Fiction, Kingdom of Rust

Building Relationships with the Fair Folk: 2

On the making and setting of fairy traps

Content warning: Coarse language

“Where the hell have you been?”

Pidge sat bolt upright on the mossy couch where he’d been lounging watching Animal Planet and the Real Housewives simultaneously on split screen. His eyes were pointing in slightly different directions but he narrowed them both as Chick dropped down from the rafters and started pulling her boots off with a groan.

“It’s been five days,” said Pidge, as if Chick didn’t know. “Not a peep from the birds and I heard nothin’ through the grapevine.” He glanced at the trellis in the corner where dark green foliage and heavy purple fruit hung indolently. “No texts, neither.”

“Aw,” said Chick, tapping soil out of her shoe. “Were you worried?”

“No,” said Pidge and then added, jealously, “You were with Mozzie, weren’t you? You can tell me.”

If only. Chick sighed and stretched out flat on the floor, reaching her arms over her head and her toes towards the far wall, reveling in her ability to do so. There was grit and probably silverfish in her hair, but she didn’t care. Better than cupcake crumbs and the glittery stuff the girl had kept sprinkling in and that was probably still clogging her lungs. She coughed, half expecting a gout of the silvery shit to puff from her lips. It was only phlegm though, so she spat.

“Yech,” said Pidge, watching it plap onto the floor. “Bitch, I just cleaned in here, were you raised in a barn?”

“I was raised over hill and under mound, same as you, ” said Chick, and waggled her ears to dislodge something crawly. “Did you leave the insects and dirt on purpose during your clean?”

“They’re good for the compost. Stop changing the subject. Where were you? You don’t have to pretend for me if you were on a five-day bang with your boyfriend, I ain’t gonna judge, even if he is a shrively weirdo with an iron fetish from the wrong side of the grate. Why you gotta be so damn evasive?”

“I was in a jar.”

“And don’t give me no bullshit about – You were in a what?”

“A jar. Mason. Me and a cupcake and a -” what was probably misspelled “- rune stone.”

“Is that a euphemism?”

“I wish. It was -” Despite her policy of never feeling shame in front of Pidge of all people, Chick was finding it challenging to say the actual words. She went over to check if he’d fucked with her charms on the fungus growing in the shower. “Mm. It was a fairy trap.”

Pidge cupped his hand around one pointed, poorly pierced ear. “I’m sorry, can you say that again? I din’t hear, on account of not being a disgrace to my species.”

“A fairy trap,” said Chick, and lobbed a silverfish at Pidge’s scraggy grey head. “A little kid had it in her garden next to the verbena.” She’d always been a sucker for verbena, and the glint had caught her eye while she was looking for cuttings. She’d gotten a bit smaller to see what she could see, and that’s when the lid had come down. “She read about it on the internet, and – stop cackling, you dusty twink, I thought there might be something I could use!” She’d thought it might be a bit of scrap metal Mozzie would like, actually, but Pidge would just scoff all the harder if she said so.

Pidge wheezed. “Gawd. If Ma could see the daughter she once took on the Hunt, trapped in a lil’ girl’s mason jar like a fuzzy-headed caterpillar…” He didn’t dodge her hex in time, and it was Chick’s turn to chuckle as she scooped him up in one palm.

“It happens to the best of us,” she said sweetly and deposited her brother on a lettuce leaf until he was ready to pupate.

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