas of so long ago that took unsuspecting humans for a night of wild fun, the tattoos made the humans susceptible to any and all Faery magic without leaving lasting harm. Or getting the Fae into trouble.

Music called them into a club. Fae, disguised by glamour from human eyes, danced wildly. Aine laughed and followed Dimitri through the gyrating throng to the tables of food. She hadn’t realised how hungry she was until that moment.

She ate everything in sight, trying not to choke. Next to her Dimitri smelled a flower and handed it to her without saying a word before walking away. Aine swallowed and watched him disappear into the crowd. She knew he needed more than food to sustain him.

The acorn in her pocket burned again. She wanted to take her mother’s place in the Dark Court as an advisor to the Dark King. Returning to Faerie to claim her inheritance would erase all the bad things that had happened in the last nine centuries. But it would also mean giving up Dimitri. Even in the Age of Enlightenment where almost any Fae could become a Knight, dalliances between High Fae and others had to be clandestine.

She watched her Gancanagh dance among the mortals, absorbing their life-force without killing them.

‘You know, in another thousand years things will be different,’ a voice said from the vicinity of her elbow.

Aine looked down and saw a Goblin. She tried very hard not to react to its particularly hideous face.

‘Perhaps, but you know as well as I that even if it does, even if all Fae are allowed to become Knights in both Courts, there will be those who would not approve. Ever.’

‘Then don’t go back.’

She nearly snorted at the absurdity of discussing her life with a Goblin.

‘Make a deal with Dagda – a Barguest will make sure it’s upheld. Stay where your heart truly lies,’ the Goblin watched Dimitri in the crowd.

 

Two days later Aine woke up on the club floor, confused and her arm burning.

‘What the –’

She peeled off her leather jacket to reveal her sleeveless arm. A tattoo of a large ear of wheat started at her wrist and ended at her shoulder. It glittered gold.

The Goblin smirked.

‘You were so happy, you begged for this tattoo.’

Images flashed before her eyes: telling Dimitri the truth, making a deal with Dagda and – yes – happily agreeing to the tattoo.

‘At least you’re free from courtly duties. And you’ll never go hungry: wherever you go, wheat will grow.’

Aine groaned. Dimitri helped her up, the same grin in place as always, and she knew that a silly tattoo was well worth the price if it meant she could stay with him forever.

What do you think? I played to my strengths (dark fantasy/fantasy/horror). It was inspired by the song Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac. I love their Rumours album and when I needed a second song to inspire a story, this one just wouldn’t let me go.

It took a while to get past the short outline I wrote for this story to actually make it work. When I realised that the story should be from Aine’s point of view instead of Dimitri’s (which the song lyrics first told me the story should be from), the words flowed. If you want Dimitri’s side after she told him the truth, listen to the song. It’s a little odd, but I think it works. Check out what Barguests are, Dagda is and the general description of Goblins and High Fae on the Origin of the Fae page.

What do you think? Comments are always welcome.

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