Fiction Fragment Friday
This is the fourth story about a magic using character I have done for Fiction Fragment Friday and as I gather the details and prepare for a longer form work about him I figured it was time to give him a name. This story started with a couple lines about dreams that popped into my head.
I wanted to continue teasing the larger story of the character, but also give a full and complete tale with a little bit of expectation subversion mixed in. It also game me another chance to continue thinking about how this world and it’s magic works while introducing a new supporting character that I hope becomes an integral part of the tale.
For the previous stories about this character:
Some people say that dreams are glimpses into another reality. That each time you dream you are seeing moments from another version of your own life. That is complete and utter rubbish. There is no version of yourself out there that just forgets to wear pants and doesn’t notice it until you are at school or work. What dreams are is your subconscious working through memories, fears, and desires all the while trying to piece together the world from the wild jumble of images that are your thoughts. At least that is what they usually are. If you have access to magic dreams can be a bit more complicated.
Magic users need to carefully examine their dreams for deeper meaning. Your subconscious has access to your magic and can occasionally use it to give you glimpses of things to come. Like normal dreams though these glimpses are esoteric and need to be deciphered. Various beings from this or other planes of existence can also communicate with you through your dreams. They can even be a vector for attack by your enemies. All of these possibilities mixed in with the normal dream insanity that everyone else experiences without any clear way of telling the difference between them. Magic never makes anything simpler.
The frustration I was feeling towards my dreams had reached the breaking point. Each morning I woke up drenched in sweat with only the faintest memories of what I dreamed about. Even those wisps of thought quickly faded during my first moments of consciousness. I started keeping a notebook next to my bed, but after six days I had never gotten more than three words out before the memories were gone. Each time though I wrote the name Samuel. The name doesn’t mean anything to me, but thinking about it fills me with an intense sense of loss. Nothing about that seemed normal to me.
This morning’s dream was different. I woke up fully remembering my last dream. The rest of the night’s dreams faded just as quickly as normal, but that one stuck. In the dream a young girl was being chased by a giant feline creature through a park across town. I felt her terror and hopelessness as if it were my own. Someone out there was begging for help and using dreams to do it.
I knew I needed to hurry, but rushing is the fastest way to make a mistake. In my line of work that is how you get killed. Even though I wanted to leave immediately I followed my morning routine for cleansing and gear preparation. Enchanted items are not my specialty, but I do have a few favorites to take into unknown situations. A pendant, a couple rings, and a pen are all part of my standard equipment. I am still looking for something I can layer protections on, but if I wore a coat in the summer around here, I would likely collapse from dehydration.
It only took me fifteen minutes to reach the park, but the whole time I worried that I would be too late. The dream could have represented potential future events, but it felt like a direct connection and that meant that it was most likely happening right then. There was a chance I would just find a dead body, but I had to hold onto the hope that I could still come to the rescue.
When I reached the tree in my dreams there was neither a monster nor a dead body waiting. Instead, what I found was a very large ginger tomcat. It was hissing at a hole near the base of the tree and trying to get its paw inside. “Hey there kitty. What ya doing?” Apparently, the cat didn’t hear me approaching because it screeched and jumped into the air. Ass I moved closer it shot off almost faster than my eyes could track.
“Is the beast gone?” The voice was tiny and coming from inside the tree.
“It’s gone. You can come on out.”
A tiny little pixie crawled out of the hole and perched giving me a weary look. She had long blonde hair and looked young, but I had no idea how to tell the age of a pixie. I barely knew from my studies that pixies even existed, so my knowledge had a few gaps to say the least. Her clothes were ripped with little splatters of blood on them, but other than that she looked intact. I had made it in time, but now that I was here, I wasn’t quite sure what to do next. I decided to let her speak first.
“Will it come back?”
“Probably. Are you alone out here? It doesn’t seem like a safe place for a pixie on her own.”
“Of course, I’m not alone. I have a whole army here with me. They were just waiting for the right moment to swoop in.” She put her hands on her hips and winced at the pain in her right shoulder. I noticed the wing on that side was torn as well. There was no way she would fly until she healed. Between the feelings of loneliness from my dream and the fact that she was a terrible liar I knew that there were no other pixies around.
“What’s your name?”
“Oh no I’m not giving you my name. I know about your kind magic man. I give you my name and you can use it against me. Nope you can just call me Lily.”
“Well Lily my name is Brendan. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here to help.” I tried to make my voice as friendly as possible, but I’m not exactly a social person. “You can come stay with me until you heal up and can fly again.”
“You give your word?” I could feel energy passing between the two of us. A promise to a being of magic has power behind it and while she was small Lily was a being of magic. It wasn’t exactly a binding contract, but if I agreed and was anything other than earnest, she would know it instantly. I put my finger out for her to shake.
“I Brendan William Anderson do hereby promise as the mage protector of Saint Louis Missouri that I will provide you with a safe place to stay and recuperate under my protection for as long as you desire, and I am able to do so.” I put energy into my words and let them form an actual binding contract between us. We would be connected from this point on until one of us chose to end the pact. I had never done this before, but she needed my help.
“I accept.” She shook my finger vigorously then crawled into my open palm. “So, do you have air conditioning? What about cable? Oh, and what’s for dinner?”
I let her ramble on as I walked back to my car all the while wondering just what I had gotten myself into.