Cold Kisses in Summer, Chapter 1

Chapter 1

“JUMP!”

I brush my purple hair out of my face.  It’s always gotten in the way during a robbery.   I’m struggling to keep up with Mist as we jump from rooftop to rooftop.  Mist has always been one of the fastest kids I’d known.  Right now he has on nothing but these shorts.  His broad chest defining every last muscle in his body.    My cousin Mist is behind me.  He has raven hair unlike me.   His hair is short unlike me.

“Didn’t I tell you to cut that?” he asks me.

Mist reaches into his bag and grabs a flask.  I know there’s alcohol in there.  Not just any alcohol too.  Spring Alcohol.  There was nothing like Spring Alcohol.  He takes a sip of it and lets it burn.  I always wanted to be like Mist.   I watch the striking young man stare over at the apartments. He was raven-haired, brown chocolate skin, green-eyed and dressed head to toe in black. Due to his palpable charisma, at one glance, you could always tell that he was a unique and special being.  Whereas I was out of my element, Mist was most at home somewhere like this.  His character so strong in its presence, if this had been a costume it would have been perfect.

“I can’t make it Mist.”

We barely came into the city but here they built things differently.  It wasn’t like the woods that surrounded it.

The Solitary.  That’s what us commoners called it.

Beyond Mist’s head, a majestic view of the skyline appeared with startling beauty. There wasn’t a cloud in the star-speckled sky. Rows of towering skyscrapers stretched above me. A half-moon hovered at the fringes of the luminous cityscape, where the red blinking lights of distance towers twinkling in the night.  And below that certain death.

“It’s easy.”

I look to the next rooftop he wants me to jump, “You got to be fucking kidding me.”

“Didn’t I tell you about saying what you can’t do?” he asks, “You can do anything.  I trained you to be the best.”

He acts as though he was so much older than me.  In all actuality, he was just two years older than me.  Sure he had the brawn, the muscles and the body of one of the wood gods they worshipped down in the city.

“Mist I can’t.”

“I’ll go first.”

“Wait Mist.  Don’t!”

I know it’s pointless.  Mist always had a way of doing what he had to do when he had to do it. I look from his book back to his eyes and his remarkable leaf-green hue eyes set against mine in the moonlight.  Then he takes off running and jumping.  Further, than most, I’d ever seen.  Almost taking off.  Almost flying.

He makes it over on the other side of the roof and signals me to jump.

Fuck.

I hold onto my dad’s locket.  He’d given it to me before the war.   So many other people did as well.  If he knew what I was doing right now, risking my life in the way that I was—-he’d kill me.  Strangely enough, however, it looked like he had already beaten me to the punch.  He has given me his locket.  It was the only thing he’d passed down.  He’d died, of course during that war.

Here goes nothing.

I couldn’t do it at this point.  So, I take a deep breath.  My body curling up inside of me as I go for the running start.  I jump.  For a minute I swear I’m going to make it.  I swear that I’m going to make the jump.

But then I miss the ledge!

I am falling.  My eyes looking down and barely able to see the concrete streets several stories down.  And that’s when I feel his hand grabbing me pulling me up on him.

We roll a little bit and he lands on top of me.  If it wasn’t my cousin it would have looked entirely inappropriate how he sits there for a while looking down at me and brushing the purple hair out of my face.

“Raine…”

“Yeah?”

When he says my name I just blink a few times.  His breath smells like that alcohol.  I’d always felt this…connection with Mist.  There were times like this that I knew if he weren’t my cousin he’d kiss me.

“I was wrong.  Don’t cut your hair.  You look amazing right now.  Most beautiful man in the world.”

This wasn’t the first time he said something like that to me.  It happened often.  He would say it as a fact.   And dare one of the other rogues he hanged out with to deny it.  He’d beat them to bloody.  He brushes the hair out of my face.  I knew he’d kiss me if I’d let him.  He looks down at my lips.  It had happened before.  Years ago.  The day my sister died giving birth to my nephew.  I was just crying and the only thing that could stop me was him kissing me.  We were kids and I knew normally his mother Aunt Willow would have beat the crap out of us for it but she let us do it, that one time.

