Author’s Note: So, yeah. I couldn’t help myself. 😆 This is my second story for Didi Oviatt’s January WIP Writing Challenge: FIGHT OR FLIGHT! Let’s see which option Isellta chooses…
Isellta followed his parents into the store.
Their excursion into town had gone well so far. No one had said anything mean to him or to his parents. The other fey had minded their own business and left the small mal Hoven family alone.
Isellta peeked up at his father.
So completely unlike his son.
Isellta felt that familiar sinking ache.
I wish I were more like you, but I can’t be. I will never be. I keep trying, though. I try for you. I try for Momma.
I try for me. So, I will matter to you both.
The tall blond fey looked back at his small son.
“Can I hold your hand?”
Conflict showed on his father’s handsome face.
“Please? Just. Just for a little?”
He sadly shook his head. “Not out here, Isellta.”
It was the answer Isellta had expected to hear, but it stung as it always did.
It stung because Isellta understood.
He bowed his head. “I’m sorry, Da.”
“Isellta.” his mother snapped. “Don’t bother your father.”
His wings flittered.
“And for goodness’ sake! Pull your wings into your back.”
Isellta wordlessly nodded. He blinked quickly as he tried and tried to obey.
Come on! Everyone else can do it! Why can’t I?
He bit down on his lower lip.
Why can’t I? What’s wrong with me?
His wings flittered involuntarily. He looked up at his mother.
“I see some friends of mine. I want to talk to them without you dragging behind me. You stay right here. Do you hear me?”
“Yes, Momma. Is Da staying with me?”
“No. There’s no reason for him to watch over you. You are not an infant who must be minded at all times.”
His father didn’t look at him or at her. “Someone might steal him away.”
She scoffed. “We don’t have that luck. Come.”
Isellta watched his parents walk away.
I don’t matter to her.
She matters to me, just the same as he does.
He anxiously twisted his fingers.
But it is all my fault. I’m not like them. I’m too different. I can’t be right. I’m not right. I’m wrong. I’m all wrong. Was I like this when I was a baby? Did I bring her no happiness even then?
Did I never matter to her?
“Ohhh, look at what we have here.”
Isellta’s feathers bristled at the familiar voice of obnoxiousness.
Rinalya mal Kineen, the youngest son of the highest family in the schie a kehn, sauntered over to him. “Isellta mal Hoven. I see you have your wings out as usual.”
Isellta tossed a beseeching glance at his parents, but they were out of sight.
“What?” Rinalya grabbed Isellta’s left wing. “You planning to just ignore me.”
“Leave me alone.”
“Or what? You can’t hurt me, half-fey.”
Isellta stopped his anxious finger twisting. He pried the taller fey’s hand off his wing. “I am not half.”
He gave him a disparaging look over. “You sure aren’t a whole. Everyone knows it, mal Hoven. Everyone. Your mother had a dalliance with some disgusting low life.”
Isellta could feel his magic race down into his palms.
“Some gross, ugly, malformed, nonsensical human.” He laughed. “They say you look just like him.”
“That isn’t true. My Da is my Da.”
The magic trickled into his fingers and lined the edges of his fingernails.
“Everyone knows that it’s true, mal Hoven. Your parents are a laughingstock, all because of you and your ugly-faced father.”
Isellta’s eyes turned white. His hands glowed dangerously. “My father—”
He blinked quickly as his father raced over to him.
“Oh, I knew I shouldn’t have left you alone.” He grabbed Isellta’s glowing hands. “Stop. Please. If your mother sees you like this…Just. Please stop.”
His eyes returned to normal. His hands stopped glowing. “Da, he was saying—”
His father glared at the other child. “Rinalya. You should know better than to speak of such things. Go. Now. Or I will let Isellta hurt you.”
Rinalya scoffed, but he walked away.
His father went down on his knees. “Isellta. It doesn’t matter what he was saying about me. If you hurt him, the schie a kehn will punish you. Do you understand?”
Isellta saw the concern in his father’s eyes. He nodded. “I understand, Da.”
His father exhaled relief.
I matter to at least him.