Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

Chapter Five Hundred and eleven : Fairy smackdown (part two)


(part two)

“You know this insolent child?” Queen Fand asked her voice filled with offense and rage.

“As do you,” Abi said. “You’ve all met before — on this planet and where you came from. You are sisters.”

“But she …she …” Queen Fand started. “Just look at her! I am beautiful and she …”

Abi smiled. The other fairy queens shook their heads.

“They don’t remember,” the child queen said. To Abi, she asked, “How is that possible?”

Shrugging, Abi shook her head.

“Where is …?” The child queen said a name that was unhearable.

“Above and in Olympia,” Abi said. “I am called ‘Abi’ in this time. He goes by ‘Gilfand.’”

“Olympia?” the child queen asked. “What do they want?”

“The fairy world is on the brink of war,” Abi said. “They are deciding whether to sanction the war or block it.”

The child queen gave Abi a long look before turning back to her sisters.

“A war?” The child queen’s voice was filled with indignant anger.

“It would not be the first,” Abi said.

“What have you been doing?” the child queen asked.

“How dare you judge us!” Queen Fand said. “You’ve been hiding out while we …”

“Enough,” the child queen said.

She held her hand out and Queen Fand stopped speaking.

“What would you recommend?” the child queen asked Abi.

“Why are you asking her?” Queen Shanti asked. “You should be asking us.”

The child queen spun in place.

“Until you have something worth saying, do be quiet,” the child queen said.

She took a step forward and then shook her head. With a snap of her fingers, two wooden chairs appeared. She gestured Abi to one. Abi glanced at Sam and Delphie.

“Why don’t you head up?” Abi asked. “There’s nothing you can do here.”

To upset to respond, Sam simply nodded. Abi sent Sam and Delphie to the cemetery above their heads. Abi sat down in the chair.

“Now, we are going to get a few things straight,” the child queen said.

“Who are you?” Queen Fand asked.

The child queen groaned.

“She really doesn’t know,” Abi said.

The child queen sighed. She looked at the three prostrate fairy queens before nodding.

“My name is …” the child queen said a word in ancient fairy.

The fairy queens blinked at the child queen for a moment. The child queen said their name in ancient fairy and pointed to the fairy queens in order. Shocked at the sound of their own names, the fairy queens fell still.

“What is my name in this time?” the child queen asked.

“Ember,” Abi said.

“I will call you by your modern names and you may call me ‘Ember,’” the child queen said. “But our real names stand. That is who and what we are.”

Ember looked at Abi.

“How did this happen?” Ember asked.

“Well …” Abi shook her head. She snapped her fingers and the fairy queens were sitting comfortably on the couch. The cat, Cleo, sauntered over to say hello to Ember. The child queen picked up the cat and put the cat on her lap. “It started after the last war …”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and eleven : Fairy smackdown (part one)


(part one)

“As for you three …” the child queen said. “This is going to stop. Things are going to be different around here.”

The child fairy queen stepped toward the three fairy queens. With each step, the child aged and grew into a tall thin woman wearing a crisp white linen shirt, fitted jeans, and functional shoes. While her hair grew to her waist, it remained white. Her skin browned to a light caramel and her eyes shifted to a light brown.

“First of all, what the hell is up with your clothing?” the child queen asked. “You look ridiculous — like little treasures to be set upon the shelf. You are fairies, not statues!”

“But …” Queen Fand said, lifting her head.

“Rather than bickering among yourselves and holding petty wars, you could ease the world’s suffering,” the child queen said. “Rather than dressing like little dolls and being waited on hand and foot, you could be out there spreading love and laughter.”

The child queen snorted.

“What do you know of suffering?” Queen Shanti managed to get to her knees. “I have been easing the world’s suffering for millennia while you’ve been hiding from the world in terror.”

Queen Shanti sheered and mock sniveled at the child queen.

“As they worship you!” the child queen said. “Ever think of getting out of your bullshit robes and poofy skirts to get to work to help?”

“People need someone to worship!” Queen Áthas said.

“People need leaders,” the child queen said. She pointed to Queen Áthas. “You used to lead ships of free men and women! Your name was legendary for the war you waged against the East India Trading Company. Imagine if your pirate friends saw you in this get up!”

Having no response, Queen Áthas blinked at the child queen.

“You mock me for hiding in fear,” the child queen said. “What have you been doing?”

The child queen walked toward them.

“Hiding in plain sight,” the child queen said. “We are fairies. We were placed here for a purpose! Not to war with each other. Not to compete with each other. That is not why we are here!”

The child queen looked at her fairy queen sisters. They snuck glances at each other in confusion. It was clear that these fairy queens had no idea what their purpose was.

“You don’t remember our purpose?” the child queen asked.

The child queen looked at Abi.

“How is that possible?” the child queen asked Abi.

“As you say, you’ve each been hiding,” Abi said.

Abi then said a word, clearly the child queen’s name, which sounded like she was clearing her throat. The child queen seemed to take the word as her name.

