The Faerie's Goggles
Flash fiction featuring three faeries who are in a whole lot of trouble
Each week in Story Cauldron, I offer a look into stories and storytelling. This week, how about a brand-new, exclusive short story featuring faeries and magic goggles?
I wrote the following story, “The Faerie’s Goggles,” for Round 2 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction contest this past weekend. For each round, you get assigned to a group of 35-40 people, and each group receives a genre, location, and an object, all of which must feature in the story.
For round 1, my group had comedy, a submarine, and a thermometer. Last week I learned that the story I wrote, “A Tight Fit,” was awarded 3rd place for the round, my best finish in an NYC Midnight contest to date.
For this round, I was assigned: suspense, landfill, and goggles. And believe it or not, it’s quite a challenge to write a story taking place in a landfill!
But I think I came up with something fun. For those following my new novel series The Favor Faeries, this story will give you a sneak peek into the faeries of that world. If you enjoy this story, I encourage you to sign up for a paid membership to Story Cauldron (just $5 a month!) so you can start reading my new novel in October.
The Faerie’s Goggles
Thorn grabbed the goggles and ran.
She skipped down the steps of the stone mansion, followed closely by Pollen and Star. They’d snuck in to steal sweet treats from the queen’s dance, but these were a far greater prize.
“We have to try them out,” Star pleaded. “I want to see how they work!”
Thorn slipped them over her eyes. They did nothing here, but she knew they were designed to use in the human world. “Let’s go across,” she suggested.
The others readily agreed.
Thorn led the way. As they slipped between worlds, she closed her eyes. The human world was so bright that they usually traveled after dark, but that wouldn’t allow for a proper test.
Once across, Pollen grumbled at the sunshine. “My eyes hurt! Give me the goggles.”
“No way.” Thorn had shifted into the form of a teenage girl, her favorite glamour. She appreciated how her shirt skimmed her belly-button piercing, a look she’d copied from a human. Pollen appeared as a boy with skin as dark as ink, while Star chose to be a girl with a pink mohawk and a sparkly skirt.
And that’s when Thorn realized she could see—really see—her surroundings and her companions. For the first time, it wasn’t painful to open her eyes and take in the trees, the concrete, and the reflections from the skyscrapers. There was so much wealth here—and so many things she might take back with her. And she could see it all.
A rumble sounded behind them. Thorn turned, dread sinking into her gut.
The faerie had earned his true name not long ago and reveled in his new powers. The burst of bright violet light that now engulfed Thorn and her friends suggested he was very, very angry.
The goggles—had they been his?
“Run!” Pollen shouted. He took off down the street, Star at his heels.
Thorn attempted to follow, but she struggled to run in her human form. Eventually, she found them as they caught their breath beside a bronze statue.
From there, she led them north, out of downtown and towards the river. There had to be a place to hide, somewhere Amylan wouldn’t be able to reach them. But as they fled, there was little but sticky asphalt and concrete, and buildings with locked doors.
An acrid scent of wildfire wafted over them, suggesting Amylan was close—but even with his powers, he hadn’t caught them yet. Was the great one blinded without the goggles? It seemed like they might still escape.
Thorn picked up other odors ahead: rot and sulfur. And there was the sting of iron on her tongue. Maybe they could hide there? “Star, Pollen, this way!” She pulled them through an opening in a chain-link fence. A human man shouted a warning, but it didn’t deter them.
As they ran along a long gravel road, three large trucks lumbered past, shaking the ground under their feet.
“Where are we, Thorn?” Star asked. They stopped at the edge of a pit. Trucks regurgitated their contents into a hole below.
“It’s a landfill.” Pollen was rather smug as he said it. “It’s where humans get rid of things.”
“Why would they do that?” Star asked. “They could just give them to us!”
There was no time to explain how humans didn’t value trinkets as faeries did. But maybe, seeing the churned-up piles of plastic bags, Star would figure that out on her own.
For now, though, Thorn’s only concern was hiding from Amylan.
Her hopes were dashed when the violet aura swept over them, bathing the whole facility in a toxic glow. Moments later, Amylan—huge and imposing—appeared, pinning them between the pit and the fence.
There was nowhere to go.
“You have something of mine,” he said, his voice creaking like the sound of bending steel.
The dirt under Thorn’s feet began to shift. Amylan’s powers were renowned even among the fae.
She watched pebbles cascade into the pit of human refuse forty feet below. Star and Pollen had wings, and if they could shift into their other forms, they might survive. But Thorn’s form was a quadruped. The fall would kill her.
She took a wide step away from the chasm. “I just wanted to borrow them. I’ve never really seen the human world before.”
“And what do you think?” He waved one of his thick arms towards the trash pit and laughed. “Was it everything you hoped it would be?”
More dirt shifted. But this time it wasn’t Amylan, but the arrival of another one of the gigantic trucks. Amylan’s magic hid them from human view, so the driver wouldn’t see them standing there. And the vehicle was approaching rapidly.
They were all right in the truck’s path, including Amylan, though he could fly away. All of the great ones could, even in human form.
“Give the goggles back,” Pollen begged, as he crowded next to Thorn. “And hurry!”
“Do something,” Star said, unable to hide her panic. “I can’t shift back!”
But Thorn knew if she returned the goggles, it wouldn't save them. She had heard of Amylan’s lust for retribution when others wronged him.
Again, she gazed down at the trash. Broken pieces of furniture speared the air, while the smell of moldy food and rotten meat made her queasy. And the truck was nearly upon them.
Star shouted. “Thorn!”
Thorn finally removed the goggles. The shiny glass reflected the sun, blinding her momentarily.
“Bring them to me,” Amylan demanded.
She took one step forward. Another.
He reached out a clawed hand.
The truck sped towards them.
She started to hand the goggles to him, but at the last moment, tossed them into the pit. Then she flung herself into her companions, knocking the trio to safety
Even with impaired vision, Amylan watched the shiny object tumble like another piece of trash.
He turned and released a roar—
And then the truck knocked him into the pit.
I hope you enjoyed the story. Again, my next novel—which includes a visit to the faerie world—drops in October. By signing up, you can show your support for my writing journey, and encourage me to keep doing all this crazy stuff.
But you only have until Sept. 17th to take advantage of my early-bird discount, so act fast!