by Jim Davies
I left the home of the raccoon Vernon Grandmaster, following Waffles, Gretchen and Dichall through the dark tunnel. I had known that using the veilring would allow us to speak to humans, but it never occurred to me that we could use telephones to call them. Morgan had no idea she was talking to a mouse! The fact that we could communicate with humans without revealing our animal identities blew my mind.
We emerged back into the bright winter and Waffles shook the dirt from his coat. “I feel like that’s the first time I’ve been warm in days.”
We climbed into his fur and hurried back to Josh’s house, us mice creeping back through the open window while Waffles waited outside. We heard Josh and the faerie (who was masquerading as a woman) chatting quietly in the other room.
The cat noticed our entrance. “You’re back! What’s going on?”
Gretchen jumped down from the windowsill. “Madison is a faerie. Morgan is coming over. We’re not sure what’s going to happen. You should get out of the house if you can.”
We jumped back to our hiding spot in the bookshelf while the cat’s tail twitched quickly. “Uh, I’m an indoor cat. I haven’t been outside in years.”
I pointed to the open window. “See if you can get through that crack. You might be in danger when the faerie’s found out.”
The cat looked from us to the window and yowled.
I wagged a digit at her. “Quiet! Just suck it up and get out of here! Morgan will be here any minute.”
The cat leaped up to the window and sniffed at the cold air coming from the outside. “I don’t know if I can do it.” The cat looked at us with a pained expression. Behind her, outside the window, we saw Morgan walk by to the door.
“Get out the window or hide. Move it, kitty!”
The cat looked put her nose out the window and meowed. “It’s freezing out there!”
The doorbell rang and the cat scrambled under the couch.
Footsteps from the bedroom.
Josh and “Madison” walked into the main area. Josh tucked in his shirt and turned his head back to the monster as he approached the door. He opened it to reveal Morgan on the other side, wearing those magical glasses we needed so badly. Her gaze fell on Josh, then on Madison. Her eyes went wide and her mouth opened slightly, seeing Madison for who she truly was. To her credit, Morgan kept it cool. “Hey, Josh.”
“Hey sis. What are you, ah… what’s up?”
“I was just, um, around.”
“Yeah. Okay. It’s cold. Come on in.”
Morgan stood in the doorway. She quickly took off the glasses.
Don’t choke, Morgan! I glanced to Madison, whose eyes narrowed at this interaction.
Josh pointed at the glasses in Morgan’s hand. “What’s with the steampunk costume?”
Morgan’s eyes lit up. “Oh. I found these. At a thrift shop. Try them on.” She thrust them into his hands.
Josh turned them over in his hands.
“What’s that, sweetie?” Madison approached his back.
Morgan guided his hands toward his face. “I think they’d look really good on you.”
He put them on and turned to Madison.
Josh screamed, backed up, out the door, into his sister, who almost fell over. “What are you!?”
Madison smiled a beautiful smile at him. “What do you mean?”
“You’re a—you’re a—what am I seeing?”
Madison’s face fell to a neutral expression.
Morgan put her hand on her brother’s shoulder. “Let’s go, Josh. Come on.”
Josh stood, agape.
Madison’s glamour dropped, revealing her true form in its awful glory for everyone to see. Her skin was like a fleshy gauze, draped over fine faerie bones, and her hair flowed out into the air, strands merging and diverging, waving as though subject to a slow, invisible wind. Her eyes glowed green, and she wore tight leggings and a shirt.
Morgan screamed, then, and Josh pushed her outside and they ran off into the cold, leaving the door open. They ran off.
The faerie stood, staring at the doorway and breathing heavily. We three mice held our breath.
Then the cat yowled, making a run for the open door.
The faerie was too quick. She crossed the living room and had the firm grip of her thin fingers around the cat’s tail. “I bet you told her about me, didn’t you, kitty!”
The cat twisted in the air, held up by her tail. “No! I swear! I stayed here the whole time!”
The faerie’s tiny slit of a mouth grew, first into a longer slit, then opened, wider and wider, revealing a maw of shark-like teeth in several layers.
I twitched, but Dichall held me back with their paws. His mouth in my ear: “You can’t win this one, darling!”
With Grassblade, I could have.
The monster opened her jaws far wider than should have been possible and brought the cat to them.
I couldn’t watch. I hid my eyes and only heard the crunch as the faerie bit the cat’s head roughly off with cruel teeth.
The humans started screaming.