“Thanks.”

I turn away like I’ve done so many times.  I wished he wouldn’t say things like that to me.  I wish he wouldn’t look at me that way.  He can tell how uncomfortable I feel because he gets off of me and helps me up.

He takes a deep breath and looks around.  The house was a goddamn palace.

His deep voice echoes confidently in the hallway knowing that no one was home, “Ok, kid.   Now let’s go rob your rich ass boyfriend.”

~

This was always a city of the haves and have-nots.  The capital of the world.  Solitude. There were those in the Solitude with their exotic cars and luxury lifestyle and those on the outskirts, hooked on drugs and abused. Of course, there was a huge middle class that was neither. Working all their waking hours hoping one day their kids could live in a house like this.  A high mansion belonging to one of the richest families in the land.

“I can’t believe that idiot really thinks you’re in love with him.”

“It’s not like that,” I whisper, “He’s not an idiot.”

He stops as we walk through the long hallways.  His green eyes turn back at me, “Do you really love him?”

“Jealous?”

“Maybe…”

“No, I don’t really love him.”

“Good because if I can’t have you—-no one can,” he tells me, “And if he’s really in love with you enough to tell you when him and his rich family is out of town before giving you multiple tours of the house, then he’s an idiot.  He deserves to be robbed.”

It was Aunt Willow’s idea.

Plan 1: Apply for a job with one of the richest families in Solitude.

Plan 2: Seduce the daughter of the family.

Plan 3: Get enough information to rob them blind.

Plan 2 didn’t work out the way that we wanted to.  Seemed like I had gotten the attraction of the heir of this rich Aristocratic family first.  I’d noticed when he kept calling me into the room to clean up even though nothing was dirty.  He’d watch me the whole time.  Sooner or later it was more than just his bed I was dusting off.

We’d always been a family of thieves.  Aunt Willow was really a goddamn outlaw herself, wanted in all four cities.  She’d come here to Solitude, to the capital to hide right in plain sight only to train her son and her nephew in her slick ways.

“Down this hallway,” I state, “This is where they keep the secrets.

The hallway was long.  Excessive.

“You ever been in here?” Mist asks me.

I shake my head, “Indigo showed me the combination and we were going to go in—but he got distracted by his father.”

“Indigo?  That’s his name.  He’s one of THEM?”

One of THEM.  As opposed to one of us.  I can see how Mist looks at me.  He’s irritated that I didn’t tell him.  He’d assumed this was just a normal family.  One of the rich families that had worked their way up into Solitude.  I don’t respond to him.  He shouldn’t be mad at me and he knows it.  I didn’t pick this family.  His mother did.  His mother had kept it a secret from him on purpose.  She knew that Mist wouldn’t want me close to one of THEM.  He wouldn’t trust me with THEM.  He would have argued me into targeting another family.

They were rich.  We needed the money.  It didn’t matter what they were.

Not now.

Just when I am about to argue with him something happens. We are interrupted.   The sound of people coming home.  The sound of arguing downstairs.

Mist panics, “You said no one would be home.”

“No one SHOULD be home.  The King died.  They were supposed to be going to his funeral.”

“Which King?  The one who supposedly died from choking?”

Mist snortles.  We’d heard it not too long ago.  He wouldn’t let it go.  For some reason, Mist, like most of the people I grew up with on the Outskirts loved the idea of a fairy dying.  It proved that they could.  It proved that they weren’t immortal.  What’s even worse is how silly of a way this king died.

“Does it matter?” I ask.

