Sharon Mary Elizabeth Dulcet Vaughn. What were my Fae parents thinking giving me a name like that?
Sharon stared at herself in the mirror of the tiny airplane lavatory until her right wing started to hurt where it was bent up against the curved ceiling. She rubbed one of her pointed elf-like ears as she stared at the sparkles in her cat-shaped eyes. The irises had taken on a deep blue with gold flecks. Her hand moved without her conscious volition to stroke the wavy brown hair cascading over her shoulders. The silky strands shimmered as her hand moved over them, like dewdrops on polished mahogany.
Her Fae self stared back at her, a hesitant smile curving baby-doll lips, not quite enough to show her razor-sharp teeth.
“Fairies aren't totally hideous,” Sharon said, blinking at her reflection.
Sharon sighed and closed her eyes, focusing on the blond face she'd made up. When she opened her eyes again, she was her once again her imaginary human blonde self.
She opened the door and felt a pang of guilt at the sight of the two people waiting in the narrow aisle. The woman in jeans and a Hard Rock T-shirt at the head of the line glared and shoved her way past Sharon to get into the lavatory. The woman mumbled something under her breath as she slammed the door shut. The clack of the latch was so loud Sharon cringed.
Sharon ducked her head to avoid the man's gaze who was next in line as she made her way back along the aisle, past rows of seats packed with an eclectic mix of humanity. The cabin jostled slightly, and almost immediately a ding-dong chime sounded.
A pleasant female voice sounded on the speakers. “Hi everyone, can I have your attention please? The captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. Please return to your seat and make sure your belt is securely fastened around your waist.”
Sharon found her row, and shimmied in front of Heather. “Guess I made it back just in time.”
Heather chewed a bite of granola bar for a minute before responding. “Yeah, too bad you can't just change the weather outside.”
“Are you kidding?”
Heather held a finger to her lips, then leaned in to whisper. “I think weather is one of the few arenas where witches and sorcerers have you beat.”
“Really?” Sharon said, grabbing Heather's granola bar and taking a bite.
“Hey!” Heather snatched it back and stared at the half-consumed bar. “That was my last granola bar, you thief! And they don't serve meals on this stupid flight!”
Sharon focused on the granola bar, wishing it whole. “There. All better.”
Heather's hand jerked. She tossed the granola bar at the cabin window like it was a flaming hot potato.
Sharon frowned at Heather. “Why did you do that?”
Heather pointed a scolding finger at Sharon. “Don't ever make food for me. Don't you know anything about Faerie lore?”
“I looked up some stuff.”
“Did you see the part about people becoming addicted to Faerie food after one bite?”
“I didn't think so. You want me to starve to death?”
Sharon swallowed. She thought once again about how much this power scared her, and how she could screw up everyone's lives around her if she wasn't careful. She hated herself again, hated what she had become, and fought back tears. She thought about evil Chelsea, sitting in the hospital because of her. She turned away from Heather and fished at her feet for the granola bar. She found it, and focused on it, turning it into a stick of wood.
“That's better,” Heather said.
They sat in silence for a while. The airplane bucked up and down. Sharon thought about the weather again, and turned to Heather. “So witches and sorcerers can control weather?”
“Yes, granola thief.”
“So you're saying you could change the weather outside?”
Heather shrugged. “Given enough time, and charmed circle, and a few other witches, sure.”
“But given enough time, the weather would change on its own.”
Heather winked. “If you say so.”
Sharon stared at Heather as the plane rocked up and down a couple of times. She tried imagining they were in a bus on a dirt road. “And sorcerers?”
Heather paused as the woman in the Hard Rock t-shirt walked by, holding the seat backs like a drunk as the plane shuddered. She waited until the woman was a few rows away. “A sorcerer could clear this storm out in a few minutes, or make it twice as bad.”
“That sounds cooler than being a witch.”
Heather glared at Sharon. “Sure. Yeah. If you don't mind being a char-burger portal to the outer dimensions, hunted by demons every day of your life, I'm sure it's a real party.”
