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The Peril in the Sky

Under the moonlight, I could see his formerly resplendent coat; it was full of stains and shreds now.

By Sieran LanePublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 5 min read
A.I. image generated by author via Nightcafe

My best friend was rich, rundown, ruined. Rani rasped, “I’m a wizard, Phaedra.”

Clearly, he was drunk. But I couldn’t believe my eyes when the asshole started drawing glowing circles in the air. No, not circles. Runes.

We were in a dark alleyway, as Rani had wanted a private place to talk. I was stunned that he was a magic user, and I eyed the fading runes with unease.

Then he seized my arm like it was his lifeline. I yanked my arm out of his grasp and fumed, “Let go!”

Under the moonlight, I could see his formerly resplendent coat; it was full of stains and shreds now. He laughed softly. “Nobody, including you, wants to hang out with me anymore, ever since I lost everything. But I’m the Resilient Rani. I will rebuild my life from the ground up. I know magic scares you, but enchantments will be my way to freedom.”

“Then what did your — magic spell do just now?” I asked.

In the next instant, a blinding flash erupted in our faces. When I could see again, Rani guffawed and sidled over to sit on my lap.

Furious, I was about to tell him to get off. I didn’t like being touched by men, not even by my best friend. But I froze when I looked down at myself. “What the fuck? What have you done to me?”

I had become a lounge chair.

Rani was not deterred and lay back on me like I was a luxury bed. I could feel the rumble of his laughter. “I’m sorry, Phaedra, but I wanted you to be, well, immobile, for my next act.”

Before I could demand what he meant, a door slowly opened in the middle of the alley. A silhouette was framed in the door light. A young woman with silky white hair smiled as she glanced at Rani and then at me. “Not quite the magic carpet you promised to summon, but a lounge chair will do.”

My (former) best friend let out a sigh of relief. “As it pleases you, Your Majesty.”

Majesty? She couldn’t be —

The young woman, Queen Sylvia the Third, whom our King had presumed lost for years, winked at me. She climbed onto me, too, despite my protests. Sylvia murmured a spell, and at once, streaks of gold formed under me, and we soared aloft.

Though I was the chair, Sylvia was the one who drove me with her magic. Rani just lay back and enjoyed the flight through the night sky.

“What’s happening?” I asked, more fearful than angry now.

Rani drawled, “It was a spell based on trust. It’s supposed to turn someone who trusts you into a magic carpet. Her Majesty promised me a land filled with riches to call my own. But she needed a reliable flying device that didn’t wear off in its magic too soon. The only way to get a reliable flyer, is to transfigure a living person, since life force lasts much longer than the limited potential energy in objects.”

He went on with glee, “But you won’t die. Her Majesty made sure of it. As long as you stay a chair and don’t transform back into a human, you will live forever. And wouldn’t you like to be by my side forever, Phaedra?”

“Not in this form,” I muttered.

Queen Sylvia cut in, “It’s truly not so bad, my friend. We’ll take great care of you. And you’ll never get sick, injured, hungry, thirsty, or anything.”

I tried to stop flying. Maybe I could toss them overboard. But I couldn’t move. “Rani, you don’t want to do this. I’ll call the authorities and you’ll regret what you’ve done.”

My former best friend snorted. “You still think you’re in control here, huh? Even if you turn back to human form, you’re still a disgraced cop. None of your buddies would save you. Nobody would care.”

I was silent while I absorbed his tirade. Rani never had much empathy. I had taken pity on him and saved his sorry ass a long time ago, or he would have been incarcerated. But that got me disgraced as a police officer because I was “colluding with criminals.” I guessed karma hated everyone.

Or did it?

Out of the blue, I saw a beautiful phoenix soaring towards us. I yelled, “These crooks turned me into a flying chair! Save me, call the cops, anyone!”

The phoenix looked puzzled at first, but then it started diving at Sylvia and Rani. The duo cast spells to fight back, but the bird was too fast.

Then, Queen Sylvia slipped off. She screamed as she yanked Rani down with her. The phoenix and I stared as the pair fell towards the forest below.

“Don’t worry,” the phoenix said. “Sylvia has enough power to save both of them. I was lost earlier, wanting to fly home. A cop told me which way to go, but alas, never ask a cop for directions! He must have been misleading me.”

Had one of my ex-colleagues seen what had happened and directed the phoenix to save me? But I didn’t dare raise my hopes.

The phoenix frowned. “The spells I know are limited. I don’t know how to change you back into a human, and even if I did, you might drop from the sky and I’m not strong enough to carry you. But if you want, I can turn you into a phoenix.”

“Yes, please,” I murmured. “I have no love for being a human, anyway.”

The bird nodded with sympathy. Before I knew it, rainbow light encased my form. Then, I became a golden phoenix, my wings shimmering with colour.

The other phoenix cast me an admiring glance, before declaring, “Let’s go home, Phaedra.”


This story was a response to Bradan Writes StoriesMonday Mash-Up #8 writing prompt.

My Score:

Writing prompt:

A drunk person pulls their best friend aside to a private spot. Through slurred words, they say “I’m a wizard/witch” while tracing glowing runes in the air.

2 points


Rani and Queen Sylvia fall off the lounge chair

1 point

Phaedra, who turns into a sentient lounge chair, is angry when Rani sits on her.

1 point

Phaedra the disgraced cop threatens to call the authorities (implied to be other cops)

1 point

The phoenix said, "...never ask a cop for directions!"

1 point

Hardcore constraint:

The first two sentences of the story has a tautogram: ", rundown, ruined. Rani rasped"

2 points

Total: 8 points

AdventureFantasyLoveMysteryShort Story

About the Creator

Sieran Lane

A gay, transgender, nonbinary person (he/him). I'm a bubbly, optimistic person in real life, but my stories tend to be heartbreaking. They have happy endings, though!

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