Sunday Storytime: “This one time, I got kicked out of your art exhibit!”

This is the last Sunday of the year, and I don’t intend to continue Storytimes in 2013, at least not on a regular basis, so I’ll end the year with something fun. While I’ve tagged Book 4 as “meliana and miranda,” the snippets I’ve posted have been mostly about Scanlon, so I’ll skip ahead and show you some more of Meliana getting to know Miranda. You might like a little background info about fairies if you’re new to this WIP. This passage is from Meliana’s POV.

***

“Yeah. Now, I don’t mean to alarm you, but that dog has been stalking you for the past half mile, and you don’t seem the least bit worried.”

There was a large, thick-coated dog trotting through the brush on a ridge running roughly parallel to our route. When I looked up, she sat down and looked straight at me as though waiting for commands.

"Yes, I will compete with a dead woman for a mortal girl's friendship, because why not?"

“Yes, I will compete with a dead woman for a mortal girl’s friendship, because why not?”

“She isn’t acting aggressive, so, no, I’m not worried,” I said to Miranda.

“You can tell it’s a bitch from this distance?”

“She has a sort of girlish aura to her,” I replied. It was difficult to explain, but it was totally obvious to me that the dog was a girl.

“I don’t see any sign of an owner,” said Miranda, “but she looks awfully healthy to be a stray.”

The dog cocked her head in the direction of Miranda’s voice.

“I think she can hear you!” I said. “Didn’t you say dogs can’t detect ghosts?”

“Yes, that is very strange behavior for a dog. What breed do you think she is?”

“I’m sure she’s a mix. Some of the smartest and nicest dogs are mutts.” The dog had the stature of a shepherding breed, a bright, expressive face with small upright ears, and beautiful reddish brown fur. There was a little iridescent sheen to her coat in the bright sun. I squatted down and held out my arms. “Come here, pretty puppy!”

While Miranda made worried noises, the dog ran up and happily wagged her tail while I petted her. “Miranda, she’s so beautiful! You are a very nice puppy, yes you are!”

“This is very unusual behavior for a dog you don’t know. Are you sure you haven’t seen her before?”

“I think I’d remember a dog who looks like this,” I answered. The dog rolled onto her back and let me rub her tummy. The fur was amazing; thick, fluffy, soft and sunset-pink. I noticed something else wonderful and remarkable about her. “She smells like windflowers!”

“Show yourself, fairy,” Miranda said derisively.

The dog transformed herself into a young girl on the ground with her arms and legs in the air. She had silky magenta hair, wide black eyes with a slightly Asian shape, and a sweet heart-shaped face.

“Are you this rude to everyone you meet for the first time?” The fairy stood up and faced Miranda; she was only 120 pounds or so, but nearly six feet tall. “I’m only trying to have a nice day in the desert.”

“Out here for the fresh air, are you?”

“Yes, the air out here is very clean and sweet, and I was enjoying how Meliana was talking to you!”

“That’s nice, but how do you know me?” I asked.

“This one time, I got kicked out of your art exhibit!” She said this with a bright smile and cheery tone. Turning to Miranda, she said: “I know you’re the late Miranda Hutchinson, former President of Mundane America. You said it was okay for people to smoke weed and do peyote!”

“I guess that’s one way to describe my policies. Are you aware that you’re attracting a crowd that can’t see or hear me?”

A way off, there was a growing bunch of hikers pointing and staring in our direction. The fairy looked towards them and turned her face into something that looked like a giant sunflower. “Ooga-booga!” She shouted at the spectators and did a little dance that involved waving her arms around. “Yes, we see you watching us, now mind your own business before I turn into something ugly!”

The crowd dispersed while Miranda muttered, “mind your business, says the eavesdropper.”

The fairy turned back to us and transformed her face back into a cute human girl’s appearance. “I see you making art!” She said to me. “Can I see?”

I took the sketchbook out of my messenger bag and showed her the cactus sketch. “I’m using the desert scenery as inspiration.”

“It’s so pretty! Are you putting this in a gallery, too?”

“Oh, this isn’t finished,” I said. “This is just prep work. I take these home, scan them into my tablet, and make them into digital paintings. I’ll use different colors from the subject matter.”

“What are these marks here?” She indicated my glyphs. “Is it a secret language?”

Since I was now talking to someone who was visible to other people, I took out the earbuds. “Yes, it is a sort of language I use with myself. The symbols help me remember what the pictures are supposed to tell us.”

“Since you know us so well, fairy,” said Miranda, “why don’t you tell us your name?”

“Fairies don’t have names. We have other ways of identifying each other.”

“But you do adopt names for dealing with mortals, so…?”

“Oh, that name! I’m Borealis.”

“Thank you! So, what are you trying to accomplish by stalking us and eavesdropping on our conversation?” Miranda demanded.

“I told you, I just came out here for some air, you stupid-head ghost! Then I recognized Meliana talking with you, so I followed along!”

“Do you have sawdust for brains? You don’t listen in on someone else’s conversation and say you’re just being friendly! What do you want from us?”

“I don’t want anything from you, so don’t flatter yourself. I like what Meliana says. You can go haunt yourself!” The fairy laughed excitedly at her own joke.

“Borealis, that’s very sweet of you,” I said, “but it’s very important when I’m talking with Miranda, so if she’s not comfortable with having you around, then you should go somewhere else.”

“But Meliana, why is she so important? I want to be your friend, too!”

“Miranda is a very good person, and she needs my help, and that makes her important to me. You can come and visit me in the studio if you’d like to watch me make art, but if I’m with Miranda, then you need to give us our space. Does that make sense?”

“Oh, I’d love to watch you make art!” Borealis squealed.

“I’m so glad to hear it!” I said. “Miranda, I’ve made enough desert sketches for today, so why don’t we go back home now?”

“Yeah, fine by me.”

“Borealis, I’ll see you at the studio.”

“Thank you for cutting that short,” said Miranda once we were out of earshot of Borealis. “You’re a much more diplomatic person than I ever wanted to be.”

“Oh, she seems so sweet and friendly, I think it’ll be fun to get to know her.”

“She’ll make you entertain her for a few weeks, and then she’ll get bored and move on to some other human.”

“I think she’ll be around for more than a few weeks. Besides, I’ve never been friends with a shapeshifter before. She could be really inspiring.”