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
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
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.
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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!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
- 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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What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- 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.
- 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).
- One submission per participant.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
- Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
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- 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.
- 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).
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- 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.
Welcome to the show
He was stumped. A clumsy circle of small, perfectly white mushrooms generated quite a sight. The air danced behind their little caps like a heat mirage, almost seeming to flap in the wind like a curtain. This alone wouldn’t have managed to keep the traveler engaged for long, but when the air peeled open to tease the inside of a red and white striped tent the mirage, he couldn’t help but be curious
As he walked around and examined the column of heated air, he pursued the brief openings with fervor. With each rip and tear came the muffled pandemonium and fanfare of some garbled circus. Trumpets blasted with cannons, breaking past an ocean of laughter and cheer. The sounds that slipped through the rips to reach the travelers ears fillied his brain with demented and tantalizing melodies. As the gashes grew in number and size, more of his senses became entranced.
He felt the warmth of a home, he smelled the festivity spilling through, and he could almost feel the crowds packed in the stands, their foreign laughter echoing in him.
And as curiosity grew into temptation, the shifting air became inviting. Tales of children lost to these mushrooms slipped from memory, replaced with misguided comfort. Why the traveler was in this forest he remembered not, and what little he cared for this world faded to the back of his mind as he took one step into the realm of fae. And only one step it took to be too late to turn around.
With his foot now firmly on the dirt floor of a circus tent, deafened by the roar of beings that looked so similar yet so alien, he felt the familiar world he grew up in leave him behind.
He was trapped.
Over the soaring music and bombastic flourishes was a muffled radio voice, and as it continued he felt the thousands of eyes from the captive audience turn to face the new attraction, with the ringmaster behind a megaphone say the last words the once traveler would ever understand,
“Welcome to the show.”
Engraved perfect lines spiraled like a coil around the squeezed fat of a finger. The spiraling loop met the cliff’s triangle shape of the front of the ring and ended and bloomed into a flower full of green gems. A peculiar face stood out from the middle of the shining peddles that maw gaped into a dark chasm. The eyes were tiny slits but had a remarkable presence when you compared them to the rest of the stone-gray face.
I looked up to Xio, almost forgetting to dissipate my dazed face, and gave a genuine enough smile and said, “This is a great gift Xio, the patterns are so ornate and intricate– where did you find such a thing? It doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen!”
“That’s why I got you this ring in the first place,” Xiao said, “you would be bored to death with anything less exotic as this.”
I instinctually smile at the supposed joke, but as my mind flickers back, he couldn’t have been more right, but something like this? I had mixed feelings.
“So where did you get it?” I asked.
Xiao gave a few moments thought before choosing his following words, and said with a smile “From the woodlands.”
My heart beat out of my chest in a staggering throb that put me on the floor. A wheezing gasp for air– but nothing could replenish my corpse on the cold windy floor. Besides my gasps for air nothing stirred around me, and I felt colder as the light at the end of the tunnel was growing brighter.
“Help me…” I spat out, but Xio’s feet did not react, as if he didn’t hear me. I craned my neck up desperately and said again with all my energy “Help m…”, but with a thin smile showing bare all his teeth stood triumphantly above me– not one word needed to be said. His face disappeared in shining light, and my head dove into the cobble.
Let It All Out
Saia cast a spell of wild grass and mountain air. The refreshments and decor were perfect for her guests.
All three arrived simultaneously. Jenovah stepped from a multicolored lightning strike. Rhodesia rode the wind. Rita’s pink Cadillac pulled into the driveway.
Saia happily greeted them all and welcomed them inside.
Rita snagged some fruit and water before occupying a love seat.
Jenovah declined refreshments and sat on a settee sofa. One of his legs crossed the other.
Rhodesia plucked up a water and lounged across a leather armchair opposite Rita.
Saia settled on a cushioned piano bench across from Jenovah, completing their circle.
“Jenovah, we start with you.”
He sighed heavily. “I didn’t practice magic this week. My cousin’s absence is too tangible. I still have hope, but it’s dwindling. It’s been 25 years; what if she’s never found?” His head hung.
The women bowed their heads and silently prayed to The Oracle, the fairy deity, for a safe return.
“Thank you,” Jenovah whispered.
“I’m next,” Rita stated, finishing her fruit. “Joel is distant again. He gets so deep into his head that it scares me. I feel helpless.”
Jenovah patted Rita’s back. Saia and Rhodesia offered encouragements.
Rhodesia swallowed hard. “Adyin’s coming for me. I know he’s imprisoned, but he’s powerful and spiteful. He’ll find me; I know it.” She hid her face, ashamed, and tears slipped under her hands.
Jenovah stood and gave her a tissue. Rita rushed over and folded Rhodesia in a hug.
“We’ll protect you, Desi. If he escapes custody, he pays,” Saia promised vehemently.
All three looked at Saia, shocked. She wasn’t a fighter, let alone violent.
“Thank you.” Rhodesia sniffled then wiped her eyes. “I’m so–”
“Ah, ah. No apologies here, remember? It’s safe,” Saia insisted.
