Apologies to my usual readers - this is a bit of flash fiction for a friend's wedding. The 30GO30 blog will be re-branding/re-launching in the next few months. Stay tuned.
Title: "Wanted: One Mortal Husband"
Author: Peter Meyers
It started out as a joke. The ad on Craigslist was clearly a gag, the kind a guy who grew up near the Bay saw all the time online:
"Fairy Queen seeks mortal husband. Serious inquiries only."
Josh had a laugh, posted it on Twitter, and thought that was the end of it. Then, his friends started in:
"You should totally call her."
"When was the last time you dated a girl with wings?"
"You know Fairy Queens are wild in the sack!"
So, he sent an email. Josh told himself it was just to shut them up. Two weeks later, here he was - sitting in an unremarkable loft in an unremarkable neighborhood with a girl who might be cute, if she wasn't clearly insane. No wings, no cloud of pixie dust, although she seemed familiar. For all Josh knew, she called out the names on the coffee cups at his corner Starbucks.
"As my ad stated, I must marry a mortal. My realm is fading, and only someone from this side of the veil can restore it."
At least she didn't waste time. Wait, wasn't that the plot to The Neverending Story? Would he fly there on Falkor? This was starting to seem like a bad idea.
Josh played along: "So, just for argument's sake, how do I get to this realm?"
"You must relinquish your mortal shell," she replied, with an uncomfortable lack of humor.
"You're going to kill me?" The door suddenly seemed very far away.
"No, not the way you understand it. There are many journeys after death. Only a few ever find our realm, but I will guide you. We need you more than you know."
This wasn't funny anymore. Josh shifted in his chair, ready to bolt for the door, when he saw something - a scar on her right shoulder.
"You don't remember, do you?" said a voice in his head. It was her voice.
Josh was just 11 years old, spending the summer at his parents' cabin in the mountains. They had been coming here for years, and he knew these woods, but he had wandered farther than usual that day.
There were voices in the distance, and, before he could even make out their shapes, a shot rang out. The hunters didn't see him, and he turned to run a second too late. Another shot. From a clearing he hadn't seen a moment before, a doe sprang out, passing his face by inches. The bullet struck her right shoulder, and she crumpled to the ground.
Josh ran, adrenaline clouding his memories even as they were being written.
Moments came flooding back. A pigeon fluttered and made him look up from his cell phone just to see the gaping hole in the sidewalk. A glint of sunlight caused him to veer his bike away from an oncoming semi. A girl he had never met pulled him away from the curb, narrowly avoiding a cab that cut the corner too close.
Fairy Queens don't cry, but there was torment in her eyes. Each time she saved him, her people suffered for it.
"I have always loved you," she whispered. So, he took her hand and gave her his life.