The entire city was shutting down.  They were mourning the king.  The beloved King Dynamis.  He was only one of several kings but that didn’t make this any less of a big deal.  King Dynamis was the one that everyone loved.  They called him the kind king.  If television and most ‘unnecessary technology’ hadn’t been outlawed it would have been the only thing covered.  But of course, it was outlawed and we had been left to hear about it through word of mouth.

I knew a family so important would have been at the funeral.

Mist glares up a little bit, seeming unsure before adding, “Well something happened because they are back early.”

My heart is racing.  I look over and see Mist immediately arm himself with his normal bow attached to his backpack.  The black bow is something he never leaves home without, mission or not.  No one should be home and I’m glad this time he brought it with him.  The bow was crafted of flexible, slender yew wood and wound around the grip was dyed red rawhide. On the quiver was carved the creatures who wore branches on their skulls, stampeding the horizon, pounding it into a grimace.

“We can still do this.”

“No, we need to leave.”

“Just keep an eye out for me,” I tell Mist, “We can still do this.”

“What?  No!  Raine!”

I’m running down the hallway.  He tries to reach out to me but he barely misses.  I’m quick running down the hallway a second before I see someone coming up the stairs.  I know that Mist would have come after me but he doesn’t have the chance.  He hides behind a cabinet.

I make my way to the safe.  As I get to the safe I remember the password.  I remember exactly what Indigo had done.

I reach for the door desperately to put in the password but then when I touch the door I notice something.  My necklace.  It’s glowing.

The necklace is flashing bright yellow light as soon as I touch the door!

“Whose that?”

Shit!

Someone has seen the yellow light.  I try to turn and run away but I don’t get the chance.  The yellow light on my necklace seems to call attention to me.   They’ve found me.

“Raine?” Indigo states.

He and his family were there.  I watch his father coming forward, “YOU are robbing US…”

He sounds more offended then alarmed.  I know why.  It’s because he’s not alone.  He has his slaves with him.  Tall, aggressive looking men that would tear me apart like a twig if they got their hands on me.  I was never the biggest guy.  Even if I was…I didn’t stand a chance.

Indigo is in straight disbelief, “There has to be another explanation.”

“Look at what he’s doing!” the patriarch states.

Indigo looks at me.  I look at him.

“Sorry.  I guess I never gave you the chance to figure out how to make it rain roses.”

It was an inside joke between us from a while ago.  Indigo told me he’d marry me one day.  I told him, sure, when he figured out how to make it rain roses.

“Arrest him.”

“BACK OFF!”

Everyone turns and sees Mist.  He speaks as he shoots, straight and on target, missing the father on purpose.  There is panic as more and more people are alarmed at me coming here.  Mist could care less though.  He just wants to protect me.  So I watch for a moment while he re-strings his bow, the deep wood flexing in the dark hallway.

“Humans…” the thick voice says.

“The first one was a warning,” he states, “The second one won’t miss.”

The father smiles.  A sick frantic smile.  The kind of smile you don’t want to see in a showdown like this.  The kind of smile that tells you he’s much more comfortable than he should be.  Mist forgot one thing.  One thing that I didn’t forget.

They were THEM.

We were us.

It takes just a moment, a buzzing noise.  My legs reaching out trying to get to Mist’s side of the hallway but being grabbed when a loud WHOOSH takes over.

“Drop it—-or I’ll snap his neck,” the father warns me.

There is no point wondering how he got to me so quickly.  There is no point in thinking that this was an empty threat either.  We’d seen it.  We’d seen it during the war.

The Spring fairies transparent wings, wings were like some sort of magical butterfly.  Everyone in the family had it…including Indigo.  We knew them because the Spring Fairies were named by colors.  I look behind me and see the translucent wings, shimmering wings, nut brown skin, glossy golden hair, hair as brown as the tree trunks, hair as black as the velvety night sky.  All dramatic colors dressed in lycra jumpsuits with armor plating in places. They all had knee-high boots, and the women had six inches high.  They had pointed features with a face as freckled as stars in the night sky.