Saia fiddled with her locket. “I know I shouldn’t speak ill of him, but Alcazar is making simple mistakes. He’s under pressure, and I believe he should take a small break.” She breathed easier.
They all agreed that their boss, and friend, was working too hard.
Nine chimes ended their session. Saia bade them farewell.
The Fairy Circle
“Come on, they’re just old stories,”
I pulled my arm free from my youngest brother. He was crying because I had decided to take a different path home. A path that led deep into the forest but would overall shorten the time it took. The issue for him wasn’t that we were going into the forest, it was the stories mom would tell us about creatures that lived in the forest.
“I’m telling you, Randy, they’re nothing but stories,”
Randolph once again grabbed my hand. I let out a sigh. If it kept him quiet and walking, then I’d let him hold it. But it was still annoying having him hold my hand. Given that he was almost seven, and shouldn’t still be believing those silly stories.
That was when Randolph froze. I looked back to see why he had stopped and saw him staring off into the distance. Annoyed, I pulled my arm free once more and continued to walk. He was the one crying to leave, yet now he wasn’t moving a muscle.
“My brother calls me Randy,”
I spun around quickly, seeing my brother speaking to nothing. Frowning, I walked closer, wondering who he was speaking with. I was nervous, as my brother had gone from a crying mess to all smiles. Yet as far as I could see, nothing had changed.
“Who are you speaking with?”
“You have to come into the circle to see them,”
I looked at the ground to see a small ring of mushrooms. Something about them made me feel uneasy. Shaking the feeling away, I took another step forward. Yet before I entered the circle I stopped. Something wasn’t right, and everything in me was telling me to grab my brother and run.
Yet I didn’t. Instead, I stepped into the circle, joining my brother. Only it was no longer him. It was something else. It had already taken my brother, and now it had me as well. And all I could hear as the world went dark were mom’s old stories.
The TINK in Hotel Room 107
By Matthew R. Wright
The rings around the bathtub indicated that the body had been there for some time. The soap scum and fecal matter mixed-water had evaporated at various stages from the intense heat of the apartment’s bathroom, like rings around a tree. Door-locked from the inside, they’d died alone. White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane had been blasting at top volume from a portable radio, the dying batteries had pushed the song into this twisted state, where the voices and words sounded more like demonic prayer than popular music.
The body, early hundreds and typically fair-skinned, was almost completely dry and near-brown in hue. Predictably bloated, it had entered its fourth day dead; by-product of internal decomposition. That being said, faeries had a way of remaining ethereal, beyond beautiful even in the worst of states.
It was the ninth TINK found dead in as many days. Always alone, always laying on their back, their mouths coated with blood, foam, and SWEET DUST, Instantly recognizable by its lemon scent and golden glitter-like powder. Another overdose.
Horns and wings were missing, surgically removed. The work was amateur, done on the cheap. Trolls and other pathetic wingless creatures created the demand, their high value on the black market ensured TINKS would harvest them to keep up their habit.
White marks around the fingers suggest missing jewellery, possibly pawned.
Discolored wide eyes with that distant stare. Victim was unaware they were dying, maybe didn’t care. Motive for drug-use a blur between the whispers on the streets and the propaganda peddled on the evening news. Countless HAD immigrated here after the collapse of their economy. Many struggled to integrate due to cultural differences. Too many became victims of hate crimes, physical and sexual assaults, made into mules by the cartels, no wonder most turned to the dust.
This won’t be the last Faery I find like this, there’ll be more. That sweet-scent, their death. Faeries are beautiful creatures, should never be made to do what they do to survive.
Dust or no dust, Faeries just want to fly.
The human ring
Ibil was looking at the small package with a blank stare. It was small, even sitting on the tiny fairy’s palm. Carefully, he took the package and opened it, expecting some fairy magic unknown to him.
There was no magic, the ring stayed tiny, even too small for Ibil’s little finger.
“What is this?”
“A ring as ordered” Apró, the smith answered, going over the whole process in her mind, trying to figure out where she made a mistake. She wasn’t sure with the size, which is why she included a split in the ring, allowing for easy adjustments. Also, female fingers were known to be thinner, which she included, also. As well as an intricate pattern of elven scrip, a poem wishing the wearer fortune and wisdom.
“It’s too small” the human said in a defeated voice. “it won’t fit my girlfriend. She’s human, like me. ”
Desperate for a quick solution to satisfy her client, Apró looked around the balcony. Her look fell on a pile of discarded rods, meant to pierce human earlobes. They were made of reinforced steel, so they wouldn’t tarnish. They were all bent, and therefore unfit for their original purpose. With a bit of work, though…
“Does your girlfriend have a hole in her earlobe?” Apró asked, as she grabbed one of the javelins and bent it to the shape most fitting of her idea.
In awe, Ibil watched the tiny smith create an earring in front of his eyes.
The smith finished the earring by hanging the original ring on the metal stick leaving it hanging low on the intricate loop up front. She added another knot made of metal at the thorn sticking out of the back, finishing the earring.
