A Fey princess in the hands of Goblins. What a tragedy. A really quick flash fiction that's never been edited. Its a lot longer than the usual 500 words of most flash fiction.
The Dula Day Carnival had just come to town like a swarm of locust. I know that most of the town folk was quite disturbed by there presence in town. If you listened carefully you could here these uptight, bigots whispering "gypsy's" and things meant to be hurtful. The carnies they acted like they didn't hear and just went about their business. Me on the other hand I'm quite fascinated by the carnival it seems like such an adventure. So many stories that could be told just from a night among them. In my fascination I've taken to walking the grounds, the last couple days, as they sent up. I was so glad that didn't care that I was there. At times it really feels like I'm welcome here. More than it does in town. Even though I grew up here you'd never hear the town folk describe me as one of them. My mother tells me that the people of this town have found me odd since the day I was born. It disturbs me that anybody could judge a baby like that. Anyways back on track, I had even become on first name basis with a few of the Carnies. Specifically, Madam La Rulla a mysterious, and I must admit sexy, woman who claims to have the power of sight and this I where my story begins.
Once again I was on my way to visit Madam La Rulla before the carnival kicked into full swing later to night. Today, I had a reason to visit her other than a change in the company I kept. I was begging to feel off having trouble sleeping do to nightmares and during the day I've been hallucinating. In both cases I was seeing the same things peoples faces transforming in to unrecognizable figures and wide open fields and forest so green and lush that you wanted to run through them barefoot. Even in these visions I could tell that something was wrong. It always felt as if I was being watched by something or somethings unseen. Then I would snap out of it disoriented and nauseous. So I've decided that I want answers that I want to know what's wrong with me. So I was cutting through the grounds the smells and sights that I have become accustomed to over the last couple of days swirling all around. It's like a crazy dream to be honest the town rarely lets in outsiders.
As I close in on Madam La Rulla's trailer I hear voices of to people arguing. Not wanting to interrupt I stay back out of sight where I can hear everything. "We cannot do this, this way she is not the enemy it will not endear her in our favor to use force." Said Madam La Rulla in her tight, shrill, and confident voice. I recognize the next voice as the man I've told runs the carnival. "I have waited to long for this to just stand back and not act I…we need her back." The conversation makes no sense who could they possibly be talking about kidnapping. " Do not treat me as if I have not waited for this as well, when she first came to me I nearly ran off with her right then." She pauses before continuing. " We must do this right, if we truly want our dear Sophia back not just as the princess but as our daughter, then I beg of you to do this right." Oh god, why would they want me? I'm not special. I'm not a princess why would they call me a princess. These people have lost there minds I know who my parents are they are not them. My vision began to fragment flashes of the grassy field mixed with the dirt lot I was standing in. It stopped as soon as it started but it the world still swam beneath my feet. I stumbled forward from my hiding spot.
A gasp of surprise told me it was to late to scramble back into hiding. Feeling silly I gingerly got to my feet. Curiosity told me to stay find out why they think I'm there daughter. My head, however, was telling me to get away from the carnival as fast as possible. I froze just standing there, a little wobbly, watching them watch me. They claim to be my parents but where are the loving embraces of their long lost child Instead, Madam La Rulla is staring at me like she hopes that I didn't hear anything and them man who claims to be my father. Well, he's got the look of a predator in his eyes, that look cats get when they've found a mouse and can't wait to pounce. This is crazy I know who my parents are.
"It's started, this is wonderful, our daughter is blooming." His excitement was uncontainable. I on the other hand no idea what he was talking about. Well that is, until look down to find my hand isn't there anymore. I flex my fingers and the ones I'm starring at move. Okay, I'm willing to admit that this is my hand then. Maybe somebody drugged me and I'm starting to loose my mind. Though it somehow seems more elegant my is mint green, the fingers longer, and the nails pointed. They look sharp sort of like claws.Then as I watched the skin regrew, the skin I was used to seeing when I looked at my hands. Fear, disgust, and horror boiled around in my head. It must be written on my face like a story book. I've never been good at hiding my emotions.
