Excavating the Archives: The Legacy Of A Missed Opportunity

This is the first instalment of a three-part drabble serial…

She knew she had done the wrong thing, said the wrong words, but it was too late now.  Such an opportunity would never come her way again.  It was gone.  She had missed her chance.

Her mistake lingered, tormenting her, driving her to return to the woods day after day.  In the dark of the forest, she screamed at the top of her voice.

‘I’m sorry!  Please forgive me!’

She wanted to explain but there was no one there to listen or care.

She was alone now.  The Spirits of the Forest were silent.  The Fae had departed.

You can read part two here.

This was originally posted on this site in September 2015. You can find that post here.

The Evergreen Fairy


Always dressed in forest green

A crown of winter berries upon her head

Around her neck ice pearls shimmer

Through raven hair weaves silver thread

This was written for Day 3 of “The 12 Days of Winter” writing challenge.  See this page here for more details and a list of prompts.

The Legacy of a Missed Opportunity – part 3

the pink forest1To read Part One, click here, or to read Part Two, here.

She looked up to find a small ethereal being standing before her.

‘You’re very sad, aren’t you?’  She nodded.  ‘They are too, only they’re not supposed to let you know.’

‘If you see them, will you please tell them how sorry I am?’

The creature thought for a moment, then held out it’s hand.  ‘I can do better than that.  Come on.’

‘Where are we going?’

It turned to face her, smiling.  ‘I’ll take you to them.  Then you can say sorry yourself.’

‘How can that be?’ she exclaimed.

‘I am a wish-granter, and your wish has been granted.’

The Legacy of a Missed Opportunity – Part Two (a drabble)

the pink forest1

To read Part One click here.

She searched high and low, but when Woodland Spirits didn’t want to be found, they remained invisible.  Her friends had gone and it was all her fault.

Exhausted, she collapsed onto the ground, sobbing uncontrollably.  She didn’t know how to make things right; how to stop this mistake from haunting her.  How could she make it better when she didn’t know what to do?

Tears coursed down her face, falling into the leaf litter.

But magic has its own ways.

‘Crying won’t help, you know,’ a small voice whispered, startling her.

The forest was not as empty as she feared…

To read Part Three click here.

The Legacy of a Missed Opportunity – Part One (a drabble)

the pink forest1

She knew she had done the wrong thing, said the wrong words, but it was too late now.  Such an opportunity would never come her way again.  It was gone.  She had missed her chance.

Her mistake lingered, tormenting her, driving her to return to the woods day after day.  In the dark of the forest, she screamed at the top of her voice.

‘I’m sorry!  Please forgive me!’

She wanted to explain but there was no one there to listen or care.

She was alone now.  The Spirits of the Forest were silent.  The Fae had departed.

To read Part Two click here.

Midsummer Mischief

Inspired by this week’s Monday Inspiration – Midsummer

I walked around the stones that were sticking out of the ground like monstrous teeth.  No one else was about.  Not many people knew this place existed; if they did once, they seem to have forgotten it.  I was alone as I explored the standing stones in the darkness.

It was Midsummer’s Eve, and the moon above was full and bright, bathing both stone and grass in silver light.  As I looked about, I wondered why I came.  It wasn’t to celebrate the solstice or anything like that; I was neither druid nor witch.  I wasn’t a pagan.

Nevertheless, I was here, though I had no reason to be.

I went and sat on the horizontal stone in the centre of the circle.  It looked like it had fallen over eons ago; patches of lichen dappled it’s surface, the moonlight making it stand out in the dark.

The air was warm; I wondered if it would rain.  Of course, I would have gone home by then.  I wasn’t planning on staying long, just long enough to…to what?  Perplexed, I wrinkled my brow and rubbed my temples.  At any rate, I would be home before it rained.  I wouldn’t be here much longer.  A few more minutes, and then I would be on my way…

I awoke to the sound of laughter.  As I opened my eyes, something darted between the menhirs in front of me.  I scrambled backwards in fright, only to fall heavily on to the damp grass beside my stone bed.

How I had managed to fall asleep, out here, on an ancient slab of stone, I couldn’t begin to understand.  I felt so confused.

Slowly, I peered up over the edge of the fallen stone at the centre of the circle, and looked about.  I saw nothing.

‘Of course,’ I said to myself, ‘I had imagined it.  Waking up in a strange, unfamiliar place will do that to you.  Why was I being so silly when I was usually so sensible?’

I smiled satisfactorily at my explanation.  Didn’t I feel foolish, sitting there on the grass, hiding from some imaginary creature behind a huge lump of stone.  I rolled on to my knees, stiff from sleeping on the hard slab of granite, and made to stand when –

‘Ow!’ I exclaimed, rubbing the back of my head furiously.  A small stone lay on the ground by my feet.

