Vignette No.19 – Crossed with Silver

Crossed with Silver

Someone should have told their futures early on in life. All in all, it probably wouldn’t have helped, but it would at least have given the world some warning.

Both girls had been anchored with highly respectable names. Muriel had received her first and last inheritance in the form of her formidable and recently deceased maternal grandmother’s name; Victoria, meanwhile, had been chosen by a monarchist godmother for its upstanding royal attributes, in the vague hope they might be contagious. By the time the girls met, however, at the mutual age of nine, they had metamorphosised into Mew and Vixen in the kind of chemical change that is irreversible. All the respectable names in the world would not be enough to prevent their fulfilling their true destinies – which essentially meant becoming the humanoid equivalent of dust devils, if the devils were glitter instead.

Mew was small with an unconvincing halo of ragged black hair and the sort of cheekbones that allow you to get away with anything. She was prone to experimenting with vices but was too flighty to stick with one for more than a couple of months. By the age of nineteen she had already blown through smoking, drugs and alcohol, and had moved on to Tarot. Vixen was comparatively tall, with a lion’s mane of tawny blonde hair and fingers tipped in alternating black and orange nail polish. A flock of blue butterflies were inked along the inside of her left wrist. It had been suggested that Vixen might have ADHD, but her school had just been hopeful really. There was no medication to deal with what she was.

And the school didn’t even know what she was. Even Vixen couldn’t be sure.

She had worked out early on that most people couldn’t see her when she didn’t want to be seen. When she got angry, her nails curled into claws and her teeth went sharp enough to bite through a finger down to the bone. It didn’t seem important to figure out why. It was only after she met Mew and was introduced to the world of superhero comics that she started any serious research. She was hoping for genetic mutation; instead she was redirected into genre fantasy and personal revelation.

Faery, though. It was kind of non-specific. Vixen wanted more.

The silver blood had done crazy things to her family tree, making it hard to trace the root of any of the strange talents that had ended up in her. It was simpler for Mew. Her gifts had come down the maternal line, skipping a generation and branching sideways. She had one aunt who was an investigative journalist who could go anywhere and not get caught, and another who was notoriously good at disappearing in times of crisis. It all made sense if you had the facts. Vixen’s family, though, just had a track record of losing people that went back hundreds of years. Sometimes they turned up again, weirder and worse for wear, and sometimes they didn’t come back at all.

One day Vixen found out why. One day, she was the one who disappeared.

She came back for decent coffee, she told Mew later, and like everything else she said, it was not quite a lie.

© Faith Mudge 2013


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