Posts Tagged ‘fairy’

Be Nice to Spiders

Posted: April 15, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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Velvet ElvisI’m going to back up here from yesterday’s post. I had the webs disappearing because I thought I’d tortured Carl enough. It’s a serious cop-out for a writer to take things easy on a character without justifying it in the story. Sorry, Carl.

By the way, this entire story was inspired by the title of the children’s book Be Nice to Spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham, which my mom would read to me when I was growing up. It didn’t keep me from being afraid of spiders but it did give me a healthy respect for how they eat the bad bugs, even if they do look really creepy.

He stopped seeing fireflies. Carl looked around. He didn’t see any more little yellow lights. The spiders were that weren’t still crawling all over his body were scuttling away from him into the shadows like regular spiders would.

Carl gingerly pulled aside walls of webs to get out of the attic. They strands were so thick they made sounds like crinkling cellophane. They broke away from the wall, dead skin falling into sticky clumps.

A spider ran across his netted face. Reflexively Carl went to swat it. He changed direction at the last second and hit himself in the face instead.

The spider ran onto his hand. Carl put it into a nearby web.

“I hate to seem ungrateful, guys, but all these webs will have to go. You know that, right?” he said aloud.

The spiders didn’t react. They sat in their webs, waiting, like the eternally patient hunters he was used to seeing.

He reached the ladder out of the attic. Carl swept the last of the spiders off his body, careful not to kill any of them, and got as much webbing off him as he could, too. He started downstairs. He had to let Jen know he was all right. Mr. Traumer would be glad to hear it, too. And he had to call a shaman about getting some dreamcatchers painted in the house.

Carl pleaded ignorance to the evening news team that showed up at the house. They filmed the webs from dozens of different angles. The neighbors’ kids came forward with about a dozen videos of what looked like fireflies attacking the house. Carl pleaded ignorance on that, too. There weren’t any fireflies in the spider webs, so where did they go?

There was one video, especially blurry, of Carl running around inside his house swatting at the air. “I was dancing,” Carl said. It was hard to see him through the mosquito netting, which was mostly covered by the curtains and the blinds, anyway.

Jessie stayed with her aunt while Carl and Jen worked with the health department to clean up the property. Carl and Jen insisted on a green solution, hiring a contractor to take down the webs, scoop up the spiders and dump them into the woods rather than use pesticides. One supportive neighbor showed up with a cake decorated with chocolate spiders. Another promised to watch Charlotte’s Web with them when it was all over.

Mr. Traumer talked with his friends in Ontario. Two days after the incident, he brought a Mr. David Bright Wind to the house. He winked at Carl and Jen as he introduced himself, saying, “I heard you have a genuine velvet Elvis that might be for sale.”


Spider Suit

Posted: April 14, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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Tawakoni spider web

Tawakoni spider web

Carl felt a nasty itch on his right shoulder. He saw a fairy trying to dig through his suit. Where the hell did it get in?! Carl slapped it hard. His hand was stained with glowing yellow fluid.

The chimney. He forgot the chimney, and the kitchen vent, and the central air conditioner… who knew what else.

He started to reach for the chimney flue but saw it blocked by a pair of spider webs. “Weave on, brothers!” Carl yelled. There were two blocking the kitchen hood, too. Drunkenly-flitting fairies flew straight into them and vanished into puffs of nothing. They looked gross and it freaked Carl out, but he’d deal with his squeamishness if he lived another day.

Two fairies came out of an air conditioning vent and landed on his arm. He could hear them yelling little battle cries as they scratched at the suit. Carl pounded his arm on the floor. The one on the bottom screamed and went splat. The one on top flew off before he could get to it, then it came at his face. He crushed one in his fist. More came at him. Carl swat his arms and legs. Where were they coming from? Carl turned the air conditioner on full and hoped that anything that went near it would get turned into fairy hamburger by the fan.


The attic fan.

Carl looked toward the stairs. A handful of fairies came flying down. He didn’t have any mosquito netting left. Maybe he could turn the fan off and stuff it with insulation?

He slapped at a few more on his suit. He was covered in glowing splotches.

