For 2022, I’ve been wanting to write more ‘creature features’ and generally improve my short story writing. My partner got me a Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual for my birthday so I came up with the idea of writing a story every week based on a different creature from that. Hope you enjoy!
All Aaryn wants to do while his mom is out is play some video games, but his kid sister Emilee won’t let up about some stupid fairies in the bottom of their garden. Even though he’s sick of Emilee’s overactive imagination, the reality could be much worse.
“Aaryn! Aaryn, there’s fairies in the bottom of the garden!”
Rolling his eyes, Aaryn pretended his headphones blocked out Emilee’s voice. If he ignored her, maybe she’d get bored and go away. As she exploded into the living room, he kept his eyes fixed on the screen of his Nintendo Switch.
“Aaryn, there’s fairies! Real ones! At the bottom of the garden!” Emilee said.
Emilee, four years old, wore a sparkling fairy dress complete with wings. She’d covered her face though with a smirking Wonder Woman mask. Circling around Aaryn on the couch, she jabbed at his sides until he looked up. Aaryn was twelve but he was Emilee’s only sibling. She always bugged him, always wanting to hang out with him. Aaryn did his best to pretend she didn’t exist.
“Aaryn, this is real!” Emilee grabbed Aaryn’s headphones, pulling them off. “There’s fairies, come and see!”
“Emilee, that’s baby stuff! Leave me alone,” Aaryn said.
“It’s not! It’s not baby stuff, it’s real! They said they’d give us gold, and fairy dust, anything we want if you just come and see!”
“Mom said I’m in charge while she’s out, I’m telling you to leave me alone!”
“Please! Please, please, please! Just come see, they wanted to meet you and said they’d give us gold and things!”
Aaryn could only see Emilee’s eyes through the gaps in the Wonder Woman mask, pleading with him. Sighing theatrically, he paused his game and tossed it aside along with his headphones.
“Why are you wearing that mask?”
“The fairies told me to wear it when I came to find you!”
“Fairies told you, right. Your voice sounds weird, have you got something in your mouth?”
“No! Come see, please! Come see the fairies! It’ll only be a minute!”
“Only a minute, I come see the fairies and you’ll leave me alone for a while?”
“Promise! Come see!”
Emilee took her brother by the hand and dragged him out of the living room. Aaryn shook his head at her dumb dress in combination with the Wonder Woman mask. He knew it had taken his parents a long time to have a second kid. He wondered if they were closer in age whether Emilee would still be so annoying. Wondered when she would grow out of wanting him to play with her every minute of the day.
Their backyard was long and narrow, sloping down to the back fence. Jungles of leaves and vines filled the gardens to either side and around the bottom of the yard. Aaryn and Emilee’s dad liked to spend his weekends tending to the plants.
“Where are the fairies, Em?” Aaryn said.
“Down here! Come on!”
Emilee pulled Aaryn by the hand all the way down to the bottom of the garden. The furthest end of their backyard was particularly dark and shady, thick with plants. Aaryn used to play explorer in among them when he was a kid. Everything felt unusually quiet, no insects and no birds singing in the trees.
“How long do I have to play this stupid game to get you to leave me alone for a while?” Aaryn said.
Suddenly, something whined past Aaryn’s ear. Wings buzzed, like a massive insect. Aaryn automatically raised a hand to swat it away but it was already gone. Turning, he saw a blue blur disappear into some of the ferns. His heart started beating a little too hard, startled.
“What was that?” Aaryn said.
“The fairies! I told you!” Emilee insisted from behind her Wonder Woman mask.
“Em, stop being a baby! There’s no such thing as-,”
“This is him?” A voice interrupted, like an adult man but small and warbly.
Something buzzed in the air and hung behind Aaryn until he turned. His eyes grew wide. Hovering above the grass was a tiny man, less than fifteen centimetres tall. His skin was pale blue and glowed faintly in the shade. Skinny, practically skeletal, he stayed in the air using a pair of oversized dragonfly wings that were almost as long as he was tall.
“This is my big brother, Aaryn!” Emilee said.
“What, what is this?” Aaryn said.
A second fairy appeared beside the first, from the garden to Aaryn’s right. It hovered there, buzzing, but struggled to stay still. They kept scratching at their arms and the sides of their neck. Both fairies’ clothes were made from rags, as if from stolen or thrownaway human clothing.
“Has he got it? Has he got the good stuff?” The second fairy asked.
“Is this some kind of trick?” Aaryn said.
A third fairy appeared on Aaryn’s left. He reached out as if to touch the one in the middle, to see if it was really a hologram or something in spite of how real it looked. The fairy flitted away before he could touch it, fast as a striking snake. Aaryn felt the breeze of its wings on his hand, confirming its physical presence.
“He looks old enough,” the third fairy said.
“That’s right, he’s got all his grownup teeth!” Emilee said.
“What?” Aaryn said.
“Don’t you get it? They’re tooth fairies, silly!” Emilee said. “They said they’d give us gold coins and fairy dust, and all kinds of stuff we want!”
“Yeah, that’s right, gold and fairy dust and whatever,” the first fairy said insincerely.
Aaryn didn’t like this, once he’d gotten over the shock. The fairies didn’t look right, they looked kind of sick. They squirmed and itched. Bones pressed against their faintly glowing skin. Tiny bags hung under tiny eyes. They looked like the homeless people his parents told him not to talk to when they went into the city. More buzzing came from the gardens surrounding them, a lot more.
“What do you want?” Aaryn said.
“Don’t worry, Aaryn!” Emilee said.
Emilee gripped the bottom of her mask and pulled it back over her head. The mask the fairies had told her to wear, Aaryn remembered. Doing so revealed Emilee’s mouth, split wide open. But instead of his baby sister’s gap toothed grin, all Aaryn could see were bloody gums. Red drool leaked down Emilee’s chin and splattered the front of her fairy dress.
“Don’t worry! After the first few times, it hardly hurts at all!”
Sean: Short and sweet, I’m not sure if pixies (other than being a really great band) are all that different from fairies or not. All I know is that the idea for this one hit me like a bolt from the blue the second I flicked to that page. Had to write it out immediately, so I’m hoping it’s good enough to make up for the pixies / fairies cheat.
Next Week’s Inspiration: Death Dog
Keep your eyes on my website for more in this series, I fully intend to release one every week across 2022 – totally free. And for more updates you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.