Fairy Tale: the Changeling's Story - Part 2


Fairy Tale: the Changeling's Story - Part Two

By:

Anteros

Until recently, Morgan was a perfectly normal high schooler, enjoying an ordinary life with his family and friends, until he discovered he possessed mysterious powers which he doesn't always use responsibly.
His life changes forever when he meets a mysterious woman who tells him what he doesn't want to believe: he isn't who he always thought he was...

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Author's note: Here is the second installment of Fairy Tale: The Changeling's Story. The story takes place a few months before Life is Precious. I want to thank Enemyoffun for creating the DarkRealm Universe and letting me write in it, Wren Erendae Phoenix for proof reading and editing this chapter and you all for taking the time to read it.
Have a good read!

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Chapter 2: The Monster Under the bed

“Honey, we need to talk.”

I don’t know about other people, but in my experience, those words never announce anything good. The last time Mom told me this, it was to tell me why I couldn’t go spend the summer vacation in Barcelona with Christopher and his parents. Now I wondered what kind of catastrophic news those fateful words would herald.

“I’m not going to like what you’re going to say, am I?

Mom smiled in a way that should have been reassuring, but that merely made me more worried.

“Honey, I know Lena told you the truth about your origins. You may have had a hard time believing what she was telling you, but it was all true. We didn’t give birth to you, but we raised you, and we loved you as our own child. We loved you from the first time we saw you, and we always will. I’m sorry we didn’t tell you the truth ourselves, but we promised…“

Mom’s voice faltered a bit. Her eyes shone with unshed tears. Seeing her like that made me feel as if someone was crushing my heart. I hugged her tightly and she hugged me back with surprising fierceness.

“Mom? I swear I’m not mad at you or anything, please don’t cry.”

“She released me slowly, and smiled at me, wiping away the tears she’d begun to shed.

“Thank you. It means a lot that you aren’t angry at me. I hope you won’t change your mind when I’ve told you the whole story.”

I merely nodded, not sure I could talk right now. I really wasn’t angry at her, but I didn’t know whether it was because of the shock to discover she’d known about my true nature all along, or if I really didn’t resent the fact that she’d hid this from me all this time. All I knew was that she was my mom, the person I cared the most about in the whole world, and that she looked so sad.

“I had a car accident while I was pregnant with my third child,“ She told me, “ and I was severely wounded. I gave birth to my child that night, two months too soon, and unfortunately the accident had caused damage that the doctors couldn’t handle. My son was dying and I was too weak to do anything to help him, but pray. So, that’s what I did, with all my heart. Someone heard me, and answered my prayer. One of the Sacred, the princess Anelia, came to me as I was lying in my hospital bed, and offered me a way to save my child. It was the first time I’d seen one of the Sacred, and at the time I thought it was the Goddess herself who had sent her to my help. She perhaps did. Anelia told me that she could save my baby’s life in exchange for a favor. I would have to let my child in her care until his 18th birthday and during this time, she would give me her own newborn child to raise as my own.

It tore me apart to accept this bargain, but your father and I saw no other way to save our baby, so we did. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but we all swore to love the child we would raise as if it was our own. And we did. Your father and I couldn’t help but love from the time we first laid our eyes on you, and I know that Anelia loves my son as her own. Every few months, Lena reports to us about his life in Faerie, just as she reports to Anelia about your well being.

“How can you be sure she tells you the truth? This woman is crazy.”

My mother looked at me severely. She disliked it when she thought I didn’t show proper respect for someone. I thought respect was something people should win and not wait to be granted without having done anything to deserve it; she thought every living being was worthy of respect by virtue of existing. Mom was always very respectful and considerate of people, and she expected them to treat her in kind. Lacking respect to my mother was never a good idea, whoever you were.

“Young man, you will not speak that way about your sister.”

“My what?” I screeched, horrified.

I almost fell from the bed I was sitting on in shock. Sister?

Mom looked at me sternly.

“Your sister. Don’t tell me you didn’t wonder why a princess was given the task of watching over you, and by whom? Lena is a very important person among her people, and being important among the Sacred always equals a tremendous amount of personal power and a perfect integrity. Lena swore that her reports were truthful, and the Sacred cannot willingly break their oaths. Besides we have been exchanging letters with him for the last six years.“

“Why do you call them, or rather us I guess, the Sacred?” I asked curiously.

