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February 19, 2024

When Fairy Tales Come Alive 39

By Lydia Manx

As I watched Eddie flicker from glowing softly to flared up and pissed of blue-silver, I wondered how the hell I always ended up with things going sideways. I mean this wasn't my first 'rodeo' as the saying goes, but damn I would think by now my odds of having everything go south would be used up and my life would be smoother and less stressful. I resisted giggling at the nonsense floating through my thoughts, but saw I'd gotten through Eddie's anger just a bit and his high beams dropped a notch and I chanced a breath.

"I would guess one of your ancestors pissed off the wrong goddess or god." Eddie turned to me and allowed the four their chance to exchange confused glances.

"Yeah, that's sort of what I figured. Besides the run-ins my ancestors had with supernaturals pretty much from cradle to grave, there wasn't much more of my family history that I'd ever discovered in my searches. I skipped looking deeper since I wasn't up to the challenge of deities getting riled up over me." I shot a look sideways at the four supernaturals, making sure I didn't mention my slaughtering as many trolls as I could, and even one quite recently. I wasn't up to fending off four pissed-off troll and witch combinations and from what I'd seen so far, they weren't subtle when it came to slaying humans, despite Matt's attempt to protect Bob. Hell, maybe Bob thought all those deaths in the shop were accidental.

Eddie's glowing persona was evaporating as he broke out in laughter. It was my turn to look confused.

"Delilah, the deities in question are well aware of you and you have engendered no animosity over your skills. In fact more than one goddess lays claim to you as theirs." Well, that wasn't what I expected to hear and on the creep-o-meter it pegged damn near to the top. Multiple goddesses were watching me? I swallowed a lump of dry spit and tried to look pleased by Eddie's amusement.

Eddie went back to the table where we'd been sitting and dropped into the chair while growling, "Now, what to do with you all?"

He made it sound like a question, but since I wasn't sure who the 'all' was, I decided to keep my mouth shut and let someone else volunteer an answer he wasn't seeking. I noticed that he'd also eased up on the frozen spell and the women were shifting their lips and opening their mouths hesitantly.

Naturally Bob found his words first and hopefully popped up with, "Let us go?"

Eddie growled and Bob quickly shut his mouth. Rena hissed, but didn't chance a word. Adrienne instead asked, "Can everyone see the damages in here now?"

Looking around at the spatters, splatters and carnage traces all around their shop, I found that to be a damn good question myself, but I resisted chiming in, knowing this wasn't my arena but Eddie's, for all practical purposes. Sign on the door aside, this was now part of Eddie's kingdom and I knew it bone deep. From Adrienne's softly asked question, she'd also picked up on the changes to their café. Eddie glanced around and shrugged before saying, "Why do you care? It's not like you're staying."

Rena's head damn near spun off her shoulders as she whirled to Eddie exclaiming, "Why the fuck not?"

Eddie's smile was disturbing and chilling. He said, "Why the fuck should I reward you? You've done nothing for me or any of mine. We gave you a world and you spit in our faces."

Whatever she saw in his face shut her up. She cringed and looked to Adrienne for guidance. Adrienne was still looking at all the signs of death that coated the walls, floors and at times the ceiling, thus missing her companion's glance.

Matt stepped into the mix with, "Lord Edwin, are we to go back to the kingdom with you?"

That threw the other three as his words broke through their petty questions and vague ideas of what was to happen. I definitely didn't see Adrienne continuing to play her little slaughterhouse games unchecked, much less Bob's idealistic quest to be free. Rena was still plotting darkly, but Matt's question tossed all of those images aside and plunged her into turmoil. I was just trying to keep out of the line of fire if any of them thought to offer me up to their Lord Edwin.

Eddie caught my whisper of possibilities chasing through my darker thoughts and said, "I am not sure quite yet what your punishment should be. In the kingdom you all are the fabric of past that few remember and nobody left alive even would recognize. To bring you 'home' would almost be the correct punishment as your names are lost in history to all the world, but then you would be free from your just desserts here, where you have willfully slain too many to count."

The gravity of their situation was slowly sinking in as Eddie stood taller, and with a smug look of vast superiority amongst the kids and me seemed to find us laughable if not worse. Though I was pretty sure I was the youngest in the room in years, I felt light years ahead of the gang. Eddie caught my thought and shook his head at me, slightly amused, reaffirming my thoughts he was basically laughing at us all. I had the twisted notion that he'd already foreseen the tableau before him and arrived at his decision. I didn't much care for that feeling.

