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Toledo Blue…53 Final chapter

“Everyone seems happy again,” said Toledo. “now that they are fighting.”

Lucky smiled and winced, as the cut on his lip split open again.  “Fighting’s good for the guys.  You can see how much more energy they’re putting into the neighborhoods.  They feel like themselves again.”

“How did things come to this?  People not being happy unless they are fighting, facing danger, killing each other, spitting in death’s eye.  It seems so….”

“Unhealthy?”

“Something like that.”

“This isn’t the peaceable kingdom, T.   Life is a war zone.  We’re built for it, that’s what rage is for, to get you through life.”

“Not for everyone,” she said.  “Some people live normal lives.  The go to work, have kids, then die.”

“Is that the kind of life you want?”

“No.”

“Right.  I like all the new powers you’re getting, by the way.”

“Thanks.  Being able to disappear is kind of cool.  I can follow you anywhere.”

“Not exactly what I hand in mind?”

“Nick said that Pixi had kittens with a Fairy cat.  Four of them and they all look like her.”

“We could get another cat.”

“A tiger?”

“If that’s what you want,” he said.

“Not fair to the tiger and besides, we’re gone all the time.”

Lucky nodded.  “I heard from Thx.  He said they’re all happy and the rest of the demons can’t understand why.”

Toledo started laughing.

“He said it’s the perfect torture because it’s driving them crazy.”

“One of the Brownies said that Dave is happy that things are working out.  He’s notified the other Bridge Trolls to stand down, until further notice,” said Toledo.  “School breakfasts and lunches are a smashing success.  The kids can’t wait to get to the lunchrooms. The streets are clean, the shops are refreshed, people are smiling and the bookstore is always crowded.  The street art is incredible.”

“Let’s not forget the medics.  Twenty-four hours a day.”

“They’re doing a great job,” said Toledo.  “I’m happy that my Lilith crippled the government, now it’s just more of a street war.  Seems only fair.”

“Think you’ll ever see your father again?”

“I doubt it.  I have no idea where she put him,” grinned Toledo.  Maybe that pocket dimension she picked out for us.”

“Maybe,” agreed Lucky. “Your mother’s gallery showing was great.  I didn’t realize she was that into vamps.”

“Neither did I.  I thought she was still painting flowers and fairies.  Vince bought two of her paintings.”

“Are they thinking about moving here?”

“No, they want to live in the regular world,” sighed T.  “She said they’re used to it and don’t feel like changing their style.”

Lucky pulled her into his arms.  “This worked out pretty well.  We have a beautiful and relatively safe place to live and yet there’s enough fighting to keep everyone happy.”

“You realize that’s crazy, don’t you?”

“I do,” he said.  “But it’s our kind of crazy.”

“How many people are dead?”

Lucky shrugged.  “A few, here and there.”

 

“If I kiss you will it hurt?” she asked, looking at his lip..

“Yes.”

“Oh, good,” she snickered, pulling her to him.

“You’re so bad,” he muttered.

“Thank you.  Want a cookie?”

 

 

Post Script

The city neighborhoods continued to thrive.  The people who lived there were happy.  The gangs became a kind of government that worked for everyone and kept things fair and equal.  No one person was in charge, although Lucky and Toledo were thought to be leaders of some kind.  School became a place of wonder and joy.  Kids of all ages went there to learn whatever they wanted to learn.  They were all students and teachers, helping each other be the best they could be, answering questions that needed to be answered.

Nick taught several classes on Fairy and took the younger kids on field trips, to see what fairy was like.  They came back enchanted and delighted.  Thx stopped by now and then.  He had a partner, her name was Bzr.  She was lovely and Thx acted shy when she was around.  Charlie, taught film, photography and television.  He gave cameras to the kids in his classes and told them to take pictures.  He matted, framed and hung their photographs in an empty shop, turning it into a beautiful gallery.

Wildlife was welcome and everyone found out how well humans and animals could get along, once they stopped threatening each other.  Foxes could be seen sunning themselves on the sidewalks, Hawks and various other birds built nests on rooftops and in trees, the usual suspects were seen here and there, often being petted, or being given treats.

Few outsiders got past the perimeter of the neighborhoods but when they did, it didn’t usually end well for them.  The government couldn’t find them, not on foot, or by satellite.  Lilith was enjoying herself.  She didn’t like governments, not one bit, so she kept them off balance, out of step, and completely confused.  That meant that she didn’t have to do very much but she still had fun.  She kept an eye on her daughter and her daughter’s chosen one.  She slipped new powers to her, every once in awhile, and would continue to do so, until she was up to full speed.

Life was good, which just proved to everyone that they really could…have it all.