"It's okay baby girl I promise in time you'll be in control of it." He must have misunderstood my expression. He thinks that I didn't want it to go away but I did with everything I had. I hope that it never comes back. I noticed the man coming towards me and I do what I should have done from the beginning I ran.
As I was reaching the street I noticed my brothers car parked among the cars along the street. Only an empty dirt lot stands between us, the gravel crunches under foot. Every few seconds the wind whips through the lot carrying away a part of it away. The whole lot is roped off ready to be used as a make shift parking lot for the carnival. The sun hangs bright and warming in the sky baking the dirt lot like a casserole. By the time I reach the car I'm ready to go home and curl up in the air conditioning, hiding from all the craziness. My brothers car is an old blue Camaro that once belonged to our father. Unfortunately, my brother hasn't show the same love for the classic car as our father once had. A hint of rust now shows in spots on the rear fender, the upholstery is littered with holes, and the floor consumed by garbage. Slipping inside I'm hit by the lingering scent of garbage and cigarettes. He smokes one now. I hate it the smell of cigarettes especially the clover ones that Jack smokes, there pungent.
"You know that Mom would kill you if she knew that you were hanging out here." He says with a tinge of humor as if the thought amuses him.
"You mean like she would if she knew you were smoking." My answer amuses him as well. He's always in trouble with mother. Sometimes I wonder if he does it on propose just because he's bored but its hard to tell. Its hard to think someone could be so bad at getting away with things. Our house is charming but like most houses in town its very suburban. The whole town is full houses that look exactly the same. Like its cut from a movies version of the perfect small, literally right down to the ice cream shop. Not going to knock the ice cream shop, the ice cream is amazing. Even now as we pull into our own driveway its hard to shack the events at the carnival. Believe me I'd love to forget this but I don't think that I can. Looking at my surroundings I'm starting to feel like my whole life might a lie. One might even be inclined to think that whole town was staged but why?
The carnival is so much more alive that it has been during my other visits. It's no longer a dusty lot full of food and game stands, entertainment tents, and the sad faces of lost people. Lights brighter and more color full than the stars giving the carnival a heart beat. The rich sounds of music, carnival games, and laughter fill the air giving the carnival a voice like no other. Despite my horror at coming back here this place no longer seems like the place I feared earlier. Once in the crowd its easy to get separated from my family and become lost in the festivities. I wander aimlessly for sometime, until, the smell of deep fried food and popcorn rumbles my stomach. So I stop in line for cotton candy hoping the sweet snack will take the edge off of my worry. The girl running the stand looks no older than me as she expertly twirls the cotton candy on to sticks.
"My lady." She says it almost as if she'd been trained. "What size would you like?" She's smiling at me as if I were a long lost friend. That's when I notice my first odd thing of the night her ears are pointy and not just that they're mint green. I must have a gave little start because she looks at me curiously. I look away.
"Why did you call me, My lady?" I try, with great failure I'm sure, to not sound like I'm afraid of those two words.
"Your costume its a princess, right?" I had completely forgotten about the costume as I had wandered around the carnival. "Yeah, it is." She hands me what looks to be a large cotton candy. As I reach into my purse to get her the money. She leans in close to me and whispers into my ear. "Well, you look beautiful and that's on the house." She points to the cotton candy and waves me on so that she can help other guests. As I walk on I can't think of why she'd comp me for the cotton candy. Soon though its replaced by another feeling of discomfort. The hairs on the back of my neck are standing on end giving me reason to believe I'm being watched. I glance behind me to confirm my suspicions and am slightly shocked to find that at least three people seem to be following me. I push my way through the crowd and slip behind one of the tents.
Immediately after going around the corner I realize my mistake. Off the main paths of the carnival its to dark for me to see. I try to stumble around, knowing that can't go back the way I came. My foot catches on something sending me sprawling into a man that I hadn't known was there. He's large, larger than I can tell by sight. With a grunt of strength he picks me up and carries me over his shoulder. If I had to take a guess I'd say that he's brought me into one of the nearby tents. The only difference in here seems to be the lack of a breeze. Not being exactly gentle with me he places me into a chair and someone ties my hands. Soon by the lack of breathing sounds I can tell that I'm alone in here. In the suffocating darkness and the damp stank of stale air I find my only hope to be my own thoughts.
