“What’s his name, Paula?”
Jared’s voice scared the crap out of me and I nearly screamed, ruining any chance I had of getting out of the house unheard.
“Shhhhh. Do you want us to get caught?”
“That depends. Where have you been going so late at night?”
Jared’s my best friend, so I also heard the unsaid “and why haven’t you taken me with you?” I chose to answer the unsaid question.
“You won’t like it. It’s a fairy thing.” No I don’t mean a gay-lesbian thing. I mean actually fairies. “I’ve been invited to something like a fairy rave.”
“Don’t think you’re going without me,” he said.
“You think you can handle it?”
“I go with you or I wake up your mom.”
Sometimes I hate that our two families live together in this Basque villa. Why couldn’t we have gotten two separate apartments like normal people?
“Just be quiet, okay?”
Jared nodded and grabbed his jacket. The two of us slipped out of the house, easing the door shut. I checked my cell phone. Two-fifteen. It would take us about ten minutes to get over to the park where the fairy party was happening and it was supposed to start at three. No way I was going to be a super-geek human and show up early. Better to get there at, like, quarter after.
“Let’s go down to the beach,” I said. For once, not only wasn’t it raining but the sky was clear. It made the night a lot colder than usual but at least we’d be dry. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the feeling of being damp all the time. I’m surprised we haven’t all broken out in mushrooms yet.
When we got to the beach, we saw a bunch of kids our age doing one of their public drinking things. They even have a word for it – botellón – a big bottle. It might seem cool, but they drink this disgusting mix of red wine and cola. And they get really stupid after doing so.
“Let’s go somewhere else,” I said.
Jared nodded, then stopped and jerked his head in their direction.
“Do they look kind of weird to you?”
“What do you mean? They’re just like-” I stopped talking after I got a good look at the group.
They weren’t teenagers at all. In fact, they weren’t even human.
“You see them?” I asked. Jared has only ever seen one fairy before.
He nodded and I could see his hand shaking slightly. Don’t go and panic on me, Jarjar, I thought and I took his hand.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said out loud. “I’m sure they’re cool. They’re probably warming up for the party. Let’s go. We’ll check out the party just long enough to not insult my new fairy friend and then we’ll go home, okay?”
Jared nodded and we started to move away.
Unfortunately we’d been spotted.
“Fee fie fo fum, I smell the blood of some human scum!” the biggest of the bunch roared. Not spotted. Scented, like prey.
Jared tensed and I could tell he wanted to run, but my grip on his hand kept him from moving. There was no way I was going to go all soft and victim here. That’d just encourage them. I’ve dealt with enough drunk boys – American and Basque – and I doubted fairy boys were any different.
Except for the part where they eat us. I repressed the thought as soon as it popped into my head. Fairy tales always ended well for those who were polite but firm with fairy folk.
I started walking again pulling at Jared to move at the same slow pace. Ignore them and maybe they’d go away, or think we can’t see them.
“We know you can see us,” another one said killing that hope. “You both have the mark, so don’t pretend otherwise.”
We stopped walking and I turned towards them as they came up off the beach. I cocked my hip and head at them in what I hope was a universal gesture of boredom, raising my eyebrows to emphasize my impatience. I didn’t bother saying anything. Out of the corner of my eye I could see that Jared was trying to wipe the fear off his face. It made him look kind of Forrest Gump-like, but that was probably a good thing in this instance.
They were five in total of what seemed like all sorts of fairy races. The big one was either a small giant or large troll. I couldn’t see well inside his baggy hoodie. A goblin with big green ears wore typical skaterboy clothes and small thin elf had a total Zac Ephron/Justin Bieber swirl haircut. The other two looked like normal humans, but given who they were hanging out with, appearances were probably decieving.
As they got closer, Jared started to tremble and his nervousness almost got me going, but one of us had to stay calm or we’d end up dead. Or worse. I had to speak first, stake my claim as someone with power, without fear. But what could I say that wasn’t totally stupid sounding or pathetic?
Then I remembered the KISS rule – keep it simple, stupid.
“So you guys, like, going to the party?”
I think hitting them with a thunderbolt would have left them less stunned. They all, including Jared, took a step back and stared at me.
“You know about the party?” the goblin asked.
I rolled me eyes.
“D’uh! Like who doesn’t?” I pulled out my cell phone and looked at the time. “And if we’re going to get there before everything gets too wild, we’d better get going.” I swivelled away from them and looked back over my shoulder. “You guys coming?”
They snapped out of their collective trance and hurried to catch as I led Jared away at a quick walk.
Boys, I thought and tried not to laugh out loud.