A Beginning Song
“Calm down, wings. You’re fine,” Nicole said, her voice still full of sleep. Arms wrapped around her, and she realized she had been crying. Her eyes were dry, and she had trouble controlling the heat in them. “Shh, shh, you’re okay.”
She rolled over, and wrapped her arms around the other girl. “He’s gone.” The dream where she hadn’t sat, and watched him throw his life away felt real, for a lot of it. She could almost see him, in the store, earlier that night. Odd new earth clothes, and nothing left but paradise to worry about.
“Shh, it’s fine. He made his fate, and he died a hero’s’ death. It’s all we can hope for sometimes.” It was a long time, before her sobs stopped. Nicole was already snoring softly again. The sun was still gone, at least in the sky she could see. Part of her wanted to stay up, to see if her first new world sunrise, to see if it was still green.
She must have passed out at some point, because next she knew Nicole was shaking her awake again.
“Up, Annabelle, up,” she said, her words sounded more awake than her. “Eleven o’ nine, we got places to be.”
Wrapping her wings took longer today, they just didn’t seem to want to hold still. Eventually Nicole had to hold them, while she did the wrapping herself.
“This is uncomfortable,” she said. Somehow Nicole had wrapped looser, but still tight. She had done her best, but it still felt weird. “How long until we get home again?”
“Least you don’t have to wear a bra,” she said, then considered. “Well, I’m not sure which is worse here actually.”
She didn’t argue, just followed Nicole to her car.
“We’re never too late for coffee,” the leprechaun explained, as they climbed inside.
They stopped off for coffee, Annabelle just got an orange juice. They drove straight to the doctor’s office next, Nicole explained the concept of a rolling stop at lights, she had previously said to stop at always.
“Don’t ask him about anything,” Nicole said, her voice low. “He’s a great doctor, and a great dragon. Not such a nice man.”
They walked straight into the room, a small well lit one, with dark wood walls. There were a few humans, sitting in the chairs at the edges of the room.
“Special patient,” Nicole said in a low voice to the selkie behind the counter. “Glasses.”
“Ahh,” she said with a nod. “Go right in.”
They waited about ten minutes in a white room, with a little table in the center. The walls were lined with cabinets, and the whole place smelled like almost nothing, but a faint odor. Sweet, and tangy. Almost like fruit, but sharp.
“Antiseptic,” Nicole explained, as she watched her sniffing. “Kills germs,” she added.
“This is a murder room?” she asked, a bit alarmed.
“Oh fucksakes,” Nicole said quietly, as the doctor walked in. His lip curled, and he looked like he had just stepped in something unpleasant.
“Good morning too, I’m Doctor Cowell,” he said his voice dry. A scar sliced diagonally across his face, starting somewhere on top of his head, and cutting between his eyes to his chin. A half inch up or down, and he would have lost an eye. Gray hair with flecks of black hid the top, and a thin gray beard helped cover the bottom.
“Lucky Dragon. Could have died, or lost one of those nice blue eyes,” she said, with a thought. “You could glamour that scar.”
Nicole cowered under his look. He raised one eyebrow, and then looked back to Annabelle.
“I’m going to pretend that I walked in here, and you both politely, and quickly, returned my good morning.” His tone was flat, and he looked between them as he spoke. “You need glasses?”
“Yeah,” Nicole said. “Strong ones. She said Nicky was cute.”
The doctor just glowered at her. “Don’t you have something else to do?”
“Gotta piss, but I don’t trust you not to eat her while I’m gone, Puff” Nicole said, and sipped her coffee. Annabelle saw a flash of a triumphant smile.
“I only eat virgins,” the doctor said. He moved a chair over, and as he did leaned a little closer to Nicole than seemed necessary. Annabelle thought she saw his lips move, but the scrape of the chair made the whisper inaudible.
“Nevermind,” Nicole said, as she stood. She walked to the door. “Car, when you’re done.” She didn’t look back, but after a moment there were three soft thumps from just outside the room.
“Don’t dent my wall with that thick skull,” the doctor called.
Nicole said something back, but it was muffled, and she sounded far away.
“So, what brings you to Earth,” he asked politely.
“I was-,” she started but he cut her off.
“Nevermind, I don’t really want to know.”
“What did you say to Nicole?”
“I guess,” she said. “I can see fine.”
“No, you can see fine, for a fairy, for a human you’ve got shit vision,” Cowell said. He rolled his sleeves up. “Never go to a normal doctor, I don’t know if Nice mentioned it, but they’ll probably be confused by the 107 temperature at it’s low points, and bleeding fire.”
“Nicole,” he said. He put two fingers to the bridge of his nose.
“You call her Nice?”
“Old nickname,” he said, and smiled. Only half his face rose, but for a dragon that was a dance of joy.
“Are you guys a-.”
“Nothing,” he said. “Head clear.”
His fingers were cold, like midnight in December, as they gripped her face. The part of his mind he sent in to control her body was colder. She shivered as he forced her eyes open.
“Stop,” she said, barely able to control her own tongue. In a snap it was over, and she laid on the ground next to the chair.