They don't make me wait long before someone joins me. Carrying a lantern that casts a dim light giving me, my first look at the tent. As I thought the tent is empty except for me and the man that early today claimed to be my father. The lantern he carries doesn't quite live up to my expectations I was sort of hoping for the old fire and brimstone lantern. Instead I get a very modern LED lantern. Talking about disappointing these guys don't even know how to put on a good show.
"I'm sorry for Albane he's…well an Ogre they can be rather insensitive." He pauses most likely for dramatic effect. "I do apologize for that." Before he could continue a carny ran into the tent and whispered something to him. He shooed him away with some urgency before returning to me. "I had hoped that we would get more time to talk." He actually managed to sound sincere with his words. It only made me want to hate all the more for kidnapping me. He could have tried to talk me like a normal person. I wouldn't have wanted to listen, I don't right now, but he could have tried. "You'll have to excuse me." Then just like that he left again. Thankfully this time he left the lantern behind. Relieved that I could see I worried about my other problems like being bound to a chair. My hands seem to be bound with duct tap which is definitely better than a zip tie, Not that it means I'm any better off either way I'm tied to the chair. I look around for something to cut the tape with in hopes that I could hop over to it and cut myself free. Unfortunately, this must have been the cleanest empty lot in America, not even a sharp rock in sight. I sat there utterly helpless wishing that someone would come save. Is it to much to think that my brother at least is looking for me? I can't think like that I maybe a damsel in distress or as it looks a princess in distress. I don't need a knight in shining armor I can do this myself.
I hear what sounds like shouts coming from the carnival, maybe someones noticed I'm missing. No, I have to forget about that and focus on getting myself out of here. A thought occurs to me the girl at cotton candy stand had green ears so what if this is real. Maybe, I can force my hands to change and I can use those sharper nails to cut at some of the tape. Admittedly I have no clue as to how to do this. Closing my eyes I try to push my other side out but feeling nothing I give up. I continue to try in different ways but nothing happens. Frustrated I let out a sigh. Needing to relax I try taking deep breaths and thats when I feel my hand start to tingle. At first its not much a feeling like an itch I can't scratch but quickly it grows until for a few seconds I can't feel my hands at all. Then the sensations gone but this times different I'm acutely aware of the differences in my hands and I'm grateful for that. I can't reach most of the tape but I cut part of the tape thats around the chair. Its not a very big cut more of a slit than anything. Pulling hard on the weakened tape its not long before one of wrists comes free of the binds. Before continuing I stop and wait listening in case the guards have heard the tape rip. After a few moments I let out a breath I hadn't known I was holding in. Using my free hand I quickly cut my other hand loose.
Fearing that there are guards at the front of the tent I slip under the tents side to avoid detection. I guess I now have to acknowledge that whatever these people think I am maybe correct. Which means that I have some questions to ask and I know just who to ask. Outside the tent everything was a lot louder and what I thought was an argument was beginning to sound more like a riot. I need to find my parents and quick before this gets any worse. It was still as dark back here but I could see a little better this time around. Knowing I could afford to trip again, I crept cautiously along hoping that I wouldn't get caught. I find I'm lost in a maze of tents and trailers I aware that I was so far the carnival. I've done several circles trying to figure out if I'm going the wrong direction but I think it only made things worse. Almost to late I see the light of flashlight come around a corner. Slipping back around corner out of sight. Crossing my fingers I give a silent prayer that I wasn't seen.
"Princess, Is that you?" Its the girl from the cotton candy stand earlier. Why would she be looking for me? Wait, why do I think its me she's looking for? Holding my breath, I pray that she just goes away. I want them to leave me alone. "I know someones over there, whoever you are come out." You can hear her voice trembles slightly, even though she tries hard to make herself sound intimidating. I waited still hoping that I'd hear footsteps walking away but no such luck. I could dart into the maze of tents and disappear but I was already lost enough. So with one big gulp of air I raised my hands into the air and stepped out from behind the tent. The girl stood back where I'd seen her coming from earlier. She looked slightly baffled as if she'd been hoping that no body would be there. She no longer wore the apron she had at the stand and her black curly hair now hangs down past her shoulders.
