Into the Wonder

None of this made any sense. Maybe she was right, and Danny had drugged her. Maybe she was having some kind of seizure. This had to be a dream. To be sure, it was a very lifelike dream complete with nausea and asthma attacks, but still just a dream. Right? Until somebody woke her up, there wasn’t much she could do but go with it.

“So…what’s all this stuff about faeries?” she said.

“I’d rather you not use that word,” Danny said. “It’s not really politically correct. A while back, some of us wanted to say ‘eldritch Americans,’ but it never caught on. ‘The Fair Folk’ or ‘Our Kind’ is better. Most just say ‘fae,’ or else refer to each other according to their kindred.”

Taylor stared at him blankly.

“You see, Our Kind comes in a lot of different tribes or families: kindreds. I guess you could say they’re like Topsider ethnic groups. For example, I’m a pooka. Bryn is a huldra. That sort of thing.”

“O-o-o-kay.”

“I know this is hard to take in all at once.”

You can say that again! Taylor thought.

“But,” she began, “…and I don’t mean to be rude or anything… Faeries don’t exist!”

“We get that a lot,” Danny shrugged. “And ‘eldritch Americans’ or ‘fae,’ if you don’t mind.”

“All right, ‘fae.’ But…people like you…are supposed to be tiny! And have little butterfly wings!”

Danny smiled—then winced. His cheek was starting to turn purple. Taylor had given him a serious bruise with that tree branch back in Macon!

“One thing you gotta to know about Our Kind, Taylor: Between the shapeshifting, the size-shifting, glamours, and all the other spells and whatnot, powerful fae can pretty much look however they want. And as for the tiny bodies and the wings and all, that’s what we want you to think! It makes us look like a joke, you see? Something nobody would take seriously. Get enough people believing that Our Kind are nothing but faery godmothers, or tiny women in mini-dresses, or jolly toymakers who live at the North Pole…”

“Or the tooth faery….”

Never let one of Our Kind anywhere near your teeth!” Danny said, suddenly serious.

“Okay,” Taylor agreed, startled at Danny’s abruptness. “Good advice. Thanks.”

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