fantasy by Laura Eno
The full moon rose from the water, rivaling the sun in size and color while caught in the twilight hour.
Neither day nor night, it was an in-between time that held magic in its grasp — at least according to her grandmother. Kelsey never believed the old stories before, but now– Something didn’t feel right. The silence mocked her.
Her booted feet kicked up small clouds of dust as Kelsey stomped to the end of the road, but otherwise it remained impervious to her anger. The street she lived on ended at the lake, about a half-mile from the house. Kelsey sat down at the shoreline, staring at her reflection while she sorted her thoughts.
She shook her head, thinking of the stories. Fanciful beings, able to cross dimensions? The legends were mere fairy tales, used to frighten small children into obedience.
The light from the orange globe dimmed. Kelsey eyed the moon with suspicion, but its solemn gaze remained unchanged.
Nails biting into the flesh of her palms, Kelsey closed her eyes to stem her anger. The argument with Pete was born of nothing, as were all of their discordant words lately.
A chance remark, delivered in sarcastic jest, would often spark a heated discussion. The strain of living out here in the middle of nowhere, trying to make ends meet, was killing their marriage.
She let the words hang in the cool stillness, not sure of what she wanted anymore.
“What do you wish for?”
Kelsey started at the soft voice behind her. She sprang into a crouch as she whirled to face its owner. The old woman smiled patiently, as if she was used to that reaction. Cheeks hot and heart still thudding, Kelsey attempted to slow her breathing to a more normal pace.
“I’m sorry, you scared me. No one comes down this way.” Kelsey studied the woman with growing suspicion. “How did you get here? I don’t see your car and it’s a three-mile walk to the main road.”
The woman looked at her with calm acceptance.
“You called me.”
“You said ‘I wish’. What is it that you wish for?”
I must be losing my mind, Kelsey thought. All those stories of the Fae that Grandma brought with her from Ireland damaged me.
“Time is running out. The moon is ready to take its place in the sky. What do you wish for?”
“Since this is my hallucination, I can wish for anything I want, right?”
Kelsey shook her head at her whimsy, wondering why she was even continuing with the conversation.
“Yes, but choose wisely.”
“Right, the old catch-22.”
Kelsey almost laughed, thinking of evil genies.
“Okay, I wish for a lot of money but without someone dying in order to get it.”
The old woman nodded once and faded out of sight. Crickets played their song in the faded light, the sound awakened by her disappearance. That spooked Kelsey more than anything else had. She started back to the house, the darkness closing in around her on the lonely road.
Pete didn’t remark on her earlier exit but launched into complaints about leftovers as soon as they sat down to eat. Kelsey slammed her hands down on the table in frustration.
“I’m tired of your complaints,” she said. “You’re the one who turned down a high-paying job in the city to eke out a living in this desolate place. This is the best I can do. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else to eat.”
She left the room, returning moments later with a pillow and blanket, dumping them on the sofa. Her steely glance told Pete where he’d be spending the night.
Kelsey tossed for much of the night while formless shapes chased her in dreams.
Next morning, she pushed her imaginings to a far corner. The aberration of the night before had been nothing more than frazzled nerves.
Pete’s car squealed into the driveway that evening, just as Kelsey finished preparing dinner.
“Close your eyes,” he yelled, as he ran into the living room. “I’ve got a surprise for you.”
Kelsey closed her eyes, a smile playing on her lips. Pete used to do this sort of thing back when they first started dating. She heard something hit the floor. Several times, in fact.
“Our money troubles are over, sweetheart. You can open your eyes now.”
Kelsey took in Pete’s wild eyes, the red dye on his shirt, before glancing at the floor. Bags marked First National Trust lay in a pile at her feet.
Her grandmother’s warning never to trust the Fae reverberated in her mind, just before Kelsey heard the sirens’ wail.
Copyright January 2010 by Laura Eno
Laura Eno lives in Florida. She blogs about writing at A Shift in Dimensions.