Into the Enchanted Forest


bluelady

You’ve lost yourself in a daydream again.

The paths of your wondering have led to the greenest forest you’ve ever seen – even colors appear bolder in this place. There is a breeze but it’s not unpleasant; branches are thick, yet you don’t fear what you will find here.

You’ve been walking for quite a while before you notice them – little lights in the bushes. They’re like fireflies, hiding when you squint to get a better look. Though fleeting, they’re impossible to ignore once you’ve spotted them, much like magic or love.

You ponder: is this what it would be like if the stars tumbled down to float among trees? They may be closer, but they’re no easier to touch. Instinct whispers that they will vanish if you try disturbing them.

Not wanting to scare off the magic, you continue on your way. Flashing a little smile, you wander deeper into this enchanted forest, planning to get lost in more daydreams from now on.

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The Enchantment of Spring


Inspired by this photo on Pinterest!


It was a pleasant, bright afternoon. Not a trace of frost remained from the colder months, and the world was coming back to life. In the village, children played, singing songs and shouting. Windows were flung open so that laughter could be heard, sounds of joy because beauty had returned.

In the village, no one thought of how the forest had reacted to the awakening of spring. Flowers sprouted and trees reassumed their vibrant green hues; animals came out of hiding, yawning and stretching underneath a cloudless turquoise sky.

Nor could the villagers see a young girl wandering alone through the bushes. She was alone, but did not feel lonely; she was not sullen, but full of joy. Laughing, she twirled in a graceful pirouette, feeling wind tousle her hair.

Another giggle escaped her as she let her arms dangle mid-twirl, feeling alive as the wind kissed her face. At last the winter frost had gone! Already, she could feel her magic waking from its slumber.

Around her trailed the springtime magic, winding around her with each pirouette, ribbons of purple smoke. Her magic had gone to sleep during the months in which snow dominated; oh, how she’d missed these outside games, the freedom of open fields.

The young girl stopped dancing, pleasantly dizzy, and flopped down onto the grass. All around her, purple flickered—different shades, bold to her eye—slowly vanishing into the air.

She closed her eyes, listening to the birdsong. Spring only lasted a few weeks, and seemed to be shorter each time it came around; she would make the best of it this year. She would leave magic wherever she went, until her time for slumber came around once more.

The Blue Lady, Part II


bluelady

The wind appeared to whisper words as Lady Evelyn walked up a familiar cobblestone road. Her destination was in sight, the home where she’d grown up. Light spilled through one of the windows; she remembered it had been the parlor where her father used to sit and read.

It had been years since she came here, but she could not bring herself to feel more than deja vu. Little excited her these days. Hopefully in this familiar place, she would find puzzles to pass the time.

It was a handsome house with red shutters. Two rocking chairs sat abandoned on a frosty deck. Though candles had been placed on the windowsills in form of protection, she was not a dark entity to be scared off by superstition.

She slipped through the door with no great effort and looked up at a familiar crystal chandelier; to her right, a winding staircase inched to the second floor. Her feet made no sound as she made her way to her father’s parlor.

Inside, two people spoke in quiet voices. The first was a child. “What a cold night, Grandfather.”

“I know, Abigail.” There was a sigh. “The fire should warm you soon enough.”

Evelyn peered into the parlor, where the fireplace had indeed been lit. She saw by its glow that two armchairs had been occupied, one by a girl of eight or nine. Across from her, a feeble old man hugged himself against the draft.

There was sadness in their eyes. It was strong enough to shock a ghost.

Her wandering eyes stopped on a portrait hanging over the mantle. It was a painting of herself at the age of sixteen, three years before she breathed her last. She’d been in the forest for so long that her own face startled her.

In the painting her dark hair was braided, woven into the same style she wore now. Her blue eyes peered from the depths of the painting, an uncanny likeness. She wore a blue dress much like the one she’d been buried in.

Abigail spoke, voice oddly hushed. “It always feels like that painting is watching me, Grandfather.”

Evelyn wondered if her presence could be sensed by the living in this house.

