I knew that voice. It was the scratchy tone of a faerie – almost more white noise than actual speech. But I knew what to listen for. And I knew it wasn’t just dated slang. It was a curse.
“Why me?” I whispered into the darkness, already feeling the temperature start to drop. “I haven’t wronged you.”
“Haven’t you? So many stories about the fae, the djinn, the fanged ones… so many begun, none finished. A book promised and not executed. Your lack of attention to your avocation over the last year has caused harm to the creatures you used to write about.”
“How can you be a tale-spinner still be such a nitwit,” the faerie snorted. “Dim bulbs, the lot of you humans, but you… you should know better… why do you always have to finish reading a scary story?”
“Closure,” I answered.
“Wrong!” The temperature in my house dropped again. “Peter would be so disappointed in you.”
Peter… oh, Peter… my first love! Before my husband. Before my dogs. Before my friends and family… there was Peter. “He… he would?”
“‘He… he would?'” The faerie mimicked my voice and my tone. “Of course, he would you idiot bird. When’s the last time you clapped your hands in glee? When’s the last time you created a working plot? When’s the last time you finished a story?”
“You mean… my writing gives you power? I didn’t know.”
The room grew even colder. “You didn’t know? YOU DIDN’T KNOW!” A blast of cold came with her – I knew it was a female faerie now and was certain of her name, as well. “Our existence in this world depends on the belief of humans. Try thinking with your brain instead of your tits, girlfriend, and you might understand. Without belief, we don’t exist. Without stories, there’s no belief. We’re dying… all of us… and it’s all. Your. FAULT!”
“I’m not the only writer…”
“No, but you’re one of the few who still retains that hint of childhood possibility. Why do you think you have so many nightmares? Why haven’t you been able to sleep well for a year?”
I mentioned things like stress and a global pandemic.
She didn’t buy it.
“Look, Chica, writers write. You’re failing yourself. You’re failing us. What do I have to do, bust a pipe and let water flood this idleness out of you?”
“No!” I scooted back against the pillows of my bed. “I mean, please don’t. I’ll try. I’ll try tonight… only… please turn off the cold first? I can’t feel my fingers.” I held out my hands. They were rapidly turning blue.
“Twenty-four hours, wordwench, or I come back and turn you to an icicle.”
I looked at the place in the room where I thought she was and smiled softly. I knew what I’d write. “Sure, Tink…” I said. “Give Peter my love, won’t you?”
Her word hung in the air where she no longer was, but my house was warm again.
Written for Brief #9 of Like the Prose 2021: Faeries and Folklore