They put Javell on a piece of cold twisted metal. At first they had wanted to bury him, but no love of hers would be left to rot in cold dirt.
“A car,” a female said her arm pointing to it. Aroe didn’t bother asking for her name. She was short like the rest of the Leprechauns, the Murphy Clan, they told her. A round face, cheeks almost pink enough to rival Aroe’s own, despite the girl’s pale color. She wore what appeared to be standard dress, blue pants and a colorful shirt.
No need to pull the arrows, they were not going to do him any more pain. The ‘car’ beneath him was crushed, she realized noting the details for the first time. It’s top was squashed flat, broken glass scattered across it’s rusted surface.
She called upon the same tainted magic she used to kill the soldiers and he burnt quick, ashes rising into the night. The leprechaun girl was the only one who stayed, a step behind her, hand on her shoulder, except as she called the magic. The small hand lifted for just that moment. Even a leprechaun could sense the malice behind such a spell, but it helped her. The flames made her calm, they helped her remember the goal.
His glass blade was all she kept of him. Her heart burned in the pyre, his memento of her. As the body lost shape, the girl tugged her inside the large room once more. She allowed herself to be pulled still staring at the pyre.
“Garage,” she said gesturing around the room. The portal, it’s old black stone on wheels was being pushed backward by a few leprechauns. Their eyes all fell on her, as they entered.
“Story,” the girl told her, a command. Another woman, still in her tiny form, moved a chair over, and the girl pushed her into it. “Be brief.”
She was, as best she could. Javell, her, the run, the arrows, the soldiers all falling prey to a bad spell from their own mage. She could tell the pink cheeked girl didn’t believe her about the last part, but she kept her tongue. The other leprechauns were circling now, and she could tell the stories reception would decide her fate.
The entire escape had been paid for she knew Javell had planned this for years, even before that night. The meadow where they met and then the pub. Then his room, when she was so drunk, a flight up the Stydran fortress seem like a good idea. The fortnight she spent in his room after, hiding from his father’s guards and the rest of existence.
She remembered where she was suddenly. Ghosts of his lips his fingers, had pulled her out of the moment and the conversation went on. Pity on the female leprechauns face made her think it had not gone well without her.
“—take at least two days, if their drakes are well trained,” she was saying the rose on her cheeks darkening. “We can keep her here, Nicky can get the paperwork, and we’ll get her on a feckin’ bus.” An accent rose as her voice did.
“And have the Stydran dogs up our arses, an’ in for breakfast?” a leprechaun asked, his accent dripping charm, despite his words. His eyes were tired, she noticed, well beyond his smooth skin. He wore a pair of loose pants, cut off a few inches below the knee. One of his legs was fine, a bright tattoo she couldn’t make out covering it. The other was just a thick metal pole that disappeared into his shoe. She could tell he was a leprechaun, but he stood normal height, one of the few that did.
“No one will dare step foot into Murphy’s without permission,” Greg said, glancing a warning to those assembled. As the oldest, and leader of the clan they had summoned him. He had grown himself to help carry Javell. His white hair still held hints of its once bright black, his eye was still bright, the one he retained and there was a softness in his tone. Still he continued, “We won’t fight for you though, not against the Stydrans. They come, we’ll be glad to keep them happy and away.”
“Fine,” she said. “Slit my throat first, so I can at least hold my dignity.” She meant it, but she could see the gathered leprechauns eyes laughing at her proclamation. A few openly mocked her, but she ignored them.
“Slit your own,” he said with a smile. “And we’ll take whatever dignity a fairy can hold, and bury it with the rest of the dung.” Aroe had grown to human size as well, still a few inches shorter than the old man. A green eye bored into her own red, old hatreds boiling where she had been promised there would be none.
Her hand caught the handle of the glass blade, although she doubted surviving the attempt was possible, it would be preferable to Javell’s people. Her magic was weaker here, and she had used so much, it would be hard to call more without a heat source. She couldn’t see herself standing a chance, against the Murphy Clan, still whatever they did to her would be a kindness compared with his father’s wrath.
