1) Tell us about your book (s) (or short story)
My short story features Khloe, an accident prone young woman. She is best friends with Lilah. She learns a shocking secret and discovers a world of fairies.
2) Who is your main character? Tell us about them.
Khloe is nicknamed Klutz. She is always falling an hurting herself, but there is a reason behind it. She is a young woman, still finding her way and figuring out who she is.
3) What is your favorite Fae myth or story?
I like the stories of the Changeling, hence my short story.
4) The Fae. Helpful magical creatures? Or mischievous tricksters?
I think a little of both, but I don't think they would do anything for free!
5) What is your Fae elemental? Salamander (Fire) Undine (Water) Brownie (Earth) or Sylph (Air)
My Fae are Sylphs. They can vanish into thin air.
It takes a high level of skill to trip over nothing, but I was good at it. Tripping was what I was known for, that and dropping things, oh, and injuring myself. I was a one woman walking disaster. Which was why I had earned the nickname Klutz. My real name is Khloe, but since second grade I’ve been Klutz. It started with the kids at school, then my teachers, now even my parents called me Klutz. I’d gotten so used to it that I barely responded to my real name anymore. No one called me Khloe, except Lilah.
Lilah is my neighbour, has been since I was born. She’s the complete opposite of me. She’s beautiful, smart, graceful and not covered in bruises! I don’t know why we’re even friends, we’re so different, but we are.
I guess its because we live out in the middle of nowhere. Our houses are the only two for miles, so we always played together. We would both get the bus to school together too.
Now that we are seniors though, Lilah has her own car. I failed my test, shockingly. I think my parents were relieved. No one wants me in charge of heavy machinery. I’d probably crash before I even left the garage.
Lilah, on the other hand, I’ve seen her drive perfectly while applying lipstick and talking to me, like she was doing right now.
“Why don’t we have a sleepover this weekend?” I suggested, as we drove to school.
Lilah rolled her eyes. “Come on, Khlo. We’re too old for that crap. Besides, I think Ben is going to ask me out,” she said.
It was my turn to roll my eyes. She was obsessed with Ben lately. I mean, yes, he was cute, but he was kind of a jerk. I was also hurt at her saying our sleepovers were crap. We had so much fun, sitting up all night talking, eating junk food, watching sappy movies. Next year we’d be off to college, I wanted to enjoy every moment we had left.
“Don’t sulk, Khlo,” Lilah said.
“I’m not. It’s just…You spend so much time hanging with the popular kids…I don’t know, I guess I miss you.”
“You can sit with us too, you know? There’s no law against it.”
“I’m pretty sure there is. Besides, knowing me I’d probably give someone a concussion, or knock out their teeth.”
Lilah laughed, throwing her long blonde hair back. “Don’t be silly.”
“I’m not. Both those things happened. I’m a menace.”
“You’re not a menace. You’re around me all the time and you’ve never hurt me.”
“Yeah, I think you are charmed or something.”
“Please join us today,” Lilah pleaded.
I sighed. “Fine, but any accidents are on you.”
Using some wet paper towels, I tried to clean the mashed potato off my blouse. I groaned when I discovered more of it stuck to my dark hair. Cleaning it off, I flipped my braid back out of the way. My hair was already threatening to escape from it, it was like it had a mind of its own.
I could still hear the laughter in my head, from the cafeteria. I didn’t even make it to Lilah’s table. Ten feet from it, I tripped, landing on my lunch. The popular kids got a good look at my epic fail.
“I’m such a klutz,” I muttered to my reflection.
“Khloe? Are you okay?”
I turned to find Lilah. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
At least she didn’t laugh at me. I was grateful for that.
“Hardly anyone saw,” she offered.
“Yeah, right,” I said.
“Let me help,” Lilah said, grabbing some more paper towels.
“It’s fine, Lilah. Really. Go and finish your lunch.”
I took the paper towels from her, turning my face away to hide the hot, angry tears that threatened to fall. I was dragging Lilah down with me. She should just ditch me now before I embarrassed her even more.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said, trying to sound cheerful. “It’s cool.”