“Souls often haunt objects. It lets them catch a glimpse of the living.”

“Will you tell me how she died?” asked the girl.

“It’s a grim story, dear.”

“I’m old enough.”

There was a long pause, and he sighed. “Very well. I don’t like how your mother protects you from everything.” He looked into the fire for a moment, reminiscing. Then he clasped his hands and began.

“Eighty years ago, the city was struck by a plague.”

To Be Continued…

The Hopelessness of a Firefly


moon

Crickets sang in chorus, a merry song dancing around like freedom. Fireflies drifted from bush to bush, their light bringing sparkle to the hollow. They couldn’t outshine the moon, a familiar face in the sky; some believed it saw and knew all.

In the light of the moon, I caught a firefly in a my glass jar, closing the lid before it could get away. Sometimes I doubted folklore’s claim that the moon saw everything. If it could see everything, it was cruel—or powerless to change fate.

After all, it was silent as it watched me trap a firefly in my jar. It could not, or would not do a thing to keep me from stealing the small creature’s freedom. I knew it would not save me from the small things that bothered me throughout the day.

I made my way home in silence, my back turned to the moon. It was not all-knowing or powerful, just another light by which I could see the injustice of the world. Just to be safe, I kept a firefly with me every night.

There should always be light near.

The Looking-Glass, Part III


The traveler returned on his own a day later, his nephew nowhere to be seen. He closed the distance between them, watching her with bored acceptance. “Fine, then,” he said. “We made a deal. Where’s the looking-glass?”

The faery didn’t reply immediately, puzzled. She’d grown accustomed to superstitious villagers seeking her out for her ability. This man’s lack of interest was almost offensive. She eyed him suspiciously for several heartbeats.

“I sent the boy to find you,” she said, stalling. “Where is he?”

“Oh, him? He can’t find his own head,” came the nonchalant reply.

“I sent him on a specific mission to find you. I should track him down.” Once I finish my business with you, she added silently.

As if he had heard her thoughts, he asked, “Why does it matter whether you see my fortune or not? I’m one person.”

“You’re not special, if that’s what you’re asking,” she said irritably. “Your fortune is probably gray and dull. The only reason I need to read yours is because you made me agree to a deal—that I would wait here for a week and then you would look into the mirror.”

“Is that it?” asked the traveler, looking surprised. “You can’t find a loophole? I thought the Fae were oathbreakers.”

Ignoring that remark, she continued. “I’ve never yet broken a promise, trivial as it may be. Until I finish my business with you, I cannot leave this spot on the road.”

“I see,” he said, putting his hands in his pockets. The faery didn’t like his thoughtful expression as he continued. “Out of curiosity, what would happen if I walked home now? Would you be forced to wait another week?”

The looking-glass faery clenched her fists, resolving never to make a deal again. If someone refused to look at their reflection, she would not agree for them to return. It wasn’t worth the trouble of hunting them down.

“And what would happen if you broke a promise?” he continued, ignoring her glare. “Would you lose your wings—or worse, your looking-glass? Why is it so important for you to be honest about giving away bad fortunes?”

She ignored his questions, holding out the looking-glass, hoping it would hide the desperation on her face. “Aren’t you a little bit curious about what you’ll see? It could answer a question about your future. It could settle a mystery from your past. It may open exciting new doors, or close dreadful old ones. Take a look, and tell me what you see.”

He peered at her for several seconds, with an expression she could not trust. She held her breath, prepared to fight him if he tried to walk away again. It was a great surprise when he looked into his reflection without arguing any more.

The faery waited, heart pounding. She could finally get off this road and go somewhere else. She would never come back.

The traveler cleared his throat and said, “I see you.”

To Be Continued…

The Looking-Glass, Part II


Read the first part here!


In the week that followed that deal, curiously few pedestrians passed on the looking-glass faery’s dirt road. She sat on a fallen log, waiting for someone to do business with; all she got was a chill and a cranky temper.

It was evening on the seventh day when the bored traveler returned, deep in conversation with a younger man who accompanied him. The faery stood and waited for them to meet her. She’d been thinking about his fortune for days now, and was determined to read it.

When the traveler spotted her, he rolled his eyes. “Still here, I see.”

“We made a deal,” the faery retorted, “and I’ve been waiting for a week. Now I will see your fortune.” She held out the looking-glass.

“Sitting here for a whole week?” he asked, glancing at the young man, who smirked. “Don’t you have somewhere to go?”

The faery spoke through gritted teeth, glaring at him. “Take—it!”

He laughed. “She swears she’s going to tell me a truth that’ll disturb me,” he told his companion, “if I just look at my reflection.”

“Oh, really?” The young man looked curiously at the glass. “Does it have to be disturbing?”

“That depends on the sort of person you are,” said the faery. “Do you want your fortune told, too?”

He took the looking-glass and peered into his reflection. “Why would you pass up the chance to have your fortune told, Uncle?”

“I was in a hurry. Do you see anything?” the traveler asked his nephew, who had the expression of wonder worn by other regular mortals. It was enough to calm the faery’s temper; she didn’t like thinking that somehow she’d lost her ability to charm.

But his reply was surprising. “No, nothing special.”

The faery narrowed her eyes at him. No one looked into that reflection without seeing something unusual; perhaps the two had made some sort of pact to drive her insane. “Have you taken in all the details?” she asked.

“I have. Should I recite some kind of spell?”

She took the looking-glass and wiped its surface with a sleeve, doubtful that it would help much. “Clear your mind and take a look at the reflection until something appears to surprise you.”

He did, staring at it with a look of comical concentration. Rubbing away goosebumps from the chill, she waited, anxious to get it over with and hand the mirror to his uncle. They still had a deal to carry out.

“I swear I don’t see anything,” he said, after several heartbeats. “Do you, Uncle?” Looking up, he frowned. “Where did he go?”

Oh, I should have known. Clenching her fists, the faery turned and peered down the road, but the man she made a deal with was nowhere to be seen. He’d seized the opportunity to escape while she was distracted.

“Go find him,” she told the baffled young man, “and tell him to come back, or I will trap you in the glass so you can see what’s in it!”

He shoved the object back at her, pale with fright. At least one person still took her seriously. “No need for threats—I’ll go find him. Uncle? Uncle!” She listened to his footsteps as he thundered down the road, shouting at the top of his voice.

The faery kicked away a pebble and sat on the log once more, blood boiling. She would read that traveler’s future, if it was the last thing she ever did. She would not be fooled again.

To Be Continued…

The Looking-Glass, Part I


Prose was inspired by this photo on Pinterest!


“Fancy a glimpse into truth?” the faery asked. She smirked mischievously, holding a looking-glass to the face of a weary traveler. He’d wandered onto her favorite dirt road on the way out of the city.

He crossed his arms, watching her with an expression not of surprise or fear, but annoyance. “They warned me I’d run into you here. They even placed bets on it.”

“Well, you should’ve taken a different road, then.”

“I’m not afraid of the truth.”

Another smirk. “That’s what they all say.”

“They also said you won’t let me continue on my journey unless I look into that mirror.”

“That is not true,” she said, twirling a lock of her red hair with her free hand. She searched his face for the unease that was usually present when she spoke to a mortal, to no avail; he only looked at her like a pest to be rid of. “You can refuse the truth, but the choice will lurk in your memory forever.”

“Will this mirror tell me anything I want?” he asked.

She shook her head. “It will tell you what you most need to hear.”

“Then can I come back later? On my journey back, perhaps.”

The faery dropped her lock of hair, caught completely off-guard. “Well…”

“I’ll even swear on it, if it makes you feel better. I’ll be back in a week.”

She lowered the mirror, eyebrows knit in a frown. “One week, then. Though I’m sure there’s something you need to hear right now.”

“No, thank you. I don’t want to be late.”

With a polite nod farewell, he shouldered his pack, continuing on his way. Baffled, the faery sat down to wait, wondering if she’d negotiated herself into a poor deal. No one had asked to put off a reading before.

To Be Continued…

The Faery’s Birthday Gift


There was a long line of frustrated people outside of the movie theater. Rain thumped on colorful umbrellas, for those who cared to pack them. A few had come without umbrellas and were forced to wait in the rain.

The weather was so unpredictable nowadays that it was hard to tell when an umbrella was needed. The day had been dry and miserable an hour before, sunlight bearing down on the town square where shoppers tried to get Christmas shopping done. Now it was wet and miserable; it seemed that misery was the only constant around here, and they couldn’t even escape reality at a movie theater anymore.

“We should have gone to the theater inside the mall,” muttered Natasha, holding the yellow umbrella up over herself and her sister. Being the tallest had its disadvantages.

“You were the one pushing for the cheap theater,” Jane said, hugging herself.

Natasha wrinkled her nose as the rainfall intensified. “It’s your turn to hold this.” She handed Jane the umbrella.

“Why? It’s for my birthday.”

“But I drove. It’s going to be so wet in the theater. Maybe we should just get lunch somewhere.”

Jane crossed her arms. “Two days ago, you said we were going to see—”

“I know what I said. It’s not smart to make plans these days.” Natasha hoped it wouldn’t start thundering.

The world had gone mad, ever since those buildings fell from the sky. It hadn’t even been here in Virginia; the strange phenomenon was in Florida, but seemed to have shattered every ounce of logic. The weather was so unpredictable, it seemed to be a person with real emotions. Anger came in the form of hot sun, sadness as pouring rain; she and her sister hadn’t had a real outing for months, but Jane made a special request for her birthday. The only two theaters still available within their timeframe were here and at the mall; they had to escape home while both their parents were at work.

Jane would have to understand a change of plans for the sake of safety—right?

Natasha eyed the movie posters, crossing her arms as she tried to work out the best decision. It was pushing luck to stand in line for more than five minutes anymore. People said that strange things happened when you were out in the open for too long.

She took a deep breath and began, “How about we get some ice cream—”

But Jane cut her off. “Did you see that?” she cried, craning her neck.

Natasha looked with puzzlement at her sister’s wide eyes. “See what? There are umbrellas everywhere!”

“I thought I saw a puff of smoke.”

She swallowed, turning away. Her friends told stories of strange, colorful smoke appearing just before chaos. Tales filled the halls at school of curses and illusions striking those who stood out in the open, just like they were doing now. “I’m sure it’s nothing,” she said, feigning confidence. “Like I was saying, I have a coupon for ice cream at the place down the road.”

The moment she finished speaking, there was a blur of pink before her very eyes, causing her to blink—smoke like her sister had described, and everyone at school who told stories. People stumbled away, proving to her dismay that she had not imagined it.

From inside that blur of pink smoke, she heard a spine-chilling giggle. An echoing female voice said, “Ice cream sounds lovely.”

Jane’s grip on the umbrella wavered. “Tasha?” she asked in a small voice tainted with fear.

Above them, lightning flashed. In the flash of light that came with it, Natasha saw a willowy blonde woman appear before her very eyes, wearing a flowing pink dress matching the smoke she’d appeared with.

“Surely you’ll invite me to ice cream,” said the woman, peering at them with steely blue eyes. “It’s your birthday, you say?”

Speechless, Jane could only stare at her.

“Everyone deserves a gift for their birthday!” the blonde woman cried, grinning. “How would you like a real escape? Not just a visit to a wet movie theater.”

“Jane,” Natasha said in a low voice, “run.”

Her sister did not seem to hear, or perhaps she couldn’t remember how to move her legs. She stood clinging to the umbrella, staring at the tall creature with horror.

“Of course she doesn’t want to run away from a present. Who would? Now, you two look like you’d enjoy the woods…or perhaps the beach? Maybe you’ll enjoy both!”

“No, don’t!” Natasha cried, but they were already being engulfed in a blinding pink fog. She waved it away, coughing, and reached for her sister but could not feel her anywhere. The sounds of rain and even the woman’s laughter faded, and she was falling, falling, falling through pink clouds.

She passed out just before hitting the ground.