When my sister returns after seven days missing, she tells us the faeries stole her. Oona ate seven mushrooms at their feast and a faerie knight commanded her to ride with them for seven days. She says, He set me before him on a stallion. They ride bareback, you know. She grins. Cherries stain her teeth like blood. You become the favorite child if you go missing; my mother feeds her fruit out of season and lets her paint her nails black. Oona tells me, I had never felt more protected; I had never felt more afraid. She promises to make me a love charm she learned from her knight so Julian will kiss me behind the ears. But at a cost she doesn’t name: there is always a cost. She tells me, I had never felt more loved; I had never felt more hated. I wonder if the faeries returned a changeling instead of my sister. I pretend to brew coffee in eggshells, but she doesn’t laugh, just rolls her eyes. I spy on her after she takes a shower. Through steamy air I see her rub a salve smelling of night flowers on the green and yellow bruises marring her thighs, her arms. When we watch Pretty Little Liars, she cocks her head, says, Can’t you hear the faerie music? In the flickering underwater light of the television screen, she dances. Her arms sinuous, her hips gyrating. I don’t hear anything no matter how hard I strain. Wondering why they chose her over me.
Lori Sambol Brody lives in the mountains of Southern California. Her short fiction has
been published in Tin House Flash Fridays, New Orleans Review, The Rumpus, Little Fiction, Necessary Fiction, Sundog Lit, and elsewhere. She can be found on Twitter at @LoriSambolBrody and her website is lorisambolbrody.wordpress.com.