#50: FAIRY MAGIC
I’M NOT ONE WHO uses chemicals to alter my state of mind. But then, because of my rapid healing, there ain’t much that can alter my state of mind. Not unless I imbibe more than what your average bowling team can handle. And frankly, that can get expensive.
But that doesn’t mean I ain’t susceptible to magic.
Fairy magic ain't all that strong. By that I mean that they can’t do a whole lot with it. Not like a wizard.
They can make themselves invisible, though they don’t seem to like to. They can use their magic to lift objects that someone their size would never be able to lift, though they are mighty strong. But the most popular weapon in their magical arsenal is the ability to mesmerize. In other words, they cloud your brain and, in essence, put you at their command.
There are limits, of course, and one alone isn’t enough to put a spell on someone. No, it usually takes a swarm.
As I watched the lights spin and dance, everything made sense to me.
Live with Nona and her clan.
Jake would be like the little brother I never had. And the others? Well, like I said, I ain’t never had a family before.
“Is this where we’ll live?” I asked Nona.
“The tree,” she said. “The tree is now your home.”
“It’s a bit small,” I said, frowning.
Nona glared at me and I felt a deep shame course through me.
“Sorry,” I said. “It’s beautiful.”
Nona’s sour face was quickly replaced by joy. It made my heart soar.
A green light broke off from the circle where Jake stood, laughing. The green light zigged and zagged before coming to rest next to Nona. The light dimmed and I could see a male fairy dressed in baggy jeans and a basketball jersey from some local team. I’ve often wondered where the fairies get their tiny clothes. Must be another one of their magical abilities.
“Why are you wasting your time talking to this stupid giant?” The fairy had spiked green hair and looked as if he’d just spent the better part of the last hour sucking on lemons.
“Shut up, Lance!” Nona yelled. “You don’t tell me what to do.”
“Well, but I think I do,” Lance said. “You need to fly back to the circle before I send you home.”
I glanced over at Jake and noticed that he’d started dancing.
“We’re already home, Lance,” Nona said.
“Not this home,” Lance said. “Home home. Now move.”
Nona’s eyes grew wide and she zoomed off, her orange light merging with the others.
“Norman Oklahoma,” Lance said, floating high enough so that he could look down his nose at me. “I have a task for you.”
“Anything,” I said. And I’d meant it too.
“First,” he said. “You will call me ‘My Lord’.”
“Yes, My Lord,” I said. “Of course.” I wanted to slam my head into a rock, punish myself for not calling him ‘My Lord’ this whole time.
“Next, I want you to prove to me that you can be useful,” Lance said.
“Anything, My Lord. I’ll do anything.”
“I want you to shoot something for me, Oklahoma.”
“Of course, My Lord,” I said and drew both of my pistols. I thumbed back the hammers. “What would you like me to shoot?”
The fairy thought about it for a moment, crossing his arms and holding his chin in one hand as he mulled it over. He looked very impressive.
“I’m told you’re good,” Lance said. “Is that true.”
“Yes, My Lord,” I said. “Very good.” I looked around for something to shoot. I needed to show him how good I was.
“Wait here,” he said. “I’ll be right back.” And like that he was surrounded once again by a bright, green light.
I watched the green ball of light as it streaked off toward the farmhouse in the distance. In seconds he was on his way back and before I could blink he was once more in front of me. He held an apple over his head. It was three times his size, but he carried it with ease. Before I could ask, he tossed the apple high into the air, much higher than I could have.
“Shoot it out of the sky for me,” he said.
I smiled, took aim, and fired. The apple exploded as it had started its downward arc. Lance laughed and clapped his hands. I’d never felt more proud of myself in my entire life.
He was off once again, this time returning with a chipped concrete garden gnome the size of my head. This too he tossed into the air.
“Destroy!” Lance shouted.
I fired once, blowing the gnome’s head into pieces. Two more quick shots and the rest of it went the way of the head. Lance laughed in delight.
Some of the other fairies had broken off from the circle to watch. Nona and her orange hair was among them.
Lance was off once more. Within seconds he was back, this time with a small, portable stereo. Up it went, and as with the others, I shot it to pieces.
The fairies all cheered.
This went on for some time. Lance zooming off to return with an object he’d acquired at the nearby farmhouse. A basketball, then an outdoor light bulb, a bowl of some sort, and then finally, a small dog.
Lance tossed the dog into the air. The dog howled as it rose.
“Shoot it!” Lance shouted.
I didn’t move.
“SHOOT IT!” Lance screamed. “SHOOT IT NOW!”
“I—I can’t.” It was true. I couldn’t move. All I could think about was Trinity, the three headed dog I’d found a few weeks back in the Brotherhood’s labyrinth. I’d grown quite attached to her, though we’d only spent a minute or two together. Then she’d disappeared.
“You CAN’T!” Small puffs of smoke issued from the fairy’s ears.
A few of the other fairies booed and hissed as the dog fell from the sky. I’d noticed that Nona wasn’t among them. She was there, sure, but she was quiet with a sad look in her eyes.
“I’m sorry, My Lord,” I said. And I was. A part of me anyway. There was something inside tugging at me, urging me to shoot the dog, and I wanted to. God help me I did. But something else inside of me fought against the pull.
Lance caught the dog and then dropped it into the grass. The dog ran.
“This is why I took the boy, Norman Oklahoma,” Lance said. “I knew the moment I did you would come running.”
“You didn’t want me?” Jake was suddenly there next to me.
“Of course not, stupid boy,” Lance said. “What would I want with a useless child. You were bait. I wanted Norman to be mine.”
“Your friend?” Jake said.
Lance screamed in frustration. More smoke puffed from his ears. It wasn’t at all cute as one might imagine. Instead, it was near to one of the most terrifying things I’ve seen, and I’ve born witness to many a frightening thing in my day.
“GROSS!” Lance shouted. “A HUMAN FRIEND!? YOUR ARE A STUPID, GROSS, STUPID, GIANT BOY!”
Then, quite suddenly and as if from nowhere, a song began to play. From the first note it was as if the clouds had parted and I could see clearly for the first time. Furthermore, I recognized the song. Tumbling Tumbleweeds by Sons of the Pioneers, the 1946 version.
All of the fairies began to scream.
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