Prompt: An elf boy and his fairy boyfriend are abducted by aliens.
The leaves of the the shy shoot plant were supposed to be excellent cover. It was a magical bit of flora, utterly invisible to human beings and their mechanical lenses, but still solid enough to hide anything under it. All sorts of magical tribes had relied on the tree to act as either neutral ground in times of conflict or safe bunkers for secret keeping.
The second one was the purpose of Galadir and his boyfriend Chizzle. Their relationship wasn’t much of a secret, nobody really cared that Galadir was elf and Chizzle was fairy, the tribes had mingled since before humans invented bricks, but they wanted to keep the spice of the secrecy going for a little while longer. They weren’t yet comfortable enough together to be introduced to their families and friends as partners.
For now they had a summer evening under the leaves of the shoot, kissing and laughing and telling exaggerated stories about riding some of the baby dragons still hidden in the calderas of the world. The sun was high in the sky, the shadows under the leaves were shrinking, and the temperature was drying the giggles right out of them. They removed their shirts to best the heat, Galadir fanning himself with one hand. Chizzle was lucky, as his emerald dragonfly wings did the job much more efficiently.
The shy shoot was full of magic and dew, and the heat pulled them out of the plant as well. The greenish dew fell from the sides of the leaf shading them like a waterfall, making their privacy complete. The cascading dew sparkled enough for their minds to see fleeting images in it, things to go with their stories. Chizzle told another, he was always better at exaggerating, the magical folk version of adding seasoning to food, so he spun the tale of the Warrior Rose and her ruby shield.
Galadir took a moment to admire his enthusiasm as he gesticulated wildly, running his hand through the dew to add drama to the details. He was especially tall for a fairy, so they were nearly the same height. His blond hair was down to his neck, and he always found the time to decorate it with iridescent beetle wing casings. Sometimes the beetles were still attached, and they flew out of his crop at random moments.
The elf couldn’t help himself. He ran over before the climactic battle in the story even reached the part where Rose bashed the goblin faces and gave them ruby smiles. He hugged Chizzle, restrained him almost, and kissed him. The shy shoot did its part admirably, but there was an eye on them, more powerful than the plant’s invisibility. The veins of this eye were attached to a most ancient power. It tightened its gaze, practically ripping through the clouds and the magical skin of the sky shoot. All of a sudden the two lovers were encased in an intruding column of light, purple and humming.
The light ripped them away from the ground, pulled them through every last leaf of the shoot, and dragged them into the sky. Chizzle had flown the edges of the sky before, but he’d never gone that high. He felt ice crystals forming on his wings. He reached for Galadir, but the light had them tumbling end over end, obscuring their eventual destination as well.
Things only got more confusing from there. There were a few seconds where they couldn’t breathe. The sky was black. Galadir’s knees struck glass. The light winked out a moment later. He ignored the pain and stumbled away, but he immediately hit a curved glass wall. The eye passed overhead. A wide gray pupil like a skin of oil on a pond. Eyelashes like the roots of diseased oaks. One long tendril, equal parts flesh, xylem, and phloem. His fingers shook, his nails tapping against the glass.
Only one thing looked like that, and he’d heard the story enough times to know it. Chizzle had told it the best, putting real fear in his voice, along with some gravel, whenever he mentioned the starry tribe. The tribes shrank every year, thanks to the humans, but the starry tribe never suffered. The gnomes were gone, the kobolds were nearly nothing, and the sprites had gone urban, forming gangs to survive.
The starry tribe just watched, from the edge of the sky, never helping, yet never averting their gaze. They were fairy-folk, closely related to Chizzle’s kind, but utterly alien in their culture. They lacked wings, instead having hides like spiny exoskeletons. Their compound eyes sparkled with a deep cold magic, which they used to power the antennae arcing on their shoulders, propelling them through the blackness of space.
