The familiar setting of the dream world dawned upon me. I was in the one place that didn’t bode well with my manliness. Rainbows, smiling sun, ponies, and of course, fairies, plagued the place. Time to get the fuck out of here. Maybe… just maybe, I wouldn’t wake up to a nice burning of nine hundred-plus degree wind. Hopefully Sin and the others weren’t dead and waiting there for me. Goodbye, kiddy dream area—yep, I’m going to forcefully awake from this nightmarish barf fest.
Anytime now. Annnnyyy time now. Shit. Why wasn’t it working? I focused, drawing from within, then directing the power to my head for a jolt that should’ve woke me up. Only it didn’t. I was suddenly aware of my surroundings again, because every fairy looked at me, smiles on their faces.
“Move along,” I said. “Nothing to see here.” They started toward me in a nightmarish sprint, racing to see who could snag me first. The snack, out in the open. Suddenly, they stopped, when a familiar fairy appeared beside me, seemingly out of thin air. Long white hair, sparkling green eyes, grey shirt, and skirt combo. Heavenly-light outlined her, enhancing her appearance somehow. She looked about twentyish human years.
“Go away. He’s my guest,” she told them. They glared, muttering insults, but left us.
“So, shall I strip now?” I said, when the fairy turned to me. She blinked then burst into laughter.
“Keep your pants on, stud. Amelia’s a good friend of mine and I’d like to keep it that way,” she said.
“You’re Amelia’s friend? Then what are you doing here—”
“I’m Teemie, patrolling dream angel,” she said.
I nodded. “Disguised as a fairy?”
“Nope. I’m both fairy and angel but I’m sure you’ve heard of me. Help poor bewitched guys wake up again, that sort of thing.”
Well, that kind of explained why the fairies were reluctantly obedient. I decided to just play along, regardless of the fairy’s identity.
“Well, I’m in luck, because I can’t wake up,” I said.
“Oh that’s easy,” Teemie said. “You’re most likely under a sleeping spell, placed by someone of high power. He or she probably needs you to stay passed out until arriving at their destination.” She started walking, gesturing for me to follow. I did.
“So I’m probably in Paradise Realm,” I said. Teemie nodded. “Good, better there than Hell.” Just then, she shimmered, her form morphing into a familiar white cat.
“The hell—don’t tell me you were—”
“Yep, at the chapel,” she said. The cat turned to look at me. “You know, you’re a big fairy target. If Amelia hadn’t told me to keep an eye on you, stud, you’d probably have had sexual relations with hundreds of fairies, unable to escape this place. And while that may seem fun at first, you will go mad with the desire to get back to the real world. Anger any one of them and they’ll sap you dry of life force.”
I glared at the feline. She shimmered again, reverting to her normal form. To my surprise, her clothes were perfectly fine. I assumed it was because of the dream world’s logic. Shapeshifting is a rare ability. I’m pretty sure shifters undressed before making the change. At least, that’s what the rumors said. I’d never actually seen a real shifter. I pushed aside the thoughts to focus on the situation at hand. Waking the fuck up. Time to get to the point.
“Will you help me out?” I asked. Teemie looked thoughtful.
“Well, duh,” she said. “I thought my actions alone would have told you that. Sit down for a while, while I contact Amel—”
A violent shake abruptly woke me up in time to see a wall growing closer and closer to my face until I slammed into it. The sound of metal bars shutting told me that I was in a holding cell. I shook off the daze and then turned to the bitch, flanked by two angelic guards, on the other side of the bars.
The smug look on her face should’ve infuriated me. I mean I was beyond pissed, no doubt about that, but I didn’t feel rage. Yep, definitely in Paradise Realm—the natural calming effect that prevented hatred and me from tearing down this place, felt palpable. In the lame man’s terms, my powers were not working. Fuck. Of course, she’d take precautions to make sure I didn’t interrupt the ascension.
“You’ll be waiting in here for a bit, handsome,” Karma said. I simply stared at her, refusing to allow my rage to show. She winked, then walked off, leaving me to boil in angry thoughts. I looked around at my holding cell. A single bed on the left, a gold chair on the right, a desk with a few books on it in the center.
“Epex Helios, of the Helios clan.” I spun to see a male angel dressed in a red robe and matching shoes. He unrolled a scroll. “Your list of charges as followed. Treason, attacking Lord Conus using a forbidden mode of power. Prison break. You were sentenced for an original term of two years. Disrespect of Lord Conus increased your sentence over time. Murder, suspected misthanger deaths are upon you. Illegal manifestations, abuse of power in terms of creation. Unauthorized Human World presence. Epex Helios, do you wish to make a statement?”
“Yeah, I’ve got your statement right here,” I said, flipping him the bird. “Fuck out of here.”
The angel sighed. “I really didn’t want to believe the charges, but seeing how you changed like this, it makes me wonder.”
I didn’t say anything, just turned around and listened to the clutter of his boots walking off. His words did grab my attention. When Amelia had appeared, she had said something like that, too. Could there possibly be some controversy over my charges? Hell, there should be. I was punished for powers out of my control. The thought of Conus enraged me. The warmth of heavenly-light turreted around my body.
I allowed myself to calm down when I heard the door open. Seconds later, Karma stood in front of my bars again. She had changed into a less flashy dress and a single gold necklace. I pushed my anger deep down, while blocking out Paradise Realm’s calming effects. Not every will could do so, but my situation was severe enough to keep my mind on serious alert.
“So, what do you think of your charges?” she said, with glee in her voice. That chipper tone almost pulled out my newly buried anger. “Spot on, right? Is it not nice to hear how much of a piece of—”
I finally snapped but spoke with barely contained anger. “Get the fuck out. I don’t care about any self-righteous bullshit any of you want to spit on me. Do you think threatening to send me back to Hell scares me?”
Karma shrugged. “You seriously need to get laid.”
I was so taken aback by that comment that I flipped her the finger. She teleported right in front of me, in my face. Yeah, I was no longer safe behind my bars where I could talk shit without repercussion. Karma’s a bitch, isn’t she? I glared into her eyes defiantly. She sighed seconds later, picking up the memo that my gaze wasn’t going to avert.
“You’re lucky we’re in Paradise Realm,” she said, then lowered her voice. “Like you, I’m also not bound to anyone. I can take you, make you a man, and there wouldn’t be a thing Amelia could do about it.” I didn’t respond. Karma teleported back to the outside of my bar. “A child like you is not ready for someone as advanced as me.” She waited a few seconds to see if I would say anything and when I didn’t, she finally left. Fucking finally. I sat in the chair and relaxed. May as well prepare for some bullshit, unfair trial. I was seconds away from calling it a day and taking a nap when Hialucus, my eldest brother appeared.
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Alvin Atwater is a man of humor, a starving author. With a unique writing style that can outshine even Jim Butcher, Patria Briggs, or Kevin Hearne, he is a character-driven lovable lump of mass. Born in Florida, he's on a mission to defeat his arch nemesis, Florida Man, once and for all.
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Author of the Blood for Soul series and a secret coming-of-the-age epic fantasy. Lover of anime and manga: so yeah, weeb shit? Fun. Sue me haha.
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