He saw spiders coming in through the chimney and the kitchen vent. Carl gulped. He moaned as he put his hand down in front of them and let them crawl onto him. “They’re outside the suit. They’re outside the suit. They’re not touching me.” They started spinning their magic webs on him. He pulled his arm away and a wing of silk pulled with it. “Oh, Godddd….”

Carl almost threw up inside the suit. He ran up to the attic.

The attic was a maelstrom of fairies fighting spiders. Spiders fell, bloodied. Fairies spun into the webs or flew crazily into the walls and the floor, twitched and didn’t move again. The fairies charged Carl when they saw him. He could hear them scream in horror as the webbing on his suit clutched at them.

“You bastard!” one clearly yelled. Then it gurgled and vanished in a cloud of glitter that faded away into nothing.

Carl walked from one end of the room to the other, covering himself in spiders and webs. He screamed as multiples of them walked across his face. Carl promised to send the man who invented mosquito netting a Christmas card.

He stopped seeing fireflies. Carl looked around. The spiders were running off him, taking their webs with them. It sounded like crinkling plastic wrap. The webs disappeared as they touched the ground. A trail of spiders… there must have been dozens of them… made their way out of the house by the attic vent. Carl watched them go, then watched them clear out of the yard as well. One by one, the webs dissolved, turning from silk into wisps, and from wisps into nothing.

The evening news team showed up. Carl went down to say hi. There wasn’t anything for them to film.

Man in a Bug Suit

Posted: April 6, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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bug suitCarl went inside the house as the sun went down. He wanted to cry. Every surface on the outside of the house where you could string a web had the ephemeral silver strands laid between them. Their house was far enough back from the street and there was enough distance from other houses that the neighbors hadn’t come by to ask what the hell was going on. No one had called the evening news either, thank God, or the health department. Not yet.

He saw two spiders scuttling across the deck as he went inside. At first he didn’t want to leave the door open for them. That just felt like too much. They’d find their own way in if it came to that, like any bug got into any house. Then he thought of Jen, and Jessie, and imagined that his life might depend on it tonight. Carl swallowed down bile as he watched them run into the house ahead of him. He didn’t know where they went after that. He didn’t want to know.

The fairies didn’t wait until the wee dark hours this time. As soon as the sun went down, fireflies appeared like floating matches at the edge of the woods. A dozen. Two dozen. From every direction. More were coming behind them.

Carl put on the bug suit that he bought at a sporting goods store earlier in the day. He even bought the gloves. He didn’t think it would stop them, but it might slow them down. He picked up the butterfly net, which he’d bought there too. The chipper sixteen-year-old with braces at the register had told him, “Good luck with your collection!” Carl had nearly told him where he could stick his own butterfly net but he needed all the good karma he could get. A can of Raid wasp killer was stuffed in his pocket. No guarantee that would work, either, but a shot of mild nerve gas in the face couldn’t be healthy for them. Squishing them had certainly worked fine.

Carl ran from window to window, door to door. He’d nailed mosquito netting over every surface where they could come in. They all looked ready. He looked outside again.

There were swirls of fairies getting caught in the spider webs. They would get close, then it was like glowing whirlpools forming in his bushes and trees. They spiraled in, circling, then vanished in a boiling cloud at the center. Some of the fairies looked like they were trying to pull their comrades away. Carl would have laughed at the melodrama of it, but the phrase you’re next drifted through his head and his sense of humor died more quickly than the fairies were. They were still coming.

Hope You Like Spiders

Posted: March 26, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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funny spider web“What do I do in the meantime?”

Mr. Traumer tilted back his head, looking at Carl with one eye. It was a look Carl himself had given used car salesmen. “How well do you handle bugs?” he asked.

Carl didn’t like where this was going. “Why?”

“Follow me.” Mr. Traumer picked up the jar.

“Um… can you just tell me?”

“You’re right. The coffee’s ready anyway.” Mr. Traumer went to find a mug. “Spiders. You need to get spiders back in your house. You need some nice, big webs, at the four compass points at a minimum.”

“The exterminator gave me their best treatment. I doubt I’ll see another spider for a month.”

“That’s what I thought. I breed spiders in my basement for just such an emergency.”

Carl rubbed his arms. “Eww. Are you serious?”

