Moments in Magical Modernity: V


V.

Winter can be hard on beings who draw their power from the warmer aspects of Nature but many have developed coping mechanisms akin to those who deal with SAD. Dryads’ homes are often filled with warm light and UV lamps/bulbs to help warm them through the months. The satyr-run brewery has daily specials on warm, sit-in-your-belly meads and ales throughout the entirety of the winter season. And the Hollow keeps its summer-stoke fireplace going constantly; you’ll even see some dryads start to blossom under its enchanted light.

The world needs Winter, Nature its rest, and, with it, Winter brings its own particular brand of Magic. Frostlings and winterbroods make sure the sidewalks stay safe and those who work at the local DOT make sure roads stay passable and clear with a little charm here and a special mixture there  (not salt, though. We did away with that a long time ago. Too corrosive and harmful.) They do not tamper with the Weather itself but rather merely mitigate its results. Ponds freeze solid for skating. There’s an extra diamine shimmer on the morning and moonlit snowfalls, courtesy of local creative frost fairies. Holiday pictures taken out of doors are always perfect if set up/arranged ahead of time. Snowflakes stay frozen in mittened hands long enough for their myriad shapes to be inspected. Sleds whoosh along only to avoid obstacles and thunk safely into snowbanks. Fairies’ wings sparkle with snowdust, that subtle, delicate shimmer that is all but undetectable without the sun filtering through the sky just so on an icy day.

macro-snowflake

Jessamin, the frost fairy barista, always perks up immensely and helps Kingsley whip up all kinds of wintry treats and special drinks for the Hollow. A favorite is the Winter Apple—a spiced cider that starts warm and then, at some point between tongue and tummy, gives you the most delicious sweetness of a late fall apple just touched through with frosty cold. You can positively see the bright red of the apple glowing beneath its icy dusting.

In the winter, Sophie always comes around more often and stays for longer despite her always-busy schedule, basking in the hominess of the Hollow and its rejuvenating warmth. Humans like her linger longer over their coffees and pastries, slowing down a bit from the frenzy of life. They seem to take in more, feel like they notice and think more. In Winter, the world grows slower, steadier, for human and magical being alike. But Winter is not without its own brand of Magic, if one will simply slow down with it enough to see its beauty.

 

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Moments in Magical Modernity: IV


IV.

The day after the local werewolf Running, the Hollow Bean always opened early (or stayed open extra late, depending on how you looked at it) and was positively slammed! Pearla gave an exhausted flit of her wings, took another spoonful of saguaro cactus flower jelly straight from the jar (her own personal stash), and once more unto the breach!

The café and coffee house was packed with tens of ravenous werewolves amongst the other usual nighttime crowd. Exhausted teenagers laid flopped out on booth benches or with their heads pillowed on their arms, their corresponding adults trying not to nod off over their bacon and eggs and coffee. Older wolves had long ago repaired to the quiet and tranquility of their homes. Good thing the Day After Running was tantamount to a religious holiday so they could all go home and sleep.

Pearly tucked a soft, rolled-up scarf beneath the tousled strawberry-blonde head of sleepy Sierra Bondarich before refilling Ilya’s coffee mug. Jessica looked just about to follow her daughter into sleep so Pearla set a scone with an extra dollop of honeydew cream in front of her, for deep sleep and sweet dreams when her head hit the pillow at home.

Hurrying back into the kitchen to refill her tray with orders, Pearly took a moment to breathe out a tired sigh.

“Sounds like you need breakfast yourself,” came the booming voice of Kingsley, the Hollow’s owner and cook. He was no fairy but a large stone-skinned ogre; however, if anyone personified ‘gentle giant’, it was Kingsley. He refilled Pearla’s tray with ready, steaming orders, and then motioned with his overly large fingers for her to open her mouth. When she did, he tucked in a piece of caramelized bacon. It was sweet, a bit spicy, with a creamy crunch that made her tingle from the crown of her bun to the tips of her twinkle toes as she chewed it.

“Kingsley, what is that?” Pearly marveled, feeling invigorated beyond even magic’s norm.

“It is special recipe I am developing, for stamina and strength. But! You tell me if you start getting rash anywhere. If so, I will need to back off on seven-league peppercorn. So you tell Kingsley, yes?” And with that, he shooed her out of the kitchen so he could continue cooking.