Again I looked about, but saw nothing.  But I heard them, laughing in delicate, high-pitched voices.

‘Excuse me!’ I called out, trying to get their attention.  The laughing suddenly stopped.  ‘Excuse me!’ I called again, only louder this time.

But the stone circle remained silent.  I waited for a few moments, wondering what to do.  Then I marched over to the standing stone from which I guessed the last lot of laughing came.  Just as I reached it, two flashes of sparkly light, whooshed past me.

I spun round to see where they went, amazed by what I was seeing.  ‘Come back here!’ I shouted, rather belatedly, but they paid me no heed as they vanished behind one of the stones on the opposite side of the circle.  I tried following them, but when I got too close, they fled to a different stone, laughing as they went.

Eventually, exhausted, I sat back down on the central stone to get my breath back.  What was going on?  My head was spinning as I tried to get a handle on the situation.  The lights flitted past me again, moving back and forth, each time daring to come a little closer to me.  I was beginning to feel quite annoyed, but an idea was beginning to form in my mind.

I took off my cardigan, and judging my aim carefully, I threw it, stopping one of the creatures as they moved across the circle.  The other one continued on, leaving the other one to struggle beneath the weight of the garment, huffing and puffing as it did so.

I approached warily.  When I was close enough, I gathered up the edges of the fabric and scooped the creature up.  I had to hold it at arms length, because it was angrily punching and kicking to try and break free.

‘Stop that at once!’ I said, in the most forceful, school-teacher voice I could muster.

‘Let me out!  Let me out!’ the voice cried from within.

‘No, I won’t.  You threw a stone at my head!’ I exclaimed, cross.  ‘Now.  Where is the other one?’  I said, turning round in a circle slowly.  ‘Why don’t you come over here so we can have a little chat?’

‘No, don’t do it!  Don’t do it!’ the voice from inside the cardigan shouted.

‘Be quiet!’ I snapped.  ‘I am not going to hurt either of you.  I am nice and kind and gentle, and nothing like you two, who were more than happy to throw a sharp stone at the back of my head and laugh about it, knowing that you had hurt me.’

The bundle went limp.  The circle was very quiet.  I let the stillness continue for a few minutes longer, before simply saying, ‘I just want to know what is going on.’

‘Will you let my brother go?’ a quiet voice whispered from behind the central stone.  I could see the sparkly light coming from the other creature as it peered around it’s side.

‘Of course, I will.  But first tell me what is going on.’

‘How do I know I can trust you?’ came the little voice.

‘I give you my word.’

‘How about you let my brother go and then we tell you?’

‘How do I know that you both won’t just disappear into the ether?’

‘You don’t trust us any more than we trust you, it seems.’

‘You threw a stone at my head – I have every right not to trust you.  Now start explaining.’

‘It’s Midsummer’s Eve.’

‘I know.’

‘Then why ask.’

‘I asked for an explanation.  That wasn’t one.’

‘Yes it was.  It’s Midsummer’s Eve.’

‘And?  There must be more to say.’

‘We’re fairies.  It’s Midsummer’s Eve.  There isn’t anything more to say.’

‘Fairies!’ I exclaimed, feeling even more confused.

‘Yes, fairies.  Haven’t you ever seen a fairy before?’

‘Of course, I haven’t.’  I snapped before taking a big deep breath in steady myself.  Fairies.  Fairies.

All of a sudden there was a flash of light.  I fell to the floor, dropping my cardigan and what it contained.  Instinctively, my hands flew in front of my face, to protect my eyes from the brightness.

When I opened them again, I was all alone and the stone circle was silent.  Gingerly touching the back of my head, I felt a rather large bump forming.  Something had happened to me that night, though I wasn’t sure exactly what.  After all, I had taken a knock to the head, and the only explanation I had for it was the mischief of fairies.  Who was going to believe that?


The Glimmering – a piece of flash fiction

The Fae

I didn’t really know I was Fae…well, that’s not exactly true.  What I suppose I mean is that I had never done anything that was particularly Fae.  I had spent the first thirty years of my life living as a normal person, and to be honest I was happy living that way.  If I had had the choice, I would never have found out, but then things never work out the way you intend, do they?

I was twenty-one when I found out about my…strange ancestry.  As soon as the rather uncomfortable words were spoken, I did my best to forget about them.  That meant that I avoided my family as much as I could.  I moved abroad, living in six different countries for almost ten years.

But then I got homesick.  I was more surprised by this than anyone.

On the eve of my thirtieth birthday I landed back in England.  The weather was appalling…naturally.  Drizzle, fog; an impenetrable greyness.  I had missed it all.