“It’s beautiful” Keyra exclaimed, turning the jewelry between her fingers. She only slowed down to inspect the intricate forms adorning the original ring. Then she hung the earring in her ear and grabbed the baffled Ibil in a bear hug, stronger and more energetic, than she ever did.
“How did you know about my love of Elven poetry?”
A MAGICAL TRIP
By Venji .A
On a shining full moon , hang high above the dark lit path in the wood that we were walking throw, carrying a bag full of magical artefacts.
“Dam’ this is a long road ,we been Here For a hour now” I say frustrated.
“Shut up!” Gradly shouted at me in annoyance.
“Dude I’m bored and tired of walking so dam’ long for what ? Some stupid magic t..trinkits”
Gradly takes the bag and puts his hand in it looking for something and pulls out a brown wooden ring with a blue mushroom on it.
“How about we take a rest” he says.
“Yes ,finally ”
We stop and sit down on two Rock.
“Hey Daved you know what this little trinket can do ?”
I look at him confused “No”
“Okay ,also did you know why people put there wedding ring on ring finger”
“Because a major blood vain that is connected to the finger and heart, so it symbolises love”
“Wait really” I put my hand out looking at the finger ” that’s actually a bit coo…
Gradly then puts the ring on my finger and says “Well you gonna love this trip”
And in that instant I feel like a rocket taking off as I see the world around me change and a tornado of colors fill my vision, I see myself floating in a ocean of chaos, with a rainbow of colour and emotions¿ I see different spirits dancing around like stars and leviathan like sun’s swimming.
And I see something that look like a monster straight from hell “AAAAAAA WHAT THE HELL”
I swim away and see a blue light that engulfs me and I wake up in my body and the ring on the ground and Gradly laughing
“Ahah Holy shit that was hilarious, how you just dropped unconscious”
I pick up the ring and flip the middle finger at Gradly, he does the same to me “oi you can go fuc.. I put the ring on his middle finger and see his eyes turn blue and puples dilate as he falls over.
Til Death do Us Part
It had been said that when the first baby laughed for the first time, that was the beginning of the fey, to ever embody joy and laughter as long as the race continued. But what of when the first two people ever loved and begat the first baby? Such a strong emotion must also begin an equal being of love. And as the first blossoms of love bloomed, so too did they.
She emerged from the grass, glistening and beautiful, and she adorned herself with flowers and vines and sunlight. Her hair was as soft as clouds and her eyes were the color of sunrise.
He was born of night and stone, firm and sturdy in mind, body, and spirit. He had a tricksome countenance that made all who looked upon it feel safe and protected.
Together they knew that they were to love the other without fail and without falter. They would have an easier time of it than many who now tread this path, but even they would have their trials.
She was fickle and kind, far too eager to interact with the world of men for his taste. After all, she was made for him, and he for her. They would tease each other endlessly for this, but all quarrels would be resolved in time, which they had plenty of.
He was cold and callous, wanting to govern their sylvan domain with an iron fist and never acknowledge the humans who were responsible for their creation. This made her want to study the creatures more, and division arose within their household.
They both still ruled together, but she would rule the curious creatures who wanted to play with these strange creatures called men, and he ruled the beings who guarded themselves by ensuring mankind never encroached upon their borders.
As with all true loves, though, they made it work. The ring of flowers in her hair and the ring of stars around his neck still declare their devotion to this day. Her Oberon, his Titania.
Lessons Learned (Content Warning: F Bomb)
By Mango Gravy
The Satyr named Komos paced up and down the warehouse, twirling the axe in his hand. He was surrounded by fae, hands and wings tied up. Their wide eyes followed him as he walked. They were paid to deliver merchandise around the Sidhe. Komos was paid to keep them in line. He smiled as he decided on the best way to impart the day’s lesson.
”Let’s say a few packs of magic mushrooms go missing,” he said to them. “Not much. Not enough to make anyone mad.”
Komos bumped into one of them as he paced.
“So we jot it down and carry on. But the next week it happens again, and a little more is missing.” Komos stepped on another fae’s toes, “Now it’s worth looking into, isn’t it? So we check our warehouses, and everything’s in ship shape. We’re all buddies here, so we don’t start busting our employees’ kneecaps right off the bat. We wait and see how things develop.”
This time Komos knocked a fae over. He gasped mockingly, “And who would’ve thought? Third week in a row, biggest missing stash yet. Doesn’t take a genius to see a trend forming. A little early, maybe, but who knows where this’ll go? One month you lose a few packages and the next… well.”
Komos brought his hoof down on the fae’s knee and the joint popped as he squirmed and screamed into the gag. “Lucky for our loyal customers, the boss is a cautious man. He likes to nip things in the bud. Old Oberon can’t sit back and watch his business take losses.”
Komos turned to address the others, “And lucky for you, Oberon knows he doesn’t have to punish every single wrongdoer to show everyone the consequences of fucking with the Fairy Ring. Call it mercy. Call it efficiency. Call it whatever you like. Just remember that he’d rather not have to do this again.”
