Reality

Drawing of a dragon, with flames coming from its mouth, sitting on a pile of coins. Caption reads: "A dragon on his pile of gold."

Reality short story by Iris Carden

Settle in dear reader while I tell you the strange tale of Hilda, who had an accident, and then had a reality check.

Hilda was having a bad day. Her car wouldn’t start. She’d had to call the breakdown service for a jump start, but they told her the battery needed to be replaced. After shuffling money from her savings account to her working account, she was able to pay for the battery and leave for work late.

She was doing her best to ignore the ringing mobile phone. It had to be her boss ringing to yell at her, although she’d already called to explain why she’d be late.

Don’t drive while you’re stressed and distracted, dear reader, it could end very badly. It was a lesson Hilda learned when she failed to notice a red light and a pedestrian.

At least Hilda didn’t just drive off. She stopped and ran to help the woman she’s struck.

“You idiot!” The woman said as Hilda helped her to her feet. “You’ve broken my wing.”

“Wing? Do you mean arm? Do you think your arm is broken? Do you need an ambulance?”

“No, fool. I’m fae. You’ve broken my wing.”

“Fae? As in fairy? But fairies don’t exist.”

“Don’t exist! Right my foolish young woman, you’re about to find out what does and doesn’t exist.”

Hilda’s eyes felt as if they were burning, and the world went blurry for a moment. When she could see again, the woman, the fae, did indeed have wings. They were incredibly fine, and patterned as if they were made of spiderweb.

A bigger shock would arrive with the police officers who came to investigate the accident. One was a tall young man and the other was short, with a lumpy face, pointed lumpy ears and a long lumpy nose. Hilda screamed at the sight. The fairy whispered, “Goblin.”

The Goblin police officer got the details of the accident, and issued Hilda with a notice to appear in court the next day for a dangerous driving charge. Her keys were taken from her and her car towed to a police holding yard.

Tearful, almost hysterical, Hilda rang her boss to ask for the day off. The boss growled at her that she was to come in to work, and leave her personal problems at home.

She caught a taxi, and arrived at work four hours late. Her boss, always a nasty and hairy guy, now had extra long hair, sharp pointed teeth, and large frightening claws. Hilda lost control. She screamed and screamed and screamed, fell on the floor and was totally incapable of anything but continuing to scream.

She was taken by ambulance to hospital, and left, still sobbing, in a room with several other people while waiting to see a doctor.

A television was on the wall, where someone was interviewing a well-known billionaire. The billionaire, however, wasn’t human. He was a dragon, with thick shiny scales and long teeth, and long claw-like fingers. Why did everyone suddenly have sharp teeth and claws? The dragon was angry and spat fire with every word, while it sat in its pile of gold.

Hilda went from sobbing back to screaming, to shaking, repeating, “no, no, no, no, no” over again.

The doctor who finally saw her, had flawless, but sparkly, skin, and pointed ears. Hilda shrank back in her chair, covered her face and cried, occasionally saying incomprehensible things.

The kind doctor ordered something to calm her down, while admitting her to a ward until her condition could be stabilised.

There’s not much chance of her recovering from her delusion any time soon, dear reader. The charge nurse on her ward’s a real ogre.

I invite you, dear reader, to look out for more:

Strange Tales


While you’re here…

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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