For Lyn’s prompt, “He woke up in fairy-town and everything went downhill from there.”
They thought he was ungrateful, the fairies that stole him away from his hum-drum country and his hum-drum life. He’d wanted to be a model, hadn’t he? He’d wanted fame, hadn’t he? He’d wanted to be adored, hadn’t he? He’d wanted love, hadn’t he? They loved him. They wanted him. They wanted to devour him.
He did not want to be devoured, and for that he was called ill-mannered. He was ungracious, honest, scared. They were monstrous, beautiful, weird. They had the antlers of deer and the ears of beasts and beauty to match his.
Ungrateful, he took no lovers, made grudging friends, always aware that he was not their kin and not their countryman.
Ungrateful, he plotted escape from the fairies, plotted going home, to his tiny home and his tiny life, where he could sit for portraits and dream of greater things, dream shining dreams.
Years passed by, and his friends grew less flattering of his stubbornness and his bravery. They grew impatient with his sadness, and the lingering longings for his home, and the gruff way the guards deposited him at their doorstep after an escape attempt. Some, the less kind ones, grew impatient with him for not choosing them as his lover.
Then he escaped, while his hair was still black and his skin still barely lined with age, his shoulders still strong and broad, and his heart still hopeful. He traveled according to stolen maps and plans, and he found his home.
He found that his home was ten years dead, destroyed in a battle between fairy armies, and himself the only survivor, waking with no memories of the burning and the devastation, for they had given him hope.
They had been very kind. They had been very cruel.
When he went back to his new home, he could not find it, for the fairies veiled their hidden delights in spells and shadows. He was alone, ungrateful, unhopeful. He did not weep.
For his virtues or for his follies, he was done weeping for what was lost.
Oof. Well-done, and sad. Poignant.
Tempted to do a followup where the entire story is someone snuggling him and telling him not to overthink things so hard.