Our first Tuesday Fiction participant that isn’t me is the wonderful Pixies by Anna Walls. Anna lives up in the wilds of Alaska and has written several books, including Guardians, The Fortunes of Magic, and several others which you should check out if you love fantasy. She also does a bit of ghostwriting and editing, so check out her page and writing blog for more info.
Here, without further ado, is Anna’s submission Pixies, which puts an interesting SF twist on a fantasy idea and marries it with a story of unrequited love. Let us know what you think in the comments.
by Anna L. Walls
As man expanded into space they left their fantasies and fairytales behind, or at least they thought so until they ran across a race that called themselves Pixies. That wasn’t exactly the right word, but it was as close as the human tongue could get to pronouncing it.
Pixies were the embodiment of their namesake, playful and troublesome, and like their ancient namesake, they could accomplish thievery and pranks of all sorts with a sprinkling of pixie dust and a mischievous giggle. It was because of pixies that humans developed jetpacks that were guided with a mere thought, and eye lenses that saw into the infrared as well as sound waves.
Pixies, however, were a small agile people, and even with such advancements, catching them was nearly impossible. Pixies were like small children that had been stretched. They were fine boned to the point of looking fragile, and yet lithe and tough like a cat. Their pointed ears and slanted purple eyes completed the picture, making anyone who saw them wonder about the truth of fairytales. And most puzzling of all, wherever man went, pixies followed, sooner or later. Either that or pixies are far-flung and far traveled…somehow.
Three men from the newly established Camelot outpost, chased three pixies across a planetary landscape, the pixies always just within sight, their giggles leading the men on. These pixies had raided Camelot many times. Their pranks were never life threatening, and what had been stolen had always been recovered eventually, usually undamaged, but such impunity had to be stopped, and so the chase covered miles each time.
This chase came to a river, as each man burst from the underbrush, a pixie giggled, sprinkled a pinch of sparkling pixie dust, and created a tiny speeder and leaped off into the sky, the human in hot pursuit. The third pixie waited for a second longer, watching, smiling, as her pursuer came close. Then she turned to dive into the water, feigning a near stumble. This time she’d let him catch her; she had long hungered to feel his strong arms around her. She was the reason the raids had gone on for so long. He was the reason she kept coming back.
She got her wish. His jets on full thrust, Arthur caught her in midair. Spinning, he kept her from escaping into the water. She wrapped her arms around him and her legs too. She buried her face in his neck feeling the course stubble of his unshaven chin and the hot pulse in his neck. She pulled herself as close as she could, a hand feeling up the back of his neck, her fingers finding their way into his sweaty hair. She made a grave mistake, though. She didn’t understand human anger.
Furious beyond reason, Author ended the chase by plunging a knife into her back. Only then did he realize all the things that had gone before. She tipped her head back and looked up at him, her mouth open in surprise, now rimmed with blood, her purple eyes gone dark with confusion.
“Why did you let me catch you?”
She gasped a wet breath. “Because I love you.” And then she went limp.
Her words had a very alien tilt, but still, they were unmistakable. He pulled the knife out and threw it away, then he hastily brought them back to the sandy riverbank, giving no thought to a safe landing, they tumbled and rolled, her tiny fragile body limp in his arms, tears causing the sand to stick to his face.
They had only just come to rest when he heard a wailing cry from above. He spotted one of the other pixies streaking in to land with a sparkle of pixie dust as his speeder vanished, leaving him running across the sand toward them without so much as a bump.
He knelt down beside them as Author attempted to disentangle himself from the fragile creature he had just killed. The pixie touched the blood on her back and looked up at the man. “What have you done?”
Arthur could only shake his head. One by one, the others landed and gathered around as the pixie produce a small pouch in a shower of pixie dust, and from it sprinkled red pixie dust onto the wound. “If she will live for another minute, she may still survive,” he said as he carefully straightened her limbs and lovingly fingered her hair into order.
She opened her eyes to the glow of a campfire. A soft blanket was tucked up under her chin and around under her head and she felt hot. Sitting across the fire from each other was the human and the slight pixie.
For the first time in her life, she felt a profound sorrow. The pixie loved her with all of his heart. She knew this to the depths of her soul. But she had flirted with a human – a match that could never be.
She rolled over and sat up, pushing the blanket away and breathing in the cool night air. Off to the side she spotted the pile of plunder they had taken this time. The game was done; it wasn’t fun anymore.
At her movement both of them looked at her. She went to the pile and with a wave of her hand and a scattering of sparkling pixie dust that lit the pile for a moment, she added her plunder to it.
The men’s eyes never left her, she had to choose and there really was only one choice. She went and stood beside her childhood friend, resting a hand on his shoulder. She gazed across the flames at the human she’d been able to touch just once. “We won’t bother you again.”
Arthur stood, as did the pixie; their standoff would not easily pass. “I’m sorry.”
The pixie turned to lead her away, but she hesitated. With a parting sigh she said, “Blood is a time for sadness.” Then she followed her companion into the darkness.
Arthur watched them go, the thin moonlight making them possible to follow only because of their motion, then there was a brief burst of pixie dust sparkles, and they were gone.