Mr. Traumer gave him the look again. “And that’s why I asked how well you handle bugs. Yes. You try waking up tied in flystrips and tell me how well you do.”

“Do you date much?”

“I have a lady friend who’s an entomologist. She calls me a sex bomb.”

Carl was going to need brain bleach later. That was what he got for asking. “I’ll have to pick up the bug baits around the house. How bad will it get?”

“Really bad.”

“Like, haunted house bad?”

Mr. Traumer took a sip of his coffee. His mug was covered with butterflies. “Yeah.”

Carl hung his head on his hands. That left him looking right at the evil vampire firefly guy. Carl knew he didn’t have many options. “All right. Let’s get started.”

Bad Dreams

Posted: March 25, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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dreamcatcherCarl started inside. The dog kept barking at the jar. Mr. Traumer held up his hand. “Oreo! Guard!” Oreo came to attention, ears up, head up, tail straight. He ran to the back of the house. Mr. Traumer smiled. “He’ll check every window and door in the house until I tell him to stop. He’ll bark if he sees one of these.”

Mr. Traumer led the way into the house. He put the jar down on the kitchen table and opened the curtains. The sky was beginning to turn purple outside. “Can I get you some coffee?”

Carl was riding adrenaline. He still couldn’t believe that Mr. Traumer knew about the… whatever these things were. “Answers would be better.”

“Kids. Always in a hurry. Well, I’m having coffee.” Mr. Traumer fired up his automatic coffee maker and sat down at the table. He gestured for Carl to sit. He did. Carl kept an eye on the fairy vampire in the jar. It was banging against the jar over and over again, hitting the side toward the living room. “I did tell you not to paint over the dreamcatchers when you bought the house, didn’t I?”

Carl ignored him. “So what is this thing, and what do I do about it?”

“Do I look like an authority? I don’t know what it is. My grandfather was full-blood Chippewa. He built the house there because it was the only land he could afford. He said it attracted bad bawedjigewin—”

“Bad who?”

“Bad dreams. He painted the dreamcatchers when he built it. When I moved into the house, I painted over them, too. Then these disgusting buggers started showing up. I used bug spray. Fly strips. Fly paper. They work, but more of them keep coming. And they’re smart. One night I woke up feeling like I had the flu, covered in bites, with my wrists and ankles tied up with fly strips. That’s when I called my grandfather.”

Carl rubbed his forehead. He couldn’t read lips but he swore the evil glow bug was swearing at him. Oreo trotted through the room, sniffing at the windows. He growled and kept his eyes on the jar as he walked by the kitchen table. Mr. Traumer scratched the dog’s back. Oreo ignored him. The dog was all business. Carl asked, “Can we call your grandfather?”

“Grandfather passed on ten years ago. My father didn’t carry on the tradition.”

“So… what, do I just hire somebody to paint new dreamcatchers for me?”

Mr. Traumer shook his head. “It’s not that easy. You’ll need an honest-to-God Native American shaman to come to your house and paint them. Same goes if you buy them. The dreamcatchers outside are the genuine article. I traded for them with a Chippewa in Ontario.”

“Traded? How much?”

Mr. Traumer sighed. “A collection of rookie baseball cards dating back to 1939. Very, very nice ones.”

“Would he settle for an old velvet Elvis that my grandfather left me?”

“You’ll have to take that up with him.”

Vampire Fairies

Posted: March 24, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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ugly fairy

“An Ugly Fairy” by stinkywigfiddle at DeviantArt

Dawn was about an hour away as Carl rang the doorbell at Mr. Traumer’s house. A dog started barking. The man who sold them their house had moved into a little Cape Cod style home, complete with a white picket fence in the front and bird feeders on the side yards. With dreamcatchers. Of course.

Carl blinked hard as he tried to stay awake. He was coming off his coffee and No Doze rush. He rang the doorbell again. He bit his tongue to wake up as he heard footsteps inside the house. It wouldn’t do to pass out just as Mr. Traumer opened the door.

Through his sleepy haze Carl recognized the pruny wrinkles and gentle age spots of the man who’d given them a very fair price on their home, and had asked if they liked dreamcatchers. Mr. Traumer’s eyes were red. He wore sweat pants and a Boston College sweatshirt. A border collie mix stood at his side, growling and barking.