And honestly, what Eddie had decided to do to us all more than likely would have happened no matter how any of us tried to fight or protest, had my life not interfered with Eddie's misconception of who I was. I protected my past from everyone and rarely gave much attention to memories. That is what Eddie failed to realize. He was a 'Lord' and not given to thinking much about his worshippers. Supernatural or human, he felt he was superior to us and that we weren't overly complicated. Which may be true for most of his mind slaves, but I wasn't his. I never volunteered to be his, much less gave him any reason to believe that I gave a damn about his world. His arrogance didn't allow for such heresy, so he must have glossed over those bits and pieces of me and simply assumed.

Have to love when folks go and assume facts not in evidence. Gods and goddesses were born in simpler times in many regards, but most learned over time as the centuries stretched on seemingly without ending, and they didn't like being bored. Eddie had surprised me a few times with his innate knowledge of my world, but he had a faulty bit of logic when it came to me. That was a good thing for me. He assumed he had knowledge of whom and what I was from the brief time we'd spent in the world-between-the-worlds. I didn't bother to correct any of his ideas.

There was a thundering rumble of a train passing by in the distance and the sound of the engineer hitting the whistle. In the middle of the night that was a lonely sound, with the fog at times causing an odd echoing of the noise off the buildings and in the canyons, but now it was oddly prophetic. I knew without even a shadow of a doubt that Sam had arrived. Now that nearly put a smile on my face, but I didn't want to distract old Eddie from his plans of ruination and damnation or whatever coasting through his thoughts and really kicking up his adrenaline. From the past day, I'd figured out that Eddie was fascinated by debauchery and chaos, but he wanted the control over the players. The four were in for something in the way of punishment for disobeying, but I didn't plan on being anywhere near them, because I doubted he would be clear-headed. No need to be part of the magical collateral damage I knew would occur. Eddie was not bothered in the least by social conventions when it suited him. Walking around glowing and pulling from humans' worshipful glances and more was just a mild example near as I could see.

"Excuse me, Lord Edwin?" Rena was trying for a subservient, almost groveling tone, but from what I could hear she wasn't doing a very good job. There was something fake and false that rang out over her words. From the look on Eddie's face she hadn't fooled him either. But I was happy that she was thoroughly distracting him. I was trying not to hold my breath and failing. I was getting that tingling sensation that Sam wasn't more than a block away. He was reaching out and seeing where I was and why I was not moving towards him. I kept thinking of everything that had happened since I had met Eddie, and visually thinking of the shop that I was inside and the trolls' location in the room, along with their companions -- and I didn't forget to keep my sight on Eddie's location. On my final visual circle of the room I unintentionally locked eyes with Matt and saw a smirk chase over his face.

He winked at me and looked back to Eddie and Rena. He was finding it amusing to see Rena grovel. I just wanted to be out of the circle of death that was going to happen once Rena screwed up. Eddie took in a deep breath and said, "What do you wish to ask?"

His voice was deeper than his normal speaking voice and had the scent of magic in it. I felt my pendant spark and react to the air laden with raw magical energy. Oh, that was so not good. I felt Sam's pace quicken and knew he was almost to the door.

"What is it you want from us after so many decades?" She dropped her sly eyes that held the lie in her question. She didn't give a damn about Eddie's wants or needs, but was trying to distract him from Adrienne and Bob who had locked eyes and begun to pull sips of energy from their shop. As Rena had started talking to Eddie, I noticed that she had been slowly moving away from the others.

I knew that the café had quite a few tokens and enchanted items from the moment we'd found the four banished creatures, but I was dumbfounded by Bob's actually pulling raw energy from the very floor. I chanced a peek and saw that there were spots beneath the flooring that were glowing softly. A snick of memory and I knew that they had pulled up the original flooring and embedded powerful talismans in the very ground they walked on, storing their energy and being charged constantly. They really had gone above and beyond anything I'd seen in their past lives. Rena was directly over a huge circle of tokens and what looked like spheres roughly the size of marbles. Hell, for all I knew they were marbles made of semi-precious gems. Those would definitely work to strengthen any spells cast.

Eddie was glowing again and suddenly whipped around to see both Bob and Adrienne moving their hands. As one they pushed their spell to the spot where Rena was and she yanked a silver skewer from beneath the counter and spit out a Latin for 'now' along with some very vile curses. I took the chance to dive for the front door and yank it open nearly the same time Eddie pushed the energy back to the three.

Matt had taken the time to send a bolt between them and Eddie, and a large field of raw anger took on the shape of a steel wall. That wall lit up like wildfire on dry brush and the entire room was filled with blinding white power and light.

Sam stepped inside and said, "Well, you're never boring, Delilah."

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2015-09-28
Image(s) © Lydia Manx and Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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