“Whoa, whoa,” the same girl stepped between them. “Pa, pa, she’s just a girl. I said a day or two right? At Least?” She turned to Aroe. “Hand off the blade, we don’t like threats. Even those made in sorrow, and sympathy of that sorrow is the only thing keeping your breath in you right now.” A slight pain, in her back emphasized the words. A dagger, or like, pressed right above the top of her skirt. Stinking breath, old beef, and beer; hot on her neck, as the wielder leaned closer.
She let the hilt go.
“Alright, alright,” Greg conceded. “Two days, at the outside. A bus out, and find the skank something not see through.” The old man walked out, a little dance in his step, even with his advanced age. “Put her in the yard, with the rest of the bitches.” The door to the main house slammed behind him.
“Lucky,” the man behind her said. As he spoke, the stinking breath puffed into her neck once more. The girl caught her shoulders, to keep Aroe from pursuing him. It was the same red-haired man who had heralded her arrival, hunger now in his eyes as much as disappointment.
“Go fuck another dog, Billy,” she said before pulling the fairy closer. “No, let’s calm down a bit. I’m Nicole, welcome to America. Let’s get you going.”
“I’m not staying,” Aroe said quickly. The girl gripped her arm tighter, dragging her toward the back entrance, out in the columns of rusted metal where Javell’s ashes still floated. Stacks of the metal went on far into the night.
“We keep everyone in the junkyard. Ignore Pa, he’s just protective.” She was a little taller than Aroe, and built thick, arms like a soldiers, as she pulled her outside.
“I’m not staying.”
“It’s just until you learn the ropes. This isn’t Cyok.” She smiled back, her eyes were alight with kindness.
“I’m from south Stydran, near the Aerie.” They had gone deep into the stacks, the night sky almost starless above them, just as the legends said. “Not a lot of fire fairies in Cyok since the old days.”
“Well, wherever you’re from, welcome home now.”
Home was a metal shack long rusted and windowless. It looked almost solid until Nicole swung open half of one end. There was a pile of hay, and a mattress next to it. A light hung in the center, suspended by an orange rope, that led off toward the house.
“This does not look like home,” Aroe said slowly, stepping in after the girl. Her eyes could make out faint red lettering on some of the white packages that sat next to the bed. The room smelled like it held nothing but rust and possibly a family of merpeople.
“Jerky there, um bed, light, and oh fucknuggets, you aren’t a meat eater huh?” Nicole said patting her blue pants. “Want to ride to the store with me? We’ll get you something to eat? Teach you some money stuff?”
“I’m not staying,” Aroe repeated.
Nicole looked her up and down. She straightened out the loose hooded overshirt she wore, her eyes drinking the fairy in like it was the first time she was seeing her.
Without warning the girls round face lost any hint of softness. She grabbed Aroe by her soft petal top, her fingers ripping into the fabric. The leprechauns grip was too tight, her arms far stronger than the fairy’s as she slammed Aroe backwards into the steel wall.
“Listen, I’m going to make this clear. One. More. Time.” She emphasized the last three words with another painful slam into the steel each. “This is the real fucking world, and our home. I get it, you loved princey, well mourn him if you want, but this whole whiney, ‘I’m going to run off’ bullshit, isn’t happening. I will break your fair neck, before I let you leave half-cocked and expose my family to risk, girly.
“Now I can teach you. I can show you how to live here. Use money, work, obtain a decent life. I do it daily, regardless of whether or not they’ve been pre-paid by a prince. I can teach you how to fake being human, hide that pink skin and tape those wings down. Or I end this here and get back to my videos of cats.” She stopped lifting Aroe another two inches. Her breath was sweet and smelled like the black vanilla beans the fairy had seen at market. “We going to talk or what, A?”