 

Toledo Blue…52 Tomorrow is the final chapter

“Our brains are starting to eat themselves, Lucky,” said one of the guys, sitting at the table.  “I don’t even want to beat those guys up anymore,” he added, pointing to three kids, wearing different colors.  “How am I supposed to feel about that?”

“How do you feel about that?” asked Toledo.

The kid shrugged.  “Weird.  It wasn’t that long ago I would have shot them.”

“And now?”

“We’re friends,” he said softly, shaking his head.  “It’s just wrong, that’s all.  There’s no fun in life anymore.  It’s…it’s just boring.”

The guys started chanting, “Boring, boring, boring,” and pounding their fists on the table.

The demons walked in and nodded.  “The kid’s right.  Life is boring,” said Thx.  “I’m not happy anymore.”

“Were you happy before?” asked Toledo.  “Were you happy in the arena?”

“I didn’t know it then but I know it now.  Yes, I was happy.  Demons aren’t cut out for this kind of everyday, always nice, kind of life.  It’s killing us.”

T walked over and hugged him, as best she could. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered.  “Why don’t you and your men start training and go home for awhile.  You’ll always be welcome here, Thx.  Any time.  But get your skills up to par and go home.”

The demons nodded and started to leave.  “Wait,” said Thx.  “T, we learned something by being here.  We learned what we are, who we are, and what we need to be, in order to be whole.  That’s an amazing thing,” he said.  The other demons nodded again.  “The arena won’t mean the same thing to us any longer.  Now, we will go into battle knowing that we love it, that we want it, that we can’t live without it.  Thank you for that,” he added, touching her face with the side of his finger.

“Please don’t go without sayng goodbye,” she said, softly.  “I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll miss you too,” he said, and gave the signal to his men to leave. “If you ever need us, just…”

“I will,” she said.

“What about us?” asked the kid at the table.

“What about you?” asked Lucky.

“We,” he said, holding his arms out to the side, to include some of his gang members, “don’t want to be nice all the time.”

“Yeah,” said Byron, a handsome boy with bleached white hair.  “We don’t want to be carrots.”

“Would you be able to go back to hating each other again,” asked Toledo.

No one said anything.

“You gonna want your turf back?  Wanna start killing each other again?”

“I don’t remember why we didn’t like each other, before.  All the guys are cool.” said Al, one of the youngest kids.

People nodded and snuck glances at each other.

“Gangs are in our blood, T.  It’s always been our life,” said Lenny, a gang lord.  “We’re all getting along, eating together, working together, but our reason to be, is gone.  Rebuilding the neighborhoods can’t replace what we had.”

“He’s right,” said Donna, standing up.  “Nothing’s the same.  I think the idea of an equal society is great but the next generation will have to grow into it. We’re having trouble.  The guys aren’t themselves.  They’ve gone…soft.”

There was a collective gasp of horror.

“Look,” Donna said, “I think you’re all great.  I like that we can all be friends but you’re all grunts, smiling, painting, doing nice things.  You built a bookstore!” she said, snapping her fingers.  “Your PASSION is gone.  You aren’t edgy anymore and it shows.  You’re just guys.”

Lucky looked shocked. T closed her eyes.

Lois walked to the center of the floor.  “Donna’s right.  Don’t get me wrong, I like knowing that Teddie’s coming home alive every night.  His anger is gone, his rage, but so is his reason for getting up in the morning.  Everything is like oatmeal.  When he comes home,” she said, looking at Toledo, “his body isn’t strong and tense.  His muscles aren’t ready for action.  The fire in his eyes is gone. Do you understand?”

“I do,” said T. “I understand perfectly.  How can we fix this?  We can’t go back to the way things were.  You all know each other too well….”

“I got this,” said Lucky.  “Here’s what we’re gonna do.  You guys are going to finish what we started and you’re gonna stay friends.   But we’re gonna to lift the veil and anything bad that comes for us, belongs to you and is fair game.”

Shouts went up from everyone in the room. Toledo, grabbed Lucky’s hand.  “Great plan,” she said.  I love it.  You’re kid of smart…for a guy.”

“You tell ’em, girlfriend,” said Donna, as se walked by.

“When do you want to take down the Fairy Ring and lift the veil?”

“Tomorrow.”

“So, one more night of peace.”

“And I know just how I want to spend it,” he said.

 

Toledo Blue…51

“I think we might need to rethink this whole moving thing,” said Toledo.  “We may have to stay here and just find a way to become invisible to others, but still be able to interact with the rest of the world.”

“That makes more sense but isn’t Charlie broadcasting what we’re doing over television?”

