Sample Story from Fables and Fiction

Karma Fairy

A small light appeared in Russell’s bedroom. It sprouted gossamer wings, and arms and legs no thicker than a cooking skewer. “Wake up,” said the small figure.

Russell snored on.

“Wake up!” the flying creature yelled.

Russell opened his eyes. “Wha …”

“That’s better.”

Russell’s eyes widened. “A fairy!” He wasn’t sure if he was more amazed or scared to see such a fantastic sight.

“Not technically, but if that’s the name you want to use, I can live with it.”

Russell got a hold of himself, noting it didn’t sound like a fairy. It sounded more like his father. “What do you want?”

“I’ve came to warn you.”

“About what?”

“All that content you keep downloading is stolen. You know that.” Russell detected a glare in the fairy’s tiny eye.

Russell shrugged. “So? It’s out there, so I grabbed it. No one will even know.”

The magical being narrowed its gaze and folded its arms across its chest. “And that makes it right?”

“No, but no one is hurt.”

“You are.”

“How’s that?”

The small figure zipped around in the air, a spiral of sparkles like pyrotechnics from a firecracker trailing behind for an instant then fading away. The fairy came closer to Russell’s face, staring directly into his right eye. “Stealing generates bad karma. The more you take, the more that comes back to you. The way you’re going, you’ll be robbed blind pretty soon.”

Russell wasn’t impressed by this explanation and grimaced. “Karma is just some new age mumbo-jumbo for those who need an explanation for bad circumstances.”

The fairy spiraled away. “Actually, it’s not. Your karma was normal until you started thieving. The only thing that’s saved you so far is you were born with a boatload of luck. But you’re pissing through that like a bucket of popcorn at the movies.”

“Luck?” Russell narrowed his eyes on the diminutive figure. “Me?”

The fairy gazed sternly at Russell and nodded its head once. “Damn straight.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Well, it’s true and you, my friend, have sacrificed your happiness for material things.”

“What happiness?”

“Well, you know that woman you’ve always wanted to meet? The one who you were meant for?”

Russell gazed intensely at the diminutive figure. “How’d you know about her?”

“I’m a fairy, remember? I know stuff. Now answer my question.”

“Okay, sure,” Russell sighed. “So I’ve always wanted to meet a woman who would care about me and who I could care for. So what?”

“Do you know why you haven’t met her?”

“Sure. I work long hours and have very few friends.”

“And why don’t you have more friends?”

“I don’t know,” Russell said exasperatedly, then he added quickly, “It takes time to make friends with people.”

“Only for some,” noted the fairy. “Of course if you practiced those skills instead of cloistering yourself in your computer room …”

Russell grimaced again. This was no kind of fairy he had ever read about. “Right,” he said in a mocking tone. “And what’s to stop this lady from ignoring me even if I met her and spoke to her?”

“Nothing,” replied the flying figure as it made loops in the air. “Except that she is looking for someone like you. But instead, you’ve been stealing and as a result you’ve lost that opportunity. You could’ve been truly happy and had the family you always wanted but now …”

Russell felt a lump form in his throat. He had to admit he was lonely and he would much prefer the companionship of a woman who cared about him over watching pornography just so he could get the rush and pleasure that came with jerking off.

“But if it’s too late, why tell me? Isn’t the point to let me repent and mend my ways?”

The small creature came to a stop. “Ordinarily, yes.” It shook its head. “But you’ve taken so much; your fate is irreversible.”

Russell felt panic rise in him. There had to be a way to fix this. He was still young; he wasn’t going to let his fate be determined by a few actions that harmed no one. “But some of those downloads are obsolete now. All the early software I downloaded, for instance. I don’t use it anymore; it’s too old. And all the other torrents I downloaded I can delete or buy legal copies of the stuff. Would that clean up my karma?”

The fairy rubbed its chin. “I don’t know. That’s sort of irregular.” The magical creature paused. “Unless you really want to meet this lady.”

Russell swallowed hard. His fear of rejection fought his loneliness and his indignation that the rest of his life would be determined by this little flying elfin being. Finally he said, “Well, sure.” He paused, hesitated, and then added, “I mean, if she really wants to meet me.”

“And you’ll remove all the illegal content you’ve amassed?”

Is that what this was about? Russell wasn’t that stupid. “Only when I’m sure she’s the one.”

The fairy scratched its head. “All right. Deal. But if you don’t delete all the stolen files once you are sure, you really will lose your happiness.”

And with that the fairy flew toward the ceiling in several tight circles and vanished.

Russell awoke an instant later and realized he had been dreaming. That’s what he got for downloading so many cartoons.


Russell drove to work the next morning thinking about his dream and the conversation with the fairy.

He had never intended to steal all the content he had now. He originally planned to use torrents as a way to weed out good stuff he wanted to own from crappy stuff he didn’t. It was like a library in that way. He’d ‘borrow’ some content, see if he liked it, and then buy it if he did. Only it hadn’t worked out that way, partially because he worked long hours, and partially because he was lazy and didn’t like to shop.

Still the situation bothered him; obviously more than he realized if he was having guilt-ridden dreams about it. So he promised himself he would start to make amends tonight.


