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Friday, 29 January 2010

UCF #2: A Midnight Meeting


It was just after midnight when Twinkle slipped out of the kitchen’s postern door, down the steps and into the courtyard. The sounds of drunken revelry from her UCF induction party drifted down through the castle’s open windows, but Twinkle knew she needed to keep a clear head and so had drunk only one glass of Marigold nectar.

It was a clear night, stars saluted her name and the echo of a new crescent moon hung like quicksilver against black velvet as Twinkle crept along under the courtyard wall.

The dark hours were Twinkle's favourite time, alive with a celestial splendour she would often stare at for hours, lost in her own thoughts. She felt a deep sadness for the Big Folk who saw only a fraction of that beauty, and for whom the moon was but a fleeting visitor for much of the time. Her race, like all magical creatures were, she thought, truly blessed as they were able to see the full majesty of the stars and the silvery visual echos of the moon which trailed across the night sky long after She had passed on her nightly journey.

No sense in flying such a short distance she thought, especially with the noise her wing beats would make, easily detectable by the sensitive hearing of the guards. She’d never quite understood why the Big Folk apparently couldn’t hear fairies in flight when to her, Fairy Flight made much the same noise as the buzzing of a bumblebee on the wing.

Gripping tightly the small, hessian-wrapped package in her hand, Twinkle skirted round the margins of the courtyard, dodging from one patch of shadow to the next until she reached a small, arched door on the far side.

The storeroom door swung open easily on oiled hinges, though the Creak Charm made Twinkle start, it sounded awfully loud against the silence at this hour. Slipping quickly inside, Twinkle carefully eased the door closed, then waited a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the darkness.

‘Pssst!’ she whispered, ‘Where are you?’

Silence.

‘Oh, great,’ Twinkle muttered under her breath, ‘Now where the…’

‘Here,’ hissed a voice, ‘Over here.’

Twinkle picked her way round piles of sacks and boxes towards the back of the storeroom. Rounding a particularly precarious stack of barrels she came face to face with the object, or more accurately objects, of her search.

‘We thought you weren’t coming,’ whispered Swazzle, while Pogmorton shot a filthy look in Twinkle’s direction.

Twinkle, judging her timing to perfection, swatted the filthy look out of the way, sending it spinning off into the darkness where it connected with something immoveable, and expired with a soft squeak accompanied by a faint smell of farts.

‘That’s quite enough of your Pixie magic,’ said Twinkle angrily, ‘I came as soon as I could.’

‘Don’t mind him,’ soothed Swazzle, ‘he’s still got a touch of heartburn from those candy cane bullets of yours.’

‘You’re a fine one to talk,’ interrupted Pogmorton, ‘you were saying only a minute ago how you still had a blinding headache.’

‘I know, I know,’ said Swazzle raising a hand, ‘It’s only because I’m a bit out of practice.’

He turned towards Twinkle’s puzzled expression, ‘That Glamour we had to use takes a bit out of you, and having to part the two hemispheres of my brain at that speed is enough to give anyone a headache.’

‘Never mind the explanations,’ insisted Pogmorton, rounding on Twinkle, ‘Have you brought it?’

‘Yes, it’s here,’ replied Twinkle, handing the small package to the Pixie.

‘Everything go alright on your end?’ said Swazzle, fishing around in his pocket.

‘Yes, thanks,’ Twinkle grinned, ‘I’m in!’

‘Here,’ said Swazzle, shoving something into Twinkle’s still outstretched hand.

‘What are these?’ she said, looking curiously at the two small spheres resting in her palm.

Pogmorton sighed, ‘You really do have a lot to learn. Shove ‘em in the furnace instead of our bodies, they’ll leave enough Essence of Pixie behind, just in case anyone wants to check if we really have been disposed of.’ He looked pointedly at Swazzle, ‘We really ought to be going.’

‘Oh, yes. Right,’ said Swazzle and, accompanied by two faint popping sounds, Swazzle and Pogmorton disappeared before Twinkle’s eyes.

‘Thank you,’ she called softly after them before slipping out of the storeroom and creeping purposefully in the direction of the furnace room. As she stole towards it, Twinkle couldn’t help but wonder what the Pixies could possibly have wanted with the contents of that package.

[Author's note: I have re-written a couple of paragraphs towards the beginning of this story as a result of the kind email I received from Tim VanSant, who quite rightly pointed out the inaccuracy relating to the moonphase as I had originally written it. In correcting this, I hit upon an idea which, I hope, adds a little more depth and colour to the way fairies perceive our world. Thanks Tim!]



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29 comments:

Sulci Collective said...

Nice touch feigning their own incineration.

My only suggestion would be instead of the 'stars twinkling' Twinkle as it were, I'd offer "stars saluted her name".

marc nash

Sam said...

Sulci Collective - Marc, I salute you sir! Thanks so much for your comment, and I totally agree. In a bit of a rush this week, and I wasn't happy with that bit either, just couldn't think of a replacement for "twinkling." I have ammended the story as you suggest, and it's much better for it. :)

Amy J Taylor said...

