The Wishing Map is a full-length fantasy that is being posted episodically at this site. To read the previous episode, click here. To read the entire novel, begin here.
Trapped in a cave by the vengeful pixie Princess Feyrdú, Gina stalled for time by “confessing her sins.”
“And each time I put on my dad Bilbo’s ring…”
The pixie princess stood up on Gina’s chin, tossing back her raven mane. Her eyes narrowed. Addressing her two huge pet black widow companions, she said, “Seesquee! Heesnog! The Dragonmeer has been toying with us. This is not a confession, it is a mere tale!”
“Speak your confession now or not at all!”
“But there’s so much. I’ll tell you what, I’ll start with the little stuff, and then—”
“Heesnog, Seesquee!” Feyrdú barked as she climbed up the bridge of Gina’s nose and planted her feet on Gina’s forehead. “Shee quishtah squee meetoh!” The spiders’ spinnerets throbbed like evil cotton candy machines, dropping clumps of silk. They turned and lifted their massive stingers. The finely barbed tips gleamed with pungent yellow mucous. Gina could smell the vile poison gathering just millimeters from her eyes.
“Please, God! I don’t deserve to die. Well, OK, maybe I do, but I don’t want to—not like this!” Words of earnest confession began streaming out of her: “Even though I took back those boots I stole from Fettler’s, I only did it because I was afraid I’d get caught…but I only shoplifted in the first place because I wanted Treece Vondermueller to think I was cool, which is totally pathetic…and I looked away when those homeless kids were outside Crullers because I was afraid I’d have to give them my ice cream money if they saw me looking, which is completely disgusting…”
Her tears blurred the image of the two giant stingers. “If I have to die, please let Zack know I’m sorry, and let Momandad know I love them…” Her chest shook as she said the words “I’m sorry” over and over again.
Standing like a porcelain figurine on her forehead, Feyrdú nodded. Gina remembered the full page illustration of the human eye in her Biology textbook. She could tell when the immense spiders’ stingers pushed through her tears into the outer layer of her corneas, the windows of her eyes. Their thick yellow poison spread like an oil slick on a pond. Gina tried to slam her eyelids shut, but Seesquee and Heesnog had propped them open with their barbed hind legs. Within a minute they were pushing against the tough second layer of her corneas.
It was then that her senses exploded. As the poison-filled needles slid further into her eyes, thousands of nerve endings came online. Gina began thrashing violently against the spider-silk bindings. Seesquee and Heesnog dug into her cheeks and Feyrdú rode wide-legged on her forehead. “Your death will be sung by a thousand troubadours, my lady!”
“I don’t care!” was all Gina could say before her lungs erupted in a chorus of screams. Cave stars scattered, bats skittered…
At that moment, a tiny knight rode his squirrel mount into the cave’s entrance, and commanded, “Cease, foul beasts!” Heesnog and Seesquee froze. Apparently recognizing the pixie Prince Jenblevó, they retracted their stingers, turned and rose up on Gina’s cheeks, saluting him with him their forelegs.
Prince Jenblevó’s squirrel raced across the cave and up Gina’s leg. The spiders shrank back in fear. “Yield or perish!” the prince commanded as he leaped from the squirrel’s back onto Gina’s chest. Heesnog and Seesquee quickly turned over, presenting their shining hourglass bellies in submission. Jenblevó stepped forward, holding his lance over his head.
“No!” Feyrdú shouted. She brushed back her cape and straightened her mouseskin breeches, the twin torches blazing in her eyes.
Jenblevó stared at her as though he had never seen her before. “You…you are more a warrior than this girl knight J’nah ever was! And far more beautiful!”
“Aww…wait,” said Gina.
And then everything went black.
Thoughts: It often takes extreme circumstances to make us admit our failings. But, assuming we survive, we are usually the better for it.
To read the next episode, click here.
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