Tyrome and Raquan were locked in a vicious argument. “We getting rid of that thing!” Rayquan insisted.
“No we ain’t, it’s our only key for survival!” Tyrome responded.
“You never think things through.” His cousin accused.
“You calling me stupid?” Tyrome demanded.
The two of them were cranky due to their lack of sleep. Tyrome had spent all night scouring the internet for information on magic dolls, until Rayquan had suggested he read the letter he had stolen. It had said, “Dear Mara Williams , I can feel someone watching me and I know it’s one of them fairies. They know what’s coming and they ain’t want me to warn anyone. I already suspect one of my neighbors is under the thrall of the Unseelie Court. I don’t know what gonna happen but in case I gave Tyrome Johnson the doll. He’s a little strange but his heart’s in the right place. It’s a shot in the dark since I ain’t know if It’ll work for him. I know his bloodline means there’s a small chance it will. If it do you need to guide him. I don’t know when they come but they will Love, Philly.”
After that, Tyrome seeing the doll first hand made him realized he had to take her words seriously. So he accepted that magic was real and there was now another threat to their neighborhood security. Why couldn’t these people invade white suburbia? Tyrome was sure they had way better stuff. He and his cousin did research all night until two in the morning. The worst part was it was all hearsay, Tyrome had no scientific evidence to back it up. There were quite a few obvious inconsistencies in the information they had looked up as well. If only he had a fairie to test the theories on. “Look, we ain’t need no doll, we know other ways to hurt the Fairies,” Raquan argued.
“Really? ’Cause we read they can be hurt by salt and yet their favorite food is butter,” Tyrome made a face.
“So either they ain’t like butter or they ain’t allergic to salt.” Raquan said snidely.
Before Tyrome could respond the whole house shook.
“What’s going on!” Raquan screamed.
“I don’t know!” And then a tree burst straight through the floor in the center of the room up straight through the roof taking out the sofa in the process. Raquan lay there shaking on the floor, Tyrome got to his feet and slowly approached the tree his hand brushing the bark. Then he heard a series of screams and lot and lots of yelling, he winced, it was as if there was an orchestra of forks scraping against metal bowls over and over in a badly out of tune mimicry of Amazing Grace. Tyrome shoved his hands over his ears to shut out the chaos. and started flapping his arms back and forth.
" Tye look out!” Tyrome felt his cousin’s pudgy arms wrap around him and he tasted grass as They hit the ground just as he saw the back end of a Minotaur as it came barreling past with a Black man in a business suit and something that looked like pure starlight on the back of it.
Tyrome looked around and was shocked, the whole neighborhood which had just a few minutes ago been full of ramshackle houses, streets, and graffiti had transformed into a bloody forest! Lush green grass was beneath his boots, tall trees burst through wrecked homes all around him. He heard giggles as human-shaped balls of light danced about in the air, as a ten-year-old boy desperately ran about trying to catch them with his faded baseball cap. People who had fearfully fled their homes stood in their nightclothes, men, women, children, teenagers, gaping and murmuring to each other about the sight surrounding them. Tyrome heard panicked cries as the Minotaur managed to knock the man off his back.
The minotaur snorted and twisted and turned and bucked trying to toss off what Tyrome realized was not actually starlight but a humanoid creature of such delicate beauty. Except in a way that wasn’t right. Even the most attractive people had physical flaws ears too wide apart, nose a bit too long, an acne problem in their youth, a gap between teeth. the creature hung on tightly digging its high heeled shoes into the massive bull creature as it tried desperately to dislodge it. ” Yer not defeating the bull riding champion of Madrid!” the creature spat through teeth that glittered like diamonds, Tyrome shivered.
Then several gunshots rang out. The minitour let out a cry as a bullet lodged itself in his side. ” What ya doing?” the creature demanded throwing himself off the minotaur and putting himself in front of it using a frilly pink umbrella to block the second round of bullets. ” What you mean why you acting a fool riding that thing through here!” said Louise Talk putting her hands on her hips. ” What if it trampled the children!” yelled Andre. Suddenly all the Southside residents started yelling at once. The minotaur took the opportunity to race out of there as fast as his shaggy bleeding hindquarters would allow. Then the man who fell off the minotaur cleared his throat loudly. Everyone turned to look at him.
" I swear to you this is all just a big misunderstanding. If i could just borrow your phone to make some calls” sad the man brushing off his expensive business suit.
" Oh my god, it Senator Makulu!” Rayquan who had been silent this whole time yelled.
The creature starting scanning the area as if planning its getaway. Its body was tense and its eyes had an alert sharpness. It was smart and careful, Tyrome would have to move quickly.
“The senator’s gonna answer all our questions!” he yelled, getting everyone overly excited, they all started talking at once and crowding the senator. The creature’s eyes went wide. Tyrome pulled the glowing creature out of the crowd and inside his house and slammed the door blocking out the noise. He took a few deep breaths. The creature yanked his hand from the humans grip. His eyes warned Tyrome not to be so familiar. “Why are you glowing?” he asked.
“How can ya see it?” the creature responded. Tyrome felt annoyed what did it mean he was bright, how could anyone not see it? He listened to the creature’s voice, it sounded like it hadn’t broke despite the figure before him looking fourteen at the least but he could not discern its gender. “What are ya staring at?” the creature sounded annoyed.
“You male or female?” Tyrome asked it was bothering him.
“I’m a boy, I’m called Rashell, and who are you?” he sounded indignant.
“Tyrome Johnson,” he answered, extending a hand like his Mama had taught him. The glowing boy looked at him strangely, maybe they didn’t shake hands where he was from? “It’s a good thing I asked your gender, that name makes things confusing,” he admitted bluntly.
Rashell laughed. “Aye, the meaning doesn’t help.”
“What do it mean?” Tyrome asked him.
“It means lamb.” the boy wrinkled his nose. The human snickered.
“Well you is little” he responded.
“Can we talk in private?” Tyrome nodded, doing a dance of victory in his head. This was just a pleasant chat unless Rashell got mean, creature or not, Rashell was tiny and if he got violent Tyrome knew he had more than enough muscle to take him. He had always been a big guy and his build was solid. Maybe the doll could help him get the answers he needed about what was going on.
“Okay, let’s drop the BS.” Tyrome stated.
“I’d like some tea, or milk with honey if ya have it,” He sat down on the couch with an air of grace legs crossed.
“Ain’t you hear me?” the human demanded up close he noticed the boy's eyes were single lid they were also bigger and angeled downwards at least half Asian
“It would be rude ta interrogate me without some offer of refreshment,” Rashell said a smile played about his lips.
Suddenly, Tyrome felt like the mouse instead of the cat, he gritted his teeth. “You in my house you play by my rules.” he retorted.
“If ya don’t have refreshment just admit it, darling,” Rashell responded innocently.
“Darling?” he demanded.
“Would ya prefer dearie or turtle dove? That endearment hasn’t been in fashion fer a while.” Rashell clapped his hands together, he looked like he was enjoying himself immensely. Rashell leaned back on the stained sofa as if it was a lounge chair. The human was put off by his casual air, was he stupid? And what was with the pointless endearments? They didn’t know each other and his tone wasn’t nice.
“What the hell is going on?” Tyrome forgot all of his carefully planned questions.
“You’ll have ta be specific, cupcake.” Rashell stated. Okay, now he was just trying to be annoying on purpose.
“What are you?” Tyrome leaned in closer trying to use his strong build to intimidate.
“Let’s have a wager,” he suggested. According to his research on the fair folk he had done, they liked high stake games. Rashell’s eyes lit up; the theory confirmed.
“Oh, I really shouldn’t,” he muttered.
“You ain’t a chicken, are you?” Tyrome asked knowing it would spur him on.
“You’ve peaked me interest, darling,” Rashell admitted.
“So will you play?” the human asked him.
“Three questions, ya may ask me if ya win.” the other boy decided.
“And if you win?” the human asked.
“I’ll ask ya three questions deal?” the strange boy nodded “And since I picked the prize, it’s only fair ya pick the game.”
Tyrome agreed. “First, let me change.” He went to his room and put on a red shirt then rejoined Rashell. “So what game?”
Rashell looked uneasy by the sight of the color. “You can see me?” Tyrome asked him.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Rashell asked confused.
“No reason.” Theory: humans wearing red are invisible to fairies proven false. Tyrome put an X over that theory, he was starting to have fun. Tyrome pulled out one of his cousin’s video games “Blood Beater Six,” He guessed that even if the flamboyant creature had on the off chance of having heard of technology that he would not be the type to play video games. Still, it never hurt to check “You’ve seen anything like this?” he asked.
“I was in India fer me last trip here fifty years ago, I haven’t been ta America in a while,” he admitted. Tyrome often went up against his cousin and had gotten pretty good at virtually kicking his ass. The two of them shook on it and the game was set up.
“So how da ya play?” Rashell asked as the two of them sat in front of the TV screen.
“Okay, we got two characters on the screen. The guy with the green hair is yours, the guy with the gold ring in his ear’s mine.” He clicked them and then choose his setting; a gladiator arena.
Rashell clapped his hands together. “That looks fun!” he exclaimed. Then his gaze turned sly.
“It could be better,” Tyrome grinned.“Let me get one more thing.” He came back with a bottle of rosemary and a salt shaker. He poured salt on one of the controllers and rosemary on the other.