Komos hefted his axe, appreciating its weight. “Chin up, kid. Ain’t personal. And besides, who needs a banged up leg when you’ve got wings, eh?”
“Please! S-some…one…” I saw someone sobbing through the trees. I had to help him, even if that meant revealing myself to the enemy.
“Hello?” I inquired.
“Hello!” I spoke firmly this time.
“It doesn’t matter; she’s gone.” He seemed to talk more to himself.
When I found them, all I could do was droop down.
The assumed wife he held in his hands, exhausted and unconscious. The newborn, lying in his lap, had ceased. “I’m… sorry.” After standing awhile in silence, I tried to leave. He grabbed me, begging. ”There has to be a way to get them back!” I was taken aback for a second, then realized I had something from my recent battle with the fairies.
“Do you want this, truly?” I asked. He told me if his daughter died, he would kill me. I put a ring on the daughter.
It was ornate, with a bird face made of carved black stone and a marbled red outline. It glowed intensely at the presence of the dead, grasping the child with its raw strength. It felt like it was sucking the spirit back in.
She sputtered and breathed her first breath. Even though I saved her, it felt unsettling how sound asleep she was.
“Don’t take the ring,” I warned. If he ever took it off, she would be cursed. If I told him that, it struck me that he could end me right there. Luckily, he didn’t ask why. “Thank you,” he said in a hushed tone. My eyes wandered toward the child, who was staring at me with glowing red eyes
Once upon a time..no before time in the great void,the awakening took place.Thru this birth the void gave life to the Elder Gods,the balance,the all ones. From the light came four and from the darkness came four These eight beings all of different shapes and sizes;these holy eight took a piece of their true selves and from that a ring was born.The jewelry itself was nothing special,for the exterior displayed a luring obsidian black,oh how it shines ever so gently.The interior however a language so ancient that not even the king’s head linguist wouldn’t be able to translate.
From the eight who poured their souls into the key of everything and nothing, all meaning of the universe into this beautiful yet plain circular ring.
Vera it’s time for bed. an older nurturing feminine voice called out.
Okay mother I called out,my eyes still glued to my sister’s journal.These stories of great heroes, terrifying creatures, and thousands of unsolved mysteries.The great unknown which has no form,the balance,my sister is in this book.
Vera is your head still in that silly book my mother cried out,annoyed and amused.
No mother I said as my eyes slowly left the tattered pages of the beloved blue book.
Of course no matter how hard I tried,my eyes couldn’t look away, I had to know more , what exactly did my dear sister see. What is the fairy ring, the linchpin that holds this universe together.My eyes studied every detail,the Elder Gods,the true meaning of everything..my eyes studied while my heart raced.
That was it the journal was being taken over by weird symbols.
One of these days I will crack this code.
Good night Sol.
The Ring of the Forsaken (The Will) [CW: Torture, both physical and mental]
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.
six feet under and a whole realm away
“I’ll need you to be real attentive to everything. This is a job for two.”
Those were my mother’s words on these days of preparation. I would be aware and attentive anyway. Learning her craft requires patience, effort and attention. But she was right: I am not here only to learn. This time, she needs my help.
I know it. It has been some time since the bag with her tools hit the soft ground, but the dry sound it made is somehow still echoing in my ears, and the fresh spring aroma has been replaced by that metallic smell that precedes rain – something strange is bound to happen.
“You stay exactly where you are, take off your shoes, and no matter what happens, don’t step inside the circle while barefoot, son.”
I do as instructed, and immediately feel the earth thrumming through my bones. It is a subtle feeling, and I am filled with ominous anticipation.
My mother works her craft – taking some of the mushrooms out, but leaving enough so as to maintain the limits of the circle defined. After what I can only describe as her small respectful rituals, she takes the shovel and starts to dig. Her eyes glance briefly at my eyes before focusing again on the earth.
“It is normal for the vibrations to increase a little when I disturb the soil, but now they should stay somewhat constant. Warn me if anything changes.”
Had I not known better, I’d be surprised with her knowledge of fae issues. But I do know this is not just fae lore.
“There is no death in the Fae Realms. The Fae Realms abhor death. That’s how the sayings go. I don’t know if they are true. But what seems to be true is that there must be no dead in the Fae Realms.”
The newly removed earth is tossed out of the fairy ring, so as not to disturb the liminal space between planes any more than necessary.
“Only explanation as to why they keep burying their dead here. And breaking reality while doing so.”
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.
At The Overpass
By Taja DaLeen
I am mad. Or am I a hatter? Never mind. Who cares? I don’t. The mushrooms won’t, too.
This is nuts. Or is it? I am at a party. I think. At least there’s food. Tasty food. And drink. Various drinks. And people are dancing. Round and round in circles.
Always in circles. Never squares. Or triangles. Or bunnies. Or… what was I talking about? I forgot. Are we underwater? This isn’t air. Or is it? What is this?
What am I?
