#Blogbattle : Facing Fears

This week’s #blogbattle word prompt is lurk. This is run by Rachael Ritchey over on her blog Writing Rachael Ritchey. I encourage you to check out her blog, and this challenge.

The rules:

1. 1000 words max

2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)

3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly! (this week will be difficult, I know. That’s a somewhat violent word! Remember, use your imagination. 🙂 )

4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related

5. Go for the entertainment value!

6. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this post, and/or include a link to this post in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)

7. Have fun!

As I said I would do in a comment to a reader, I have added an option to the menu above to a page that lists all the Winter #blogbattle story.

My genre: Fantasy

Here’s my entry for this week:

Facing Fears

Birch stepped forward, so that he was level with Winter. “We’re from the Rose Clan. We need to speak with your Queen.”

The red-haired fairy narrowed his eyes. “What about?”

Birch caught Winter’s eye, uncertain.

She said, “It’s easier for me to show you, but I think your Queen should see as well.”

The fairy’s suspicion didn’t diminish. But there was a change in his tone, a hint of curiosity there. “What sort of thing is this?”

“An ability,” Winter said.

He exhaled heavily through his nose, and relented, “Wait there, and we’ll escort you in.”

The “we” in his sentence made Winter’s stomach turn over.

The red-head took off from the sill, then flew over the fence and around the corner of the house.

“We’ll be all right, Winter,” Birch said, taking her hand. “They’re just being cautious. As we would be.”

She nodded, too nervous to speak. He was right. Of course he was.

But what if the fairies were afraid by what they saw, like her own clan was in the beginning? What might they do to her?

She cut her mind off from those thoughts. Worrying wouldn’t change anything.

But it was so hard not to…

“Do you think he thought we were lurking?” Birch asked.

“I…I don’t know,” Winter said. “Maybe we should have gone straight to the Garden?”

“Maybe…” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter though. We just have to deal with the now.”

He was right. Again.

Four fairies came flying over the fence, and landed on the sill in front of them.

Crunch time.

The fairies surrounded them, and the red-head, still the largest there, said, “If you’ll fly with us we’ll take you to the Stump.”

Curiosity flared in Winter. The Stump? Was that their home? Why was it called that?

She took off as part of the group. Over the fence they flew, and Winter looked down into a familiar yet unfamiliar world. This garden was more open than her own home. There were no trees, the main features being a pond in the middle and a tree stump to the side of it. She assumed that was where the fairies lived.

The red-head led them down to land on the top of it. There was a hole in the centre, leading down into the tree. “Welcome to our home,” he said. “We are the Thorn Clan, and my name is Flame.”

“Birch.”

“Winter.”

Flame smiled at them, then indicated the hole leading down into darkness. “Please follow me down.”

He dropped into the hole, his wings spread just enough to guide him down.

Winter copied him, and found it hard to stay stable, gliding down on air currents. She was tempted to flap her wings, but that wouldn’t get her down. Only up.  She landed on the ground, and moments later, Birch landed beside her – after she’d moved so that he didn’t land on top of her.

The same glowing orbs that lit the Hollow clung to the walls of the open space she found herself in. Arches led out of the round room, the largest one, she thought, might lead to the Queen.

Flame pointed to it. “That’s where we’re going. But I do have to warn you that the Queen will stand for no nonsense and there will be plenty of my brothers in the Guards to stop you if you try to cause any damage or you present a danger.”

His face was neutral, but beneath his calm tone there was a sharp warning. He would not hesitate to hurt them.

Winter swallowed against a lump in her throat as she followed Flame Birch walked beside her and the other Guard fairies followed behind. All of her fears flashed through her mind. Their fear at her power, the Guards seeing her as a danger and locking her away, or worse…

She clasped her hands to stop them from shaking and tried to banish the thoughts. The last thing she wanted was to lose control of her ability and prove that she was a danger to them.

The Archway opened onto a short hallway, and then a door of woven leaves. Flame pushed them aside and revealed a well-lit room of dancing orbs and bright flowers.

Winter stepped inside and took in the sight. Her eyes roved over the room and finally settled on the woman sat in the centre on a throne of lilies. She was beautiful, younger than her own Queen, with soft features that seemed to smile naturally. There was nothing forced about the welcoming look she gave Winter.

Winter remembered her place and curtsied.

“Please, rise,” the Queen said, “both of you.”

Winter stood up straight, and noticed Birch at her side. He looked as awestruck as she felt.

“Tell me why you are here,” the Queen said, “Flame says you have something to show me.”

“Yes Your Majesty,” Winter said, a tremor of nerves running through her voice. “I have a message from my own Queen, of the Rose Clan. But I think I need to show you something first. I beg you not to be afraid.” She glanced at Flame, hoping he would think before he acted. “Please could you bring me something, like a leaf?” Then she added as an afterthought, “Something you’re not very bothered about.”

The Queen rose her eyebrows, clearly curious, and ordered one of her fairies-in-waiting to bring a leaf. Her eyes met Winter’s again. She didn’t speak, but the questions were there.

The Queen’s fairies placed the leaf before Winter. She swallowed her nerves, and wiped her clammy hands on her coat. Then crouched down and laid her hands on the leaf.

Please don’t react badly, she prayed….

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