Liar, Liar, the Truth is Dire

Submitted into Contest #88 in response to: Write a cautionary fable about someone who always lies.... view prompt


Urban Fantasy Speculative Friendship

*Featuring characters from "Message from the City" and "A Family Secret"

 Alyvia taps her pointed nails against her throne's armrest. "I don't see why you're so upset." She had gone for a more elegant appearance today for her fae form. Draped in silk with a veil that went behind her in the form of a train, Alyvia felt particularly royal. "You have always had an... attachment to these humans."

"You've had more than your share of attachments as well, sister," Alyn retorts. He pauses to adjust the wraparound garment carefully tailored to his fae form. "I worry you are being reckless," he says finally, answering her question. "We have to be careful."

"I don't keep them." Alyvia moves up from her throne and descends down the steps toward her brother. "You have a tendency to think more about your attachments than your own family. Besides, I think it's funny. And they deserve it."

"That is dangerously close to an admonishment," Alyn says, bristling. "And, of course, they deserve it."

"Just saying," Alyvia says. "How is Luz these days?" She pats her brother on the shoulder. "Besides, how else are these humans to learn? When we were living in the human world, it was great with speakeasies and glamour, and now it's just murderers, thefts, and bad actors."

"Devastated you refused to visit with him last week." Alyn gives up his pacing to meet her gaze.

"I had business to attend to. It is our season, after all. I have ruling to do. People to curse. You know, busy busy busy." The queen makes her way around him toward the window. "You see that down there?"

Alyn bites back a comment about being fully aware of the season, as he was also busy with their duties. "The pixie child?" Alyn asks, stepping closer.

"Not her. Over a few feet. Our flowers have come in full bloom. If you look close enough, you can see the crystals growing on them." Alyvia looks at her with a sly grin. "Madness is growing."

Alyn gasps, delighted. "What wonderful timing!"

"Just in time too!" Alyvia says. She loops an arm with her brother's. "Just think of the possibilities."


Kienna paces the length of her apartment, for once grateful for the open floor plan that made the living room, kitchen, and her bedroom all one large space. Having to pass through doorways would only irritate her further at this point. She was no stranger to bad days, but this week had been particularly full of them, and it had only just begun. She went out on Friday to drink the weekend in. Saturday, she woke up with a blinding hangover but nothing really out of the usual. Sunday, she discovered she physically could not tell the truth. Monday, she nearly lost her job because of that delightful little detail. She had an appointment with a counselor this morning that was nothing short of maddening. When she can no longer stand the sight of her own home, she tugs on her sandals and makes her way outside. She has no real plans but isn't particularly surprised when she finds herself at the manor.

Neri stretched out her legs. One of the best parts about the manor is the massive lawn. Pascal dedicated everything to keep it tidy and well-trimmed. The last thing she expected was to see her and Iki's newest friend making her way into the backyard, looking rather frustrated. "Kienna?"

"Neri! Everything's fine!" Kienna yells. She immediately slaps her forehead.

"Okay..." Neri squints her eyes, putting a hand up over them to shield them from the sunlight. "Then why do you look like you've been running a marathon." Her cheeks were flushed, her hair wild, and she looked like she was ready to punch something.

"I took a detour," she says. No matter how hard she tries, Kienna cannot get the right words out. She drops her head into her hands and groans. This was impossible!

"A detour...?" Neri gets to her feet. "I didn't realize there was a detour from your apartment to here." She makes her way to the covered gazebo. "Nessie had the cook prepare some sandwiches and lemonade. You hungry?"

"Lemonade?" Kienna perks up. "Did she make it herself?"

"Of course. Do you want some?" She holds up the pitcher. "it's your favorite." Neri watches her friend carefully.

"It looks disgusting!" Kienna enthuses, looking around for a cup. "I'd hate some!"

Neri squints. "What is wrong with you? You're being weird." She puts the pitcher down on the table. "Tell me something." She picks up a cup and holds it out. "What color is this?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," Kienna sighs. It occurs to her that Neri has an idea and perks up. "It's purple!" She exclaims. "Like apple juice!"

"Why are you lying? You're all.... weird." Neri sets the cup down and watches her friend closely. "What's going on with you?"

"This won't take long at all," Kienna says, holding up her hand to signal for Neri to wait. "I never drink on Fridays," she says, staring Neri down and willing her to understand. "I felt great on Saturday," she continued. "Things were normal on Sunday. I suddenly couldn't tell a lie."

"Okay... so... Suddenly, on Sunday, you could only tell lies?" Neri had to take a second to think over every word that her friend says. If she hadn't heard Iki's stories of the Trickster Tea Party with the fae and actually seen with her own eyes Pascal's fae form, she would have thought Kienna was messing with her.

"No!" Kienna says, nodding.

"This is out of my range..." she looks around toward the stables. "We should be able to find Pascal at the stables. Let's go figure this out."

"I remember everything," Kienna protests.

"So... nothing then... okay, this will be fun..." Neri loops an arm with Kienna and leads her through the yard.


"So," Iki says from her perch in the squat old tree that, despite all odds, had been left on the grounds despite clashing terribly with the prettier flowers. "When you look like this... is it real or an illusion or...?"

"Do you not like my charming appearance?" Pascal asks with a grin. He leaned against the tree, inches away from where Iki sat.

"You're fishing for compliments." Iki nudges him with her barefoot. She's taken to walking around without shoes at home.

Pascal shrugs innocently. "It is real and an illusion. I choose this form ... but it's a part of who I am. My father was very much human. My mother is very much not human."

"See, that's what I wanted to know." Iki leans over to ruffle Pascal's hair.