I forgot. And who cares? I don’t. I only care about the ring. The one I’m wearing. It’s glowing. Pretty. Wasn’t that meant to suppose something? An overpass?
This is fun. Or is it? Everyone’s laughing though. So it is to have fun. Funny laughing. Do I have fun? I think so. At laughing I’m least. Going round in bunnies. I’m not too right sure now. But I think so.
At least my fog isn’t as mindy anymore. Meet someone. I meet to need someone. Even if scramble is brained. The ring. It’s important. That’s what the tell is ringing. I think. Or is it? What ring that be again? I forgot.
I like bees, though.
Something was telling to try me. Cares but who? Do I. Why don’t remember me. I should. Why? Don’t know. Do I?
Glowy ring. This is shiny. Glowy somewhere sending me ring. No, not ring. Someone. Who? What? I…
Suddenly I feel like a chewy toy. One that’s just been let go. Or was it really sudden? Everything’s hazy, I hardly remember anything. Not where I am, how I got here, or why. Not even which day it is.
Or why that weird ring a friend gifted me is glowing. Still glowing? Has it been doing that for a while? Feels like it did…
And I feel like I’m supposed to know this grinning Fae standing before me. Even though I don’t. At least I don’t think so.
“I’ve been waiting for you! You’re finally mine…”
A New superstition
Sasha and Arlo moved steadily along the road leading to Blake’s house. As the cabin came into sight Arlo turned to his companion.
“Who woulda’ thought our explosive Blake would end up in a secluded place like this!”
Sasha shrugged. “Yeah it’s out of character.”
Now standing before the door Arlo raised his hand to knock. Just then, they then became aware of noises from beside the cabin.
“That must be Blake!”
Sasha led the away around the cabin with Arlo close behind. They nearly walked into a distracted Blake.
Sasha gave his friend a hug that was somewhat stiffly reciprocated. Arlo piled on and excitedly joined the embrace. When they stepped back they noticed a change in their friends’ appearance.The most significant of which was that his signature jacket and other clothes were worn inside out. Arlo pondered the strange outfit silently so Sasha continued the exchange.
“Blake! How are you?”
“I’m good! I never would have thought to see you two here together.”
Sasha and Arlo looked toward each other and Sasha responded.
“Yeah? Well, things change.”
Inside the house a thin line of salt decorated the window sills. Arlo carefully stepped over a heap of salt in the doorway which Sasha proceeded to carelessly kick. Hanging above the door hung little iron bells and clumps of St. John’s-wort. Blake sat them down at a table and slid over a glass of water each, sending holly berries that were on top rolling off the edge.
“So why do you two visit now? It’s been a while.”
Sasha per usual took the lead.
“Blake, we’re here to-”
Just then, Arlo interrupted, no longer able to stew in his intense curiosity.
“What is all THIS about?”
Arlo spread his arms out in a quick dramatic motion, indicating all the oddities in the room. Blake looked around blankly.
“Oh you mean the salt and everything?”
With a casual shrug, Blake simply responded,
“I stepped in a mushroom circle. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
One Ring Worn By All
Everybody has worn this ring at some point. This little accessory is more than just a bauble. It’s a disclosure of ones most personal beliefs on whatever is scribed inside the ring. These beliefs do not have to be fully informed of the subject inscribed in the ring. If the wearer knows nothing of it then they will simply not react.
This was useful for elections.
“Peace should be achieved through the elimination of hatred and greed. Through the progression of our sciences and critical minds. That paradise radiates through all of humanity.”
I already hated it. Everyone gave very vague or basic answers, but overall everyone agreed with the statement. But that irritated me.
When it was my turn I felt I didn’t need to wear the ring for what I had to say, but I wore it as proof that it was real.
“The words on this ring are too vague to for us to know what steps to take. A romantic anecdote that’s only value is being romantic. Who are the hateful and greedy to YOU? What is considered hateful and greedy to YOU? What do YOU consider progressive? What is the science YOU follow? What is a critical thought to differing perspectives? What does this paradise look like to a world that fights over who is human?” I took a breath and lamented. “We’ve done this too many times to count. Great civilizations have fallen because of our conflicting perspectives that are influenced by more common factors than just propaganda.” I pulled out a remote. “Which is why I have taken the liberty of ending it all with this magical nuclear device. Dueces!” I pressed the button.
It was quiet.
“Nothing’s happening,” someone said.
“Give it a minute,” I said.
It was still quiet, until an alarm sounded in the distance. Everyone looked at me in horror as I held up my smart scroll and played Curb Your Enthusiasm while still wearing the ring. Say what you want but I was still being honest.
To Boldly Go
By: The Missing Link
“Rosinante, taking off,” I said over the transceiver as my robot launched out into open space. He was good, sleek, responsive, everything a pilot could hope for, and best of all, a beautiful painting of my call sign on the shoulder.
You never get over the sights out on the other edge of the galaxy, the nebulae sprawling across the emptiness in clouds of blue and brown, birthing the stars our grandchildren’s grandchildren would be inspired by, the galaxies spread like tiny specks everywhere the eye could see, but most of all, the massive void in front of me. It was rimmed with a faint light, red and ominous, a vast sheet of nothingness stretched across where stars should be, or rather where they used to be.
