by Hal Duncan
read by MarBelle of the Directors Notes podcast.
Originally published in Lone Star Stories
Flashjack had hauled himself up beside her on the rim of the wine-glass he was skinnydipping in, shaken Rioja off his wings, and looked around at the crystal forest of the table-top he’d, just a few short hours ago, been born above in a moment of sheer whimsy, plinking into existence at the clink of a flippant toast to find himself a-flutter in a wild world of molten multicolour— mandalas wheeling on the walls and ceiling, edges of every straight line in the room streaming like snakes. He’d skittered between trailers of wildly gesticulating hands, gyred on updrafts of laughter, danced in flames of lighters held up to joints, and landed on the nose of a snow-leopard that was lounging in the shadows of a corner of vision. He’d found it a comfy place to watch one of the guests perform an amazing card trick with a Jack of Hearts, so he’d still been hunkered there, gawping like a loon at the whirl of the party, and making little flames shoot out of his fingertips (because he could), when Pebbleskip came fluttering down to dance in the air in front of him.
“Nice to get out once in a while, eh?” she’d said. “Hi, I’m Pebbleskip.”
“I’m… Flashjack,” he’d decided. “What’s in a while? Is it like upon a time? And out of what?”
Her face had scrunched, her head tilted in curiosity.
“Ah,” she’d said. “You must be new.”
Since then she’d been explaining.
Rated R for Foul-Mouthed Fairies and Ever-Shifting Landscapes
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