They had a ship: a tree borrowed from a primordial Earth. As it orbited the world it grew icy armor, but kept some of its ancient splits open for its magic floral eye: the thing that allowed it to claim any objects from Earth that the starry tribe desired. Galadir knew little about them beyond that, but they were easy to hate. Fairies protected pieces of nature: rivers, forests, calderas… Chizzle’s family were guardians of the wetlands. The starry tribe were to protect the stars themselves. That luck kept them intact, far from humanity’s shredding and burning machines.
Galadir heard another hand pounding on glass. He looked across the curved icy wood floor and saw poor Chizzle in the same predicament. The beam of the eye had collected them and placed them in glass jars. The starry tribe had to know what they were doing. Glass was a magical dampener. They likely beamed up a few mason jars from a human picnic rather than blow their own. He shouted to Chizzle, but their voices couldn’t reach. A face appeared between them. One of the starry. Their sex was impossible to determine under their mantis-like armor. Bolts of static sparked between their mandibles. They put their hand to Galadir’s jar, letting their buzzing voice resonate and be heard within.
“Do not struggle,” the alien fairy ordered. “You will not be harmed.”
“What is this?” Galadir growled. He had a bad feeling, he was as good at those as Chizzle was at exaggeration, so he put his hands behind his back while he spoke. He listened to the monstrosity on the other side of the glass, but he also muttered incantations under his breath and practiced his old hand-waving. There was a way out. It wasn’t pretty, and he needed to practice as fast as possible.
“You are our prisoners for only a few moments,” the starry said. “There is a human space station nearby. We’re going to jettison you towards them. They will collect you. Study you. Dissect, most likely.”
“What? Why?” Galadir was done practicing the first law, so his hands went on to the second. “You’re magic. You’re one of us. And… humans can’t live in space…”
“You haven’t been paying attention,” the alien scolded, the glint in its eyes intensifying. Were they angry with their own prisoners? What was this hatred? Perhaps being so close to the sun had put a malicious fire in their souls. “Humans have walked space for near fifty years now. They encroach more every day. Soon their technology will surpass our magic. They will find us in the sky. We will not let that happen.” Galadir finished the fourth law and moved to the fifth, the most vital. “We’re sending you, revealing you, to draw their eye of study back to Earth. While they hunt you, we will be safe.” The starry fairy put their hands together in some sort of prayer, bowing their head and humming. The eye passed over again.
There was no time to argue with the creature, or with the desperate look on Chizzle’s faze. The fairy knew what the elf was about to do. He knew how brave Galadir was, how foolish in his devotion, even when they’d only shared five kisses across five nights. The fairy’s breath fogged his jar, but Galadir’s heart was made up.
His hands came out from behind him, and he shouted the incantation, loud enough to shake the jar, almost loose it from the tendrils of the frosted dead tree.
“Kaokada Abra Adabe Zeen!” Chizzle’s hand smacked against the glass, but it was gone a moment later. The mason jar shot out of its roots, shattering them, breaking the sealed interior of the tree. The vacuum of space pulled the starry fairy out. The nasty abducting eye dangled outside the tree, its thin skin shredded by debris. It would have to heal before it could take any more prisoners.
The starry tribe had watched much, but learned little. Galadir was a woodland elf, but he had family in the arctic. He knew the same magics, understood the same laws of mischief. He’d used law number five: Anything can be pushed away or pulled back, if you deny fate hard enough. It was the magic elves used to move Santa’s sleigh across the sky in one night, to help Johnny Appleseed spread his crop across the early United States, and what they used to drive lances through the heart of the last evil dragon. Glass dampened magic, but Galadir’s magic simply pushed the surface of the jar rather than interact with it.
Chizzle was safe. His jar would fall back to Earth, and his wings could control his descent once it broke from the heat. Galadir sat down in his jar. He couldn’t propel himself with it, for a heart could only propel things it didn’t already have. It was alright. The starry tribe had perverted their magic, but maybe the humans had a spark left. Galadir knew from old tales, brought new life in his mind by Chizzle’s voice, that the exploring giants called that spark pity.
Author’s Note: This flash fiction story was written based on a prompt provided by JZcannibale 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!