The day had started out so well, but then turned into nothing but worrying about if Ezell was the cold-blooded killer Philanecian claimed he was. I could imagine him doing a lot of things, but slaughtering a number of people, much less a crowned prince, seemed impossible. I grabbed my leather journal to add this to a list of ever growing questions, then looked out the window. It was quiet except for the light tapping of a tree branch against the pane. It was only 4:30, but it looked closer to midnight outside. The sky was an angry sort of gray, the kind that you can’t help but cringe at when you see. If it wasn’t snowing, it was ready to storm around here, apparently. I looked out the window, wondering where that person was. Was he off slaughtering more crown princes?
Nick wasn’t home yet, so I hadn’t even bothered trying to make food. He was the ride to the grocery store, and all that was in the kitchen was ramen. I paced the floor, too anxious to do much of anything else. That’s when I remembered something.
…Might as well, it’d give me something to do. I bent and tugged at the part of the carpet that met the corners of the room. Surprisingly, it came up easily, so I pulled more and more of it away until whatever was underneath was revealed in full. It was a large circle made of three concentric rings of a mysterious metal.
Three concentric rings with the same writing as on the front of my books. It had to be scrit.
Bah, screw it. I could figure this nonsense out later. All I have been doing since I got here is try to figure this crap out and it was time to do what any normal person would do. Crawl into bed and hide.
I woke up in a small space that was dark as sin, suffocating and small. I struggle, bite, and kick until I fall out into the light. I crawl away from whatever was holding me and struggle to my knees. I look over my shoulder.
Instead of my bedroom, there’s a large expanse of field. The long grass blows in the sudden breeze and the sky is a piercing shade of blue. Not too far away, there’s a huge black ball with an open hatch. It didn’t make any sense, but that must be what I had been stuck in. To make things even weirder, a flock of books flaps by followed by a swarm of staplers. I look down, and things only get more bizarre.
I am dressed like a Power Ranger; The pee ranger, no less.
Swiftly tugging off the helmet, I wonder if this is that dreaming lucidly crap the book talked about. Did I wander about in a power rangers costume all the time? I mean, I don’t even like power rangers all that much, so why couldn’t I be something cooler like…Well, something better than a dumb power ranger, anyway. I mean sheesh. If I had to look ridiculous, I’d rather be in a dress.
The ranger costume melted into a yellow puddle of slime around my feet. Instead of standing there in the buff, I was in a red dress straight out of a bad Victorian era movie. The corset by itself nearly killed me, what with the dangerous lifting of that which should stay down, and then having said that displayed for the world to see. Instead of wondering about how something made out of so much material could fit inside such a tight costume, or trying to get the dream world to supply pants and end up with somebody else’s legs or worse, I started to walk.
As I walked, the grass grew around me until I could only see a sliver of bright blue sky. As the grass grew, it began to melt together and darken. I was soon walking a narrow path with only the two hard concrete walls for company. I snuck a look over my shoulder and did a double-take. The path was being eaten by darkness that was barely a pace away from my feet. Inexplicably, the walls broke into tall trees settled in banks of snow. I felt anxious as I realized where I was heading, and soon the clearing came into view. But, instead of ruins, there stood the Half Moon Inn. Lights danced in the snow outside the windows, and strains of music flew through the air.
I moved closer to the windows and peeked inside. The place was packed to the walls and almost everyone looked well on their way to being falling down drunk. Most of them beat their tankards in an almost rhythm on the tables as two men danced in the middle of everything on one of the tabletops. The taller and skinnier one of the bunch looked like he was singing something as he spun the other in circles. The table wobbled and creaked, threatening to break at any moment.
Eventually, their mad song and dance number came to an end and the bar cheered. As an encore, they fell off the table and into a heap or flailing arms. The reedy one tried to lift himself off the floor with wings like gossamer, but eventually gave up and collapsed again. Two drunkards helped them get up right as a fierce woman with flaming red hair grabbed each of them by an ear and carted them to the door. I barely dodged it as it opened and the two were thrown out into the snow.
”Ye’ll be sleepin’ in the stable loft taenight, Mr.Foss!” The woman shouted at after them, red splodges of rage on her cheeks. “And take yae friend too!”
Sure enough, I saw the other man’s face in full. His hair was shorter, and his beard was fuller, but it was him. Was I in one of Ezell’s dreams? If so, they’re a lot less perverted than I was imagining, unless he’s about to put the moves on the winged guy, that’d be just about right.