They were nimble, agile, thin but muscular limbs and their perfect faces were covered under the crash helmet.   We’d seen it during the war.  All you heard was the motorized wings.

Their human guards surround mist in a second, “Put the arrow down!”

There is no need to keep their hands on the stun guns in their holster.  Mist wouldn’t risk me.  He drops his weapon allowing the bow to release from his long thin fingers.

~

We are in jail before we know it.

I think about the war.   They had thought fairies were fake back then.  Someone told them that they were just stories that people told.  They were wrong.

The first fairy king came in peace.  Or so they thought.  When he realized just how much more powerful he was than the average human—-that peace didn’t last long.  Then there was the first war.  That wasn’t really much of a war.  It was more like a massacre.  I wasn’t alive then.  I’d grown up in this world.  This world where a handful of fairies ruled everything.  Humans soon began to worship the fairies like gods.  And the fairies ran everything from the Capital here in Solitude.

The world was separated into four courts.  The Summer Court, the Winter Court, the Autumn Court, and the Spring Court.  Each had their own king.  Each had their own laws.  That’s where the civil war started.  The REAL war.

The war that took everything from me.

“I should have taken the shot,” Mist is whispering to himself.

We’ve been in prison all day and this is the first time he’s said anything.  I’m sitting on the other side of the cell.  I want to talk to him about how I got caught.  I know he blames me.  I don’t think he wants to hear it though.  I don’t think he would care about the piercing lights that came from my father’s locket.

“They were Spring Fairies,” I tell him, “You wouldn’t stand a chance.”

He knows it too.  The Spring fairies were the ones seen the most.  That was because there was the most of them.  There were about 50 in total.

“You shouldn’t have gotten involved with one of them.  You know what a Seelie fairy did to us.”

He’s referring to Seelie vs.  Unseelie.  He referred to what happened during the war.  The Seelie Court wanted to work with human beings.  They found a fascination with them.  The Unseelie Court wanted to destroy the humans. The Seelie Government was ruled by the Summer Court, and, to a lesser extent, the Spring Court.   They’d won the war and people loved them for it.  It wasn’t just because they were beautiful.  It’s because of how they presented themselves.  They were known particularly for their acts of selfless kindness and generosity, it’s no wonder this court is known as the “The Saviors”, “Court of Inner-Light,” “The Shining Throne,” or “The Golden Ones.”

I knew better though.

During the war, they didn’t care who you were.  During the war, they ransacked villages just as much as the darker fairies.  They took what they wanted.

They took WHO they wanted.

“I’ll never forget that they raped my sister.”

She was a kid when it happened. Younger than me.  I couldn’t protect her when the fairies came.  I wasn’t strong enough.  No one talked about the things the Seelie fairies did during the war.  Everyone loved the Seelie.  They were supposed to be the good guys.  No one wanted to talk about the fact that the GOOD guys did such evil things.

Just because they come from the Seelie court, though, not all of these faeries are “good” or “pure” as humans wanted to believe.  Seelie literally means “Blessed” or “Holy”.  I’d seen it first hand. While appearing more gracious and civil than their Unseelie cousins, many Seelie faeries are prone to horrible acts…especially during the war.  They just seemed to be better at doing it behind closed doors.

Appearance was everything to the Seelies.

Most people were fooled by it.  Not me.  Not Mist.  We had a constant reminder of what the Seelies were capable of.  We had a constant reminder in my nephew Dino.

~

“Your lucky day…” the guard states coming to the holding room and pointing over at Mist and me.

Mist is barely able to open his eyes.  The guards beat him nearly half to death.  It was the punishment for robbing a Seelie.  People were so fucking crazy that they thought it was their civic duty to give us extra punishment for going against the great Golden ones.  They were going to take me but Mist, being the protector he was, talked crazy to them and they ended up taking him instead.

I am here tending to his wounds in what little way that I can when we are interrupted by the arrival of the guards.

