Chapter One

Fairy by Cody Kennedy purple
Hey, Merry Fairy! Still got your cherry?” Rick yelled loud enough for everyone in the locker room to hear as he snapped a wet towel at Merry. 

Merry dodged it by a hair’s breadth and quickly put his boxers on. He wanted to kill his parents. How they could have named him after a damn hobbit was beyond him. “Shut up.” His words were a whisper on the air. If he spoke any louder, Rick would smack his head, shove him into his locker, or snap a towel at him again. Or all of the above.

Rick Adams was big, mean, and ugly, and he did anything he could to torture Merry. He made school nothing short of a war zone for Merry.

“Oh, the fairy speaks! What’d you say, fairy?” Rick slapped the back of his head.

Merry’s head bumped the edge of the locker door as he reached for his shirt, and said a muffled “nothing” as he pulled it on.

“Yeah, you did.” Rick grabbed his head with meaty hands and shoved it into the locker. “Mumble up.”

Merry stilled. The one time he’d tried to fight Rick, he’d ended up with his head in a toilet and stitches in his forehead. He didn’t want stitches from his head being bashed against a locker too.

“Leave ‘im alone, Rick,” Quinn said calmly.

The sound of the familiar Irish brogue gave Merry hope that he wouldn’t have to endure another of Rick’s beatings.

Rick cackled and shoved Merry’s head further into the locker before letting go of him. Merry quickly pulled his jeans on, then his socks, and slipped his tennis shoes on. He never untied them so he didn’t have to spend time tying them again. Everything, anything, to make his escape from the locker room faster was essential. He closed his locker door and Rick’s fat fist slammed against it causing him to jump with fright.

“Stop acting the maggot, Rick,” Quinn said calmly, though irritation was plain in his voice now.

“Just messin’ with Merry the Fairy,” Rick said through a laugh as he cuffed Quinn’s shoulder, and then left the locker room with a rousing “Woot! Let’s go!”

Quinn was the new senior at school. He was tall, and kind of skinny, and had long, wavy auburn hair and emerald-green eyes. Merry thought his accent was the coolest thing he’d ever heard, but sometimes it was hard to understand him. Rather, understand what he meant. “Acting the maggot” Merry understood to mean being a jerk. Lately, Quinn always seemed to be there for Merry when people hassled him, and he dared to turn to Quinn and thank him quietly.

“No worries, little fella. Ye look shook. Ye grand?”

Merry didn’t think Quinn literally meant grand. “I’m okay. Thanks.” He turned and quickly walked away, afraid his crush on Quinn would somehow take material form and insinuate itself between them only to humiliate him even more.

~*~

The final bell rang signaling the end of seventh period class. Now came the most dangerous part of Merry’s day: getting to his locker, and then making it home before Rick caught up with him and kicked the crap out of him. Again. Or took his backpack and threw it in the pond. One time, Rick even spray-painted him with neon orange-colored paint that didn’t come off with water. He smelled like turpentine for a week after that.

Merry raced to his locker, packed his backpack at the speed of light, slammed the door, and ran.

When he reached the front double-doors of the school, he looked back over a shoulder. Rick was nowhere in sight. Now, to recon the front of the school. He peered left out the window, then right, and then out at the front lawn and parking lot. No Rick. He was good to go. He bolted through the doors, and down the front walk to the sidewalk, and accidentally bumped someone’s backpack with his own. “Sorry.”

“Ewwww, gawd, fairy germs! Now I have to sterilize my backpack!” the girl whined.

Merry didn’t know her, but everyone in school knew he was gay. He'd stopped listening to the slurs long ago. Except for fairy because it rhymed with his name. Everyone called him Merry the Fairy. He cursed his parents again and silently vowed to change his name the minute he turned eighteen. He refused to live his adult life with a name like Merry. No freakin’ way.

He made it three blocks from school, and then it was over. Rick and two of his goons saw him. He knew better than to run. He wasn’t fast enough. So he stood there, dumb as a rock, and waited for the beating. Or the whatever.

“Hey, Merry the Fairy!”

And so the taunting and abuse began. The first kick was to his kidneys and he went down hard. Then they all kicked him. He curled into a ball and fought not to cry out with each kick.

“Curse ye, Rick Adams! He’s no fairy!”

Merry dared to peek through the slits between his fingers when he heard Quinn’s voice.

Quinn punched Rick in the nose. “Merry not be a fairy!” Within seconds, Quinn had all three of them laid out. “I hear fairy out of any of ye gobs again, I’ll schkelp ye!”

Quinn helped Merry to his feet and handed his backpack to him. Merry slung it over a shoulder with a wince and stifled a pained grunt. Quinn put an arm around Merry’s shoulders then. “Ye be grand, little fella?”

Humiliated, in pain, and shocked that Quinn would put an arm around him, all Merry could do was nod. He tried to withdraw gently, and Quinn’s arm only tightened around him.

“Come on, now. I’ll see ye home.”

They made it to Merry’s small house and he hurt so much he dropped his backpack on the front porch and sat on the top step. “Thanks, Quinn.”

To his surprise, Quinn sat next to him. “No worries, Meriadoc.”

Merry’s eyes went wide. “You know my name?”

“’Course I do, and a fine name it be.”

Merry blushed. He couldn’t help it. “I hate it.” Quinn laughed and it was warm and round on Merry’s senses.

“Don’t be takin’ a reddener, there, Merry. I like ye name. Don’t much like it when they call ye a fairy, though. They be gobdaws for sayin’ such a thing. It could earn ‘em a cursin’.”

Merry shrugged and winced again when pain shot through his shoulder. “I’m used to it. They’ve been calling me that since everyone found out I’m gay.”

“Gay ye may be, Merry, but ye not be a fairy.” Quinn was adamant. “I would know.”

Merry smiled for the first time in as long as he could remember and almost laughed. Almost. “Ah, yeah, okay, I’ll bite. How would you know if I was a fairy?”

“Because I be one!” With a quick kiss to Merry’s cheek, Quinn vanished into thin air.

Chapter One originally published in Inklings Newsletter (May 2013)
 by Harmony Ink Press

Table of Contents                                                                                                                     Chapter Two
©2012-2017 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

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