“Hush up, Oreo,” he said to the dog. He looked at Carl. “Can I help you?”

“Mr. Traumer? You remember me… Carl Webster? My wife and I bought your house.”

“Oh, yes. Hi. It’s awfully early. Is everything all right?”

Carl held up the jar. “I was hoping you could shed some light on this.”

Oreo went ballistic. Mr. Traumer went pale. The little blazing bug flew back and forth against the lid of the jar, loud enough to make the surface flex when it hit.

Carl shook the jar hard. It sounded like he had a single quarter inside it. “Hey! Knock it off!” He looked at Mr. Traumer. “I don’t know if this qualifies as an infestation problem, but I wanted to ask you about it.”

Mr. Traumer pushed back Oreo, to step outside with Carl. When Oreo saw what he was doing he grabbed Mr. Traumer’s sleeve and started tugging. “Oreo! Down! I’ll be fine.” The dog whined. “Down. Good boy.” Mr. Traumer met him halfway and stood with the storm door closed and the front door open, so the dog could still see him. He indicated the jar. “It doesn’t. They’re not on the property.”

Carl wanted to strangle him. “You knew about them?!”

“Of course I did. Doesn’t everyone?”

Carl lifted up his hands to flop them down on his sides, and almost dropped the jar. Mr. Traumer jumped forward and grabbed it. Oreo started barking again.

“Be careful! You’ve made it angry. If it gets loose now it’ll bring all its vampire fairy friends down on us. Well…” He checked the eastern horizon. “It might not matter.” He stuffed the jar under his arm. “Come in already.”

One Ugly Bug

Posted: March 18, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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shutterstock-insomniaCarl lay in bed, wired on five cups of coffee and two No-Doze. He breathed deeply, evenly, slowly, just like they taught in yoga class. His eyes were closed to slits, facing the mirror that he’d relocated from his wife’s dresser. He could see the entire room.

Carl coughed. Like Jessie, he was responding well to his antibiotics. This was a bitch of a cold, and he hated being sick. Jen and Jessie were staying in a hotel. Jen and Carl had come up with this last-ditch plan before they put a hood over their house and gassed it. Before he left, Jen had kissed him and told him to be careful. Carl wore pajamas and a long-sleeved shirt, not that the bugs had been stopped by clothes earlier.

Incidentally, there were no spiderwebs on the porch or in the house when he came home.

Carl’s eyes drifted the clock, which he could see in the mirror’s reflection. Two in the morning. Carl had re-imagined the first two Godfather movies, scene by scene, to keep himself from getting bored. Time for number three. Maybe better to switch to a different movie so that he wouldn’t fall asleep.

A pair of fireflies drifted up from below the window outside. It was all Carl could do to keep from jumping or breaking the rhythm of his breath. Simple as you please, they flew down to the edge of the screen. Carl almost peed his pants. He could hear little, tiny claw sounds scratching at the screen. What the hell kind of bug was this?

The fireflies came in. Two more followed them. He could hear their wings fluttering paper fwips, fast as hummingbirds. You couldn’t hear firefly wings. In the mirror, he watched them hover over him, then dive in. One landed on his arm. Another on his head. The third on his thigh, and the fourth, also on his thigh.

He thought he heard laughing as his skin began to itch. The bugs were drinking long draughts. It made him sick. Carl let it happen, then from under the pillow, he produced a pint jar and scooped up the one on his head. He snapped on the lid so smoothly the other bugs didn’t move.

The bug jumped against the glass hard enough to make clipping sounds. Carl swatted the one on his arm. The two on this thigh shot for the window. Carl tried to run after them. He swat one of them as it crawled under the still-bent edge of the window screen. The last one shook its fist from the other side of the window. It flew for the woods behind their house.

Carl held up the jar in front of his face. Inside, an elflling with big bug wings glared at him, glowing bright enough to light up his face.

“I believe in fairies,” Carl said. “Little, ugly, bloodsucking fairies.”

broken lanternKit sat down and wept. Crying, two days in a row, for very different reasons. Kit had never been so sad and so afraid in such a short period of time. He hoped the rest of his life would be easier.

