Repercussions is the fifteenth installment in my on-going flash fiction serial, The UCF Stories. If you'd like to read the story from the beginning, please go here.
Having at last captured the Wyrm, Botchett, Swazzle and Pogmorton are preparing to return with it to the mortal realm when they come under attack by a fairy patrol...
Hastily dismantling his apparatus, Botchett grabbed his backpack and pulled from it a three-barrelled shotgun-type contraption. Pumping a round into the shotgun's chamber, Botchett loosed off a shot as another five fairies, flying in a “V” formation, appeared close behind the first. A green-glowing pine cone arced through the air, exploding with a terrific bang amid the fairy flight. One of the fairies clutched her face and spiralled into the ground.
'By the god's balls, Botchett! Where did you learn to do that?' Swazzle was amazed.
Botchett laughed. 'I wasn't always a Wyrm catcher, bonny lad.' Turning to the fairies, he roared, 'Howay, ye little winged bastards, come and get it! Pilgrim's back, and there's gonna be some dying this fine morning, like.'
As the fairies began to return fire, rounds from their banshee rifles screaming overhead, Swazzle and Pogmorton joined the fray, loosing off shots from their wands while Botchett deafened them with the reports of his shotgun. Two more fairies went down under their combined fire before a banshee rifle round took Swazzle's hat clean off his head. Swazzle's black look by return, flew unerringly towards its mark and began to claw the fairy's face off; she was still desperately trying to pull it off her when she flew full tilt into a tree, her body landing with a sickening thud among its roots.
The remaining two fairies were by now adept at avoiding Botchett's shotgun blasts, and their fire was becoming dangerously accurate, so with Botchett holding onto the travelling box, Swazzle and Pogmorton grabbed him under the arms and dashed off in the direction of the portal, Delilah scampering along at their heels.
Tumbling back into the mortal realm, Swazzle, Pogmorton and Botchett ran up Hangman's Passage. As they reached the intersection with Gallows Close, Pogmorton skidded to a halt, motioning the others to do the same.
'What is it?' Swazzle whispered, flattening himself against the wall.
'Fairy,' Pogmorton pointed, 'In that tree in the churchyard.'
Swazzle whispered to Botchett to stay where he was with the travelling box while he and Pogmorton dealt with the problem. Seeing the grim determination on Swazzle's face, Botchett did not argue as the two Pixies blinked out of sight.
* * *
Twinkle was cold and stiff. She'd been hiding in the tree for hours, waiting for any sign of movement from within Goddess Rising. She knew the witch was in there, but there had been no indication she had gone anywhere near the book yet. It was up to Twinkle to stop her if she did, especially since the Pixies now had the walnut shell formerly entrusted to the keeping of that idiot Simeon. At least while the shell's contents were in his possession, no one would have suspected the awesome power it held.
Hunkering down against the trunk of the Beech tree, Twinkle pulled her cloak more tightly around her and tried to get comfortable. It was a lost cause. There was bound to be movement soon, she thought, then I can get out of here.
* * *
With a soft “pop,” Swazzle and Pogmorton blinked into existence next to one of the huge stone buttresses holding up the church wall. After checking their arrival had not been observed, Pogmorton gestured to Swazzle and they tiptoed quickly across to the base of the tree in which Twinkle was hiding.
'We need a diversion,' Pogmorton mouthed to Swazzle.
Swazzle winked and, working his throat as though he was retching, carefully spat something into his hand. Swazzle took a step back to check his aim, then lobbed the content of his hand gently up towards where Twinkle crouched.
At the top of its arc, and just behind Twinkle's head, Swazzle's larynx began to move. 'BOO!' it shouted, and the Pixies had to dive out of the way as Twinkle jumped, lost her footing and tumbled to the ground, fighting in vain to free her wings from the swaddling folds of her cloak before she hit the ground.
Twinkle landed at their feet with a thud, groaned and lay still. Swazzle deftly caught his voice box and stuffed it back into his mouth as Pogmorton bent over to see if Twinkle was badly injured, or worse.
'Out for the count,' he announced with satisfaction.
'Not dead then?' Swazzle squeaked, hands working to adjust his throat. He coughed then continued in his normal voice, 'It's Twinkle!'
'Aye, it is,' replied Pogmorton, 'And no, she's not dead, just unconscious. ' He clapped Swazzle on the back, 'Well done by the way, throwing your voice like that was perfect, just perfect.'
Swazzle bowed low, grinning. 'So, what do we do now?'
'Get Botchett and the Wyrm inside sharpish before she comes round.' With a soft pop they disappeared.
* * *
Master Jamieson's front door, referred to by the Pixies as the “tradesmen's entrance,” though not in Jamieson's presence, had barely closed behind Botchett when Twinkle moaned and slowly began to move, holding the back of her head as pain arced through her skull. She still wasn't sure exactly what had happened, but it smelled to her like a Pixie trick, and she strongly suspected which pixies were responsible.
Getting gingerly to her feet, Twinkle neatly folded her cloak and, after a few tentative flaps, took to the air in search of a better vantage point.