Friday, June 02, 2017
Flash Fiction #253 -- Words
I haven't had any exploding clocks since I took over the position of personal liaison at Permia's Fine Clothing for Men and Women a couple months ago. I liked my job a lot better than the previous one, but it was still maddening. Today I had four events to worry about coordinating. Tomorrow I would deal with a mother of a sweet sixteen girl who appeared intent on driving me crazy before the big party in four days.
But that wasn't the problem. I forgot about something.
Words have power. You don't have to be magical to know that the right words can heal or wound a soul. With fae, they can also heal or wound the body to some degree and depending on the power and natural inclinations of the person speaking. I knew this, of course.
But I had spent a lot of time with humans. Humans say things they don't mean literally -- or at least they don't have the power to enforce them.
"Hey, Nita," someone said from the door to my office. I looked up trying not to scowl. "How's it going? Need anything?"
"No thanks, Mark." This was the fourth time he'd come to chat today. "I don't want to see you until I say so, okay? I've got a mess to clean up here."
"A -- yeah," Mark replied. He hurried away so quickly it took me by surprise -- but good. I got through a lot of work that afternoon, mostly by saying the same thing to some other people.
I filed reports, sent off emails, and no one even tried to waylay me at lunch. I had a plethora of emails from people who would otherwise have come to my office. I got more work done. By the end of the day, I had almost entirely caught up.
It wasn't until I was leaving the building that I realized something was wrong. I stepped out into the main showroom -- and people I worked with scattered. What kind of game -- no, not a game. I felt the magic in the air, darting around like a wild thing. Someone had used magic on my people!
I lifted my hand and vowed that when I found out who --
My magic. What the hell? Why would --
Snippets of my day ran through my mind.
Well, this was easy to fix. "So how is business today?" I asked to no one in particular and to everyone in general. Faces appeared, some of them looking surprised that they had gone somewhere else. Lucky the doors had already been locked, or we might have had some odd rumors spread by 4reeeeeeeeeeeeeee (this is Zaphod the cat's contribution to the story) by customers. It only took a couple moments for the others to get back to normal. Good.
As I headed home, I thought about having unconsciously used magic that way. Not something I would normally do. I had let my fae guard down because I was so caught up in my human work. I'd been trying to save my magic, build up enough to get back home -- and it scared me that I could use it so easily without even thinking.
Not that it had been much. I'd only influenced the humans a little. If anyone had needed to see me, that person might have felt uncomfortable coming to the door, but the moment we started to speak, all would be well. So good there.
I thought about how that power might come in handy. Not overuse it like today -- well, not often since I really did get work done -- but there might be other ways I could apply a hint of magic to make life easier for a lot of people.
I couldn't wait to get back to work. There was a whole new feeling for me.
I spread a little cheer through the store, though not too much. Cheer, I knew, would spread on its own once it got a toehold. Then I went to my office and waited for my 10 am meeting with Mrs. Vanderjune and her sixteen-year-old daughter. I'd never been given her name. She was nothing more than an accessory, much like some women carried around yapping little lap dogs covered in diamonds and cashmere.
The girl sat in the chair by her mother, gave a slight sigh, and looked as though she would endure a hurricane without moving or uttering a word.
For the next half hour, her mother went over details we'd checked a dozen times already. I had laid down the law that she could not change colors this late in the game, but right then if she'd said she wanted matching purple and pink ball gowns trimmed in real gold, I probably would have conjured them just to send her on her way.
Daughter said nothing. Daughter would endure the party, which probably had never been her idea of fun anyway --
I looked at her and caught her attention, which seemed to surprise the girl. "I don't know your name," I said.
Her mother sputtered to a stop and frowned.
"Anne," the girl said. Of course. It was her mother's name as well.
"Anne is there something you'd like to add or change." And then I added a little bit of magic. "After all, this is your party, not your mother's."
Mrs. Vanderjune's breath caught. And then she began crying. I had not expected that reaction at all, but she blubbered and apologized to her stunned daughter. We spent the next three hours making a few changes. Not many, actually. Anne the younger was much like her mother.
Maybe I was starting to take this Fairy Godmother routine too far, but you know -- it feels good to help out others. I found myself thinking more about the future of my job and less about going back to the world of the fae -- and that didn't seem so bad after all.
Word Count -- 997