Given my exposure to so much sarcastic teen first person narrative this week, it’s no surprise that this week’s flash fiction came out that way. Enjoy!
You have no idea how boring living in Spain is. Now before you think me some stupid uncultured American teenager, let me explain.
I go to an English school, my family came here for a year with my parents’ best friends so we spend all our time with each other, I’m not learning any Spanish and our parents work so much in the nanotechnology labs that we don’t get to go anywhere exciting.
Plus we arrived in October just as beach season was ending and the Basque Country’s very, and I mean VERY, wet version of winter was just about to start, trapping us indoor.
Fortunately the villa the two families are sharing is enormous or I’d have to kill someone.
You can imagine, therefore, how happy I was when I started seeing fairies.
At first I thought it was just my imagination, you know, my boredom creating flickers of images out of the corner of my eye. But then they moved into full vision and I couldn’t deny them.
I then thought that I was going crazy that the black mold we keep finding in corners of the house was causing me to hallucinate, but then Jared started seeing them too.
Jared’s my best friend and the oldest boy in the family that we came to Spain with.
Thing is, he only sees one fairy, a kind of walking collection of sticks, while I see all sorts. I haven’t told him about the other ones. Until we started talking to the stickman Jared was always trying to convince himself that the fairy didn’t exist.
That’s why I forced an encounter, to make Jared stop with all the denial, because, as we all know, denial is not one of the fifty states.
The stickman is cool, but kind of boring as well. I mean, he spends all his time sitting near a bush watching the world go by and once a day he goes for a walk around the block, but that’s about it. After school Jared and talk to him and he tells us about what he’s seen, which usually includes the number of different makes of cars and what colors. For a guy that can speak at least three languages, he’s not that bright, you know? Maybe it’s because he doesn’t have an actual brain in among those sticks that make up his head.
I want something more exciting to happen, you know? So that’s why I’ve started my late night walks. I don’t worry about my safety. San Sebastian’s a really safe city. And besides, I’m sixteen years old. In another year and a half I’ll be going away to college and live on my own. I figure it’s just like practicing being independent. No?
Anyway, I wasn’t having any luck with these 2am walks either. The fairies kept just out of sight. I would catch glimpses of them, but not a single one of them would talk to me. Stickman is always asleep under his bush and I don’t want to wake him, so I leave him be.
And then two nights ago I got lucky.
I was strolling down this big hill between our house and the center of town – and I mean BIG – it’s hard to stop myself running it’s so steep, but I know that would just end in disaster so I lean back hard and force myself to walk.
So, here I was walking down this hill and suddenly from the stone wall to my right I hear this voice say to me in Spanish “Oye guapa. Que haces aqui por la noche?” Okay, so I’m not sure if that’s exactly what he said, my Spanish is horrible, but I think the voice wanted to ask me what I was doing walking around at night.
“Buenas noches,” I said, hoping my accent was understandable. “¿Habla usted inglés?” I asked, figuring that if Stickman speaks English, most other fairies can too.
“Maybe,” the voice answered.
“Wasn’t that English?” I asked. “So yes you do.”
“Or maybe I’ve put a spell on you to understand Spanish.”
“Really? You can do that? That’s so cool!”
“Maybe. Why should I tell you?”
All right, so this fairy was a contrary one. I’d have to be careful with him.
“You don’t actually. As long as we can talk I’m happy.”
“Why do you want to talk to me? I could be a monster, I could be a rapist, or something worse.”
“Yeah, and I could be Little Red Riding Hood. If you were going to harm me wouldn’t you have done so already?”
“I could be like a cat and enjoy playing with my food.”
“Are you? Should I be worried?”
I was acting all brave, but I was actually kind of wanting to pee myself. Maybe the thing was dangerous. In my boredom I hadn’t thought of that possibility. Now maybe I was going to pay the price for it.
The voice laughed and a small man squeezed himself out of an impossibly small crack in the stones to land at my feet. He had ears and a snout like a bat, but he was definitely human-like, even if he was only a couple of feet tall. He was kind of cute and despite the bat-features and being extremely short, he could almost pass for any other teenager I knew.
“So, why you out so late at night? Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” he asked.
He grinned revealing two rows of sharp jagged teeth and I took a step back.
“Oh, don’t worry, girlie,” he said, “I only eat bugs. Humans are way to soft and fleshy.”
“Um, that’s a good thing, I suppose.”
“So you’re bored?” he asked and I nodded.
He stared off into the sky for a moment, then nodded to himself once.
“See that park above us here?”
I nodded again.
“Come here tomorrow night at three o’clock and I promise you excitement.”
“Yeah right. I might be bored but I’m not stupid.”
“And if I give you my solemn word that no harm will come to you while I live?”
“Then I’ll think about it.”
He grinned again. “You’ll be there. Humans are dangerously curious and you’ll hate yourself for the rest of your life if you don’t come.” Then he jumped into the air, turned into a bat and took off, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
He was right of course. There’s no way I’m going to not show up. And you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t do the same.