A young man meets a mysterious woman in his bedroom.
|This is something that came to me when I was reading an article on Wikipedia about a certain fairy tale archetype known as the Wicked Fairy Godmother. She's a rare figure in folklore, but she's known the world over as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. I wrote the story's opening backstage during TexRep's production of And Then There Were None in a journal I bought for that sort of occasion. It is by no means finished, or even close. This is what I've got thus far.
He blinked again. She didn’t go away. He thought back over the past few hours, trying to remember what he’d taken, and realized he’d been sober for a surprisingly long while.
“I’m no hallucination, Dionysus,” she said. The woman was stunning. Her hair was dark brown, falling down her shoulders in shimmering curls. Her gown was dark purple, embroidered at the hem with stars and moons in silver thread. She had a black lace shawl around her shoulders. Her eyes were icy blue and impatient.
“Then who are you?” he asked.
“Your parents never told you about me?” She seemed to ponder this for a moment. She smiled. “I’m not surprised. Most who fall out of the Old Religion try to forget as much as they can.” She shook her finger. “It always comes back to them, you know.”
His room was near the back of the house. His bed was against the wall under the window. Across the room, the T.V. and 360 sat on an old chest of drawers. His dresser was against the far wall in between the closet and the door to the hallway. The computer desk was in the corner at the head of his bed, next to the door to his bathroom. The walls were covered with blue striped paper and posters from musicals.
“Who are you?”
“Don’t take a tone with me!” The lights dimmed a bit. The music on the Xbox faultered. D.J. didn’t think much of it. She paused, looked out the window, and turned to him again.
“For all intents and purposes, I’m your godmother.”
His eyes narrowed. “I don’t have a godmother.”
She chuckled. “Oh, yes, you do. I held you in my arms the day you were born.”
“If you’re my godmother, why have I never met you? Or even heard of you? Who are you?!”
She glared at him. “You’d better learn not to be so brazen with me, Dionysus.”
“But if you’re my godmother, shouldn’t you be...you know......older?”
She blushed a bit. “Touching, really, but I’m far older than you realize. I guess you could say I was a friend of your mother’s, in her younger days. When she got pregnant, she asked me to be your godmother.”
“Why haven’t my parents told me any of this?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea. Ask them yourself.”
“You were her friend?”
She turned away to look out through the curtains. “You could say that. I had a certain liking for her, and she for me. We had a partnership of sorts.” She cut a side glance at him.
“And when they found out she was pregnant, she asked you to be my godmother?”
“They being who?”
He rolled his eyes. “My parents.”
“What did I tell you about the attitude?”
He sighed. “I’m sorry.”
She nodded. “Yes. I was actually there the day they met.” She turned and sat on the recliner by the dresser.
“How did that go?”
She laughed heartily. “Oh, that is NOT a story you need to hear right now.”
D.J. opened his mouth to protest. She held up a finger.
“No. Seriously. I will not discuss it further.”
A thought occurred to him. “Wait a minute. If you’re my godmother, where the f—I mean, where have you been the last seventeen years?”
She raised an eyebrow. “Good recovery. It’s a valid question, I suppose. I was working abroad.”
“I perform certain services, and for my services I am compensated. Sometimes my work takes me away.”
It took D.J. a second to lift his jaw from the floor. He sank down on the bed and covered his eyes. He suddenly wished he was under the influence of something, so he would have some sort of excuse for his next question.
“Uh...you’re not a......prostitute, are you?”
She blinked. “No.”
She shook her head curtly. “I’ll pretend that didn’t happen. Now, to the business.”
D.J. looked up. “Business?”
She rose. “Yes. I didn’t just stop to, oh, what’s that you like to say, shoot the shit?” She chuckled. “No, I actually had something to offer you.”
“What is it?”
“Now, upon the occasion of your eighteenth year, I’ve come to offer you supreme cheer. For you, my kin, I have prepared to give you three gifts, but alas, beware: be mindful of your requests, and pass ye shall the test.”
She took a deep breath. It took him a second longer to realize that she’d rhymed. He frowned. “What?”
She sighed. “It was far less complicated than Shakespeare, Genesius*, so you have no excuse!”
*Pronounced jen-i-si-uhs. Refers to Genisius of Rome, Patron Saint of Actors
“I heard what you said, I didn’t get what you were driving at.”
She rolled her eyes. “Okay. I’ve come to offer you three wishes.”
