Friday, April 28, 2017

Story 217: (Folklore 241) Celtic Mythology in Modern Urban Environments

When she got back from spring break, Stacey wouldn't come into our dorm room.  I played stupid because I knew she would be forced to do the same, but we both knew exactly what was going on.

I had sprinkled iron filings into the carpet.  A lot of them.

You couldn't see it if you just glanced at the carpet, they were deep in the weave, but if you were secretly a goddamn fairy it would make it extremely unpleasant to enter the room.  So she just stood there, smiling, in the hallway.
"You know," she said, "my allergies cleared up as soon as I left town?  I think there might be mold or something in the carpet."  Cute.
"Well you know, carpet in a dorm wasn't the best plan to begin with.  A bunch of college kids around something that can get stained or... moldy?  I bet if they replace the carpet the same thing will just happen again the next day."
The smile slips, just a little.  She nods.
"You're probably right.  I don't think they have carpets in Neumann Hall, I might request a room there.  Nothing against you."
"Of course!  No offense taken."

She's still standing there with her fake smile, fake everything I suppose, holding her backpack and staring past me at her side of the room.
"Do you think any... mold... got on my things?"
I was tempted, but no.  She never actually hurt me, after all.  "I think your things are probably safe."
"Oh good.  Good.  Um.  I really hate to ask for a favor, but would you be willing to box them up for me while I talk to someone about moving?"
There was something about favors.  Never accept a favor from the fair folk, or enter into a bargain without clearly defining what you would owe.  But this was different, right?  I would be doing a favor for her, not the other way around.  I wondered suddenly if I had ever told her I 'owed her one' back before I figured it out.  Just to be safe...
"Sure thing, and then we're even."
She tilted her head, eyes suddenly seeming cold and hard.
"For what?"
"For..." this felt like dangerous territory.  "For anything I might have owed you, for any reason.  Or vice versa.  We're just, totally, even."
She sighed, either in resignation or in relief.  Hard to say.  "Sure thing.  Agreed.  It was... nice.  I hope we can still be friends."
"Yeah.  Um.  Good luck.  With everything."

Stacey left, and I leaned against the wall and slid to the floor.  I was tempted to fall asleep right there, I hadn't slept well since I started planning for kicking her out of the room.  If she had gotten angry... Maggie Glennhold had spilled a smoothie right into Stacey's backpack and everyone saw what happened to her the next day.  Just an accident, of course.  Nobody's fault, and they said her hair would probably grow back.  But it didn't feel like Stacey was going to come for me.

Still... just to be safe, I resolved to do an extra nice job packing her things.