As promised/threatened last week, here’s the second part of The Changeling flash narrative. Not the second part of the story, necessarily, since part 1 stood on its own. But rather “what happened next.”
There’s always something next, regardless of the story, unless of course everybody dies, then it’s simply someone else’s story. Nothing complicated about it.
The Changeling, Part 2
When I finally got up the courage and the means to leave, I was an old woman.
My sister was waiting for me, sitting on a park bench, looking the way I thought I looked, until she handed me a mirror.
That is, my changeling sister. She’s the one they left in my place when the fae took me. I was angry, at first. She was still young, and what had she lost, compared to me? I yelled. I screamed at her. She just waited until I wore myself out.
“Feel better?” she asked.
That was all either of us said for a while. I thought of leaving, but I was tired and had nowhere to go. “When did you find out?” I asked finally.
“Probably about the same time you did. Our lives are parallels in so many ways.”
“And how do you figure that? Look at me!”
“I’m just as old as you are,” she said. “And I can’t go back either.”
“What do you mean? Of course you can go back, and I am back.”
She sighed. “Are you? You don’t know how to live in the human world any more than I know how to live under the hill. You don’t know what it means to be human. And me? My family threw me away like old clothes! Now tell me what ferry crosses either of those rivers.”
“You were waiting for me. All this time you knew where I was!”
She nodded. “True, but I couldn’t reach you. I just hoped you’d find a way out.”
That stopped me. “You’re one of the fae. What do you mean, you couldn’t reach me?”
“I was raised human, remember? The way under the hill is secret, and hardly anyone comes out now. I would have seen them. How did you find it?”
“An old fae took pity….”
She shook her head. “We both know the fae don’t feel pity. If they told you, there was another reason.”
Time to face the truth. “He was the one I thought was my father. He was just tired of me.”
She looked thoughtful. “Why did they do it? I’ve always wondered.”
“Because, among the fae, having children is a rare privilege which brings great honor. I think they were afraid of losing it.”
“So instead they robbed us both,” she said.
“Both?! My life was a lie, and my true life ends before it even begins! You’ll go on—“
She nodded again. “Yes. And on and on. Not belonging anywhere, with anyone. Tell me again who got the worst of that deal.”
I didn’t have an answer for her, only a question. “What happens now?”
“If you want, we can belong together for a little while.”
She smiled a sad smile. “And then I’ll remember you.”
I’d just met my sister, but in that moment I knew I both loved and pitied her.
Which was as close to human as I was going to get.
©2020 by Richard Parks. All Rights Reserved.