I hear the bathroom door open. “Hey, why don’t we have that sleepover?”
“I thought you said we’re too old for that?”
“Well, not really. We always have fun. What do you say?”
On Friday afternoon, I was busy setting up my room for the sleepover. I had some trashy romcoms cued up on Netflix, and plenty of snacks.
Mom came in to the room. “Oh, it looks like you’ve got plans for tonight. Um, do you really think it’s a good idea to have a guy in your room?”
“What? I’m not bringing a guy up here. It’s for my sleepover with Lilah.”
“Oh. Just the way you were acting, I thought you had a date.”
My cheeks flamed. God, even my mother thought I was loser for not having a date. It wasn’t my fault that all the guys at school were boring and not my type. Okay, I wasn’t even sure what my type was, but I’m sure he wouldn’t want to end a date in the ER.
“We’re going out tonight. You girls have fun,” Mom said.
“We will,” I said. I climbed up onto my bed to adjust the drapes so there was no glare on the television.
As I moved across the bed, my foot caught on the comforter and I fell over, landing on the floor with a thump.
“You okay, Klutz?” Mom called.
“Yes!” I yelled, picking myself up. My elbow throbbed from where I’d landed on it.
My foot bumped against something under the bed. I bent down and pulled out a box. Popping off the lid, I found old drawings and fun stuff from our early sleepovers.
One of the drawings showed a pretty blonde fairy in a pink gown. Lilah was obsessed as a child. I went along with it to please her, I never believed in fairies. Lilah though? She was convinced that she had seen them at the bottom of our adjoining gardens.
She described little elf like creatures, playing in the flowers. Dad tried to explain the concept of fireflies, but she was adamant they were real.
Carrying the picture downstairs, I showed it to my mother.
“Remember this? When Lilah was crazy about fairies?”
Mom took the picture and pulled a face. “Oh yeah. I’m so glad you grew out of that childish phase.”
“Hey! It was Lilah, I was only humoring her.”
Mom raised an eyebrow. “If you say so.”
I had forgotten my phone upstairs and went to get it.
When I returned to the kitchen, I could hear Mom talking to Dad.
“Have you seen this?” she said. She was holding up the drawing.
“Not those damn creatures again,” Dad said.
I paused in the doorway, just out of sight.
“It’s bad enough what they did. Taking the baby, I don’t want to be reminded.”
Baby? What baby? I thought.
Dad had his arm around Mom. “It’s okay, Susan. Try not to think about it.”
“How can I not? What we did? I can’t believe we were that petty. Encouraging them to take Lilah.”
I froze. What the hell was she saying? Someone tried to take Lilah? As a baby? And my parents encourage it? No, I was getting it wrong. I had to be.
“Every time I see her…” Mom said. “I thought the girls would grow apart.”
“Look, we did something stupid and we paid the price. Soon she’ll be off to college and we can work on forgetting.”
I couldn’t listen anymore. It sounded like they hated Lilah. How could that be? They were always nice to and Lilah was nothing but sweet to them.
Confused and upset, I went outside. Lilah was in town getting provisions, so I couldn’t talk to her. I didn’t even know if I would tell her. It’s not a nice thing to hear.
I went around the house to the back yard, down the garden and out of sight of my parents.
There was a small brook running behind the property. Mom forbade me from going near it when I was little, but Lilah and I would always sneak out anyway.
I hopped the fence, stunned when I landed on my feet and not on my face. The feeling didn’t last long as I took a step forward and my feet went out from under me. I slipped down the bank, landing with my feet in the brook.
“Ow.” Then I laughed at the absurdity of it all.
It didn’t matter what my parents thought of Lilah. We would be friends forever.
Lifting my feet out of the water, I lay back on the bank, enjoying the quiet. Closing my eyes, I started to drift off.
I jerked awake, wondering how long I’d been asleep. Something was buzzing around my head. I swiped a hand at it, but it dodged me and flew right into my face. I gasped in surprise. I only saw it for a second, but I could have sworn it was a little man with wings. Jumping up, I tried to find it again, but it had vanished.
