Writing Group: The Fairy Ring (PRIVATE)

Hello, Thumbelinas and Honored Guests!

I hope you have put on your well ironed shirt, sated your hunger beforehand, and got an emergency frying pan handy, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

The Fairy Ring

Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

In the dark forest lies a ring of pale mushrooms, hidden by shadows and low grown bushes. It spreads its roots deeper and deeper until it reaches a place beyond ours. 

Cradled in the warmth of home and hearth lies a small babe, fast asleep and lost in sweet dreams. Out from the forest comes a shadow, smelling of wet soil and rot. It slides in the window and before even the parents notice, the child is gone, replaced with a screaming and squirming fake, never to be seen again.

Flickering colors, a sensation of falling. Finally you are back; it has been years since you lost yourself in the woods and stepped inside that circle. You can’t wait to get back to your village, tearing through the underbrush in a straight line for the woodland’s edge. But as you throw yourself into the open…there is no sleepy fisher’s village. Instead you see yourself face to face with gleaming pillars of glass and steel. The air is filled with the roar of distant beasts and the once great forest seems to be not much more than a crop of a dozen trees. Gods, you should have taken the Queen’s offer, heeded her warning!

Finally, the ring is in your possession. You’ve worked hard to obtain it from the Fairy Court. So why isn’t it opening when you say the spell? Could it be that you’ve been tricked? Well, two can play the trickery game. 

You peer over the bushes to see their unholy ritual. You thought it was a tale to scare children, but you see the witches dancing with their devilish master, cackling as they go. The earth they tread won’t be the same tomorrow. 

Order now! and receive your Sporebag tomorrow! FaeCourt Inc. offers the newest and most environmentally friendly trash disposal service this side of the Appalachians! Simply spread the spores in a circle on damp soil or mulch and keep cool for a fortnight. Once the FairyCircle™ has sprouted, place the provided bin in the middle. Getting rid of trash has never been that easy! It’s oooout of this WORLD! Ironbarriers sold separately. Incaseofsideeffectsconsultyourlocalfairygodmother.

So don’t step foot inside the circle, my dear, lest you want to feast at the Queen’s table tonight.

—Kaylie, Paul, and Felicia

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least five stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
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  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    7. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    8. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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10 months ago

When Emotions Escape
by Lunabear (TW/CW: violence, blood)

Sam threw her best moves at Victor, but he dodged or blocked each one. She grunted out her frustration.

Victor was cool under pressure, not sweating a drop while she could fill buckets.

They separated and came to a standstill across the backyard. She hated his stupid smirk.

“You’re cheating!”

“I’m not. I’m better at sparring than you. Your moves are predictable, and you let your emotions rule your logic.”

As if to prove his point, Sam rushed him, aiming for the crown of his head.

Victor stopped her momentum flat out by circling her once. He stepped back, allowing black mushrooms to sprout, forming a glittered, translucent guard around her. He stuck out his tongue.

Sam struck the barrier with all of her might, but it didn’t budge. She screamed and huffed and grunted. Nothing.

“You ALWAYS lose, Sam. Just give up.”

Sam sat cross legged, focusing her emotions and magic inward. From her depths shot a jazz tune that manifested as a red hammer.

Victor’s circle shivered with each hit. One final strike brought it down but only momentarily. It was enough for Sam to escape, however. She blew a raspberry.

His eyes narrowed, and he clenched his jaw. “Break free of THESE,” he seethed. Victor sped toward Sam, creating circles and barriers along the way.

Sam’s hammer disintegrated when Victor got close. She flattened herself on the ground as Victor jumped. She backflipped into a stand and tripped over a rock. She fell against one of the rings. It sent a small electronic pulse up and down her arm.

Sam held back her yelp, but couldn’t keep the tears at bay.

Victor doubled over in laughter. “It’s not a SHOCK that you’re the weaker fighter, Sam.”

Embarrassment and anger sent fire to Sam’s cheeks. She cried harder.

