Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

Chapter Five Hundred and eleven : Fairy smackdown (part three)


(part three)

Wednesday early morning — 2:11 a.m.


Katy woke with a start. Something was happening to her Daddy.

But what?

She sat up in bed. Now that she was six, the parents had decided that she and Paddie needed to be in separate beds. They’d set two beds into her room at the Castle but Paddie’s room was tucked under an eaves of the big house. Katy’s Daddy had made a trundle bed for Paddie. Paddie was sleeping on the top of the bed, and Katy had been sleeping on the bed pulled out from under Paddie’s bed.

When she sat up, Paddie awoke.

“What is it?” Paddie asked.

“I don’t know,” Katy said.

Paddie rolled on this side so that his arm hung over the side of the bed. His hand opened and closed until Katy held it.

“I just had this feeling that …” Katy said.

Paddie gasped.

“What is it?” Katy said.

A small girl, she had to get on her knees to look over Paddie’s bed. Paddie’s big blue eyes were wide open. His eyes were flicking from place to place in the room. His mouth was slack as if he was surprised or scare.

“What’s happened?” Katy whispered.

“Do you see them?” Paddie asked, his voice not louder than a whisper.

“Who?” Katy whispered.

Her head looked around the room. She saw nothing. She opened her “third eye” as Delphie had instructed. Nothing. She looked at Paddie and he was pointing to something near the corner of the room.

“They’re everywhere,” Paddie whispered.

Katy stood up on her bed. She took a second to “plant her feet” before pointing to the ground.

“Show yourself!” Katy said.

Nothing happened. Paddie’s reached up to the shelf made from the rafter over his bed to take down the Sword of Truth. He pulled it from its scabbard and lay it across his body as Fin had taught him.

“Are they still here?” Katy asked in a quick whisper.

Paddie nodded.

“Show yourself!” Katy demanded.

The room began to spin. It spun so fast that Katy was nearly knocked off her feet.

“Hold on!” Paddie yelled to Katy.

Katy dropped to her knees. The room spun and spun and spun. Katy threw up on her bed. She rumpled the covers so that the throw up wouldn’t go everywhere. Of course, Paddie then threw up. The way he was lying, the throw up went all over the room.

“I’m so sorry,” Paddie said as they were pummeled with his vomit.

Katy giggled. Her giggle caused Paddie to giggle. The room spun, the vomit splatted around the room, and the children giggled.

The spinning stopped just as suddenly as the spinning had started. They heard men talking outside the door.

Paddie jumped from his bed. He helped Katy out of the trundle and together they pushed it inside. The voices got closer to the door. Paddie held the Sword of Truth at his side.

“Stand behind me,” Paddie said.

“No,” Katy said defiantly. She moved to stand next to him. “We are stronger together.”

“But …” Paddie said.

The door opened. Trained in Fin’s “Strike first, ask questions later” technique, Paddie sliced forward with the sword. Katy sent a blast of energy. The man behind the door easily avoided Paddie’s blow, but was struck in the chest by Katy.

He laughed with such glee that his sandy colored curls bounced on his shoulders. Paddie and Katy retreated from him.

“You cannot injure a man with his own sword, little man,” the man said.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and eleven : Fairy smackdown (part two)


(part two)

“You know this insolent child?” Queen Fand asked her voice filled with offense and rage.

“As do you,” Abi said. “You’ve all met before — on this planet and where you came from. You are sisters.”

“But she …she …” Queen Fand started. “Just look at her! I am beautiful and she …”

Abi smiled. The other fairy queens shook their heads.

“They don’t remember,” the child queen said. To Abi, she asked, “How is that possible?”

Shrugging, Abi shook her head.

“Where is …?” The child queen said a name that was unhearable.

“Above and in Olympia,” Abi said. “I am called ‘Abi’ in this time. He goes by ‘Gilfand.’”

“Olympia?” the child queen asked. “What do they want?”

“The fairy world is on the brink of war,” Abi said. “They are deciding whether to sanction the war or block it.”

The child queen gave Abi a long look before turning back to her sisters.

“A war?” The child queen’s voice was filled with indignant anger.

“It would not be the first,” Abi said.

“What have you been doing?” the child queen asked.

“How dare you judge us!” Queen Fand said. “You’ve been hiding out while we …”

“Enough,” the child queen said.

She held her hand out and Queen Fand stopped speaking.

“What would you recommend?” the child queen asked Abi.

“Why are you asking her?” Queen Shanti asked. “You should be asking us.”

The child queen spun in place.

“Until you have something worth saying, do be quiet,” the child queen said.

She took a step forward and then shook her head. With a snap of her fingers, two wooden chairs appeared. She gestured Abi to one. Abi glanced at Sam and Delphie.

“Why don’t you head up?” Abi asked. “There’s nothing you can do here.”

To upset to respond, Sam simply nodded. Abi sent Sam and Delphie to the cemetery above their heads. Abi sat down in the chair.

“Now, we are going to get a few things straight,” the child queen said.

“Who are you?” Queen Fand asked.

