(2 of 4. Originally posted on December 09, 2022 for the prompt “Snowbound.”)
SPOILERS FOR PART 1. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ THE SWEETEST TREAT, READ IT HERE FIRST.
Read Part 3 here.
Monica set two steaming mugs of cider on the rough wooden table. “Looks like you’ll be stuck here a while, sis. I’ll make up a pallet on the floor.”
She considered offering her sister the bed and taking the pallet herself. But, knowing Nancy, she’d find reason to complain regardless. Any attempt at kindness felt wasted.
It’s not about her. Monica chided herself. It’s about the kind of person I want to be. How real is my hospitality if I only give it to people I judge worthy of it?
“You can take the bed. I know how your back gets.”
Nancy’s smile looked more amused than warm. “We can work out those details later. Let’s just enjoy this rare time together. Try a cookie.”
Monica considered the pile of animal-shaped cookies with trepidation. They looked perfect, but Nancy never offered gifts. She never came over just to visit, either. At last she selected a cute cat cookie with black icing and a little pink nose. The moment the first bite touched her tongue, a wave of delectable sweetness washed through her from mouth to toes and back again.
“These are…amazing…” Monica strained against the urge to shove the whole cookie into her mouth. “Did you make them yourself?”
“Not completely.” Nancy giggled. “I had a little help from fairies.”
“Fairies!?” A spike of fear pierced Monica’s gut. She couldn’t tear her eyes off the cookie. Her mouth watered so hard it hurt. “How could you make a deal with them? The cost is always worse than…”
“You don’t understand, poor naïve sister. You never had to sacrifice for anything. You’re daddy’s little princess. But the best things always cost. Sometimes you just have to pay.”
Monica wanted to reply, but couldn’t bring herself to talk around a mouthful of cookie.
“But in this case, I got the best possible deal.” Nancy smirked. “I didn’t ask for the cookies. Those are the price I paid. I asked for the blizzard.”
Monica grabbed her mug of cider to wash down the last of the cookie. The compulsion faded with the taste, but left a strange gnawing in the pit of her stomach.
“‘Take this powder and use it to make animal-shaped food,’ the fairies said.” Nancy made a face of mock dismay. “‘Feed it to someone close to you. Agree to this, and we’ll give you snow.’ The blizzard provides a perfect excuse for your disappearance.”
Monica groaned and collapsed on the floor, writhing. Something pulled at her from the inside, shrinking her body. Tiny black hairs sprouted all over her skin.
“Oh, what a terrible loss,” cried Nancy. “My poor innocent sister, lost forever in this dreadful unexpected storm. Your handsome new boyfriend will weep for you. What’s his name? Peter? At least I’ll be there to comfort him. And I’ll have a new cat to catch mice in my shop. You work for me now, Princess.”
Monica looked up at her sister with tears in her eyes, and meowed.