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Fantasy Fiction

Bran Hayes’ Journal

31st July. Night. I must write, for sleep refuses to come to me at this hour. Today I did it. I actually agreed to Catty’s marriage with the demon, Conall. I wonder if I did the right thing. I can see that the two are very much in love, and finally I acquiesced to Catty’s pleas. I wonder if reading has shaped my mind in some way. For I am reminded that

Jack shall have Jill, nought shall go ill.

Well! In this case Catty is Jill. But is Conall her Jack? What if I am doing a sin by letting my sister marry such a creature? Will her story end up like Romeo and Juliet? No, no, I have thought too much.

Strictly speaking, Conall has been a great help to us. Demon that he may be, he does not curse, nor kill, nor hate. He has been good to us, and yet my heart does not want to admit it. He helped Catty get over that incident. Why, after that happened, Catty hasn’t smiled even once.

I don’t blame her, though… Even I find it hard to swallow the bitter pill of betrayal. I still remember his smile – and no, I shall not mention his name, for I know who it is I’m talking about – and that evil smirk as he pushed us off the cliff.

And to think he is an angel! If angels are corrupt, then demons must be saints… I shudder when I think of it. My eyes are weary, but sleep refuses to come to me. For when I close my eyes, I see his smile… a smile that even Judas in hell might be proud of

I shall not dwell on depressing matters…

And Catty. Ever since Conall came into our lives, she has cast off the dark robes and stepped into the sunshine. She smiles, and laughs, and seems so much like herself again. So it is true that Conall has been much good to us. What irony, to see a demon bring joy and goodness to fairies like us!

And I want Catty to be happy. Maybe that was what pushed me to say yes. I agreed to Catty’s marriage with him. Because if marriage can make her happy, so be it.

That does not mean I trust him, though. When the morrow comes, I shall go hunting with him. And there… I will make sure to figure out what his intentions to Catty are. If he is good and sincere, may happiness come to us all!

If he means harm… I cannot, will not, must not let him live. I have a duty to protect Catty, my only sister left. And even if Conall’s death – or my actions – shall give her pain, I must persevere. I know that we will have to pass through the bitter water before we reach the sweet… That is so true.

But I can only hope for the best… and now, sleep I must. Or else I cannot hunt tomorrow…

Mem. Hunt for deer. Catty loves venison and hasn’t had some for months. She must be craving for them…

***

Catríona Hayes’ Diary

August 1. Lunchtime. Everything started out just fine today. Clear blue skies and gentle rays of sunshine. My sweet Conall had gone hunting with Brother Bran, and they both promised to return with dinner. I was fine with all that, especially because yesterday (and I’ve written it down in the page before) Brother Bran had finally consented to my marriage with dear, dear Conall.

My! Fancy me, a married woman soon! And to my lovely Conall as well! I was prepared to run away with Conall if Brother Bran had insisted that marrying a demon was suicide (but dear Conall is the most kindhearted demon I’ve ever met). Thankfully Brother Bran consented.

But. I’m getting ahead of myself, and let me continue.

As Conall went of with Bran, I busied myself with my tasks. I refined potions and spells, so that when we go to town at the end of the week, we can sell them. I’m glad I’m a fairy, so my task is simple. I’ve heard that humans have to plough the fields and do all sorts of difficult things to earn money. How sorry their life must be! A human’s life is so short and they’re so frail, I can’t imagine myself as one of them.

I refined toothache potions and gather herbs to make potions to handle rashes. Humans, especially the children, tend to get all red and itchy when they come near poison ivy. It’s the urushiol, I’m sure, but children can’t stop themselves from playing. So there! I made potions to help them, it’s one of those items that are always sold out at the end of the week.

Lunch was vegetables and fish – leftovers from yesterday’s hunt. I found some mushrooms on the west of the house and they were good. I must ask Brother Bran to be careful when he passes by that area. I wouldn’t want him to step on the mushrooms and ruin them.

Anyway, I’m sitting on my favorite desk as I’m writing this, yes – the desk sits near the window. The afternoon sun is pleasant and I shall wait as patiently as I can for Brother Bran and sweet Conall to arrive. I hope they bring home deer. I shall read some books and collect mushrooms when I want to. After all, venison tastes good with mushrooms…

August 1. Night. It’s late and I’m sitting on the bed as I write this. I can’t help but sigh again and again. What should I say? Today has been so very terrible. Why, I’m crying as I write this… the tears are blotting the black ink and I wonder if I can still read this properly tomorrow morning. Let’s hope I can – but no, I don’t think I shall have the heart to open this diary after I pour my heart out.