“Because honey, that’s what witches call your people.”

“Wait, what? Witches? You’re a witch?”

“As are Carrie, Grandma Agatha, and your cousin Mary Alice. Ravencrest has a very influent witch community. We keep our existence a secret and have done so since many generations.”

“Carrie too? Does she also know about me?”

“No, she doesn’t, though we’ll have to tell the truth to your brother and sister now that it is out. I don’t want them to learn it by accident or by someone else.”

I sighed. This was so much to take in at one time. My own family was a family of witches?

“I guess I shouldn’t have offered Mary that Voodoo doll and those pins, then?”

“When did you do that?” asked Mom, frowning dangerously at me.

“Uh, for her birthday. I also gave her a pair of earrings. She really liked the doll, you know?”

Mom sighed.

“Morgan, I thought you’d stopped with those pranks and jokes of yours. You know that few people enjoy being teased that way, right? You are lucky that Mary tolerates your antics.”

“Sorry, Mom.”

She smiled at me.

“Sometimes it reassures me to see that you never change. As if you were going to stay my little boy forever. But that’s not how the world works, and we all have to change and grow eventually. You should try to move beyond such childishness, at some point.”

“I know, Mom. “

“Good. One last thing. From today on, Lena will take a more active part in your life. I know you two didn’t exactly get along during your first meeting, but she really is trying her best to keep you safe, so try to see past your differences, okay?”

“Keep me safe? Mom, she suffocated me! Twice!”

“You can’t really die from lack of air, honey. She was a bit impatient, but she never put you in any danger. Just forgive her, okay?”

I sighed. That meant I wouldn’t get to pay Lena back for what she did to me. Mom would be disappointed, and I hated the look she gave me when she was disappointed in me. Yes, I’m a momma’s boy. So what?

She kissed me on the forehead and rose from my bed.

“I have to go fix my make up before going to work. We’ll talk more tonight, alright? Your father should be there earlier too. Oh and hurry up and get dressed. Lena will be by soon to resume teaching you. ”

“What?”

“Morgan…”

“Alright, I’ll be good. Have a good day, Mom.”

Lena came for me an hour later, as I was washing the dishes. She didn’t even let me the time to finish what I was doing, she just materialized behind me, grabbed me, and whoosh! We found ourselves in the training room we’d used previously. There was now a large desk in the middle of the room.

I felt a bit awkward around her. How was I supposed to treat her, now that I knew she was my sister? I didn’t feel any closer to her, and she sure didn’t act any different than she had yesterday.

“Today, you will learn about curses. They are our primary mean of offense and defense, more than any other form of magic. They are also the most likely to turn against us and those close to us, so we must learn to master this power as soon as possible, if only to protect ourselves from it.”

“Why would you teach me about that, since I must not use magic anyway?” I asked.

I was trying my best, but I still came off as somewhat sulky. Mom was right; I definitely needed to grow up. I just didn’t seem to be able to.

“Indeed, you must not. However you will do it anyway, for it is your nature. I am not teaching you to use magic. Any Fae can do it instinctively, without any need for training. My goal is to teach you not to use it without meaning to, and how to control your power instead of being controlled by it. An untrained Fae can cause untold catastrophes, because she will be unable not to use her magic.”

“What do you mean? I’ll spoil milk or tangle people’s hair by accident?”

Damn, I hadn’t actually meant to say that. Fortunately, Lena didn’t react to my sarcasm.

“Do you remember the rain, yesterday? You got upset, and suddenly, the clear sky was filled with black clouds, and it began to rain. This is what I am talking about. You did it without even realizing what was happening. You could have caused a thunderstorm or a tornado just as easily as a mere rain. What if it happened while you were at home? Affecting the mortal world that way isn’t as easy, but once your power completely awakens, you could destroy your house and kill your whole family without ever meaning to. This is why I must teach you how to control the destructive and chaotic side of your magic.”

That shut me up. How was I supposed to sass the woman who was teaching me how not to destroy everything important to me?

I felt… ashamed, somehow. I hated the feeling, but for some reason it wasn’t going away.

“Now that you understand why you are here, let us resume where we left off. A curse is an enchantment destined to cause harm to something or someone. An uncontrolled curse will hurt everyone and everything it can reach, including its caster. Casting a curse is easy, and can even be an unconscious act. Sometimes, all it takes is to have too much animosity toward someone, and not enough control over one’s magic. It is even possible to curse one’s self.

