Collar and Gruel
The creature was tall. At least a head and shoulders above Nodwin, though she slouched terribly. Her hair was matted and covered in soot and dirt through which Nodwin could barely make out hints of what was possibly once a very healthy, if pale, green. A black collar, made of some hard, unidentifiable material, painfully encircled the creature’s neck. A long, fine, black chain of the same unknown material trailed from the collar out the door and down the corridor. She carried a wooden bowl filled nearly to the top with thin, colourless paste.
“You’re a Faerie!” Nodwin remarked rather abruptly. Under normal circumstances, such an utterance would be considered rude, but in light of Nodwin’s recent experiences, some latitude was entitled to him. “A real one, I mean, not a Pixie disguised as one.”
The Faerie nodded, and extended the bowl to Nodwin.
“What is your name?”
She shook her head, her eyes betraying the pain of a fellow prisoner, and thrust the bowl forward once more. With her other hand, she covered her mouth and shook her head again, then pointed to the ominous black collar. Nodwin understood. Perhaps the collar prevented her from speaking, or perhaps it alerted the guards if she did speak. Either way, Nodwin wasn’t going to get a word out of her.
“Alright then, just listen.” The Faerie made an urgent face and gestured back to the corridor. “Don’t worry, I’ll be quick. I am aPim. My father is the mayor of my village. A few days ago, we were visited by a Faerie named Willowswitch, who turned out to be a Pixie pretending to be a Faerie. He put a curse on my father and fled.”
The Faerie was enthralled by Nodwin’s tale, but just as he was coming to the nature of the Pixie’s curse a stern shout came from down the corridor and someone gave a sharp tug on the Faerie’s chain. She dropped the bowl and ran out the door without looking back.Nodwin caught the bowl before it hit the ground.
He sat, scooping the tasteless mash into his mouth with his hand and hoping beyond hope that that same Faerie would bring his next meal as well.