Constellations Over Us – Book 1 – Chapter 2

Constellations Over Us – Book 1 – Chapter 2

“Reese…” the red-clad fae whispered the name over and over again, as though familiarizing himself with its very feel and taste. “Reese, Reese, Reese… It’s a good name. Strong.”

“It’s Welsh. My mom always said it meant ‘fire’ and ‘enthusiasm’.”

Reese watched Glais crack another smile. Despite the eeriness of his needle-sharp teeth and blood-red eyes, he had a charming air about him, especially whenever he grinned. He dressed in a vest and a white shirt with billowing sleeves, like he’d crawled straight out of a fairytale. Reese couldn’t tell what kind of animal Glais’ legs were supposed to be from, but he certainly had hooves.

“Aye, that probably tracks,” Glais replied, putting a hand to his chin and pensively glancing up at the canopy of leaves above the pair. It was clear he was just pretending to be smart about it, which made Reese smile a little. “You’ve certainly got the personality of a firecracker.”

“You’ve known me for less than an hour. How could you possibly know?”

“Just… Call it a lucky guess.”

That devilish but charming smile spread across Glais’ pure white features again. If it wasn’t for the sparkle in his eyes and the pink flush at the tips of his ears, he would’ve been easy to mistake for nothing more than a ghost. He bounced up and down on his sharp, pointed hooves like an excited child. Reese got the feeling he was one of the bubbly, sheltered types. Within seconds, the other man had turned and begun striding away, tufted tail waving behind him as he moved.

“Come on, let’s get you somewhere with a roof.”

Glais moved through the forest like a river of white. His movements were fluid and effortless, as though he knew every square inch of the forest like the back of his hand. In fact, he probably did. Every few feet, he’d pause and look back over his shoulder at Reese clambering across the dim, uneven terrain, sometimes offering up one of his hands to help the other over a particularly large rock or log. Reese never took it. His trust still wavered at the sight of those claws, but he never once left Glais’ side. Anything beat being out alone in the unfamiliar woods again.

Reese quickly learned two things about Glais. The first was that Glais was most definitely a sheltered rich kid. He learned this because of the other fact, which was that Glais almost never shut up. It was like if he stopped talking he’d simply keel over and die, so the air was always filled with the sound of conversation. Within less than 15 minutes, he’d gone from talking about how much it rained, to the book he’d read yesterday, and then to whether or not Reese was injured.

“Do you feel sore anywhere? Is there any bleeding? Do any bones feel broken? I’m not a doctor, but I know basic first aid. How about your head? Does it hurt?”

Jesus Christ, does this man ever stop talking?

“I’m alright,” Reese mumbled, pulling himself up over a particularly large log. Glais was on the other side, arms stretched out in case he needed to be caught when he jumped down. There was no denying that it was a sweet gesture, albeit a little unnecessary. “Do we even have the same kind of bones?”

“Good question. I don’t know.”

Reese thudded down on the moss next to Glais, brushing some stray bits of bark and leaves off of himself. Already, the pallid faerie was moving away again, and Reese had to scramble to keep up with him. Half of him wanted to grab onto that swaying tail so he couldn’t get left behind again.

“For heaven’s sake, do you always have to walk so fast?!”

“Do your legs have to be so short?”

“Oh, well aren’t you a gentleman?”

Apparently, sarcasm wasn’t something Glais had a very good grasp on, because he simply grinned, nodded, and walked on while saying “Yes, I am.”

Reese just about sat down right there and gave up, but he had more pressing issues at hand. He jogged to keep up with his companion, nearly tripping over the rocks and tree roots underfoot as he went. “Where are we even going?”

“Someplace where you’re less likely to be eaten by bears or accidentally shot by a hunting party. It’s my usual hangout space, but you can use it. It’s not like I live there or anything.”

Glais slowed his gait, looking over his shoulder at Reese for a brief moment. There was something sweet in those eerie crimson eyes, almost like a concerned child. One clawed and reached out for a moment, offering it for Reese to take. He would’ve, if his body hadn’t felt so frozen at the idea. His mouth became dry all of a sudden, heart pounding and palms starting to sweat. Reese parted his lips, about to thank Glais before shutting them again. His grandmother’s words echoed in the back of his mind. “A thank-you is the gateway for a favor.”

I’m not taking any risks, no sir.

“Anyways, I’ll come back to check on you every evening to make sure you’re holding up okay. Don’t go too far, okay? I’ll find someone who can get you home, I promise.”

They stopped in a particularly mossy grove of trees, protected by thick plant material to form a verdant cave. The way the moss was arranged and the bag of miscellaneous trinkets in one corner of the little hideout implied it had definitely been used before, likely by Glais as some sort of outdoor reading nook. Within heartbeats, Reese had already curled up on the mossy bed in a tight ball, shutting out everything outside. If Glais even said goodbye, he didn’t notice. Stress and fear had already caught him in its claws again.

His mom… his dad… his college applications and his computer… and that one girl across the street who liked to show him her pet lizards at every opportunity… all the happy and familiar things he knew and loved. Was he ever going to make it back to them? Was he ever going to make it home? His grandmother was right. He never should’ve gotten near that faerie ring. He never should’ve stepped inside. 

Panic gripped his aching heart until Reese couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore, and he was finally rescued by the dark arms of sleep. The last thing he remembered of the day was the way the cool night air dried his tears. 

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