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Radioactive Isotope

The Danger in Fairy Tales

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Radioactive Isotope

The Danger in Fairy Tales

How do I get myself into these situations? Celeste wondered. She and her two friends had decided to take advantage of being in the same town on a beautiful spring day and hike a local trail or two. They had stumbled onto a little creek, and during the course of their splashing around, Ashylnn had caught a frog.

?Hey, Celeste, check it out!? Ashlynn called. Her blue-grey eyes sparked mischievously as she dumped the dark green blob into Celeste?s hand.

?Cute.? Celeste eyed the thing warily. ?But what am I supposed to do with it??

?I thought you collected frogs,? Kira mused.

?She does,? Ashlynn said.

?Memorabilia, clothing, that kind of stuff. Not real frogs.? She bent down to let it go.

?No, wait!? the others cried.

?Guys, come on. We?re torturing this poor thing by hanging onto it. It?s probably hungry, so let?s just let it go.?

?But it likes you. It hasn?t moved a bit,? Kira pointed out.

?That?s just because it?s scared. Besides, it?s scaring me the way it keeps staring at me like that.?

?Fine,? Ashylnn huffed, ?but you have to kiss it first.?

?What are we, in middle school? I?m not going to kiss it.?

?Chicken.?

Celeste shot a pleading look at Kira. ?A little help here??

Kira giggled. ?Sorry, Celeste, but I think you should kiss it, too.?

Why am I friends with these two again? ?You guys are sick. Fine. If it will make you smile for a day, I?ll kiss the stupid frog.? After heaving a sigh, she closed her eyes, puckered her lips, and dropped a kiss on the frog?s smooth back. Well, that wasn?t so bad. At least it wasn?t slimey.

But before she could put the frog down, it vanished in a puff of green smoke and a man took its place. Celeste found a tanned, well-muscled chest at eye level, and forced her gaze to stop traveling downward when she realized whoever he was was naked. ?What the??

?Ah?thank you, my lady. You have no idea how long I?ve been waiting for you.?

?How?? Ashylnn caught her eye. ?Okay, this isn?t funny. I don?t know how you did it, but it?s not funny.?

?Celeste, we didn?t do this,? Ashylnn protested while giving the frog-man a thorough once-over. ?I guess that old wives? tale about kissing a frog to turn it into a prince is true after all.?

?A very handsome one at that,? Kira purred with a wink.

?I can?t believe you two. Does this not bother you? A frog just turned into a freakin? person here!?

?Hey, I think it?s kinda cool,? Kira shrugged.

?Unbelievable. And you,? she made herself look the frog-man in the eye, ?tie this around your waist, wouldja?? She pulled off her sweatshirt and shoved it at him.

?Sorry, my lady.?

?I?m not your lady. I don?t know what you cooked up with my friends here, but the joke?s over. And I?m not laughing.? She turned and stalked off in the direction of her car.

?Was it something I said?? he wondered aloud.

?Not really,? Ashylnn said. ?Her last?uh?prince turned out to be a toad. If you hurry, though, you might catch her before she gets to her car.?

?Car??

?Uh, it?s like a really fast carriage.?

?Just because I?ve been cursed for a few centuries doesn?t mean I don?t know anything about your modern world; I know what a car is. So, are you coming as well??

?Not right now, no,? Kira said. ?She?d yell at us if we did. Now move it.?

?Right.?

The nerve. That?s low, even for them. Celeste fumbled in her pocket for her keys. I can?t believe they?d do something like this. Not after Zane. Especially not after him. Okay, deep breaths. You need to calm down if you?re going to drive. She leaned her head back on the headrest and closed her eyes. After a few moments, there was a soft knock on the passenger window. ?You again? What are you, stalking me now? I told you, the joke?s over.?

?This is not a joke, my lady. What you saw really happened.?

She narrowed her eyes at him. ?Alright, I?ll play along. Get in. And you can quit with all this ?my lady? stuff. Just call me Celeste.?

He slid into the passenger seat and closed the door behind him. ?Very well, Celeste. My name is Aleric.?

?Aleric. Nice name.? She arched an eyebrow. ?There?s a blanket in the backseat if you want it.?

?Again, thank you. It is rather embarrassing to be wandering around with naught but this?? he glanced down at himself and arched an eyebrow, ?sweatshirt to wear.?

?I think I might have some of my ex boyfriend?s clothes still at my place. So, um, if this isn?t something Ashlynn and Kira cooked up, what?s going on??

?Your friend was right. That old wives? tale as you call it is true in some instances. Certain frogs have a greater destiny and can spend thousands of years waiting for the right woman to come along.?

?That sounds like a book I read once. What happens if you never find her??

?It?s never happened before. Somehow or another, it has always worked out.? He smiled, ?I knew you were the one. That?s why I let your friend catch me.?

?So does that mean I?m supposed to marry you now? Live happily ever after, is that it?? she growled.

?Not right away, no,? he said sounding confused. ?But in time, yes.?

She shook her head. ?Sorry, but I stopped believing in happily ever after a long time ago.?

?It?s not that simple, Celeste. This arrangement comes with a price. If we can?t love each other within a specified amount of time, I turn back into a frog for eternity.?

?Two weeks.?

?True love doesn?t happen that fast.?

?I know.?

?Jeez, when did I step into Beauty and the Beast??

?They lived quite a happy life together.?

?How would you know??

?I used to live in their moat.?

At that, she slammed on the breaks, nearly sending both of them through the windshield. ?You?re kidding, right? That?s just a fairy tale.?

