“Ivy, did you really think you could keep me away forever?”
I turn. The pixie gloats from on top of my dresser. He knocks over a bottle of lotion as he scoots off and flutters to the center of the room. He’s as smug as ever, wearing a green tunic worthy of Peter Pan.
Since arguing would be a waste of time, I ignore his question. Besides, it’s probably better if he thinks he’s in control. He’ll be in a better mood. “I want to make a deal.”
The pixie tilts his head and his mouth curls into that horrible smile. “I do love a good bargain.”
My eyes lose focus on the creeper in front of me and I flash back to my last fairy tale adventure. Black fur, fangs, and a poison-tipped tail. Can I go back to that?
I swallow back the fear and force my mind back to what’s happening now. I’m smarter this time. I can handle anything this jerk can throw. “I’m willing to go back to one of your fairy tales…” His eyes light up and I know I have his interest. “..if you agree to leave the rest of my family alone. Forever.”
There’s no sense in being specific. I’d rather the pixie not know about Mom’s pregnancy, if I can help it.
The little imp watches me and I struggle not to twitch. I haven’t lied. There’s nothing to worry about. But my face still feels tight and I know my casual expression looks forced.
“Why do you think I would go after your family?” The pixie’s voice is smooth and kind. As close to a lie as he’ll ever get.
“That’s my business.”
“And after such a horrible experience last time, what would make you want to go back?”
He floats to the carpet and looks up at me with unmasked suspicion. But there’s something else behind those piggish eyes. It takes me a second to recognize it, but now I’m sure. Eagerness. He’s ready to jump at the chance to have a willing participant.
I shrug and open my eyes wide like I’ve seen other girls do. The girls that always get what they want. “I made rookie mistakes last time. I want to prove that I can do it right.”
The pixie tilts his head back even more. “You’re not afraid?”
Who me? Afraid to be trapped in a dark, depressing castle surrounded by an evil enchanted forest again? Afraid of whatever wild, manic creatures the pixie can come up with? “No.”
He smiles. I don’t like that smile, and I’ve seen it way too many times. “Fine. But since you’re playing on behalf of your entire family, I have a condition.” He doesn’t wait for me to ask what it is. “The fairy tale will have extra players.” He shrugs. “It’s only fair.”
I’m about to object. There shouldn’t be any conditions; I’m volunteering. But then I remember that the pixie doesn’t know that. He thinks he caught me in a moment of weakness, that he can take me without any deal whatsoever. And he’s probably right.
I have no idea what “extra players” means. It doesn’t sound so bad, but his grin worries me. “You mean, more characters?”
Well that shouldn’t be too hard. The last tale only had three other people in it. And a little more company sounds like an improvement. “Okay. It’s a deal.”
The pixie gives a girlish laugh, revealing pointed teeth that make my skin crawl. I start to feel drowsy. My body floats backward, toward my bed. My eyes flicker shut and everything goes dark. As I drift into sleep, I hear the pixie’s voice say, “This is going to be twice as fun!”