Kathrine Kalin turned and fled, throwing herself into her car and driving away so quickly that dust rose in her wake. Had there been a hint of panic in her escape? And maybe a little bit of a snarl in the word 'mischievous?'
I turned and looked back at the house, a lovely two story brick with a big yard, the house of my dreams. Of course there was a sprite. After all, we were the sprite capital of the world and there was hardly a building in the city that didn't have at least one. The apartment building I was moving out of had two elderly grouchy things that moaned and mumbled when they were awake. They slept a lot, though.
The cat came with the house. Apparently it had been living there through the last two owners. I didn't mind. I hadn't had a pet since I moved away from home and he was a big yellow tabby with a loud purr. I thought we'd get along.
The movers would be here in the next hour or so with my belongings. I held the key in hand and went to the door to step inside my new home. The lock jammed, of course. So did the back door. I was still fighting with it when the moving people showed up -- and suddenly the door unlocked and flew open so quickly that I went sprawling inside.
I heard a distant giggle as I got up and brushed off my skirt and gathered my purse.
The movers got everything in without a problem. I didn't own much -- certainly not enough to fill such a lovely, big house. This was going to be a gradual change for me. The first thing I did, though, was to hang charms on all the doors so that they could not be held closed against me. My grandmother had given the box of hand-made charms to me, and I had thought it was sweet at the time. Now I thought she night have realized what trouble I was heading into. I'd have to go by and thank her.
I slept on a mattress on the floor the first few nights. My brother would come by and help set up furniture this weekend, but for now it was just me, Butterball (I'd find a new name for the cat) and my sprite. I was exhausted and pulled the blankets up around me, content --
I fought the sprite for the blankets all night. Every time I'd get to sleep, he'd yank the blankets off. And lights came on. I would have to hang a charm on the bed when we put it together. And on the light switches. I was determined, though, to get the sprite tamed. This was my dream house and he was not going to chase me out of it.
Butterball had his uses. About an hour before dawn, he came in through the kitchen's cat door and wandered into the living room. I heard an ominous low growl that almost got me out of bed, but then the cat settled on the blankets at my feet, and the sprite left me alone for the rest of the night.
I was going to get the cat some tuna. Or steak. Whatever he wanted.
The sprite wasn't very busy during the day, which I knew was bad news. Even sprites need rest, and this meant he was a 'sleep during the day and haunt me at night' sprite. I was going to need sleep before I went back to work in a week. We'd have to come to an understanding and quickly.
Tiger, AKA Butterball, helped. He slept with me at night so I kept the blankets. I'd tagged all the lights in the first floor with charms. I'd have to do something about the kitchen cabinets, though. They not only slammed during the night, the food sometimes ended up splattered here and there. He ignored the bowl of milk and cookies I put out. Finicky little thing.
On the third night I woke up swearing a herd of elephants were charging through the second floor above my head.
"That's it!" I leapt up so fast that Tiger yowled and ran away. I headed up the stairs, stomping louder than the elephants. They stopped charging. The lights stopped flickering. "What the hell do you want?" I shouted.
Odd response. A sigh. And then quiet. I went back downstairs and slept through the rest of the night. The next morning I thought about it, though. What did he want? Not milk and cookies. He wasn't the cat, after all.
Not treated like a pet? He was a part of the house. I gave the milk to the cat and ate the cookies and thought about it. That night I tried something new. I got out the whiskey and poured him a shot. I put out some leftover pizza.
Somewhere around midnight I woke up to find the sprite, a little thing of black and glowing blue, standing by my mattress. He swayed a little and hiccuped. "Ummm . . . No olives next time, kay?" He said in a high pitched, slightly slurred voice.
"Deal, as long as you let me get a good night's sleep."
"Deal," he said. He disappeared.
I can't say a drunken house sprite is such a good idea, but I had the feeling we could make a few more deals.
Tiger purred and went back to sleep.
http://fridayflash.org for more fantastic quick reads