Contemporary Fantasy

“Where I come from, no one would be batting an eye at this.” Elliot said, looking decidedly unimpressed with the whole thing. Fred glanced at the woman he had met only six months ago but who had quickly become his best friend.

“Oh, really?” He said, lifting an eyebrow. “This happen frequently then?” Was he fishing for clues about Elliot’s past? Yes. And he would readily admit that. His friend was pretty tight-lipped about, well, everything.

Elliot grinned, her eyes sparkling. “So frequent, no one even stops to watch anymore.”

Fred looked back at the two centaurs brawling in the middle of the street. He and Elliot stood amidst a crowd of onlookers that had started forming the minute the centaurs had started their shouting match. Centaurs were not known for ending their quarrels peacefully.

Officers blew on their whistles as they pushed through the crowd.

“They’re not going to be able to stop it.” Elliot spoke with complete confidence.

“I don’t think they’re trying to stop it.” He gestured to the officers who had made it to the inside of the circle and were motioning the pedestrians backwards. “Just trying to keep everyone else away.”

“I don’t get what’s so entertaining about it anyways. It’s just two guys fighting.” Elliot turned and headed for the miniatures shop that had been their original target.

Fred looked at the fight again and nodded. Elliot was right. That’s exactly what it was. Just two (most likely drunk) guys fighting.


“Where I come from, you can get hot chocolate that tastes just like this.” Elliot held up her pumpkin spice milkshake.

Fred scrunched his face up. Ew. “Pumpkin spice hot chocolate? That’s just wrong.”

Elliot looked at him in confusion. “Not this.” She gestured to her glass. “This.” She moved her glass in a bigger arc. Ah. She’d meant the Autumn Harvest Market they had stumbled across after disembarking from their train. “It tastes just like fall, campfires, and coziness.”

Still ew. Smokey tasting hot chocolate? But more importantly… “You have hot chocolate that tastes like aesthetics?”

Elliot paused, frowned, and then nodded. “Yep.”

He’d heard of witches making up brews that could taste like anything- but not hot chocolate tasting like…aesthetics. Seriously?

“You don’t believe me.”

“I’m not sure what to think.” He walked towards a pile of pumpkins intent on finding the perfect one to carve. Elliot followed. “But out of curiosity- what does Christmas taste like?”

Elliot grinned as she picked up a head-sized pumpkin to examine. “Anticipation, snowflakes, and jingle bells.”

Fred smiled. Now that was a drink he could get behind.


“You know…” Elliot started. And Fred knew what was coming and he waited eagerly, wanting to get another glimpse of Elliot’s home. “Where I come from, the snow is always warm.” She carefully packed the fresh snow into a perfect sphere.

“Warm snow?” After her other tidbits, it should be easy to believe anything about Elliot’s hometown but warm snow? That was impossible. “The frost fairies wouldn’t allow such an abomination.” He said.

She pressed her lips together, the amusement in her eyes clear. “They do where I come from.”

“And where was that again?”

A mischievous smile slid onto her face and he knew he wasn’t going to get a straight answer. “Oh, nowhere,” She chuckled and he knew he was missing the joke. Maybe one day he would get it.

Fred shrugged. “Alright. Don’t tell me.”

Elliot laughed and then launched her snowball straight at his face. He shivered as the snow snuck inside his collar. Warm snow, huh? He could get used to that idea.


They were sitting on a fallen log on top of the highest mountain, Fred had ever climbed, looking up at the sky bursting with a billion stars. He’d seen photos of skies like this, but it was nothing compared to seeing it in person. He could stare at this all night.

“You know,” Elliot started, speaking softly.

“You come from a place where the skies are like this every night.” Fred filled in, speaking equally as soft.

Her eyes widened, almost comically. “How’d you know?” She leaned into him.

Fred grinned. “Because what else could be the answer?” They both looked back up at the stars. Elliot snaked her arm through his and with her other arm pointed up- “Do see that cluster there, just to the right of the moon?”

He followed her directions, taking a moment to locate them amongst all their neighbors. “The circle with the three stars inside?”

“That’s the one.”

“What about it?”

Elliot was silent for a moment. “When I was growing up, there was this story. My Mom told it to me and my sister as a bedtime story. My grandma told it as this incredible legend, and at the town’s annual founding celebration, they told it as history.”

Goosebumps flashed across Fred’s skin. His focus was no longer on the sky but on the woman beside him. “Must be a pretty good story.”

A smile hovered on Elliot’s lips. “It is. It’s about three sisters gifted with extraordinary powers, who saw the hate and greed of the world and rejected it. So, they formed a Sanctuary.”

Fred’s mouth dropped. A Sanctuary? Supposedly only the stuff of legends- they were places protected behind magic barriers that couldn’t be found unless you were escorted in. That was one theory as to how the dragons disappeared. They hid themselves away to protect themselves from hunters. “You’re from a Sanctuary?”

She pressed her lips together and nodded.

Suddenly, a lot more things about Elliot were making sense. Centaurs brawling regularly- a place where they safely could, hot chocolate that tasted like feelings and experiences, and where snow was warm. What better place for those things to happen then in a secret Sanctuary?

“That’s…that’s incredible.” An actual Sanctuary? Mind-blowing. He eyed her.

Elliot lifted an eyebrow. “What?”

“Are there dragons there?” He crossed his toes inside his boots. Please let there be dragons there.

She smiled widely. “One or two.”

“Yes!” He pumped an arm in excitement and Elliot laughed. After the laughter subsided, he asked, “So, do you think I could get an invitation to this place or something?”

Elliot smiled. “You know, where I come from, friends are always welcomed.”

Fred smiled back and together they looked back up at the night sky where the three sisters twinkled brightly inside their circle.


Fred stared at the sign, stating the name of Elliot’s home. “Nowhere. Seriously?”

“Seriously.” She laughed.

At least now he got the joke.

September 23, 2022 20:55

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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