A Word of Caution

Welcome to the realm of the Unseelie Court. Feel free to wander and browse, but know that the content you will find here is not for the faint of heart. The visions portrayed are often darkly erotic, even disturbing, and should be traversed only by those with the appropriate character and mental age.

You have been warned.


Tales From the Fae – Part V: The Academy of Dana

Chapter 37 – Combat

The sirens were moving closer again. Like the baying of hunting wolves, they followed her, tracking her through the light rain. But the lanky, sandy-haired girl knew they weren’t really coming for her, but for the other. The one she knew must be nearby. It was always like that. First the sirens, then the blood. The wailing of the sirens was almost always present in the city, but she could tell when they were closing in, and what it meant. She also knew there was no escaping it.

She ducked under the broken space of fence, scurrying through the cold alley toward the docks. She knew this area well. She knew those who lived here. This was her playground. But no place was safe, at least not like the “safe” that she saw in the real playgrounds. Sometimes she would stand at the edge of those spaces, just at the finely manicured line of bark or sand, and stare at the children and their mothers as they frolicked in their vision of safety. They laughed in the confidence of belonging. Sometimes she wanted to join them. She felt the urge to run out and pretend to be happy on the clean and polished slides, or fly away to distant lands on the swings that barely even squeaked as the children pushed the limits of angular momentum and reveled in brief moments of free-fall. But they would never accept her.

Perhaps it was her clothes, which were dirty and pecked with holes as though someone had taken a shotgun to them. Or perhaps she just smelled too differently. They certainly did to her. Whatever the reason, she recognized well that somewhat confused and pained expression the other kids got when she came near to play with them, and then the angry looks that pelted down on her from the mothers who sensed her differences and herded their children away under protest. She wasn’t supposed to be there. They made that clear. She wasn’t “safe.”

But there was no safety. Not really. Even at the nice playgrounds there were predators, maybe even more so. She saw them lurking in the shadows and behind the bathrooms, just out of view. They were there waiting, always waiting, for one of the mothers to make a mistake. Maybe they would send their child to the bathroom alone because they were right in the middle of changing a sibling’s diapers, or maybe they were distracted by a call on their cell phone. Whatever the cause, it took only a moment’s indiscretion and the wolves would strike… As they had in her latest dream.

And now, as she walked carefully through the dripping alleyway, she knew that it was about to happen again. Just like it always did, eventually. Sometimes it took weeks. Sometimes hours. Sometimes she only saw it from a distance. Those were the easy ones, the ones that surprised her in their abruptness, but were somehow not quite as personal.

Only once had she known the name of the other in her dream. Only once, when she was still very young, still clumsy young. And even then she hadn’t understood. She was still trying to separate reality from sleeping vision. Had she known… had she understood that for her at least, there was no separation, she might have warned them. She might have saved Tina from the errant bus that swerved too close, knocking them down, then sucking the other under its massive bulk, ripping the older child right from her grasp. It was raining on that day too. It was the first day that she really saw the rain.

To most, a raindrop only exists from the moment it strikes the top of their head in a cold, wet explosion. But the second her teenage friend, her caretaker as she called herself, was yanked from her fingers in slow motion, the whole of the world seemed to slow as well. As though a light switch had been flicked on at that horrible instant, she was painfully aware of all that was around her. The bus, the huge wheels that were almost taller than she was, the crowd of people around her, the pigeons in the air who had sensed the odd trajectory of the vehicle and had taken flight… and the two that had not; the rain, which fell in large, sparse drops from the heavens, was held nearly suspended around her, and she could feel it all.

Later, in the alleyway toward the docks, she’d dance through her playground dodging drops of dirty rain as they dripped from catwalks and fire-escapes. Smiling, she would slip between the spaces made by the tiny wet arrows with perfect grace, picking that one special orb to catch in her upturned hand pretending it might be a diamond sent from Tina in heaven.

And so it was that she played her game yet again, even as the police sirens grew menacing and close. She danced between the drops and picked one, the special one, hoping for a diamond. She smiled as she stepped forward into the right place and snapped her hand up to catch the jewel. But her childlike grin faded slowly from her countenance not because she hadn’t captured a diamond, but rather because the drop she had chosen wasn’t water either. Instead, in her hand was a splattered signature of dark red blood.

Turning her gaze upward, she saw a silhouette of buildings and black rusted iron against a dark grey sky. And there, just above her on one of the fire escapes, was the crumpled but recognizable figure of the little girl from her dream. As the sirens slowed and whined down around the building, she looked back at the single drop of blood in her hand and knew. You can’t escape fate.

“MICHELLE!!” Screamed a female’s voice above and behind her, and she was brought out of her memory as though jerked by a collar. She had been staring down at her hand, in which was a single drop of blood not her own. It belonged to the South House Fourth that had recovered from her blow and was even now rushing forward to take advantage of the other’s distracted state. She sensed her opponent snapping her arm around for a side strike to the head. She also sensed that she wouldn’t be able to dodge in time.

WHAP! The closed fist smashed into something invisible just inches from her face and there was a distorted ripple as the energy was absorbed harmlessly by the air. By that time, Michelle’s sense of reality had returned and she brought her own hand up and intercepted the other’s wrist before she could pull back for another attack. At the same time, she began to turn so that she could block the spin kick that she knew was coming from her partner. On cue, she pulled the first girl’s arm around just in time to fall in front of the looming foot that was also set to connect with her head. Now however, it crashed into her partner’s arm with a slightly sickening crunch.

There was a sharp wail of pain from the first girl, who dropped to the ground in agony. The other, mortified that she had just taken out her own teammate, was still standing there stunned when she suddenly lifted from the ground and slammed backwards into the dark grey-green wall of the arena, where she sagged to the ground, silent and unmoving. An instant later, the room seemed to be filled with a blood-red light and it felt like they were submerged in a thick mud. Their first combat match was now officially over.

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