“S–st–st–sto–stop laughing, Victor! It’s not funny!”

Victor laughed even more.

On a snarl, Sam conjured a ball filled with a loud orchestra. She split it down the middle then closed it over his head.

When Victor screamed, she removed it. Blood leaked from his eyes and ears.

“MOMMY!” Sam screeched.

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
10 months ago

Ring of Magic
by Jesse Fisher

Mother warned me that mushrooms would be the death of the family. As a child I believed it to the point of not wanting to even see one of them. This was to the point that people thought I was allergic to them. That did not help on the days when it would have been everyone’s favorite item.


I hated pizza day, everyone enjoyed it and yet the bane was there.


The worst case was some of those that would try to make me eat one for a dare or just to be cruel. As time went on it did not get better, it caused me to go farther from my classmates. Then a field trip happened that would be the reason my mother worried.


The rain had just ended the night before, and we had a hike up on a forest trail. Our destination was the top of the small mountain for either a picnic or a natural science thing. It was meant to be flexible just in case stuff went sideways.

Trust me at the time that phrasing would have seemed like something out of a two bit short story.

On the way up someone pointed out a group of mushrooms in a circle, I moved to be as far away from it as possible. Then the mud under me gave way and by some happenstance I landed in the middle of the dang thing and passed out.

When I woke up I saw that this was not the forest or the mountain I was climbing with my class. It was too bright and far too…would vomit inducing be a good word for it? I mean the colors looked like something out of a tv show.

I would come to learn that that fall might have just put me in a worse place than school, and I’m starting to question if this is not just hell.


[Dm me on discord for details!]

Last edited 10 months ago by Tale Foundry
11 months ago

The Ring of the Forsaken (The Will) [CW: Torture, both physical and mental]
By Skeleton

Psychological warfare was something the Sufferer was used to. He had been bombarded, day after day, year after year with insults, cries of indignation, and tearful begging. He had heard everything his victims wanted him to hear, and he still withstood the pain. He had been stabbed, shot, burned, drowned, flayed, whipped, and even forced to swallow burning coals. He withstood the pain.

But the Ring of the Forsaken was something he could not withstand.

He had been warned by those who would wish him safe travels to stay away if he had a guilty conscience. He had been told that spirits—neither good nor evil—lived in the fog that filled the dead lake bed. He understood that they would make him see what he had done. He had prepared himself for their ire.

But the Ring of the Forsaken was something he could not predict.

He had expected to see the mountains of bodies left in his wake—the indignation of the dead, but he found something much worse. He found figures in the mist—figures that waited for him to approach before revealing themselves to be the faces in his hopeful memories. They all asked the same question: Why?

It continued, step after step, mile after mile as they kept asking. Why? Why? Why?

“Why did you leave, Eymir?”

No. It was impossible. Zaila had grown into a strong leader—he had seen it—even felt the wrath of her blade. The fledgling was gone.

“Did you leave because of me?” She was in tears. “Do you not love me anymore?”

The apparition was not alone in her tears as the Sufferer felt the bladed words streak across his heart. He fell to his knees, unable to bear the weight of his desire to tell her the truth, phantom or no.

“And what about me?” came the voice of his wife. “Do you still love me, Eymir? Did I fail you?”

His nails dug into his scalp as he tried to block the words from entering his ears, but they had infected his mind itself.

He could do nothing now, but scream.

11 months ago

Heed Your Warnings
by Gerrit (Rattus)

Her parents had repeatedly warned her about the danger of approaching circles of flowers and fungus deep in the woods. It was where fae creatures liked to play, and they didn’t take too kindly to unwelcome guests. But to Letitia Crowe, prospective danger wasn’t a threat.

It was encouragement.

She smoothed her dress, and hoped her parents wouldn’t come looking for her too soon.

The moment she stepped foot within the ring, she could feel it. The air had changed somehow. The wind was sweeter, the ground friendlier. Lights twinkled into being above the caps, took on human forms as giggles permeated the air.

