By: Belinda Brady
It's the buzzing that catches my attention. I'm sitting in my garden in my favorite chair, relaxing in the afternoon sun with a whiskey, when I hear it. I think it's a bee at first, but as it starts to buzz around my head, I can see it's not. It stops in front of me and waves.
Closing my eyes, I shake my head and look again. It's still there.
"Hello," it whispers as it moves in closer.
My glass falls to the ground, shattering on impact, as I gape at the buzzing creature in front of me. It's a small girl with wings, no bigger than a large coin, wearing a sparkly pink dress, a light blue stone on a chain around her neck. A fairy. An honest to God fairy in my backyard and she had a message.
"I know you've been sad, Paul, but please don't be. It'll be over soon," she smiles sweetly.
Whatever this thing was, it was a mind reader. I had been sad, but for a good reason; I'd left my wife for my secretary, Britney, only months earlier. A cliché I know, but Britney was young and keen, my wife, older and over it. The spark had long gone, along with any desire to rekindle it. My wife was there when I'd started my prominent legal firm, enjoying the many fruits of my success and I'd made sure she would be taken care of in the divorce settlement, but I'd recently made some amendments to my offer that she didn't know about yet; terms I knew she'd never agree to. I'd be taking the family home off the table. Britney had fallen in love with the property and insisted I take it. I knew my wife adored this place we had raised our family here and would fight me tooth and nail to keep it, but I was hoping the offer of one of my other properties, a portfolio that ranged from waterfront mansions to penthouses, would sweeten the deal. Though I suspected she would reject them all in favor of the family home. She was stubborn, even more so when she was hurt. We were due to meet on Friday to discuss settlement and this is where I'd be making my counteroffer. The lawyer in me was raring for the fight; the cheating husband in me dreading hurting her even more, but Britney was insistent that we keep it, and I'd rather keep her happy than have another screaming match on my hands.
The fairy buzzes around my head, giggling, as I stare at her blankly.
Had I had too much to drink or had I finally lost it?
"You're not imagining things, Paul, I'm here and I'm real. My name is Avery. I only come to those who need me and you certainly do. You've dug yourself into a bit of a hole haven't you?" she hovers in front of me, her face creased with concern.
I drop my head, close my eyes and take a deep breath, thinking about the events of the last six months. The affair, the ultimatum from Britney to tell my wife everything or she would, my wife's face when I told her our marriage of twenty years was over. The tears. The tantrums. The pain. Oh man, I've caused so much pain. My kids won't talk to me and my wife won't even look at me at our meetings. I hate that I've done this to my family. Britney, on the other hand, could care less as long as she gets what she wants; to squeeze as much as she can out of my divorce, damn the consequences.
"I, ah, I guess I have, yes," I reply, feeling utterly ridiculous for even answering this question.
"Would you like to tell me about it? Talking about it may help?" she asks, looking at me with doe eyes.
Before I can stop myself, I'm soon spilling my guts, telling this fairy the whole sordid tale of my life up until this point. I tell her about how I'm going to take our first home from my wife and there was nothing she could do about it as I'd covered all the legal bases. It felt so good to get it off my chest that I didn't care if I was talking to a fairy or thin air.
Avery smiles at me. "Do you feel better now?"
I nod. "I do."
"Can you wait here a minute? I'd love for you to meet some of my friends," she continues, her hands clasped together in front of her tiny frame.
"Sure," I answer, still confused. I feel as though I'm about to wake up at any minute and this will be some kind of a crazy dream.
"Trust me, Paul, you're awake and this is real. Very real," she states before flying off, leaving a little puff of glittery dust in her wake.
I stand in the garden, reeling from the emotions telling my story had evoked. This is the yard my wife cherished. Every weekend she'd be out here, pulling out weeds, planting new shrubs, lovingly bringing them to life. We had so many family events here; birthdays, graduations, farewells. And I was about to rip it away from her. I look up the pathway to the house and feel a pang of remorse. I don't need this house. I don't even want it. The thought of taking it from my wife makes me feel sick and my gut is screaming at me to just let her have it – to hell with what Britney wants. Mind made up, I start to make my way toward the house to call off Friday's meeting when Avery flies back into the yard, surrounded by at least one hundred other fairies.
"Hi, Paul!" she beams, "I'd like you to meet my friends."
A sea of tiny hands wave at me and before I can stop myself I wave back.
"Paul, you've stated you plan on taking this beautiful house away from your soon to be exwife, who really wants it. In fact, it's all she wants. Would this be correct?" Avery asks.
"Well, I paid for it, so yes, this house is and will remain mine," I answer carefully, taken aback by the question.
"You truly believe she doesn't deserve it, after all she did for you? She raised your children, turned a blind eye to your many infidelities and put up with your less than ideal behaviour toward her without uttering a word. Remember that time you threw your wine glass at her in a fit of rage?" Avery continues, her face expressionless.
"I do," I blush, embarrassed by this memory, "but that was a long time ago and I've changed since then."
"But that wasn't the only time you lost your temper with her and yet she stayed. Loyal to the end," Avery narrows her eyes at me, "now tell me again, does your wife get this house or not?"
I feel my face harden, my resolve quickly replaced by sudden anger. "No, she doesn't. This is my house. I worked hard for it, I earned it, it's mine. Screw her."
The fairy tilts her head to the side, holding the now glowing light blue stone in one hand and nodding her head, as though she's having some kind of silent conversation.
"So it is," she replies, clicking her fingers.
The fairies turn around and fly down the path toward the house, entering through the open back door in a synchronized flurry of flapping wings. They are quickly joined by hundreds more, who have suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
Britney's horrified screams fill the air seconds later.
Avery turns to me, sharp teeth and claws exposed, and launches at my throat, ripping open the skin like a tin can. She buries herself in my windpipe, blood spraying out of the hole like a fountain. The searing pain makes my knees buckle and I collapse to the ground, clutching at my throat as blood flows from the gaping wound, pooling onto the grass around me. The fairy makes her way to my chest and in quick secession deflates both my lungs, one after the other, popping them like runaway party balloons. My breathing is nothing more than shallow, gurgling rasps as I fight to clear the blood now filling my chest. I'm on my side, fingers at my bloodsoaked neck, desperately trying to dig her out, when a figure appears before me my wife a glowing dark blue stone on a chain dangling from her hand.
"You should've listened to the fairy, Paul, you should've listened, but no, you stupid little man, you didn't. But, it doesn't matter now. The house is mine. All mine. You are your whore are well, you'll be minced meat by the time these guys are done with you," she grins.
The flock of fairies charge out of the house and down the path toward me, the screaming now replaced by an eerie silence.
"Shall we finish him off also, Miss?" a bloodsoaked fairy asks, a hungry look on her face.
"Yes, finish him off," my wife smirks.
Within seconds, hundreds of fairies are on me, covering every inch of my body biting, tearing, devouring. Avery is still inside my chest, ripping away at my flesh, eating me from the inside.
I'm struggling to stay awake, struggling to breathe, but above the noise of the fairies feasting on my flesh like starved piranha's and blood whooshing in my ears, I hear laughter hysterical, manic laughter. My wife's laughter.
"Yes, yes, finish him off!" she orders, her voice high pitched and excited.
The last thing I see before I give into the blackness is her face leaning into mine, snarling and twisted.