I like this little character...I'd never thought how loud faries ought to be in flight!

I look forward to hearing more of Twinkle! :)

mazzz in Leeds said...

"skirted round the margins of the courtyard" -- I liked this, very well put.

The whacking of the nasty look was ACE :-)

Marilyn said...

Nice little pixie story. I love these characters. :)

Cascade Lily said...

Double crossing, triple crossing, shooting dirty looks, Marigold nectar - gadzooks! LOL Like I said last time, I love the idea of a UCF :)

phonelady said...

i have said it a million times and I will say it again you missed your calling my friend you should have been a writer .

Julie (Okami) said...

Cool, I like it.

One question, can a crescent moon and a new moon be the same?

Laura Eno said...

Having to swat a filthy look away...love these details. :) Hmm, she's protecting them now...
Nice cliffhanger there. Now I want to know what's in the package they took!

Eric J. Krause said...

Good story! The interaction between the pixies was terrific!

Erin Cole said...

Nice little fantasy with a funny end. Loved the names, and somehow, I had a feeling Twinkle was up to no good.

Laura Eno said...

I just have to butt in here and say that you haven't missed your calling at all...you ARE a writer. Most writers start when they are older and rarely do they support themselves solely by writing. Writers need day jobs to eat unless they're Stephen King. :)

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Lovely story. The names were fun, especially Pogmorton. And, marigold nectar? that must be some strong stuff, my dad planted those to ward off critters - a little strong smelling.

Very clever details and love the mystery with the package! want to hear more.

Emma Newman said...

I *love* the filthy look bit, and the way it expired was just comic gold. I giggled - nay guffawed - out loud when I read that! Great stuff!

Karen from Mentor said...

"Pogmorton shot a filthy look in Twinkle’s direction"

hee hee hee. Loved the names, loved the literal puns.

very fun!!

Karen :0)

Marisa Birns said...

Still in love with this fantastical world!

And thanks for the tip. Marigold nectar if I want to keep a clear head, got it!

Will wait patiently to find out what's in that package.

Deanna Schrayer said...

Sam, I cracked up at her swatting the look - that was fantastically imaginative thinking. I absolutely love Twinkle and can't wait to find out what's next!

CJ Hodges MacFarlane said...

I, too, loved the swatting of the filthy look - charmed me to bits! Excellent.. Can't wait for more - there will be more, right??

Cecilia Dominic said...

Do I even want to know what "essence of pixie" smells like if dirty looks have the odor of farts? Very entertaining, and the little details make the world work.

CD

Michelle said...

!!Pixies!! that's a great story

Josie said...

Love your dialogue and the little touches like "swatting away a filthy look". I want to know what was in the package. Your description of the dark hours and Fairy vision is beautiful.

I noticed you said on Twitter that you have the next instalment already written... I'm off to nick a Tardis so I can read it now ;-)

Laurita said...

This is an intriguing little alternate world you have created. Love your characters and dialogue. The whole idea of fighting fairies and tricky pixies is thrilling. :)

Estrella Azul said...

This was so intriguing! Love Twinlke and you imagination of her!

Draco Torre said...

More great Twinkle. More depth is a nice follow to the punch of the first.
-David G Shrock

ganymeder said...

I found the characters quite interesting. I especially loved the detail "Twinkle, judging her timing to perfection, swatted the filthy look out of the way, sending it spinning off into the darkness where it connected with something immoveable, and expired with a soft squeak accompanied by a faint smell of farts." I just never associated with fairies with farts for some reason. :)

Nice work.

Melissa said...

Was so excited to see the pixies back. I love this world you've created. Could immerse myself in it for hours (write more! ;)

Sam said...

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments on this week's story. I really appreciate the feedback.

A couple of things to pick up on...

Julie (Okami) - I was using an old definition of a new moon, being the first visible crescent of the Moon after conjunction with the Sun. That said, your comment and the lovely email from Tim VanSant got me thinking and I re-worded that part of the story as a result.

Anne Tyler Lord, Marisa Birns, Deanna Schrayer, CJ Hodges MacFarlane, Melissa - There will indeed be more from the Pixies, hopefully this Friday, so don't forget to tune in!

ganymeder - Apologies if that part of the story wasn't clear, it's the Pixies who are associated with farts and such, fairies would have no truck with such smelly things. :)

Thanks again everyone - another installment coming soon.

Kim Batchelor said...

I, too, love the swatting of "the look" and what became of it. I had to read it twice to understand what was being swatted having originally thought it might be a typo. Otherwise, fun fairy lore and interesting detail with the sound of their flying.

I did feel as if I was missing something between the first story and the second. Were they meant to be read as a series at this point?

On to three...

Sam said...

Kim - You're quite right, originally this was suppsoed to be a sequel (kinda) more from the Pixies POV, just to tie up loose ends. I should have known!

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