“Are you ready?” the young voice of the operator came across the transceiver.
“Yes,” I said as I urged Rosinante forward into the void.
I couldn’t begin to describe the lurch as the event horizon began to pull me in past any hope of escape. Usually people talk about their stomach lurching, not their entire bodies. Of course most people didn’t fly into black holes and live to tell of it. I would be the first… hopefully.
I was sucked into the singularity, dead if not for the Rosinante’s engineering. There was nothing.
And then there was everything.
Spacecraft dashed across the noiseless vacuum as light shown from every angle. I sat there for what felt like hours trying to take it in. It almost seemed like a highway back on Earth.
Eventually my disbelief was met with a curt message across my transceiver, “Idenfi yersef.”
The message repeated. It sounded vaguely like English, but was hardly comprehensible, ‘identify yourself,’ I guessed, “Second Corporal Johnathan Kheel of the United Nations Space Exploration Service.”
The silence went on for what felt like an eternity. I couldn’t contain my shock when the reply arrived in what I interpreted to mean, “Our records indicate you died four hundred years ago.”
I went into shock, sure I would turn to dust if I disembarked the Rosinante.
The Death Count of the Fairy Ring
J. J. Peterson
Many would kill for the ring that I now carry. Many would kill, including me. In a small closet, hidden from anyone who might enter the hallway and see the blood washed carpets and strewn bodies, I catch my breath.
Trembling, I pluck the ring out of my pocket and I slip it on my finger. I feel the foundations of the building begin to shake and the walls start to crack. People start to rush into the hallway and cries of horror shatter the air even further. I hear the boots of security pounding up the stairs, but they’re too late.
The walls around me explode and I am surrounded by a cloud of incredibly tiny fairies. They might be mistaken for dust, but they grab me, strong enough to lift me up. Then there is an incredible roar as the foundations of the building shatter, the building collapses, and billions of fairies shoot up through the rubble to join the cloud around me. Safe at last with my prize, I smile above the billowing dust and strewn rubble bellow.
Hearing a heavy WHOP WHOP WHOP, I turn and see five helicopters coming towards me through the air. Their machine guns burst into fire, but the fairy shields are said to be indestructible. A thousand fairies is all it takes to disassemble the engines, and I watch in pleasure as the burning wrecks of the helicopters tumble downward. A muted bang is all the warning I get. Turning quickly to face downward, I see a cloaked figure holding a gun at me. The bullet seems to be impossibly passing through my cloud of fairies, but then I see them tumbling down like a gentle mist. The fairies twist me out of the way a moment too late, the bullet thuds into my shoulder and as the fairies scatter and I race toward the ground I know another has been killed for this ring, and it has been passed on yet again.
Just a Dumb Prank (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
Lilith loomed over the circle made of stones in front of her. Her arms were folded, her pistols held in her holsters. Even now, she could feel the pulsating magic from it; magic, which had gotten out of control. People had been hurt by this inept construction. And she was here to find out who and why.
A rustling noise made her turn. There were many tells that separated fae from humans, even ones that looked almost indistinguishable. The way they moved, how they held themselves, even the cadence of their voices.
With inhuman speed, she reached into the bushes and pulled out the perpetrator. It took her a moment to realize that the person she’d just pulled out by the scruff of their shirt was a teenager.
“What’re you… let go of me,” he tried to break Lilith’s grip.
“Did you make the circle.”
Did you make the circle?”
“Fine. Yes, I did. It was just a prank, okay? Just a stupid prank.”
“That circle is dangerous,” Lilith glared at him. “It could hurt people. It could attract monsters to it. It is not a prank, it is a danger to everyone, who comes close to it.”
She felt her programming kick in, guiding her arm downwards, without her even noticing.
“We didn’t mean anything by it,” the boy struggled. “I know we did something stupid. We were about to clear it.”
Lilith’s arm moved further, her hand gripping her pistol. Any mortal adult would have just let the boy go and informed his guardians. But she wasn’t a normal mortal. She was a golem, programmed to destroy monsters.
But… this wasn’t right. He was a teenager, who’d acted like an idiot. She tried to stop her arm from pulling out her pistol.
He was not a monster, even if his prank was dangerous. Lilith gritted her teeth, releasing the teen.
The teen fae immediately turned and ran away. It took everything she had to suppress the programming, telling her to pursue.
“You made an almost-human golem, Father. Why is everything still a monster to me?”
Magic Blooms (Chronicles of The Dragon)
Jostica’s Dad walked into the house, calling out, “Hey Sweetie?”
Jostica jumped and stuffed the book she was reading under a throw pillow. “Yes Dad?” she answered.
He stopped and quirked his head at her. “What’cha got there?”
She blushed and pulled a romance novel of arguable appropriateness out from under the pillow and held it up.
He raised his eyebrow and said, “Maybe don’t read that in the living room.”
