Ames

I fell through the Rabbit Hole - literally. That’s what my people call the portal that connects the realm of the fae to the human world. I guess I didn’t really fall, I intended to go through, it was more like diving really.

 

I was on patrol, keeping a lookout for Spawn (vile, one-eyed, oozy-hairy creatures with two oddly placed legs and antennae that shoot acid-like substances, paralyzing their victims) who have recently grown in force and have been trying to infiltrate the human world since we can remember.

 

My people are the guardians. The first and last line of defense between my realm and the humans. We stop as many Spawn as we can from getting through the Rabbit Holes, but the attacks have been more frequent and we haven’t been able to stop all of them from getting through. Which is how I wound up here. I was chasing one, it separated from it’s party, which was heading towards a village, and so the rest of my team kept after it’s group, while I went to hunt this one solo.

 

It was weird, actually - Rabbit Holes are fixed points, and we know their location, but this Spawn…this creature created it’s own, or discovered one we didn’t know about. I’ve walked through the elder forest hundreds of times and the Rabbit Hole we went through wasn’t there before.

 

If the Spawn have developed the ability to create their own portals, that could mean the end of both the human and fae realms.

 

The Spawn might sound more gross than dangerous, but their end goal has always been to take over as many worlds as possible. Who knows how many have been lost to the Spawn. They do this quietly, and in most realms, they are invisible - very few people know they exist which makes them so insidious. The humans are one such group, the spawn pass invisibly to them, quietly manipulating their world without humans ever realizing it. This is why we guard the Rabbit Holes and fight the Spawn as much as we can before they make it to the surface. They play with minds. They shoot acid, yes, but mostly, they can get inside their victims head. Our scientists haven’t been able to understand how they do this, but it’s a form of mind control which they’ve perfected.

 

Over the centuries, we’ve seen them turn civilizations into self-destructing empires.

War-torn countries are overrun with Spawn, they target the powerful and the privileged.

 

My people developed a technology that makes humans less of a target for the Spawn, and also prepares them to fight - if they can see them and acknowledge their reality. The problem is, most humans don’t believe other realms exist, which is why we look for the few who believe in magic, the gamers, and the ones who are open to the unknown. The Spawn don’t see these people as threats, because they aren’t usually in positions of great influence, but these people are more powerful than even they know.

 

My first priority, is to find this Spawn, and capture it before it finds a target. If only I knew where I was.

 

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Ena

My best friends call me Ena, and they understand who I am. My mother, on the other hand, won’t and never will. I hide alone in my room, with the light of my screen glowing eerily against the dark. My sweaty hands run over the keyboard familiarly as I plan my escape. She would never understand - my mother - she embraces everything that I fight against. Her life’s work and values assault my identity and she finds my passions foolish. So on this summer’s eve, the full moon glistens outside my window, I pack the last of my treasured belongings and stealthily escape.

 

Save. Power Down. Close. Zip. Shoulder.

 

“Eluna! Come down here, girl! I have something to show you!”

“Coming, mom!” I grumble, pangs in my chest. I know she doesn’t mean it, I know she doesn’t know, but that doesn’t mean that misgendering doesn’t hurt.

I slowly walk downstairs, backpack in tow, there are balloons, and a cake - looks like they remembered after all.

 

“Congratulations!” the banner over the archway to the kitchen exclaims. My boxes and suitcases are by the door ready to go in my car, right where I left them last night. My siblings blow those little paper horns and the cake is cut into pieces. This party, a facade, as if the problems leading up to this moment never happened, as if everything were always peachy, as if they care. But maybe they do, I wonder as I hug the kids and grab a slice of cake, doing my best to play the part of the smiling daughter.

 

I can never know how much they’ll understand, or if they’ll ever even try.

 

“You can write from home, you know” my mom said in a last ditch effort to convince me to stay, “you don’t have to move so far away.” I looked at her with eyes full of pity, “I know, mom”.

I turned my attention away - trying to hide the onslaught of emotion - gazing intently at the icing left on my plate until it was time to say goodbye.

 

—-

 

The journey has been long and arduous and probably always will be. You try living with your very existence bucking the norms. But good friends - chosen family, real family - they make it easier, and I feel like, for the first time ever, I’m going home.

Loud shrieks brought my attention back from within, and I saw familiar faces and arms flailing.

“They’re here!” I heard my best friend call to the rest of my soon-to-be-roommates as I pulled in the driveway of my new home. Fitz (Ryn’s adorable mutt) came bounding out, with Ryn, Ames, and Spaz not far behind.  

 

We brought my things up and gathered in the livingroom with wine and pasta - two staples of this chosen family. Fitz snuggled lazily next to my feet, as we planned our futures and deconstructed the world.


Today, is the beginning, and who knows what adventure lies ahead.

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It is okay to want your own happiness. It’s okay to care about yourself the most. You are not obligated to sit there and smile and swallow every bit of shit everyone heaps on you. You are more than furniture, you’re more than window dressing, you’re not their shiny toy. You’re human, and you have the right to say “That was shitty of you”. You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions. The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.

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