Every couple of minutes Jared pinched himself, continually certain that he was dreaming. There was no way he could be awake and be experiencing this freaky party. Trolls, dwarves, elves, bird and animal people, even tree and plant people like his sort-of friend the Stickman. They were all gathered together in the park having one of the wildest parties Jared had ever seen, including Hollywood blockbuster parties. And yet no one complained and the cops hadn’t come to break it up.
“That’s because we’re not really in the normal world,” Paula told him. “Now loosen up and let yourself have some fun. I’m going to go dance with batboy again. Are you sure you don’t want to come?”
“No, I’m good here.” Here was a park bench near the edge of the improvised dancefloor, where he could keep an eye on his friend while she danced but for some reason unpopular with the rest of the partiers. That suited Jared just fine. He had no interest in talking to any of these creatures. They weirded him out too much.
Before arriving at the party, Paula had promised him that they’d stay for no more than an hour but surely more than that had passed already. He wasn’t sure because his watch had stopped working the moment they’d crossed into the park and the battery on his cell phone died shortly after, despite having charged it up only that afternoon.
Other than telling him to relax, several times, Paula had warned him no to eat or drink anything.
“It’s how they trap you in the fairy world.”
Being trapped anywhere was not on Jared’s agenda, so he firmly kept his mouth shut, in case something accidentally entered and could be considered food by some weird loophole.
He watched Paula dance a little while longer, then got up. It was more than time to leave. Dawn was coming soon and if their parents woke up before Paula and Jared got back to the rented villa, being trapped in the fairy world would seem like a picnic. Besides, his fingers were cold and his ass was damp from the wooden bench.
Paula was on the other side of the trampled-down grass dancing with an insanely short guy with rodent features. She had taken off her jacket and had tied it around her shoulders like a cape which flare out every time she spun around.
“Paula, let’s go,” he said. “It’s getting late.”
She stopped spinning.
“You’re no fun.”
“No, I’m not. But I am keeping out of trouble. Home. Now.”
“Spoilsport.” She untied her jacket and slipped it on. “It’s been fun,” she said to the batboy. “Maybe we can do it again.”
Batboy yawned. “Your boring friend is right. It’s really late. Time to go roost. I’ll walk you out.”
“Aren’t you the gentleman?”
Jared rolled his eyes. He couldn’t believe that Paula was flirting with a creature that was less than half her height and was more than half animal. As they walked out of the parked, he could help but feel that everyone was watching them, although if he tried to catch the stares, no one appeared to be paying them any attention.
Then they were at the edge of the park and stepped out onto the street–
Into hot bright sunlight. Both the night and the winter had vanished in that single step.
“Hey! What’s going on here?” Paula grabbed the batboy’s shirt and practically lifted him up. “You said that nothing was going to happen to me if I came to the party.”
With disturbing ease, the fairy disengaged himself from Paula’s grasp and smiled. Jared shivered despite the heat.
“My exact words that no harm would come to you while I lived. Have you suffered any harm?”
“Damn! How stupid of me! Did you do this for a reason or just because we’re dumb humans to have fun with?”
“Damn! So how much time has passed?”
To Jared, Paula seemed to be taking the time shift rather too calmly. Personally, he was on the point of fainting. How long had passed? What had happened to their families in the meantime? What would they say when they got home again?
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Whatever batboy had said, Paula wasn’t happy with the answer. “I demand that you fix things. Now.”
Jared tensed. He didn’t know much about fairies as that was more Paula’s thing, but he couldn’t imagine throwing orders about would be a good idea. Fortunately however, the fairy didn’t get angry. In fact, he laughed, turned into a bad and flew off, leaving the two of them alone on the street, a sheen of sweat forming on their faces.
“Would saying sorry help?”
“Oh. Let’s go home and face the music.”
Having nothing to add, Jared indicated that she go first and then followed her up the hill towards home. If it still was their home.
This flash fiction follows the story of Jared and Paula which you can find in the Friday Flash archives.