[Published 04/20/18 in Reader’s Digest ]
Since joining the Contingent about a month ago, I’ve learned more about the supernatural than I ever would have thought possible. I’ve met beings that I thought only existed in bedtime stories, and even the humans here have been through things that seem almost unbelievable. I spend most of my days training or doing research, but I do go on assignment as well, and that’s where the real craziness happens. In my very first assignment as a member of the Contingent, I was sent to a Faerie realm, which was full of some of the most bizarre and fascinating people I’ve ever met. I was able to catch up with two of them later for an exclusive interview.
For purposes of confidentiality, let’s call my new friends Mr. and Mrs. X. As I made my way down the main street of the Faerie market where they live and work, their house loomed above most of the stalls and small shops in the area. It’s an old but sturdy Victorian building, complete with a tower running up the side of it. Little creatures called pips, which Mr. and Mrs. X make with their magic, run all over the market, but tend to congregate around the house. A lot of people aren’t big fans of the pips, but one of them helped me out of a tough spot, so I consider them friends.
I was brought inside and sat down at an elaborate table. Since Mr. and Mrs. X run their store out of the house, every room was full of curiosities beyond comprehension. Trinkets and jewelry littered every surface, but the real treasures available at the Faerie market are a little harder to pin down. Mr. and Mrs. X trade not only in physical objects, but also in dreams, memories, and emotions. The physical manifestations of these goods can be found on shelves, side tables- just about anywhere in the house.
Mr. and Mrs. X offered me a cup of tea, but I had to refuse- I’m not brave enough yet to try eating Faerie food. I can say that it smelled amazing, though. After we were all settled at the table, we got down to business. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:
What’s your favorite thing about working at the market?
Mr. X: The guests, of course!
Mrs. X: Customers, dear.
Mr. X: Yes, yes, the customers, that’s what I mean. We’ve met so many interesting people. Why, just recently there was that- that-
Mrs. X: Yes, so exotic, with all those-
Mr. X: And those limbs!
Mrs: X: Absolutely fascinating, weren’t they?
Mr: X: oh, yes. We just love guests.
What are some of the craziest things that have happened to you here?
Mr. X: Well, there was that one time…
Mrs: X: Should we even tell her?
Mr. X: Oh, I think we must! You see, we had just picked up a very interesting item…
Mrs. X: And somebody tried to steal it!
Mr. X: Can you imagine?
What did the thief do?
Mr. X: well, he came into the house.
Mrs. X: quite overstayed his welcome, too!
Mr. X: Oh yes, just milled about, wouldn’t buy anything or take any tea.
Mrs. X: It was such a display, he quite embarrassed himself.
Mr. X: Well, he waited around until we had another engagement-
Mrs. X: and then he just picks up the item and walks away with it! Can you imagine?
Mr. X: it’s a lucky thing for him our pips caught him before [the person who supervises the market] did.
Mrs. X: We were quite kind, really.
Mr. X: And made quite a profit.
Mrs. X: Of course, [the supervisor] knows what he did. She chewed him up and spit him out, alright!
Mr. X: he won’t be coming back here.
Stealing is a huge offense at the Faerie market, so big that anyone who’s caught doing it is stripped of their name and all their memories. I asked what was so valuable that somebody would take that risk, but Mr. and Mrs. X weren’t telling. In fact, there was a lot they didn’t want to share with me. I tried to find out if they knew anything about last year’s events in New Orleans- apparently the Fae helped the Contingent then in fighting some kind of demon- but they wouldn’t say a word about it. I’m still determined to find out all I can about that day- stay tuned, dear readers!
Although I left with unanswered questions, I still had a pretty incredible afternoon with Mr. and Mrs. X. Joining the Contingent has opened my eyes to a lot of crazy things, both exciting and terrifying. I would say that making friends like these makes the whole ordeal worthwhile.
Meredith Cohn is a freelance journalist, a cat lover, and a demon hunter. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.