“Is this a part of the game?” Rashell sounded doubtful.
“Oh, yeah it’s for good luck,” he lied.
“Which controller do you want, salt or rosemary?” he asked easily.
“Salt.” Rashell said without hesitation. He took the controller and Tyrome watched as nothing happened. Salt hurting fairies was false, he realized.
“Sure you ain’t wanting the rosemary?” he pressed.
Rashell’s smile was strained. “No.” he responded. Tyrome mentally put a possibly harmful, besides ‘rosemary’ in his head. He’d write everything in his notebook later
“These consoles control our characters. This move right, this one left, you click this button for jump, and this one for kick,” he paused. “Any questions?”
“No,” Rashell responded.
“Let’s begin.” Tyrome started the game and at first, everything was fine, Rashell struggled to both block and kick and Tyrome easily won the first round. “Again?” he asked the frustrated blond.
“Yes,” Rashell agreed tightly. Tyrome smugly put his finger on the console, the creature was worse than his cousin. Then the moment he pushed the kick button his own leg kicked of its own accord.
“Hey, what?!” Rashell giggled, his eyes flashed purple as Tyrome pressed the punch button as he desperately tried to hold his own hand from ripping itself away from the controller and curling into a fist. The green-haired character gave a flying round kick to Tyrome’s character. Whenever Tyrome pressed any button his body mimicked the movements. If he didn’t press any buttons he was beaten by Rashell’s character.
“Punch, punch, kick, am I right?” Rashell asked with faux innocence as he won the second round “You want to go?”
Tyrome took off his shirt and turned it inside out. “Oh, I see what this is.” Rashell glared at him.
“I ain’t gonna waste my three questions.” Tyrome stated.
“Let’s see how well ya handle that controller as a lizard.” the fairie boy hissed. Without thinking Tyrome sprinkled rosemary on Rashell, he fell to the ground and stiffened eyes wide open.
“Oh, no! I’m sorry that...” He checked the boy’s pulse and found it was moving. “Thank God, you only paralyzed.” He felt relieved. Tyrome lifted him from the floor and found to his surprise the other boy was particularly weightless. He ran to the bathroom and turned on the shower then stripping off the boy's clothes and tossing them to the floor carelessly holding the other boy upright, he stepped into the shower letting it soak his shirt and shorts. “Come on, come on, work, work,” he muttered running his hand through the boy’s hair to get the spice out. Then to his relief the boy’s fingers twitched and his toes and while the feeling of relief filled his chest he failed to realize the intentions of his ticked off companion and found himself pressed up against the wall with a razor blade pressed to his neck.
“Da not take such liberties with me person.” the blond boy hissed.
. Tyrome opened his mouth to yell for the doll when all of a sudden.
“Rashell!” two voices called loudly through the house. Rashell froze looked at Tyrome and sighing he put the razor blade back on the soap bar. Tyrome put his hand to his throat breathing a sigh of relief.
“Killing ya would not be the best idea now,” Rashell strode past him bare feet skipping lightly onto the towel on the floor, he began to dry off. “Go stall our companions,” he ordered. “It’s best ya say nothing of our encounter”
Tyrome nodded walking out of the bathroom still soaking wet, dumbfounded. He went into the kitchen. “Hey cuz, how you doing?” he asked.
“I saw my friend come in here with you, blond, lots of makeup.” Makulu stated.
“I can explain. You see, the thing is your friend ain’t human, he glows.”
Makulu’s face darkened. ” You must be seeing things.” He chuckled.
The bathroom door flew opened. “Valiant attempt, senator, yet he knows everything,” Rashell said hair still dripping wet.
“Tyrome, why’s there a fag in the bathroom?” Raquan sneered.
“Hey, there is no need for that!” Makulu exclaimed. Rashell’s eyes flashed purple and he raised his hand. “No!” Makulu grabbed his tiny hand “No zapping young men.” he chided.
“Why not?” Rashell asked peevishly.
“These are my people. I’m responsible for them.” Makulu stated in a tone that made Tyrome angry. What did he mean responsible for them?
Rashell’s face softened. “Very well, out of respect fer yer sense of duty and good heart I’ll spare them both.” He bowed to Makulu who swelled with pride. “Now I need rest I bid ya adieu, Senator.” He headed to the bedroom and closed the door.
Rayquan growled,” That’s my room, is that pansy assed little...” Makulu fixed him with a sharp glare.
“Rashell spared you out of respect for me.” Suddenly, Tyrome felt a chill in the air. His cousin nodded paling. The moment passed and he was all warmth again. “Very well then, Tyrome please explain what you know.”
Tyrome spilled everything that had happened that day except he said nothing of the doll. Something told him it wouldn’t be wise to mention it, so he didn’t.