Was that a…? I caught myself before I thought fairy! I’m losing it! Laughing to myself, I climbed back up the bank and headed back to the house.
It was late, well after midnight. We had worked our way through two bowls of popcorn and a batch of brownies I’d baked. I was stuffed.
“Lilah…” I started.
“What?” She was sprawled across the foot of the bed in her pjs.
I felt stupid asking, but I did it anyway. “Do you remember when we were kids and you saw the fairy?”
Lilah turned to face her. “What made you bring that up?”
“Um, I found an old picture that you drew.”
“God, that was so long ago.”
“I know. A lifetime ago. Did you really see something?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I thought I did, but I guess it was just my imagination.”
“What if it wasn’t?”
“Oh yeah, little fairies are living in our yard,” Lilah teased, tossing a bit of popcorn at me.
“I’m serious. What if they are real?”
Lilah laughed again. “Okay. Come on,” she said, getting off the bed.
“Where?” I asked.
“Come on,” she insisted, dragging me out the door.
I followed her downstairs and outside. “No, Lilah, don’t be silly,” I said.
“You want to know if they are real, so let’s find out.”
Laughing, we ran down the garden and climbed over the fence. This time, with Lilah’s help, I didn’t fall into the brook again.
She hopped over the water and stood in a small clearing. Spreading her arms wide, she announced, “If fairies are real, then please show yourselves!”
I started giggling. She always knew how to make a situation better. We both fell silent for a moment, but of course, nothing happened.
“Guess I was wrong,” Lilah said, shrugging.
She took a step back and I watched in horror as she appeared to fall straight down into a hole. Only it wasn’t a regular hole, it was a swirling vortex.
“Lilah!” I screamed, rushing forward. I started at the vortex, hoping she would appear, but nothing happened. I turned back to the house, but my parents were out and so were Lilah’s. Do I call the police? What do I do?
“Khloe!” I heard Lilah scream, but it sounded like she was really far away. She was alive at least. Without thinking, I leapt into the vortex, praying it wouldn’t kill me.
I hit the ground hard. Opening one eye, I found myself in the woods, but it was daylight. Did I trip and knock myself out? I wondered.
Sitting up, I rubbed the back of my head. “Lilah?” I called.
Something darted behind a nearby tree. I say something, because it had wings and they were glowing.
Scrambling to my feet, I backed away. All I could see were trees, this definitely wasn’t my back yard.
“Hello?” I called.
The creature with the wings peeked out from behind the tree. It looked like a child, but with elfin features. It moved forward tentatively.
“Hi,” I said, terrified that I had really injured myself and was hallucinating.
It flitted closer, peering at me with orange eyes. I reached out my hand to it, like you do with dogs to get them to trust you. It sniffed my hand, threw back its head and let out a high pitched keening noise.
I stumbled back, tripped over my own two feet and hit the ground again. Within seconds I was surrounded by dozens of similar creatures who each took a hold of my arms and legs and lifted me off the ground.
“No, stop! Let me go!” I cried.
They ignored me and carried me forward. What were they going to do to me? And where was Lilah? Maybe they ate her! I tried push that thought away, but I had no idea where I had landed, these creatures could be cannibals for all I knew.
After about ten minutes, they dumped me unceremoniously on the ground. I sat up, my eyes immediately finding Lilah. She was tied up nearby. I tried to get to her but was knocked back onto the ground.
“What do you want?” I cried.
One of them stepped forward. She was taller and looked more human like. She wore a mask across her eyes.
“You have been found guilty of revealing the Fae world to a human,” she said.
“Me? I don’t, didn’t, even believe you were real,” I said.
“It is against Fae law. You will be punished accordingly,” she said.
“Punished? I didn’t do anything wrong. Please let us go,” I begged.
The woman looked over at Lilah, then back at me. I saw the confusion, this was a huge mistake. She had to realize that.
One of the winged ones, flew up and whispered in her ear. She faced me.
“Your parents were the ones who tried to bargain with us. To steal the human child.”
I glanced over at Lilah. They tried to get fairies to take Lilah!
“Why?” I asked. “Why would they do that?”