She nodded her head without saying anything.
“Anyway,” he continued, “Did you see the fairy ring that sprouted in our yard?”
Her eyes went wide. “No.”
Later, while her parents where relaxing after dinner, she went out with one of her books on illusions, and the one of beginner spells she’d been studying earlier.
She sat down beside a ring of mushrooms, wildflowers, and extra tall grass. Flipping the book open to a Detect Magic spell, she muttered, “Let’s see if you’re made of magic or dog piss.”
Casting the spell was slow, and difficult, but she managed it on her first try. She thought the result looked like blowing smoke into a laser trap. That magic, almost like threads, pulling reality into a new form and sparkling like glitter throughout the plants and fungus.
She took a deep breath and let it all out. Now for the hard part.
Or at least the boring part.
She set the spellbook aside and picked up the book on illusions. She flipped to the chapter on how to see through them. It was pretty clear that it was best to be able to start with an illusion you already understood, the rest of it amounted to a shrug and a “if you know you know”.
She closed her eyes and tried to feel the magic, the warping and molding of reality.
She knew it was there. She saw how it worked. She just needed to…feel it. To recognize it’s presence.
She opened her eyes to see a fluttering thing before her. Like an amorphous butterfly.
“Hey there,” she spoke without realizing.
“What’re you looking at?” her Mom asked.
for her this thing was familiar and at the same time it wasnt, for starters, the thing was made out of copper, with the electronics made out of funguses and lots of ring-shaped fae rune nonsense.
Daniela knew that going to the fae section of the city would be a pain in the neck, but she didn’t know it was going to be this troublesome, don’t get her wrong she respected the fae like anybody else but their artifacts were for what she was taught; fickle to fix.
the copper? she could get a replacement quickly, the Magic? with some guides, she could get it in time, but the fungus? oh! the fungus was an issue here because it was apparent that a vital fungal part of this strange version of an iron-free phone, was apparently discontinued a long time ago.
also, the Goblin that left it here to fix only gave her the instruction manual that was badly traduced on top of that, the Goblin looked like he was late for something and left without explaining everything to her properly.
however, in spite of this issue, she tried to do his work as a magitech repairwoman as best she could, googling the rest of the instructions helped her a lot, to understand this weird fungal abomination and find a replacement mushroom equivalent that could help her with this, but went she went to implant the dam thing the phone moved and then punched her in the face.
Daniela needed to wrestle the living mushroom phone down while being delicate as possible of course, as she put the phone in a cage she searched for why this thing was alive punching her all of the sudden.
turns out it was an anti-thievery enchantment that she accidentally set it off….great, luckily with a quick application of magic, and restraining holds (the phone was temperamental after all)
she managed to turn off the charm and put the finishing touches on the machine.
all the while Daniela hoped this craziness was worth the pay.
by Iosef Paramonov
The purple sun sprouted legs and lumbered away. A blackbird fluttered backwards onto a smiling rock. It opened its beak and began to sing rainbows through the waltzing wood. Chad’s face was plastered with an idiotic grin.
Man, those mushrooms were great!
As the lemon-scented colours and shimmering sounds washed over Chad, a pink spot poked out of the psychedelic sea. It hovered there as the whirling music of the the wood faded. Soon, a fluffy white beard grew around the pink spot, while above a red hat sprouted up like an upside-down ice cream cone.
An angry gnome glared menacingly at him.
Chad giggled. “Hey, you’re a gnome!” he said.
The furious fey pointed a stubby finger at him. “You!” he spat, “You. Ate. My. House!”
Chad looked behind him. A ring of chewed fungal stumps were spread in a circle at the centre of the forest floor.
“Oops!” he blurted out, “Sorry!”
There was a rustling in the grass. A second gnome popped out next to the first, identical in every way save for having a blue hat.
“You also ate my house!” he snarled.
More rustling. Another fluffy-bearded gnome. This one had a pink hat and longer eyelashes.
“And mine!” she hissed.
Chad gulped. The mushrooms’ effects had worn off now, and in his post-hallucinogenic clarity, he sensed that this was a bad situation. As he slowly sat up, he saw a throng of multi-coloured hats spread out over the forest floor, each accompanied by a fluffy white beard and an expression that could melt steel. Pitchforks and torches poked out of the outraged crowd.
The red-hatted gnome took a deep breath, and yelled, “GET HIM!”
Chad’s memory of what happened after was all a blur. All he remembered was that after blazing through the tangled bushes and boughs of the wood, he reached a main road, sprang into the back of a passing truck, leapt out at the nearest port, stowed away in the cargo hold of a ship, sailed to Japan, and became a monk. He never touched magic mushrooms again!
Codeword: Fungus (Nora’s Tale)
By Tamela Redfin
What was I to do? I sent many innocent cyphas and even his own clones to a death march. And then I’d have to tell my mother. Oh and my sister Mally. I was cursed since birth.
“Hey, you’re gonna be okay.” I turned to Glenn standing there.
