Short story preview: Fairies at Fisherman’s Wharf


I’ve just finished the sequel to my short story, “A Troll Under Golden Gate Bridge.” When I wrote that story over ten years ago, it was just a fun little idea in my head, putting the old troll under the bridge story into a modern day light. I didn’t realize at the time, however, how my character, Cathy Pembroke, was a perfect candidate for a short story series. The short story was published in Once Upon a Time magazine, and for several years I forgot about it.

Until the Kindle and ebooks. Short story series and serial fiction are making a comeback, hearkening back to the old pulp fiction days. I rediscovered the story and have begun to add to it, and now I’ve finished the second story in the series, ‘Fairies At Fisherman’s Wharf.” I’ll still first send it around the magazine circuit first, but after that, I plan to publish it on ebook as well. I plan right now to do seven short stories in the series and eventually put them together in an anthology.

Cathy Pembroke is a sassy, no-nonsense sort of gal.  She was a traffic cop for the Oakland police department until something incredible happened. With all the rainforests being cut down, all the deforestation, the boundaries between our Earth and Fae began to weaken. Ancient “Father” trees were cut down, and gates began to open, letting in all kinds of fantastic creatures.  Now they are causing a problem in our modern world, with goblins and trolls and sea serpents showing up near major U.S. cities. Cathy, with her background in martial arts and her fiery spirit, was moved over into the new “Fae Enforcement” division, and began dealing with the calls. Her faithful partner, Robert Tucker, with his own little skills of pyrotechnics, fights by her side. The stories are fast-paced, funny, and very tongue-in-cheek. I hope readers will enjoy them.

And now, a snippet of “Fairies at Fisherman’s Wharf”:

My name is Cathy Pembroke.  I live in Oakland, California, and I hunt monsters from Fae.

About six months back, I had to fight a troll who had taken over the Golden Gate Bridge, and afterwards, it took me nearly a week to find my trusty sword along the shoreline, and then an additional two weeks for me to clean the rust from it.  The city of San Francisco was safe, however, and my partner Robert Tucker and I managed to earn an award or two from the mayor of San Francisco and the governor of California. Cathy Pembroke, slayer of trolls.  Who would have thought it?

Our division was starting to wind down a little from the initial flurry of activity when the gates to Faerie had opened up.  Sure, there was still the occasional mermaid sighting in the Bay or goblins trying to knock up the local Seven Eleven, but at least there hadn’t been any dragons or other large destructive creatures plaguing the city recently.  I’d almost started to relax.

Bad idea, of course.

So I had an eight year old niece who totally loved puppets.  The best puppet store in the entire San Francisco area was the one on Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, right by the Crystal shop and Lefty’s shop for left handed. Of course, no trip to Fisherman’s Wharf was complete without a stop by the sourdough bread place.  And the saltwater taffy at Baron’s Candy store.

So I found myself a cute raccoon puppet for her–everybody likes raccoons, right? Well not my father, but that was a different story. But I found my niece a gift, and I bought myself some sugary goodness. I was standing on the ocean side of the pier, watching the sea lions (not seals, as my niece told me) sunbathing on wooden platforms, when something buzzed my ear.

It was a fairy.

I’d heard of them–there had been swarms of them down in Anaheim a few months back, swarming some of the local attractions.  They seemed to like “It’s a Small World” in particular, for the park had been forced to shut that down for a while. But we hadn’t had any up north, quite possibly due to the cold foggy spring.  It was summer now, however.  Apparently they liked nice weather.

Another fairy landed on my shopping bag, bending over to look inside. It was a pretty little thing–sort of asexual and petite, like a little child, only three or four inches tall, with dragonfly wings and pink hair.  Who knew the toy companies had it right? As I stood there admiring it, the fairy reached in and grabbed something.

A piece of my taffy.

“Hey!” I shouted, grabbing for the tiny thing, but the fairy took flight, making a beeline for the rooftop.  I could see a little cloud of other fairies there, a little glimmering cloud of pastel colors.  They converged on the fairy who had accosted me, and soon it was a scramble between them, all trying to grab the sugary goodness. It was tangerine. My favorite.

At first I thought that would be the end of it.  I would have to make a report to the local FCPA–Fairy Creature Protection Agency–but they would probably just send a couple guys over to relocate the fairies to some less inhabited area. Fairies weren’t bad creatures, after all.  Just mainly a nuisance.

Unfortunately I had no idea how much of a nuisance they could be.

One fairy with thick black hair succeeded in stealing away the taffy and flew off with it somewhere out of sight. I could suddenly feel several pairs of tiny eyes looking at me. That couldn’t be good.

I turned around, thinking that perhaps I could just quietly slip away, maybe duck inside a shop where I could call for help.  The buzzing sound behind me told me that perhaps I needed to move a bit faster.

Did I ever mention that I hate wasps?

I began running, but I hadn’t even reached the archway separating the pier area from the main shopping when over twenty tiny hands began pulling at my shopping bag, trying to rip it out of my grasp.

“Hey now!” I yelled at them, but they paid me no mind, their little dragonfly wings beating furiously.  More and more fairies were joining the swarm, and I found out that a lot of little wings can produce some pretty decent lift.  I was already standing on tip toe, just barely hanging onto the bag.  But I wasn’t letting go.  My niece’s present was in there as well.

Apparently, however, fairies weren’t the most considerate of creatures. They kept pulling, I kept pulling and finally my fingers just couldn’t grip the plastic any more. With a cry, I lost my grip, and nearly fell backwards into the harbor. As it was, I scraped my knee.  And my pride.

To my chagrin, the fairies carried my shopping back up to the roof over Neptune’s Restaurant to where I presumed they had begun creating their nest.  Hive. Whatever you call a fairy abode.

That puppet was expensive.  Not to mention the taffy.  There was no way I was going to let a bunch of Tinkerbells make off with my hard-shopped items.

(to be continued).

The next Cathy Pembroke I’ll be working on will be “Ogres on Alkatraz Island”. Come check out the first short story over at Amazon!

A Troll Under Golden Gate Bridge

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