Welcome to part 3 of the Story in the Round! This is also the first official day of the Hot Paranormal Nights Blog Hop, so I hope you’ll hop around to the other blogs and see what everyone has going on. 🙂 Enjoy!
The people before me glowed. There was no other way to put it. The intricate patterns tattooed all over the exposed portions of their skin were lit up, as if from within.
The man was taller than average, his tan skin in stark contrast to the eerie white glow emanating from his tattoos. The woman was pale, almost ethereal in her beauty and the silken way she moved.
They walked toward Danny and me, the woman’s gauzy skirt swirling around her ankles. The man smiled, and although they looked so strange, so alien, I calmed almost immediately in response. Danny’s steel grip on my arm had relaxed as well, and I guessed the stranger’s smile had the same effect on him.
“Hello.” The woman spoke softly. Her voice tinkled, the way I imagined silver would if it were a sound. “I am so sorry we startled you.”
“That was certainly not our intention.” The man’s pale blue eyes held mine, and the deep, rich timber of his voice reverberated through me. “Please accept our sincere apologies.”
“Who…who are you?” The question blurted out of me; I hadn’t meant to be so blunt. If these two were fairies or wraiths—and their incandescent skin said they were definitely something other than human—I didn’t want to incur their supernatural wrath.
“I am Aria,” the woman said. “And this is Alek. We come from Neráida.”
Danny stepped forward, closer to the woman. I looked at him sharply, but his eyes were trained on her. He seemed to be in a trance, completely unaware of anything but the two strangers before us.
“Your…your skin.” Danny reached out a hand toward Aria. She didn’t move away or deter him in any way, but he seemed to lose his nerve at the last moment. Dropping his hand, he said, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Where’s Neráida?” I looked from one hauntingly beautiful face to the other. “You’re not…you’re not from here, are you?” By “here” I meant the mortal realm. I hoped they understood; I couldn’t bring myself to actually say the words. This was all insane, and yet, it was happening right before my eyes.
Danny darted me an “of course they’re not” look and turned back to inspect their skin. How was it so easy for him to accept all of this?
Alek spoke. “No. We are Fae. The Solstice has allowed us to cross the veil between realms. We shall return to Neráida on the autumnal equinox when the veil reopens.”
Fae. As in, fairies. So Danny’s joke wasn’t really a joke at all. My stomach seemed to be filled with ice. I didn’t know whether to run away or ask the million questions that bounced around in my mind.
“Why are you here?” I finally managed to spit out.
Aria spoke, her voice soft, her green eyes dancing with fear. “Our king sent us. We have a task to complete by the autumnal equinox. And if we do not…”
Alek completed the thought for her, looking from me to Danny and back. His voice, I noticed, held just a hint of a tremble. “They will kill us. And you as well.”
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