The Looking-Glass, Part II

Read the first part here!


In the week that followed that deal, curiously few pedestrians passed on the looking-glass faery’s dirt road. She sat on a fallen log, waiting for someone to do business with; all she got was a chill and a cranky temper.

It was evening on the seventh day when the bored traveler returned, deep in conversation with a younger man who accompanied him. The faery stood and waited for them to meet her. She’d been thinking about his fortune for days now, and was determined to read it.

When the traveler spotted her, he rolled his eyes. “Still here, I see.”

“We made a deal,” the faery retorted, “and I’ve been waiting for a week. Now I will see your fortune.” She held out the looking-glass.

“Sitting here for a whole week?” he asked, glancing at the young man, who smirked. “Don’t you have somewhere to go?”

The faery spoke through gritted teeth, glaring at him. “Take—it!”

He laughed. “She swears she’s going to tell me a truth that’ll disturb me,” he told his companion, “if I just look at my reflection.”

“Oh, really?” The young man looked curiously at the glass. “Does it have to be disturbing?”

“That depends on the sort of person you are,” said the faery. “Do you want your fortune told, too?”

He took the looking-glass and peered into his reflection. “Why would you pass up the chance to have your fortune told, Uncle?”

“I was in a hurry. Do you see anything?” the traveler asked his nephew, who had the expression of wonder worn by other regular mortals. It was enough to calm the faery’s temper; she didn’t like thinking that somehow she’d lost her ability to charm.

But his reply was surprising. “No, nothing special.”

The faery narrowed her eyes at him. No one looked into that reflection without seeing something unusual; perhaps the two had made some sort of pact to drive her insane. “Have you taken in all the details?” she asked.

“I have. Should I recite some kind of spell?”

She took the looking-glass and wiped its surface with a sleeve, doubtful that it would help much. “Clear your mind and take a look at the reflection until something appears to surprise you.”

He did, staring at it with a look of comical concentration. Rubbing away goosebumps from the chill, she waited, anxious to get it over with and hand the mirror to his uncle. They still had a deal to carry out.

“I swear I don’t see anything,” he said, after several heartbeats. “Do you, Uncle?” Looking up, he frowned. “Where did he go?”

Oh, I should have known. Clenching her fists, the faery turned and peered down the road, but the man she made a deal with was nowhere to be seen. He’d seized the opportunity to escape while she was distracted.

“Go find him,” she told the baffled young man, “and tell him to come back, or I will trap you in the glass so you can see what’s in it!”

He shoved the object back at her, pale with fright. At least one person still took her seriously. “No need for threats—I’ll go find him. Uncle? Uncle!” She listened to his footsteps as he thundered down the road, shouting at the top of his voice.

The faery kicked away a pebble and sat on the log once more, blood boiling. She would read that traveler’s future, if it was the last thing she ever did. She would not be fooled again.

To Be Continued…

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