“We’re being released?” Mist asks.

Mist and I look at one another.  I can tell what he’s thinking.  Things like this didn’t happen.  We didn’t just rob a human family.  We had robbed a member of the Spring Court.  After the Seelies won the war they literally became the law.  The court made the rules and so it was only obvious that the harshest punishments came for anyone who dared to harm them in any way.

“You must have friends in high places—you piece of shit.”

I don’t know what he was talking about.  The only people that Mist and I knew were lowborn humans.  Not even the humans in the Middle World who tripped over themselves to get in the good graces of the Seelies.

It isn’t until we are escorted outside that we realize exactly who it is when I see a familiar town car standing there.  The person sitting outside gives me a look.  I can see the translucent wings from here.

“Indigo…”

I guess this was my so-called friend in high places.

Indigo was standing at the car.  It’s an expensive car.  I always wondered why they didn’t just fly everywhere they went but I guess they didn’t like to alarm the Middle World humans with just how powerful they are.  Seelies liked to make the Middle World humans feel “comfortable”.  Maybe it helped get even more tributes.  Seeing Indigo on the street draws a bunch of eyes and a bunch of attention.   The Seelies were the celebrities of our world.  People literally went out of their way to get a glimpse of one. Traffic was stopped in the middle of the road when a Seelie was around.

“Get in—-I’ll take you home,” Indigo states.

I can’t read his expression.  I look over at Mist.  I can tell he doesn’t trust Indigo.  When I walk forward towards Indigo, Mist reaches back after me.  He grabs my arm and tries to stop me.

“We might as well.  He got us out.”

“We were about to rob him.”

He didn’t know Indigo.  Not like I did.  It wasn’t like Mist saw Seelies all the time.  He was there during the aftermath.  He saw my sister in shambles after she got raped.  He was the one who tried to convince her to go to the physician and get rid of the baby when she found out she was pregnant.

“He won’t hurt us,” I assure Mist.

Mist shakes his head, “No.”

“The walk to the outskirts would take hours.  We have no money.”

All the money we had was confiscated when we were arrested.  They don’t give it back. The jail most likely gathered all that money and gave it as one of the tributes.  The Tributes were basically the taxes of our times.  Everyone had to pay tributes to the Seelies.  We were told they were used to help run the government.  But I’d seen the kind of homes the Seelies lived in.  I’d heard stories of how lavish they can become.   They were FILTHY rich.   Indigo’s home was an example of it.  So much for a tax to help the people, huh?

“I’ll die first…”

That’s when I see Indigo buzz.  He raises his wings and vanished in a hazy blur.  His wings almost sound motorized.  I barely see him as he disappears so fast and appears behind Mist.  With a strong hand, he hits Mist to the back of his head and Mist is out like a light.

“What the FUCK!”

“I really don’t have the patience.  I know you weren’t going to leave him and I don’t want you stranded.  So this is how it’s going to have to be,” Indigo states.

Indigo doesn’t allow me the chance to argue before scooping Mist’s body and taking him into the car.  Mist was definitely a big guy and it just shows how powerful a Seelie could be when he scoops him away into the vehicle.

~

The drive back to town is awkward, to say the least.  Mist is knocked out in the back seat.  Indigo is driving and I’m in the passenger’s seat.  It had become illegal for most private citizens to drive unless they had a special permit meaning they worked for the Seelie.  Otherwise, humans were only allowed to take public transportation in the forms of busses to get around town.  I always thought it was weird how the Seelie had so many laws against technology—but I never really questioned any of it.  The Seelies had a lot of weird ass customs period and humans were too afraid of what happened during the first Civil war to ever question it.

“You OK?” Indigo asks.

“You don’t care how I am…” I state, “You’re upset.  You feel betrayed.  I pretended to love you and betrayed you.  Just be honest.”

“Just because you were faking your feelings for me, doesn’t mean I didn’t love you,” Indigo states.

