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Machine Gun Fairies, II

Machine Gun Fairies, II (yes, there's more...)


Rowan's first encounter with a fairy street gang was... interesting, and saddening. Seems that there weren't enough border patrol agents any more to staunch the flow of weapons. Turf was turf, after all, and even if what was trying to hold it was only 12 inches tall. They were skilled theives - they flew, for crying out loud - and so they could usually come up with the cash for a three-man, er three-fairy machine gun.

She was doing what she had come to call "the bag lady shuffle" in a somewhat more run-down neighborhood when a voice startled her out of her assumed role. "Hey, elf-lady!" a deep, but small, voice said above her, "You better scram before you end up looking like swiss cheese!"

Rowan stumbled and looked around. Above her a fairy with multicolor wings and a blue bandana hovered with a smirk on his face. He was one of the few people she'd ever seen who could drap himself with just a fullsized bandana and still look like a street tough. In the bushes nearby she noticed a few more grim faced fairies preparing... something... that looked nasty.

She smiled and nodded to the flying tough "Thanks. Which way is the shortest way out of your way? I wouldn't want to interfere."

"That way." he pointed, "toward the freeway. It's a bitch to fly under the bridges for some damned reason. Makes my fuckin' wings droop."

"OK." Rowan pulled some dandelion greens out of her basket. "Any of your guys eat these?"

He took them graciously. "Only a few, but they make good wing splints, and nothing sucks like a busted wing."

She nodded, and then turned her cart around and shuffled back toward the freeway.

After she got about a block away, she heard the unmistakable sound of gunfire. Rowan seemingly fell over in shock, and looked back. A mixed group of trolls, fairies, elves and humans was firing machine guns and pistols at a mixed group of fairies, elves, humans and trolls. This went on for several minutes. No police even came near - they had ceded control.

The carnage was horrible. Not everyone bled red, anymore. The faires were seldom hit in the body, but when they were, they pretty much disintegrated. No pretty sparkle dust, ala Disney, just little bits of wing and gore.

After they'd all seemingly run out of ammunition, they ended up in a sort of hand to hand. The fairies somehow would sting their non-fairy opponents if they could - two or three and a human went down. Trolls, humans and elves would use bats and knock fairies out of the air into buildings if they got a good swing in. This went on for almost fifteen minutes before the losing side ran.

---

Rowen felt sick. She had intellectually understood that the law was breaking down, that the police were terminating all of the officers who had Changed, and that those officers were either snapped up by the military of vanished into the woodwork (she knew a couple), but it finally came home on a gut level.

When she looked back again, she actually was shocked. The trolls were piling up the dead, and the fairies looked like they were... sucking on them? When she asaw an elf turn away she looked closer, and then did get sick - a troll carved a piece off of one of the dead and ate it. She managed to miss her clothes, fortunately.

Her retching caught the attention of the street tough fairy. "Hey elf-lady, you never seen a fey-fight before?" he asked, laughing.

Rowan skewered him with a look. "No, I'm not in the habit of looking for them."

He held up his hands in a gesture of peace. "Hey, just teasing you. The rules have changed, you know. What people can eat, what they can do, how they can live, it's all changed. You know, otherwise you wouldn't be pushing a cart pretending to be a nutcase."

"Who says I'm pretending? I might think I'm still human or something," she replied bitterly.

"Meow" said a voice next to her hip, "I thought that it was only us cats who were supposed to be so damn sarcastic."

Rowan nearly jumped a foot. The fairy gangbanger laughed. "Elf lady, did you think it was only people who got changed? Turns out that some cats change too."

Rowan looked at the cat, who was the size of a Main Coon, polydactyl, and sitting on it's haunches with it's paws neatly folded - an oversized housecat. She felt a pang of grief. "Great. Now I really miss my Slinky, who died a couple years before this mess started." She looked back at the fairy. "What's with the eating the dead, and whatever you guys are doing?"

"Simple, elf-lady. Survival. Trolls can eat just about anything, but they prefer meat, and carnivore meat at that. Efficient, if a bit gruesome. Fairies don't eat, really, they drink - water, sap, or by preference blood. Elves, as you know, eat most anything, but prefer unprocessed vegetarian or herbivore meat." He sighed. "So instead of leaving the bodies to rot in the street and bring rats and shit, we use them for food. That's what they would have done with us."

Rowan looked a bit green. The oversized house cat chuckled. "No different than a cat eating a mouse, the law of the jungle." he licked his lips in memory "It just now applies a bit higher on the food chain once again."

"Don't tell me the mice have started talking too!" Rowan exclaimed, her head about to explode from absurdity overload, stress, fatigue and hunger.

Both the cat and the fairy tough laughed. "No," purred the cat, "they're still pretty dumb. Not only that, there seems to be a combination magical density and nervous system complexity that is required for any species to catch the change virus and survive it."

Rowan was a creature of habit. A cat purring, and she reached out to pet him. "What are you, a biochemist who got changed into a cat?" she asked, while scratching behind one ear.

"Rrrrrr.... I see you've been owned before. No, I was born a cat, believe it or not, but my adopted human was a biochemist, before the change killed him. I never let him know that I had changed - he would have tried to take me apart to understand why. I'd have starved when he died, except a stray bullet from a crew served machine gun smashed a window and let me escape." He winked at the fairy.

Rowan just shook her head. "OK, so it all makes sense, just not a pleasant sense. Then again, nothing makes a pleasant sense these days. Humanity fractures and races to the bottom, and trying to build anything is like pissing in the wind." She looked tired. "What the hell are we gonna do?"

---

The fairy shrugged "I dunno, elf lady. I'm doing the same thing I've always done: guard my territory, protect my own, try to make it one day at a time. Aint got enough to do much more than that. Our furry pal here keeps sayin' we should try to get out, but nowhere is any better, and this is already our territory."

Rowan started to say something and then shuddered, like someone blew an icy wind over her. "But there are more trees and stuff in the hills and nountains. Why not go there?"

The cat looked at her quizzically, but said nothing. The fairy said sadly "Maybe, but nobody wants to go camping in the fuckin' woods, even if the trees are food." He shrugged "Nobody would follow, and a fairy alone is pretty much dead meat. So we kinda got no choice."

"Well, think about it, will ya?" Rowan stood up. "I better get back to my flop, I've got some thinking to do."

"Sure thing, elf-lady. You might want to avoid this area, though, we got a lot of fights around here." He laughed "We keep running out of ammo, though."

"You probably won't be able to get any more, soon, so you better start making it." she quipped back. "See if you can find someone who can still read and get a book on reloading."

"Huh. Yeah, I suppose you're right. Better we think of that first, then we've got an edge. Any way, you better get going. Stay safe, watch out for the government goons, all that."

He waves and flittered away, yelling imprecations at the last of the people that were being slow cleaning up the combat area. Sirens were finally being heard, almost an hour later, so Rowen again assumed her bag-lady pose and hurried away from the carnage, pretending not to notice the mountain of fluffy cat nestled in the undercarriage of her cart.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
quondamquadrat
Sep. 22nd, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
I am REALLY loving this. Thank you so much for posting it. And the cat? AWESOME! :-)

Q
fikuz
Sep. 25th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
*floundered here from karnythia's journal* I got caught up in your story. Will there be more of it?
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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