After the excitement in the village square, Shaun and Fiona and the whole Hughes crew head off to the train station to pick up their middle child Shannon from boarding school. Shannon spent the whole year in Cromwell and everyone was looking forward to the whole family being together for the summer.
“Welcome Home Shan! “ said Shaun as he gave her a hug.
“Thanks, Pa. I am so glad to be home.”
On the way back through the village Rose, Shannon’s older sister, brought her up to date on all the news around the village especially the story about her father and the missing necklace.
“I am so bummed that I missed Beltane this year,” said Shannon.
“You missed a good one,” said Rose. “Jayne told this amazing story around the fire that night. It was a story she brought back from one of her buying trips for the store. The woman who told her the story said it was a true story.”
“ Really, I would love to hear it, we did nothing fun at school for Beltane. “ She missed so much of village life and her family when she went to school.
“Well, we were all around the fire that night and Peter told Jayne that she should tell the fairytale she had heard while she was traveling for new jewellery for the shop. “…
story by K.T. Seto
Jayne looked into each of their faces and then nodded before clearing her throat and beginning. I will tell you this tale as I heard it. I was visiting my childhood friend Siobhan and listened in as she tucked her grandson into bed. She’d refused when he’d pressed for her to read instead kissing his head and saying..
You asked for a fairytale, but I know a few tales that would suit. Firstly, you should understand they hate the word fairy. They also take issue with stories about their lives being considered myths or lore. It’s history. Their past, like you telling me what happened at school yesterday. No. I will not tell you a fairytale. I will tell you however about the time I met one of the Sidhé.
I was twelve. Not too much older than you are now and full to the brim with all the things I knew. Just on the edge of that time where puberty would steal my senses and joy because of hormones and responsibilities. I wore my hair in braids then, simple pigtails I could fashion myself because I was too proud to ask my mother to help me do something different. It wasn’t quite summer, but I could feel it coming. Mayday had passed, and the buds of spring had blossomed into a pale semblance of what they would be when they reached full bloom. I wore my customary jeans and t-shirt, mismatched socks and sneakers. My socks seldom matched but no one knew because I was so small my pant legs dragged on the ground unless I rolled them. That day, I had finished my chores and homework and didn’t have to watch my siblings because it was a Saturday morning and we didn’t need to go to church. We went to church every day except Saturday. We were Catholic then, and my mother was in the music ministry. Anyway, I didn’t have anything I had to do so I chose to do what I wanted. My favourite thing. I slid my paperback into my jacket pocket and walked down to the creek to read.
Reading was always my refuge, a good book, a quiet corner and I could let my mind fly. I even remember the book. It was about a girl like me who rescued her dad using math, a love of science and logic and help from extraordinary creatures. I settled under my favorite tree- the one across the creek from the Mulberry tree which hadn’t started to spew and stink yet- a big Oak whose roots had spread wide and deep creating a bare patch at its base that was just large enough for me to settle in and not be seen. Times were different then, but they had just started to change to the way things are now. In my parent’s day you could set your kids loose in the morning and not worry about them until dinner time. In my time, the dark had begun to creep in. We got warnings and added extra instructions to kids to stay together and not talk to strangers. As I was a very small girl, the smallest in my class I got extra warnings but there wasn’t any real fear. Not then. Bad things happened. But not to anyone we knew. Anyway, I settled in, taking care not to be seen and lost myself in the pages of my book. So, I didn’t hear him at first.
To this day I have no clue how long he’d been watching me, but his voice ripped me from my storyland and stopped my heart for a moment. I shrank back into the tree and felt the soothing warmth of it. It steadied me.
“It’s a good story then?” I raised my eyes to his and blinked. The air around me was sweet and light, A scent, well- you know the scent of springtime? That blend of damp moss and honeysuckle and ozone. The way things smell just after it rains when everything has washed away, and you can smell the way things were meant to be? That’s what I smelled. And the light was weird. Hazy like fog but lighter. Misty and bright and happy. It felt happy and peaceful, like the boy. So, I smiled at him instead of being irritated at being interrupted and nodded.
“Very good. Have you read it?” he tilted his head at this and pursed his lips like he wanted to laugh but knew he shouldn’t.
“No, I can’t say I have. I don’t read much. I don’t have time.” I raised my eyebrows at that, there is always time to read. I never understood folks who saw it as a chore- at least not then.
“Oh.” He did laugh then, and the sound of it- it was if someone uncapped a bottle of happiness and poured it into the air.
“We’ve too much work to do watching over things.” He said after and his statement made me look at him finally. At first glance I hadn’t noticed him really. But now, oh wow. He was green. Not neon and unnatural, but the colour of growing things. Green with a deep brown beneath and hair that lay in tight red curls in a halo about his head. His eyes were almost silver-a bright light gray the colour of the full moon. And I squeaked in surprise. Which made him laugh again, and then he told me all about his kind. We talked until it was time for me to go inside. And when we parted I gave him my book to read. And he gave me the golden leaf you saw in my jewellery box last time you came to visit. They watch us you see, and it is a very difficult job. The why of that is a tale for another time. For now, I will tell you the Sidhé- for that is the proper name for his kind not fairy. Fairy is kind of like calling someone a hillbilly – not very nice. The Sidhé are more like guardian angels than mischievous sprites, because they stand between us and all the dark things. So take that thought with you into your dreams.
About the Author
K. T. Seto
K.T. Seto wallows in what if. She writes Speculative Fiction with a paranormal bent that ranges from fantasy, to science fiction and all things in between. Look for news of her work on social media @KatAboutThat on Instagram, @kat_about on Twitter and K.T. Seto-Author on Facebook. Or just go to her website ktseto.com