He snorted. “Are you kidding me?”
The corner of her mouth twitched. “No.” She pulled an ebony stick from the folds of her gown, a foot and a half long and topped with a deep purple crystal.
“Whoa.” He sat up. “Okay, this is too much. There’s no way you can expect me to believe—”
She jerked the wand at the closet door. It erupted into flames, and, like strips of paper, shriveled up as it burned, doorknob and all. When it was completely burned, it fell away and left a large mirror in its place.
D.J. jerked up. The mirror flashed with purple shapes, fading into a deep, midnight blue wash. Shapes swam out of the blue darkness, and as they arranged themselves, they gained color. He saw his parents, nearly twenty years younger, in an old church, being led to the altar by three gorgeous women. A congregation clad in robes (or not at all) chanted and sang behind them, and the woman in purple stood with them at the altar, holding a blonde baby boy with green eyes.
His knees gave out. His head made a hollow noise on the floor. She laughed.
“Oh, wow. That was entertaining.”
“What was that?” he gasped.
“That was magic, you skeptical brat.”
“What am I going to tell my parents about the door?!”
“Oh, shut up, your door’s just fine.”
He sat up. The door was whole and in place. In fact, it looked brand new. The nail holes were completely gone. The paint was fresh.
“Was that...was it...”
“Your christening? Yes. It was.”
“Why were people naked?”
“You don’t know?”
“Your parents were disciples of the Old Religion. Witchcraft. They and their coven summoned four fairies to be their child’s godmothers. We entered the temple and placed our gifts upon the altar, and then we laid them upon you. I decided to give you my gift on your eighteenth birthday.”
Someone knocked on the door. “D.J.? Are you awake?”
“Damn! Keep quiet!” She waved the wand. D.J. blinked in sudden darkness. He was in bed, tucked into the covers, wearing only his underwear. The light was off. The Xbox and T.V. were off. The woman was standing in the corner.
“I’m not here,” she whispered.
“I said, are you awake?”
“Well, I am now.”
“Oh. Sorry, sweetie. Go back to sleep. Good night.”
Soft footsteps proceeded away from the door. The woman put her finger to her lips.
Outside, the season’s first crickets were making various noises. She put her hand down. “Okay, she’s gone.” The overhead light came back on.
“What was that about?”
“It was a reflex. I apologize if it was abrupt.”
“I think it was the single weirdest sensation of my life.”
“Coming from you, that’s quite a feat.”
“Can’t you give me a little credit? I’m not that bad.”
“Hmm.” She sat down on the bed. “Anyway, the wishes. What would you like?”
He sat up. “Are you serious about that?”
“Serious as stone.”
“Anything I want?”
“I will not make your penis bigger. End of discussion. That one’s just too weird.”
“Didn’t even cross my mind, actually.”
“Yeah, right. Anyway, the wishes? If you don’t mind, I have a few things I wanted to accomplish this evening.”
“What, I’ve gotta come up with these right now? Off the top of my head?”
“No. You can spread them out. It’s a good strategy. In case what you wished for doesn’t go well.”
“Doesn’t go well?”
“Dionysus, you have to accept that when I grant you a wish, it alters reality. There’s bound to be consequences.”
“Will they always be bad?”
She shrugged. “Won’t know until we get there.”
He thought about it for a moment. “There’s this guy at school. He’s got a part in the play that I wanted.”
“Not bad. The lead, I assume.”
“But you’re a tenor. Sweeney’s a baritone at best.”
“I can manage!”
“So you want this kid to...what, disappear, or something?”
“No, no, nothing like that. I wanted the part, he got it, and I’m asking you for it.”
“Didn’t you already get a part in the show?”
“How did you know?”
“Don’t answer with a question.”
He sighed. “I don’t want to play Antony. They’re always casting me as the heroic hot guy. I’m sick of it! I want to do something with depth, dammit!”
She raised an eyebrow. “Uh-huh. You’re sure this is what you want?”
She stared at him. He tried to meet her gaze, but couldn’t. He squirmed a little, moved back, pulled the covers further up over his waist in a sudden wave of embarassment. She raised the wand. Deep inside the crystal, a red light flashed.
“Hmm.” She turned, as if to leave.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I told you I have things to do.”
“How will I get ahold of you? For the other wishes?”
She smiled at him. “I’ll find you.” And she was gone. The overhead light clicked off.
D.J. looked at his clock. It was 12:15.