Orel cursed with relief when they finally got a connection with the lost ship. The Glitter had not reported back after what should not have been more than a jaunt for gathering asteroids, which here were known to be rich in rare earth minerals.
“Orel, that you?”
“Yes. Why’s there only audio?” And bad at that, strange noise in the background.
“Camera’s smashed. The steering boosters firing at random and then cutting off entirely are a bigger problem. SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU!”
The noise was really too odd not to comment, and if the cursing was about that, it wasn't just interference... “Is that giggling?”
“God, Orel, you hear it, too?”
“What’s going on?” The relief in the voice on the other end of the connection was so great it turned gut-clenchingly disturbing.
“Glowy things, like huge fireflies. And they laugh. I thought I was going mad. Those last rocks, they were full of fairies. And gremlins.”
Based on a prompt by aldersprig ("Faeries in Space. :-)")
You'd like to hear a fairy tale from me? Really? Well, all right.
Many generations ago in a village in Kandral was a boy who thought he was smarter than he was. He went out into the woods without telling anyone, wanting to prove he could hunt on his own. Instead he got lost. His parents thought he was with his cousins, his cousins thought he was with his parents, so nobody missed him until night fell.
In the dark and with no idea where he was, he became very afraid. He called for help.
Someone arrived, a figure with skin and hair shining like a moon. It talked sweetly to the boy, until he was not afraid any more. The fae asked the boy to tell it about his family, in exchange for being led to a street, and got a lot of complaints how his parents liked his brothers and sisters, who he said picked on him, more, and no-one took him as seriously as he deserved.
"Ah, this is sad," said the fae, and nothing more.
They walked in silence until they reached a path. The boy recognised it after a moment.
"Here, take this," said the fae, and handed him a seed, big as a nut and shimmering golden. "Plant it somewhere near your pastures. It will grow into something wonderful. It will bring joy to your life."
The boy thanked the fae and ran home. He hid the seed, and it was a week later, after all the anger, relief and excitement about his disappearance and reappearance had worn off, that he snuck off and buried the seed in a hedge, a bit hidden. He did not want it out in the open, so he could be the one to "find" whatever would sprout.
He never saw the plant, because it grew much faster than he had thought, but much more hidden. Roots spread far, sending up shoots that the goats liked to eat. It did not harm the goats, but their milk turned to slow poison. Soon the boy's parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many of their neighbours fell sick, and died. The fae's poison never harmed the boy who had received the gift of getting rid of those he maligned.
When the story came out, the remaining people of the village decided they had to cleanse the area with fire to get rid of the plant. The boy, mad with grief and guilt, jumped into the flames, and burned to ashes.
What, you don't like it? So leave me alone about fairy tales. That's the kind of story about fairies that I know.
After weeks of searching, Mara had finally found the spirit pond. She knelt and recited the traditional verses that attracted the spirits. They communicated with each other, an echo of which tickled the human's mind, faint like sounds just at the edge of hearing.
She ended her invocation: "By the seekers' pact, I ask, grant me a wish."
What is your wish? the spirits asked in her thoughts.
"I want to be able to see the future. I-"
She perceived that the spirits did not want to hear her reasons. She didn't guess that they knew them already. They could see the thoughts of helping beloved people avoid death, and buried beyond those the wish to be special and respected. After a short exchange among themselves, the spirits agreed.
Very well. Their satisfied mood seemed benevolent to the human. You will have your wish when you wake up. Now sleep, child.
Making her tired enough to curl up on the spot was nothing. The actual magic would take a bit more effort.
On the ground of the slowly silting pond a stone egg waited to be found and cracked. It would be a huge surprise.
Archaeologists don't expect to dig up living people.
They're not so cute anymore when they decide to redecorate your garden, replacing tomatoes with nightshade, the plastic chairs with toadstools, and apples with dead fish - something about pretty glittering scales, my neighbour thinks. Or when they cut holes into your tyres to turn them into pixie nest boxes.
That's more than annoying, but then they ate my cat.
I'd been trying to get rid of the gluttonous fleabag for years, but it kept coming back. The pixies hadn't pissed into my briefcase, so it might turn out a good trade. Maybe even cheaper.
(This drabble sprang from an attempt at a six word story that went "Then the pixies ate my cat".)
Martha was a child when she saw a gnome for the first time. It was punting across a pond, sitting on an empty plastic bottle, and turned to face her for a moment. His eyes were sewn shut, and it seemed like he never had a mouth, with only a very small strip of blank skin under its nose.
At first she believed other people that she had imagined it, but over the years she saw more of its kind, usually one of a kind, sometimes two together. This did not happen so often that Martha could identify individuals, but often enough to notice there were differences in their faces, or just how bent their back was. The gnomes always ignored her, not like they did not notice her, but as if they could not possibly have any business with her, nor she with them.
She learned that people did not take her seriously when she talked about the gnomes, but since she wanted to know if anybody else saw them, she reduced her efforts to talking about more-things-between-heaven-and-earth spirituality, and only if someone else brought it up first. Mostly everything was shrugged off, and even those people who said they had seen something they could not explain never described it in any way like Martha's gnomes. She did not quite know if she should feel honoured, or worry that she was only imagining things.
When, after decades, she noticed that their habits seemed to change - she saw them less frequently, but when she did, they were in groups - she grew nervous, and talked about gnomes, ghosts and fairies more. It made sure that people who had known her all her life remembered the stories she used to tell.
When a dead body with its eyes and mouth sewn shut was found, they knew who would know about it. The old spinster obviously had lost her mind completely.
Evan stopped the car at the edge of a forest. He took a deep breath, relieved it would soon be done. After far too much haggling, lady Bogale had agreed - with far too many admonishments. The old huntress had just wanted to make herself bigger.
He looked at the slave he had bought free. Child-small and fragile beauty, it followed his example and got out.
When Evan took off the iron ring around its neck, it smiled for the first time. Those long, needle- sharp teeth ripped out Evan's throat easily, and the elf finally ran free again.