Empire

Even as often as she went out to the woods, Amiril had never seen a creature like this one. Whatever it was seemed born out of the earth, a tree come to life. She stood still, and so did the forest.

The dryad shifted its weight, though it didn’t seem to notice her. Instinct made her back away, and she stayed hidden in the underbrush. She crawled across the dirt, staining her dress. When the creature was out of sight, she returned to her feet and sped through the woods, calling, “Mom, I think I saw something, come quick!”

Her mother grabbed the axe and followed. The tree man was where he had been. He turned to them and bowed magnanimously. Amiril watched her mother’s grip tighten and relax along the hilt of the axe. The creature moved slowly, so slowly that he could never be a threat, and they waited for any excuse to attack in self-defense. The creature straightened its back and stood tall, which wasn’t enough.

Back home, they made the dryad comfortable. They let it sit in a basin of water, and shone sunlamps on it. Amiril read it poetry. Usually, they lit a fire in the evenings, but that seemed insulting to their guest. They sipped soup quietly.

A few days later, more tree people were standing outside their door, and while they seemed to have come in peace, one of them seemed interested in the axe.

“Oh, that’s not for anything,” Amiril’s mother said. The trees conferred.

“Did we upset them?” Amiril asked.

“Not yet, my darling, but we will.”

The trees dispersed from the house and ventured to the village, where they were honored guests in various homes. One of them had taken the axe; as a gift, of course.

#allegory, #fairy-tales, #microfiction, #misogyny, #passivity, #politeness, #trees

Dracula

As easy as it would be to conquer humanity, and as much as it needed conquering, Vlad chose to bide his time. As an immortal, he could enslave all creation whenever he wanted. Now all he wanted was red wine.

Some faction of the community sent him gift baskets that they called offerings. Today’s collection contained the typical bries and pinot noirs, which made a nice gesture, but the other bottle, filled with human blood, was almost insulting in its implication. The various small animal corpses were similarly patronizing. He would dispose of them when he had the stomach.

He spread some brie on a communion wafer. The sizzle felt good in his mouth and made the fruitiness of the wine all the more welcome.

“Lord Dracula,” came a voice from beyond the door. “I apologize for entering your domain without permission, but I assumed you would not hear my lowly knock from your exalted tower.”

Vlad waved his hand at the door, and glared at the peasant, who led on a leash a young woman draped in white sheets, tied in white ribbon.

“Your excellency, I hope you received our tribute.”

Vlad tipped his wine glass in answer.

“But we didn’t want you to think we were trying to placate you, my lord. I have brought my eldest daughter for you as a sacrifice, to do with as you see fit.”

“Oh that’s quite all right. I don’t need any sacrifices right now.”

He looked at the girl, and as she heard him, she turned her head away in shame.

Her father looked angry. “I apologize that the sacrifice is inadequate, my lord. Please spare our village!”

Vlad sighed, and with a shrug, stripped her body bare and drained her blood.

“Mm, thank you so much. My favorite.”

#dracula, #fan-fiction-2, #fantasy, #microfiction, #monsters, #politeness, #supernatural

Best Friends

The concert was sold out, but Charlie got the last two tickets. The box office shut down right behind him.

“Great,” Steve said when Charlie told him the news. He hated country music, and he hated Charlie, but he knew where he was spending Friday night.

“I know a little place where we can get good, cheap lap dances, if you’re interested,” Charlie mentioned on the drive over. Steve found the prospect disgusting and sad. “I don’t think we have the time for it,” he said.

When Charlie pulled into the parking lot to The Bube Toob, Steve considered not being polite, but Charlie was so sensitive. “Maybe I’ll just wait in the car,” he said.

The frustrated anxiety on Charlie’s face made him reconsider. Steve followed behind, making sure to look reluctant. He wasn’t sure whom he was impressing. They sat in a booth, and were quickly approached by a pair of dancers.

Charlie slipped the taller, darker one a five dollar bill and whispered something to her, gesturing toward Steve. Steve shuddered as the woman moved on top of him, moving her body without moving her face.

She was working hard. Her eyes were closed in focus, and her mouth drooped as much as the rest of her. That wasn’t fair. Steve regretted the thought. “I’m sorry, I’m going to need to be a lot drunker for this,” he said, pulling himself out from under her.

Charlie had to assure the staff that everything was cool. On the way to the concert, he lectured Steve, saying, “You really embarrassed me back there. You’re lucky I was around to bail you out.”

Steve apologized, and was forgiven. He felt wrong.

The concert was loud and twangy, but at least they didn’t have to talk.

#awkward, #friends, #man-on-man-action, #microfiction, #politeness, #strippers, #what-people-do

Agreeable

As he sank to his knee, she felt sickness take over the rest of her personality. She’d known this was coming, as he had been giving hints all week. She’d hoped hers had been even less subtle, but he had gone on using future tenses, musing what their child would look like. He had asked her favorite precious stone, and it was in his pocket now.

“Oh Luke,” she said, and though she sounded overwhelmed, she noticed that she couldn’t hear the disgust she had intended. Neither could he. He said something about sharing life; something rehearsed, perhaps from a movie.

She wasn’t really listening. She was envisioning the days to come, learning to ignore his snoring. They hadn’t shared a bed together yet, as he was still old-fashioned and she didn’t like him, but she was sure he snored like a parody.

His speech continued, but none of it sounded like the question she was waiting for. When she had the chance, she would say no. Leave it at that. “No.” She wasn’t so low on herself that she would ally herself in a loveless marriage just to avoid hurting feelings. What irritated her was how over-the-top she had to be. If he just paid a little attention, they wouldn’t have to go through this. They wouldn’t even know each other. He would have seen her pity from the start. When she called him dweeb and dork and such, he would know she wasn’t teasing affectionately.

“This is all so sudden,” she said, and she saw his face light with excitement. She tried to speak more clearly, “I can’t believe you went to all this trouble,” but it didn’t sound right. She hated her voice. It deserved him.

#hate, #male-power, #marriage, #microfiction, #obliviousness, #politeness, #resentment, #self-control