THE sun is beginning its ascent into the morning sky, breaching the horizon. From the outside, the farmhouse appears idyllic. It is an old structure, from the 1700s. There is a garden, overflowing with fruits and vegetables; a greenhouse that sends a floral perfume wafting into the air; an old well that has yet to run dry. The house appears to be an ordinary piece of history, though remarkably preserved. From a distance, things appear to be still. One might guess that the occupants inside the house have yet to rise for the day. However, the interior of the farmhouse is less idyllic than one might imagine on such a fine morning.
Indoors, everything is red. The faeries are dead, their blood painting the walls, the floors, even the ceiling in some places.
The changeling drags the final faery, Kane Fairchild, into the dining room to join the rest of his family. The changeling heaves the boy’s corpse into the last of the empty chairs around the table. The whole Fairchild clan is present now, waiting for an early breakfast they won’t have the pleasure of tasting.
The faeries stare at each other with glassy eyes—at least, the ones who still have eyes do. The only living soul in the room is the changeling who breathes in the scent of death and magic. Time for an hour or two of sleep now that the tough work is done. Soon a new day will begin; a new day with not a faery in sight. The changeling surveys the dining room, making sure everything is in place. Madam Fairchild’s head lolls forward, dripping dark blood onto her placemat.
As long as the scene appears normal, then everything will be fine. And what’s more normal than a family gathering for breakfast?