The child queen groaned.

“She really doesn’t know,” Abi said.

The child queen sighed. She looked at the three prostrate fairy queens before nodding.

“My name is …” the child queen said a word in ancient fairy.

The fairy queens blinked at the child queen for a moment. The child queen said their name in ancient fairy and pointed to the fairy queens in order. Shocked at the sound of their own names, the fairy queens fell still.

“What is my name in this time?” the child queen asked.

“Ember,” Abi said.

“I will call you by your modern names and you may call me ‘Ember,’” the child queen said. “But our real names stand. That is who and what we are.”

Ember looked at Abi.

“How did this happen?” Ember asked.

“Well …” Abi shook her head. She snapped her fingers and the fairy queens were sitting comfortably on the couch. The cat, Cleo, sauntered over to say hello to Ember. The child queen picked up the cat and put the cat on her lap. “It started after the last war …”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and eleven : Fairy smackdown (part one)


(part one)

“As for you three …” the child queen said. “This is going to stop. Things are going to be different around here.”

The child fairy queen stepped toward the three fairy queens. With each step, the child aged and grew into a tall thin woman wearing a crisp white linen shirt, fitted jeans, and functional shoes. While her hair grew to her waist, it remained white. Her skin browned to a light caramel and her eyes shifted to a light brown.

“First of all, what the hell is up with your clothing?” the child queen asked. “You look ridiculous — like little treasures to be set upon the shelf. You are fairies, not statues!”

“But …” Queen Fand said, lifting her head.

“Rather than bickering among yourselves and holding petty wars, you could ease the world’s suffering,” the child queen said. “Rather than dressing like little dolls and being waited on hand and foot, you could be out there spreading love and laughter.”

The child queen snorted.

“What do you know of suffering?” Queen Shanti managed to get to her knees. “I have been easing the world’s suffering for millennia while you’ve been hiding from the world in terror.”

Queen Shanti sheered and mock sniveled at the child queen.

“As they worship you!” the child queen said. “Ever think of getting out of your bullshit robes and poofy skirts to get to work to help?”

“People need someone to worship!” Queen Áthas said.

“People need leaders,” the child queen said. She pointed to Queen Áthas. “You used to lead ships of free men and women! Your name was legendary for the war you waged against the East India Trading Company. Imagine if your pirate friends saw you in this get up!”

Having no response, Queen Áthas blinked at the child queen.

“You mock me for hiding in fear,” the child queen said. “What have you been doing?”

The child queen walked toward them.

“Hiding in plain sight,” the child queen said. “We are fairies. We were placed here for a purpose! Not to war with each other. Not to compete with each other. That is not why we are here!”

The child queen looked at her fairy queen sisters. They snuck glances at each other in confusion. It was clear that these fairy queens had no idea what their purpose was.

“You don’t remember our purpose?” the child queen asked.

The child queen looked at Abi.

“How is that possible?” the child queen asked Abi.

“As you say, you’ve each been hiding,” Abi said.

Abi then said a word, clearly the child queen’s name, which sounded like she was clearing her throat. The child queen seemed to take the word as her name.

“You know this insolent child?” Queen Fand asked her voice filled with offense and rage.

Denver Cereal continue tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and ten : The fourth fairy queen (part six)


(part six)

The Altar of Life

Deep in the Marlowe Mine

They reached the top of the structure. Jacob passed the child to his father as Abi helped him out of the vent. Liban managed to grab the sling as Jacob collapsed to the cool cavern floor.

“Jacob!” Sam screamed. He set the child fairy queen down and ran to his son.

Delphie was on her feet! Sam reached forward to touch Jacob’s arm.

“Don’t!” Abi screamed.

Her warning was too late. With Sam’s touch, Jacob’s skin began to disintegrate like ash.

The child queen dropped to prostrate to Abi. Her face against the floor and her arms outstretched.

“Please my lady, save this human,” the child said. “He only wished to save me. It is I who made his stay too long. I was terrified and he …”

Abi touched the child queen’s head.

The child queen looked up at Abi.

“Don’t worry yourself, child,” Abee said. “Jacob is dear to me, as well.”

She nodded herself toward where Jacob had fallen. Sam was on his knees crying. Delphie was wrapped around him. But Jacob was gone.

“Is he gone forever?” Sam asked.

Before Abi could answer, the fairy queens began bickering.

“This is really your fault,” Queen Áthas said in her distinctive Irish accent. She pushed Queen Fand. “You are so selfish.”

“And cruel,” Queen Shanti said in her South Asian accent. She gestured toward where Jacob had been. “This is what you do to the being who risked everything to save you?”

“You are the ones who kidnapped me,” Queen Fand said. “If it weren’t for you, I’d be safe at home, planning my war.”

“Ugly,” Queen Athas said. “That’s what you are Fand. Just ugly.”

“You celebrate the death of your savior by planning your moronic war?” Queen Shanti asked.

“Some queen of ‘peace,’” Queen Fand said with a derisive snort. “More like the Meanie Queen.”

“Enough!” the child queen said.

