June 2013


The Truth About Fairies

(Or at least one of them)

Fairies are unpredictable at best. That’s the first thing people don’t understand about them. Here’s the second: they are nothing like Tinker Bell. They don’t glitter or shimmer. There’s no such thing as magic fairy dust that will make you fly. You can say you don’t believe in them all day long and not one of them is going to keel over.
Don’t believe the hype.
Take Azulæiø, for example. (Yeah, that’s a bitch of a name to pronounce. I just call her Az, for short.) She’s about a foot tall and has wings. Gossamer wings, even. But that’s where the typical fairy stops and the atypical starts. First off, she smokes. Like a chimney. She rolls her own because, (a) ‘big-person-sized’ cigarettes are unwieldy, and (b) she’s a bit of a tobacco snob. Only Drum Dark Kentucky will do.
She also likes explosives of all shapes and sizes, chaos magic, cheap Chinese take-out and, of course, moonlit walks on the beach. Her favorite band is Nine Inch Nails. Her favorite movie, Shaun of the Dead. And lately she’s been trying to get me into bed with her.
Yeah. I don’t get it either. I would hope to God ‘tab A’ is entirely too big for ‘slot B’, but she just grins and says, “The fae have a way.”
I try to avoid her when she’s on her period, but last month I was working a complex spell with a hint of dark magic to it–raven’s blood, nothing too grim–and I needed her help. I scried her and was met with, “What the fuck do you want?”
“Hey Az. Um, I need some help with a spell.”
“Too good to sleep with a fairy, but ooh, you’ll come begging for help when it suits you, eh? Long shanks, you got balls even if you won’t use them!”
I narrowed my eyes. “Az–are you drunk?”
“I had one shot!”
“That’s like me drinking a full liter.”
“Agh,” she said slurring. “I can hold my…”
Here she seemed to nod off for a moment and then her head snapped up. “Be right there!”
One moment she was an image in my scrying bowl and the next she was beside me. She was wearing leather jeans and a halter top, presumably from the Red Light Barbie collection. And she was holding a small ball of C-4.
I eyed the explosive. “What’s with the boom-boom?” I asked.
“You won’t have me…” she said stumbling to the left “…no one else can, either. Or you. No one can have you. Or me. Both of us!”
“You’re going to blow us up?” I said, mildly amused.
She looked up into my face, her inebriation melting away under a wave of anger that I can only describe as ‘threat level: woman-scorned’. She held a tiny lighter in one hand and the C-4 in the other.
“You think I’m bluffing.” She didn’t slur a single word.
“Clearly, I misjudged.”
She nodded once. “Damn straight.”
Then she flicked the lighter.

Dex Raven writes primarily dark fantasy and horror, when his muse, Violet, cooperates. When she doesn’t, he still attempts to write with varying results. He has a thing for classic monster legends, Egyptian and Nordic mythology, coffee, sarcasm and words that end in “esque”. He is currently working on two books: a fiction/non-fiction mash-up and his first novel. You can find his fiction as well as his thoughts on the writing process at ravenspeak.wordpress.com.

And All Becomes Ash

..........The beast squealed in the throes of its contractions; the bulge along the animals’ exterior stretching out to let the offspring into the stagnant firmament. The foal entered its life on the solid earth and dry desert sands, ensconced in the red rocks. But the great doom bell rang.
            The nameless orphan crept up from some nether region. The mare released an anguished sound, a sound not born from the animal; rather, it was alien and distorted, raging along the canyon to no purpose. The misplaced youth was unfazed, stole forward and stole the foal from its mother’s numbed side. She was drained of all life, her head falling limply to the side while the boy picked his way out of the crevice.
            He emerged into brightness, the vivid sun pounding down upon him, and the frail beast he held wrapped in some gross, spare cloth gave its infant whine, searching for its mother’s milk. But what had the orphan to care for in sin or blessing? Why care if perdition were to follow: perdition was all he knew, and the smallest luxury offered little repose. Better to be nothing and to want nothing. If such a thing as a soul existed, if it could ever exist amidst the damned and faulted world, he had none.
.......... .The boy did not stir much, even as he saw the guns jouncing with the gallop of the pale horses. The words that they shouted at him were unintelligible. Looking down on the foal – he had no clear idea what he was going to do with it though he did know it would be something shameful – he felt the first sense of righteousness he could recall. Finally, justice would be reckoned upon him. The epiphany dissolved into smoke as the gaping hole appeared in his head and the four men, who had arrived out of some primordial existence, spat about. Their guttural chatter filled the air.
.......... The foal emerged from the slumped form licking at the sticky, thick molasses seeping out from the orphan, thinking that the congealing liquid could possibly be the mother’s milk from which it had been ripped away, without mercy or kindness, but with the inevitability and perseverance of the movement of the constellations, and all else that was preordained to deteriorate after its brief and faulted lifespan.

Paul Piatkowski teaches English at Forsyth Technical Community College. He received his MA in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His writing has appeared in journals such as Fast Forward, Nagautuck River Review, Lines + Stars, 2River View, A Hudson View, Poetry Quarterly, and Sheepshead Review. He currently lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with his wife, daughter, and corgi.