Sharon swallowed, suddenly very happy she wasn't a sorcerer. She tried not to think about mystical creatures and other dimensions as the airplane bounced and shuddered again. She watched out the window at the wing of the plane, and blinked. Her imagination had to be playing tricks on her.
Had that been a gremlin on the wing?
She held on to the armrest as the plane bounced a few more times, and even dropped a little. There was no way she was having a William Shatner Twilight Zone moment. If there was a gremlin out there, she was determined to believe the little sucker out of existence. She closed her eyes and started quoting statistics in her mind about airplane safety as she took a deep, calming breath.
“I think it's cool we're both blondes now,” Heather muttered, then did a double-take at Sharon's expression. “Are you afraid of flying?”
Sharon opened her eyes to look over at Heather. “Believe it or not, this is my first time on a plane. Not including when my parents flew me home from Scotland as a baby.”
“You seem a little scared.”
“The plane is bucking around like a wild horse. How can you be calm?”
Heather smiled, put on her headphones and leaned back. Sharon was about to say something when Heather finally spoke. “My aunt insisted on using a foretelling spell before I got on the plane. I already know we'll land safely.”
The plane bounced again, making their stomachs drop. Several people screamed. A baby started crying. The lights flickered and came back on, then went to night mode so only the reading lights were on. Lightning flashed outside, or maybe it was just a strobe on the wing.
“Is your aunt ever wrong?” Sharon asked, noticing the man across the aisle reach for his air sickness bag.
Heather pulled a headphone from her ear and shrugged. “Sometimes. But seriously, you can't die in a plane crash. You'd wake up next to the smoldering debris field wondering what happened.”
“Why wouldn't I die?”
“Are you forgetting the part where you're made of pure magic?”
Sharon started chewing a fingernail, and watched the man across the aisle, hoping he didn't lose his lunch. That would be too gross. She felt like she was trying to wrap her mind around the concept of her new identity, and failing. The baby crying made it hard to concentrate on anything.
“What did your parents think about you taking off to Scotland?” Heather asked.
Sharon stared at Heather for a minute, her brain trying to catch up to the change in topic. “Um. I kinda forgot to tell them.”
“Maybe you can call them when we land.”
Sharon sighed. “Yeah. I forgot to call in sick at school too.”
“No worries. My aunt can smooth that over.”
“Just promise not to ditch me like you did today, and it'll be taken care of.”
Sharon sighed. “Fine. I won't try to ditch you.”
The plane stopped bouncing around, and eventually Sharon curled her legs up and tried to sleep sideways on the seat. Somehow, there was just no comfortable way to rest; but she forced herself to try.
At some point during the night she heard a cell-phone camera noise. A flash lit up the backs of her closed eyelids. She opened her eyes to see Heather's smile lit by the display on her phone.
“What the heck?” Sharon said, grabbing at the phone.
Heather easily avoided her, laughing. “I'll show you if you chill out!”
Sharon pulled back her hand and moved a rebellious lock of blonde hair out of her eyes. She watched as Heather turned the picture toward them.
The familiar blonde face in the picture looked like some cute young actress, except for the strand of drool hanging out of her mouth.
Heather beamed. “It's a work of art! I'm calling it 'The Fairy Princess'. Whatcha think?”
Sharon glared at Heather. She felt so disconnected from herself that it took a full minute for the emotion to hit. She'd never felt so alone. She realized that she had been hanging on to Heather as her emotional lifeline, a caring friend who wanted to help. But the feeling of hurt and betrayal burned that lifeline to cinders. Adrift in a sea of emptiness, Sharon closed off her heart. In that moment, she focused on Heather's phone with the full force of her belief in her magic; and a second later it turned to stone.
Heather gasped. “My phone!”
“Stone rhymes with phone.”
“I can't believe you just did that!”
Sharon's eyes turned to slits. “Heather, I have a word of advice for you. Never piss off a Fae.”
(continue to Chapter 13)
(continue to Chapter 13)