Fairy Tales of Cliffside: Volume One
By Corey Daggett
Chapter 3: Mother's Wrath
“Bye, honey.” Blaire said, kissing Malcolm in the doorway. Just as yesterday, she was wearing her utterly sexy business suit. “Good luck with your writing.”
“Bye. See you tonight.” he said. She hoisted her bag over her shoulder and clopped away in her high heels. Malcolm waved until she had disappeared down the stairwell. He closed the door and turned to Arthur, who stood behind him like a monument. Malcolm clapped his hands together and rubbed them. “Well, my friend, time to start writing.” Arthur didn’t seem to care about anything but food. Malcolm looked at him, disappointed. “Fine, I’ll feed you first. Then you better get excited about my book.” Once Arthur was satisfied, Malcolm sat down at the writing desk, clapped his headphones on, and began writing.
He’d never written so fast. The words were coming easily. Everything was pictured in his mind so clearly. It wasn’t hard to write what had actually happened to him. Of course he changed things around so as not to loose the shroud of fiction, but for the most part, he was writing a short story about his experiences from yesterday. More to help him remember forever what had happened and not let the years steal his memories, but also because he thought it might actually be a story worth writing.
Around lunchtime, he took a break for his daily trip to the coffee shop. He got dressed and began the enjoyable walk downtown. Thoughts fluttered around in his mind the whole trip.
“Afternoon, Mr. Birshire.” Tabby greeted.
“Afternoon. I’ll have the usual.”
She began preparing his drink. “You seem chipper today.”
“Things are going well for me. It’s a beautiful day. So yeah, I guess I am chipper.”
“Book coming along?” she asked.
“Sure is. Maybe I’ll even have something to publish this month. We’ll see. I’ll even give you a free copy.” He gave her a wink and a smile. The same wink and smile that had melted Blaire’s defenses in college.
Tabby giggled. “Thanks, Mr. Birshire. I appreciate it. If I ever write something, I’ll give you freebies, too.”
“I’ll look forward to it.” He sipped his drink. “See you tomorrow.” He strolled out of the coffee shop feeling like the coolest guy in existence.
He enjoyed the crisp air and sipping ice coffee on the way home. The weather had been perfect the last couple days and he loved soaking it in. He finished his drink while still a few minutes from home.
Suddenly and without warning, it hit. A cry from his bladder like he’d never experienced. It was as if his entire drink had rushed through his system in mere seconds. It was painful and agonizing. With no warning, his pleasurable walk had become a frantic search for a bathroom. Good for him, he was standing in front of the grocery store. Trying not to draw attention, he hurried into the store, tossing his empty cup in the trash on the way in.
Of course, the bathroom was in the back. It was always in the back when you needed it most. He hurried a little faster once he had the isle to himself. Past the beer, the eggs, cheeses, and yogurt. By the time he reached the bathrooms, he burst through the door and tossed open the stall. He couldn’t unzip fast enough. Finally, after what seemed hours, blessed relief came. Doing his business had never been so satisfying.
Once finished, Malcolm opened the stall door to leave. As he walked through the opening, something odd happened. He didn’t come out in the bathroom. He suddenly found himself standing outside. Bewildered, he looked around. It seemed he had come out behind the store where the loading docks and dumpsters were. There had been no whoosh of light or sound effects like a Star Trek transporter. One moment he was walking out of a stall, the next he was standing here.
Yukina stood before him. Her face was stern. Behind her stood Slipha, arms folded.
Malcolm let out a breath of relief. “Oh, hi Yukina.”
She thrust her hand out at him. A power snatched him, like a great hand, pushing him back through the air and pinning him against the brick wall of the store, his feet dangling five feet from the ground. His breath leapt from him when his back hit the wall.
“Where are they?!” Yukina screamed.
Now Malcolm was breathless and colorless. Yukina no longer appeared the happy, peaceful fairy she’d been last night. She was someone to fear.
“What?” he squeaked.
“You know damn well what I mean!”
She squeezed her hand in the air. The invisible hand pinning Malcolm to the wall began to imitate her gesture, squeezing his entire body like a putty doll. He couldn’t catch his breath or move. It began to hurt like a powerful bear hug. As the grip tightened, a smirk grew on Slipha’s face.
“You were right not to trust this man.” she said to her sister. “Squeeze him tight enough and he’ll tell us.”
