She stopped the car a few feet away. “Can’t see any aspect from here. Or the body,” she said. Phoebe watched the flailing arms with caution and then glanced at Cat. He looked worried.

“Help me! Help me! I got hit!” a young, female voice attached to the arms wailed. One of them was bent wrong. Both stretched too much; they almost extended like rubber out of the brush when they reached for the car. Julia put it in reverse but stayed put. Phoebe had seen this before in her hometown. An arm, a leg- it happened every so often, especially on backroads. The passenger vans and little buses she took through the mountains always reported the incidents and then drove past without a second thought.

Image: The pair of arms stretching out in front of the car’s bumper. One of them has an unnatural bend and looks broken. End description.

Yuli rolled down their window. They sniffed the air and then said, “She’s the one who moved in a few months ago.”

This seemed to smooth Julia’s feathers. She scooted over as far as she could towards the passenger side and yelled out, “It’s me! I told you, it’s dangerous to hunt on this road! Gets too much traffic.”

“I got hit! I can’t move!”

“Geez,” Julia said. Yuli stuck their head out the window and barked loudly- a sound which was more like a scream. It shattered any tranquility the morning still held.

Image: A close up of Yuli leaning out of the window. Their hackles are raised, ears back, eyes wide and their mouth is agape as they scream. End description.

The crying stopped. Everyone waited.

The arms recoiled.

With amazing speed they twisted away into the woods, as if they’d been sucked up by the underbrush. Shrubs rustled as whatever body the arms were attached to darted for further cover. Julia rolled up Yuli’s window, put the car back in drive, and hit the gas. They all lurched forward. She checked the rear-view mirror. “Just a wild fae,” she said, speeding up and continuing towards the highway. “We know that one- not very well yet, though. Trying to get her to think about a Rise but she’s stubborn. I bet she was waiting for one of you to get out and help.” Her fingers drummed on the steering wheel. Taptaptap.

“You won’t go after her?” Phoebe asked.

“No reason to, she didn’t attack us. And I can’t stop her from being hungry.”

“We’re lucky she didn’t go for the tires,” Cat mumbled.


This is why people don’t drive much.
Want a cameo in Katabasis? See here.

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