Save the Princess

The knight had defeated the dragon, the great beast’s body lay at the bottom of the stairs. He confidently strode up the tower and knocked on the princess’s door.

“I have defeated the dragon, my sweet lady.” He shouted at the closed door.

“My hero.” Came a mildly sarcastic response, and the door creaked open.

“I will sweep you away from this dreary place and you will be my wife.”

“Oh goody…”

“I have spent many long lonely nights on  the road, since we are to be wed it would not be a sin to lay together.”

“Sir knight, I don’t even know your name.” She flitted out of his reach, but the room was small there were not many places for her to go to evade him.

“We will have time for names later.” He advanced menacingly he wrapped his arms around her waist and hoisted her into the air.

She flailed around screaming for help.

“Why do you need help My Lady, I have already slain the dragon.” He threw her onto the bed. “I will claim what is rightfully mine.”

He tore at her elegant dress trying to get through the layers of silk and tool while she kicked and scratched at him. She heard the rumbling before he did. She watched the doorway as the dragon poked his huge spiked head through the door.

“You’ve decided to give in to me willingly?” He said cockily.

The dragon licked the knight with his forked tongue. The knight felt for his sword at his hip. The princess grinned pointing his own blade at him. Confusion settled on the knight’s face. Then the dragon gobbled the knight up.

“Stringier than I prefer.” The dragon burped.

The princess ran over to the dragon and hugged his huge head. She gave him a kiss on the nose.

“They won’t get up the stairs next time.” The dragon promised.

 

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Drunken Fairy

We were going to the club, we walked there every week. Our shoes were too tall and our skirts too short. We stumbled down the sidewalk holding onto each other for support. She fell down onto the grass. I crashed on the slight slope of the sidewalk a few steps later. Laughing we continued down the road. I took another tumble a few feet later. I brushed the gravel out of my knees. Drunkenness made us brave.

Dressed in the stylish fashion we showed our ID’s and got in to the packed club. We got an overpriced blue drink at the bar and headed to the dance floor. The beat was too loud to talk over. We strutted with confidence, and stumbled with style.

Strangers grabbed our wings while we danced. Someone groped my ass. I spun in my stupidly high heals and put my fists up ready to fight.

“Hey” I shouted, fire to fight in my soul. My body, my rules.

“By bad thought you were someone else.” He backed away, I assume sensing that I was not taking any shit, my bloody knee probably helped my bad ass intimidation. No one gets a bloody knee unless they’re ready to throw down.

Alcohol made me brave. He left with his gang of bros before I made it back to my friend.

Our flower crowns were wilting in the heat and humidity of the club. We laughed and danced the night away. We had very few problems with people dancing with us. We got cheers and gave cheers of our own.

At the end of the night we were tired and sweaty. We walked home stumbling until we took our shoes off. We leaned on each other disregarding the rocks that cut at our feet. Exhausted we took a short cut and laid down in a small patch of light.

All of our secrets were laid out before each other in that little spot of light. After we recovered enough to stumble the rest of the way home, we took care of our injuries, and feel asleep.

Fairy dust does not cure hangovers.

Breakup

“You’re still here?” She said putting her hands on her hips, “And you’re making pancakes?”

He looked over at her apologetically, “Just trying to make up for my mistake.”

“Yeah, fucking sure.” She dumped the entire plate of pancakes into the garbage. “I told you we’re done. I pay for this shit apartment so get out.”

“Its okay babe, it won’t happen again.” He flipped the pancakes on the griddle.

“That’s what you said last time, but the fucking second I left for work you were over at that bitches house.” She unplugged the griddle. “If you don’t get you’re shit out of here I am going to burn it.”

“I said I was sorry, she doesn’t mean anything to me.”

“Oh really?” She whipped out her phone and pulled up a text. “I can’t wait to see you again, oops sorry wrong person.”

He stopped flipping pancakes. “It was for a guy from work.”

“You’re unemployed you fuckhead!” She stomped her foot. “I know this is about this girl you were seeing on the side. If I’m not you’re only girl then I’m not your girl. Remember?”

He shuffled his foot.

“Get your shit and get out.”

“You’re overreacting.”

“I’m being perfectly reasonable. I told you last week to get out when I caught you fucking her in our bed. This is after I called you when I got home and I could hear her moaning in the background.”

He put his hands in his pocket. “It sounds worse when you say it.”

“Oh and how would you say it?”

“I have too much love for one person,” He shrugged.

“Bullshit,” She screeched.

“I’m being honest with you.”

“You’re a lying sack of shit. I work my ass off to pay for your food and clothing and rent and your fucking dog that I didn’t even want.” She stormed off to the bedroom and started pulling his clothes out of the drawers. “Take your shit and get out, we are done!”

