Wild Card #4

This assignment wasn’t even for creative writing, but I wanted to include it here because I really ended up loving it. In my English class, we have a notebook full of responses to prompts that my teacher gives us at the beginning of class. Because it’s the end of the school year, we had to flesh out a story based on a prompt response for our writing portfolio. I took a basic prompt, and me being me, turned it into a story about a fae creature in Los Angeles. The original writing was pretty awkward and stilted, but I noticed it had potential. It ended up being decently creepy, and that’s something I really love in a story. 

Freedom, Freely Given

The sun shone through her gauzy curtains, making her eyes blink open. It was hot already in her little room, and her thick blanket wasn’t helping. She sighed, lifting her cat off of her chest and stood up, feet touching the cool wooden floors. She walked to the bathroom, putting her wild hair up with a scrunchie and rubbing her eyes.

She frowned, looking at her face more closely. Her eyes were still black, and her teeth were still pointed fangs. She sighed, looking at her cat.

“Why must this be so hard for me, Stellaluna?”

Stellaluna responded with a scratchy “mew” and wandered down the hallway.

She got out an unmarked spray bottle and spritzed her face, muttering incantations softly to her reflection. She watched as her eyes changed to the acceptable human form, and her teeth flattened. She shook the bottle, noting that there wasn’t much left. She’d have to make more later tonight.

She padded along the hallway, the light gradually growing stronger as the sun rose. She walked into the kitchen and took out breakfast for both her and the cat.  She was having some fruit, while the cat always insisted on cheese.

“You know, cheese upsets your stomach,” she said, just as she told the cat every morning.

The cat pretended not to understand her. This too was tradition.

 

The shop was hot and muggy, even with all the fans on as high as the plants would let her. They often didn’t like to be blown around. She shined crystals, fanned herself with some old receipt paper, and eventually had to change into just a flowy skirt and a light cotton shirt. Her hot feet stayed bare, but this wasn’t unusual. Stellaluna flopped around, planting herself in front of a fan until she moved her, meowing indignantly every time. They both agreed, it was too hot. This kind of hot brought trouble.

Trouble seemed to be in the form of a woman on the sidewalk, pacing around outside the store. She had been at it for what seemed like an hour, but she never came in. She would give the shop quick looks, and then glance away as if she was afraid. She wrinkled her brow in confusion, the woman shouldn’t be afraid of the outside. It just looked like a normal hippie crystal and herb shop. Those were at home in this city.

The hot winds picked up, blowing in dark clouds that billowed menacingly. The sand from the beach beat against the outside of the building, and the woman pacing there. She finally took a breath and walked in.

She pretended not to have noticed the woman’s strange struggle, and looked up innocently from her book when the little bell above the door happily chimed.

“How may I help you?”

The woman glanced around nervously. She had a bruise on her cheek she’d tried to cover with makeup, and a few more on her arms. “I’m looking for a favor.”

She raised her eyebrows. Mortals didn’t often know to ask her for favors directly, she usually had to pull it out of them, freely given or otherwise.

“What do you offer me in return?” She stopped using her “dealing with mortals” voice, and the woman jumped as it dropped unnaturally low for a mortal woman.

The woman took a breath, choosing her words carefully. She obviously knew what she was doing. “I can offer nothing but broken bones, suffering, and tears. And I have this,” she said as she reached into her purse. There was a broken ceramic unicorn in sorry shape, and this she offered.

“This was my favorite thing in my possession. I know you don’t usually accept things if they’re broken, but he… he threw it when he found out I had been talking around and looking for something like you.” Her voice sounded afraid and sorrowful. She knew that she wasn’t human, the woman had done what appeared to be extensive research.

She quickly put it together. The bruises, the scratches, the hesitancy in her demeanor, her skittish appearance and way of moving, and now the broken favorite object. She could not accept anything from this woman, not if she was asking what she assumed.

“What do you ask for?”

The woman took a breath, and steadied herself against the counter. “I ask for my freedom. I could not get it on my own. I want to forever be free.”

She smiled. “How would you like me to free you? I can do any number of things, transport you away, remove any memory of you, or some things decidedly less pleasant to your captor.”

“I’d like something painful, but I want him to remember me. Then I want him to suffer, knowing what he has done.”

She smiled wider, eyes flashing. In her excitement, she tried to keep her illusion up.

“Good. I cannot accept anything from you, this service is freely given. I will not owe you anything, you will not owe me anything.”

The woman nodded, eyes hopeful. “May I ask for one more thing? I’ve heard so many stories about you… may I see you for what you are?”

She was taken aback. “You are not afraid of what I can do?”

“It is better to respect what you do not understand than fear it.”

“You are wise, wise beyond most that foolishly come demanding favors. I will show you, and then I will have your captor taken care of within the week. I will send for you when I have need.”

She motioned for the woman to stand back, coming out from behind the counter. She relaxed, closed her eyes, and felt the effects of her spell wearing off. She let her teeth sharpen, hey eyes return to black, and her hair set alight with purple flames. Her fingers sharpened into claws, and her legs lengthened unnaturally, making her tower over the battered woman. The woman took a step back, and gazed at her in awe.

“You have what you wish. Return when I send for you, but know you will not wait long for your freedom.”

The woman nodded, bowed slightly, and left.

 

Police Report

Case No. 167

Reporting Officer: Officer James Alvero

Incident: Man found dead in his apartment

Details of Incident: At 2:00 PM yesterday a woman called 911 reporting that her husband had been killed while she was shopping with a friend. The friend confirmed this, she was not at home. The man was found on his back, with slashes across his face and chest. His hands were cut off, laying next to him. The cuts looked clean, made with an incredibly sharp knife. The man had no enemies, no suspects at this time. A note was found by the body in jagged handwriting reading “You are free”. No fingerprints on the note or at the crime scene. No evidence of a forced entry. No leads.

Additional Details: Detective Samson talked to the people the wife was last seen with. No friends know anything. She was seen entering a crystal shop downtown nervously a week before the murder, but the woman running it was very helpful, informing us she was a healer who helped with anxiety. Would explain the nervous entry. No reason to suspect any friends or the healer.

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