Illustrated short story
2016 Edition ---- License Notes
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Copyright Nov 2016
By R. McCullough
Step with me into a modern world; one where true magical energy has returned.
However, there is a most wicked catch……….
Only a very, very few can use this energy and not all of those are necessarily sane…
Many without the ability are fearful, resentful, and bitter or worse, a few are… Dangerous
Religious extremists and other zealots demand death or imprisonment for users of this energy, this Mana, to do magic or even magical Healing.
Then there are those truly eeevil that use Mana to just take and take n take n take n….
What would you do if you met a Faerie Dragon or Unicorn, or other mythical creatures?
Fabled creatures arrive; most are not dangerous, but others……..
Magical Artifacts begin to be found – some benevolent – others not so much.
Then -- a way is found into another realm where the Gods and demigods of mythology reign supreme.
This short story is where father and son encounter something not of this world, but is encroaching upon ours.
Other stories to follow include where a group of D&D gamers and medieval reenactors accidently find a way into another Realm. There they learn of the much, much more dangerous sort of undead, the Zombie -
Late afternoon on a cloudy day sees a father and son had gone fishing. They’ve had little luck, having only caught small no keepers. Then they notice something strange moving up the river. A cloud of what appears to be a swarm of very large gnats or some other flying insect in the distance. They are flitting about over the water and acting rather… bizarre. One, sometimes two or three, after another would dart down and smack the water. Then, quickly lift up to rejoin the swirling group some two or three feet over the water. It’s almost as if the insects are taunting something in the water. Abruptly there are several splashes as numerous fish begin stirring the water, almost to froth. Fish begin leaping in an attempt to swallow one or more of the now mostly hovering group. The father and his 11 year old son are watching spellbound from shore.
As he pulls out his cell phone to take pictures the boy asks, “What are they dad?” He snaps several shots and looks at the results, but the group is simply much too far away. The camera is focusing on the background rather that the flying cloud. It basically looks like a blurred swarm of… something in the distance.
“Darned if I know Randy, at that distance it’s too far be able to see what they are, especially in this dim light,” replies Ben. “Besides, I’m fairly positive they‘re much too large to be gnats; might be a bunch of dragon flies. But then, I’ve never seen or heard of them flying in groups. It’s certainly strange. Here you go son, catch.” Tossing keys toward his son, he continues, “Run to the truck and bring back both pair of binoculars so we can get a better look.”
Once the binoculars are zoomed in and focused, they stare in amazement. They realize the flying group consists not of insects, but what look more like tiny winged beings! They are moving so fast it’s impossible to see clearly, especially with the low power binoculars. Small fish continue jumping in an attempt to catch one of the beings and are now joined by larger fish.
Their fishing poles lay forgotten on the ground as they continue watching. Much larger fish are now jumping up and occasionally swallow the smaller fish as they jumped and fall back. The boy glanced over, “No one will believe us, will they dad?” sighs Randy.
“Just another tall fish tale like the one that got away son,” Ben replies quietly. Then one of the beings gets too low for too long and a large fish jumps higher; easily swallowing it.
Instantly from the now hovering mass, several thin beams of intense yellow light briefly flash down. They strike the fish, piercing completely through and through as it falls back with a splash. Many more beams, too many to count but of a greenish color, flash down. They look as if they attach to the floating fish. The group begins towing the motionless fish to, and up onto, a sand bar about ten feet closer to the shore.
With only the low power binoculars, the distance still prevented a good view of what the swarm was doing. Plus it was partly hidden behind a small bush and log. It did however, look like different intense colored beams were now being used on the fish; was it possible they were cutting up the fish? “Dad, you think maybe they’re trying to get the swallowed one out?” Ben and Randy move quickly to a slightly better vantage point where they can better see what is happening. From there they see one slightly larger being was using a white beam to slice into the fish’s side. “Dad, you didn’t answer. You think they’re trying to get the swallowed one out?”
“I really doubt that son.”
“Dad, think they may be Fairies? I remember a story awhile back about a woman; in Georgia I think; actually got a picture of one inside one of her flower blossoms. But I think it had butterfly wings. Most of my friends, and some others, were ridiculing the blog as fake, especially the picture. These look different tho, very dark, and kinda shiny. But the shine may be ‘cause they’re wet from the water you reckon? Plus these have wings moving so fast they’re blurring; that’s much too fast for butterfly wings. The one pictured on that blog looked a lot lighter than these and I think was bigger. I sure wish we could get close enough to get a picture. Umm… uh, Dad, I just realized something; I don’t think these got no clothes on either.”
“Yeah, I noticed that too; but English son, use proper English. After all, your mother is an English teacher and she just might shoot you for that,” says a grinning Ben. “Also, you’ve been told to speak slower as you’re running your words together again.”
“Truth, Dad, but you gotta admit it sure says it with meaning!” he exclaims. “And I’ll try to slow down for your older ears.”
With a chuckle and a big smile, Ben replied, “You are sho nuff and fo-sho got that right me boy.”
Pointing, Randy exclaims, “Look, I think something’s climbing out of the fish! That must be the one that got ate! Wow, they saved it.”
“Randy that has to be just a simple coincidence. Being so small I doubt they can have much intelligence, that’s probably just instinct or something.”
Rolling his eyes, hands on hips and, with an expression of ‘Parents’ on his face Randy quips, “Well, those gathering around it sure seem excited. Hey, its wings look a lot like dragonfly wings! But I think those look shorter.”
