Red Lettering

Stories will not be written easily. A story without a heart is dead, and the only place it will get a heart is from the author.

Short Story Contest Entry by Esperanza

“Elves don’t carry guns.”

by Esperanza

I had just entered my room after a quick shower when the Elvish Network manager, who also just happened to be my roommate, barged in. I tightened my grasp around my towel calmly as I continued to dig around in my suitcase for something to wear. I had recently moved in to the apartments that the Elvish Network commanded at the top of the human apartments a few weeks ago, and was busy settling in while still working at my job.

“Need something, Ciara?” I said breezily as I went back into the bathroom to put on clothes.

“Emmaline Lilac is ready for her first outside job,” Ciara replied through the small crack in the door.

“Who is she?”

Ciara sighed. “Daughter of Rosie and Aaron Lilac, they’re in the police force, and that’s what she’s going to do as well. Lives up one floor at two forty seven, thirteen years old, very short.”

“When is she going to go into the field?”

“When she turns eighteen, Wren,” Ciara said with another sigh. “You should know that.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I said, emerging from the bathroom fully clothed. “But I am still adjusting to this new lifestyle, and therefore my brain does not have time to focus on little trivial things.”

“Whatever,” she said, and looked up at me. “She is in classroom five zero one, and is going to go on your next assignment. Inform her of everything she needs to know. You got that?”

“Yeah,” I said carelessly before making for the door.

Ciara grabbed my arm and pulled me back. “No, I mean it. Everything. Humans are getting advanced, we need to be more vigilant. A new employee in the Elfish Resources department just got killed ‘accidentally’ by a small seven year old boy with a gun.”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it Ciara.”

I smiled quickly before wrestling out of her grasp and hurrying out of the room and down the stairs towards the classroom. As I entered, the young girl stood up in greeting as I examined her features. This Emmaline Lilac was a spry, wiry little thing, with a look of dangerous innocence about her. She had wide purple eyes, a short, extremely thin body that only consisted of muscle, and purple hair with brown streaks. Her traditionally pointed ears were small and easy to hide, which was fortunate.

I approached her. “Emmaline Lilac, I am Wren Wendy Wess, you may call me Wren, never Wendy, occasionally Miss Wess. I am to be your mentor until you reach the ripe old age of eighteen, when you will go into the world as a police officer. Now. Introduce yourself.”

“Well,” she said hesitantly, “I am Emmaline Lilac, I am thirteen years old, and I am to be a police officer of the Elvish Network.”

“Good. Where have you been going to school?” I asked, looking over her files.

“United States Elvish Academy,” she said quickly. I nodded in response as I thumbed over the papers.

“Any experience with a gun?”

“Yes, I was the top shot in the academy.”

“Hmm, very good,” I said, pleased, as I put away her files. “Now, first exercise before we go out. Examine me.”

She paused before looking at me with a perplexed expression. “Sorry?”

“Examine me.” I said quite bluntly. “What can you deduce about me from the way I look?”

Emmaline looked horribly confused, so I breathed out a sigh of exasperation and said, “Just tell me what I look like, now.”

“Well, you have dark brown hair with streaks of light blonde coloring, you are somewhat small and very skinny, like a pole… You have small bright blue eyes. You are wearing a black leather jacket over a white shirt, and you have on dark jeans and boots.”

“Good. Now, what can you tell about me?”

“You’re not a feminine elf, you like to be dangerous most of the time, you don’t take great care in how you look by the way your entire outfit is not ironed at all, I can see a gun in the inside left pocket of your jacket, which suggests that you are involved in the outside world, and your figure suggests that you are naturally small, since you can’t get muscles if you are on an insane diet.”

I looked over her. “Good. Maybe you aren’t so slow after all. You have a gun with you?”

Emmaline just tapped her jacket in response as she looked up at me.

“All right then.” I walked over to the large board and tapped the first line of words. “Rule Number One, don’t associate with a human unless you have to. Rule Number Two, always carry a gun. Rule Number Three, don’t attract attention. That means, keeping your ears hidden. Rule Number Four, don’t dawdle. Rule Number Five, don’t stray from your assignment. Rule Number Six, know what you are capable of. If you need backup, just call for backup. Rule Number Seven, think before you act. Rule Number Eight, observe everything at all times. Be alert. Rule Number Nine, be physically and emotionally fit. I cannot stress that enough. And finally, Rule Number Ten, don’t die.”

Emmaline looked at me unflinchingly as a smile spread slowly across her face. “No problem, Wren.”

