Didn’t think I’d put up another post today, but here we are with a late evening flash piece. This one is for a new contest I’ve come across courtesy of Stacy Overby over at This is Not Hitchhiker’s Guide. The rules are simple – look at the picture and write what comes to mind in 500 words or less. You can see the picture above – click the link to check out the prompt post & play!
It seems like the perfect setting to pick up The Deal, which is slowly winding down to a close. Just a post or two left before that story, or at least that leg of Emma’s journey, is done.
Here’s my response – enjoy!
“Escort them home, Aedan.”
If my father was surprised by the queen’s order, he didn’t let it show. Maybe it was lingering adrenaline from my encounter with the phoenix, or the ever-present panic when in the presence of the faerie queen, but her words put me on edge. Why would she have my dad take us home? Why give my parents the satisfaction of spending more time together?
Aedan bowed to the queen and I watched as he walked away from her and towards us. My mom took my hand in hers before moving to follow the faerie soldier back into the trees and away from the clearing with the queen and black elephant.
“So that’s it? She just lets us go that easy?” I waited until I could no longer see the queen through the trees before speaking.
Aedan laughed. “You think that was easy?”
It was the first time I’d seen him laugh, and it kind of annoyed me that it was yet another quality we shared.
“You were very brave, Emma. The queen won’t forget that.” She shot my father a look before continuing to speak. “While you’ve gotten us out this time, there’s no doubt she’ll try to get your loyalty again.”
“She’s right.” He’s suddenly more serious now, eyes contemplative. “The queen will be keeping an eye on you now that we can no longer shield you from her. You’re the only one of your kind – that makes you even rarer than the phoenix egg you brought her.”
“So what now then? I spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder?” We stopped walking, and I refused to look at either of them. Although we were still in Sídhe, our surroundings had changed a little. The forest grew lusher, a brighter green. Under our feet, the ground felt softer and there was a swamp-like pond some yards away.
“No – you live your life. It’s in the queen’s best interest to keep you as an ally rather than an adversary.” My mom looked to Aedan for confirmation. He nodded and she continued, “However, when she beckons, you have to answer.”
“If I don’t?”
“You don’t want to find out. This was a test – one you passed with flying colors.” There was pride in Aedan’s voice, and he looked at me the way fathers usually look at their kids after graduation. I found myself smiling despite my annoyance.
Catching myself before doing something like hugging him, I spoke, “I’ll keep that in mind.”
A moment later we were at my front door. The first thing I noticed was the layer of snow on the ground. How long were we gone? Would Malakai still be waiting?
They’re finally free of the queen, for now. Maybe she’ll pop up again later.
Friendly reminder: #TuesFlashFicTrain awaits! Check out the prompt and give it a go 🙂
As always, think happy thoughts!