“What we had was good.”

“No it wasn’t! Did you ever care about me or my feelings?”

“I do…” He said touching her shoulder.

“Don’t fucking touch me!”

“Come on babe….” He looked like he was being genuine. “We had some good times too. Remember going to Florida, and Disney world.”

“I paid for the whole fucking thing dickweed.”

“But it was fun right?”

She didn’t want to admit that it had been a high point in their relationship, maybe things could get better.

“We should go on another trip.” He said wrapping her in his arms. He smelled like a different soap.

“Were you with her last night?”

“No, why?”

She looked him over suspiciously, he had already broken her trust so many times. She sighed, “Just leave.”

“No, we can work this out.”

“We can’t. You’ve ruined it. I’m not going to question everything about myself again.” She tossed his stuff out the window.

“Babe…”

“Don’t ‘babe’ me, just get out.” Once all of his clothes were outside she started throwing his other things out whatever window was closest.

“Stop!”

“You wouldn’t stop to take a damn phone call.” She chucked the book in her hand at him. “Get the fuck out.”

He ducked. “Okay… Okay, I’ll go. If you change your mind call me.”

“Fucking right I will.” She muttered at the door.

Firefight

The grenade went off before she could screech a warning over the gunfire. The blast blew her forward away from her squad. She hit the ground hard, she couldn’t see anything through the smoke. She shouted into her radio. She couldn’t hear anything. She turned back to the field and fired at the enemy. She stayed low behind the sandbags.

There was a break in the fire, the company next to hers taking the brunt of the fire. She crawled to where the grenade had gone off. She ripped her gloves off trying to tend to their injuries. She called for a medic unit. Her radio only returned static. She dragged each of her squad to the jeep, avoiding gunfire. The radio on the jeep worked and she radioed for help.

She was driving to the rendezvous point, she saw the IED a second too late. The jeep flipped, throwing her from the vehicle.

She woke up in the hospital. She hit the call button for the nurse.

“Where is my team,” She scooted to the edge of the bed, tried to stand and immediately fell to the floor.

“You have to rest.” The nurse said lifting her back up into the bed.

“I don’t have to do anything you say. You’re not my commanding officer.” She squirmed around to get out of bed again. The nurse held her down. “I have to make sure they’re okay.”

“Sir, you did the best you could to help them. Now please calm down.”

“I have to.” She fought to keep her voice from breaking.

“Sargent,” A gruff voice said from the doorway. She snapped to attention, saluting the man who had entered the room. “You need to listen to this nice man.” 

She settled down into the bed. The nurse was obviously relieved.

“You served your country well.” He said giving her a metal, a patch, and a certificate. “Due to the extensive injuries you received while trying to save your squad you have been honorably discharged.”

“Sir, I would like to still fight, Sir.” She touched the purple heart. “I can still fight.”

She saw the nurse shake his head from the corner of her eye.

“Your cooperation on this matter would be greatly appreciated.”

“Sir, yes, Sir.” She nodded and saluted as he walked back out the door.

“It would be best if you tried to relax and heal.” The nurse said picking up her chart and leaving.

“Heal from what…” She muttered pulling the sheet over the light hospital gown, “I feel okay.”

The nurse came back in the morning. “How are you feeling today?”

“Fine, I don’t even know why I am in here.”

“It’s because you were shot four times and the IED you hit blew off your leg.” The nurse was not having any of her sass today.

“What are you talking about?” She said lifting up her leg and not breaking eye contact. He looked down at her leg, she followed his gaze. “No…”

“You are on a lot of pain medications right now.” He sounded almost nice but she could hear the sarcasm.

She picked up the purple heart that was on the rolling table next to her. “What about my team?”

“They are all in intensive care.” He looked like he was ready to hold her down again. “I can wheel you down there to see them, if you would like.”

“I would like that…”

He instructed her on how to hold onto him for transferring to the wheelchair. She looped her arms around his neck and helped as much as she could. She sat down heavily in the wheelchair. She didn’t really like having to be wheeled around but she had no other choice.

She looked at her team, hooked up to machines that helped them breath, monitored all of  their vitals, kept them alive. “Where’s Wilson?”

Her nurse was silent. She couldn’t get an answer from him. She held each of her squads hands, trying to give them some of her strength.

Over the next few weeks she visited them every day, she got stronger, they seemed to get worse. She could wheel herself down there to see them now.  One after another coded, nurses rushed in to help and she was pushed out of the room every time. They wouldn’t let her back in for the rest of the day, and there would be another empty bed.