“Why do you have to be like that?”

“Like what?”

“So fucking—fair—-”

Indigo fit most of the fairy stereotypes.  He was larger for a start, maybe 6 foot 4 inches tall, with lean muscles and nut-brown skin.  He was always so fucking put together.  He had a pleasing facial appearance with thoughtful bright eyes, raven hair, a sharp cute nose, defined lips, and long elegant neck.  He didn’t have any facial hair.  He maintained his body almost too perfect to the point that his skin was soft and smooth yet still sinewy in nature.   On hid head, he wore a red cloth tied to make a hat that I’d heard was typical specifically for the Spring Fairies.   He had on a suit with slits in the back custom inserted to make way for his wings.  The translucent wings of the summer fairies were easy to notice.  They folded back like insect wings on the seat and disappeared.

“Was any of it real?” he asks, “Or was it all to steal from my family?”

There was a time.  A short time after he made love to me that I looked over at him.  He always would sprinkle the bed with fresh roses before he made love to me.  We’d talk for hours about Dino.  He never told me about his life.  He said he was tired of court politics.  He wanted to use me as his escape.  And I could talk so much about Dino.  I basically raised him.  Aunt Willow was never really around and Mist wasn’t really too good with kids.  So Dino has basically become like my son.  I remembered how he would listen to me.  He was always polite.  Indigo was always perfect when it came to listening.  He was always the perfect gentleman.  And sometimes I dropped the act and I started to actually like him.

But then I shook off the thought.  And remembered what the Seelies had done to Dino’s mother.

“To steal from your family,” I state.

Mist would be proud.  It didn’t matter if I was lying or not.  I wasn’t going to let Seelie scum know that they actually softened me up to them—-even a little bit.

I can tell that I’ve hurt him even though he doesn’t show it.  He stays quiet for a few minutes.  His eyes on the wheel.  I wish he would try to kill me.  I wish he would at least try.  Show me that shady Seelie nature that I’d seen all those years ago again.  Maybe it wouldn’t have hurt so bad to have betrayed him in the way that I did.

“King Dynamis of the Summer Court is dead,” He states.

“I don’t give a shit.”

I wasn’t the type to care about politics.  Aunt Willow paid a lot closer attention to it.  Me and Mist just spent most of our days trying to steal and feed Dino.   I hadn’t even seen King Dynamis.

“You should.  Look.”

He reaches into the glove department and hands me something.  I’m surprised when he does it.  I don’t take it.

“Tech.  I’m not allowed to have that.  I’m not authorized.”

The punishment for working unauthorized tech was death.  I’d seen it myself.  I’d seen powerful humans from the Middle World taken and shot in the middle of the street for having the tech.  It was one of the worst crimes.  It was worse than robbery.  Hell—-in our world, it was worse than murder.  I’d seen people who had gone on killing sprees get to go to trial.  If you were caught with unauthorized tech you were shot.  Dead and gone.  Just like that.

“Well I’m a Spring Fairy and I authorize you to use it,” he tells me, “Come on.  Just a glimpse.  I want you to see the report that was sent to me.”

I wonder this is some sort of trick.  Was he trying to get back at me for trying to rob him?  No.  That wasn’t the case.  If he wanted to have me killed all he had to do is tell the guards back at the prison to do it.  They would have snuck into my cell and slaughtered Mist and I just to get in the good graces of a Seelie.

I look at the article, “I recognize him…”

I look at the eyes.  Something was making me breathe heavy.  I’m breathing so heavy that he grabs the tablet away from me and shoves it back into the glove department.

“Raine—-you OK?”

“I recognize him,” I repeat.

“He IS the Summer King.”

“Not that it’s—-”

“What?”

“Nevermind.  Why did you show me that?”  I ask, “What did the article say?”

I hadn’t gotten a chance to read it.  I was too shocked by seeing those eyes.   It had to be a mistake.  I remembered those eyes but it had to be some sort of mistake.  I wish Mist was up to confirm what I just saw but he wasn’t.

