Prompt: Gremlins vs. pixies causing chaos in the human world, which will gain dominance?
The idiotic human had no idea that he’d saved two lives by parking in the garage that day. It was the middle of winter: the worst season for the nature pixies generally. A few of them, however, specialized in manipulation of the wind and ice, and one of them, Hoarfrost, waited patiently outside that garage for her prey to emerge once more.
The human thought of himself as someone who appreciated nature, so he sat in his car with the garage door open, watching the snow fall and cover his driveway. He had a red crinkled bag of bacon-flavored potato puffs in his lap, and he chewed on them lazily while he stared out at the frigid street and the trees beyond. The engine still ran, keeping him nice and toasty. At some point the general toastiness overwhelmed him and he slipped into a nap, a potato puff half hanging out of his mouth.
Hoarfrost wanted to strike. Human eyes dissolved pixies if they stared too long, and they always stared so, but there were other barriers in place. As a nature pixie she could not enter a human dwelling. Decades ago it was possible, though painful, but now there were too many machined eyes in the human repertoire. Everywhere they went something with a human touch saw them: a phone, a computer, a security camera… She had to wait, gritting and grinding her icicle tusks. Eventually the human would leave again and he would take his phone with him.
He shifted his hips in the driver’s seat, his drowsy hand grabbing at the lever and reclining him back. His phone, an absurdly large thing compared to the sleek panels available just a few years ago, slipped out of his pocket and clattered into the crevice between plastic and cushion.
Two creatures tumbled out of its screen and found themselves lodged in a seam alongside the skirts of popcorn kernels and a few smelly seasonal coffee stains. One of them tried to speak, but ended up choking on a mouthful of lint. She dramatically stumbled about after extricating herself from the fuzzy crevice.
“Spit it out,” the other one said as she too rose to her feet and brushed herself off. They were classed as pixies as well according to Obania’s Absurd Fairy Bible, but they were not like the ancient and vengeful Hoarfrost. Each pixie was a god of something small and trivial, but with the advent of humankind came an unrivaled explosion, a continental surge, of things small and trivial.
The pixies born from human activity now greatly outnumbered their nature-based ancestors, but were far less powerful. They were in the midst of a war with the older breed, torn between their duties and their distaste for the humans.
The one who spit out the wad of dust and rubbed her hands across her tongue was Autocee. She was the pixie of autocorrect: a mischievous little program that replaced words with much sillier ones. Many of her fondest memories involved turning pills into penises and names into nazis. Her partner, equally capable of living in various phones, was Autofeel: the pixie of autofill. It was her job to simply fill in all the blanks, and was thus the more levelheaded of the two.
“What are we going to do?” Autocee squealed as she stared up at the unconscious man’s hanging fingers. She spotted some flavored dust under one of his nails, shot up to it with a bouncy jolt of static, and scraped some out. She chewed on it on her way down. “Hoarfrost is going to kill us as soon as he wheels on out of here,” she said with a mouthful of salt and preservatives. “She’ll probably kill the human too. Spin him into a ditch or something!”
“We have to get out of this car,” Autofeel said, looking around for answers. “We can stay in the house until she gives up to go freeze somebody else’s nips. Time for a full search.” The pixies couldn’t fly like Hoarfrost could, on mean and bitter wind, but they had static electricity. With it they could surf across fuzzy surfaces at high speed. It didn’t do them much good, as every part of the car’s floor mat seemed to end in a sharp dead end of rusted metal or dusty plastic.
They eventually converged on what could have been a way out, the vents leading to the air conditioner, but something just inside its darkness stopped them from slipping in. The human’s snoring was on their backs, hot breath pushing them forward, but they stayed still. Long green fingers came out of the shadows and clasped parts of the vent. Two red eyes appeared. The being spoke.
“What do you zippy-zappers want?” it asked with a voice like a furious sparkler.
“What kind of pixie is this?” Autocee asked.
“He’s no pixie,” Autofeel answered. “He’s a gremlin.”
“That’s right,” the gremlin said, eyes narrowing. “What are you doing in my car?”
“We used to be at war with them,” Autofeel told the vapid and confused Autocee. “Then the meat-mountains made phones and computers for us to live in, so we don’t need to fight them for buckets of bolts like these anymore.”
“You call my car that again and I’ll lick your skin off,” the gremlin said. He stuck a tongue the color of gravel and the texture of sandpaper out between the slats of the vent to convince them he could do it. Autocee recoiled and shivered at the sight of it. She’d seen plenty of ugly pixies, pixies of paper cuts, chewed gum, and well-aimed spit, but something about the gremlin was worse. “We’re still at war. You two are enemy combatants, but if you leave now I won’t torturize you.”
“Torturize sounds like testicles,” Autocee giggled. Autofeel groaned, pushing her frustration deep into her heart and let it fester there.
“Look, we’re happy to leave,” Autofeel said. “We can’t go out there or Hoarfrost will get us. One of her snowflakes could cut us in half. We need to hide in something human in order to leave. You could help us out. End whatever war is between us at least.”
“Fine,” the gremlin grumbled. “Crawl under the left side of the mat and go to the wheel well. I’ve got something I’ve been tinkering with and I wanted to try her out anyway.” His fingers slipped back into the vent and they heard him chortle to himself deep into the engine block.
The pixies did as they were told. They wanted to take their phone with them, it was always a safe shell to hide in, but it was too heavy for them to carry. They made it to the well, but didn’t see anywhere else to go. All of a sudden the whole car shook. Its spasms woke the human, who pitched forward and sprayed potato puffs all over his windshield. His frantic fumbling couldn’t get the keys out in time. Part of the car exploded, creating a blossom of metal and a belch of flame. The stunned Hoarfrost could only stare at the car’s left front tire as it bounced away down the street, eventually settling into an upright roll. It seemed those daft program pixies had gone and killed themselves. Good enough.
Autocee and Autofill bounced along, held inside the tire by its centrifugal force. They felt like puking, and thus puked. The spinning of the tire didn’t spare them from the nasty stuff’s return.
“I hate you,” Autofeel said with lips drawn back by the force.
“I’ll correct you later,” Autocee squeaked. Wherever the tire landed, they would at least be safe for a short while.
“Ehh, close enough,” the gremlin said from the flaming interior of the car. “Time to get some new parts in here.” He rubbed his long fingers together and crawled back up to his vent.
Author’s Note: This flash fiction story was written based on a prompt provided by Bumblebizzle during a livestream. I hereby transfer all story rights to them, with the caveat that it remain posted on this blog. If you would like your own story, stop by twitch.tv/blainearcade during one of my streams and I’ll write it for you live!