“You know this insolent child?” Queen Fand asked her voice filled with offense and rage.

Denver Cereal continue tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and ten : The fourth fairy queen (part six)


(part six)

The Altar of Life

Deep in the Marlowe Mine

They reached the top of the structure. Jacob passed the child to his father as Abi helped him out of the vent. Liban managed to grab the sling as Jacob collapsed to the cool cavern floor.

“Jacob!” Sam screamed. He set the child fairy queen down and ran to his son.

Delphie was on her feet! Sam reached forward to touch Jacob’s arm.

“Don’t!” Abi screamed.

Her warning was too late. With Sam’s touch, Jacob’s skin began to disintegrate like ash.

The child queen dropped to prostrate to Abi. Her face against the floor and her arms outstretched.

“Please my lady, save this human,” the child said. “He only wished to save me. It is I who made his stay too long. I was terrified and he …”

Abi touched the child queen’s head.

The child queen looked up at Abi.

“Don’t worry yourself, child,” Abee said. “Jacob is dear to me, as well.”

She nodded herself toward where Jacob had fallen. Sam was on his knees crying. Delphie was wrapped around him. But Jacob was gone.

“Is he gone forever?” Sam asked.

Before Abi could answer, the fairy queens began bickering.

“This is really your fault,” Queen Áthas said in her distinctive Irish accent. She pushed Queen Fand. “You are so selfish.”

“And cruel,” Queen Shanti said in her South Asian accent. She gestured toward where Jacob had been. “This is what you do to the being who risked everything to save you?”

“You are the ones who kidnapped me,” Queen Fand said. “If it weren’t for you, I’d be safe at home, planning my war.”

“Ugly,” Queen Athas said. “That’s what you are Fand. Just ugly.”

“You celebrate the death of your savior by planning your moronic war?” Queen Shanti asked.

“Some queen of ‘peace,’” Queen Fand said with a derisive snort. “More like the Meanie Queen.”

“Enough!” the child queen said.

Ignoring the child, the queens squared off against each other. Queen Athas’s upraised hands filled with sparks. Queen Shanti held a spear made of golden light. Queen Fand’s hand were low. They were spoiled for a fight.

Shaking her head at the queens, she rising to her knees. She put one hand on the ground.

“I said …” the child queen said. “Enough!

Power radiated out of her hand in a white wave. The wave of energy was so strong that the queens were knocked off their feet. The ground rumbled in response. Only Abi stayed standing. Stunned, the queens didn’t move to get up.

“My son?” Sam whispered.

The child queen stood. Pointing to the other queens, she said, “Stay down,” before turning to hear Abi’s answer.

“Don’t worry, Sam, Delphie,” Abi said. “Our Jacob is being healed.”

“Thank you, Mother,” the child queen said. “Is there anything I might do for him?”

“You have enough on your hands dear,” Abi said lightly.

“His family?” the child queen asked. She went to put a warm hand on Sam and Delphie’s shoulders.

“They are being cared for,” Abi said.

The child queen nodded her head.

“I should like to see him again,” the child queen said.

“You will,” Abi said.

“Thank you, Mother,” the child queen said.

She gave Abi a nod before moving toward her sister.

“As for you three …” the child queen said. “This is going to stop. Things are going to be different around here.”

Denver Cereal continues on Monday…

Chapter Five Hundred and ten : The fourth fairy queen (part five)


(part five)

“I hate those fairies,” Jill said. “I swear, when I get home I’m going to end our connection with them — for now and forever. Those … bastards!”

Hedone grinned at Jill.

“What?” Jill asked.

“You can do that,” Hedone said. “But it’s unlikely.”

“I will do it!” Jill said. “You have no idea what I’m capable of.”

Hedone’s grin shifted to a laugh. Jill jammed her fork into the wedge of chocolate cheesecake. She took a bit and purred with joy. She ate a few more bites before shaking her head.

“Oh fuck, you’re right,” Jill said with a sigh. Jill shook her head. “I’m so weak!”

“You are not weak,” Hedone said. In a gesture that was pure-Heather, Hedone reached out and grabbed Jill’s arm. “You’ve always known that this is who Jacob is. You cannot keep him from what he was born to do, any more than he can keep you from what you were born to do.”

“What was I born to do?” Jill asked, ruefully. “Be a slave to fairies? Birth children like a cow?”

“To love well, heal often, laugh generously, and push the magnificent around you to achieve their greatness,” Hedone said with a nod. “Before you say that you’re not magnificent, your magnificence awakens the latent magnificence in others. That is how it works.”

Unsure of what to say to the goddess that was her friend, Jill started to cry. Hedone would never dare to take this awakening away from Jill by placating or soothing her emotions. Instead, the goddess held onto Jill’s arm as she cried. When her storm has passed, Jill looked into Hedone’s face.

“I should get back,” Jill said.

“Time bends,” Hedone said. “Please. Stay as long as you need.”

“I’m okay,” Jill said. “How is Jacob now?”