“He is,” said Toledo, grabbing her phone.  “Charlie, stop the broadcasts and check in.  Yes, I know but I’ll explain when you get here.  Thanks.”

“You’re a dreamer, T,” smiled Lucky.  “But, sometimes, dreams need reality checks.”

“Do you have any cookies?” she asked, hopefully.

He put one in his mouth and mumbled, “Yes.”

“I still don’t know how to make the demons feel better.  There’s nothing here that’s intense enough to give them what they are looking for.  I went over there yesterday and they’re all sitting around, or sleeping.  They are addicted to the rush and who can blame them.  Thx was right, they are all turning into carrots.”

“There isn’t anything to replace the feeing that comes from danger,” said Lucky.  “Even some of the guys are having a hard time adjusting.  It’s what they know, T.  Sometimes it’s all they know.”

“We need to find new things for them to focus on.”

“You don’t get it.  There is NOTHING else like it.  Being peaceful and working for the good of the neighborhoods is boring, peaceful, calm and dull.  There’s no thrill.  No rush.  There is nothing that excites them, heightens their senses, makes them feel alive.”

“That’s what Thx said.”

“He’s right.”

“Life is boring?”

“Why do you think there’s so much violence and insanity in the world?  It gives some people something to do.  It takes away the boredom.  Some people like to face their fear, to face death. It makes them feel alive and not a carrot.”

“That’s sick.”

“Yeah, well, this is a sick world, in case you haven’t been paying attention.  What do you think drugs, alcohol, smoking, and all the other vices are for?  Stops people from being bored out of their minds.  You work for vamps, you fight constantly, you kill, you do all kinds of things.  Look what you’re doing now.  Your reorganizing an entire society.  Think about sitting on your front porch all day, watching the grass grow.  People jump out of planes, off of cliffs, drive race cars, climb mountains, do anything they can to feel alive and if you take those things away from then, they die, in one way or another.”

“We could join reality again.  Let the gangs and demons protect the area.  They could fight, even kill, to keep everyone who wants to be here safe.”

“Great idea but it wouldn’t work.” he said.  “The government would start a war with us, in one way or another.  They can’t afford to let equality show it’s face, or everyone will want it.”

“So?  What do we do?”

“We take down the government, T.  Then we start from there.”

“How will that fill the need?  Won’t it only be a temporary fix?”

“You got a better idea?”

“Call a meeting and tell them your idea.”

 

 

Toledo Blue…50

“How long were you with her?”

“Not long,” he said.

“I would ask HOW long is not long, but it doesn’t matter.”

“Who were you with?” he asked, smiling.

“Moving on,” she said, “I don’t know how to make the demons feel better.”

“Let them go after your biological father.”

“That’s brilliant but he hasn’t done anything yet.”

“He will.”

“Do you really feel as if you would die if you weren’t with me?”

“Yes.”

“I would tell you to take off all your clothes and get on the desk but we have too much to do.”

“Are you sure?”

“Who won the bet?”

“No one bet against you.”

“Ah.  Not much of a pool then.”

“None at all.”

“How are the vamps working out?”

“Great.  Everyone likes them.”

“Surprised?”

“Yes.”

“When we move the city, I want to make sure there’s a backdoor.  In case we want to return.”

“Makes sense but I can’t see that happening.”

“I’ll just feel better if we have options.”

“Then do it,” said Lucky.

“Sit down children,” said Nick, appearing in front of them.  “Ive been in touch with your mother, T, and she found the perfect place.”

“Where?”

“Pocket dimension.  Earth like in everyday.  Sounds perfect.  Uninhabited except for some wildlife, deer-like beings and such.”

“Why do you keep adding, ‘like’ to everything?” asked Lucky.

“Because anything that’s on earth is not exactly the same anywhere else, hence, the ‘like.’

“So we’re just going to pick up half the city and move it?”

“No, it’s far to heavy,” said Nick, bursting into laughter.  “It will simply reappear someplace else.”

“When?” asked Toledo?

“Not sure, maybe ten days.”

“How can we run a city on a barren planet, T?” asked Lucky.  “What about electricity, water, food?  How will we get all of that that?”

“Oh, her mom is taking care of the details,” said Nick, dismissively.  “That’s why you can’t leave tomorrow.  She wants everything to be perfect.

“Maybe we haven’t thought this through,” said Lucky, frowning.  “Everything we know will be gone.  No vacations to other countries, no anything, but the things we bring with us.”

“He’s right,” said Nick.  “You will be there alone.”

“Maybe we need to go to plan ‘B,'” said Toledo.  “Lucky’s right, I didn’t think this trough, at least not to the end.”

“Good for you,” said Nick.  “I think it would have been a disaster.”

“Why didn’t you say something earlier?”

“I wanted to be supportive, darling,” she said, touching Toledo’s shoulder.  “That’s what Guardian Fairies are for.”

“What’s plan ‘B’?” asked Lucky.

“I’ll tell you the second I know,” mumbled Toledo.

 

Toledo Blue…49

“You bitch!” screamed the five foot-two woman in four inch heels.  Her long black hair falling perfectly into place.  She came at Toledo, fist in position, but Lucky caught her arm.

“T, this is Selma.  Selma, this is my love, Toledo.”

“What kind of name is THAT?  You from Ohio?”

“Nope, just a twist of fate.,” said Toledo.  “Are you from Alabama?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Toledo shook her head.

“You think you can just walk into his life and that’s it?” she snapped, pointing at Lucky.  “You think you can just take him from everyone else, because you want him?”

Everyone else?” said Toledo, eyeing Lucky.

“Actually,” he said.  “She could have always done and you knew it.”

“It’s not fair,” she said, lunging at Toledo.

By now there was a crowd in the hallway and bets were being made.  Money was being passed to Carl, who was giving odds.

Toledo stepped out of the way and Selma hit the chair behind her.  Lucky grabbed her and started dragging her out of the room but the doorway was filled with bodies.

“Let her go,” sighed Toledo.  “She’s obviously hurting and needs to get this out of her system.”

“Damn straight,” she said, running her hands over her shirt, shaking out her hair. “What does he see in you anyway?” she asked, walking back and forth in front of T.  “I don’t see anything special about you at all.  You look…dumpy.”

“I agree.”

“What?

“I said that I agree.  I look dumpy.  I’m busy and there’s a lot to do and besides, I like wearing jeans and t-shirts.”

“”You’re not even that pretty,” said Selma, looking her up and down.

“I know.”

“What’s wrong with her,” asked Selma, looking at Lucky.  “Doesn’t she know how to fight back?”

Lucky just bit his lip and said nothing.

“Are you smart?” she asked, thinking that there must be something about her that Lucky liked.

“Sometimes.”

“What’s so special about you?”

“Not a single thing,” said Toledo.

“Then why does he love you?”

“You’ll have to ask him but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s because he’s used to me.”

“Is that true?” she asked Lucky.

“A little.”

“What’s the rest of it,” asked Selma, her hands on her hips.

“I feel like I’m going to die if I’m not with her.”

“Well, crap,” said Selma, deflating.

“What do you do, Selma,” asked Toledo.

“I cook. Why?  You gat a problem with that?”

“Is she a good cook?” Toledo asked Lucky.

“She is.”

“You want a job?” asked Toledo, looking at her.

“What kind of  a job?”

“Be in charge of what the kids, in all the schools, eat for breakfast and lunch.”

“Is she serious?” she asked Lucky.

“Yes,” he said, “She is.”

“Work up menus for each week, submit them, and make sure everything is done to your specifications.  It will be up to you to find vendors, fresh produce, basically everything.  It’s a huge undertaking but I think you can do it.”

“Why are you doing this?” asked Selma, frowning at her.

“You have passion, you’re willing to fight for what you want, and you can cook.”

Selma turned to Lucky again. “I hate that I might like her.”

“I know,” he said.

Then she turned back to Toledo, held out her hand, and said, “Deal.”

 

 

Toledo Blue…48

“T, you make my cookies crumble,” said Lucky, kissing her.

She laughed, pushed him, and told him to get dark chocolate, next time.

“There’s a demon to see you, T,” said a young gang member, covered in paint.

“Thank you,” she said.

“I’ve been painting at the school two blocks away.”

“I like the colors,” she said.

He nodded and smiled.

“Gotta go,” she said, giving Lucky another kiss.

“Into the arms of a demon,” he signed.

“Hopefully, we’re just going to talk but one never knows, does one,” she snickered.

“T,” said the demon, when she walked into the room.

“Thx.  How’s it going?”

The demon shrugged.  “Hard to give up old habits.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Sometimes I just want to rip someone to pieces, you know?”

“I’ve felt that way about members of my family.”

“Everybody feels that way but you know what I mean.”

“I do,” she said, putting her hand on his arm.  “Let’s get some coffee,” she continued, leading him into the kitchen.  She poured his coffee into a large pot, gave him a dozen donuts, and sat down, with her mug.  “So?”

“I like it here,” he said.  “It’s nice.  No one is trying to kill me and I don’t have to fight in the arena, torture anyone, or make humans insane.  It’s a whole different way of life.”

“Huge change.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to deal with all that that entails.”

Thx nodded.  “It’s kind of boring here,” he said.  “All of us are used to constant action and danger and now…well, we don’t feel alive.  Truthfully, I feel like a carrot.”

Coffee shot out of Toledo’s mouth and she started choking.  She gasped for breath and tried to talk, which only made things worse.  Thx, didn’t know what to do.  She waved him away but continued to fight for breath.  After a few minutes, she calmed down and apologized for getting him wet.

“You shooting coffee at me is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in weeks.”

“It was the carrot thing,” she said, starting to laugh hysterically.  “It’s not funny but what made you sat that?”

Thx looked at her and smiled.  “Because I feel that most of me is buried. That you can only see the weak part on top, which lets you know that I’m there, when, in fact,  the real me is completely hidden.”

Toledo got up and put her arms around his thick neck.  He put his arm around her and held her.  “That is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.  Thank you for explaining exactly how you feel.”

“Am I interrupting something”? asked Lucky, staring at Toledo in the arms of the demon.

“Yes, you’re interrupting” said Toledo.

“Okay then,” said Lucky, closing the door.

“He’s very understanding,” said the demon.

“That’s why I love him.”

“Good choice.”

Toledo went back to her chair.  “Is there anyone you love?”

“There is.  She’s strong and independent.  She’s a lot like you but bigger.”

“I’m happy for you.”

“Thank you.”

“How can I help you?  How can I help the others, as well?”

“Nothing here gives us the rush we get in the arena.  When you fight to the death and win, there’s nothing like it.  It’s as if you beat death itself.  You feel infallible, like nothing can hurt, or touch you.  Your body is pumping hormones to your brain, you feel electric, huge, dangerous, like you could take on an army and win.  You’re on fire, T, bigger than life itself.  To beat death is the only thing that truly proves you’re alive.”

Toledo got up and hugged him again.  “You’re a writer, a speaker and a poet.  You make me understand and feel the things you’re saying.  You have a gift, my friend.  And there’s nothing here that will ever make you feel that way.  Nothing at all.  There is nothing here that’s like the arena, not even war.”

“What am I going to do, T?”

“I hate to ask this but do you want to go back once in awhile, to fight?”

“I do and I don’t.  I do because I really want to feel all of those things again but I don’t because I can see there is more to life than killing.  Each fight could be my last and now that I’ve been here, I care more about whether I live or die,” he said, looking away.  “And there’s something else.”

“Tell me.”

“What if I’ve changed so much that I won’t be able to find…my rage, my…desire to kill…  my bloodlust?  What if that’s gone?  Without those things, in the arena, I wouldn’t have a chance.”

 

 

 

Toledo Blue…46

“Hey, T, the demons are taking up a lot of space,” said one of the guys.

“They’re big, so…they would.”

He laughed and walked away.

PT, which is what Pixi Toast was finally called, bumped up against her legs, just as Nick appeared.

“You should really let the cat live with in Fairy.  She likes it there and you could see her when you visited.”

“My dad is thinking of coming after you,” said Toledo.

“That’s what makes life interesting, don’t you agree?  You have to wonder about a man, or an ex god, who thinks he can do whatever he likes.”

“He doesn’t like it that we are working together.”

“I’m your Guardian Fairy, what did he expect?  He must have been upset when you told him that you were in contact with your mother.”

“Turned as white as a sheet, no easy task for person of his coloration.  He had his eyes closed when I left.”

“He did love your mother.  After he killed her, her true self was freed and power poured into her. He was terrified.  After all, she was stronger than he was and so many men can’t handle that,” she sighed.   “Speaking of love, I can see that you love Lucky.”

“I do.”

“He’s good for you.  He respects your strength and treats you accordingly.  You’re equal partners.”

“Definitely and thank you for the Fairy Ring.  No one can get in, unless we want them to find us.”

Nick, smiled and waved her hand, “It was nothing.  Well, actually, it was something but it was fun to do, especially since it keeps your sperm donor out.”

“I don’t think we can make the kind of world we want, Nick.  Not here.”

“Sure you can.”

“There’s so much hatred out there.  If the Fairy Ring goes down, we will be attacked and people will die.  What we want can only exist outside of the what’s going on in the world today.  People don’t want peace, there’s no money in it.  They don’t want equality because they want power over others.  Nothing we want to accomplish will be allowed to exist in the everyday world.”

“They move somewhere else,” said Nick easily.  “Drop out.”

“Where could we go?”

“Another dimension?.  Perhaps a different plane.”

“That would be a huge undertaking.  So much power would be needed.”

“And?”

Toledo shook her head.  “Can it be done?”

“Of course, it can be done.  It’s the smart thing to do.  You have DEMONS willing to stop hurting people, so they can live with everyone else.  Not only can be done, it should be done.  No one should stay here if they can get away.”

“You’re right,” said Toledo.  “Look what we have accomplished, in a short time.”

“Darling,” said Nick, touching Toledo’s face.  “You used money.  On this world money can make ANYTHING happen, that’s why the men in power won’t let anyone else have any.  That’s how people are kept powerless and weak, kept helpless, slaving away at dead end jobs, too tired to fight back.  Equality would destroy life as they know it.  That’s why they will kill you, if they can, they will never willingly give that up.”

“Money is just paper.”

“Humans have been taught to see that paper as much more than that.  With equality there would be no poverty, no dependency.  Free people are free thinkers.  Independent thought is not allowed in closed, controlled, society.  It’s the job of the schools to make sure that doesn’t happen.  Creative people are a threat to the status quo.  Hard to make a living as an artist, am I right?  In Fairy, we savor art, bathe in it.  We’re still vicious and nasty, of course, but one cant always have everything.”

“Will you help me?”

“Of course.  You’re mother will help you as well.”

“Will you and Fairy move with us?”

“That depends on where you end up,” said Nick, truthfully.

“In the meantime, we’re going to keep working and doing what we can to make things better for everyone.  I saw David and he said that the Bridge Trolls are with us.  All of them, except for one who lives somewhere in Texas.”

“It will be fun…you’ll see,” said Nick.  “Your mother could pick up this entire area and put it somewhere else, so I’d start with her.”

“You’re the best Guardian Fairy ever.”

“Yes,” said Nick.  “I am.”

 

Toledo Blue…45

“What do you mean, she has the demons?” said Toledo’s father.

“Don’t know what to say, she just has them,” said the man standing in front of the desk.  Three of them came for a meeting and now there are a lot more.  No one can get past the mushrooms, unless she wants them to get in.”

“Nick is protecting her.”

“Who?”

“Never mind,”  he said.  “I’ll take care of it.”

***

“Hey, T, found this guy wandering around out in front.”

Toledo looked at man, with the dazed look on his face.  He was wearing  tan cords and a plaid shirt.

“Where am I?”

“Who are you?”

“I’m Charlie.  I was a camera man for the news but I quit because they’re morons who want to blame the disappearance of half the city on feminists, witches and gay people”

“How did you get here?”

Charlie shrugged.  “Not sure.  I quite, walked out of the building and here I am.”

“You’re in the part of the city that disappeared, so if you want to stay and work here, you can.”

Toledo explained what was going on and Charlie said that he was more than happy to pitch in.  He said he knew where he could get a couple of cameras and he would try and hook up a link to the news program and televise what was happening.  Toledo gave him to the committee in charge of PR and went to see her sperm donor.

***

“So, I have blue sparks falling from my fingertips and if you think you’re going after Nick, you might want to think again.”

“Nick has no place in this.”

“She does and so do the rest of the fairies.  Butt out.”

“Or?”

“I’m not afraid of you,” she said evenly.

“Then you’re not as smart as I thought you were.”

“Does that actually work on some people,” she laughed.

“He shot a lightening bolt at her…she raised her hand and it disintegrated.”

“We will only be enemies, if you make bad decisions,” she said.

“You can’t believe that you can create a world without hatred, violence, prejudice, sexism and…”

“Not here, no,” said Toledo.

“What?”

“The demons are working with us.”

“I know.”

“Stay away from them. Oh, and why did you tell me my mother was dead?”

“The woman I loved is dead, the woman she became is not.”

Toledo smiled.  “I met her.  We’re getting along fine.  She doesn’t send her love.”

Toledo’s dad, paled and closed his eyes.

 

 

 

 

Toledo Blue…44

“Part of the city has disappeared,” said the newsMAN.  “No one knows where it went.  Some people think the over abundance of mushrooms may have something to do with it. Story at ten.”

“How could mushrooms make half the city disappear?” asked Charlie Bibbit, a cameraperson at the news agency.

“Don’t ask questions,” shouted the newsMAN, nastily.  “We’re going to blame feminists, witches and gays.”

“Seriously?”  asked Charlie.  “Feminists, witches and gays?  You sexist, homophobic, talking head.  I quit.”  Charlie shoved his camera to the side, cleaned out his locker, and left the building.

“I don’t know how long the Fairy Ring will last,” said Toledo, “but the Fairies did a great job.”

“Do we have any cookies?” asked Lucky, looking around.

“Desk drawer,” she said, “unless GEO ate them.”

“I’m going to have to get a safe, if I ever want to get any chocolate chips,”  he sighed.  “Unfortunately, he would have it open in two seconds, so there’s that.  Two schools have been cleaned out, so the restoration crews can get into them tonight.  Several teachers have come out of retirement and offered to teach, until we’re up to full speed.  Three or four other teachers heard about what we’re doing and they want more information.  One person wants to interview for the position of principle, at one of the schools.  A couple of the guys want to teach things they know about.”

“That’s great.  What do they want to teach?”

“How to hot-wire a car, pick a lock, climb the side of a building…”

Toledo threw a book at him.”

Lucky ducked and said, “Auto repair, electronics, art, cooking, budgeting, reading, and a lot of other things.”

“Budgeting?” she said, frowning.  “For real?”

“For real,” he said.  “Relationships between gangs are…”

“Delicate?”

“Strained.”

“But we’re all working for the same thing, so eventually, when things are starting to settle down, everything will be okay.”

“It’s difficult to let go of the need for power, to show others how strong you  are.”

“Toledo walked into the other room and got up on one of the tables.  “Listen up,” she said, sparks falling from her fingertips.  “What we are doing is for all of us and it’s for generations to come.  I know it’s hard to change your ways.   I know you have lifelong differences but you have to put those aside for the good of the neighborhoods.”

“T,” said Lucky.   “Your fingers.  You need to cool it.”

“What?” she asked, looking at her hands.  “What is that?”

No one said anything.  “Look, she said.  “I don’t know what’s going on.  My mother was Lilith and my stupid biological father, or sperm donor, as you so sweetly call him, is an old god, so stuff like this is bound to happen.  Just think about how cool I’ll look on the fourth of July.”  There was laughter. “You guys have known me for most of my life.  I’m asking you to end poverty. to make schools so kids can get a REAL education.  You can teach the kids coming up, give them more choices than you had. And, before you say anything, I know your crews are family.  No one wants to change that, no one is trying to break up the gangs, we’re just trying a different focus.   If you have any problems with each other PLEASE let us know, before things get out of hand.  I love you guys, you know that.  I don’t know if what we want to do is even possible but Mr. Johnson has food and he had medicine.  There’s a library being set up, down the block.  We’re getting free cookies.  Schools are being set up for artists to do do their work.  You’re all strong, you don’t have to prove it by fighting and killing each other.  So shape up or…or, I’ll blue spark you to death myself,” she laughed, staring at her hands.

There was applause and three demons appeared in the middle of the room.  They were massive, steam was pouring off their flesh and their eyes were fire red.  “T?” said the middle one.

“That’s me,” she said.  “Glad you could make it.”

“What’s going down?” he asked, looking a the others in the room.

“We want to remake the world and were wondering if you’d like to help.”

“Remake it how?” he asked.

“Oh, you know, freedom, equality for all, pretty much.”

“For us too?”

“I don’t see why not but you’d have to stop terrifying and killing people.  No more bad dreams, hauntings, the usual stuff.”

“What would we do instead?” asked the demon to his right.

“Relax, have friends, I don’t know.  I don’t even know what I’m going to do.  I just wanted your input.”

“Could we live here?”

“Maybe,” she said, “if you can.”

“No more fighting in the arena?”

“Nope, never again,” said Toledo.

“No going back to where currently live?”

“Not unless you want to.”

“Hey,” said the on on his left.  “Can I bring my dogs?”

“I’m assuming they’re Hellhounds and the answer is yes, as long as they behave.”

“People don’t like us, T.”

“They just don’t know you.  I don’t know you either but that’s what we’re trying to do here, get to know each other.  No prejudice against anyone.”

“No killing?”

“You could be the police force.”

“I’m in,” laughed the one on the left.  At least she thought it was a laugh, although it sounded like glass breaking and shattering as it hit a buzzsaw.

“You can magic yourselves some housing in the vacant lots where there’s enough room.  You’ll have fresh air and you’ll be able to do anything you like, as long as you don’t hurt anyone.”

The three of them, talked among themselves, while everyone stood watching them.  The spokesperson walked toward T, picked her up and looked into her eyes.  “Deal,” he said.  Then he put her down and one of the committee heads came over with a map and told them where there were several vacant lots together.

“Thanks for not trying to rescue me,” she said, leaning against Lucky.

“I knew you could take ’em,” he said easily.

“I love you.”

“I know,” he said and ducked, before she could hit him.

 

Toledo Blue…43

“There’s a bunch of dead guys out in front,” said Calvin.

“That’s rude,” said Toledo.  “Bring them in, please.”

“Hey, T,” said Tomas.  “We’re ready to meet everyone and get to work.”

Forty-five minutes later, the guys were tentatively shaking hands with the vamps and the committee heads were explaining what needed to be done.  Vamps are strong, which was threatening to the gang members, in so many ways, but the vamps were low-keyed and tried to appear as human as possible. They made some comments but didn’t try to take over, which helped calm everyone down.   Vince, made a very unexpected appearance.  He walked in and went directly to Lucky.  Five of Lucky’s crew moved into position around him.  Some of the others covered the other vamps in the room.

“I guess you really are lucky,” said Vince, holding out his hand.  “She made her choice.  No hard feelings.”

Lucky nodded and shook Vince’s hand.

“If you need anything, T, let me know,” he said, still staring at Lucky.

“Thanks for stopping by,” she said.

Vince straightened his jacket, looked at his vamps and told them to help in anyway they could.  Then he left.

“Do you trust him?” asked Lucky.

“Are you crazy?  Of course I don’t trust him,” said Toledo, “He does know that I’ll kill him if he messes with you.”

“Oh, baby,” he said, putting his arm around her.  “Are you my big, bad, protector?”

She heard the guys chuckling and put her lips to his ear.  “I could take out everyone in this room before you even knew there was a fight, so yes, I really am your big, bad,  protector.”

“I am so crazy about you,” he sighed.

“Hey, T, maybe you should walk him home tonight,” yelled one of the guys.

“I’m counting on it,” said Lucky, taking the teasing, good-naturedly.

Pixi climbed up Lucky’s pant leg, digging her claws into the denim of his jeans.  He grabbed her and rubbed her ears.  Toledo looked into her eyes. “She’s been in Fairy,” she said, quietly.  “I knew she could do it but I didn’t know when she would start going there.”

“She just came for a visit,” said a beautiful, deep, lush voice.”

No one in the room moved, or said a word.  Everyone simply stared at the gorgeous Fairy.

“Nick,” said Toledo, throwing her arms around her.  “You look…well, incredible, as always.  I didn’t know you were coming.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to what you humans call, hugging,” she said, straightening her sheer, pale blue, silk, floor length shift.

“I’m always going to do it,” said Toledo.  “So deal with it. This,” she continued, pointing to Lucky,  “is the love of my life.  Lucky, this is my Guardian Fairy, Nick.”

“You have a Guardian Fairy?” he asked, looking at the woman.

“She does,” said Nick, walking around him.  “Well, he looks okay.  Strong enough, seems to be mad about you.  He’s healthy, his aura is clean…ish.  He has leadership abilities, he’s intelligent and has a good sense of humor.  He  can fight,” she said approvingly.  “He’s not afraid to be violent, when necessary but he’s also sweet, kind and caring.  He likes cats, and he’s open minded, but then he would have to be, in order to fall in love with you.”

“So does that mean you approve?” asked Toledo, her eyes sparkling with delight.

“He’ll do.”

“Gee, thanks,” said Lucky.  Then he turned and said, “Guys, get back to work, nothing to see here.”  Someone asked him if he was blind but he just smirked, shook his head, and turned back to Nick.

“I’ve come to see what we can do to help and I want to know when some of the fairies can relocate to the city.”

“Too soon to relocate,” said Toledo,  “but how about a Fairy Ring?”

“It will have to be enormous,” said Nick.  I see what I can do.  Any glamours to be done?”

“A few.”

“Lovely.  I do so like to play wth the humans.  Have you seen your sperm donor lately?”

“Not since I asked for the money,” she laughed.

“He’s hasn’t contacted anyone in Fairy, He might be giving you some time to do your thing without interference.”

“I thought he might,” said Toledo.

“I don’t know if you can actually kill him,” said Nick.  “If anyone can, it would be you, but you might want to stay on his good side for awhile.”

“I’ll do my best.”

“Meow.”

“What kind of a name is Pixi Toast?” asked Nick, staring at Lucky.  “I suppose that was your idea.  Men,” she sighed.  “They have no idea how to name anyone.”

“Her name is Pixi.  Toast is kind of an inside joke.”

“You mean because of breakfast and his lack of clothing?” she asked, smiling at Lucky.

“Uh…” said Lucky, smiling back.

“You really should teach him how to block his thoughts,” said Nick.  “I mean he does have a great body but, really, do you want everyone in fairy to know that?”

“I’ve been busy,” snickered Toledo.  “I’ll take care of it.”

“Well, Ta, my darling,” said Nick, coming in for another hug, before she disappeared.

“That was…weird,” said Lucky.

“That was just the beginning,” said Toledo.  “Wait until a ring of mushrooms pops up around half the city.”

“Meow.”

 

 

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