Letitia smiled. They were real. And they were friendly.

“Will you dance with us?” one asked.

“We’ve been hoping for a new dance partner,” another added.

Her smile widened as she began to twirl in place, swinging and swaying amidst the lights that hovered around her. The childish laughter continued, Letitia’s own joining in the melody. They were real, and she couldn’t be happier.


The circle had widened since last she saw it. New caps had sprouted up, widening the perimeter to nearly twice the size it had been. A couple decades would do that, she supposed.

Stars twinkled in the fresh night, the sun having only just disappeared behind the horizon. Letitia took a moment to adjust the cloak around her shoulders. It had been too long. She wondered if they would be happy to see her again.

She stepped inside, and everything was just as she remembered it. Lights twinkled above the caps. Giggles floated in on the waning breeze.

The lights coalesced into near-humanoid forms, tiny little things with shimmering skin and butterfly wings. One opened its mouth, began to speak, no doubt asking if she would like to dance with them. Then they locked eyes, and the excitement faded from the sprite’s faces.

“It’s you.”

“Happy to see you again, as well,” Letitia responded, smirking.

“You’ve been forbidden from interacting with the fae.”

“Now, now. Is that any way to treat an old friend?”

11 months ago

Some Sidhe Business
written by Exce, edited by Skeleton prime

“Do you think this is a good idea….?” Katharina leaned against a gnarled willow, giving her sister a dubious look.

Dagma meanwhile seemed considerably less concerned, fixing a set of iron shackles to her wrists and ankles which lacked any chains.
“Ah, come on Kath— in and out in just a few minutes! I’m decked out in iron and positively dripping with magic.” The older Lohwall rolled her eyes.

“That still doesn’t mean you will be safe. This thing,” she gestures at the ring of white mushrooms “has been here for a decade without anyone checking it.”

“Which is what I am doing!” Dagma retorted, reaching for the chain dangling from the willow to fix it around her belt.

“Without waiting or even consulting mother? Dagma I really think this is a bad idea.”

Dagma checked over her outfit one last time, making sure there was nothing that could get snagged or grabbed, finally fixing a washed out baseball cap over her shaggy crop of hair.“You think everything is a bad idea. Being the heir must be quite the drain…keep a hand on those chains, yeah?”

Not giving her older sister another opportunity to object, Dagma stepped forward, hands clasping the chain like a mountaineer about to descend.

To Katharina, it seemed like the world blinked. One moment her sister stood in the circle, the next, the chain pulled taught. The remaining visible half blazing with blue St. Elmo’s fire whilst seemingly ending a foot above the ground.

There was a faint smell of burned ozone, and the older sister pressed her hand underneath her nose as she tried not to gag whilst looking on in fascinated horror.

As commanded, Katharina took hold of the end of the chain even though it seemed solidly wrapped around the trunk anyway.

It was only a few minutes, then there was a gust of warm air and Dagma swayed back inside the circle.
The hat was gone and her clothing seemed a bit ruffled.

Katharina dropped the chain, stepping closer with a raised eyebrow.
“So, had a fun ‘adventure’?”

Dagma only grinned.

Lee Strangely
Lee Strangely
11 months ago

This is Bad, this is Fairy Bad (Amory)
by Lee Strangely

Inside the circle of mushrooms and twig creations that jutted from the ground, the black book shook under the pale moonlight. The grass beneath it yellowed and withered as it resisted her spell.

The Grimoire had remained shut to Amory. Unfortunately, the previous owner sealed it with a lock both ingenious and horrible. The book was forcibly bound by fairies neither living nor dead, cannibalized and cast in iron bindings. They protected the book with no relent, for as long as their bodies remained there.

It takes great power to make such a thing, and even greater power to break it. Though it flows through some creatures better than others, magic radiates from all things living or deceased. For reasons yet to be fully understood, it is particular prevalent amongst the dead.

Amory’s strength gradually weakened as she concentrated on the book while still defending herself. The fairies flew like bolts of unfathomable light through the air, hissing at her with fury.

