Fairy Lust and Pixie Dust by Julie Jansen
“I’ll pay for new tires, Dad, since it was sort of my fault,” Lucy said. The fairy slashed the tires of his new Subaru. Lucy blamed herself, because she was the one who brought the fairy into the house in the first place.
A glimmer caught her dad’s eye. He crouched down and crawled toward a tire. He worked something out of the rubber. When he stood up he held a sword, the size of a Barbie accessory. But the sword wasn’t made of plastic. It was an exquisite work of art, with a jewel-encrusted handle and long sharp blade.
“They have the all-weather ones on sale at Firestone,” Lucy said as she used her teeth to tear the ends off paper straws filled with candy powder. She poured the powder around the perimeter of the garage.
“That won’t help,” her father said, annoyed. He crouched down again and peered under the Subaru making sure there were no suspicious puddles. With the fairy’s temper she could have cut the brake line or drained the transmission fluid.
A wasp buzzed his head. He swatted it away.
“They’ll help you get to and from work,” Lucy said.
“Not the tires!” He snapped. “The candy!” The insect flew past again and brushed his cheek. “All it does is attract wasps! You know I’m allergic to those things!”
“The psychic said fairies hate pixie sticks. The powder repels them the same way deer hate coyote pee.”
“Did you talk to that fortune-telling cuckoo downtown?” He asked. As the insect made another pass he stood, moved toward Lucy, and used her as a shield. “What did that cost you?”
“Nothing.” She was a horrible liar.
“Fairies love sugar. You saw how she put away twinkies and mountain dew. You found her drunk on fermented sugar water from that hummingbird feeder. Why would pixie sticks be any different?”
Lucy sighed. He was right. The miniature winged woman’s sugar addiction caused her to pack on a few grams during her brief love affair with Lucy’s father, enough to make flying difficult.
The wasp landed on the Subaru. Its yellow and black body pulsated in time with its twitching antennae. Her dad took a fly swatter from a hook, but Lucy stopped him. Instead Lucy reached for an empty jar on a shelf. She unscrewed the lid, held the jar upside-down, and gently placed the glass over the insect. She recapped the jar with the wasp inside.
He rested a hand on his daughter’s shoulder. “My Lucy. Always the bleeding heart.”
Another glimmer flickered on a shelf. He moved toward a pile of pictures. Lucy’s parents beamed in the images taken not long before Lucy’s mother died. In some of the pictures her mother was etched out. All of them were coated in a sticky, sparkling sheen.
“She didn’t,” Lucy gasped as she peeked over his shoulder.
“She did! The bitch pissed on them,” he said, matter-of-fact.
He balled his hands into fists and emitted a low growl like an engine revving. He was about to explode into one of his fits of rage.
His rage started after her mom died, the same way his staring out the window into space for hours at a time, not showering, and not showing up to work if he didn’t feel like it began.
Lucy dropped out of college and came home when she discovered he wasn’t coping well with the loss of her mother. She needed to keep an eye on him, to prevent him from killing himself or offing the bastard that ran her mother down as she was crossing the street.
Since his love affair with the fairy he seemed better. Until now.
When the growl turned into a roar, he hurled the sword. A shower of glittery sparks erupted against the wall. A glowing slit appeared that opened into a large oval portal.
He moved toward it, but she grabbed his arm and held him back.
“Dad, it’s not worth it. That’s exactly what Eefie wants.”
Eefie was the fairy’s name.
He walked toward the portal, grabbed a small garden spade on his way, and stepped through.
“Wait!” Lucy said. She tucked the jar into her pocket. She grabbed a handful of pixie sticks then stepped in after him. The portal closed behind her.
Lucy found herself in Eefie’s world. There was more color: flowers, butterflies, and rainbows. Missing was white noise: cars whizzing past on the freeway, the hum of streetlights, chained dogs barking incessantly night and day. Instead Lucy heard the buzz of insects and the chatter of birds. When they flew past they left a shimmery trail in their wake.
She felt the wasp vibrate in the jar so took it out of her pocket. It would die soon without air. She unscrewed the cap and watched as the insect crawled to the rim, then flew away.
When she heard a branch crack, Lucy thought she’d see her father. But something dive-bombed her head. Lucy ducked.
It was Eefie. Lucy rolled for cover under a dense shrub.
When she peeked out, a curvy Eefie with her sword in its sheath at her side, hovered with difficulty in the air. Her curly blonde hair flowed in the breeze created by her wings. At Eefie’s sides were two hummingbirds. When the fairy whistled, the birds rushed toward Lucy’s hiding spot.