Curses come in two forms: direct and indirect. A direct curse will affect its target in an adverse way. It can weaken, transform, or destroy its target although other effects are possible. By opposition an indirect curse will affect its target’s environment. For example cursing someone to be shunned by others is an indirect curse, as is warding off a place against intruders, or transforming all those who wear a certain ring into toads.”

“We can really transform people into toads?”

“We are Fae. Of course we can. I would advise you not to do such a thing however. Curses are unstable on the long term, and there is always a way to undo them. Much like your glamour, in fact. We do not want mortals claiming to have been transformed into animals by fairies or witches. “

“Oh. Well, it’s not like I intended to actually do it.”

“Of course.” Lena said, looking dubious.

I got the feeling she didn’t believe me. I wondered why. I wasn’t that vindictive. Seriously.

“You will first learn the simplest and most commonly used curse: the Elf Shot. It is a direct curse, which targets a living being and can cause all sort of adverse effects from seizures and partial paralysis to strokes and heart attacks. The lethal version of this curse is what we use to get rid definitely of inconvenient mortals. We will have to practice on living beings, unfortunately.”

“What? So we’re going to torture some defenseless animals? I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that.”

In fact I was pretty sure I wasn’t comfortable with it at all. I liked animals.

“We are going to practice on insects. I will show you how to use an Elf Shot to paralyze them, and you are going to try and do the same.”

She waved her hand and a swarm of butterflies appeared out of nowhere and immediately scattered around the room.

Lena pointed a finger at one of them and it suddenly stopped moving and fell. I picked it up, and realized that only its wings had stopped moving. The insect’s legs and antennae were still moving perfectly.

I could feel the magic she’d used, still acting on the little creature. I slowly weakened it, as she’d shown me the previous day, until it disappeared. The butterfly’s wings flapped, and the little animal took flight once again.

“Very good. You were indeed paying attention yesterday. Now try paralyzing one of the butterflies like I just showed you.”

Despite her words, Lena’s voice was still flat, emotionless. It kind of creeped me out, to tell the truth. That woman was eerily cold.

Unlike the previous day, my attempts to mimic Lena didn’t go well. I didn’t manage to paralyze a single butterfly. Every time I pointed my finger at one of the butterflies, it fell dead. Not paralyzed, just dead. The worst thing was just how disturbingly easy it was. I pointed my finger, and bam! A living, moving creature fell dead at my feet. It made me nauseous.

After a dozen tries, I was trying my hardest not to cry. Why did this happen? I didn’t want to kill those butterflies. Okay, they were merely insects. I wasn’t even sure that they were real, given the way Lena had summoned them. But I hadn’t wanted to harm them. Just stop them from moving. What if it happened with a person? I didn’t want to kill anyone. I was frightened, frustrated and angry.

There was a clap of thunder, really loud, as if lightning struck somewhere really close. I realized then that it was raining outside. I could hear the wind howling and the frenetic drumming of the rain on the roof.

I looked at Lena, expecting to see her glare at me with her annoyed look once more. She wasn’t though. Instead she looked pensive. When she saw me looked at her, she sighed.

“You can stop for now. I think we just made an interesting discovery.”

“What, that I should think about a career in pest control?”

Damn, why couldn’t I stop with the sarcasm?

“If such is your wish, yes” answered Lena, impervious to my sarcasm. “But more importantly, I think we found out what aspect of nature you are tied to.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Each Fae is tied to at least one aspect of the natural world. It can be anything, from wind or metal to plants, beasts or even light or sound. I think you have an affinity for the weather, and for death.”

“An affinity for death? What do you mean?”

“Yes. Your enchantments were correctly done, but the insects still died. It shows a predisposition for magic of a more lethal orientation. You will have to work twice as hard not to kill when using offensive magic, I’m afraid. It makes your gaining perfect control of this aspect of your magic even more important.”

“Lucky me. It could have been anything, but it had to be death. That sucks. Does it mean I’ll become some sort of psycho killer or something?”

Who would have thought that being an uncontrollable killing machine wasn’t an attractive prospect? My childhood dream about how cool being Godzilla would be was crumbling. Godzilla didn’t have a family and friends to worry about during his rampages.