The heavy tray balanced as thought it weighed nothing, Pearly made her way back out into the sleepy buzz of the Hollow. She set down a few plates for some electro-hobs (common nickname for Nockers these days) who had just finished the third shift at the power plant. They were eager for their homes and beds when the buses started running again in an hour. Tired Nockers were surly Nockers, however, and so Pearla never told them what that extra sweet taste was in their coffee but the charisma-spun sugar always helped to make them just a little less…them. And, plus, there were children present so if they had put up a row, a knock with her moonglass tray would have been enough to quell it.

Soon the werewolf families started to trickle out, murmuring thanks to the staff of the Hollow and leaving generous tips as they went.

Pearla and Trystan tidied up tables and set everything to rights again, the latter helping out with carrying exhausted thirteen year olds to cars if any was needed. Lillian secreted treats into jacket pockets and breathed sweet-dream kisses onto cheeks that were still childhood rosy beneath the dust of the night’s Running. Soon, the Hollow’s busy buzz fell to a light murmur as they began to prepare for the morning shift fairies to come in. When Elyria, Barton, and Jessamin arrived, Pearla, Trystan, and Lillian pulled on their scarves and jackets and happily made for home.

Upon her arrival in her tenth floor apartment, which she ironically called her ‘little bungalow’ (she loved living high up, it reminded her of her grandfae’s bedtime stories about once upon a time when fairies were tiny and lived in trees ), Pearla was greeted by the sleepy yawns of banana-leaf-eared hobcat, who then promptly went back to sleep in her corner. The fairy barista shrugged off her coat, leaving it where it fell, and, with wearied flutterings and all the grace of an exhausted cartoon princess, she fell into bed.

[Cover photo credit – https://www.pinterest.com/artofjlmeyer/]

Moments in Magical Modernity: II


He narrowly avoided the frazzled human who barged through the door of The Hollow Bean (affectionately known by regulars as just The Hollow), keeping his chameleon-spiced chai safely out of harm’s way. Bryan Banebridge breathed a sigh of relief as he made his way out the door and into the city streets. He immediately took a deep sip of his chai and its fortifying additive. Being in the city always set his nerves on edge, as it often did for most Earthborn Elementals. His missed his acreage but it was the cost of doing business, and his investors were mostly city-fold sheeple (what he privately called humans, while maintaining that most of his actual sheep were more intelligent) who were wanting to diversify their portfolio with the now-popular “Gaiorganic”. He rolled his eyes nearly into the back of his horned head, a cold, autumn breeze rustling his russet hair as he wrapped the slightly-fraying green scarf with its hand-knitted pattern of fauns cavorting around a lamppost a bit tighter.

Fairy-run coffee shops were his favorite (perhaps only favorite) thing about the city. The baristas always seemed to get him and know just what he needed at any given time. Since fairies were Talented, they were tethered to any particular Element and so seemed to understand…well…everything a bit better than anyone else. Especially Pearla…

Bryan felt the tips of his ears warm and cursed himself for a foolish kid. Crushing on a fairy, not to mention a city barista fairy, is nothing short of soul-stupid. Especially for a country farmer faun.

Making his way downtown, Bryan rode up to some obscenely high floor in some obscenely tall crystal-plated building (crystal being fifty times stronger than glass and cheaper to manufacture with an in-house alchemist in your R&D). Stepping out of the elevator, he was greeted and ushered in by a pale portly man. Short, squat, and fat he was, with a mop of white hair atop rounded his pate. His eyes were beady, his nose pert, and he really did look entire too much like a sheep for “sheeple” not to float through Bryan’s head. This man wouldn’t last a day’s work on Bryan’s “delightful Gaiorganic operation”.

The meeting was long and arduous, the men attempting to haggle, but fauns are nothing if not built of stronger stuff and with the endurance and patience of growing grass. Eventually, stuffy, sweating with the exertion and pining for their dinners, the men gave in. They congratulated Bryan on his business acumen and the latter, his next three years’ investments secure in writing, made his grateful exit. All he wanted was his beat-up pickup truck and the cold country air.

Maybe one last stop at The Hollow before making his way back upstate in the autumnal night…