“How? Augen is sending an army to attack Grey Rose and I helped him. And taught him about poison. Oh Glenn…”
“That’s Feldspar. He lies. He tricks us. But I know an escape.” Glenn nodded. “I’ll show you because you seem to be immune.”
“Immune to what?” I asked.
He showed me to a cave with glowing mushrooms. I picked one up to look at it. These mushrooms didn’t usually glow. I heard a clicking noise echoing. “According to the Geiger Counter, anyone else here would die,Or at the very least they’d be ill. But you aren’t affected. ”
“I’m not either one.” I looked at my hands and the blue glow. “How is that possible?”
“I don’t know, but since you are immune, you can help me. We can plot to overthrow him. I also have connections to his clone, Gilbert.”
“Gilbert’s okay?” I beamed.
“Yes he is. And you will be too. Now, we just need a codeword and we can communicate with each other. One Augen can’t guess.”
I thought, looking around the cave. “Fungus. Now tell Gilbert and we’re in business.”
He opened a panel, opened a screen, called Gilbert, and we explained everything to him. About Grey Rose’s attack, Augen’s new clones, and how we could stop them.
“Hold on, I’ll get Henry. He might be able to help us. Corlita, man the camera.” Gilbert replied.
I was slightly intimidated by Aunt Cora’s former boyfriend, but I still had to listen.
“So, let me get this straight, Elenora, you want me and dozens of people to fight in the war against Augen?”
“Y-yes,” I squeaked.
He bowed, “Consider us your allies. But I suggest making a poison treatment.”
“You should be fine. After all it came from your…” Could I tell Henry the truth?
“My… what?” He tilted his head.
“Violet! She’s yours.” I blurted out. “Augen artificially aged her, and changed her eye color.”
“Keep her safe for me. He might try to spite me.” Henry demanded. And when a man like that responds like that, all you say is, okay.
At The Helm of Hardship
By Norman Gray
I summited the hill, at the edge of a dense forest. The moon shone brightly in the sky, bringing an ominous toadstool ring into view.
As I approached, my thoughts wandered to a woman I’d met long ago, whose name I never learned, but whose face I’ve never forgotten. She’d been shy, as I was, both of us wanting to ask each other to dance, but neither finding the courage; I hadn’t learned to dance, and I was too scared of embarrassing myself.
How little I knew, then. . . Run from your fears, and they’ll always be ahead of you, waiting.
I’m too old for running, now. Too tired. Memories grow distant, but not regrets; they stay with you, forever.
I stood before the ring of toadstools, and hesitated. The tales were all foreboding; the fae realm held nothing good for the likes of men. . . But the realm of mere mortals hadn’t exactly been sunshine and rainbows, either. No number of ill-omens would’ve ever steered me away from misfortune, not while I was at the helm of my own hardship.
So, I stepped into that forbidden circle, and though I didn’t know how, I danced. I danced like a damned fool.
I knew not if my feet followed the rhythm, or willed it into being. A harp’s notes reached my ears, so faintly; I closed my eyes and gave into it, letting go.
Soon the melody was accompanied by joyous laughter, and no longer was I dancing alone. . .
I knew she was Fae, for there was power in her beauty; it pulled like seduction, only far stronger, almost physical, irresistible. She showed me how to dance, and then she whispered her name, more wonderful than any melody.
Once more fear tried to intervene, to jolt me from my trance, to urge me to run. But I wasn’t giving fear its say. Not anymore.
The music felt close now, as if it was beyond a doorway, just elsewhere. She smiled, taking my hand. . . I took my chances, and followed.
The fae realm awaited me.
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?”
Something’s Not Right Here
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.”
by Spawn of Faust
Everytime that you deal with a Fae you take a risk. Every exchange is a toss of a coin. One has to choose words carefully, avoid anything that could be misinterpreted and under no circumstances you close a deal.
Those words were echoing in my mind as I entered a restaurant that would normally be out of my price range. Yet I was here. Tie tightening around my neck, just like a snake would.
Sigh escaped my mouth. Little box was burning me in my pocket with uncomfortable heat. Little box that could bring me glory or an absolute doom.
Sirens rang through my head as I walked alongside tables. Everything screamed at me that I was walking into the trap. Every step was harder to do than the previous. Sweat erupted from my skin and slowly dripped down from my forehead at the shiny shoes I was wearing.
I finally arrived at the table that was booked for me. My companion was nowhere to be seen, my hand slipped into the pocket and my thumb fumbled with the locking mechanism on the box.
Open. Close. Open. Order a glass of wine. Close. Gulp the content of a glass to calm nerves down. Wipe down the sweat with the napkin.
Music suddenly quieted down. My eyes darted towards the newcomer. Nervous smile creeped on my face – my companion had just arrived. Music slowly started once again.
I could wait no longer. I lunged from my chair, bumping my knee on the edge of the table and I tumbled on one knee in front of my companion. She was glittering with unnatural light and accompanied by an embracing aura.
I fished out the little box, clicked it open and presented it to my little fairy. The words that I was dreading to say escaped my lips:
“Will you marry me?”