The tale of how Siobhan and Wyn (from The Favor) first met. (672 words)
|A crash from the office was my first hint that something was amiss. Often when I would go in there lately, things wouldn’t be where I left them–a wooden ruler fallen from the ceramic jar where I stored pens and other small things, and yesterday, a shattered coffee cup on the floor. I had really liked that cup, damn it! Books were open to random pages, but never the same one twice. Rats that like to read? Was that a thing? Maybe I’d get a trap next time I went into town, if I could squeeze my budget that far.
An initial survey revealed nothing amiss other than a book on the floor, a gap in the tidy rows on my bookshelf showing whence it came. Also, my desk lamp was on. I wouldn’t have left it on, electricity wasn’t free, after all. Shaking my head, and scooping up the book in passing, I reached out and tugged the cord on the lamp. Turning to return the book to its place, it took me a moment to realize the light hadn’t gone out. I tugged the cord again, with no result, then, pulling my hand back into my sleeve to avoid a burn, reached up to unscrew the bulb. The lamp suddenly shrieked, melodiously if such a thing were possible, and a ball of light streaked across the room and up to the ceiling.
“What the hell!” I felt like shrieking myself, and grabbed the ruler from its home, waving it towards the ceiling as if to ward off the… tiny sun? What WAS that thing? Stepping closer, I reached up and poked at the light with my trusty ruler.
The light shot across the room, and a warm voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. It wasn’t distinctly male or female, but it was exquisitely beautiful. “Stop that, please!”
My jaw dropped. “Uh,” I said, eloquently. “What, uh…”
“I’m sorry if I scared you,” the voice said, radiating the warmth of a June afternoon. The light drifted down, hovering in front of me at eye level. “I just wanted to read your books.”
Gathering my scattered wits, I tried speaking again. “Uh, what were you reading?”
“Nothing,” the voice said, the tone a little cooler this time. “I couldn’t get it open. Then it fell, and you came in.”
I reached over and retrieved the book I had just re-shelved. “Vicki Reinhardt, huh? I love her stuff, and this one is especially good.” I placed the book in the center of my desk and opened it to the first page. “Do you need help with the pages?”
“Oh, no! This will be fine.” The ball of light floated over, stopping a few inches above the pages. “You’re very kind.” A few moments passed in silence, then a sudden breeze wafted past, turning a page as it went.
“Well,” I said, not sure how I’d ended up with a… something… as a house guest. “I’ll just leave you to it.” I started towards the door, when a gleam from the corner of my desk caught my eye.
“A token,” the voice said. “You are a gracious host.”
Eyes wide, I reached out trembling fingers and picked up the gold coin. It was heavy in my hand, real. I didn’t know what the price per ounce of gold was at the moment, but this was easily enough to pay my rent for six months. Or the next four, after I paid my landlord for the two months I was behind. My shoulders loosened as a familiar weight lifted, for a little while, at least.
“Th-thank you,” I said, swallowing a lump in my throat. “Um, if we’re to be friends, what should I call you?”
“Never thank a fae,” the voice scolded. “Most of us would take advantage. And you can call me Wyn.”
“Nice to meet you, Wyn. I’m Siobhan.” I smiled, squeezing the coin tightly in my hand. “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”