Ezell grinned at the door and stumbled to his feet. With an oof, he pulled the smaller man’s arm around his shoulder and began to stumble drunkenly towards the stable. “Aye, pissed ‘er off right good we did.”
“Damn bit of fun that was,” the smaller man slurred. “Mush bettar than the Sheelie Court’s dinner parties.”
“Wait until your highness sees the loft! A veritable palace, the loft is.”
“Oh aim shure tis, specially with you there to warm it fair me.”
And then guess what they did? They started to make out; loudly, and noisily. Right there in that dumb clearing. Dear lord, was I watching porn? The dialogue was definitely bad enough. I felt sick down to my stomach, I had to turn away or risk vomiting. I plugged my ears and closed my eyes in an attempt to blot out the noises they were making.
“Adelle? What are you doing here?”
I opened my eyes and there stood Ezell, but he was obviously the one I knew. For once he was dressed like a normal person in jeans and a black t-shirt. I turned to look back at the scene. Yep, there was Ezell sucking face. I turned back and there was Ezell, not sucking face.
“What am I doing here? What are YOU” I pointed behind me. “Doing?”
“Oh that.” Ezell shrugged it off like it was nothing. “That’s a memory, a thing of the past.”
“Ezell, you’re making out with a man.”
“Yes, I did. But I was also drunk at the time.”
“That’s not an excu-“The sound of violent vomiting echoed from behind me, and I turned just in time to see Ezell spew whatever he’d been drinking into the snow. He was soon joined by the winged guy.
“Let’s move somewhere a bit more scenic, yes?” Ezell said as he held out his hand.
“No.” Being alone with Ezell tended to turn out badly. I mean, look at faerie guy. He was on his knees expelling last night’s dinner because Ezell got a hold of him. Maybe the poor guy was just another one of his pawns.
“Oh, come on, would you? I’d rather not explain things while watching myself vomit.”
Against my better judgment, I took his hand and the scene changed. We stood on a grassy Cliffside that looked down on the sea. There was a small village further along the cliff that was little more than a smudge. I pretended to study that smudge intently as Ezell studied me. The silence turned awkward until Ezell spoke.
“I was expecting our next meeting to be a lot happier than this.”
Lame stab at a joke; You’re not being forgiven that easily. “Oh yeah, let’s not talk about the fact that you were just making out with a man for the sake of this meeting being ‘happy’. Do you do that for fun? Make out with whoever’s handy?”
“Yes Adelle, that’s exactly it.” He sighed in exasperation. “I make out with anyone and everyone, jailbait like you even, because I’m just a bad guy.” He picked up a rock and threw it off the cliff like it was the one who gotten him into trouble.
The Awkward Silence resumed, it was a lot chillier this time.
“So who was he?”
“My friend, nothing more.”
“Do you often make out with your friends?”
“Adelle don’t be stupid. You know I want more than friendship when it comes to you.”
I wanted to leave. I wanted to leave after I pushed Ezell of the cliff and watched him splatter on the rocks below. It wouldn’t make me happy, but it would satisfy my urge to make him hurt just as badly I was hurting right then. Maybe. “Yeah well, you could have fed whatshisface the same lines you’ve fed me. I’m sure you’ve gotten a lot of practice since then.”
“ ‘Whatshisface’ as you so eloquently put it, was the High Prince of the Seelie Court, Alennan. If you have to insult his memory, do it correctly.”
“But I thought you kille-“I clamped a hand over my mouth a moment too late. Ezell turned and took a step towards me, so I took an automatic step back. His face was an unreadable mask as he studied my eyes. I felt warm tendrils crawl up my neck and into my skull. I gasped in shock as the same warm tendrils started to dig through my mind, searching for an answer.
“Get out of my head, Ezell.”
“So you met Philanecian.”
“Get OUT, I said.” I tried to push with my mind, imagining the fingers being shoved out of my head. Ezell flinched, the warm mental fingers dissolved. “What makes you think you can just waltz into people’s minds?”
“When the person in question keeps projecting mental images of meeting a man who wants to see nothing more than my demise, what else can I do?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Ask like a normal person?”
“And would you give me an answer like a normal person would?” Ezell kneaded his temples.
“Well, no. But that’s only because you’re so damn dicey!”
“I have never met a more pigheaded, stubborn, contradictory girl.” Ezell’s hand fell to his side. His face had relaxed into its’ usual smirk.” But, I have also never met a girl who I’ve liked this much before either.”
I was still mad at him, but the smirk took some of my anger away. “Will you tell me everything?”