For flofx‘s Commissioned Prompt. Fairy Town does not yet have a landing page.
Anton Barren moved slowly in front of his students. “Fade, look around. Do you see a doorway?”
“None.” He was back to sounding bored. That was good. Anton didn’t want the girls to freak out. He didn’t want Fade to freak out, either… or himself.
“How about an arch or a gate?”
“Over there.” That was Lilah, bouncing a bit. “Mr. Barren, what’s going on? Why are the animals looking at us?”
“I chose an imperfect time to bring us here.” He had chosen an imperfect locale, more accurately, hoping for a small amount of danger to shake them out of their complacency. This was not going to be a small amount of danger, not if the Animals were looking at them the way it seemed they were.
He focused his sight. He could see their shadows, if he looked hard enough. There would be a cost. But he would pay it. He always did.
“The bobcats…” Anya whispered. “Mr. Barren, the bobcats…. they look hungry. And it was a long and cold winter, wasn’t it?”
“Coldest in decades,” Lilah answered. “I was shoveling snow every day and… oh. The deer looks hungry, too. I thought deer were herbivores.”
“Deer are. These are not, exactly, deer.” He reached for their hands, school regulations be damned. “Fade, take Anya’s other hand. You can worry about cooties later.”
“I’m not five.” He could sense the boy moving to obey him, complaints aside. “How bad is it?”
“If we are lucky, even a little lucky, it won’t be too bad. Lilah, where did you say you saw this gateway?”
“It’s an arch. About … mm… thirty feet? To my right.”
“All right.” The deer seemed to be milling closer in their interrupted dance. The bobcats? Probably pacing back and forth in front of them. “When I give the word, children… run.”
“But I don’t understand. I thought they were celebrating.” Lilah did far too well as complainer.
“They are. But every celebration needs food. Now run!”
They ran, Anton herding them in the direction Lilah had pointed, while the bobcats gave chase, lazily, not wanting to catch them yet, and the deer shifted their dance, running ahead, cutting in front of them, only to double back. The Animals were playing with them. Anton could only hope that they would get distracted in the game and forget the gate.
“So, let me get this straight,” Fade panted. “You brought us into another world. To be dinner for a bunch of animals. What kind of Biology teacher are you?”
“The kind that believes in realism?” Lilah joked. She was closer to the mark than Anton wanted to admit.
“The kind that believes in field experience,” he countered. He couldn’t see the gate, but, then again, he never had. If he didn’t know where they were, he had to rely on younger eyes than his to see. “Lilah, that arch…?”
“Just ahead, Mr. Barren. Just ahead. Hee, I always thought that was funny.” Her breathless giggle sounded a bit hysterical. “Barren, the guy teaching about life.”
“Ironic.” Fade’s mumble sounded like he was losing energy quickly.
Anya hadn’t paused, but she was watching Anton’s face far too clearly. “No.” She shook her head, and a bit of panic began to cross her face. “No… it’s not irony. It’s just honesty. The Fae call themselves what they are, don’t they, Mr. Barren?”
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