Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned

Finish the Story: Guarding the Door


Join in for a lighthearted, no-pressure writing prompt. Leave your perfectionist at the door and follow a dangling story thread to see where it leads you.

I always post my story doodle in the comments, and I’d absolutely love to see yours as well if you feel comfortable sharing it!

We took turns guarding the door, neither of us sleeping very much. Ricky looked nervous, and suddenly I felt bad about getting him involved. I shouldn’t have …

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  • We took turns guarding the door, neither of us sleeping very much. Ricky looked nervous, and suddenly I felt bad about getting him involved. I shouldn’t have even let a human know fairies existed, and now look at him — gaunt and jumping at shadows.

    Just because those shadows actually might hurt him didn’t mean he needed to know that. He’d spent his whole life blissfully ignorant of us and now he was risking his life for me.

    We just had to make it to the dawn. The trolls couldn’t move about in the sunlight, and the

    Queen’s power was lessened without the moon. Just hunker down, stay hidden, and move again once the sun was up.

    It should have been easy, but the days of travel were taking their toll, especially on Ricky.

    I flew over and sat gently on his shoulder. I could feel the muscles tensing beneath his shirt.
    “We’re almost there,” I told him, one hand reaching out to pat the curve of his ear.
    He smiled tiredly and nodded, then lifted his gnarled hands to form the shape of a word.


    I smiled. “Yes, tomorrow. We’ll ride your horse across the last of her kingdom and deliver my message to the merfolk. Oh, you’re going to love their kingdom, Ricky, it is so beautiful.”

    I leapt from his shoulder and hovered by his face, using just enough of my magic to show him the shimmering image of the mer kingdom, its underwater castle spires like nothing humans had ever built.

    “Once we make it to the ocean, we need only find the selkie wife. She can get us the spells we need to swim in the ocean, and then—“

    I broke off as a loud knock rang out against the door. The innkeeper’s mild voice drifted through the door, “Is everything all right in there?” and with it came the unmistakeable scent of jasmine.

    They’d found us.

    “The window, quickly,” I whispered, my wings a blur of terror and movement. “We can’t let them catch us.”
    Ricky hurried to the window and put his hand against the glass, then paused and looked at me.
    He motioned with his hands, indicating that he was too big.

    He was right. He’d never make it.

    My heart sank.

    Outside, the innkeeper’s voice grew more insistent and I heard the rattle of keys. “Pardon me, sir, but there have been complaints of bugs near this room, and I shall have to check for them.”

    Ricky shook his head urgently and opened the window, motioning urgently for me to go. To save

    If they caught us, we’d be dead. Me as a spy and he for helping me.

    The doorknob rattled. Outside the window, I could hear the faint thrum of wings nearby — a sound too deep and too regular to be anything other than the wasp legion.

    Ricky looked at me helplessly and I knew our journey was over.

    I buzzed froward and kissed him very gently on the forehead, gathering my magic up and pushing it into that one point of contact.

    “Find the selkie. Get my message to the Mer Queen. Thousands of innocent lives depend on it.”
    I leaned back and saw that his eyebrows had gone from salt-and-pepper black to pure white.

    “I’m only a very small fairy, so all I can offer you is a very small magic to thank you for this.” I closed my eyes tightly, then forced myself to fly through the open window. “You want me? Come and get me!” I shouted, then buzzed away as fast as possible.

    I was dead either way, but Ricky didn’t have to be. My heartbeat slowed even as I forced my wings to take me as far from the Inn as I could get before the last of my magic faded.

    The roar of wasps following me only made me smile.

    I only wished I could be there to see the look on Ricky’s face when he realized I gave him the power to speak to animals.

Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned