A Summer Barbaric of Shenanigans
It was a troubled night, taken early. None were present when Filly climbed into bed soon after dinner. She tossed and turned all night, dreaming of drowning in an ocean, trying to walk on waves, only to be dashed upon rocks at a cliff coast and sucked back into watery depths.
A fish-woman, with searing eyes peered at her through clouds of storming dreams. The storm-siren mocked the Oracle’s drowning, even pushing her under with ghostly hands, then pulling her down from beneath. Ghost hair tangled about the drowning figure like enticing music, calling, dragging, and chaining her to deeper deaths.
Filly was sure she’d die for lack of air.
Then she awoke, gasping for breath in raspy silence.
Breathing heavily, Filly recognized the siren in her dreams as the ghost who’d haunted her back on that first meeting with the Count. Watery dreams typically pointed to overwhelming emotion, and although there was truth in that, for Filly’s heart was quite overcome from many angles, yet, with that same siren’s appearance, the Oracle was sure there may be more reality to the dream’s fantasy than first appeared.
She recalled the eyes of the siren and the familiarity she’d seen in them, handed down to the teen boy with the Count. No one talked about a son of Count Tambeaux, though with his promiscuous habits, many children were likely. Yet, Filly still felt a silent pause in her soul, that the boy was not Marin’s son. She must ask him about it and discover why this ghostly siren gave him her eyes.
A creak from her door made the meditating woman sit up suddenly.
The door closed again, on its own. Nothing and no one was about. Filly sat motionless and silent; watching.
The sheet on her bed pulled slightly as if tiny hands were climbing it, so she smiled a little, remaining wary. As a past Fae-ward, she understood the manners and customs of the fae. So, she was about to speak out a greeting to whomever it was, climbing up her bed, but Seamus’s voice tinkled out quietly and Filly’s trained eyes detected a tiny puff of sprite’s invisibility dust, creep over the bed’s edge.
“Sorry ta startle ya, lass.” Seamus whispered, unseen, “but, I’ve word from ‘ome to get to ya pryvaately.”
Filly tilted her head to the side about to inquire on his hidden state, but the leprechaun was already explaining,
“Lucky sent me a pouch of ‘is dust fer me birfdee.”
“It’s your birthday?” Filly asked with surprised delight.
“Nonsense. No such thing be mine. I wa’ done count’n me years a few ‘oondred anon.”
“Well, happy birth remembrance to you, anyway, old man.” Filly concluded with a tease, still unsure of where to watch for the unseen creature.
Seamus was returned to his regular tiny size as a leprechaun. He never felt safe that small among the big folk, so typically he was his magicked sized; that of a man. But, with Filly, he was safe. And when he had secret work to be done, being small was the best help, among tall folk who rarely look down.
But, now, with the help of a gift from his Sprite friend, Lucky, the leprechaun was also invisible.
“I’m surprised Lucky felt you worthy of his precious prize.” Filly encouraged. “I’m glad you two are continuing in brotherhood.”
“The slippery bastaad.” Seamus cursed. “He been teasin’ me all these yeers with ‘ow enticin’ it be ta be invisible. And now as I’ve got summat important ta do for ya, he goes and poofs his greasy dust all over me without a gettn used to it n all.”
Seamus then complained in a dismal voice,
“’Sawful stuff. Gets everywhere. ‘N I mean Ever. Where.” He sniffed. “It’s disturbin to a man bein’ to not be able to see ‘is own privates. Dreadful distressin.”
Filly laughed out loud.
“No!” urged the horrified leprechaun, “it’s one thing to have a new level of mystery to me private moments with me private parts but, I cannot see what it is I be doin, and that’s too much mystery for one ‘oose had no mystery thar for too long a time, plus.”
Filly snorted, not wanting to allow the images in her over active imagination to form into real memories.
“Stahp.” She laughed with tears spicing her humor, “I do NOT want to think about your private moments, please.”
But she couldn’t help laughing at the poor wee folk’s genuine distress.
“I’m too old for this shyte.” Seamus sounded like he’d plopped to a sit pose in disgust.
The bed clothes dinted slightly and Filly tried to calm herself for his sake. She coughed.
“What news do you have?” Her voice strained in constrained sobriety.
An envelope, folded over and over into a tiny package suddenly flipped out of a hidden pocket and flopped onto the mattress between them. Filly picked it up and thanked her old friend.
“You are most worthy to bring this to me in secret. I thank you, noble sir.” She paused to try and continue in a calm, respectful tone, without much success. “Would you like me to research how to wash sprite’s dust off?”
