Not A Fairy Tale
Chapter 1

I am not very clever.  My brother Sprout is lightning-quick at reading runes, and can trace out an enchantment faster than most faeries twice his age. For me, the runes fall off the page, mixing themselves up like someone put a bewildering spell on them.  Magus Summergrass won't even let me try to draw runes anymore, not after a misspelling set the school on fire.

I am not very funny. My eldest sister Petal once told a joke that left every pixie in High-Court School laughing so hard a week's worth of pixie dust exploded from their wings.

I tell fart jokes.  No one laughs.

I'm not very strong.  My youngest sister, Bluebell, can outrace the wind, heave rocks, and break woven spiderweb with her bare hands.  Me, I trip over my own two feet.  And everyone says they're glad I'm not as strong as Bluebell.

My siblings are all extraordinary.  

I'm special, too.  

I've got a temper.

When I was younger, I threw screaming tantrums over everything.  I'd tear the spider-silk off my skin.  I'd spit out my food.  I'd scream and cover my ears.  

My parents wanted to be good parents, I think.  They were good to my siblings. But apparently something about dealing with a screaming child day after day meant that after awhile they just cast a silencing spell on me.  

If I could have spoken, I'd have told them, over and over, that the world *hurts.*  Sounds burn my ears.  Light screams into my eyes.  Silk rasps across my skin.  And Goddess help the person who dares touch me.  My muscles jerk.  Panic floods me.  My mouth opens to howl in surprised rage.  I flail, thrashing like a grasshopper caught in a web.   

I could have told them that after I learned some words.  But I was Silenced.

That's when I started hitting things.

Sprout tells me I shouldn't say things like "I can't help it."  Every other week he's got a new motivational tome from some Grand Fae snail-slime salesman, and starts spouting off wisdom at me.  I put up with it because he barely has any friends, and, well, I don't have any.  

He says I should own my own problems and not blame everything on my parents.  That I should learn tolerance and forgiveness.  

I kindly tell him he should go stick his head down the composting toilet and use the tome for toilet paper.  

Because I can't help it.  It's like my body goes off before my brain gets a choice.  And the other kids think it's just soooo funny to touch me.  They *like* a big, howling reaction.  

They don't do it so much now, though.  Not after I broke Buckwheat's arm.  

I guess I'm not a complete moron, for a 'violent little criminal who's going to break her parent's hearts." (Gee, thanks, Dad.) There were five kids that liked to do it.  Nosegay's nobility, and her parents think she can do no wrong.  The Glass Fairy Twins are too fragile to take much damage.    Charm's too young to know what he was doing- the others were egging him on, training him up to be a proper bully.  But Buckwheat was poor forest-floor trash who liked to hike up his status by picking on me. So when he did it again, I really let him have it.  

The storybooks called it "making an example."  Of course, in the storybooks, villains are the ones who make examples.  

Guess I'm a villain.  And I'm not sorry.  Because it worked.

I didn't really *mean* to rough him up so hard. It's just that when he touched me, I stopped restraining myself at all.  

Teachers give special students gold stars for extra effort.  I've never gotten a gold star.  If they had any brains at all, they'd give me a gold star for every day I go to school and don't kill somebody.  Instead, I just get told I'm not trying hard enough.  

I got suspended for a full moon, but my parents managed to talk the school into giving me a "second chance."  In the meantime, my parents locked me in my room and told me to think about what I'd done.  And I did.  

I thought that I didn't give two farts in a windsock about anyone at school.  I thought that Sprout was right- nobody was going to help me, so I had to help myself.  I decided to stop caring what bullying children and useless adults had to say about how I looked.  I experimented.  

I made two beeswax earplugs, to make the noise stop hurting.  I made a set of pinhole sunglasses, to make the light less bright.  I started sniffing pepper, to plug up my nose so I couldn't smell.  I oiled my wings so they wouldn't get so dry. I went through every piece of clothing in my wardrobe to find the things least annoying on my skin.  Instead of the flowing, ethereal ropes of a proper fairy, I found myself in skin-hugging tights and a coney-leather jacket, fur-side out.    

I put snail-shell spikes on everything, out of pure spite.  

And when I got back, the bullies backed off.   Physically, anyway.  

They can still get to me in other ways.  

So that's me.  Dumb. Unfunny. Uncoordinated.  Violent.  

I'm the last person you want to give an enchanted sword.