Lady came over and hugged him. Kit didn’t know how long they sat there like that, but a long while later, Morgrim came upstairs. He had never been allowed to go upstairs higher than Kit’s room, but his curiosity got the better of him. Awkwardly, he hugged the two of them, too.

Finally, Kit said, “Thank you. Morgrim, please clean the room. Lady, would you help me find the tool box?” Kit looked around the room. He didn’t see it. “I think it got knocked around from its spot.”

It took them a while. The room looked like a giant, angry child had turned it upside down and shaken it. Everyone stayed away from the jar except Kit. He was the only one who seemed confident that Vrajitor wouldn’t smash his way out. At one point, from across the room, Lady reached toward the jar, then pulled her hand back. She didn’t even want to imagine touching it. Inside, the fairy-sized Vrajitor raged at her.

“How long will that hold him?” Lady asked.

“Forever. I used his own magic to make the jar. As long as he’s alive, it’ll hold its shape. The more magic he throws at it, the stronger it’ll get.”

“Are you sure?”

Kit tapped his chest. “I’ve been checking. It’s already twice as strong as it was an hour ago.”

“If I may, young master, how will we feed him?” Morgrim asked.

“Magic honey. The same as we feed the fairies.” It was dropped into his mouth from the top of the jar. With the fairies, Kit had been bitten getting them into the lanterns in the first place.

“Here it is,” Lady said. She found the box laying on its side against the far wall, under a stack of books. They were a set of tools for delicate work, and a small hammer. Fine carvings decorated the sides. Kit took the hammer. “Come on. I know what I want to do first,” he said.

He started downstairs. Lady turned back toward the jar. “Is it safe to leave him here alone?”

“It is. Would you feel better to watch him, while I do this?” She nodded. “Okay. I’ll be back soon.”

Kit went into the staircase. He pulled open the curtains of the nearest window. It was a beautiful, sunlit day outside.

Kit walked up to the first lantern. Inside, a fairy stood with its hands on the lantern glass. It had watched him come down from the laboratory. Kit held up the hammer. The fairy looked at him. Its wings flicked intently. Even with eyes the size of pinheads, Kit could tell it was sizing him up. It wasn’t time for food, and the only time he’d walked up to the lanterns other than feeding time, Vrajitor or lady had been with him.

Kit held pointed at it, and made a gently waving gesture with his hand. He mimed hitting the lantern glass. He pointed at the fairy again, then pointed at the window. The fairy stared at him. Kit repeated his gestures. The fairy moved back.

With just the right touch, Kit rapped the glass and shattered it. Kit stood back. The fairy buzzed up to about Kit’s height, wings beating fast enough to buzz like a bee. Kit gave it plenty of room, and stayed ready. Fairies were like squirrels. He could kill it easily, but they could be nasty buggers if they wanted.

It flew out the window. Kit went to the next lantern, and repeated the process. By the time Kit broke the third lantern, the fairies were cheering. The fourth one sat on his shoulder to watch. The fifth sat on his head. “You’re welcome to stay,” Kit said for them all to hear. “There’s plenty of honey.” And plenty of room in the tower, for his new, adopted family.

Kit rested a while. He read some of the numbers and letters that Master and Lady taught him. He practiced some magic, too. It was the last thing he wanted to do, but what else did he have?

He thought of the changeling catching fireflies. Kit walked into the stairway outside his room. The fairies were asleep inside their lanterns. Their glow was barely visible. Kit put his hand on the wall of the tower and looked around, from the wall, as far up as he could see, down the side and down to his feet. This was his own cell. Was it that different? Outside, he remembered his mother screaming and the awful twist his father gave to his arm.

Kit went upstairs. Master and Lady casting a spell. Sparkles and red streams of light floated between them. It looked like a web for trapping fairies. Easy magic, something Kit had mastered last year.

Master noticed him first. The cloud of light vanished. “Hello, Kit. Are you feeling better?”

“Yes. I wanted to practice.” He hesitated. “Maybe… maybe not as hard as we sometimes do.”