“Not if you do not want to. You could use this affinity to stave off death as well as to inflict it. You merely have to make sure that you have the necessary control to actually make a conscious choice.”

“I get it. I’ll do my best.” I answered with determination. “Can I ask you something?”

“Of course. I will even answer if I judge it appropriate.”

“What kind of affinities do you have?”

Lena looked at me for a few moments, her face showing no emotion, as usual. Then she held out her hand toward me, palm up. At the center of her palm, a small blue flame danced, teased by a soft air current. Despite its diminutive size, I could feel its heat from where I stood. Lena closed her hand and the flame disappeared.

“Let us go back to work.” She said simply.

We worked on the Elf Shot for a few hours, until I eventually succeeded in paralyzing a butterfly. It took a lot of concentration and even at the end, I only succeeded one time out of two, but I was in much higher spirits than I’d been earlier. And I also became familiar enough with the curse to be sure I wouldn’t use it by accident.

Of course, using so much magic weakened the glamour that made me look mortal, so I had to wait a few hours for it to return to normal.

The last part of the lesson was a lecture on Fae society, and some of the most powerful clans and individuals present in the Ravencrest area. There were a surprising number of those. At the top were the King and the Queen, beneath them were the Princes and Princesses of the high nobility, and beneath those came the Lords and Ladies of the low nobility. The commoners were at the bottom, while the outcast were on the fringe, and were mostly Fae too powerful to be easily forced to submit, but not wanting to be part of the nobility. Most of the more predatory and dangerous Fae were outcasts, although many nobles and commoners were just as dangerous and a majority of outcasts were peaceful.

I don’t know how long I stayed at Lena’s house, but when I came back home that day, the sun was already setting.

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I wasn’t home soon enough to make dinner this evening, so we had to order something. Carrie pouted until I promised her I would cook something good just for her the next day.

“You spoil her too much, Morgan. Every time you do something like that, she expect me to do the same.” Protested my brother.

“Oh? So if I stop the treats for Carrie, does that mean I don’t have to do your laundry anymore, big bro?”

“I don’t see how it is related.” He had the gall to answer.

Carrie elbowed him in the ribs.

“You should be ashamed to take advantage of your own little brother’s generosity like that you big hairy ape!”

“You can talk, you skinny nerd! He does your laundry too!”

They started to bicker to decide who was wrong to let me do all the chores. In truth I didn’t mind. I liked taking care of the house and of my family. They were mine, so it was only natural. Besides, Carrie helped me whenever she could and often forced Jason to give a hand too, so it’s not like I was doing everything.

Mom and Dad were home soon after. We all ate together this time, which I thought wasn’t fair since for one time I hadn’t actually made the food.

As we finished eating, my father stood and addressed us, in a rather formal fashion.

“Kids, your mother and I have several important things to talk about with you tonight. Our family has always kept numerous secrets, but we feel that tonight is the proper time for those secrets to come to light. We feel that you are all old and strong enough to know and accept the truths we are about to share. More than anything, don’t forget that whatever you learn tonight we are a family, and whatever the difficulties, we will always have each other to rely on.”

Jason, Carrie and I all looked each other apprehensively. I thought I already knew most of what Dad was going to say: Carrie is a witch, Morgan isn’t actually your brother, but a Fae impostor. I wondered if Jason also had some kind of supernatural secret.

“Jason, Carrie. You already know some of our family’s secret history, but Morgan doesn’t know yet, so we will tell it once again for his benefit.” Mom continued. “Both the Crawfords and the Duprays are family of witches. Their power is mostly transmitted through their women, but no woman was born to the Duprays in your father’s generation, endangering the Dupray clan’s very survival. Carrie is now the only Dupray witch in Ravencrest. This was our first secret, although only Morgan didn’t know about it by now.”

“How come? Jason isn’t a witch either, is he? Why did he know and not me?” I asked. Not that I was jealous or anything, but I guess the news about my true origins made me a bit sensitive about differences between me and my siblings.

“Usually, every Dupray boy is told the truth about our family the day after his 16th birthday. That’s in December for you, so you are actually learning all of this sooner than you should.”

“Yeah, why is that exactly? “Asked Jason, looking at me curiously.

“The reason for this is our second secret. Jason, Carrie, your brother Morgan is not a mortal. He is one of the Sacred. Almost sixteen years ago, I had an accident and I gave birth too soon to a dying son. A princess among the Sacred proposed us to save our son if we would give him to her for the next eighteen years. In exchange, she gave us her own child to raise. That child was Morgan.”