Hedone looked off into the near distance. She was silent for a moment before her eyes flicked to Jill.

“Resting,” Hedone said. “Safe.”

Jill nodded.

“Do you need to stay here?” Jill asked. “Can you come home with me?”

“Of course,” Hedone said.

Jill closed her eyes for the briefest moment. When she opened them again, she was lying in her own bed. She rolled over to where Jacob usually slept. She pressed his pillow to her face and took a deep smell.

“Come home to me, Jacob Marlowe,” she whispered.

She got out of bed and checked the time. Even though it seemed like she had been in Olympia for hours, she had returned a minute before her alarms went off. She turned off the alarm and her cell phone. Her watch went off. The door to their bedroom opened.

“Oh good,” Anjelika said as she entered the room. “I was waiting for you to wake.”

“Mom,” Jill said.

Jill got out of bed to hug her mother.

“I was instructed to take the children back to my house,” Anjelika said. “Of course, Paddie had already invited Katy to his house.”

“Why?” Jill asked. “I mean, you’re welcome to see them any time and have them over but …”

“Just to give you a little space,” Anjelika said. “There’s really nothing worse than waiting for a loved one to return, especially from Olympia.”

Surprised, Jill looked at her mother.

“You know,” Jill said.

“I was informed,” Anjelika said.

Jill gave a quick nod and got out of bed. She was halfway to the bathroom when her mother spoke.

“He did a great thing, Jill,” Anjelika said. “Not that it really matters.”

Jill looked at her mother for a moment before going into the bathroom.

Jill’s father was a Titan. Her mother had spent her entire life wondering if her husband would return to her. More than once, her mother had thought that he was lost forever.

That’s what it means to love someone who is magnificent.

Jill nodded to herself. She washed her face and left the bathroom. In the loft, she found Katy and Paddie getting ready to stay at Paddie’s parents’ home for the night. Tanesha and Sandy arrived carrying bottles of wine and more cheesecake. Heather arrived with a warm pizza. The four women settled in to wait out the night.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and ten : The fourth fairy queen (part four)


(part four)

“Is he dead?” Jill asked.

“Not quite,” Hedone said.

“Not quite?” Jill asked with a snort. “What does that mean?”

Jill looked at Hedone for a long moment.

“Please tell me,” Jill whispered.

“The easiest way to describe is that he used up his body,” Hedone said.

“Used up his body?” Jill repeated in a low tone. She shook her head. “I don’t understand.”

“He endured unbearable heat to save the world,” Hedone said. “The heat baked away his body. He has a great force of will. He used his will to rescue the fourth fairy queen. At completion of this act, he would have expired, but the creature you know as ‘Abi’ was there.”

“Abi saved him?” Jill asked. She leaned forward. “Can she do that?”

“Abi is … more than you or even I can understand,” Hedone said. “She is made of the earth in such a way that she is the earth — every cell, every creature, every thing. They are a part of her. We are a part of her.”

Hedone nodded to see if Jill understood.

“What did she do?” Jill asked.

“She called to the very substance of the earth and the creatures that put it together,” Hedone said.

“Creatures?” Jill whispered. “That put the earth together.”

“It doesn’t make sense to me either,” Hedone said.

“What … um … what is happening now?” Jill asked.

“The simplest way to describe is that he is being rebuilt,” Hedone said.

Jill didn’t say anything. She looked off into the near distance. Her eyes flicked to Hedone.

“Can I see him?” Jill asked.

“Not yet,” Hedone said.

“I can heal him.” Jill’s voice cracked at the word “heal.”

“Not this time,” Hedone said.

Fat tears started to roll down Jill’s face.

“It’s my fault,” Jill said. “I told him that I would heal him. ‘Go save the world.’ I even laughed. How arrogant can you be? And now … I just never thought that …”

Hedone knew that there was no reasoning with Jill’s guilt. She waited until Jill’s eyes flicked back to look at Hedone.

“Jacob did this himself,” Hedone said. “Without ego, he stepped into danger to rescue the fourth queen. She was terrified. She would never have entered the world without him.”

“And now?” Jill asked. “Those queens couldn’t get along with the kindest dog, let alone each other.”

“The queens have exactly what and who they need,” Hedone said. “This should all be resolved by the end of the day, possibly by the time you return to your bed.”

Jill watched Hedone’s face.

“The crisis has been averted,” Hedone said.

“And my husband?” Jill asked.

“He is being rebuilt by the very creatures who created the world,” Hedone gestured to the world.

Not sure what to say, Jill poured a glass of champagne and drank it down.

“Your father is with him,” Hedone said. She cut the cheesecake and gave a large slice to Jill. “Lord Perses says that Jacob is on the mend.”

“What does that mean?” Jill asked.

“He’s not out of the woods,” Hedone said. “But he is a lot better than he was.”

“I hate those fairies,” Jill said. “I swear, when I get home I’m going to end our connection with them — for now and forever. Those … bastards!”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

For full chapters, visit Stories by Claudia