“You shouldn’t have come here witch!”

“You trespass on hallowed ground!”

“And you bring that abomination too!”

“You defile this place!”

A constant barrage of lightning surrounding her. So bright, so hot, so painful. Each pass they made burned her skin on contact.

“Cease your spells and leave now!”

Amory could barely rattle off any shots with her wand, seldom hitting anything. Once again, she returned her attention to opening the Grimoire; a shrill noise had begun to emanate from it. Amory wasn’t sure as to whether it was the shrieking of fairies bound centuries ago, or the pressure of their buckling iron bindings.

Despite her charred skin and the aches of her tiring body, there was a fire burning in her eyes; brighter than any lightning bolt. It grew along with her smile as she watched the lock begin to curl, as the Grimoire slowly bared itself to her.

11 months ago

Fairy Night
by vellichorian

Three boys crept toward a glade deep in the forest. The closer they got, they noticed more and more evidence of the festivities that their sisters and cousins and neighbors had been whispering about for days. A pair of shoes. A cloak. A picnic basket holding only crumbs.

“I’m tired,” the smallest boy whined.

“Then go back,” the largest answered.


“I’m not leaving.” The middle brother shook his head.

“Why do we care what a bunch of boring girls are doing?” the youngest challenged.
“Because they shouldn’t keep secrets?” the middle one suggested. His brothers nodded.

They were about an infield’s length away from the clearing when a strong evening breeze replaced the scents of pine needles and damp earth with roses, lilies, and strawberries. The boys tiptoed through the lengthening shadows.

They peeked between a gap in the trees and saw all the girls from their village skipping rope in an intricate synchronized pattern. “In the circle, out the circle, one, two, three,” the girls wove their paths around a circle of mushrooms and flowers on the ground. “If I sing the song, she will come for me,” they swung their ropes in the air. “Over, under, turn around, two, three, four,” ropes crisscrossed into loops, and even the youngest, who couldn’t tie her own shoes, jumped through.

The smallest boy gawked. Seated on a large, red-speckled toadstool at the center of the circle was a tiny woman with butterfly wings. The air sparkled when she laughed. He tugged on his brother’s sleeve, but the older boy was winding up to throw a stone.

The rock zipped by the head of a tall, pretty girl just as the song finished, “If you make me cry, she will come for YOU!” From the center of the circle, a shadow rose. It grew larger and larger, extending clawlike hands toward the boys. They dropped their rocks, turned, and ran, branches reaching grabbing at them as they passed. An inhuman voice trilled, “Any boy who follows, intending to be cruel, he must pay the piper, because he is a fool!”

11 months ago

Therapy’s Expensive, Rituals are Free (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

A cold February afternoon was just as bad a time as any to summon the fey. It was always a bad time to summon the fey, but Roselyn was running out of options.

With a flick of her wand, she set the circle of powdered mushrooms and lavender oil ablaze. The flames turned pink and began to spiral. Then, in a flash, she had a guest.

“Well, hello there!” the fey said with a smirk. Their voice was smoother than silk, and Roselyn had to steady herself under their charmed gaze.

“I wish to speak with you,” Roselyn replied evenly.

“Fascinating! And what’s your name, dearie?”

“Alex,” Roselyn replied. Even if this was a bad idea, that didn’t mean she hadn’t come prepared.

The fey scoffed. “Obviously fake, again! I haven’t stolen a name in a thousand years! When will the mortals get stupid again—so! What’s a pretty lady like you summoning a fey for?”

Roselyn’s voice was as cold as the air around her. “I have made many mistakes. I’ve treated my friends poorly for selfish reasons. I am aware that the fey can alter personalities. That service is of interest to me.”

“Oooh, now we’re talking!” Another charmed gaze and smile. “You want some changes made?”

“I demand you state ALL conditions and charges immediately.”