Ignoring the child, the queens squared off against each other. Queen Athas’s upraised hands filled with sparks. Queen Shanti held a spear made of golden light. Queen Fand’s hand were low. They were spoiled for a fight.

Shaking her head at the queens, she rising to her knees. She put one hand on the ground.

“I said …” the child queen said. “Enough!

Power radiated out of her hand in a white wave. The wave of energy was so strong that the queens were knocked off their feet. The ground rumbled in response. Only Abi stayed standing. Stunned, the queens didn’t move to get up.

“My son?” Sam whispered.

The child queen stood. Pointing to the other queens, she said, “Stay down,” before turning to hear Abi’s answer.

“Don’t worry, Sam, Delphie,” Abi said. “Our Jacob is being healed.”

“Thank you, Mother,” the child queen said. “Is there anything I might do for him?”

“You have enough on your hands dear,” Abi said lightly.

“His family?” the child queen asked. She went to put a warm hand on Sam and Delphie’s shoulders.

“They are being cared for,” Abi said.

The child queen nodded her head.

“I should like to see him again,” the child queen said.

“You will,” Abi said.

“Thank you, Mother,” the child queen said.

She gave Abi a nod before moving toward her sister.

“As for you three …” the child queen said. “This is going to stop. Things are going to be different around here.”

Denver Cereal continues on Monday…

Chapter Five Hundred and ten : The fourth fairy queen (part five)


(part five)

“I hate those fairies,” Jill said. “I swear, when I get home I’m going to end our connection with them — for now and forever. Those … bastards!”

Hedone grinned at Jill.

“What?” Jill asked.

“You can do that,” Hedone said. “But it’s unlikely.”

“I will do it!” Jill said. “You have no idea what I’m capable of.”

Hedone’s grin shifted to a laugh. Jill jammed her fork into the wedge of chocolate cheesecake. She took a bit and purred with joy. She ate a few more bites before shaking her head.

“Oh fuck, you’re right,” Jill said with a sigh. Jill shook her head. “I’m so weak!”

“You are not weak,” Hedone said. In a gesture that was pure-Heather, Hedone reached out and grabbed Jill’s arm. “You’ve always known that this is who Jacob is. You cannot keep him from what he was born to do, any more than he can keep you from what you were born to do.”

“What was I born to do?” Jill asked, ruefully. “Be a slave to fairies? Birth children like a cow?”

“To love well, heal often, laugh generously, and push the magnificent around you to achieve their greatness,” Hedone said with a nod. “Before you say that you’re not magnificent, your magnificence awakens the latent magnificence in others. That is how it works.”

Unsure of what to say to the goddess that was her friend, Jill started to cry. Hedone would never dare to take this awakening away from Jill by placating or soothing her emotions. Instead, the goddess held onto Jill’s arm as she cried. When her storm has passed, Jill looked into Hedone’s face.

“I should get back,” Jill said.

“Time bends,” Hedone said. “Please. Stay as long as you need.”

“I’m okay,” Jill said. “How is Jacob now?”

Hedone looked off into the near distance. She was silent for a moment before her eyes flicked to Jill.

“Resting,” Hedone said. “Safe.”

Jill nodded.

“Do you need to stay here?” Jill asked. “Can you come home with me?”

“Of course,” Hedone said.

Jill closed her eyes for the briefest moment. When she opened them again, she was lying in her own bed. She rolled over to where Jacob usually slept. She pressed his pillow to her face and took a deep smell.

“Come home to me, Jacob Marlowe,” she whispered.

She got out of bed and checked the time. Even though it seemed like she had been in Olympia for hours, she had returned a minute before her alarms went off. She turned off the alarm and her cell phone. Her watch went off. The door to their bedroom opened.

“Oh good,” Anjelika said as she entered the room. “I was waiting for you to wake.”

“Mom,” Jill said.

Jill got out of bed to hug her mother.

“I was instructed to take the children back to my house,” Anjelika said. “Of course, Paddie had already invited Katy to his house.”

“Why?” Jill asked. “I mean, you’re welcome to see them any time and have them over but …”

“Just to give you a little space,” Anjelika said. “There’s really nothing worse than waiting for a loved one to return, especially from Olympia.”

Surprised, Jill looked at her mother.

“You know,” Jill said.

“I was informed,” Anjelika said.

Jill gave a quick nod and got out of bed. She was halfway to the bathroom when her mother spoke.

“He did a great thing, Jill,” Anjelika said. “Not that it really matters.”

Jill looked at her mother for a moment before going into the bathroom.

Jill’s father was a Titan. Her mother had spent her entire life wondering if her husband would return to her. More than once, her mother had thought that he was lost forever.

That’s what it means to love someone who is magnificent.

Jill nodded to herself. She washed her face and left the bathroom. In the loft, she found Katy and Paddie getting ready to stay at Paddie’s parents’ home for the night. Tanesha and Sandy arrived carrying bottles of wine and more cheesecake. Heather arrived with a warm pizza. The four women settled in to wait out the night.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

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