Where should I start? As evening drew near, Brother Bran and Conall had yet to return. I grew uneasy, and the feeling only grew worse as time went on. So I wrapped myself with a shawl and entered the forest to look for them. But oh! I wish I never went!

As I neared a clearing, I saw Brother Bran and Conall. Both of them looked handsome (ah, but Conall was more dashing than Brother Bran – I shan’t tell him that, though). I wanted to call out to them, but then I saw them in a fierce discussion. I could not hear what they were saying exactly, but I hid in the shrubs and tried to piece together what they were saying.

Dear Conall was frowning, and Brother Bran was waving his arms dramatically. It took me a while to realize that they were fighting, or arguing – perhaps both. I caught the words demon, and silly fairy, and I think Brother Bran mentioned my name. Then Conall pointed his finger at Brother Bran, and their voices got higher.

All was still for a while, and I peeked out of my hiding place, thinking the fighting had stopped (how foolish of me). By this time, it was rather dark, but I could still see the figures of my fiancée and brother. Brother Bran lifted his sword, the flash of light momentarily blinding me – and then, and then!

My heart can’t hold it! There, I’m crying again, and I expect my diary to be a horrid mess when I open it tomorrow. But I can’t believe Brother Bran would do that! He swung his sword and cleanly cut off Conall’s left arm!

The blood spurted out and I heard my poor Conall stifle a groan. How red the blood was! How it stung my eyes! Even I could feel my arm throbbing with pain. What did poor Conall feel?

And Brother Bran… Brother Bran’s face was cold, hard and oh so cruel!

I wanted to jump out and scream at Brother Bran. Why? Is it because Conall is a demon? Didn’t Brother Bran consent to our marriage? Was he lying all along? I was ready to grab Conall’s hand and make a run for it, but then I heard Conall say, “Don’t let Catríona know.” And Brother Bran nodded.

I couldn’t take it anymore and started sobbing. I picked up my shawl and ran all the way home. It was night already, and I stumbled as I ran through the prickly bushes and into the arms of home. And here I am, in my room, not knowing what to feel or say. Brother Bran and dear Conall are not home yet – but I don’t think – I don’t know. I have no heart to have dinner, so I guess I’ll just sleep for now. (If I can sleep)

Tomorrow – and I pray it doesn’t come – I shall confront Brother Bran. I shan’t do it tonight. I’m exhausted, and I fear my emotions will get the better of me. I pray that this is all just a bad dream…

***

Diary of the Mighty Conall Ó Corraidhíni

August 1 – midnight. (I think it’s midnight? Or just night.)

Well, I must say, every time I look at my diary title, it makes me cringe. ‘The mighty Conall’… I can’t believe I called myself that… Self-praise is not a good thing, I’m sure. But enough with the rambling. I must write about the day’s events.

Even as I write, my left shoulder (where my arm used to be) is throbbing. Bran really cut my arm cleanly, I’m surprised he isn’t a swordmaster of some sort. Bran has already bandaged up the wound and I expect it to be fine tomorrow. Still…

Hmm, I must start from the very beginning. Bran wanted to go hunting with me this morning, and even though Riona (for that is what I call Catríona) did not seem to detect anything wrong, I knew that Bran had another reason for wanting to speak with me alone. He’s super protective of Riona – not that it’s a bad thing. He’s a good brother, even I can see that.

I knew ever since yesterday that even though Bran had agreed to our marriage, he was still on guard. Oh, the ways of love… The course of true love never did run smooth. How true...

And I was right. Today’s ‘hunting’ was not mere hunting. Bran kept asking me questions that hinted at his innermost thoughts. “What do you want from my sister?” He seemed to be saying that.

I respect that good man – no, that fairy. Even now, I respect him. Of course, I had the feeling that I was being interrogated by him for the entire day. He asked me about my origins, my family, and blablabla (I answered his questions as truthfully and nicely as I could – but I did not tell him that), and he asked me what I thought of Riona. Dear Riona… she is blessed to have a caring brother like Bran. But she will be even more blessed to have a husband like me.

Oops, I think that sounded a bit too narcissistic.

Anyway, Bran and I finally warmed up to each other (well, in my opinion, at least) and we caught some rabbits and pheasants. We had lunch together and I wanted to go home (to my dear Riona, of course). But Bran got annoyed, and – this is where things started going sour – I asked him why.