“You mean Morgan isn’t really our brother?” exclaimed Jason, looking at me with wide eyes.

“Morgan is one of the Sacred? Really?” intervened Carrie. I couldn’t put a word on the expression she made as she asked that question, but it was some sort of mixture of amusement, wonderment and incredulity.

I stopped breathing, afraid of what they were going to say next. My heart beat so fast I thought it was trying to escape from my chest.

“Morgan is your brother and our child. We raised him and we love him as much as if he was our own flesh and blood. I hope learning his origin doesn’t change the feelings you have for him.” Dad declared firmly.

Carrie and Jason looked at each other, and then Carrie rose from her seat, walked up to me and hugged me tightly. I hugged her back holding back tears. I’d been so afraid they would reject me.

“Morgan will always be my little brother.”

Jason nodded.

“Same for me. I don’t care if he’s a Sacred One or a giant hamster from space.”

My brother grinned and winked at me.

“What did our other little brother become, though? Are we going to meet him?” asked Carrie.

“Normally we should meet him in two years. Anelia sends us regular reports about him, and we’ve been exchanging letters with him for a few years now. His name is also Morgan, and he seems very happy. I’ll show you all his letters if you want.” Mom answered.

We all wanted to see the letters, so Mom sent Dad to fetch them, and we all spent the next hour skipping through them and talking. It warmed me up inside to know that despite me not being exactly what they thought I was, my brother and sister still saw me as their little siblings. I felt so privileged to have them all as my family. I didn’t know the Fae who gave birth to me, but I felt that I could never thank her enough for giving this family to me.

When I went to bed, I felt better than I had since I had discovered my Fae heritage. It felt a bit weird to have it out in the open like this, at least among my family, but I was happy that I wouldn’t have to lie to them. Sleep came easily to me, a sweet, dreamless darkness that came to take away the weariness of the day. And then of course something had to spoil it.

I was woken up by the feeling of something brushing against my leg. Still, not completely conscious, I kicked reflexively, hitting something hard and furry.

That woke me up completely. I sat on the bed, trying to distinguish whatever I had just hit when something grabbed my ankle, and pulled me to the ground.

I fell with a loud ‘thump!’ noise, and felt my second ankle being seized too. I immediately went from surprised to furious and kicked furiously to free my legs from whoever had caught me. It didn’t seem to amount to anything, though, and my captor began to drag me under the bed.

That’s when I began to scream, threatening and insulting whatever that thing was.

I could feel magic at work around me, but I couldn’t discern its purpose.

Magic? The thought reminded me of my lessons with Lena. I pointed a finger toward the darkness beneath the bed, where the thing was dragging me, and unleashed the most powerful Elf Shot I could. From under the bed, something cried out in pain, and the hold on my legs disappeared.

I scrambled to my feet and ran to the door of my room, but it just wouldn’t get open. I turned the light on and turned back toward the bed, in time to see my attacker crawling out from underneath. It was a big, hairy, befanged and beclawed humanoid that looked like it escaped from some primatologist’s nightmare.

I didn’t give it the time to completely get out from under the bed. I threw curse after curse at the creature, each one making it roar in pain, but not slowing it down in the slightest. My body felt like it burned as I exhausted myself throwing the nastiest magic I had at the monster.

Soon, it was standing in the middle of the room, enormous, all fur, muscles, fangs and claws, its red eyes glowing like embers, his opened jaws letting escape a fetid stench.

The monster took a wobbling step toward me, its head brushing the ceiling. I immediately threw another curse at it, putting all my anger and fear into it. Outside, the wind was howling, and the noise of the rain made me think about the frenetic stomping of a thousand hoofs on the roof.

The creature howled in agony and fell to one knee.

It raised his arms over its head.

“I surrender,“ it growled. “I recognize your superiority. Please, spare my life.”

I think hearing that thing talk shocked me even more than its sudden attack.

Breathing hard, heart beating like mad, I leaned back against the door, watching the monster carefully in case it tried anything, and pressed my ear against the door. Not a sound. Weird. With the commotion we caused in there, my parents should have come running, but I couldn’t hear any sign that there was any kind of movement beyond the door, which remained stubbornly closed.