Soon she was the last of her squad. The nurses and doctors wouldn’t tell her anything.

She figured it out when she was asked to speak at their funerals.

She sat in the front in her wheelchair. She was still in the hospital to prevent infection in her leg wound and physical therapy. She was dressed in her dress uniform, her purple heart pinned to her chest with her block of ribbons. Her face was steal but her hands fidgeted with the note card. When the rights had been read and it was her turn to speak she wheeled herself across the grass the funeral director handed her the microphone. She took a deep breath and tried to read what was on the card.

Instead of detailing how strong and brave Private Wilson had been, and how he had helped his country, all she managed to get out was “He was a good man.”

She dropped the mic and wheeled away across the grass desperate to get away from the accusing eyes of the other funeral goers. The others were just as difficult, she never managed to get through her speech as planned. She knew what all the people were thinking. Why hadn’t she been killed like the rest of them.

She was finally allowed to move back home after months in the hospital. They would be sending someone out to fit her with a prosthetic, if she wanted, in a few weeks. She ordered one when the time came and was soon limping around her house. It took years for her to fully adapt to using it. It took even more years to deal with her squads deaths. She wasn’t sure it it would ever get any better.

Fairy Secrets

She disappeared when she was ten. They had led extensive searches to find her, but there was no trace. After a year they stopped looking assuming she was dead, they had found no trace of her.

It was seven years later, she crawled out of the forest. Moss clung to her stick thin body. She had learned all the secrets of the forest, and the creatures inside it. The river outside her old house washed her feet clean as she approached. The forest would not keep her anymore and she didn’t know where else to go.

She knocked on the door. No one answered. The door was locked.

She sat on the porch, waiting for someone to come home. She whispered fairy spells of protection. A squirrel perched on her moss covered shoulder. She waited all day absorbing the sunshine, no one came home.

She knocked on the door again, still no answer. She whispered a fairy spell to unlock the door, vines grew and plucked the pins on the lock. The door swung open slowly. Inside the house was bare. There was no furniture no sign of life in the house that she had lived in when she was little.

She walked into her old room, there was nothing there. The wall where they had marked her height till she was seven had been painted, like she had never existed.

The forest had promised her a fresh start. Her dirt covered finger left a mark on the wall where she touched it. She wondered if this was part of their plan.

She slept in the garden that night whispering to the plants coaxing them to grow. Vines crept up the building by the time the sun came up. Succulent fruit had ripened on plants that had been nearly dead when she arrived.  Moss clung to the hard wood floors where she stepped as she toured the house. She opened all the windows letting the delicious wind and sunlight in.

A week passed and the forest was creeping forward long grasses grew and trees started to sprout where her parents had constantly battled to keep the forest back. Wildflowers grew in the perfectly manicured garden. The house had a fine covering of moss, it was starting to disappear from the neighborhood.

No one stopped by, magic kept them away while it transitioned back to the forest. Within a month there were young saplings surrounding the house. The faeries crept out from the edge of the forest to their newly claimed land. They whispered more spells to the plants and trees. They sent her next door.

The neighbors youngest daughter was lured into the forest by a moss covered woman. Quiet suggestions and spells made them leave. The fair folk of the forest raised the young girl while their young moss woman claimed the land past the river.

Trees broke the cement driveways and sidewalks between the buildings. They began raising their next guardian of the forest, while their first recruit continued to reclaim the neighborhood for the forest.

One Hour

He showed up to the party at nine, the time on the invite said seven. There were people everywhere. He floated between rooms trying to find the host, there were too many people that he didn’t know. He was feeling uncomfortable until he spotted the host and waved.

He ate some of the snacks that were laid out for everyone. He looked at his phone to check the time. It had only been five minutes. He sighed, he did not want to be at this party. He tried to mingle. All he could think of for conversations were the weather, and the snacks.  He could only get a couple sentences before it fizzled.

Another ten minutes were wasted. He sat on the couch. He watched the time tick down on the clock. He got up after another fifteen minutes.

He had spent a grand total of a half hour at the party before he left. He didn’t say goodbye to anyone he just left. He walked to his car, lighting a cigarette as he opened the door. He drove home feeling exhausted. He put his cigarette out in the bushes and checked his phone, no messages but it was nine forty five.

He sighed, walking into his kitchen and making himself a microwave pizza. The microwave clock blinked a green nine fifty at him. His show would be on in ten minutes.

He sat on the couch with his pizza and clicked on the TV slowly flipping through channels. He found his channel and yawned, he hoped he would be able to stay awake this time. The clock flipped over to ten, he had already fallen asleep with his half eaten pizza on the tray table.