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?

 

A Fairy Price to Pay

I wandered a year and a day in the wildlands, never meeting another living soul on my travels.

Through the wastelands I journeyed; an unforgiving land that told me those who ventured to be there were closer to the world of Spirit, for I could not see any other merit in it.  I saw evidence of their existence, these strange people, but never once did I see them.

After that I came to the land of water.  Streams, rivers, ditches, ponds, lakes, meres…all manner of watercourses bisected the land.  It was treacherous, travelling through these parts, for it was never completely steady beneath your feet.

When the boggy ground became more firm, I reached the open land between the water and the forest.  It took many days to reach the woodlands edge, but when I did so, what I found disturbed me more than anything I had yet encountered and its discovery would have lasting consequences.

I had been walking beneath the tree canopy, day having started its slow descent into night many hours before, when up ahead I saw the twinkling of lights through the branches.  I was eager to see people, to talk, to have human company, if only for a matter of minutes, so I proceeded recklessly.  My isolation had made me drop my guard.

Brazenly, without caution or fear, I pushed my way through the undergrowth and that’s when I saw them, dancing in circles, laughing and singing as they spun round and round.  I don’t know how long had passed with my just standing there, mouth agape.  I knew what was before me.  A company of the Fair-Folk, making merry in the woods in the moonlight.

I should have moved on, crept away while there was still a chance, but I stood there, motionless, transfixed.

As one they noticed an outsider in their midst.  I knew the penalty of intruding upon the secret rites of the Fair Folk.  I knew what they did to those not invited, who lay their eyes upon their Fairy Rings.

The music stopped.  The lights went out.  An ominous, unnatural silence sprung up in the forest.  I was seized before I could even turn around to run.

In those brief moments, thoughts of my family, my home, my village, filled my mind whilst an ache beyond anything I thought I could bare ripped through my heart.  I knew I would never see any of them again; I would never be allowed to return.  I was going to spend the rest of my days, however many they may be, in the land of the Fey…in a land of magic.

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.