While the novel started out as a single serial novel, I am currently working on expanding the stories to be individual novellas, which would be the version I would potentially try to get published.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading these couple little excerpts as much as I enjoyed writing them!
“What?” Zenni cried, following Yellow-Dress up to my face. “How do you know it’s trying to communicate? For all we know, this could just be a creature that makes random noises.”
Yellow-Dress huffed. “Well, I want to find out what it is saying, so somebody bring me a berry!”
Another fairy with long, dark hair and a red dress flew up in front of my face with a berry as big as her head. Gently, she tucked it between my lips, and obediently, I bit down.
The sweet, tangy juice flooded my mouth. I tasted blueberries, and a hint of savory cinnamon. It was altogether delicious—then it entered my throat. A transformation occurred, and it felt as if a fireball was working its way toward my stomach. I gagged in surprise, but, as the berry was already swallowed, there was nothing to choke back up. Whatever I had consumed along with the berry (or perhaps it was a strange naturally occurring aftertaste of the berry) tasted like the spiciest peppers imaginable and overwhelmed my taste buds.
“Water!” I gasped, careless of whether the fairies understood me, “water!”
Two fairies flew up, bearing between them a bowl-shaped leaf filled with a clear, fizzing liquid that tasted like apples and refreshed my mouth. Yellow-Dress returned, flying so close to my nose that I had to cross my eyes to look at her.
“We are sorry to cause you such discomfort,” she said. “Most creatures do not mind the taste of fairy dust. Please tell us, if you can, what sort of creature are you? I have seen nearly all the different kinds Phantasm holds, but never one like you, of your size and color. I dare say you could stand on the ground and look a unicorn in the eye!”
The burning was gone, but I knew my throat was going to be tender for a long while. My tongue still tingled as I croaked out, “I’m, uh, human.”
Suddenly I felt a crawling sensation over my fingers, which stuck out behind me through my bonds. Remembering the spider-imp things from the night before, I freaked out just a little.
“What’s that?” I yelped, twisting my head futilely. “I think those imp things are—“
Before I could finish, a small, human-like body crawled up my shoulder in front of my face.
“Gah!” I cried, and the little man grimaced before clamping two hands over my lips.
“No claws or sharp teeth to report, Your Majesty!” he said. “I think the most dangerous thing about this yoo-min is her very loud voice and very large body.”
There were more small bodies now landing on my head and shoulders and crawling down my back, but unlike the ones from before, who were naked and barefoot, these wore clothes and boots. I would have thought they were more of those fairies, except these ones did not have wings.
“Then, by all means,” the royal fairy replied to the little man, “release her.”
The same moment as she gave the order, the sticky vines all but melted off my body so fast, I could have sworn I hung in midair for a split second before my free fall.
I jumped to my feet when I heard the thundering hooves. The creature trotting toward the glade was so brilliantly white that I could barely make out the shape in the sunlight. As it stepped into the shade of the trees, I saw the milky-white horn protruding from the center of its forehead. The hooves sparkled in the sunlight like brushed pewter.
He stopped when he caught sight of me standing there in the grass.
“And what is this?” he asked in a smooth, rolling kind of voice. He swung his head from side to side to get a good look at me with both his eyes. Seeing a unicorn was so dreamlike, I almost couldn’t move, for fear everything around me would vanish into nothingness.
“I… I—“ I couldn’t for the life of me get the words out! Why was I so nervous all of a sudden? The unicorn was more like an affable old gentleman, who would ordinarily not be intimidating in the least!
Jerak swung his head over to Perissa, “I thought you gave it fairy dust; why then does it speak another language still?”
“She’s not really talking right now, Jerak,” Perissa explained. “If I am reading her expression correctly, I rather think she’s nervous.”
“Nervous?” There was a hint of whinny in the unicorn’s voice as he responded with surprise. “Whatever could it have to be nervous about? Normally, beings feel safer with the Guardians about!”
“I’m sorry!” It took a lot of effort to force the words out, but once they came, the rest followed easily. “It’s just that I’ve never met a unicorn before—nor a fairy, nor an elf, for that matter.”
“Hullo, it speaks!” Jerak resumed studying me. “I suppose I ought to have begun with a proper introduction. My name is Jerak; what might we call you, creature?”
"Laura," I answered.
"Ah," said the unicorn, nodding his head, "and, my good lorra, what is your name?"
I blinked. "I'm sorry, what?"
"You don't have a name?" asked Jerak.
"I do, it's just--My name is Laura."
Jerak pranced in embarrassment. "Oh, I'm sorry, I misunderstood."
"She's a human, Jerak," Perissa supplied.
"Indeed?" the unicorn blinked twice and leaned forward to sniff me carefully. "Hmm, not a scent I recognize; how very fascinating! Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Laura!"
The next morning, I awoke and completely forgot where I was. All I could think was that I had walked to the big park on the other side of town from my apartment, and had spent the night there in an effort to get “closer to the wild.” I glanced around; the ground was very wet, as if it had rained the previous night, but underneath the large blanket I was sandwiched in, my own clothes had stayed completely dry. I was wearing clothes from the day before—but now they were badly rumpled and streaked with a strange-smelling black goo. I couldn’t think where it had come from.
I heard my name, and rolled over to find the warm, moist snout of a horse in my face. No, not a horse—horses didn’t have horns.
“Good morning,” said the unicorn.
I screamed and scrambled a few paces backward before I remembered the events of the day before.
“What’s wrong?” Jerak pranced a few steps nervously.
I could feel my arms still shaking from the shock. I sat up, wrapped my arms around my knees, and bent my head forward.
“Oh, I’ve had about enough of this!” I groaned. “Just go ahead and send me back.”
Jerak bent his head and nosed the knapsack sitting on the ground. “Back where?” he asked, tossing his head so his forelock flipped to the other side of his horn.
“To my own world!” I said, sitting up and facing him. “I get it, okay? I’ll go back to my typewriter, write a fantasy story about this world, and voila! I have exactly the unexpected thing my editor and publishers are looking for.” I stood up and started tugging at my shirt. The goo stuck like craft glue. “How am I ever going to get this off?” I wondered.
“Laura,” Jerak blinked at me, turning his head back and forth to get a clear view of me, “I don’t have any idea how to get you back to your world. Might you try retracing the path you took to get here?”
I sat on a nearby rock, tossing a pebble and scattering a crowd of what looked like tiny multicolored puffballs. “Now that would be impossible.”
Jerak took a few hesitant steps closer. “Perhaps you might have a greater purpose here that you haven’t discovered yet.”
I slapped my knee and stood again. “Then let’s discover it quick so I can get back to normal life!”“All right,” he conceded. “Breakfast first!"