“Oh, come on!” The fey pouted dramatically. “Fine. I’ll take anything you don’t want. Aggressiveness, obsessiveness, you name it. All I’d want in return is… how ‘bout two strands of hair?”

Roselyn took a deep breath. “How do I know you won’t take too much of my old self away?”

“From what I’ve gathered, you don’t want it. Right?”

… Right?

Did she still want anything? Her controlling behavior? No. Her tendency towards harsh judgements? No. Her memories? ….Kinda. Her sense of humor? Kinda.

Her… self?

Was she really ready to let that go?

“No,” Roselyn stated. “Sorry to waste your time.”

She broke the ring with her boot as the fey screamed in protest seconds before vanishing in pink flame.

Roselyn sighed and hung her head as she walked back home.

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
11 months ago

A Dance Of Pink And Grey (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

“Oh my goodness, aren’t you a lovely sight this dusk?” Louise crooned, crouching next to a ring of mushrooms.

Meanwhile, I was resting against a nearby tree, trying to maintain my balance on wobbly legs. “Well, I suppose they look…neat?”

Louise looks over to me, her eyes widening with a new idea. “We should dance here! It’s the perfect time AND the perfect place for it, my dear Nyx!”

“…Wait!” I look towards the mushroom ring again, a hint of fear in my voice. “I’ve actually heard of this…Louise, you know so much more about the Fey than I do. Aren’t things like this – aren’t they dangerous?”

Louise looked confused. Then she burst into a tittering laugh. “Oh my dear, this isn;t dangerous at all!” She replied, gesturing towards the mushrooms. “What you were thinking of was probably a Faerie Ring. But this is just a Fairy Ring!”

“…You just said the same thing twice?”

Louise squinted in noncomprehension. “No I did not! And look here,” she gestures, and an image of a mushroom forms. “If they look like this…” She changes the image to show a variety of different fungi. “Then you know it’s a Fairy Ring. But if they look like this,” she says, showing…seemingly the exact same set of mushrooms again? “Then it’s a Faerie Ring – and if you step inside one, you will probably fall into the Feylands and never return, so it’s important to know the difference!”

She’s…never wrong about this stuff. Almost never. I trust her.

“Okay, so that is a Fairy Ring, not a…Fairy…Ring? Good to know. But…” I step forward a little, and my leg of boiled bones and wood and twine sinks a little into the earth. “I’ve barely got the hang of walking again. I’m not going to be any good at dancing.”

Louise’s expression softens, and she walks back over to me, taking my hands in hers. “Don’t worry, my dear. We can go as slow as you need to go. The moon won’t mind.”

I smile softly back at her. “Okay then. How should we start?”

11 months ago

Something’s Not Right Here
By Marx

As she entered, the first thing Matt noticed, even before her wings, were her luminescent, green eyes, only broken up by her black irises. They were as beautiful as they were disturbing. That said, he DID notice her wings.

“You’re a fairy.”

“Corrrrrrectionnnnn,” She sang with a grin. “I’m a Fae. Big difference.”


“Of course,” Her grin widened. “You’re familiar with a fairy’s shadow, correct?”

Matt’s eyes narrowed. “One almost tortured me to death.”

“Exactly! But instead of denying or purging our shadow like a ‘good’ fairy, Fae choose to… embrace our darkness. Merge with it.”

“Huh… I’d assume the fairies don’t take too kindly to that.”

The Fae cackled loudly. “And you’d assume quite correctly. All Fae are immediately banished. We must not corrupt the populace with our untrustworthiness. They have no use for us.

“Until… the fairies need someone expendable to talk to a being who scares them shitless. Then we’re QUITE useful.”

This caught Matt’s attention. “The fairies are scared of me?”

“You’re the horseman of Death. Everyone is scared of you.” Before Matt could retort, she continued, “That said, one of our own did try to kill you. And now you’re mobilizing this army…”

Matt rolled his eyes. “Only to stop all these demons.”