Lucy tumbled out from under the bush and came to a halt at her father’s feet. With the spade he batted at the birds, sending them back to their fairy master.
“Eefie, call off your minions. I don’t love you. It’s too soon for me to be able to love anyone. You have to understand that.”
Eefie glistened in the morning light like sunkissed dew. She smiled at him and let her barely there dress and sword drop to the ground. She knew his weaknesses.
Lucy’s father’s jaw dropped at the sight. So did the spade from his hand.
Eefie zoomed toward him. Hypnotized, he stepped forward and Lucy saw that Eefie led him toward a cliff.
“Eefie!” Lucy shouted.
While Eefie knew her father’s weaknesses, Lucy knew Eefie’s. She pulled some pixie sticks from her pocket and ripped off the ends.
Eefie’s gaze moved to Lucy. The fairy flew near and licked her lips.
“You want ‘em?” Lucy asked. “Go get ‘em.” Lucy threw them, but they didn’t go far. They fell just a few feet away. Powdery sugar poured over the broad leaves of a laurel and Eefie zoomed after it.
Lucy rushed to her father. He stared blankly into space. She snapped her fingers in front of his eyes and he came to.
“Dad! We have to get out of here!”
He saw the cliff, then saw Eefie licking at the sugar.
Lucy pulled him toward where they’d entered fairyland.
“Where’s the portal?” Lucy panicked.
She saw Eefie’s dress and sword wadded on the ground nearby. Lucy let go of her dad’s arm to grab them. When she stood up and turned around, Eefie was there, in front of her father.
From Eefie’s blonde locks a glittery dust sprinkled onto her father’s face.
He turned, and took a drunken step in the direction of the cliff.
Lucy threw a punch at the fairy, but her fist hit thin air. Lucy felt something tug at her hair so hard it pulled her backwards. She shoved the fairy dress and sword into her pocket, and reached behind her head. Talons grasped her, not fairy fingers, and before she knew it her feet lifted off the ground. Lucy saw the shadow of the thing that had hold of her. It was some kind of giant bird.
Lucy reached into her pocket for the fairy sword. It was gone. But she felt plastic crinkle between her fingers: more pixie sticks.
Eefie buzzed past, fully clothed and armed with the sword at her side.
“You witch!” Lucy roared.
The fairy blew Lucy a kiss, then flew off.
Lucy ripped open the pixie sticks, tore off the tops, and carefully poured the sugar into the palm of her hand. The bird flew with a slow rhythm. When its wings moved down, a rush of wind blew past her. When they moved up, she felt an updraft.
As Lucy felt the wind rush past and saw the tips of the wings pull up, she cupped her hand near her mouth and blew. The effect of the fsugar powder was quick. The bird paused in mid air. She heard it draw in a breath and then let out an enormous monster sneeze. The thing released its hold of Lucy and she dropped.
The bird, a giant hawk, flew past beneath her. Lucy grabbed hold of feathers on its back, but slipped. It dove again. Its talons grabbed for Lucy but missed. This time Lucy held tight to the hawk’s tail feathers.
Eefie shouted something in fairyspeak to the hawk and it flew close to where her father was now free of the bush but dangerously close to the edge of the cliff.
Lucy was only ten feet in the air. She let go and landed with both feet on the ground.
Eefie pulled her sword from its sheath and came at Lucy. Lucy grabbed at the air and felt a sharp pain as the sword ran through her hand. But Lucy had Eefie in her grasp. The fairy squirmed between her fingers as Lucy ran to her father.
“Dad!” Lucy shouted at him. He teetered at the edge of the cliff.
The giant hawk flew past again. The force of its wings caused her dad to fall back onto solid ground. He shook himself out of the fairy trance. Clumsily, he got up and made his way toward his daughter.
Blood dripped from Lucy’s hand.
“I can’t hold her much longer. You take her!”
He took her, held her tight in his grip. Eefie and Lucy’s father glared at each other.
“When I flew in front of that man’s windshield I stopped there on purpose so he’d look at me rather than the road,” Eefie said. “It worked. He looked at me. Too bad he didn’t see your wife.”
Lucy’s dad stood, unable to move. Red flooded his cheeks and Lucy thought she saw steam come out his ears.
“He tried to get away from me. But you can never get away from me,” Eefie said and flashed a wicked smile.
He tightened his grip.
“Dad, wait! We need her!”
“We don’t need this evil little nymph!” He said.
“Yes, we do.” Lucy grabbed hold of his shoulders and shook him gently. “I need you to think straight or we’ll never get out of here.”
“What are you going to do?” Eefie taunted.