I nodded sharply at her. “Good.” I moved towards the big brown cardboard box that was tucked away in a corner, and started digging around. “Now,” I said, my voice muffled as I continued to search the box. I grinned as I spotted the very thing I was looking for before grabbing it and straightening myself up. “Now,” I repeated, holding up the object, “this will be your communication device. Use it well, make sure that it is in good condition in every waking and sleeping moment of your life.” I tossed the device over to her, and Emmaline caught it effortlessly. I continued to talk as she turned it over and over in her hand, scrutinizing every little detail. “It is just like a cell phone for the humans, but we invented this when they first discovered fire.”

Emmaline made a little noise of laughter and merriment as she customized it for herself. The standard black communication device soon transformed into a light purple, modern, techy-looking thing that could turn invisible to the human eye at will.

“Nice,” I said, looking it over. At that moment, Ciara’s voice blared from my black communication device that had a picture of my motto as its cover.

“Don’t blink,” Emmaline read as I answered my communication device. “Don’t even blink. Blink and you’re dead.” She looked at me as I listened to Ciara blabber on in a breathless, wild sounding voice. “Doctor Who.”

“Yes, Doctor Who,” I said as I turned off the communication device. “You’re in luck. I just got called in to a Code Ten.”

 

“A Code Ten?” Emmaline said as she struggled to catch up with me. “What in the world is a Code Ten?”

“A bloody infidel trying to break into the entry gate for the Elvish world.”

“Bloody infidel?”

“Human.”

“Oh.”

We continued to run past other elves, who parted for us like the sea as if we were Noah. “This way,” I commanded, and took a sharp left towards the teleportation station. Emmaline huffed and puffed as she followed me. I glanced at her before looking ahead again. “We’re going to have to put you on a fitness regime.”

Emmaline scowled and rolled her eyes as we stopped to get our tickets. “Wait,” she said, looking up at me with startled eyes.

“What?” I said, and thanked the man for the tickets. “This way.”

“What about my hair?”
I looked at her purple hair and shrugged as we waited in line. “What about it?”

“It’s purple, Wren! The humans will know for sure that I’m an elf if they see it!”

“No they won’t,” I said as the line moved forward. “Tons of humans are dying their hair elvish colors now. It will look completely normal.”

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely,” I said as we stepped into the teleportation unit. It was shaped like a cylinder, tube-like thing, and could hold only one elf at a time. They were lined together in clusters, with four in one cluster. “Have you been in one before?”

“No,” she said, looking frightened.

“Well, don’t be scared. It won’t help you,” I said somewhat cold-heartedly as she started to hyperventilate. “Oh for goodness sakes, get your act together!” I snapped at her. “You won’t feel a thing. You just go whoosh and zoomp and then you arrive at your destination. Your body will have to stabilize itself once we land, you might feel disconcerted, but after a few times the feeling will go away.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it,” I confirmed. “Now get ready.”

“How do I do that?” she screamed.

I sighed and yelled back, “Do whatever! I stand as straight as a rod, others like to place their hands on the sides, some like to crouch down low.”

Emmaline decided to crouch down low on the ground as the manager of our teleportation units started to count down from five. We both braced ourselves. Whoosh. Zoomp. I blinked my eyes and hopped out of the cylinder, and it whisked away. Emmaline, on the other hand, was still huddled on the floor, rocking back and forth on her heels.

“For goodness sakes Emmaline, get up! Other people need to use the teleportation units!” I said, dragging her out.

“Am I alive?” she said slowly.

“Yes,” I said flatly, “now come on. We also need to work on your speed.”

We ran towards the large archway that read gibberish to the untrained human eye, but actually said “Entrance Gate to the Elvish World.” I motioned for Emmaline to hurry up as we passed through the gate. Inside, there stood a brown, old door that had an aura of magic around it. I spotted a human boy about my age examining the door, and shushed Emmaline and told her to follow me.

I charged at the male, kicked at his shins, stomped on his feet, and punched at his chest, which stood a good two inches above my head. Unfortunately, I could not get to his head unless I jumped up and down or stood on my tiptoes, so I just aimed for his neck as I hit him again. He sprawled out onto the ground, holding his hands up in surrender.

“Who are you?” I demanded to him, my gun out. “Emmaline, call for backup.”

“Jack,” he said, not one bit scared. He winced as he tried to get into a better position. “I thought that elves don’t carry guns.”

“Well,” I said coldly, pointing my gun at his forehead, “I’m not an elf.”

“Yes you are,” Jack said calmly, sitting up. “You hair isn’t damaged from hair dye, which obviously suggests that your hair is actually natural, even though it is an unusual shade for a human, you are extremely small for someone your age, your communication device is peeking out from your pocket, and oh, your ears aren’t covered.”

I glowered at him and quickly uttered a spell that tied my hair back into a convenient ponytail, revealing my pointed ears. “Fine,” I said approvingly. “Why are you here?” I touched the barrel of the gun to his forehead menacingly to remind him that I was not “softening”.

