The following excerpt is from the story A Home Invasion, available in the anthology Aurora Rising (for purchase in print from Amazon). The book comes with a $2 discount if you use this code: 9RWWE4QP.
Unlike most magic wardrobes, mine just led down to the kitchen, which was great for midnight snacking but not so good when you’re barricaded in your bedroom hiding from a houseful of pixies looking for someone to help.
At least the kids were at their father’s and I only had to worry about my stupid sister Marilyn. The pixie home invasion was all her fault, what with her insisting on putting a saucer of milk outside the door before going to bed.
“Don’t do that,” I told her. “This isn’t the suburbs where a bit of milk draws happy little house hobs who keep the squirrels from eating your tulip bulbs and rainspouts that never clog. We have pixies here and their idea of help usually kills people.”
“Oh c’mon, Jane! The neighborhood’s not that bad,” she said. “It’s not like you live in crack-dealer and prostitute-land. Have you ever tried it?”
“No because I don’t want the entire house and family to vanish overnight. Which happened three houses down, by the way. Don’t do it,” I told her.
I should have checked, but I thought I had scared her enough. But no. My stubborn sister decided she knew better, as always, and so I was facing a pixie invasion at one o’clock in the morning.
As if on cue, my cell phone rang with her ringtone. I pounced on it, hoping to catch it before the pixies heard the noise.
“What?!” I whispered, putting every ounce of anger I had into that single word.
As usual, Marilyn ignored my anger.
“What’s happening? Is someone trying to rob us?” she asked.
“The help YOU invited has arrived and we are likely going to die or worse before morning.”
“Don’t be-” she interrupted herself with a squeal. I heard scrabbling and a door slam. “What was that– that thing?”
“A pixie. Where are you?”
“I’ve locked myself in the bathroom.”
“Good. There’s an old iron paperweight on the shelf above the toilet. Put it in front of the door. They won’t be able to get in.” Following community warnings, I kept something of pure iron in each room, just in case. Fairies, pixies, hobs or whatever fey creatures might be lurking about didn’t like iron. “And stay in the bathroom until I come get you, or until the police arrive and find you. Whatever you do, don’t come out.”
Marilyn murmured her assent.
“Now I’m hanging up,” I said. “I have to call the police.”
I disconnected without waiting for her reply. As tempted as I was to just let the creatures have her, I didn’t want to leave her kids motherless. And besides, whatever “help” the reasons-for-my-neighborhood’s-low-housing-prices gave would affect me too.
I punched 911 and got the standard response: “Someone is on their way.”
I made the call only to register the invasion. I should have done it earlier, but it wasn’t like they were going come rushing to my aid. Everyone knew that the police never arrived until the pixies had left and they could just clean up whatever mess was left. I didn’t blame them. Why risk their own men and women because of someone else’s stupidity? Unfortunately I had no such choice.
I sat on the bed, staring at the iron doorstop blocking the pixies’ entrance. Something downstairs crashed, likely the china cabinet. I cringed at the thought of all my good dishes in a broken pile.
I stared at the door. The iron doorstop would only deter the nightmare-Tinkerbells for so long. They could ignore it if they really wanted to. After all, it’s kind of hard to live in the city without touching any iron.
Another crash made me wonder what they were doing to my living room set. With the kids finally all in their teens, I’d upgraded to a leather couch and I’d gotten myself a one-of-a-kind coffee table from a glass designer down by the old harbor.
The image of the coffee table reminded me of a magazine article I had been reading just before the milk argument with Marilyn. It was about surviving a pixie invasion. Oh god, did I remember enough of it to give it a try?
There was only one way to find out. I stood and walked over to the door, picking up the iron doorstop. It probably wouldn’t help me much but its weight felt good in my hand. I took a deep breath and flung open the door, pulling up the steps in my mind and doing just as the magazine had suggested.