“Jealousy, a common human trait. They did not hold up their end of the bargain though. So, they were punished.”
“How?” I asked.
“She doesn’t know,” one of the fairies whispered.
They started conferring with each other. I looked over at Lilah, she was terrified too. I needed to figure out a way for us to escape. Every time I moved, the winged ones would fly at me, to keep me in place.
Finally, the woman spoke again. “The human will stay; the Changeling must return.”
I looked to Lilah. Her eyes filled with tears. “What’s a Changeling?” I asked her.
“A fairy that was used to replace a human child,” she said.
I gasped. Was that what my parents were talking about? Lilah was a Changeling? No wonder she was so perfect, she was a fairy! An actual fairy. At least they were letting her go.
I was dragged to my feet and spun around, back towards the woods. “Go!” the woman commanded.
“You’re letting us both go?” I said, feeling relieved.
“Khloe, she’s letting you go,” Lilah said.
Now I was confused. If they were letting me go then that would make me…
“No! I’m human,” I said.
The woman stepped forward. “When your parents betrayed us, their child was taken instead. Forfeited. You are a Changeling.”
“No, that’s crazy. I’m a klutzy human girl, that’s it.”
The woman smiled, but not unkindly. “You are a klutz, as you call it, because you are trying to navigate in a human body. Our kind fly, you have been forced to walk.”
I shook my head. “No, it’s not true.”
“You must return. You are no longer welcome here.”
Tears started to fall, as I tried to take it all in. The winged ones started pushing me back towards the vortex.
“Wait, no! I won’t leave Lilah.”
I started fighting my way through the fairies, trying to get back to her. A group of them seemed to be spinning a golden web over her.
“What are you doing?” I cried.
The web covered her, and she seemed to be unconscious.
The woman grabbed me by the arm. “She’s not your concern anymore. Once a human enters our world, they cannot return.”
“But she didn’t do anything wrong. Please, we won’t tell anyone what happened, I swear.”
“No one would believe you if you did. I don’t know why you were not told what you are, but our laws must be upheld.”
“Then at least let me say goodbye,” I begged.
She nodded. I ran to Lilah.
“Lilah? Can you hear me?”
She opened her eyes, but she looked weak. “Khloe, I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault. It’s mine. I never should have said anything. I’ll find a way to get you out of here, I promise.”
She tried to smile. “Do you really think they’ll let you?”
“I don’t care. I will find a way. You’re my best friend. I love you.”
“I love you too,” she said.
Overcome with emotion, I leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. I didn’t plan to do it, but I didn’t regret it either. She looked shocked at first, then she smiled.
“You didn’t tell me she was yours,” the woman said.
“She is. She is mine.”
The woman sighed. “Release her.”
The webbing melted, and Lilah was able to move again. I hugged her tightly.
“I don’t understand,” I said.
“Fae law offers immunity to any human belonging to a Fae,” the woman said.
“She doesn’t belong to…” I started, but Lilah gripped my arm to shut me up.
“Go,” the woman said.
We didn’t wait around for her to change her mind, we ran. We stepped into the vortex and in an instant, we were transported back to our garden. We hurried back inside, eager to be as far from the vortex as possible.
“I can’t believe that just happened,” Lilah said.
“I know. Fairies are real. And I’m one of them.” I sank down onto the bed. “I can’t believe that my parents would be so heartless. Heck, they aren’t even my parents, not really.”
Lilah sat beside me and took my hand. “It doesn’t change who you are. You are still Khloe.”
I nodded, but everything had changed. I had no idea how I was supposed to act normal now. Normal is overrated.
“I know you are still reeling about everything, but I wanted to talk about the other thing that happened,” Lilah said.
“Huh?” I looked at her blankly.
“Oh!” My cheeks burned as I recalled the kiss.
“I didn’t know that you thought of me that way,” she said.
“It…I didn’t…I,” I stuttered.
“If it makes it easier?” She leaned in and kissed me. “Is that okay?”
I nodded. “Yes, more than okay.”
As crazy as the day had been, I was so relieved that I still had Lilah. Things would never be normal again, but she was still here so I could handle anything.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”