I got a taxi from the airport to the train station, and then took the overnight train across country.  Urban landscapes, hardly varying between one place and the next, eventually gave way to the darkness of the country.  Even though I could hardly see out of my window, I knew what was to be found on the other side of the glass…gently rolling hills, circles of stone, ancient forests, mysterious lakes and pools…If I was out there, out in the magic of the natural world, I would see it sparkle in iridescent light, in faery dust.  I was as certain of it as I was that day would follow night.

You see, since the day that my fae background was revealed to me, things had started to change.  The way I see the world and the people in it had started to change.

I tried to sleep, knowing that I had hardly closed my eyes except to blink for the last twenty-four hours, but rest eluded me.  A knot of excitement was growing within me with every second that passed; intricately linked to it was a confidence I had lacked the last time I was in the country of my birth.  I had been a shy, nervous girl, driven to do the unthinkable…runaway from the protection of my close but extensive family.  And now I was home.  Older, wiser, stronger.

I had no idea as to what kind of reception I could expect.  When I had left, for some reason, one I cannot quite recall as I am sitting on the train, I had completely severed all ties.  I had packed my things when no one was looking.  I had a written a note.  Then I had gone.  Looking back I knew it was such a wicked thing to do, but I had done it all the same.

A few hours later, the train pulled in to the station.  I collected the few bags I had brought with me and got off.  Looking up and down the dimly-lit platform, I was surprised by how busy it was.

The cab pulled up where I indicated; close to a break in the forest’s edge.  The driver glanced at me a couple of times, unsure as if this could really be my destination but he didn’t say a word.  I was glad;  I didn’t want to explain anything.

I alighted from the taxi, and walked up the long, narrow path towards the house.  I never really understood why we didn’t have a driveway so that you could drive a car right up to the house, like normal people.  But then I suppose, we were not normal people.

Nothing had changed, I noted.  Sprawling ferns beneath the tree canopy eventually gave way to lavender bushes flanking the path; in between each one, what I assumed to be solar lights, would guide the visitor towards the front door safely in the dark.  The front of the house was a single story cottage, built out of irregular blocks of local grey stone.  However, the rear of the house had been extended and expanded by it seemed an innumerable number of generations.

For a moment, I simply stared at the door.  I hadn’t given much thought as to what I was going to say, as to how I was going to explain such a long and silent absence, and while I stood there, the words I thought would just magically appear in my mind and fall out of my mouth when I saw my family again remained hidden to me.

The excitement in my tummy very quickly turned to nerves and then fear.

Surely they wouldn’t turn me away would they?  I suppose it’s the least I deserve after what I’ve put them through.  I turned away and made to retrace my steps back down the path but my feet wouldn’t move.

If I leave now, without even trying to speak with them I won’t know how they feel, will I?  I turned back again to the door and leaned over to pull the chain that rang the bell, but before I reached it the door swung open.  Standing in the doorway was my sister.

‘Well that took you long enough,’ she said rolling her eyes just like I remembered.  She looked over her shoulder and called out, ‘Ellie’s here.  The Glimmering’s finally kicked in.’  She moved aside to allow me through.

As I crossed the threshold, I noted that nothing had changed inside either.  I turned back to my sister.  ‘Glimmering?  What do you mean glimmering?’

‘Well if you hadn’t run off all crazy and waited for the explanation that followed you would know, wouldn’t you?’  That wasn’t much of an explanation.  After a dramatic pause, she continued.  ‘It’s what makes us…us.  It’s what makes us…special.  It’s the magic.’

‘It’s more than just magic,’ a familiar voice said from the doorway behind me, the one that led to the kitchen.

‘Mum, I’m so sorry,’ I said really quietly, my eyes filling up with tears.

Soon I was in the middle of the biggest, tightest embrace I had could remember.  ‘The Glimmering is who we are.  It’s us, it’s the world, it’s our purpose.  And it’s power is beyond the ken of words.  Only with acceptance and experience will you understand.  You have had long enough to think about what you want.  Are you home for good?’

It was a loaded question.  Concealed within it were other, more important questions.  Do you accept who you are?  Do you accept who we are?  And, do you understand that if you leave again, that’s it?

I took a deep breath.  I wanted my mother to know that I wasn’t making this decision on a whim, a decision I would go back on and regret in a few days.  ‘I am ready.  There is no place I would rather be,’ I whispered.

Midsummer’s Eve

As the sun went down on Midsummer’s Eve, the woodland began to stir in the twilight.

Soon the air was all aglimmer, the tree canopy showing the tell-tale sign of iridescent sparks, announcing to one and all the Fae were abroad.

It was a night for magic…and mischief.