"No need for that the Queen sent me to retrieve you." She shakes her head at me like I'm child she's been charged with scolding.
"Madam La Rulla, your mother." There those words are again. They seem so accusing or maybe it was her. She seems to be trying to tell me I should know this with her eyes. As if she could upload the information with her glare. Personally, whether its true or isn't, I don't think I'd ever get used to calling Madame La Rulla mom. "Follow me everyone's eager to officially meet you." Despite several attempts at conversation we don't talk much on the way back to main carnival. I did learn her name at least, Tristie. She told me that "my parents" are the king and queen of the Sidhe. She didn't answer all my questions nor did I get to ask all of them. Soon we were being thrown around in a surging crowd of bodies. It wasn't long before I started to notice that people were whispering and pointing in my direction. Eventually we washed up at the front of the crowd. Tristie, was a few feet away from me looking oddly disheveled from pushing through the crowd.
In the center of the carnival stood the King of the Sidhe and the towns mayor. Carnies and townies were split looking as if they were about to go to war. The crowds were a bit overwhelming for me. I've never been good with crowds and after passing through the main body of the crowd I was starting to panic. My chest heaved as my lungs dragged in air from short and choppy breaths. As each inhalation brought less air I panicked trying desperately to breath without actually gulping air. My vision blurred then returned but now Tristie was at my side looking concerned. She was about to say something but I never heard it. The ground rushed towards and then everything went black.
When I awoke my head was in Tristie's lap the King and Queen starring down at me. Rather than looking concerned, they looked excited and happy. I tried to ask what was going on but found that my mouth was as dry as sandpaper and my mouth felt strange misshapen. Sitting up for the first time I noticed that my mouth wasn't the only thing that felt strange. My whole body felt off and looking down at myself I knew why. The princess costume dress no longer fit it hung around me like tissue paper stuffed in a gift bag. My skin was mint green and not just my hands this time but everything. I admired my newly minted mint green feet. Much like the rest of my clothes my shoes no longer fit and have fallen off. Once I get partially over my shock at my own transformation I notice that I'm not the only that has transformed.
"Its okay your just seeing through the glamours." Tristie's skin is mint green the only difference from me is that hers is dotted with purple its some how majestic. Her hair is now short, spiked and a forest green. Its her eyes that stand out to me, they're a quite shocking pink. As I'm helped to my feet I notice that the crowd is full of strange creatures of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Easily I spot whom guess is Albane as he stands about 7'5 with a massive body that would make offensive linemen jealous. His skin a burnt golden that shimmers in the lights. Large tusks protrude from his bottom jaw not making seem any less intimidating. The people, my people I guess, smell of of rich pine trees and the wild scents of a forest. Across from me now stands short, grotesque creature that smell like thousand year old trash. My stomach turns over.
"My great and wonderful people I give you, your princess." Cheers and claps sound from the ecstatic crowd. Some whistle and many shout words of admiration. "Princess Sophia the future of the Sidhe." More cheers. Now turning of the creatures with a accusing look the King readies himself. "As for you Byntaft King of Goblins you are under arrest for the abduction of member of the royal Sidhe family, as well are your cohorts." With those words more Sidhe appear like they'd fallen from the sky. By the look of them I'd guess they were some kind of soldier. One approaches me a large sword strapped to his side and red cloak flowing in the wind behind him.
Bowing before me he speaks in a deep husky voice. "My Lady, please come with me."
"Where are we going?"
"Home, My Lady." With that he took hold of my hand and guides me forward. He waves is hand in a wide circle and the air shimmers spectacularly. Soon becoming some kind of portal beyond it I can see the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Surround by the greenest forest is a castle with sky scrapping towers. Its the kind of scene that comes from a fantasy novel. My heart thuds in my chest from a mixture of fear and excitement. Tentatively I reach my hand out and touch the surface of the portal causing it to ripple like water. On the other side of the portal I can feel a cool forest breeze tickling my hand. I pull back and stare at my hand but its doesn't seem any different. I glance at the King and Queen who smile encouragingly and then at Tristie whose story I want to know. She nods at the portal is if to say "Its Okay." Impulsively I reach out and take her hand in mine. Taking her with me as I charge through the portal and embrace my destiny.