My these Wednesdays are rolling around fast. This week I chose the prompt "Fucking haha. Very funny." Maybe it is a little out of character for Owen to say that to his grandmother, but he was very stressed at the time. Aggie let it go graciously - which means he owes her one.
The hush, as complete as it had ever been, seemed to deepen further, and the hair all over Owen’s body crawled and lifted. As before, the world held its breath. Owen held his with her.
Minutes ticked by as Owen scanned the water for any sign of movement. At his back, the black mountains were a looming presence that pressed on his mind.
Was it just his straining mind or was there a faint blue glow deep in the water? Yes.
The glow increased in size and intensity. In its very heart, a darker shape took form.
With a suddenness that startled Owen back a step, the water erupted in a fume that shot ten feet into the air. Owen blinked against the spray, and when he opened his eyes the water was smooth again. Poised on the surface, the boy who’d taken his breath smiled and stole his heart.
Although there was no breeze, the boy’s long, silver hair blew around him, seemingly having life of its own. It was all that protected his modesty. Not that he appeared in any way to be modest. As usual, he was entirely naked and unashamed.
Usually, this was where the vision ended. As soon as he became aware of Owen’s scrutiny, the boy would sink again. The pale blue light would wink out in moments. Owen had been forced to watch from a distance. Tonight, the boy floated closer, almost reaching the bank. Owen gaped, awed by the delicate strength of the candle-straight fey, who glowed with the same pale light that illuminated the water beneath him.
“You have a gift.”
Owen was even more mesmerized, unable to process thoughts or find words, lost in the music that was the fairy’s voice. Cold laughter shocked him like a bucket of iced water poured over his head.
“Foolish human. My gift.” The boy held out his hand, his light voice heavy with command. He watched imperiously down his nose, waiting.
Owen stared blankly for a moment, then shook himself and offered the box. His numb mind struggled to find the words Aggie had taught him. He’d laughed at her when she’d grilled him, making him repeat them over and over. He wasn’t laughing now.
“It…er…it’s…. It’s bread. Well, almost. Unbaked. Dough, I suppose. Maybe. Um. It...it’s…. It represents a…a relationship unformed. L…like ours.”
The fey made no effort to take the box. For a long moment, he observed Owed with his head tilted to one side. Then he laughed. The laughter was mirthless and spiteful.
“Relationship? You presume too much, human.”
Before Owen could say another word, the faery sped backward then disappeared beneath the surface.
It was no good. Not so much as a single ripple remained, and the water was as deep and dark as it had ever been.
“Dammit.” Owen flung the bread into the lake, then stomped off along the path into the pass. Aggie had told him the fey wouldn’t accept the first gift, but even so – the smug little bastard didn’t have to be such a dick about it.
Aggie didn’t look up when he stormed through the door.
“Didn’t go so well then.”
He threw himself into a chair and folded his arms across his chest.
“What?” Owen demanded. “You think it was so funny? Fucking haha. So funny."Owen bit his lip and fumed. His voice was tight, and he had to spit out the words. “He laughed at me. He didn’t just say no, he laughed.”
The mirth dropped from Aggie’s voice and expression. “You’ve no one to blame but yourself. I’ve warned you I don’t know how many times. I told you. The fey folk are different to humans. They might look the same, but they’re made of different stuff. They’ve no time for your foolishness.”
“Is that what you think it is? Foolishness?”
“You know exactly what I think.”
Aggie slammed a mug of cocoa on the table in front of him, then stood with her arms folded and lips pursed.
Owen examined the rough grain of the wood under his mug. The table was the heart of the kitchen. Built from one complete oak trunk, it could have seated twenty people. Owen had no idea how it had got through the door, and was half convinced the house had been built around it. Owen had had so many happy times around this table, so many heart breaks were spilled onto it, so many hopes and dreams discusses and explored.
“I know you don’t believe me,” he said, his eyes fixed on the mug, “and that you think I’m under a spell or a glamour, or something. I suppose it’s what I’d think too, if I were you. But it’s not like that. This weird feeling. The… the drive or push or…whatever, was there before I ever saw him. I know in my heart that the… whatever it is, is meant to be.”
“I know,” Aggie said, her voice tight. “But I still think you’re a damn fool.”
Owen flashed her a rueful smile. “I agree with you.
And now for the rest of our fine flashers