“King Dynamis didn’t die from choking.  It was poison.  He was murdered.”

“Murdered?  They said it was a fucking turkey that he choked on.”

“That’s what the Queen wanted people to believe,” he states, “She wants to find out who killed her husband before the Summer fairies find out it wasn’t an accident.  Before the Summer fairies find out it was a political assassination.”

“Why?”

“The Summer King and the Spring Queens marriage secured the Seelie alliance.  We defeated the Unseelie.  Someone is trying to undermine that.  The Spring Queen wants me to go to the Seasonal Courts to help figure out who it is.”

I pause. I’d heard of the Seasonal Courts.  The Fairies had their own version of Capitol Hill after they destroyed the world.  It was basically where all the laws were passed.  It was where everything happened.

“The same Spring Queen who is in love with you?”

He’d let it slip out a few months ago.  I’d known him for a year and within a few weeks, he had fallen in love with me.  I remembered he’d go to these Seasonal Courts to see a woman.  I knew that it was the Spring Queen.  I went to my Aunt Willow and let her know of the scandal.  The Spring Queen was cheating on her husband with a young fairy from her court.  I thought Aunt Willow would have loved that kind of gossip but she wasn’t completely sold on it.  She just told me to make sure the Spring Queen didn’t find out I was the one who made Indigo stop accepting all her invites.   She warned me that if the Spring Queen found out—I’d be a dead man.

“Queen Cerulean is mourning.  She wants me there to help her with all the intrigues in court surrounding her husband’s death.”

“You going to go?” I ask.

I’m curious.  I have to admit I’m a bit jealous as well.  I’d heard how beautiful this Queen Cerulean of the Spring Courts was.  Then again I’d heard everyone in the Spring Courts was beautiful.  The fact that Indigo was going to go there drove me crazy.  Did she really need some emotional support or was she just happy that she could have her lover back without any issues?

“Unless you don’t want me to.”

He pauses and looks at me.  The look that I hate.  The kind, sweet look of a guy who was completely and unapologetically in love.  He keeps staring at me hoping that somehow I’d admit that it was all real.  I’d admit that I was in love with him.

“You should go.”

“You’re probably right.  It’s illegal for a fairy and a human to be together anyway,” he states out of nowhere as though that was the reason I was turning him down.

it had nothing to do with the law.  I was a thief for god sakes.  It had to do with the fact that I hated his kind.  I hated everything about them.

“Fine.”

“Raine?”

“Yes?”

“You should be careful,” he warns me, “I’m going to the Seasonal Courts.  I won’t be here to protect you.”

“I don’t need protection or need you to get me out of jail.”

“Jail is the least of my concerns.”

“Why?”

“Someone is trying to unstabilize the courts.  Unless I can find out who killed King Dynamis—-a civil war could be happening again…”

A civil war.  The civil war that had killed my parents.  The civil war that had made my sister get raped.  Another fucking fairy civil war that would destroy everything and everyone around me.  I shake my head and a shiver comes over me.  This couldn’t be happening.

~

We arrive in the outskirts.   The outskirts weren’t much to look at but they were home.  In the fog, the city is blurred like an old painting.  Maybe it was beautiful once but all the humans who had money had pushed into the Middle World to be closer to the Seelies after the war.  The streets sprayed in every direction with old newspaper dispensers and street-lamps to break the view between trees so high that the tops disappear in the swirling white. It doesn’t smell right at all, in fact, it smells of nothing but pollution.

This was the outskirts.  This was home.  I should have been used to it all.

Only something wasn’t right.  Something wasn’t right.  There were trucks in the outskirts.  Trucks all over the outskirts.  Military trucks.  I notice what the trucks have on them.  The image of the sun.

“What’s happening?” I ask.

