Chapter Twelve

“I tell the lad he be dragon!” Sadb defended.

Merry glanced at her and wanted to choke her again. Her criticism of the helpful demi-fae who simply didn’t look like the others royally pissed him off. Working to keep his anger in check, he turned to the guy who seemed to be the boss of the demi-fae. “Where do you want me to put Sadb? She’s hurt.”

“Set she on ye pillow near we Prince.”

Merry set her gently near Quinn’s splash of red-auburn hair. Truthfully, he wanted to dump her on her ass. “What do you want me to do now?”

“More flower, lad.” He paused before continuing. “And more dandiflies, if ye be willin'.”

Sadb glared at the guy, but kept her mouth shut.

“Be right back.”

Merry grabbed another brown paper bag and headed back to the garden. Nolan flew erratically through the tall grass, collecting as many dandelions as he could hold in his arms. He added them to a growing pile near the tree stump, and shot away to gather more.

“Thanks, Nolan.” Merry clipped more roses, sharp thorns pricking his fingers and palms, his hands now painted in blood. When the bag was half full of roses, he went to the now vast pile of dandelions. “Wow. That’s great.”

“Aye, Lord Merry. Ye set ‘em on he wing and add a wee bit o'sugar. He feel less pain as he mend. But only a wee bit, lest he be bladdered.”

Now he was "Lord Merry?" Where the heck did that come from? He didn't know what to ask first. “Bladdered?”

“Ye call it drunk. Truth be told, we fae be takin’ a likin’ to sugar. Ye not say I say so. Be forbidden to tell a human.” 

“You get drunk on sugar?”

“When it be plenty, aye.”

“But it deadens pain, right?”

“Aye.”

 This was seriously important information. “Thanks, Nolan.”

A smile filled Nolan’s brilliant red face. “Ye not be thankin’ me, lad. Be me job as a healer.”

A healer? “Why aren’t you in there with everybody else?”

“Ye hear what we Lady say of me. I be one o’ we unclean ones.”

“Because you’re dra—” Was it impolite to call a demi-fae a dragonfly? Who knew? “Because you’re sort of dragonflyish?”

Nolan smiled again. “Ye may say it. It not offend me. I be proud of me lineage.”

A smile played at the corners of Merry’s lips. He was happy he hadn’t offended the nice demi-fae and thought it was cool that Nolan was proud of what he was in spite of what the others thought of him. “C’mon. Help me get these into the bag.”

Before Merry could lift a single dandelion, the bag brimmed with them.

“There ye be, lad. Go, now, and don’t forget the sugar.” Nolan pressed a tiny hand to Merry’s shoulder, urging him away.

“I’ll come back,” Merry promised as he sped back to the house.

“Here.” Merry set the bag next to the bowl and noticed the first bag had fallen off the desk, now empty of its contents. Flower petals littered Quinn’s back, the stems and leaves but remnants left to the floor. So much for a spotless room. He didn’t care one bit. “I’m going to put the dandelions on his wing. Can you straighten it out?”

“On what?” the boss demi-fae asked.

On what? Good question. On what, on what, on what? An idea suddenly came to him. He opened the closet door and pulled an air mattress from inside. They’d used it on camping trips when his mom was still around. Their camping trips were some of the best memories he had of his mom and he’d kept the gear in the hope she’d return one day. He yanked the heavy thing from the box, plugged the cord to the small air pump into the electric socket, and pumped the air mattress nearly full. He needed it soft so he could fold it.

He then went to the kitchen. His mom had turned a lower drawer into what she called the tool drawer because it contained all the miscellaneous things she periodically needed around the house. He dug through it until he found packing tape, and headed back to the bedroom.

He folded the air mattress in half and taped the ends together. Filled mostly with air and folded, it matched the height of his bed, and he shoved it to meet the edge of it. “Will that work?”

The boss of the demi-fae surveyed his efforts thoughtfully. “Be a start.” He gave orders and the demi-fae went to work. In coordinated movements and gestures to each other, they slowly, painstakingly, unfolded layer by layer of the red lace mountain that was Quinn’s mutilated wing, and spread it on the improvised mattress. The mattress wobbled and a group of fae flew to it and steadied it as more and more of Quinn’s wing was revealed.