“I got what I needed anyway,” he told her. “Here’s a few lollipops.” He held the candy out to her, but she didn’t grab them.
“You could have asked, before you did that,” she said. As she stood her hand slipped a bit on the chair, her body still unsteady. She wanted to go burn down a village, and hoard gold.
“A lot of things could happen, when you’re alone with a dragon.” Smoke curled from his mouth, and the polite voice had lost any human softness. “I suggest we call it good little fairy, before you find out what a murder room this place can be.”
It took a lot of control not to fly as she left. If her wings were free surely she would have.
“He still calls me Nice?”
“Then he took control of my eyes.”
“Yeah, there’s a reason we broke up,” she said. “He’s got problems.”
“Dragons are dicks.”
“He’s not so bad, just scared. That’s why he does all the weird stuff, to keep you off your feet,” she said. “Also the scar! I told you not to say anything.”
“You didn’t say he had a huge face scar, why doesn’t he glamour it?”
“His own deal, let’s go get some breakfast,” she said. “You like pastry?”
“How long did were you together?”
“A long time,” she answered. “Things still happen sometimes. If you weren’t in that office? Or hell if I’d stayed even?” She shook herself.
“We could go back?”
“I’d rather have a coffee, sweetie,” she said, her voice didn’t sound so sure, but Annabelle let it go. They grabbed some, and a pink box of donuts, they shared while Nicole explained the basics of bus travel.
After they drove to back to the bus station, where she explained the basics. Her glasses were ready, so they skipped the actual bus ride.
Instead of driving back to the doctors they drove across the town, Nicole pointed out buildings of interest, and did her best to explain the few questions Annabelle asked. After a while they pulled up to a large white brick building, with a blue sign.
She hadn’t picked the frames, but they were black, with pink stars along the arms.
“I love stars. How did you know?”
“I didn’t. Well you did the flash thing last night,” she said, and waved her hand around. “I figured you did after that, but I didn’t order them. Try ’em on.”
As soon as she slipped the glasses on the world became clearer. She wasn’t sure how she felt, at first, but she noticed that her sight farther off was really better. She could see the car from the office as they exited. It was strange, seeing her path instead of just guessing or following behind someone else.
After they left, Nicole texted a few times, and her expression darkened after each message. “Let’s bogey, A.”
“Something wrong?” Annabelle asked. “You need more coffee?”
She stared at her for a long time, and then started the car. “Nothing worth talking about.”
“That sounds slippery,” she said, and tried to imitate Nicole’s long stare. The leprechaun squinted her eyes back, and then reached a hand out, and flicked the fairy just above the bridge of the glasses. Annabelle recoiled, clutching at her forehead.
“You’re about a intimidating as a Syilaette.”
“You sound really good in fairy tongue,” she replied. “You’ve got a really musical voice anyway, but it sounds so nice when you say that word.”
“Everything sounds like singing in Fairy, but thanks,” she said. “You ready to pick up some lunch?”
The pizza place was quick. She explained it in english this time, and Annabelle tried to listen, but the huge ovens in the back were so beautiful she had trouble concentrating. The metal links flowed along by some magic, and the pizza went in one end, coming out the other cooked. The group working in concert to make the pizza’s was interesting too, but she alway loved ovens, and this was the most beautiful one she had ever seen.
“They have a nice oven,” she said as they carried the boxes to the car. “I like ovens.”
“Cause the fire?”
“They keep a family fed, and warm. It’s nice of them, to live out their time in service of others. Thankful to them,” she said. Even made of fire as she was, she blushed at the odd thought being spoken. “Saw a lot of people around them when I was starting out. Paid me a half-a-coin to burn out the chimbley, and light them up. Good luck on holidays.”
Nicole sat the pizza on the seat, before taking Annabelles, and setting it on top of those. After she grabbed the fairy in a tight hug. “You’ve got to come back. We’ll give the Stydrans a while, to realize this isn’t worth hassling a portal, then we’ll drive you back. Get you some proper training, or something. Maybe the Path needs a fairy.”
“I don’t want to go,” she said. “I’m scared.”
“You’re scared? What are you scared for? It’s a journey, I thought you loved new things?” She tousled the fairies messy pink locks, and didn’t wait for an answer. “You’ll be fine kid, it’s the boys of Modesto I’m worried about.”
“Might not be in the mood, for that sort of thing.”
“Sure,” she answered slowly, drawing the word out. “Nicky? Like 8 hours ago?”
“Well him, he’s cute, and all wounded knight”
“You the Nightingale type?”
“No idea what that is.”
“Use your phone. Click Wikipedia, should be the first link.”
“That search thing?”
“Yeah. Florence Nightingale.” She opened the little icon, and entered the words as best she could. She clicked the first link. Some of the words were strange, and the places didn’t make any sense at all, but she was stunned at all the information.
“Can I change my na-.”
“It’s like a book,” she said. “A little magic book.”
“Wait until you get into e-readers.” Nicole launched into a long explanation of another aspect of the internet. Annabelle listened hanging on every word.
To be continued…
Thanks for reading. Hope you’re enjoying it.