Thursday, 24 December 2009

Under the Bridge

        Legs swinging back and forth, Kevin and Brian sat on the bridge basking in the late summer sun. Their hands and faces mucky and scuffed as eleven year old boys almost always are in their summer holidays.
"So what about the tire swing?" The younger of the two, Brian, asked. He followed Kevin's lead but somehow always had to come up with the suggestions.
"No, that's boring, we did that yesterday." Kevin sighed casting his gaze about, looking for a fish or an animal, something fun.
Brian clutched his satchel tight and started looking around aswell. "Well we could..."
"What you got in there Bri? You hidin' somethin'?" Kevin's little eyes lit up as he caught Brians reaction. "You are, aren't you? Give it here!"
Brian's face fell as he reached into his bag.

"What is it?" asked Kevin, grabbing at the jar in his friend's hand. He could see something fluttering through pudgy fingers.
Brian wrapped his arms around it. "It isn't mine, my gran said I have to let it go."
"Let me see, I won't do nothin', I promise." The smile split his face from ear to ear. Here was something to play with.
"Gran says it's bad luck if you hurt 'em. I'm just meant to take it under the bridge and set it free before I go home." His voice shook a little, gran could be scary but Kevin was here.
"Go on, I won't hurt it I promise."
Brian hesitated a moment longer before relaxing his fingers, allowing Kevin to see the creature inside.
"Wow," Kevin whispered.


        Before Brian could stop him, Kevin had the lid off and had the little creature grasped in his grimy fist. The four wings, like those of a dragonfly, beat as fast as they could against it's captor. It's arms were trapped at it's side and it could barely kick it's legs.
"What is it?" The older boy asked, awed. "It looks like a little man. With wings." His eyes wide didn't stray from the flapping membranes.
"I-i-it's a faerie," Brian stammered. "They keep me gran safe, she says."
"I don't believe in faeries, me." Kevin scoffed. "Don't believe in magic, neither." He reached out with thumb and forefinger and tore a wing off with a flick of his wrist. "Ha!" The faerie screamed, high pitched, boring into the boys ear's.
"You promised!"
"My fingers were crossed." His eyes never leaving the mewling creature in his hand. "Besides, your gran'll never know. The old biddy can barely see beyond her nose."
The water beneath their feet began to churn as Brian reached out.
Kevin lashed out with his free hand, knocking Brian backwards. "Get off, you're just a wee sissy."
The bubbling water started to hiss and steam, a back drop to Kevin's laughter and the screams of the faerie.

"Stop, please stop." Brian almost sobbed. "You're hurting it. You shouldn't do that!"
Another wing parted to a squeal of laughter.
Both boys were oblivious to the low rumbling from beneath them. Kevin in his joy and Brian in fear. The, now wingless, creature bucked and struggled calling out in sounds that could have been words, might have been pleas or prayers.
The younger boy whimpered, the older boy snapped an arm and something began to rise out of the water.

Another scream, this time that of a little boy and Kevin jumped, letting the twitching body fall to the wooden slats of the bridge.
Brian was on his feet, his skin turning midnight blue, his hair brilliant white.
Kevin stared, his mouth hanging slack.
The thing that had been Brian lifted the broken body gently in one hand and cocked his head to the side. His pure white eyes fell on a dirty face.
"Why?" The voice was liquid silver. The face a cold anger.
A dark patch spread around the boy's crotch.

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