Cannon Falls, Minnesota
7:28 p.m. CST Tuesday, during the Law & Order marathon on TNT
She came out of the woods like an arrow, a six-foot, four-inch arrow with the huge diaphanous wings of a dragonfly and the split ends of a beach bum, and she didn’t float, or flitter.
None of her kind did.
She moved smoothly, like a machine, her toes always exactly 1.3 inches off of the grass and, as she neared the house, the gravel.
She was holding a clipboard and a pen, and her eyes were the color of ice. Her hair was the color of tree bark, and hung halfway down her back in a riot of rich brown waves.
She moved up the driveway, eyeing with some trepidation the gray Escape that now appeared much closer than she had first assumed. In fact, it was rolling toward her, the gravel crunching beneath the wheels.
No one was driving, which, although she wasn’t entirely surprised, still made her uneasy. She’d heard rumors, of course, which was part of the reason she was here, but surely all the rumors couldn’t be—
"Nice wings. You look like an escapee from a children’s ice-skating show." The small SUV came to a stop six inches from her toes. "This is private property, you big dumb dragonfly, so why don’t you hit the bricks?"
She was intimidated enough by a fairy’s natural uneasiness around machinery; being spoken to by a vehicle was even more unsettling. "I—I’m here on official business."
The car stereo chortled static. "Official dragonfly business?"
She had no idea if the machine was joking or not. The voice was feminine, with a raspy edge. In her nervousness, her feet settled to the gravel. She tiptoed around the SUV but didn’t have the nerve to turn her back on the vehicle and continue up the drive. "Official fairy business. I’m a counter."
"Kitchen or bathroom?"
She pondered that for a moment, puzzled, then answered, "Household. I count things."
She blinked and hugged the clipboard to her chest. "Because. Because that is our nature. We count."
" ‘We’ being uptight accountants with wings . . . ?"
"Huh." The engine thrummed thoughtfully and the headlights popped on, then dimmed. Almost as if—ha-ha!—the machine was deep in thought. "Must be the brat. Must be."
She was edging around the hood and now she was walking backward, still far too rattled to fly. "Yes, well, I have to count."
"It’s just as well," the vehicle called after her as she began an undignified scramble up the steps. "It’s been really dull around here! Hey! Get back here. Where d’you think you’re going? We’re having a conversation, aren’t we? Hellooooo?"
Excerpted from Faeries Gone Wild by Mary Janice Davidson.
Copyright © 2009 by Mary Janice Davidson.
Published by St. Martin’s Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.