It was early morning and the Elve, Twee, stood in front of her house by the road beside the fancily Elven crafted mailbox that read “Uhtrishin’s Farm.” She had taken a day off from school Friday for a recovery period and that made for a long weekend. Weekends were a human contrivance, really, a loosely put-together idea based on religion in part, and the other part coming from their old labor unions’ fight for worker’s rights back in ancient times. In Wirishiem, home of the Elves and other mystical creatures, weekends had no meaning at all. The calendar was the same, seven days to the week and so forth, but work times fluctuated around the most productive time for Elves, as decreed by King Trueheart three hundred years ago.

She adjusted the lightweight Elven green-leaf pack that held her school books and papers and spotted the hover bus coming from the north, from the Elven city called El’ha’ven. The days off had been good for her. She worked the farm with her brothers, staying close to them, bumping shoulders with them, putting her hands on their strong shoulders, loving them at every turn. The women in her family came very close to a very bad fate. Humans, lead by a witch, recently captured and collared them all. It was a foiled attempt to sell them into slavery.

The bus stopped and opened its right door for her. It had one on each side. She stepped up, trying to be modest, since her skirt was very short. Twee had long blond hair, parted in the middle, a small pointed nose with a swoosh of freckles, and big round yellow eyes.

Her Pixie friends on the bus were a bit cruder than her. They waved to her and she stepped around the driver in the center of the bus and went to sit with those girls. Pixies were small, three feet high. Male Pixies sometimes grew taller, to three and a half feet, and all Pixies flew. They had wings.

The world had grown accustomed to strange beings’ presence since the Great Pulling, the event that brought magic back after a dormant time of twenty thousand years. All these creatures were citizens of Wirishiem, although the magic they all had at one time was gone.

She walked to them down the center aisle and Nickie, her best friend, pulled up her shirt. She had painted eyeballs on her round breasts. Twee didn’t encourage her. Twee rolled her eyes and shook her head. Nickie had short brown hair cut in a messy bob, puckered baby-doll lips, and big blue eyes. Nickie’s little body was very curvy and plump in her hips. Two Pixie girls roared laughing at Nickie’s prank and beat their wings frantically, except Dina. That’s what they did when something excited them, they buzzed their wings. The Pixie girls were bold, very forward with their sexuality.

An Elven boy turned and laughed. Twee took a seat across the aisle from Nickie. She put her shirt back down.

“What are you staring at, spoon ears?” Nickie asked the boy. “These tits ain’t for nobody but a human boy. I ain’t wasting my time on no apple-stemmed little elf.” The girls laughed and buzzed.

“Little?” the boy asked. He forced a laugh. The Elven boy’s name was Roland. The other Elven boy, Jory, sat looking forward with his hands between his knees. He was embarrassed. Jory was the brightest of all these exchange students chosen for their intelligence.

“That’s enough!” the female elf bus driver yelled.

“Interracial mixing is weakening the Elven race, and the Pixie race,” Jory said. “I don’t think we should breed with them.”

“Oooo, he speaks,” Dina said. She sat by Nickie. She wore black clothes, had black hair, and wore black lipstick. She was gangly and tall for a Pixie and she had no wings. She was half human.

The bus moved on and picked up three more Elves.

Their banter went on. The bus passed the area where Poony took to the trees to go home. His trail was up there. The canopies were so thick and tight that over the centuries they formed their own surface. Twee had never been up there in the land above the land, the forest on top the forest. She did not know where he lived and had no idea how far he traveled to get to this road.

Things happened so fast at the farm that day when the humans came and captured them. She had just arrived home and they were already there. They had taken everyone by surprise, tied the unconscious men in the barn and collared the women. Her father recounted the story saying that all he remembered was hearing a snap and he went to sleep. The human men wrestled her down and collared her. They took them to the river treating them roughly, jerking her this way and that. Her wrists still had red rings on them from the bindings. At the falls, that elf appeared out of nowhere. To her surprise, it was Poony. He swung on that vine and knocked that witch over the falls. She looked up at the top of the trees as the bus passed by. She did not know what fate he suffered.

Twee shook her head. She whispered, “Poor Poony. I hope you’re still alive,” She stood to leave the bus. But, she had no interest in Poony romantically, who could? He was so unattractive.

The Craf’ter’fech, Wirishiem’s Army, came to the farm later that night after the incident and the men of the family – Father, Brool, Pall, Undy, and Edgar – all told of the abduction, described everything. She helped in the kitchen with mother and her sisters, and her sisters-in-law, all loving sisters. They prepared dinner and listened to the men discuss the crime and the investigation. She did not know much of such matters. That was for the men. Her thoughts turned to her domestic chores. Their dinner consisted of what they grew and harvested. The meat dish they made from the ancient Elven Carn ala Tule, a root plant that grew fat like a rutabaga, only five times larger and was soft when ripe. They could slice and grill it like steak, or batter and fry like chicken fried steak. Humans called it Meat Plant and it became a staple worldwide after Elves introduced it three hundred years ago. The tops, or greens, made a tasty bacon flavored salad.

