Glory woke to the sound of knocking on the front door. At first she thought it was a dream, but the sound was too persistent.
“Hold on, hold on.” Glory mumbled.
Max grunted at the sound, but he made no move to get out of bed.
She felt that fire in her belly again. What if the person knocking on the door wasn’t someone they knew? What if it were a burglar trying to be sneaky?
“Fine, I’ll just go and be the one who gets murdered,” she said as she walked out of their bedroom.
She shuffled down the hallway. She turned the porch light on and opened the door.
Sylvain stood on the other side, almost unrecognizable. Blood crusted under her nose and on her top lip. Her face was covered in scratches. Her dress was ripped and soaked through. Her tights were ripped through on her left leg, and there was a large hole over the knee of her right leg. She looked like she was seconds away from fainting.
“Sylvain?” Glory questioned.
“Are you gonna let me in or do you want me to just stand here and bleed at you?”
“Come in but try not to get blood on the floor,” Glory said. Sylvain scoffed but stepped into the house. After she helped Sylvain sit down Glory grabbed a blanket from the linen closet. She draped it over Sylvain’s shoulders. Sylvain pulled the blanket tightly around her, and Glory pretended not to notice that her sister was shaking.
“Do you want to tell me what happened?”
“Oh, ya know. Just another Wednesday night,” Sylvain said. She licked her lip and winced after. Glory took the seat across from her.
“This isn’t the time to be glib,” Glory stated. “You look like shit.”
“Thanks,” Sylvain replied. Glory could see the frustration in her sister’s eyes. Frustration with her, no doubt. She thought that Glory was being her typical, bitchy self, but couldn’t she tell she was scared? Somehow, Glory realized, she’d become one note to her sister.
“What happened, Sylvain?”
“I went out with Lani and a few other friends for Lani’s birthday. I met this guy and we danced and flirted. We wanted to get some air and have a smoke so we stepped outside. Once we got outside, I just felt like something wasn’t right so I tried to get away. And he-”
“It took you that long to realize something was off?” Glory said.
Sylvain stood abruptly, knocking her chair to the ground. The blanket slid off her shoulders.
“Look, if you’re gonna do this, I can’t be here.”
Glory looked up at Sylvain. Her sister was right, after all. Her disapproval of Sylvain’s life had become her knee-jerk reaction, so much so that it seemed to prevent her from really listening to her sister.
“You’re right, I’m sorry. Look, sit back down. What happened then?”
“Well, then he started beating me up. If the bouncers hadn’t come out back when they did-“
“I’m gonna call the police.”
“No, we can’t. They won’t be able to find him.”
Glory sighed. She knew where this was heading.
“Why won’t they find him? I mean, Sagecrest PD isn’t exactly the gold standard when it comes to policing, but they aren’t horrible.”
“That’s not what I meant,” Sylvain said.
“Don’t you dare say-“
“He was a Gancanagh.”
“Am I supposed to know what that is?”
“Didn’t you listen to my episode about this? He’s a fairy, Glory.”
Glory slammed her fist against the table. She was supposed to be sympathetic to Sylvain’ needs, but all she wanted to do is scream at her.
“God, Sylvain, you’ve got to stop this! You’re thirty-two and you still believe there’s fairies? I mean, really.”
“I’m not lying, Glory.” Sylvain yelled. Glory scowled and put a finger before her lips. The last thing she wanted to do was wake Max up. He and Sylvain had a complicated relationship already; this incident would only make it worse.
“I’m telling you, he’s a Gancanagh. A love talker. They live for love, for turning human women into – well, into their love slaves. Human women wilt and die when they’re removed from their Gancanagh lover for too long.”
“Ok, so why aren’t you wilting? Why aren’t you tweaking out over this gancan thingy,” Glory said through gritted teeth.
“Gancanagh. And they have to fully consummate their…love before the woman is completely hooked.”
Glory rolled her eyes. If she was going to deal with Sylvain’s stories at this hour she may as well have a glass of wine. She opened a bottle of Skinny Girl Rose and poured a glass for herself and one for Sylvain. She sat at the table and set Sylvain’s glass down with a thud.
“So, if he wanted you to be his love slave, then why’d he do this to you?”
“It’s like I’ve always told you. The fey don’t like when humans have the Sight. When they find out you see their true form, they flip their shit,” Sylvain said.
“But why? That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Again, I already went over this. The fey are a capricious lot. They are as likely to leave a bouquet of flowers on your doorstep wrapped in green ribbon as they are to steal your child and replace it with a changeling. This stuff amuses them.”
Glory sipped her wine and stared at her sister.
“I can make it back to Lani’s. See about staying there, since that’s where my car is.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Glory said. “You’ll say here tonight and go home in the morning. I think you need to file a police report, first thing.”
“No, I’m not doing that, Glory. It won’t matter. Even if I give a description, the Gancanagh can just glamor itself to look like someone else. Or he’ll go back to his court, and then they’ll really never catch him.”
“Sylvain! You’ve been assaulted. you have to report this, I don’t care if he’s some troll or pixie or Santa Claus. you’ve got to say something.” Glory.
Sylvain looked away, but not before Glory could see fresh tears spilling down her face.
“Thank you, for letting me stay,” she whispered.
“Well, you are my sister. I couldn’t live with myself if I turned you away. But, first thing, you should go to the police. Then go home and rest. If I don’t see you before I leave, I’ll come check on you after work.”
Sylvain nodded. Glory leaned against the counter. She felt a fresh wave of exhaustion wash over her. She looked at the clock on the stove, it’s sickly green numbers reading 2:46. She had less than four hours left before she had to wake up. She took another deep breath before she walked back to Sylvain. She set a hand on her shoulder
“You know where everything is. There are fresh towels in the linen closet. I washed a load of pajamas and workout gear, they’re still in the dryer. If you can find something that fits, you can borrow it and I’ll get it back from you tomorrow. Good night, Sylvain.” she turned away before Sylvain could reply.
Glory climbed the stairs and turned off the hall light. She opened her bedroom door slowly and closed it behind her. She slid into bed, careful not to wake Simon. When she was sure he was still asleep – she couldn’t handle his questions or judgements about her sister just then- she rolled onto her side. Tears rolled out of her eyes and onto her pillow. She bit down on the tips of her acrylic nails so she wouldn’t make a sound.