“And what do you define as a demon?” she asked, coyly batting her lashes at him. “Who would you still see as an enemy after you’re done with them? These are the questions that can make a people rather desperate, don’t you think?”

Matt pinched the bridge of his nose with a sigh. “I have no quarrel with the fairies.”

“Excellent! Then I, on behalf of the other Fae, offer our services to you. Along with this.”

What appeared to be a simple silver ring was placed between them. But upon closer inspection, it changed color the more you looked at it.

“It’s a ring of royalty. It symbolizes your new alliance with the fairies.”

Matt glared down at the seemingly innocent gesture. “Yeah… I’m going to need more information before I accept that.”

The Fae smiled back. “Ask me anything.”

11 months ago

The Fairy Circle

The dance was the best experience of Ava’s life. The folk music festival occasionally had pick up dances, but the music from this one was unreal. Part The Devil Down To Georgia, part waltz, part wild freedom from inhibition. Maybe that was the drugs, but it wasn’t just Ava. Dancers jigged solo, twisted in pairs and lined up in groups of three or five.

She didn’t know many of them. A young man with a mature air reached to her and she took his hand. She danced with him, with a girl she knew, with anyone who would until the piper could pipe no more and fiddler’s fingers looked bloody. It was like love, free and open. The time slipped away from her.

The predawn sky was darker as she left. Panting, she rushed home to avoid being caught out. She was 17, but her parents didn’t understand, so she was sneaking out to music festivals instead of marching with Dr. King.

The window she left through was still unlocked. It slid noisier, she thought, but the sun would be up soon and she couldn’t afford to get caught so she stumbled in, hurried to hide her entrance and slipped into bed.

Someone was in her bed.

“The hell?” She asked.

The person turned to her, a girl her age, eyes black, hair akimbo, and screamed.

Ava fell hard out of bed, screaming as well. Someone pounded down the hall and threw the door open. It slammed into Ava’s head and she cried out. The other girl was still screaming. Large hands grabbed her.

“Who the hell are y—… Ava? Ava, where have you been?”

She knew him, Mike, her little brother, old now. It was strange, the other girl looked like a mirror of Ava, but with fiery hair that looked to burn in the sunlight.

But it was Ava who turned to ash. She saw her shoes go first, touched by the first rays of dawn.

“It’s been forty years. Ava, are you okay?”

Then her toes. She felt the tremor in her bones and screamed, “I’m sorry.”

11 months ago

A Desire to Give
By MysteryElement

Elsie screamed after me as I ran, my dinner left-overs wrapped safely under my arm. She was mad again. She usually only got mad when Father was late, but today she was just in a foul mood. I escaped over the hill, she never chased me that far, and ran to my copse to enjoy some solace.

Sitting on the dew-covered grass I savored my stolen prize, a piece of torn bread with a scraping of precious butter and some day-old bits of chicken, saving the best of it for later. The sun felt warm in contrast to the cool grass beneath me and the wind sighed melodically through the tree branches, rustling leaves winking in the evening light, it was refreshing and calm. This was my favorite spot in the world.

As expected, I noticed a trail of mushrooms nearby, snowcaps all in a neat row curving into a full circle. These circles had been appearing more often lately, and I always saw one when I visited the copse. Father said it’s where the fairies met, but I had never seen any.

As usual, I took the best of my left-overs and took them to the circle’s center, tenderly placing them on the grass. I had never seen a fairy, but the food I placed in the circles always disappeared. Surely, that meant something, and I figured a fairy might like something to eat as much as I do.

As the sky darkened I knew it was time for my reluctant return, and no amount of dread would stall the waning sunlight. I gathered my courage, shook the grass off of my skirt, and returned home sullenly.

From a high limb, a gnarly creature looked down on the girl’s departure. His beard fell long past his diminutive height, and he smoked a comically large pipe which was as old and gnarled as he was.

“Sweet child,” he muttered to himself, his voice gruff and old as oak, “when will you finally make your wish?”

He blew a few ponderous smoke rings, taking his time before his eventual descent into the ring below.