Fae Magic on a Friday Night

TW: Assault

It was a warm August evening on the rooftop bar, with the NYC skyline up close and punching all my senses: the steady thrum of Times Square, the churning garish colors of the billboards, scents of oil and grime and smoke. There were enough Fae in the crowd for the air to shimmer with cast spells. None of my friends had shown up, though, and I was having a hard time attracting anyone for conversation or for dancing. All of this magic in the air and it wasn’t doing me any good.

The Fae were sloppy with their magic. It seeped from their pores and spittled from their hair and hung loosely from their fingertips as they shared glass pitchers of vodka-spiked, honey-sweetened cream, filling their glasses, and laughing.

I meandered my way through the crowd, deliberately brushing against Fae, my hand briefly on a bare shoulder, my thigh pushing against one of theirs, my fingers lingering on the nape of a neck, collecting a bit of Fae magic, enough for a momentary, smile-enhancing glamour. No one, Fae or human, responded to my smile.

It was well past midnight and everyone at the party was gregarious and talkative and pleasant enough. Just not with me. I was on my third whisky sour, but it didn’t seem to be doing much. When I heard one of the Fae was offering magic, I couldn’t think of a reason not to be included.

The line was long. More than a dozen humans waited in the corridor, chatting casually, poking and swiping at their phones. The magic was so potent in the air my body responded, muscles taut, skin flushed, heat rising, even in the hallway outside the hotel room.

I settled myself into place in line.

After an hour or so, a bar runner with a cart full of beer and liquor bottles and a stack of cloths, jostled up against me, trying to maneuver through the line. I held my ground, not wanting to lose my place. There were only two others in front of me now, and my skin was tingling with being so close. The bar runner finally let out an exasperated, “Excuse me!”

A young man, giddy with Fae magic, waved me into the hotel room. He didn’t even reach the elevator before casting his chosen spell. The scent of maple bacon and powdered sugar spun in the air. He stepped into the elevator, bragging, “Now I smell like breakfast.”

I hadn’t decided which spell I wanted to cast, but I knew I could do better than that.

The room was smaller than average, with a bed tucked under an enormous window, a postage-stamp-sized desk, a small bar top for making morning coffee, and a navy damask wingback chair. The Fae was draped sideways over the chair, head and ankles lolled over the chair’s arms, eyes closed, lips separated. The arch of its long, slender throat was exposed.

I took my place in line. The guy in front of me stood with his hands in his pockets, shifting foot to foot. He probably had never tasted Fae magic. I figured I’d give him a few more minutes to sort himself out. I tapped him on the shoulder. “You mind if I go first? I have to go back to the party,” I lied. “It’s my turn to buy the next round.” He shrugged and stepped aside.

The Fae moaned softly as I approached. The skin of its throat was bruised and swollen, flecked with blood, and feathered by scorch marks. I pressed my trembling fingers into the hollow above the Fae’s collarbone. It gasped, then settled. The magic vibrated along my skin.

A man claiming to be a medic nudged me, “Let me check the Fae.”

“Its fine,” I told him.

“It will only take a minute.” The medic edged past me and placed a hand on the soles of its feet, then the temples where the edge of its glossy amber hair met sharp cheekbones.

“You are holding up the line,” I said, eyeing the others waiting, deliberately inciting them. Word passed backwards, then a wave of mockery and thinly-veiled threats assaulted the medic. He threw me a stinging glare, glanced nervously at the agitated people still waiting their turn at the Fae. He backed off and left.

My fingertips pressed down hard, deep into the Fae’s skin, sinking as though dipping into a jar of honey. Its eyes opened slightly. One hand lifted to brush me away. The magic trickled into me, like whisky, the heat of it crackling along my skin, burrowing inwards.

I held on to it, savouring the incandescence coursing through me, as I took the elevator back up to the roof and the party. The music had changed tempo. It felt invigorating. Couples danced, their hips moving in time with the pulsing drumbeats, arms high in the air or circling their partners, heads nodding to the music. I ordered another whisky sour. I stepped onto the dance floor.

The magic vibrated like a guitar string inside me, eager to be spent. Speaking my desires under my breath, I cast a proficiency spell. My body responded to the music, effortlessly weaving a complicated series of steps.

I caught glances from both Fae and human; returned them boldly, moving among them, my hands lingering on smooth, warm skin, my smile a teasing invitation. I could have any of them. I chose a partner out of the crowd, who came with me, laughing. She passed her drink off to her friend and took my hand. We danced until sunlight reflected rose-gold on the glass of the skyscrapers.