Jack just looked up at me with a weird expression that I had not seen before. “I was out camping and I saw this sign that read ‘Entrance Gate to the Elvish World.’ Was curious, so I went in.”

While he was talking, I stealthily moved to face his back and handcuffed his hands behind him as my gun touched his temple. I glared at his seemingly humongous hands that dwarfed mine in comparison as I fastened the handcuffs on. I did the same with his feet, and sat back across from him to enjoy my handiwork.

Emmaline sat down behind me as she whispered that she had called for backup. “Good,” I said. “We’re going to need it. This guy’s a freak, he knows Elvish.”

He coughed. “I heard that.”

“You were meant to.”

Jack shifted his position as he continued to look at me. “So, what’s your name?”

“None of your business.”

“Fine, None of Your Business. Purple hair, what’s your name?”

Emmaline smiled sheepishly before answering as I jabbed in her the ribs with my incredibly sharp elbow. “Next lesson,” I said. “Being wisely discreet. You also just broke Rule Number Seven, think before you act.”

I stayed silent and pressured Emmaline to do the same as Jack continued to ask questions that remained unanswered. Minutes passed before I heard the familiar sound of a teleportation unit. It had to be backup. I was looking forward to an elf as my backup for this mission, but was sadly disappointed. I groaned as the excruciatingly happy laugh of a stupid fairy invaded the gate area.

“Did you call for fairy backup?” I asked Emmaline.

“Yes, no, I don’t know,” she squeaked as I glowered.

“Augh, I hate fairies,” I grumbled as I stood up. “So happy and cheery.” Jack just laughed, and I quickly kicked him in the ribs as I went to meet with the idiotic fairy.

She was a small little thing, even smaller than me or Emmaline, and had dewy wings and a lightness about her. She wore a horrendously small and short blue dress that dipped low in the front and low in the back. This scandalously dressed fairy looked to be about my age. She seemed lithe, and had big blue eyes and blonde hair- the American ideal, I was told some time ago.

You’re the backup?” I asked her as soon as she was within listening distance.

“Yes,” she said happily, and giggled like a truly stupid fairy girl. Her eyes lit up when she saw Jack, and then she turned to me saying, “So he’s the intruder?”

“Yes,” I said sharply. “Couldn’t they have sent anyone else?”

“Nope!” She chirped, her eye still on Jack. “I was the only one left on duty.”

I glanced over her tiny outfit again. “Fine,” I spat out. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Adorabelle-”

“Here it comes…”

Adorabelle looked indignant. “I said, I’m Adorabelle Weathersnapper.”

“Fine, Adorabelle Weathersnapper,” I said. I rolled my eyes at Emmaline as I made my way towards her with Adorabelle in tow.

“Hi!” she said girlishly, as if she were not on a mission to extract this human from the premises of the Elvish World’s gateway. “I”m Adorabelle!”

“Jack.”

“That’s such a lovely name!” she gushed.

“Oh great,” I muttered as I sat down.

Emmaline tapped me on the shoulder lightly. “What do we do now?”

“We go through the process of asking him if he would kindly leave and never speak of this again,” I said, loud enough for Jack to hear, “or we just erase his memory and send him on his merry way.”

Emmaline frowned. “But then you wouldn’t have his consent.”

I flipped my ponytail to the other side. “Don’t need one.”

Emmaline just frowned before looking away. I sighed, and turned my attention to Jack, who looked mighty uncomfortable as Adorabelle scooted closer and closer to him with fast blinking eyes that seemed to almost go out of control.

“Jack,” I said. “Will you hereby promise to go out of this place and to never speak a word of this to anyone, ever?”

Jack thought about this for one split moment before giving a resounding, “No.”

“Fine.” I said, shrugging, and shooed Emmaline out of the way as I got a syringe and filled it with a clear watery liquid. “Adorabelle, introduce yourself to Emmaline.”

Adorabelle left Jack’s side and chatted up a storm with Emmaline, with Adorabelle talking and Emmaline nodding and confirming that she was, indeed, listening to her fascinating stories.

I gave a kick to Jack’s ribs and then a punch to his stomach for good measure before grabbing his arm and searching for an injection site. Not having done this in a long time, I labored over every vein, deciding whether it was safe or not.

“Stop looking at me,” I finally snapped. “You don’t want me to plunge this into the wrong spot, do you?”

He just shrugged.

I shook my head and injected the needle into his arm, not caring where it went, since it seemed that he didn’t care much about it either. I took it out and tucked the syringe into my bag.

“Now,” I said to Emmaline. “This is going to take effect in a few seconds. I suggest we get out of here before he comes to.”

