Snow and Rose, two Faeries from the Magical Forest, are chased back to their earthen home by lightning witches during a late spring storm. When they run into an injured bear, the last thing these lovers expect is to get to know the bear a whole lot better...
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Copyright ©2010 Marteeka Karland
Spring in the Magical Forest was no less ferocious than it was anywhere else in the world. The storms each year brought much needed rain, but sometimes even the forest Faeries had to take cover when the wind gods and thunder titans came out to play.
"Still think building the house in the bloody tree was a good idea?" Snow, the winter Faerie, huddled under a table with Rose, her best friend and lover. She shook so hard her teeth chattered together. Snow was pretty sure she'd never been so scared in her life. Where the thunder titans were, so were the lightning witches.
Snow had always been convinced the lightning witches had a taste for winter Faeries. Especially for brunch. True, no one she knew had actually been fried by a lightning witch, but in her mind, it was better not to take chances.
"Sure. It's just not a good idea to live here in spring."
The two Faeries had been together since they were children and were pretty much inseparable. Strange, considering they were so very different, not only in magic, but in appearance. Snow's ivory white skin was contrasted sharply by Rose's lovely ebony complexion. Where Snow was lithe and almost scrawny in body, Rose was voluptuous and lush.
Another flash of lightning was followed by a deafening crash of thunder, and both women squealed. Rose giggled almost immediately afterward.
"Wow! That was a close one!" She continued to giggle, and Snow would have ground her teeth in frustration if she hadn't been so scared.
She punched Rose in the arm. "You're completely nuts! The lightning witches will get us for sure if you keep mocking them."
"Lighten up, Snow. They're not going to cook you for dinner."
"Do you really want to chance that?"
Another sharp flash and another deafening crash punctuated her question. The floor actually shook, and Snow was sure she could feel the little house swaying in the branches.
When Rose didn't answer, Snow responded to her own question. "That's what I thought." She waited a few heartbeats before scrambling up from her hiding place under the table. "I'm getting out of here and back to the earth house. Stay if you want, but don't expect me to come after you when the lightning witches cart you off."
"I'm not saying you're right --" Rose followed her just as quickly. "-- but I'd hate to leave you to brave the wind gods out there by yourself."
The two climbed down the tree quickly -- they didn't dare try to fly in the strong winds for fear of ripping their delicate wings to shreds -- and clung to each other as they ran the few hundred feet to the little hill where they'd originally carved out Snow's house. Rose had said she'd wanted to live in the treetop and overlook the forest in all its glory. Snow had replied that she was sure Rose just wanted to look out over her domain like a queen. Rose had scoffed, but winked at Snow, never truly denying it.
Now, they squealed with each clap of thunder and darted through the rain to the shelter of the earthen house. Just as they reached the door, a soft growl stopped them. Snow sucked in a breath and gripped Rose's arm tightly.
"Ohmigod! A bear!"
"I know it's a bear, Snow." Rose clutched at Snow, but sounded irritated even through her fear. Snow knew her friend well enough to recognize she was trying to hide what she perceived as weakness. Besides, Rose trembled as violently as Snow did. "He looks like he's been hurt. Look." She pointed to the bear's front paw, which was blackened around the snow-white fur. "His paw is burnt."
The great bear held it off the ground, favoring it. He didn't make any move toward them, or even growl at them again. If anything, he studied them curiously.
"You think the lightning witches got him?" Snow glanced at the sky, wary of the deadly bolts the witches spun.
"Maybe…" Snow recognized the pensive look on Rose's face and sighed.
"OK. Come on. Might as well help him inside now. I don't want to waste time arguing about it. I just want away from the lightning witches. They make me nervous."
Rose raised an eyebrow at her. "Really? I hadn't noticed."