Indigo seems confused as well.  I’d never seen so many vehicles in years all gathered around one place.  My heart races.  I had seen what war could do.  Had it started?  Had it fucking started!  Not even the public buses in the Middle World numbered out to this many.  Something horrible was happening.  I notice the sign on the military trucks.  They were Sun signs.

“Those are Summer military trucks.”

“Why the hell would the Summer Fairies send soldiers here?”

Indigo seems just as confused as I was, “I’m not sure.  After King Dynamis died I figured they would be making rash decisions but I don’t get why they’d come here…”

Indigo pulls over to the side of the road.  He’s looking outside the car.  The soldiers were humans but it didn’t matter.  They were at the bidding of the Summer Fairies.  They might as well be an extension of those Summer Fairies.

“MIST!” I scream out at the top of my lungs, “MIST!”

Mist wakes up.  Me calling for him makes him alert in the backseat.  Even with his swollen eyes, he seems ready for action.

“What?” he asks, “What is it?”

I reach out for the tablet in the glove department.

“I need you to look at something,” I state.

“That’s tech!”  he states.

He refuses to touch it.  I don’t give him the option.  I pull up the article that Indigo sent me earlier.

“Do you recognize this man?” I ask.

I should have known myself.  It was a face I would never forget.  I show him the picture of King Dynamis.  He looks at me.  He looks at the picture.  He looks at the trucks outside.  Then he looks back at me again.  Our hearts drop at that moment.  Something was wrong.  Something was very wrong.

“We need to go—” he states.

He doesn’t wait for me.  He springs the door of the car open and starts making a mad dash.  I open the car door and attempt to follow feeling Indigo reach out to grab me.

“What is it?”

“A problem,” I state, “A big fucking problem.”

I shake away from Indigo.  This couldn’t be fucking happening!  I had no idea until I saw the picture but in my mind, I was putting two and two together.  In my mind, things were making sense.  I’m following Mist right to our home.  He’d already been secured on the ground.  He’d punched a guy who is standing in front of my house.

That’s when I see a fairy.   His wings are different.  They are golden wings.  They are different from Indigo’s translucent wings. He’s standing there holding his jaw most likely from when he was hit.  I can tell by the look on his face that he had to have been the one in charge here.  He is attractive.  Young…beautiful like always but then again that isn’t saying much.

“Who are you?” I ask, “Why are you in front of my house?”

“I don’t need to explain myself to human scum.”

“Paris—-” a voice states from behind me.

I turn it’s Indigo.

“Indigo what are you doing here?”  the man named Paris states.

“Who is that?”

“Paris—a member of the Summer Court.”

I run past Paris and get into the house.  That’s when I see my Aunt Willow has been restrained to the floor.   They want something.  They want something.

“Dino!” I scream out.

Dino runs towards me, “Raine!”

My nephew runs to my arms.  And that’s when I see Paris, the Summer Fairy and his guards walking into the house.  I look back at Paris.  He looks at me.  He has intention in his eyes.  A cruel intention and I knew what he wanted.

“You can’t have him.”

Dino claws onto me.  He won’t let me go.  I watch how strangely enough they seem nervous to be too rough with him.  It’s not because he’s a kid.  I’ve seen soldiers get real rough with kids in the outskirts before.  No this wasn’t because he was a kid.  This was because of which kid he was.

The Summer Fairy crosses his arms immediately, “Don’t hurt the heir.  If he doesn’t want to separate take both of them.”

I can see Indigo trying to talk to Paris.  It didn’t matter.

The Summer fairy had called Dino, the Heir.  Dino was short for Dynamis.  I had always wondered why my sister had named him that.  Her last words were to name him that.  Now it all made sense.  I knew what that meant almost immediately.  I knew what that meant when I had seen the eyes of King Dynamis who had died.

King Dynamis was the man who had raped my sister.

As I’m taken away with Dino I look down and realize Dino is the son of Dynamis and the heir to the Summer Court.