It tasted better than beef, it was healthier, it cooked easier, and kept longer. The Uhtrishins grew five hundred acres of Carn ala Tule. Control of seeds kept Elven farmers rich. Twee and her mother made two extra Carn ala Tule sandwiches most every day, quartered them, and individually wrapped each one in greens for her to give to the poor kids.

The bus approached the border gate, slowed, and stopped. The driver opened the door. “You youngsters have a good day,” she said.

Twee took out her compact and did a quick check of her hair and makeup. She exited the Elven bus, crossed the border gate, and walked to the waiting yellow human bus that would take the exchange students to the human high school. She slowed and watched for Bobby’s pickup truck. He was her human boyfriend.

The yellow human bus was also a solar powered bus, but in ran on an electric motor and rolled on wheels. There was no gasoline anything anymore. During the Great War, the Living Ancestors, Kaitee and Meann, saw to that. The twins sang and their faces appeared in the sky. They turned all the oil in the world inert. It would no longer burn. They did the same thing to coal, after that, the Goddess Maki ravaged all the nuclear fuel, turned it to dust. They were the most powerful three Elves – the most powerful magical beings in the world, ever. But Kaitee and Meann, the beloved twins, put the crown on Maki’s head, and bowed to her. They knew who yielded the greatest power. Maki could put a single finger in a river and purify the water. Maki was nature, power incarnate.

Was she still alive? No one knew.

She looked for her Bobby. He was her boy. His big white pickup was not there. This was odd. She frowned as she stepped up on the yellow human school bus and found a seat in front. There was still no Bobby as the bus quietly rolled through the turn-around and away from the border.

The school house was human modern, glitzy architecture with glass and steel tubing. High roof sails caught the breezes and cooled the public area. The crowds gathered in the same huddles in the public area, athletes in one area, cheerleaders and their followers nearby, popular rich boys who owned pickup trucks in one area – where Bobby would be but he was not. Elves and Pixie exchange students were in their usual corner standing and talking before class, and there was the poor human people, Caucasian and African-American.

After she gave out sandwiches to them, she walked over to the crowd of boys with whom Bobby associated. They were all well dressed and clean. They combed their hair and had nice teeth. They were all so handsome. They recognized her as she walked over, her in her little skirt and tight shirt, and her smile. She smiled broader as she approached, the proper way to greet such boys. Some stood. One boy took her hand and lead her into their group. They were very courteous.

“Good morning, boys. I come to greet you all and to inquire,” she said.

“Miss Twee, you look delicious, like a piece of candy!” one boy said.

She allowed her cheeks to blush, “You are too kind, handsome sir,” giving the proper reply.

“I have a question, if someone would be so kind to indulge me,” she said. The boys agreed unanimously. “Have any of you seen my boy, Bobby, today?”

Their demeanor changed abruptly and dramatically. Serious expressions washed their faces and they stood. She knew this was bad, with them standing, towering above her. They knew how this was to go. They knew when they saw her walk to them, but customs were customs and the woman was first to speak, to tell her intentions. It would be rude for the man to speak ahead of her, coarse and vulgar. It was the way of the South. Now they stood over her, strong like a wall.

“Miss Twee, I’m afraid that we bear shocking news,” the boy who took her hand said. The others nodded. “Bobby’s family has suffered a tragedy. You should speak with him yourself and let him explain.”

“But kind sir, would that not be crossing my bounds? Would that not insult his mother?” She looked up from one clean shaven face to another. They looked sadly at each other.

“We cannot speak to that, now, Miss Twee,” another boy said. “If I were Bobby, I would be anxiously waiting for your call.”

“Yes, anxiously,” said another boy.

She paid the proper respects and left the group. The first bell rang and she went to her home room behind the poor white kids. They smelled badly. It was a stark contrast to the group she just left. Those boys stood proud and erect, these kids were terrified and slouched, shuffled. She thought about Poony’s trees and how she did not want to live there when she went to live with the man she mated. She decided she really didn’t want to live here, in the South, either.

The Clayborn School forbade using iSmart, contrarily, El’ha’ven High, her Elven school, encouraged using iSmart. She had to wait until the school day finished and she was on the bus home to call Bobby. She sat with Nickie by the window and stared at the screen on her iSmart. The message read, “ringing.” She waited on his face to appear. Advertisements popped up at the bottom. A voice text from her friend in El’ha’ven popped up. She listened and talked back in bastard Elven while she waited on the system at Bobby’s house to get him online. She opened her purse and took out her small contact lens case.