Pascal leans into her touch, however brief it is. "He died in the fifties. My mother was rather brokenhearted. She doesn't take to love easily, but I think he was different."

Iki felt an ache in her chest. "I'm sorry." Without thinking, she brought her hand back to twist her fingers in his hair.

"My turn for a question. Why did you come with Neri here? To this mysterious manor?" Pascal watches her carefully.

"She's my friend," Iki says, surprised that's his question. "Everything was up in the air, and she wasn't sure what to do. I felt we should give this place a shot, so I convinced her, and we came together because we've done everything together since we met."

"I didn't ask about Neri. You just left everything behind. To live here. I was just curious why." Pascal turns at the sound of his name. "Speak of the Neri."

Iki frowns a little. Was it really so strange? She wonders. She decides to think about it more later and taps Pascal on the shoulder. "Help me down." She was fully capable of getting down herself, but she liked making Pascal do it.

Pascal helps her down and turns to Iki's friends. "How may I be of assistance?"

"Kienna can't stop lying, and we were hoping you could help," Neri explains. She nudges Kienna forward.

"I'm sorry... but isn't that what humans see therapists for?" Pascal asks, not sure how this had anything to do with him.

"I am doing this of my own volition," Kienna tells him urgently.

"Kienna?" Iki peers at her friend's face. "You don't look so good."

Pascal peers closely at her. "What is your name?"

Kienna opens her mouth and pauses.

"Kienna?" Iki asks again.

"I..." Kienna looks from Neri to Iki to Pascal. "Karen?"

"Someone has been angering the queen..." Pascal sighs. "She's under a curse. A familiar curse." He could see the familiar colors of it swirled around her. He knew his queen's handiwork anywhere.

"That sounds bad," Iki says. She tugs at Pascal's sleeve. "Is that bad?"

"I've met royalty many times!" Kienna complains.

"It only takes once to annoy her... You must have lied to her or made her think you did. She's punishing you." Pascal studies her. "I can't refuse her curse. But... I know who can."

"You do talk big when you drink," Iki says with a wince. She takes Kienna's hands. "Don't worry, we'll figure something out."

Kienna squeezes Iki's hands. She looks to Pascal pleadingly.


Pascal leads Kienna, Neri, and Iki through the humid maze of jungle vines and flowers. "Sorry, we don't like visitors here..." He stops at a door overgrown with shrubbery and knocks three times. "The prince is a little more... he likes humans more than the queen does."

"This makes so much sense," Kienna says, her eyes huge and her head swiveling to and fro to take everything in.

"It's a bit hot," Iki grumbles. She leans into Neri. "It wasn't this hot at the tea party."

"Different styles." Pascal knocks on the door again. "Prince Alyn!" he calls.

"So the brother of the queen will actually go behind her back?" Neri asks. She clung close to Kienna and Iki. The humidity alone was bad, but the place was so dense with shrubs and vines that she couldn't tell if they were alone.

"He did before. He turned his boyfriend into a fae so he wouldn't die. Then they got married." Pascal knocks again. "it's Pascal Ellington."

Alyn opens the door in his human form. "Pas?" He asks around a yawn. "Why are you... oh." He blinks a few times. "I see." He studies the ladies. "Ran afoul of Alyvia, I see."

Kienna nods, not trusting herself to not say the wrong thing. Apparently, she was good at that.

"All she can do now is lie. She has no idea how she insulted the queen. I was hoping you could

help. For old time sake." Pascal offers Alyn a hopeful smile.

"We don't have to call favors into play," Alyn assures Pascal, his return smile warm and affectionate. "The offense was minor. Come here." He holds out his hand to the afflicted woman.

Kienna rushes forward to give the handsome man her hand. "This isn't appreciated," she tells him.

Iki studies Pascal and Alyn. There was something in their interactions that pricked at her. She frowns.

Pascal steps out of the way, hands behind his back. "The help is appreciated, Alyn."

"Thank you. I don't know if we could go another day with lying Ki," Neri says. Her attempt to joke away the awkwardness of their lives being turned upside down by sudden magic and madness.

"You can repay me by not being such a stranger," Alyn says. He leads the woman, Ki, inside and has her sit on the stool in front of his vanity. "I need you to look in the mirror and answer my questions. All right?"

Kienna nods.

Alyn places his hands on her shoulders. "Is your hair dark or light?"

Kienna frowns at the mirror. It was hard to tell. Her reflection was fuzzy, and she found no details in her mind. "...Light?" She says after a moment spent squinting into the glass.

"Very good." Alyn gives her shoulders a squeeze.

"You told the truth!" Neri claps her hands. "That's so great!"

Kienna wets her lips. This whole ordeal has made her very nervous.

"Relax," Alyn tells her. "Do you have freckles?"

"No," Kienna says immediately.

"It's working!" Iki claps.

Pascal leans against the wall, watching intently. "It does appear to be doing the trick."

"My eyes are blue," Kienna says, excited about being able, to tell the truth. She gasps, realizing she spoke before being asked a question, and slaps her hands over her mouth.

"It's all right," Alyn says, laughing. "You can speak freely now."

Neri hugs Kienna around the shoulders. "You did it! Thank you so much! Ki, you can tell the truth now!"

"This is terrible!" Iki crows. "I am absolutely miserable!"

Alyn whips around. "Excuse me?"

"Oh no..." Pascal says. "She caught the lying curse."

April 08, 2021 06:08

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T.H. Sherlock
23:39 Apr 13, 2021

Love the idea of a lying curse!


LM Konkel-Dixon
20:31 Apr 16, 2021

Thanks! We had fun with it!


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