At that moment he grew annoyed and told me that we had yet to catch deer (why must we catch deer? I asked) and he grew even more annoyed. After some probing, it finally dawned on me that Riona likes deer – and that was the reason Bran was desperate to get some before returning home.

Since Riona liked it, naturally I would willingly go and hunt them. Then here comes the annoying part, a part that makes me wonder if the heavens just want to make me miserable.

There was no deer.

Yeah, there was no deer. Zero. Nada. Nothing.

What use is a forest without deer?! Why go hunting if there’s no deer?!

But that’s the truth. Up until evening, Bran and I could not find any deer. And then it happened. Yup, we fought. Thinking back on it, it was really silly. Perhaps staying in a forest for an entire day had made us tired and grumpy, or maybe the darkness was making us uneasy, but we actually got into an argument. I was probably annoyed with Bran because he had, quite literally, interrogated me for the whole morning.

I can’t well remember how the argument started, but it was something along the lines of “it’s your fault” and “You don’t deserve Catty” (that was mean of Bran), and “You didn’t even know what my sister likes!” (again, that was Bran), to which I replied that I had an entire lifetime to find out what Riona likes.

It got pretty messy and then I remember feeling pain on my left arm, the upper arm, and I looked down. Bran seemed to notice my discomfort too and looked at the spot. We both quieted down when we saw that it was a snake. A terrible, pink one at that. Now common sense has told us both that colorful, pretty things are the most poisonous (Wait – Riana is pretty but she’s not poisonous… no. Riana is the prettiest and not most poisonous of them all)… So I flung the snake away and – as it slithered away, I cut it into two.

Bran was worried, though I didn’t know it at the time because I was panicked (sigh, the title of my diary is mighty Conall. But the mighty Conall was panicked… How mighty I am). Bran was waving his arms and complaining – almost in tears – that he didn’t bring any potions to heal me. So I had an idea. The poison was spreading throughout my arm and soon it would enter my heart. Before it happened, I told Bran to cut off my arm.

He got angry with me, asking me if I was sane. I told him that a silly fairy like him wouldn’t understand the ways of demons.

Bran seemed to realize that time was of the essence and that arguing – or fighting – was pointless, so he unsheathed his sword and did the deed quickly. It was a clean, neat cut, though I daresay it hurt. I sure am glad that Riona was not there to see the terrible deed. She would definitely be crying her eyes out if she knew…

After he cut off my arm, Bran was quick to tear off a piece of his shirt and bandage my wound. We were both quiet for a while, I was thinking about the pink snake, wondering how I, a ‘mighty’ demon, could not sense it coming. Bran was also absorbed in his thoughts, most likely mulling over how his sister was going to marry a man with one arm...

“What are we going to do? Oh, Conall! I don’t know what Catty will say! We shouldn’t have argued in the first place… why did you tell me to cut your arm?! We should’ve rushed back and – “

 “No.” I cut him off.

“You did the right thing. I think there’s something you don’t understand, here.”

And my guess was right. Bran didn’t know that demons from certain clans (like mine) could grow back our limbs as easily as breathing. It’s a special regenerative effect that powerful clans have. I didn’t tell him that, though. I merely told him that every demon could re-grow their body parts. Of course, he believed me.

I told him not to tell Riona (and he definitely agreed) because we wouldn’t want her to worry. Tomorrow, my left arm will be back, and Riona and I will probably start making wedding plans…

Me and Bran have made up. He’s definitely more comfortable around me, and he’s not wary anymore – which is good, of course. Tomorrow, maybe Bran and I will go hunting again. Today we didn’t catch any deer and we slipped into the house – late at night – to avoid Riona. Thankfully she’s asleep. Tomorrow, I’ll be sure to catch deer…

Until then, I think I’ll have to rest. Rest is essential in regrowing my arm…

***

August 03, 2021 12:09

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2 comments

05:37 Aug 12, 2021

Hi, Keiko! I got this story from the critique circle. I found it really fascinating and cute. I initially thought that Bran was calling Conall a demon as a metaphor. I enjoyed the fact that they were actually fairies and demons. It might be a good idea to have a Part 2. I'm curious as to how Riona would react once she finds out that Conall has grown back his arm. :-)

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02:38 Aug 13, 2021

Hi Kathleen! Wow, thanks alot... I had lots of fun writing this story too. Yes, Conall is really a demon and Bran is a fairy. Initially I wanted to add Riona's dumbfounded, disbelief reaction when she sees Conall's arm, but I decided I'd leave the rest to the readers imagination. It's true that Riona's expression will be priceless though... Hehe... Thank you once again.

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