Merry cringed at what he saw, and a burning hatred for the Queen slowly began to churn within. Much like his hatred for Rick. How could she do this to him? Her own son, no less? Having an evil mother was beyond Merry’s comprehension. His mother had always been kind and loving. Nolan’s instructions about sugar returned, pushing away the raw anger, and he left the room.

He rummaged through the pantry and finally found a five-pound bag of sugar behind a bag of flour and a box of pancake mix. Never opened, it was hard as a rock, fused by the dampness of the California coast. He bashed it brutally against the kitchen counter desperately needing it to return to its former self, and carried the broken, leaking bag back to the room. “Here.”

The demi-fae broke into excited chatter, and the boss silenced them with a fierce look. “Put a wee bit on he wing, lad. A wee bit, mind ye.”

Paying heed to the instruction, Merry scooped sugar into a hand and began to sprinkle it lightly on Quinn’s ravaged wing. “Like this?”

“Aye.”

He worked his way slowly from the tip to the root of the wing where it met Quinn’s bloodied and devastated back. Merry's hand still bled from the vicious rose thorns and the sugar stuck to his palm. It built until a large clump of sugar and blood oozed away and landed with a silent splat on Quinn’s back. “S-sorry,” Merry excused as he looked down at the mess.

Then Quinn’s back began to heal outward from where the clump fell.

Oohs and ahhs filled the air as Merry watched Quinn’s ruined back begin to smooth into his lily-white, unblemished skin.

“Ye hand, lad! Let we see ye hand!” the boss of the demi-fae shouted at Merry.

Fearful he’d done something horribly wrong, Merry held his hand out for inspection.

“He bear a healing hand!” the boss of the demi-fae shouted.

The demi-fae went into a frenzy of epic proportions and cheered leaving Merry stunned and confused. What is so freakin’ exciting about my hand?

Then Merry heard his dad’s car pull into the driveway. “Oh my God,” he breathed, suddenly terrified. 

“Ye look shook. What be the matter?” the boss demi-fae asked. 


“You have to hide! My dad’s home!”

The demi-fae scattered in every direction.

“Go, go, be off with ye! Delay he but a nonce!” the boss demi-fae ordered and shoved Merry's shoulder with a small but surprisingly forceful hand.

Merry quickly left the room, closed the door, and ran to the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and pretended to rummage for something to eat just as his dad came through the front door. By the sound of his unsteady footsteps, Merry knew he was drunk again. Fear filled his veins as he pulled the milk and chocolate syrup from the refrigerator.

His dad entered the kitchen, clearly displeased to find him there.

When Merry looked at him, he was horror-stricken. It wasn’t his dad. Well, it was, but he was...different. Merry rubbed his eyes and silently cursed his weird vision and looked at his dad again. Haloed in a dark aura of moving black mist, his features distorted and eye sockets hollow, he looked downright evil. “H-h-hi, D-d-dad.”

“What are you still doing up?” he grumbled.

“H-had a l-lot of homework and g-got hungry.”

His dad glared at him. “Go to bed.”

Merry began to return the milk and chocolate syrup to the refrigerator and his dad grabbed the back of his shirt. He cowered in preparation for a blow and the half-gallon of milk slipped from his grasp. It hit the floor with a thud, milk splashed and splattered their small kitchen, and dripped from the tips of his dad’s black hair.

“Damn you!” his dad swore as he dragged Merry down the short hall and slammed him against his bedroom door. “Go to bed!”

“I-I need to c-c-clean up the m-milk.” Merry tried to pull away but his dad's fist held fast to his shirt.

“I said go to bed, mister!”

Merry cowered again as he tried to turn the doorknob behind him. His hand, now wet with milk as well as blood and covered in sugar, slipped from the knob. The mist around his dad began to boil on the air and his face seemed to turn grey with rage. Merry struggled frantically to turn the knob as his dad's face grew black in the mist, but couldn't get the door open before the first blow landed.

Chapter Eleven                                             Table of Contents                                               Chapter Thirteen
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