Lucy managed to pull the fairy’s sword from between his fingers. She threw it. Just like in the garage, a portal opened.
They saw their garden with the house just beyond.
“Quick, Dad! Go!”
He stepped through with Eefie in his hand.
Lucy followed them. The portal closed.
“Why didn’t we leave her behind?” Her father asked.
“We can’t. We have to do something or she’ll keep coming back.”
Eefie was silent. She looked scared.
Lucy whispered in her dad’s ear. “The psychic said to get rid of her for good we have to give her a taste of her own medicine.”
Her dad rolled his eyes. “Of course. The psychic.”
Lucy pointed at the hummingbird feeder, the same one she’d found Eefie under a few weeks ago. There was still fermented sugar water in it, the same stuff that made Eefie sick.
Lucy didn’t have to explain any more to her dad. He handed Eefie to Lucy, then took the feeder down and unscrewed the base. He plucked a thorn off a bush and used it to pry open Eefie’s tiny mouth, then poured the poison in.
Eefie coughed and choked. With his fingers, he held the fairy’s lips together and watched her swallow until she lay unconscious.
Together they watched Eefie’s breathing slow and finally stop until the fairy went limp in Lucy’s hand.
“We’ve killed her,” Lucy said solemnly.
“She killed your mother,” he reminded her. The red was gone from his face but his eyes welled with tears.
He found a trowel near where the hummingbird feeder hung and used it to dig a hole. He took Eefie from Lucy and laid her in it. He set her sword on her chest and folded her arms over it. Then he poured soil over her body, and patted it down firm.
Lucy watched her dad over the next several days. He’d reverted back to staring into space, not showering, and called in sick to work the entire week.
“Why don’t we take a drive? It’d do us some good,” Lucy suggested one day. She convinced him to ride along.
At the same intersection where her mother was killed, a car swerved around the corner and clipped the Subaru’s side. Lucy and her father were unharmed. They got out and checked on the driver of the other car. Lucy was surprised to find the psychic woman, the one she’d talked to about the fairy.
“Are you alright?” Lucy’s father asked the psychic and helped her out of her car.
The woman nodded and brushed herself off.
He walked the psychic to the curb, put his jacket over her shoulders, and sat her down until the ambulance arrived.
That’s how the love affair between her father and the psychic began.
The psychic predicted their relationship would be short-lived. Her dad pretended not to listen, the same way he pretended not to hear the woman’s prophecies and new age rants. A few months later they planned a wedding and a honeymoon in Cancun.
One morning a few days before the ceremony, Lucy discovered the lawnmower had a flat tire. She’d read in the paper there was a tire sale going on at Sears, but she didn’t really feel like driving into town and dealing with frenzied shoppers at the mall. She bent down to check on the damage. From the rubber she pulled out Eefie’s tiny fairy sword.
She ran to Eefie’s grave and saw the dirt mounded like a mole hill.
From where Lucy stood, she could see the gazebo. Her dad sat eating a bowl of oatmeal, gazing into the psychic’s eyes. Neither of them noticed the fairy in the branches of the wisteria. Eefie held a wasp nest above their heads.
“Dad!” Lucy shouted as the fairy dropped the nest into his oatmeal bowl.
Lucy’s dad and the psychic never got the chance to dance at their wedding, but they danced a mad slapstick jig as the cloud of wasps swarmed them.
Eefie giggled as she watched from the wisteria.
Lucy stepped carefully toward the fairy. She held a glass jar in one hand and a lid in the other. Her arms closed in behind Eefie until the jar and lid clinked together.
Her father and the psychic lay motionless on the ground. Her father’s empty eyes stared out from his swollen face.
Lucy sniffled and wiped her eyes. She heard Eefie pounding on the glass but pretended not to notice. The air in the jar wouldn’t last long. Neither would the weekend tire sale at Sears. Her mower had a flat and the drive to the mall might do her good.
Lucy hopped into the Subaru, set the jar in the cup holder near the hand brake, and started the engine.
Fairy Lust and Pixie Dust sprang to mind one evening at the dinner table while dealing with the foul moods of my partner’s boys who just returned from their weekend of high fructose corn syrup and video games at their mother’s house. Not that my partner’s ex is anything like the fairy in the story, but I thought about how love and sugar affect us as a family each week. I threw in a little fantasy: how about a widower who hooks up with a fairy? And so the story was born.
Julie Jansen lives in Olympia, Washington where she spends gray Northwest days writing when she’s not busy teaching Italian. Her stories have appeared in Nature, The Harrow,and Black Petals Magazine.