I focused back on the monster. It was looking fearfully at me, as if I was the giant predator that crept from under its bed to grab its ankles in the middle of the night.

“Who are you? What are you? And by all that is holy, what did you think you were doing?” I asked, only half expecting an answer. There was something wrong with my voice. It sounded too high.

“I am Dorian. Dorian, the Monster Under the Bed, your greatness. I learned that there was a newly awakened Changeling here, so I came to fight you and gain status by defeating you. But you were too fierce, and I don’t wish to die.” The creature said in its rumbling voice. “I am your humble servant. Please don’t hurt me anymore.”

Sincerely, I had no idea how I was supposed to answer this request. A part of me wanted to try this transformation into a toad thing. I guess I really am this vindictive after all. Another part of me found the creature pitiful. I mean, what kind of monster attacks someone in their sleep, only to have its ass kicked and begged for mercy afterwards? Yet another part of me now thought that Dorian, the Monster Under the Bed was rather cute in a terrifying sort of way, and wanted to keep it as pet. I wondered where that part came from.

“Okay, I won’t hurt you if you remove whatever magic you cast on my room.” I said, my voice still sounding strangely high. And rather melodious, now that I thought about it. Weird, weird.

Oh, of course. I had used so much magic, my glamour must have almost completely faded, if it was gone for good. That meant I was probably in my Fae form right now.

“Done, your greatness.” The monster said quickly.

I couldn’t believe he was that scared of me.

I felt the magic disappear, and some of the tension drained from me, as the door finally opened.

“Good, thank you. Now, keep your claws were I can see them, and don’t move from where you are.” I ordered.

I ran a hand through my hair, wondering what to do with Mister the Monster Under the Bed, here. As expected, my hair had grown; I could feel it cascading down my back.

As the adrenaline subsided, other details sneakily crept at the forefront of my consciousness.

Like the fact that my whole body ached. Or the fact that something felt very cramped an uncomfortable in my back, under my shirt. Or the more troubling fact that my arm had brushed against something soft and sensitive on my chest when I raised it.

I looked down.

I had breasts, sticking arrogantly from my chest, and mercilessly straining my pajama shirt.

Automatically, before I could even think, my hands flew down to grab my crotch.

My eyes widened in horror.

“Nooooo!”

My wail of despair must have been heard on the moon.

“That’s not possible it’s a nightmare, it has to be, things like that don’t happen, they just don’t!”

“Is something wrong milady?” enquired Dorian.

I whirled to face him, pointing a raging finger on him and growled.

“Don’t call me that! I’m not a lady! I’m a man! Do you hear me?”

The monster whimpered and groveled pitifully.

The lights went on, and I heard footsteps approaching.

Panicked, I slammed the door of my room shut. I didn’t want anyone to see me like this.

How was I supposed t explain that? Even I had no idea how it happened.

At that moment, I remembered something Lena had said to me. I would not enjoy shifting back to my true form. It was the one time she’d looked amused when talking to me. Now I knew why.

“Morgan? Are you alright in here?”

It was the voice of my father.

“Yes, I’m fine! Sorry to have bothered you! Go back to bed!”

“Morgan? Your voice sounds strange, son. Are you sure you are alright?”

“Yes!”

“Morgan, open that door, please.

“Uh, no?”

“Young man, you will open that door this instant!”

Without thinking, I opened the door. My father rarely raised his voice, but when he did, people listened and obeyed. Unfortunately I wasn’t an exception.

I found myself looking at my father’s bewildered expression, as he found himself facing a young woman in his son’s pajamas.

“What…? Who are you, young lady and what are you doing in my son’s room?”
“Dad, it’s me, Morgan.”

“What? What do you…?”

Dad looked at me, then past me and his gaze fell on the monster kneeling on the floor of my room.

He looked back at me.

“Morgan?”

I nodded.

He looked back at Dorian, then again at me.

“Graaaace!” he hollered.

I burst into tears.

The next hour was a chaotic whirlwind of tears, consternation, interrogation and general confusion.

Mom ran to my room when Dad called for her, and stopped dead in her tracks at the sight of me. Somehow, she immediately recognized me, and she took me in her arms until I stopped crying and shaking.

When I calmed down, she turned her attention to Dorian, and believe it or not she scolded him until the poor thing begged for my protection. As if I could have protected him from my mom’s outrage even if I’d wanted to! Nothing could stop my mom’s righteous fury. Dorian had to be the most pathetic monster ever.

