1055 words long
Envy is where all the trouble starts.
Notes from the author:
I’ve temporarily sworn off the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, both as a writing prompt generator and as an oracle. It’s aggressively heteronormative, sexist, and white, and I am tired of yelling at my computer. “The Queen of Swords is ‘hardly a symbol of power’? Why the hell not? She is holding a goddamn sword, Waite. Oh, and ‘female embarrassment’? Really? We’re going there?”
Which is not to say I don’t wind up shouting back at other tarot authors. The single card generator at NewAgeStore.com gave me the Eight of Swords from the Gilded Tarot Royale deck, and it asked me to consider the bound and blindfolded woman depicted thereon. How did we allow ourselves to get into this situation, the web page asked? What bigger picture have we blinded ourselves toward?
Jeez. Victim-blaming much? What if my character is blindfolded because the antagonist is actively deceiving her, huh? What if she’s immobilized by his deliberately woven net of twisty lies? What about that, huh?
My main character might be a little naive, but she hasn’t so much blinded herself as been blindsided. The kind of trouble that’s on its way, you could hardly expect her to foresee. Unless you’re a victim-blaming jerk.
Emelina awoke to the unseasonable chatter of birds. The days were drawing short and cool, and most of the small birds had already flown to warmer climes. Nevertheless, seven chickadees huddled at the window, scolding each other and cussing at the glass. Emelina sighed. There was no sleeping through all that fuss and bother. Nothing to do but get up and let the birds in.
Well, one could rap sharply on the glass and shoo the lot away, if one were sufficiently unkind. One could even sic the cat on them. Or one might call Animal Services and ask them to figure things out. But Emelina was neither cruel nor in need of third party experts. Any questions she had, she could ask the birds herself.
Anyone can do magic. You could do magic. It takes practice, of course; it takes exercise and concentration and a lot of memorization. But if you’re willing to devote half your life and a quarter of your material resources to acquiring the skill, you too can become an accomplished witch. You could push the atoms of the universe around like billiard balls across the green. You could see the future in a limited sort of way. You might even learn to talk to the birds.
But while any witch can learn to talk to the birds, not many learn to do it as well as Emelina. And Emelina never had to practice at all. This ability and many others came to her as naturally as catching a ball, for Emelina was a fairy.
Now, you’re a reasonable and well-mannered sort of person. If you were Emelina’s neighbor, you’d be very respectful of her gifts. Fairies, like people who own big pick-up trucks, constantly get asked for favors, like “Help me move this sofa,” or “Tell me the winning lottery numbers.” You don’t want to impose like that. Maybe very occasionally you might ask Emelina over to talk some sense into your dog because the barking has been going on for three nights straight, but you’d be ever so sorry for bothering her and you’d offer to take her out for dinner.
Unfortunately, people can be even worse than unreasonable and poorly mannered. They can be envious. And envy is where all the trouble starts....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for October 6, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1055 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
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