She put in her virtual reality contact lenses and while she talked to her friend, they went virtual reality shopping in El’ha’ven. In that reality, she walked the aisles of the clothing store with her friend. It was not an avatar, she was there! The Elven looking glass combined with internet and virtual reality put the actual form of the person there. She found a skirt she liked on the rack and the store’s sales person appeared and showed her the red pay dot. Twee tapped the dot with her payment jewel on her ring and bought the new skirt. The sales person verified her address and put the package in the out bin for shipment. The skirt would be in her bedroom soon, laid out on her bed. The delivery service was very personal. Leaving a package at the door and walking away from it was rude and uncaring. They exited the virtual reality and she came back to the bus. Her friend and she laughed because it was so much fun, like another existence. Bobby’s face popped and she clicked her friend off and brought up his face.

“Hey, lover boy. You should get VR. We could kiss, really kiss. I heard about a tragedy. May I inquire?”

Bobby looked around nervously. “Mother is dead. She fell. That’s all I’m told. Father is on a rampage.” His father flashed by. He held something in his hand. It was a chain! Twee gasped.

A vision from the past flashed. Poony kicked that witch over the falls!

She saw the back of a blue pickup and a big white house behind him. It looked like what he described as their mansion. “Are you in front of your mansion? Where are you?”

Men grabbed Bobby. It looked like two of them. They put a collar on him and snapped it shut. His iSmart went dark. Nickie grabbed Twee’s shoulders and sat her back down in her seat.

“What is going on with you?”

“It’s Bobby. They’ve done something to him.”

“Replay it,” Nickie said, “I want to see.”

They stopped at the border gate. “We have to get off. I’ll show you in a minute.”

They crossed through the foot traffic turnstile and walked together, Twee held the iSmart and Nickie flew beside her and watched the scene.

The girls were unaware, but above them in a tree, Poony ran and jumped and crawled from limb to limb watching and waiting for a chance to talk to Twee. He overheard the scene and caught glimpses of Bobby on her screen.

“I’ve got to go,” Twee said, “But I don’t have a way.”

“I’ll get my scooter,” Nickie said. “It has a sidecar. We have to be back by sundown or the guard won’t let us in. He’ll call our parents.”

“How long?”

“Just wait here. I’ll be back in thirty minutes. It’s a winding trail through the forest.” Nickie flew off into the forest.

Twee paced with her iSmart in her hand, tapping it on her thigh. Poony slid down the tree trunk and stood still behind her. “Don’t do this, Twee,” he said softly.

She jumped, startled. “Poony! You heard!”

He nodded. “If you go to this human’s house, you’ll be in grave danger. You are an Elven female. You risk being enslaved, again, Twee.”

“I must see if Bobby is…”

“You love him, I know that,” Poony said and frowned. He couldn’t believe those words came out his mouth. He stood straight, shoulders back. This was not attrition. He would not give her up. “Anyone can see that you do. But what good is love if you are sold on a slaver stand in New Orleans?”

“We don’t know if any of that is going on. We don’t know anything yet,” she said her voice rising. “His father is distraught over losing his wife.”

“You are right. But, I’m right, too,” he said calmly gesturing for her to be calm. “Please reconsider. Talk to your father first. He would know better how to handle this. Maybe get the authorities involved.”

Twee smacked the iSmart on her hip hard. “Poony look, Father was grateful for you. But, that’s over now and what I want you to do is just get out of my business. You hover around my legs like a hungry cat! Just go back up in your trees and leave me alone!” She snapped at him.

He leaned back, frowning. “Your father was grateful. What about you?”

The breeze caught her blond hair and she brushed it from her face.

She turned her back on him, again, and dialed Bobby. Poony turned his head, winced from the pain, and retreated to the tree trunk. He hopped up, looked back at her, and leaped, and soon disappeared into the canopy. Twee looked out of the corner of her eye and sighed with relief that he was gone.

Soon the solar powered floating scooter with sidecar silently rounded the corner off the path and stopped in front of Twee. She quickly tied her long blond hair in a ponytail. Nickie, wearing a tight black sports bra designed in the back around her wings, and tight shorts, gave her a helmet. Twee smiled, raised her short skirt a little and stepped in the sidecar, and they went forward to the gate. They showed passes on necklaces and the guard raised the arm. They turned right, southwest, and headed toward the border town of Harrison.

The town wasn’t far. Ten minutes later they passed the big modern high school that Twee and Nickie attended, turned past the football field, and took the paved road toward the wealthy homes and mansions. Twee directed Nickie to Bobby’s house. He had pointed out his long driveway to her before, but she had never been up to the house. They stopped at the turn into the estate.

“The gate is closed, Twee, what do you want to do?”

Twee got out of the sidecar, walked to the iSmart on the gate and touched the screen. There was no power light. It was black. “It’s off. Why would they turn it off, completely off?”

