Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Bargain

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If there was one thing Marcy Dalton was afraid of above all else, it was the death of her sister Clara. This was not due to any feelings of affection- on the contrary, Marcy despised her sister more than anyone else. But after their parents’ death, Clara bared the sole responsibility of her sister’s well-being, and for that, she valued her life valued above all else.

Clara’s life was now a fragile thing, because she often found herself in situations where danger flashed bright and bloody, and Marcy was inevitably dragged into it. When she wasn’t busy tormenting her sister by frivolously going through her diary and frightening away any suitors, she found herself in the dirtiest depths of the city’s thriving underground, where humans and non-humans alike danced to the sickening beat of bands with names like Death’s Army and The Yellow Fangs.


On a similar occasion one October evening, the two girls entered an abandoned railway station, Clara marched forward, and Darcy followed reluctantly. The large cavern was teeming with bodies, some winged and scaled and horned, moving in unison to the music as if hypnotised. Light flashed dizzyingly and made the skin on Darcy’s arms prickle with heat. She kept close to her sister, not wanting to lose her in this wasteland of happiness they called a club.

The band on stage had a Latin name that she couldn’t pronounce. The singer crooned longingly about a forgotten lover, his bright pink eyeliner standing out in stark comparison to his otherwise darker skin. The bassist swayed from side to side, his moth-eaten kilt moving only slightly faster than him. Behind them, the drummer bobbed her face so fast that it was a blur, her purple pigtails lashing out like whips.

Marcy’s eyes found the keyboardist and stayed there, mesmerised. She was a tiny thing, barely visible behind her giant instrument, and the only person on stage who seemed calm and collected amidst the surging adrenaline of the place. As if sensing Marcy’s gaze, her eyes zeroed in on her and flashed a brilliant smile. Her fangs caught the glint of revolving headlights and glowed as if illuminated.

Faerie, Marcy suddenly realized. She quickly turned her head away and wandered off into the crowd. Faeries were one of the most dangerous creatures out there. To fall in one’s path would be the greatest folly.


The band stopped playing, and the drummer raised her arms in victory, and the crowd howled as if they were eaten alive. Suddenly, someone grabbed Marcy’s arm. She turned around to see her sister standing there, a strange glint in her eyes.

Marcy went cold.

Clara Dalton had a knack for sudden ideas that were almost always life threatening, usually preceded by that same glint in her eyes. It was the same glint that led them into a vampire’s lair two winters ago. The same one which forced Darcy to single-handedly fight off a hydra, while her sister lay unconscious in a corner.

“Wait-“ Darcy began, but her arm jerked forward painfully as she was dragged through the crowd at an alarming rate. They reached a tiny crevice adjacent to the stage, where a door labelled ‘BACKSTAGE’ stood threateningly. It was painted in the color of blood.

Darcy began to protest, but Clare had whipped the door open in an instant, and they were standing inside a minuscule, warmly lit room. It was all industrial tiles and torn wallpaper, golden-framed mirrors and furiously pink rugs. The room was a cacophony of colors. At the far end sat the band, sprawled casually atop a maroon sofa, surrounded by a heard of admirers. Clara hurried ahead to join their ranks.

Two tiny fingers tapped Darcy’s waist. When she turned around, the faerie keyboardist was smiling sweetly at her. Maybe a little too sweetly.

“That’s your sister, isn’t she?”

Darcy nodded, hoping the faerie would leave her alone. Many myths revolved around their kind, including human sacrifices, granting wishes, and mind reading. Most of those myths ended up with a dead human.

“She’s nice, although a little stupid. But you probably already know that.”

Darcy nodded again, not liking where this conversation was headed. The faerie had knobby knees, she noticed, almost like a child.

“I was wondering” The faerie twirled a lock of her hair between her fingers. “How would you like to have her under your command?”

“What?” She turned to look at my sister, who was now sitting in the centre of the sofa, giggling furiously as if intoxicated. The singer sniffed a strand of her hair hungrily. The drummer’s pigtails had turned into tiny serpents. Clara didn’t seem to notice any of these curiosities.

Marcy turned back to the faerie. “Is this some sort of bargain where I give you my soul in exchange for my sister’s sanity?”


“Not really,” she shrugged. “We’re going to devourer her anyway, and you seem like a nice person, at least nicer than anyone else present here.” When Darcy didn’t reply, she added: “It’s not a big deal, really. It’s just her soul that we wan’t. We can bind her to you afterward, and then you’re good to go.”

The faerie blinked up at her expectantly. Behind them, Clara’s giggles were turning into screams as the band members closed in on her. Marcy could barely see her behind all the bodies.

She nodded. “Alright, go for it.”


The second band had finished three entire songs when Clara joined her sister in the center of the crowd. Darcy noticed that her eyes looked vacant, as if she was looking at something but not quite able to see it. She waited for her sister to say something, and when that didn’t happen, she said, “Ready to leave?”

Clara nodded once, swiftly, precisely.

Darcy grinned.”Great, let’s go.” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the bassist, nodding his head with the crowd, wiping some dark liquid of his quilt. When he caught her looking, he winked.

This time it was Darcy dragging her sister out of the club.

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