Jason and Carrie were there, awakened by all the noise. Jason watched the whole scene with a look that said he wasn’t sure he wasn’t still dreaming. Carrie sat me on the bed, and stayed near me, glaring daggers at Dorian while mom was chewing him out.

Then Mom realized that something was wrong with Dad and Jason. They couldn’t stop looking at me. Mom was forced to magically snap them out of the kind of trance seeing me had put them in and send them back to bed. Dorian seemed to be similarly affected, but since mom wasn’t done with him, she let him stay in my room.

She questioned the monster thoroughly. Who was he? What was he doing here? How did he know about me and how to find me? How did he bypass the warding spells around the house?

Dorian repeated what he’d told me, and added a few details.

While nobody specifically sent him after me, there were rumors about a Changeling whose powers were only starting to awaken and who should be easy prey to anyone wanting to improve their status. The rumors had started a few weeks ago, and he’d spent all this time searching for me, in the hope I would be easily defeated.

Without Lena’s training, it was probably what would have happened.

When Mom was done interrogating him, she bid the monster to leave, which he did with almost comical relief. I wasn’t even disappointed to see him get away without further punishment.

I was too distraught over my own fate. I was a girl! And for some reason, I couldn’t stop crying.

“It’s alright, I’m sure everything will be okay, don’t worry,” my sister was whispering soothingly while rocking me softly back and forth like a baby. I clung desperately to her, I don’t know why. I just know that I needed comfort and that she provided it.

Mom joined us on the bed and hugged us both.

I don’t know how long we held each other like this, but in the end, I stopped crying and began to think about the situation. Mom and Carrie released me from their embraces, and they led me to Carrie’s room, so I could get an idea of my new appearance.

The sight was beyond anything I would have imagined. The person that looked at me from the mirror was one of the most beautiful young women I’d ever seen. She had an oval shaped face, long, wavy golden hair so fine it seemed to be made of spider silk, immense glowing emerald eyes, smooth olive skin, a small straight nose, high, delicate cheekbones, pulpous pink lips and pointed ears. She had a body that could only be described as voluptuous, with a hourglass figure, long slender limbs that moved with feline grace and nervous strength. Even with puffy eyes, still red from all the crying and the mess on her face, she was magnificent. She was me.

It was horrible.

“Morgan you’re gorgeous.” Breathed my sister. She produced a tissue from somewhere, and gently wiped my face clean.

I think she meant it as some sort of reassurance. It only made me tear up again.

“We need to get you out of this shirt,” my mom said.

“What? Why?” I asked.

What was going on, again?

“Because of your wings, Morgan. You are going to hurt them, otherwise.”

“Impossible, I can’t have wings under my shirt. There isn’t enough place…”

“No there isn’t. It’s doing something really weird, back there. I can’t even describe it. I think they’re growing. ” My sister intervened.

My mom took a pair of scissors and ordered me not to move. Then she cut my shirt open with the scissors, and the cramped feeling disappeared.

It felt a bit like I was spreading my arms after having them being constrained for a long time.

“It’s beautiful” whispered Carrie, “your wings… they are unfurling. Like the frond of a fern.”

I looked behind me and here they were, two enormous golden feathered wings, each one larger than I was tall, spanning the entirety of Carrie’s room, almost from wall to wall.

I touched one of them tentatively, the feathers were incredibly soft, and I could feel the contact of my hand on my wing. That thing was really a part of me.

I tried to move them, and I knocked over Carrie’s nightstand.

“Sorry,“ I said, between two sobs.

“It’s okay, no permanent damage. How do you feel?”

How did I feel? I felt like I was going to lose it any second now. There was a flash of lightning and the claps of thunder, so close, too close, making the house tremble slightly.

I had to calm down, get my emotions under control.

I tried to regain control of my breathing first, but I was hiccupping too much.

“Shhh, it’s alright, honey. We’ll find a solution.”

A solution? How were we supposed to find a solution to the fact that I was really a girl?

The very thought was so absurd, that I began to laugh, while still sobbing and hiccupping.

I think I kind of broke down at this moment. I just couldn’t stop laughing and crying and sobbing.

In the end, I wailed like a banshee, felt the world shift around me, and then I felt nothing but the peaceful embrace of oblivion.



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