Master and Lady looked at each other. Master nodded. Lady gestured for him to come in. In the far corner of the room, inside a glass jar, Master had imprisoned the changeling that he’d seen last night. Kit couldn’t forget its face, the ears and its huge eyes. It shrank back against the far side of the jar when it saw him.

Kit’s heart pounded. He felt enraged at the changeling, and afraid that he’d been caught. “I’m sorry,” he blurted out.

“No matter, young one. Wizards follow no rules but their own. I was, however, most displeased with this one.” Master said ‘this one’ as if he wanted to spit on the changeling. “It should have appeared to die the following morning, so that your family would have forgotten you. Last night never should have happened.”

The power inside Kit’s chest thrummed like a guitar string. Master lied. Kit looked at Lady. Her face might as well have been an expressionless, porcelain mask.

“Why did you take me? Why did you lie to me?”

“If I’d told you the truth, you would have gone, and never learned magic. It’s part of you. Your parents fear magic. They would fear you.”

The power twisted inside him. Some of it was true, but it felt strange. Kit didn’t know what to believe. He tried to find his way. The only pure thought that he had was pure anger, at the changeling.

Death is an Evil Cloud

A cloud of death

Tom and Mr. B sat in Tom’s apartment later that morning. Mr. B switched shifts with one of the other watchmen. Tom called his boss to say he was projectile vomiting and needed another day off. Just in case, Mr. B called a doctor friend who owed him a favor from his police days, who said he’d write a note for Tom to back him up. Tom made eggs for Mr. B, and Tom himself was having a bowl of Froot Loops.

First, Mr. B asked Tom to explain what had happened the night before. Then he asked him again, highlighting areas that Tom had expected him to. What did it feel like when the thing attacked? What did it feel like just before the attack? Did he see anything? Hear anything? Smell anything? Then he asked him about things he didn’t expect. What song was he thinking about during the attack? What color was Amy’s dress? What color were her eyes? None of them made sense, but as he tried to think about strange details, it jogged his thoughts and made him think of some details that he’d missed. Mr. B smiled. “You’d be an excellent witness, Tommy,” he said.

They went down each other’s lists of what they knew so far.

“It’s not a ghost like Amy,” Tommy said. “That’s the biggest difference between them. It didn’t need permission to enter the room and it had to come under the door. Like a poison gas.”

“It sounds like an animal, and it usually feeds like an animal, attacking the weak and helpless.” He looked off into space, thinking. “To kill an animal, you either corner it and shoot it, or, you lure it someplace, then kill it. The difference is whether you’re hunting it, or it’s hunting you.”

“The latter,” Tom said. He rubbed his throat.

“Right. The bad news is, you’re the bait, Tommy. You’re also the aberration. You’re connected to Amy. I can’t see her; nobody else can. I hear it all, and no one else ever talked about ghosts or seeing people dancing on the window ledges. It’s not attacking you now because you’re sick. The first time, over a year ago, maybe, but not now. It’s attacking you to get to her.”

“What does that make me?”

“I sat here and listened to you talking to that poor girl, while you were unconscious and you were dreaming.”

Tom just went with it. “Either I have one foot in the afterlife, in the grave, or she’s really not dead.”

Mr. B folded his arms and nodded at him. “Exactly.”

Tommy suddenly remembered something from one of the library books stacked on his desk, next to Mr. B’s elbow. There were legends of people taken away by the faerie. A body was left in their place so people wouldn’t know they were gone. What if she really wasn’t dead? Or did it matter?

“You’re the bridge, Tommy,” Mr. B said. He poked him in the chest. “You love her.”

“I…” Shit. Tom suddenly felt like he was standing in front of a room full of people in his underwear. Mr. B saw right through him. Tom was glad he had never faced Mr. B in a police interrogation room. “Well, I mean, we only just met…” Mr. B was laughing and nodding his head. “What sense does that make? I only talked to her once. We only met, what, two days ago?”

“Tommy, if there’s anything I’ve learned in all my years, it’s that some things are timeless, and some things happen in a place where time has no meaning. Haven’t you ever met somebody and felt like you knew them your whole life?”

Tom just nodded. He was fighting for his life and Amy’s against something he thought only children were afraid of. He kept going with it.

Dream Girl was originally inspired by a prompt from Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite.