Life at her uncle’s Vancouver home had been lovely so far. Though he was ill and needed his cooking and cleaning looked after, Uncle Rodger was quiet and kept to himself. He preferred to spend his waking hours reading—not talking—when possible, and this suited Lila perfectly.
She’d been spending the warm, sunny days of her summer break in the back garden, surrounded by the lush scents of the meticulously manicured flower beds. There wasn’t much grass in the yard, but what little there was she had been instructed to cut daily. (The only thing her uncle was fussy about was his garden.)
The shady hammock was the best place to read and relax. After the morning mowing, Lila curled up with a copy of the first book of the Spiderwick Chronicles series, which she found in her uncle’s library. She remembered reading the set as a child, and it seemed a nice way to lean in to the bitter-sweet feeling of nostalgia she’d been having about starting her final year of high school. Presently, however, the book was resting in her lap. Lila was defenseless against the thrall of a post-exertion nap.
This drowsiness did not wear off when Lila was struck by a hard, cold object on her cheek. She opened only her left eye, which took in the strange scene with impressive nonchalance. An overly muscular man was standing on her chest. He couldn’t have been more than four inches tall and glared at her from behind bushy black eyebrows. He was carrying a butter knife, which he wielded like a longsword.
She was so amused by the look of him, with his teensy striped short pants and miniature six-pack, she barely heard his cries of, “Awaken, giantess!” and, “Pynecris has come to disembowel you!” through her giggling. It quickly became impossible to withhold an outright laugh, and the force of it sent the little fellow rolling head over heels until he landed upside down, his head trapped in Lila’s cleavage.
She watched him struggle for a little while before lifting him out. He righted himself on her palm and began making frustrated sounds while pacing back and forth.
“Return my sword! I will see you slaughtered in retaliation for your continued assault on Fiddlefolk grass supplies, demon!”
Lila felt he must not realize how deeply his looks undermined the seriousness of his threats. She sat up a bit and saw that his knife had fallen through the weave of the hammock. Another tiny person, this one with longer hair and wings, was attempting to return the weapon to its owner, but was unable to get more than a foot off the ground with it.
“Goddamn it, Glenfrook!” said Pynecris.
Lila leaned in the hammock, reaching her free hand down to retrieve the knife. As she did, she closed her fist around Pynecris (perhaps a little too tightly). He let out the loudest fart she had ever heard.
The blast hit her full to the side of her face. It smelled so vibrantly of lilacs she thought she must be hallucinating, but didn’t have time to verify before she hit the ground. Lila had fallen out of the hammock, but her fall was broken by the soft lawn and she wasn’t injured. In fact, she had barely felt a thing.
When she sat up, she realized Pynecris and his companion were quite full-sized, and the grass was much thicker—
“Well, if you hadn’t forced my flatulence,” said Pynecris, “this wouldn’t have happened.”
Pynecris was also uninjured, and after getting to his feet, he approached Lila with curiosity, looking her up and down in the way old men sometimes did at the mall. She felt a strong urge to kick him.
“Now that you’re a more appealing size, it’s clear you are quite a beauty. Perhaps I won’t kill you after all. Would you like to become my mistress? I would gladly forgive your sins if you agreed. We couldn’t marry, of course, as I’m the heir to the Fiddlefolk kingdom, but—“
“Hard pass,” said Lila. The more delicate, winged person stifled a laugh. “Why were you trying to kill me in the first place?” she asked. “Did you mention?”
Glenfrook spoke up: “It’s the grass. It’s essential to our economy. And you,” they turned away from Lila now. She thought they seemed flushed. “You keep cutting it.”
“I’m sorry,” Lila said, moving closer to Glenfrook.
Pynecris had given his own answer to Lila’a question, and was still gassing on about how terrible humans were, but Lila somehow couldn’t hear any of it.
“It’s my uncle’s garden,” she told Glenfrook. She’d meant to go on explaining herself, but Glenfrook’s eyes were as perfectly blue as the Dead Sea, and she was floating effortlessly in them.
Their silvery wings were beating like a hummingbird’s, and made a hypnotizing sound like an angelic choir. Glenfrook held out their hand to Lila, and it was cool and fresh like the shade, with opalescent blush-pink skin.
“Have you two forgotten all about me?” Pynecris was waving his sword about in melodramatic outrage. “How dare you ignore your future king!”
“Shall I visit you sometime?” Glenfrook asked Lila. They had such a gentle shyness, Lila was smitten. She lit up with an affirming grin.
Overcome with sudden dizziness, Lila dropped Glenfrook’s hand and stumbled backward.
“Oh—oh, no!” Lila felt herself rocketing upward with a nauseating lurch. A sore backside and a hammock draped over her head informed her she had returned to her regular size.
Lila searched the ground for Glenfrook and was happy to find them unharmed.
“I’m sorry!” she said, holding out her hand to them. “I wanted to spend more time with you.”
They kissed her finger and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll feed Pynecris many beans and see you later tonight.”