This time, I saw it. This time, it was a dark shadow across the sun. It wasn’t as huge as I had first thought.
It was closer to the size of a man than a roc, flying low above the city, and it was as if the bright and lightness was drawn out of the world in its wake.
A kind of fairy, Thea had said. And I knew it wasn’t literally pulling away light. It was pulling away…happiness, maybe? Although it wouldn’t find much of that here, not in this city where people tended to hurry through their lives, grey clad, heads down. I might not remember anywhere else, but I’d talked to people. Seen pictures.
There was not much happiness to be found here. Only insane levels of stress and misery, and in some ways I was insulated from it being poor.
I just had school stress and poor people stress. So, maybe it was feeding off of that, but it wasn’t a good thing. I knew that.
I saw it.
And it saw me. Its head turned as it flew, then it swung through a turn, dipping its left wing to turn towards me, riding the air easily. I used a word that would have got me thrown out of any classroom.
It was coming for me, and nobody else could see it, and I decided the best thing to do was be somewhere else. I ducked into the nearest shop. I was pretty sure I couldn’t shoot it. It wasn’t real enough for that, or it was too real.
Why hadn’t I been able to see it before? I decided I couldn’t afford to care about that. I could see it now and that meant it knew what I was, or who, or whatever was going on with that.
Whatever was going on with that I didn’t like. If I found out who I was, would the world end? Thea thought I couldn’t take it. The cultists thought the world would end.
Otter just liked keeping secrets. I sensed or knew that about him. Breathing hard, I glanced around at the store.
It wasn’t one I had any business being in. Menswear. I took a deep breath. If I stepped outside, would it get me? It wasn’t raining, so I couldn’t use that excuse, but the sales assistant was already glaring at me.
I pretended to be looking at ties. Maybe I could say it was a gift for my dad or an older brother. A man who needed a tie. I couldn’t afford to actually buy one, but I could pretend to look. It gave me enough time to get my presence of mind together. There wasn’t a back door I could exit through.
A fairy was probably smart enough to know I’d have to come out sooner or later. I couldn’t shoot it. I tugged out my cell phone, sent Thea a text. “Bird thing has me cornered.”
Then I went back to looking at ties. I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to overstay my welcome. I could hear huffing noises from the direction of the sales assistant. He probably just saw a grubby girl.
And Thea did not respond.