“Nah.” Seamus grunted. “I may have personal distress when I tries to looks at meself, but I’ll not turn down the chance to explore wivout others seeing me.” He giggled mischievously.
“I’d tell you to not get yourself into too much trouble,” Filly grinned, “but after three decades of knowing you, I think you like getting into trouble. I’ll not rob you of your simple pleasures.”
“I’ll be off then an’ not seeing ya fer a while now.” Seamus’s voice echoed in the night. “I’ll see you again, when you see me.”
And he was gone.
Filly was glad the Leprechaun could, again, enjoy the invisible pleasures that were typical to Fae-folk. Many years he’d been outcast from his society, banished from the simple abilities that were natural to his blood. The woman recalled their first meeting, when she was a dirty and forgotten child in a junk yard. Seamus had joined with her and the rest of her soon-to-be guard in saving Christmas for a nation of Leaf-fae. In that moment, the leprechaun gave up his last golden coin; a selfless act of sacrificial bravery, mirrored by everyone in the heat of the battle, in their own way. *
Filly’s heart warmed with such memories, then shuddered at a few darker memories that were embroidered into those years, as well. A distant and imagined wolf howl filled her recollections, leaking an orphan’s tear down her cheek. *
But, the sun was rising and a message in her hand burned with importance, so she opened her papers in the early light of her transport window. It was a news clipping from a Lemurian newsmag, with a title that read:
Technology Energists Discover Diamond Death Dealing.
The article went on to badly explain what the Oracle and several other secret council members already knew about the famous black, Hanain diamonds. That is, if these precious stones were used before they were cut and polished into their popular, shiny forms, then they were natural conduits of raw energy. The processing these particular Hanain* diamonds underwent depleted them of any ability, to then be sold at high prices for rich and wealthy jewel lovers. But, in their natural, rough form, they could be used as great agents for energy transfers in healing, or mass destruction.
The powers and leaders of the nation had done all they could to prevent the evidence of this coming to light. They believed it to be the life’s research work of a terrible mercenary. But, now the whole Trevel world knew the secret. Filly shuddered to think of the social impact this revelation would have. There was so much good available in this opportunity. But she knew darker intents were typically the default reaction. So, it was likely to cause more protests and riots, than celebrations and healing.
But, then Filly suddenly had an idea. She rushed to get dressed, dashing into town before many of the artisans awoke. Quickly making her way to the nearest library, Filly snuck into a private booth with one of the linked-on settings. She plugged a tiny distraction key into the side of the server, set a timer, and clicked onto the Atlantis Temple’s linksite. The distraction key would mask her location for a short time, so Filly logged onto her private server and clicked through as many archived memories as she could. She almost found what she was looking for, but the timer bleeped quietly.
Filly cleaned out the search history, pulled everything down, and restarted the whole station. Then she casually walked out of the library, hailed a taxi transport, and asked to be taken to a slum tavern several levels up. The driver questioned her sanity and cleanliness with his eyes, but shrugged and drove on.
When Filly exited the cab, she paid the driver double what he asked and whispered to him with all her fauna energy powers, influencing his favor with a quiet,
“I was never here.”
The driver smiled at her payment and drove off as if he’d won a mysterious lotto from an invisible angel. Later that day, he and another cabbie told tales of finding bizarre fares left in their back seats by a troupe of what could only be flowered faeries.
Filly walked to the inwall travel station that housed the rail cars, running through the city walls. She paid her way through the turnstiles and hopped on a train to go back down twice as many levels as she’d just cabbed up.
At the deeper station, the disguised Oracle wandered into a larger library, found another quiet booth, set herself up as before, and continued clicking through where she’d left off, until she found what she was looking for.
Instead of downloading anything, however, she took flickergraphs of the screen with her mobell communique bracelet. Then she uploaded an explicit and rather viral worm that flashed pornographic content onto every screen in the building. The technology was quickly shut down and a self-righteous techno agent set about scrubbing all the histories of every station used in the last week.
Filly joined the horrified crowd of library supporters who would not stand for such filth in public places. She ate lunch with several of the upstanding members of the library, and nodded silently to their outbursts of indignation. Then she smiled and bowed politely, thanked them all for their hospitality, and invited them to join her at the Hotel Standard someday. She was sure they could all use a holiday after the day’s turmoil.
Hailing another cab, Filly made her way back deeper still, to another grand hotel, where she quietly made her way to the inwall station again, hopped a train back up to the entry port, and left town without any further ado.
If you would like to see more of Gregga’s books and other creative projects, check out her website: Gregga J. Johnn and Story-in-the-Wings.