Last week, I went to a reading at Skylight Books. There was a guy there who had pointy ears. Like Spock. Or an Elf. I tweeted about it.
I posted cseaskull : There is a boy at @skylightbooks who has actual ears like Spock! He is either Vulcan or Elf! Must investigate! 8:30pm, Jul 02 from Echofon
The fabulous and fantastico Tod Goldberg tweeted me back this:
todgoldberg: @cecilseaskull You realize that this sounds a lot like fan fiction, right? 8:56pm, Jul 02 from Web
I took this to be a challenge to write a story. I mean, why not! Narrative experiments are totally fun! So! Behold my first spontaneous twitter story, I’m pretty proud of it. It is also my first fairy story. (thanks to steven mcevoy who archived it for me.)
Twitter FAIRY STORY / by Cecil Castellucci
July 2 – 5 2010
There is a boy at @skylightbooks who has actual ears like Spock! He is either Vulcan or Elf! Must investigate!
I follow him to see which section he goes to. Which book he fingers. I wonder if that will tell me everything. Or nothing. He stops.
He picks up the Illiad. Puts it down. Then handles the pop up Alice in Wonderland. I clutch on to my tiny book, hiding the title. Eat Hell.
Near the tiny door that kept the chairs used for book events, was a table. On it were bottles of wine and water. He drank one. So did I.
The liquid (bubbly water for me) did not make me smaller or taller. I remained exactly the same size. But his ears got pointier.
I thought of San Francisco. And the academy that was there. (or would be)
Truth be told, I had seen Spock at one cafe and Kirk at another. I saw Dax at drinks and Dr Crusher at the theater.
But this creature was other. He was not Starfleet. He could not be Vulcan. Because when his eyes caught mine, he smiled.
It was no secret that I loved all things alien, odd and strange. He fit the bill perfectly.
We took our seats and the author began to read. The story was a fairy tale. I watched as he listened. I could tell he knew it by heart.
The English turned to Elvish. His glamour wavered and I saw his true beauty.
There was magic in those words. Music swelled. Colors swirled. Books flew. Water and wine swapped places.
The room, the books, the people, the wine melted away. Only myself, the man, fully unglamoured, the tree and the small door remained.
I thought I should introduce myself. “My name is…” He silenced my lips with his fingers. “I don’t want your name and you don’t want mine.”
He pointed to the door. I shuffled through the leaves and tried it. It was locked. I couldn’t help myself. I began to cry.
I needed what lay behind that door. I needed it like air. Like water. Like sunlight. Behind that door, I was sure of it, lay my heart.
Where is the key? Where is the key? Where is the key?
“I have the key,” he said. “I cannot tell you where it is. You must find it yourself. With the most honest parts of you.”
I knew there was only one part of me that was honest. My soul. And there was only one way to give it to him. Through a kiss. I kissed him.
What kind of a kiss was it? Surprising. The kind where secrets are told and understood, yet never spilled. I kissed. Kissed. And kissed.
I felt the sweetness of his breath. The kindness of his touch. I was honest. And so was he. He slipped me the key on his tongue.
It would cost him something. I watched as his face turned from young to old. From fresh to gray. “Go,” he said. “Claim what is yours.”
Confused, I curled his weakened body around the tree. Wondering if I could move forward when such sadness trailed behind me.
But once the choice was made, there was only the door, the key, and my old heart. I would not be stopped. Not even if it meant death.
The door unlocked easily. It was there! But I could barely recognize it. My heart looked so altered from when I’d last seen it.
Although my heart was scarred it was full of warmth and its beat was strong and steady.
I took my heart into my hands and broke it in half. I put one part in my chest and the other in my pocket.Mon
What is the use of having a working heart if you don’t give a part of it away?
“Go,” the man said with what sounded like final breaths. “Go, or you’ll never get home.”
The earth shook. The door grew big enough for me to step through. I had my heart. I could leave this place and go back to the bookstore.
How does a person leave someone who has given them back their heart? I certainly could never abandon anyone like that.
Cruelty does not sit well with me.
I was not sure he was the right creature to give it to. Still, I went to his side and took half my heart and pressed it into his chest.
As the heart began to beat within him, and life flowed, his eyes, now questioning, now surprised, lost their elvish flare and turned human.
We helped each other up and braved the falling branches and trembling earth. We made it through the door.
Once through the door we were safe, amongst the books and the crowd quietly listening to the author, still reading his story.
The door winked shut and disappeared. There would be nowhere to put the chairs. “I’m trapped,” he said.
I had never meant to trap him. My only thought was to save his life. “There are many books here that might show a way home,” I said.
He shook his head no and I knew he would never be able to fully return. I left him to mourn what parts of himself he had lost.
After a while, he turned to me to show me what he had grown with his last bits of magic. His own heart.
“It’s much better to be in a world – any world – with a whole heart,” he said and then offered me half of his.
He pressed this new red warm beating thing into my chest. I felt a flutter, and his magic released the truest form that lived inside of me.
This is the story of how I grew wings.
End / Begin
Thank you to all who read my short fairy story here on twitter.