A flash fiction story set in my Favor Faeries world
For the Fictionistas October Great Substack Prompt Celebration, Nicole and Heather challenged us to write a story that included the following words:
Veil, simper, fling, cranberry, kiosk, winsome, prey, quacky
(Technically, it was “vale” not “veil” but I just went with the word I heard initially.)
I’m pretty happy with the story I came up with, below. It’s been a minute since I’ve shared fiction, so I hope you enjoy it!
She peered out from behind the traffic kiosk covered with ratty for-sale flyers and lost pet posters that had been there for months. Tall and graceful, she wore a winsome grin, and her wild hair was tucked under a cranberry-colored veil.
As soon as she caught him looking at her, she blinked and disappeared.
Adrian had been in a rush to get to a meeting in south St. Louis, but his curiosity justified a delay. Instead of heading straight through the light as he had planned, he turned the corner slowly and pulled up to the curb, hoping to get a better view of the woman. But she was nowhere to be found.
Interesting, he thought. He took the time to crank the emergency brake but didn’t bother locking the doors. Circling the kiosk, he confirmed that she hadn’t somehow hidden herself behind it. The corner was nothing but an empty lot filled with weeds and spindly wildflowers, and an easy glance confirmed she hadn’t dashed into the overgrowth.
She was just… gone.
Huh. He ran his hand through his greying hair, watching and waiting. His skin prickled, suggesting someone was watching him. Here in the city, it could be a terrified retiree peering from behind a curtain or dozens of security cameras, so Adrian simpered for an unseen audience. “Hello?” He called out to the empty street corner. “Come on out and show yourself.”
“You should be more careful with what you ask for,” he heard a woman say behind him. “You might not be happy with what you receive.”
“Is that so?” He spun around on his Italian leather soles.
She had reappeared. Now that he had a proper view, he realized she wore a tunic made from a combination of flowers and leaves as if nature had been spun directly into the fabric. And she still wore the veil, which now provocatively covered her face as well as her hair.
He flung his arms out. “What would someone like you be doing here, of all places?”
“Surprise yields better results,” she said as she locked a silver manacle around his wrist. “Oh yes, he’ll be pleased with you,” she said, running her tongue over sharp teeth that the veil did not sufficiently conceal. “It’s not often I catch such delicious prey.”
Adrian didn’t panic or fight back. “Are you kidding me?” he asked instead, kicking off an encyclopedic list of annoyances. “On top of the day I’ve been having so far?” He turned his gaze to the overcast sky. “Just this morning, my wife picked a fight with me about our bulk trash pickup. Then I burned my toast, and when I went out to the garage, the battery in my key fob was dead. And don’t even get me started on my neighbor’s barking dogs.” At that, he dropped to the sidewalk, dragging her down with him, and started moaning and slapping his chest with his free hand. “God, if I’m not home tonight in time to make dinner, Belinda will have a fit. Why did this have to happen to me?”
He kept on like that, getting louder and more agitated about increasingly mundane issues, and although she tugged at the silver chain, she couldn’t get him back to his feet.
“Wow, what’s wrong with you?” she asked, no longer playing the role of the confident huntress.
“What’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong!” Adrian replied, his voice shrill and nearly hysterical. He launched into a new rant, blaming everything wrong with his life on his family, his job, and the mind control experiments orchestrated by the government.
Suddenly, there was a click, and Adrian felt his arm drop back to his side. She had removed the manacle.
“Dude, you’re quacky!” She kicked at the loose gravel under her boot with disgust. “You’re not worth the trouble to take you back with me. Get out of here so I don’t have to listen to any more of that.”
“I don’t think so,” Adrian said, back on his feet, his fingers smoothing his hair. His voice had returned to normal, and now he flashed an impeccable white smile at her. “When you see your boss, tell him that you met Adrian Vance.” He flicked a business card in her direction, sneering as she knelt to pick it up from the cracked sidewalk and ran her thumb over the spot gloss. Oh, she had heard of him, all right. “But that might not be for some time.”
“Wait—this is you?” Her large eyes were wide and betrayed her fear.
Adrian knew she had encountered her worst nightmare. “You betcha. And if you know who I am, you know I don’t tolerate all of this nonsense,” he said, gesturing to the manacle she now held like a shopping bag. Although his superiors had directed him to return misbehaving fae folk to their own world, Adrian was tired of these shenanigans. It was time to teach this one a lesson. He made a few quick gestures with his hands.
“Oh, you’re such a big bad witch,” she mocked as she took a few steps backward, but her tone suggested it was false bravado. She rubbed his card between her fingers. “You won’t do anything.”
“The hell I won’t.” He hadn’t moved. “I think it’s time someone puts you in your place.”
“I’d like to see you tr—” she started, but her final word was snuffed out as she disappeared with a pop.
Adrian dusted his hands on his wool slacks and laughed once as he returned to his car, released the brake, and sped away.
Back on the street corner, a new flyer fluttered in the breeze. On it was printed the word “FOUND” with a photo of a woman with wild hair and a veil.
She appeared to be screaming.
Thanks for reading! If you liked it, be sure to leave a comment below.
In other news, in November, I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) again for my 11th consecutive year! I will be writing a brand new draft of Distant Moon, book 3 in my Chronicles of Sarducia series, based on some previous work but with a lot of new ideas. After many years of work, Book 2, Hidden Moon, is finally in the last stages of review before going to beta readers.
I’m also super busy with Unseen St. Louis, my STL history Substack/history talks series/local meetup. I’m hoping to soon write about the clearances for the Gateway Arch and some other topics. Be sure to subscribe over there for the latest updates!