Friday, January 4, 2013


by: Krystalyn

To sleep ensnared in the brambles and vines of their wicked forest.

To dream of ice shards slicing deep into my heart.

To waken in the realm that has consumed my dreams since birth.

To know they have brought me here for a purpose.

To fear their narrow slitted eyes and needle sharp nails as they examine me, their new treasure, home at last.


“Such pretty eyes,” one says.

“Such full lips,” hisses another.

I remain curled up in a ball on the forest floor, the place where my dreams have deposited me on this final night of my life.

They crouch near the ground, their boney knees touching their ears as they hop from one foot to the other. I didn't realize there would be so many, but the clearing is filled with hundreds of thin, agile creatures with a white-blue tint to their skin. They all came out tonight.

And now, more than ever, I am certain my time is here.

I feel uncomfortable as the folk examine me, but then I notice the one who makes me feel naked. He is the one who has crept through my life, leaving footprints across my eighteen years. He exists for me, or so he's always said. His fingers tap a staccato rhythm on my temple while his eyes draw me in. The lines in his irises replay the cracked, broken roads of his victims, past wishes gone wrong.

I see Caleb Jenkins wish to be noticed by his crush. She notices him, but only after a thief in the night slices a six inch gash across his throat. I see Matty Torres' wish for money to buy a new car. He gets the money, but only after a car accident kills his dearest grandmother. I see death and ruin fall to each person unlucky enough to utter the incantation and make their wish.

I would rather be blind than see these atrocities played out before me, but even if I were, it would make no difference. I know each victim intimately. Their horrors are branded into my soul, for it was my own hands that did the work.

The first time I took a human life, I scrubbed my hands until they were raw. For weeks after, I imagined innocent blood oozing from my knuckles and beneath my nail beds. That didn't stop me though. Nothing could have kept me from my goal.

His face cracks open into a smile. The points on his teeth glisten in the ice-filled night. “My queen.” His breath rolls over me in waves, a mixture of copper and decay. I may have facilitated the ruin of a hundred men, but he did the clean up. And his appetite was insatiable.

I ball my hands into fists, then release them as I place one hand in his open palm and allow him to help me to my feet. I know why I am here.

The folk step back and make a path for us as he leads me to the far side of the clearing. An elaborate throne, carved from ice and strengthened with the bones of our victims sits nestled beneath the biggest tree. I pause in front of it. His hand tightens around mine, feeding the sliver of ice that sleeps in my heart. I take a deep breath. I have worked for this night all of my life, doing his bidding, fulfilling the requirement that would make me their queen.

I'd known of the requirement since the day I was born. He slipped into my dreams and told me the fantastic story of a race of folk that existed in the shadows. When humans stumbled upon the right incantation, they brought the folk to their door, sealing their fate. But the folk wanted more than just blood. They believed that one day, a human girl would be assigned a test, and if she passed that test, she would rise to be their queen and release them from the shadows. No longer would they be bound to spells and ritual. Her presence would grant them full access to the human world, and together they would rise up and claim it all.

That was the night he placed the sliver in my heart, along with the need to fulfill his every desire.

He repeated the story each night for a dozen years. Then on the eve of my 12th birthday, he came to me with a request. Even though I was fully aware of the wrongness of it all, I complied. I could blame brainwashing or the sliver in my heart, but that wasn't why I did it. And it wasn't why I continued to assist him, year after year. I did it because I wanted to be queen.

I squeeze his hand one last time, turn around, and settle in on my throne. I glance at my subjects, lock eyes with a few before the creature at my side falls to his knees and proclaims, “My queen. You have joined us at last!”

The others fold their bodies until their foreheads touch the ground. “My queen,” they say as one.

A scepter appears beside me, and I snatch it greedily. A brand new power rushes into me, drawn from the ground and the ice and the heartbeats of a thousand folk. I revel in it, because I know what to do next.

I stand. An ocean of magic rushes up through my feet and surges into my body. I feel as if I may get swept away with the power of it all. The ice sliver encourages me, tells me that all I have to do is snap my fingers, and the folk will be released into the human world. It's what I was born for.

But it's not what I do.

I wrap both hands around the scepter. I lift it high in the air, then bring it down, smashing the end against the ice-covered ground. Cracks splinter across the ice, rushing toward the folk. One touch of the ever-spreading cracks and the folk freeze instantly into ice statues. It takes just long enough for the creature beside me to shoot me a look of utter betrayal, but then he is gone too, frozen into an everlasting statue. No more wishes. No more queens. No more blood.

I drop my scepter to the ground, then walk slowly back through the folk, back to the place where I woke on this final night of my life. I curl into a ball, knowing that because of my crimes, I have no right to return to the human realm, and I do not wish to survive in this one. My only choice is to silently drift away.


To sleep until my body finds its way into the next world.

To dream that my good has overshadowed my crimes.

To waken in the realm of those who've passed before me.

To know, without a look, the folk have crossed over as well.

To fear that in this realm, I won't be able to stop them.


Photo by: Helen Warner


  1. I think this one is my favorite of yours, excepting only Stitch of Blood.

  2. I concur with all that's been said, Krystalyn.

  3. I'll say it again--so awesome! This story is perfectly executed, Krystalyn:-)