The fairy finds the food.

The Fairy Finds the Food
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He grinds his teeth together, the slight flash of pain etching through bone setting his nerves back on track. Around him, it is dark and humid, the air thick with a warm scent of oil mixed with turmeric and sweat, orange and lucid as it wafts through the cracks of the door, shut tightly but not tightly enough. His hands are tied over his head and the tingling loss of sensation sends his mouth open in silent cries that could be interpreted as laughter.

I told you I would get back to you.

The air trembles as he lets out a painful laugh — yes, this time it is laughter for certain, the short shocks in his chest accompanied with an up-and-down movement at the center of his neck are more than easy to detect even in the dark — while straightening his legs, blinking rapidly to rid his eyes of the film the oily air has set on them. The heat has made his bodily movements slow.

The door creaks open, a tower of light snaking its way through the air as though swimming through a liquid. He lets his jaws go, his mouth flapping open in search of oxygen as though he were already dead, his muscles letting go one stringy cell at a time.

Pale hands reach for the lock above his head to untie his wrists, the set of keys clanging against the shallow wall as his hands fall to his sides. He remains silent, holding his breath as he watches the shadowy movement of arms and hands and legs, standing out like neon lights as they grab at the neckline of his shirt, pulling him through the threshold. 

Daddy has to go to work in the morning. And you have school.

Blinded by the surgical lights he listens to the sticky wet thuds of footsteps taken in front of him, the feet of a child, dancing around the stuffy room with his collar in her grasp. A hungry fairy like in the story. She made him read it every night for a month. The view is clearing out as his eyes grow accustomed to the sharp illumination spurred by fluorescent lights attached to the low ceiling. Light green curtains sway along the plastic floor, darker along the edge. 

“Say it again, Daddy,” she sings out as her small feet come into view again, dangling over the table as she holds a long kitchen knife to the light, mesmerized by the turquoise glow. “Say it again. Please.”

“What, darling?”

I’m sorry, sweetie, but I can’t read it again.

“The sentence. At the end. Where the fairy finds the food.” She hops down, getting down on her knees as she inches him closer to the stove, oily splashes sounding off from the pot. She kicks at his shin playfully. “Come on, Daddy.”

He breathes in, watching the curtains play with the hot air. “It is in the heart of the house that you’ll find goods—“

He stops short as the blade runs along his side, twisting to fit beneath the flesh as tiny fingertips pull at the edge of the cut, curling his skin like a mat. His scream is stuck in his throat as his tongue waddles at the last of the words, a fish stuck in an empty bowl. 

She sighs impatiently, wiping at her forehead with her wrist. “It is in the heart of the house that you’ll find goods, anything your heart may desire. You only need to find the correct cupboard. And a key to undo the lock,” she murmurs, a smile curling at her lips.

We’ll read it again tomorrow night. I promise.

For the Indie Ink Writing Challenge this week, R.L.W challenged me with ”Pork rinds are not a food group” and I challenged R.L.W with ”Include this or write your piece inspired by: ”And in that moment I could see it, the heavy black disgust rimming his eyes like pieces of velvet”.”

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