The media store Russell walked into that night was huge. It sold new and used CDs, DVDs, game cartridges in various sizes and shapes, computer software and accessories for all the latest machines, and mobile devices of every size and description.

The size of the place intimidated Russell a little, and he stood staring up at all the displays in the store entrance.

“Can I help you?” said a voice behind him.

Russell turned and saw a woman dressed in the yellow and red, the media store’s colors. Her name tag read Darlene.

“Uh, yes,” said Russell. “Movies. Which aisle?”

“Movies are in aisles 10 to 15. Anything you looking for in particular?”

“The Princess Bride.”

“You don’t own a copy?” said the woman. “Inconceivable.” She laughed.

Russell laughed too. “No I don’t, and it’s one of my favorite movies. That’s why I want a copy.”

“I understand. It’s a favorite of mine too.”

Russell swallowed hard. He felt his next words form in his mouth even though he had no intention of saying them. But they escaped his lips, nonetheless.

“Perhaps, you’ll help me break my copy in.”

The universe came to a halt. Did he just say that? His eyes darted to the woman’s. She didn’t seem upset or angry. Maybe he had a chance.

She smiled at him and time resumed its normal flow. “I don’t usually go out with strange men. But there’s something about you I like. Okay, but we’re just going to watch the movie.”

“Sure thing. How’s tomorrow night at 7:30?”

“I can do that.”

Russell gave her his address.


They watched the movie and went to dinner the next night, then to a local production of the Importance of Being Earnest the night after that. By the weekend, Russell had rented a hotel room so they could sleep together. He had thought about using his bedroom, but it was a mess. No, a hotel room would be better, at least for the first time.

Darlene was everything Russell could hope for in a woman. She was kind, and patient, and caring. She listened when he talked and asked really good questions. She was pretty, too, with shoulder-length brown hair, brown eyes, and a sweet smile.

Weeks passed and Russell couldn’t imagine his life without her; he barely remembered his life before they had met. He shortened his hours, working the recommended seven hours a day, instead of fourteen, and he spent all his free time with her.

They discussed moving in together and Russell found himself cleaning his apartment and making room for her, clearing out old clothes from the closet and a few bureaus to ensure Darlene would have the space she needed.

With that done, he sat down at his computer again. It seemed like forever since he had used it, but he wasn’t sorry about that. He thought about getting Darlene a computer and of marrying her. His screensaver kicked in and the image of a fairy floated across the screen.

Russell’s eyes widened. He jerked the mouse and his desktop reappeared. He was in love with Darlene, but that had nothing to do with that dream from weeks ago, did it? Did he want to take that chance? Hadn’t this all started when he began to purchase legal copies of the movies he had stolen and save himself from a life of utter loneliness? And now that he was sure that he loved her, wasn’t he obligated to delete all the illegal content that cluttered his network drives?

He tried to reason with himself. The one thing wasn’t related to the other. His dream with the fairy was just that, a dream. Sure it bothered him that he had stolen all the content on his network drives, but that didn’t mean his happiness was at stake. Darlene cared for him and nothing would change that.

Russell wanted to believe that rational explanation but somewhere, deep down, he didn’t; and he didn’t want to take the risk. At the same time, he made no move to delete any of the torrents he had downloaded. He needed to be sure.

But how? He called her cell phone. It rang and rang. No answer.

Russell broke out in a sweat. That didn’t mean anything. She was just on her way there. She couldn’t drive and use her phone. Too risky.

He waited for her to arrive. But she didn’t. Then his phone rang.

“Hello?” he said.

“Hello, this is Detective Jones. I’m using the cell phone of Darlene Higgins; I’m trying to reach a local friend or relative.”

“I’m her boyfriend.”

“I see. Well, can you get down to the hospital? There’s been an accident …”


How Russell made it to the hospital, he didn’t know. He was in a daze. The one joy in his life was on the verge of being yanked away from him after being so lonely for so long. It hardly seemed fair.

Russell waited in the emergency room for the doctor to come out. Then he was talking to the doctor. She had been in a car accident, hit by a drunk driver. She was in a coma from which she might never awaken. The next twenty-four hours were the most critical. He should go home and get some rest.

Russell barely heard the words. He woke up in his bed the following morning. He was confused. How had he gotten here? What was going on? Then the events from the previous night came flooding back and he screamed, voicing the pain he could not in public.

Bitter tears flowed down his face from a place he did not know he possessed. “No! Not her! Anyone but her! Dear God, take me but spare her.” He cried. “Take me.”

There was still a chance, he realized. Immediately, he rushed into the other room and started his computer. It seemed to take forever to load the icons to all of the network drives.

“For you, Darlene.” Russell murmured as he dragged the first network drive to the trash to erase it.


Russell went to visit Darlene as soon as all the illegal content was gone. He found her sitting up, watching TV. The sight brought a smile to his lips.

“You’re alive!”

“You were expecting otherwise?”

“You were in a coma last night when I left. The doctor wasn’t sure you’d wake up.”

“Well, I did.”

“Thank God. I’ve missed you, and when I thought you might be gone forever–”

“Shh,” she said, putting her finger to his lips. “I’m not going anywhere except into our apartment to be with you.”

Russell kissed her hand and her cheek gently. “That’s all I want. Anything else is … inconceivable.”

She smiled and kissed him back.