They both began walking closer to him. He didn’t know what had made them so mad and he couldn’t talk if he wanted to. His lungs couldn’t expand to catch air.
“I’m only asking one more time. Where are they?”
“Probably took them home and stuck them in jars like lightning bugs.” Slipha added. “Keep them around for entertainment until they starve to death. That’s how humans are, after all.”
Malcolm shook his head. His face was turning red. After a moment of thought, Yukina loosed her grasp. Malcolm tumbled to the asphalt. He lay on his side sucking air in and out between coughs. Yukina marched to him and knelt down. She grabbed his face with one hand and pulled it up so that he was forced to look at her. “Kara and Autumn disappeared this morning. I think you know where they are.”
Now that he’d caught his breath, Malcolm did his best to answer. His words still came out weak. “I don’t know... what you’re talking about. I... haven’t seen them.” She let go of his face.
“Don’t believe him.” Slipha chimed in. “Lying comes naturally to them.”
“I’m not lying!” he shouted. “You searched my thoughts last night, remember?”
“You’re right, I did.”
“Don’t let him trick you. He could’ve hidden his true intentions or schemed it afterward.”
“What about the shield?” Malcolm protested. It was the only thing he could think of to defend himself. “I couldn’t get in if I tried.”
Yukina studied him before speaking. “Kara and Autumn normally leave in the morning to look for berries or play in the forest. I didn’t think anything of it until Slipha came to me and said she saw you wandering the forest. When we searched, we couldn’t find them or you.”
Malcolm pointed to Slipha, suddenly enraged. “She’s lying! I’ve been in town all day!”
Slipha interjected. “He saw them alone in the forest and lured them away. Kara and Autumn wouldn’t leave the forest on their own, they’re too scared. You shouldn’t have left his memories intact, sister.”
“We’ll see.” she said. It looked as if the rage was beginning to subside and her level head was returning. She began reaching for his chest with her glowing hand.
“Don’t do that again!” Slipha called. “It’s going to corrupt your mind.”
“Don’t you think they’re more important to me than that!” she snapped over her shoulder at Slipha, who didn’t have a response. Yukina touched Malcolm’s chest with her glowing hand, this time not asking for permission. She closed her eyes and breathed in just as before. She lowered her hand and sat back on her knees. Once again, Malcolm saw her eyes moving behind her eyelids as if she were dreaming. But they weren’t her dreams. They were his.
“Hmm.” was her only utterance. She opened her eyes. “You know nothing about his, do you?”
Malcolm quickly shook his head to confirm. He didn’t know anything and didn’t want to incur mother’s wrath again.
Yukina stood. Once again, she reached out to help Malcolm to his feet. He accepted and got up. “Slipha...” she asked. “You said you saw him in the forest? Is this true?”
She didn’t answer right away. “Well... I didn’t exactly see him. I saw someone moving in the forest, but it was too dark to make out. I just assumed...”
“Don’t assume anything.” Yukina said, not letting her finish. She turned her attention back to Malcolm. “I apologize for jumping to conclusions. Are you hurting?”
“A little. Mostly my chest.”
“I’ll heal you. Stand still.” She closed her eyes and pointed both glowing hands at him, leaving a few inches between him and them. Within seconds, he felt no more pain. That same hot oil poured over his body, which felt heavenly. To him, it made up for the misunderstanding. Yukina lowered her hands. “Better?”
“Very much.” he said.
“Good. I can’t use much more magic. I’m already feeling spent.”
“I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have asked if...”
“No, no. I wanted to make up for my mistake. Please forgive me.” She patted him on the chest. Her gentleness had returned, which made Malcolm feel much better. “But now we have a problem. The girls are still missing and we have no leads. Perhaps we should go home and make sure they haven’t come back. We can regroup from there.”
“What should I do?” Malcolm asked. “I want to help, too.”
Yukina sighed. “You may come home with us. We need all the help we can get.”
He didn’t let it out, but his inner Malcolm leapt for joy. He was going back!
“Slipha and I will fly home. Come to the place by the road where we talked.” Their wings began buzzing as fast as a bumble bee’s. Their feet lifted from the ground.
“Wait.” Malcolm called. “Don’t you have a spell to make me fly?”
Slipha let out a short laugh, as if he was an idiot for asking. “No. Better start walking.” They took off into the sky like rockets, loosing visibility soon after. Malcolm looked around at the empty back parking lot of the store, then began walking.
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