We thanked Adorabelle, who graciously accepted our thanks, cast a wistful glance at Jack, and flew away. Emmaline and I called for teleportation units and stepped inside. My back to the entrance of the tube, I talked with Emmaline soothingly as she stooped back to the ground and started rocking back and forth on her heels. As the doors of my teleportation unit closed, I felt that it seemed much smaller than usual. I turned to face the front of the cylinder, and screamed as I saw Jack smiling down at me.

“You’re in the teleportation unit!” I shrieked as I hit him. “What were you thinking?”

Jack just shrugged as he protected his face from my fighting hands.

Infuriated, I hit him as he calmly took the blows, wincing and cringing as my fists and feet made contact with his flesh. Whoosh. Zoomp. The doors of the teleportation unit opened and I dragged Jack out of there and towards Ciara’s office. Everybody had gone to dinner, so nobody was roaming the halls.

“Ciara!” I boomed, flinging open the door. She was at her desk, busy typing up a document on her computer, probably a report or something like that. I dragged Jack into the room and told Emmaline to go get dinner. She bounded off towards the cafeteria as I pushed Jack deeper into the room.

“Who’s this?” Ciara said, smiling at Jack as she turned her attention away from her computer.

“A human,” I seethed. “A human found his way into my teleportation capsule, and now he is in the blasted Elvish Network!” I tightened my grip on his arm as I presented Jack to Ciara. “I gave him the MLL, but it didn’t seem to have worked.”

“Good evening, young man,” Ciara said to Jack. He gave a bow in return.

“Good evening?” I said hysterically and hit the table with my free hand. “Good evening!?”

“Yes,” Ciara said, seemingly confused by my reactions. She turned back to Jack. “You seem to have displayed quite a bit of intelligence in the Elvish area, young man. What’s your name?”

“Jack.”

“Well,” Ciara said briskly. “It is nice to meet you, Jack. My name is Ciara, and I am sure that you know her name.”

“Oh yes!” He said, nodding. “None of Your Business.”

Ciara looked sharply at him. “Excuse me?”

“None of Your Business. She said that her name was None of Your Business.”

“Don’t try to be clever,” I hissed at him. Unfortunately, I had to look up to talk to him, which must have diminished my threatening look quite a bit.

“Wren!” Ciara said, rebuking me.

“Wren,” Jack said, trying it out. “Hmm, it suits you.”

At that, I flew into a rage, kicking and screaming and hitting while he just stood there and allowed me to work at him like he were a punching bag that I could take all of my anger out on.

“Now, Wren,” Ciara said in a tone that made me stop. “Apologize. At once.”

I made a “face” before saying, “Apologies.”

“Apology accepted.”

“Now hug,” Ciara commanded.

“No,” I said as I put a hand out to stop Jack from taking one more step towards me. “No way, no how.”

“Do that, and you’ll get demoted.”

“Fine.” I said, and hugged the abominable Jack. He didn’t bother to bend down to accommodate my height, and I didn’t like wrapping my arms around his waist, so I just did the worst thing imaginable to me and stood on my tiptoes in order to wrap my arms around his neck.

“I wish that I can choke you right now,” I whispered into his ear before letting go.

“Now that you have made up, reintroduce yourselves,” Ciara commanded. “Jack, meet me after you guys are done. I want to discuss something with you about being a resident.”

“Great!” Jack said, beaming at her before looking back down at at me. He stuck out his hand for me to shake. “Pleasure to meet you. I’m Jack.”

I shook his hand and allowed myself a painful smile. “Wren Wendy Wess. Pleased to meet you.” As he smiled at me, I said, “Call me Wren, never Wendy, occasionally Miss Wess. Call me Wendy, and you’ll regret it.”

Jack just shrugged and said, “Wren it is.”

 

If you would like to vote on this or any other story, email me at craftingstoriesinred(at)gmail(dot)com

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5 thoughts on “Short Story Contest Entry by Esperanza

  1. Perhaps I am an overly suspicious person, but I’m sensing that there is more to this Jack person and his odd ability to be in places he shouldn’t. Hmmmm…

  2. Ooh, this is intriguing. Sounds like a much longer story! 😀

  3. Ooh, fun! I’m intrigued by this “Jack” fellow.

  4. I’m also wondering about how this guy managed to see Elvish. My first assumption was that he had some Elvish blood.

  5. Jack and Wren. I ship it! Lol. Well, anyway, from the way I’m reading it, Jack is either going to be Wren’s love interest, or a bad guy. Because, really how does he know Elvish anyway? And I think Ciara knows something we don’t. She’s just so accepting of Jack that it makes me suspicious. I think she and Jack are in cahoots. I mean, seriously, in the beginning she was all about warning Wren of the dangers of humans. A 7-year-old killed an elf— on purpose! That’s really scary, and horrifying. On a side note, I really like Adorabelle. She’s hilarious. Or at least the way Wren describes her is hilarious.

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