As they watch in fascination, they see the freed one jump into the water and followed quickly by a good sized group also diving in. They begin cavorting about and seem to be splashing one another. Soon a loud bang is heard at which the playing stops and all return to cutting up the fish. A small group breaks away, and flies extremely fast toward the shore about twenty feet or so to Ben and Randy’s right. There they disappear into the woods. They moved much too fast to be able to refocus the binoculars for a clear view or to follow them. Shortly they return to the sand bar, each carrying bundles of tiny twigs. They are making numerous fast trips taking more and more, after those they begin trips with somewhat larger twigs. Then they separate into pairs and come out carrying even larger sticks between two and flying much slower. Having thought fast, Randy had already run back to the truck and has just returned with a small hatchet.
He quickly cuts up a bunch if quarter inch thick dry sticks about four inches long. Holding one up Randy lets out a shrill whistle. One pair of … fairies, heading back to the woods pause and head toward him, then others. Randy stands very still as twelve pair of the beings hover, obscured in the darkling shade, about four feet in front of him. All have open palms pointed toward him as he holds out one of the sticks. He is careful to hold the stick in the middle between two fingers leaving the stick ends exposed. Randy whispers, “Dad, can you get my phone from my back pocket and get some pictures?”
Ben looks at Randy’s back pocket and whispers a reply, “It’s not in your pocket son. Besides, the flash might’ve spooked them into… something.”
The beings look to be an inch, maybe an inch and a quarter or slightly more tall, their wings that are just a blur from moving so fast. One pair move up and take the stick from him. The shade and gathering dark prevents Randy from getting a clear view of them even when the pair speedily came up and got a stick. He could feel the breeze from the wing’s rapid movement. They drop down a bit as they take what to them must be a heavy weight. With the stick held between them, they fly slower back toward the sand bar. The other eleven pair form a line, then fly up, accept a stick, and carry them to the sand bar. They came back for a total of forty-one sticks before no longer returning for more. Shortly there is a flash of red light, and then a bit of flame seen and a smidgen of smoke begins to rise. Soon the smell of overcooked fish reaches the pair of watchers and they realize the tiny beings were in fact, cooking the fish.
“A bit more intelligent than you thought dad?”
“I suppose so… Come on son, it’s getting pretty late and we need to be heading home. You know, I bet you that you left your phone in the truck.” With a short laugh he continues, “I told you that one day you would regret always leave it lying around.”
As they head back to the truck Randy is lagging well behind with shoulders drooping. He’s not paying attention as he approached the old outhouse he drew for art class last winter.
Head down, chin almost touching his chest and deep in thought. ‘Man, no one will ever believe our ‘fish tale’. He is so dejected that, at first, he did not hear or pay attention to a noise in front of him. He froze when the now louder rattling sound suddenly penetrated his brain. Looking up slightly he sees a large rattlesnake coiled less than a foot away, poised to strike. Afraid to move, he called out in a low voice, “Dad.” No response; so slightly louder, “Dad; rattlesnake. I can’t move or it may strike!”
“I’m on my way son; just don’t move.”
“Better believe it man,” whispers Randy.
Suddenly, from off to Randy’s side, an intense thin beam of yellow light pierces the snake’s head.
The rattlesnake drops, not even wriggling as normally happens. Randy looked to his side and could make out one of the beings hovering very near. It still had an open palm held out toward the snake. It dropped… O; her… hand, waved, and flew away in a blur as Ben approached.
Slowing to a cautious walk, looking at the snake with his machete still at the ready he asks, “OK son, what’s the story?” Ben pokes the three foot snake with the machete to make sure it’s dead. Randy, mouth still hanging open, is staring in the direction the… fairy flew and did not answer. Louder Ben says, “Son, what happened?”
Then, in a strangely calm, low voice, Randy explains what happened, pauses, deciding what to name to use, answers, “Dad, did you know Fairies have three boobs?”
“Boobs; Yeah… boobs; she was very dark but I’m pretty sure the one that killed the rattler had three; but I was a bit distracted… ok; a bit terrified, plus she was really tiny and coal black. Course it getting dark didn’t help but she was pretty close.”
Ben lifts up the snake, shines his small flashlight on it, and looks at the small hole burned thru its head. “Well son, this hole looks cauterized, as if it was hit with a laser. At least we now have a bit of proof for our fish tale… And, that these beings are definitely not defenseless.”
“Say Dad, how much you think it would cost to find a taxidermist and get the snake stuffed?
….. Maybe with a small yellow something to represent the beam thru its head?”
To be continued…….
My intent, once I have completed several short stories (some free – some low cost), is to combine the stories into a full length novel sequel to Mana in the Modern World.
This gives me, and possibly others if they want, the ability to have more; What if; things happening around a changing world.
It also creates the possibilities of more n different good or appalling characters. That being ‘said’ – yes, I am open to others joining in the fun of building adventures in ‘my’ world.
And yes, I may allow others to create stories for inclusion in the story line.
- I’m not doing the book to make coins but might also be willing to purchase some plot lines.
I truly hope you enjoyed this short story.
Watch for more, hopefully in the near future – presently in work.
Possible titles include:
The Realm – a group of gamers accidently enter another realm where creatures and gods of mythology live. Dangerous; You bet!
The Hunt – a large reward is offered for the capture alive of a large, hazardous Fairy.
Visiting dragon – a sleepy town in New Mexico gets a surprise visit.
Crete – a dangerous magic item is found.
New York Central Park – plants foil a rape.
Let me know if you have a story idea that would fit in my world.
A father and son find magical beings in the strangest setting.