A frog-footman bows, croaks “Harlequin,” and hands me a letter.
I thank him and open it.
Wonderful. There’s another damned croquet match at the palace.
I crumple up the note from the Red Queen inviting me to stay away from the party and toss it in the footman’s green face.
He ribbits and coughs.
“You’re looking for a tip?” I ask him.
He extends a flipper. “Sir?”
I smack him in the face with a pie and slam the door.
By leaving me out, that royal bitch proves once and for all that she’s not playing with a full deck.
Alfonse dragged the sack of bones out of the charnel house and down to the creek.
“Drown, you infernal hag,” grumbled the old monk. He emptied the bones into the water.
That’s how the Wasting Curse struck Creeksedge. Man and woman, child and beast broke out in massive, putrid boils. The sores would burst and run, making the victim mad with thirst.
More cursed water, more sores.
Alfonse watched it all from his hut, drinking bottle after bottle of the abbey’s wine.
The witch’s ghost knocked over his candle, incinerating Alfonse as he slept.
Revenge, whispered the wind.
I swear I didn’t mean to kill the Tooth Fairy.
I guess he forgot me or something, so twenty years later he’s playing catch-up. When he came barging into my house last night, I woke up and shot him with the gun I keep under my pillow..
Now he’s buried the back yard, tutu and all.
Of course, I kept his bag of coins. All I need to do is pull a tooth out from under a pillow and the appropriate change just appears in there. All I need are tons of teeth.
Open wide. This won’t hurt a bit.
“NEXT!” shouted a voice.
Arthur spat out the coin and handed it to the robed specter on the shore.
“Where’s your boat?” he asked.
“Repairs,” growled the ferryless ferryman. “Leaky hull.”
“So how do I get cross?” asked Arthur.
“Hop on,” said the ferryman, pointing to a catapult.
Arthur smirked. “Is it safe?”
“You’re already dead,” said the ferryman, shrugging. “What do you care?”
Arthur climbed on the catapult, and the ferryman grinned.
The ferryman pulled the lever, and Arthur was flung screaming into the gloomy mist.
“Replace me with a toll bridge, will they?” he grumbled. “NEXT!”
King Richard sighed. There was another fight in the Royal Observatory. Five assistants were laid up at the Healer’s.
“Bring those damned eggheads here!” shouted the king.
“Yes, Sire,” said the Chamberlain.
Phillips and Mossbeard were still attacking at each other, even as the guards threw them to the throne room floor.
“The Earth revolves around the Sun!” shouted Phillips.
“The Sun revolves around the Earth!” shouted Mossbeard.
Richard scowled at them both.
“Off with their heads!” he shouted.
“Sire?” asked the Chamberlain.
“They are both wrong,” said the king. “The world revolves around me.”
“Yes, Sire,” said the Chamberlain.
“Voltmaster hates visitors!” The Hermit growled. “Cautions to you!”
Sir Arthur nodded. “Wear my magic helmet, Lucy.”
For hours they walked through Grimwood.
Then, they came to a clearing.
Within, Voltmaster’s Watchtower stretched into the stormy sky.
“Shall I knock?” said Arthur.
“Is it safe?” asked Lucy.
Before Arthur could respond, lightning struck the tower, shattering the battlements and raining stones on the couple.
“I guess not,” said Lucy. “Arthur?”
He lay dead on the ground, skull crushed.
Safe at home, she put a penny in the fusebox.
Up in the North, no faerie can resist the call. The blazing sun sings to them, leaving other merriment to the all-too-brief night.
But down in Tierra del Fuego, unlucky faeries toss newspaper scraps in their tiny fire pit and huddle around the flames.
“This is s-s-s-s-s-stupid,” chattered Mugwort, rubbing his hands.
“Let’s dance,” said Flitwicket. “It might warm us up.”
“Eurocentric b-b-b-b-b-bastards,” grumbled Mugwort. “Why’d they change the schedule?”
“Something about a bulk discount on Pixie Dust,” said Flitwicket. “Thank bureaucracy. Someone needs to frolic his frowns away.”
Eyes narrowed. Delicate throats growled.
Flitwicket sparked nicely on the flame.