“I don’t know, maybe they have a domestic thing going on in there,” Nickie said. “My old man and mother fight all the time, when they’re not screwing.”

“Don’t think I could live like that,” Twee said as she walked out to the road.

“You get used to it,” Nickie said. “What are you doing?”

“Poony makes this look so easy,” she said. She ran toward the gate and leaped. She cleared the spikes on the top by inches and landed on the other side, sliding and steadying her landing with her hands on the pavement.

“Yeah, screw it,” Nickie said. She fluttered her wings and flew gracefully over the gate.

“Come on,” Twee said and took off at a trot toward the house, ponytail bouncing. Nickie flew behind her.

They caught sight of the roof of the mansion first, and the front came into view. Twee had to stop. She had never seen anything like it. The grandiosity and opulence was overwhelming. To her, it was a palace, fit for a king. The portico boasted six white columns, boldly saying that this was a place of strength and depth. But, something was wrong here.

Some of the windows had black char plumed at the top. The stone exterior was blackened around the tops of a few second story windows, and a few of the first. The broken glass from the windows was strewn underneath. There had been a fire. There was glass in the driveway. The front door was ajar. Twee walked cautiously up the broad stone steps of the portico, her pointed ears upright. She stopped, turned to Nickie biting her bottom lip.

“Careful, elf girl,” Nickie said. “You’ don’t know what they’ve been doing in there. And from the looks of it, it was one hell of a party.”

“This was no party. This was damage, hurt. But I’ve got to go on. I’ve got to try to find Bobby,” she said and pushed one of the big white double doors. It opened effortlessly into the foyer. The doorway cast a long wide light into the room onto a spiral staircase.

“Bobby?” Twee called out. There was no answer. It was deathly still and quiet.

“Not liking this, Twee,” Nickie said. Her wings picked up speed sounding like a big bumble bee.

“Bobby!” Twee shouted this time. Her voice reverberated.

She heard a moan. It was faint, far away. “Bobby, is that you? Where are you?”

The moan came again. She walked past the stairs and called again. The moan came again and was louder. There was an archway at the end of the hall that led to a food preparation area, she could see the table, and the kitchen. But another door before that along the wall, closed, led somewhere else.

“Bobby, where are you?” She asked and listened. The moan came from behind the closed door. She tried the knob and it turned. She opened it and there were stairs leading down. Twee stepped into the blackness, the little Pixie, Nickie, only three feet tall, right behind her. The carpeted stairs went down to a cellar. Twee felt along the wall until her yellow eyes adjusted. She could see quite well in the darkened room.

Bobby was there! He lay on his back on the floor. Bobby was tall and thin, had curly brown hair and blue eyes. He wore slacks and his unbuttoned shirt showed his white tee-shirt. Twee hurried to him and knelt beside him. She felt his forehead.

Something cold was on her neck and she knew what this was. It was the same cold steel she felt before, outside the barn. It clicked shut. Someone had collared her again!

Nickie, too! Nickie squirmed, buzzed. She flew all around. Pixies went crazy being captive. They could not survive.

The lights suddenly came on. Bobby raised up smiling. Men removed night vision goggles.

“Let her go!” Twee shouted. “She will die on a leash!”

“It is not our fault she is here, is it Twee?” Bobby asked.

“YOU!” she screamed at Bobby. “You played me! Your friends played me! They set me up! You…were my lover boy!”

“It’s not my fault, is it Twee?” Booby asked, his voice velvet smooth.

The collar went warm. Twee’s face went calm, tranquil. “No sir,” Twee said. Bobby flicked his hand and two men dragged Nickie away. “That’s much better, Twee. I’m so glad we see things as they are.”

“Yes, sir.”

Bobby stood and pulled the end of the chain, pulling Twee to her feet. “Once we get you trained Miss Twee, a blond-haired, yellow-eyed elf such as yourself will earn big for us in Doon’alshiem,” he said leaning near her face.

“Yes, Bobby.” A tear ran down her cheek. She looked out the small basement window. She saw the sunset and her arms and hands went limp, her chin rested on her chest. He guided her by the chain toward the stairs, her head bowed.

“How could you ever think I could be your lover boy, elf?”

Her thoughts were cloudy, but she pictured that day at the river when a brave elf saved her family. She had treated Poony so badly! Would he ever come to help her again? She sobbed.

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The Banal, Entangled (updated)

The blasé, twisted. The ennui wound around in a new way. Normality goes all twisty as lifelong friends find themselves catching feelings for one another. Don’t yawn too hard, there is a twist in the end that will catch you by surprise. This was my submission to a writing contest. I did not win, as usual, but I wrote the best story I could at the time and under the circumstances. There was a 1500 word limit, so I had to say everything quickly.

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