Honey-colored eyes flecked with gold turned toward her and gave her a stern look. ?One thing you are going to have to accept is that they?re not just fairy tales. Some of the details of the stories have been changed over time, but their essence remains true. Over the centuries, mankind has lost much of its former knowledge and has ceased to believe in magic. Well, magic is just as real now as it was then as you are quickly learning. Now I don?t know how all this is going to work out either, but we?ll just have to trust that Destiny knows what she?s doing.?

?What do you mean fairy tales are real??

?I?ve seen a few retellings of them on those portable televisions campers bring sometimes. Quite frankly, some of them are rather insulting.?

?Little Red Riding Hood??

?The hunter did come to the rescue, but accidentally killed the girl and the grandmother in the process. He just claimed he had saved them and they moved to another part of the land.?

?Little Mermaid??

?Killed the sea-witch, but was rejected by her prince when he found out she was a mermaid. That?s what caused her to become the foam on the waves, not her refusal to kill him.?

?Cinderella??

?Disney got the initial part of the story pretty close. However, he had an affair with one of the maids, and Cinderella?well, she didn?t kill him, but she made sure he couldn?t make that mistake again.?

Celeste winced. ?Sounds like none of them had happy endings.?

?Snow White did. Of course, the Queen?s demise was a little more gruesome than the story books say, but she did get her prince and lived happily ever after.?

Celeste took the rest of the ride home to mull over the day?s events. Her head was still spinning as she tried to sleep. Aleric was safely in the guest room at the end of the hall. Or rather, she was safely away from him and his eyes. She had almost felt safe staring into those eyes. Something in their depths was calling to her, pulling her to him. And yet she had resisted the call. Her heart couldn?t take another relationship failure. It was better this way, to keep Aleric from getting close. Even if he was supposed to be her prince.

There was a soft knock at her door and Aleric let himself in.

?I thought you were asleep,? Celeste muttered.

?Sorry,? he smiled sheepishly. ?Frogs are nocturnal. I sensed you were troubled. Want to talk about it??

?No.?

?I?m here for you, you know.? He sat on the edge of her bed. ?What did he do to you to make you distrust men so??

She scowled. ?He?he?lied to me. He promised me things he could never deliver. And then at a time when I needed him the most, he left.?

?You do realize that I?m not him, don?t you??

?Yeah, but it doesn?t matter. I don?t trust anyone right now, and I really have no hope left in love.?

?You can?t give up on love.?

?Why not? What?s it ever done for me??

?Only you can answer that.? He tilted her chin so he could look into her eyes. ?He was a fool for letting a woman as wonderful as you go.?

She sniffled a little and blinked back tears. ?You don?t even know me.?

?I know enough,? he whispered and gently brushed his lips against hers.

Aleric?s kiss sent fire and electricity through her body and her skin tingled in the wake of his touch. His closeness was intoxicating, and she wanted more. But just as she began to take it to the next level, Aleric pulled away and smirked. When he spoke, his voice was cold and calculating, ?Ah?thank you. You have no idea what you?ve just given me.?

Something?s different. ?So why don?t you tell me?? she asked, to buy herself some time to figure out what.

He smiled, but it was no longer warm and inviting; it was smug with a predatory glint in his once gentle eyes. ?You?ve just restored something to me that I lost long ago. And for that, I will be forever grateful to you. However, I?m afraid you?ve outlived your usefulness to me.?

Celeste?s eyes widened as a ball of fire appeared in his hand. ?I?I don?t understand. What???

?You really should have trusted your instincts, Celeste. You see, not just any girl can break a curse like mine. She has to be magical herself.?

?So, all that about fairy tales coming true, that was all a lie??

?Not entirely, but I had to get you to trust me. I admit, I was a little worried at first, but all I needed was that kiss. Sorceresses back then, they didn?t have much imagination; although a kiss to break the curse and another kiss to restore my magic was pretty revolutionary in my day. And you see it is the mission of evil beings like myself to destroy those that wield good magic, so nothing personal.?

?Oh you?re wrong. It?s very personal.? He raised his arm to hurl the fireball at her, but Celeste was quicker. She ducked the first fireball and knocked Aleric?s arm as he threw the second, causing it to hit him instead. A look of surprise briefly crossed his features before he erupted into flames and vanished. For several moments she couldn?t move. Events were happening so fast, she couldn?t make sense of it all. So, she was magical? What did that mean exactly? Was she a witch, a wizard, or maybe a sorceress, or was there really a distinction between them? What powers did she possess? And most importantly, would there be more like Aleric coming along to try to kill her? With a groan, she fell back on her bed and pulled a pillow over her face. Please just let me wake up. This is all just a crazy dream.

A soft glow on the other side of the room caught her attention, and she looked to find a man standing in the corner. He was handsome in his own right: tall and lean with eyes like stars and a tangle of sandy hair her fingers almost itched to run through. Almost. ?Who are you?? she asked warily.

?My is Kaeden. Relax; I?m not here to hurt you. I?m here to help you.?

?The last person who said that to me just tried to kill me, so excuse me if I?m a little edgy.??Yeah, sorry about that. I would have been here sooner, but I had to wait for you to come into your magic before I could find you. All new witches have a guide?a guardian angel, so to speak?and I?m yours.?

?Alright, you know what? I can?t deal with this right now.? Irritated, she grabbed his arm and steered him out the door. ?Look, Kaeden, right? I don?t really care who you are right now, I just want you to go away. Out.?

Kaeden?s lips formed a hard line in annoyance. ?You can?t run from your destiny, Celeste.?

?Watch me.?

His eyes flashed in anger for a moment, then softened with understanding. ?You?ve been through a lot today. I?ll be back in the morning to help you with this.?

?Fine. You do that.? She slammed the door after him and sank down the wall. Great. What do I do now?

to be continued when i unlazify myself

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