“Here be faeries.”
That is what the sign said. It was a crude sign, nailed to a tree. It was covered in lush green moss, and the writing looked like it had been done with a stick. I laughed. It always fascinated me, all this stuff about faeries and nymphs and things like that. My parents always used to tell me stories about them when I was little. I had believed them then, but not now. Faeries weren’t real. At least that’s what I thought.
I walked past the sign and deeper into the forest, the sign not making a huge impression on me. The deeper I went, the darker it got. The trees kept getting closer together, and the underbrush denser and denser. I started getting slightly nervous, I had been down here plenty of times before and it had never been this dark. I turned around, deciding to head back to the village, but the path behind me was gone. No more packed dirt to follow. Glancing down, I noticed the path had disappeared all together. I was standing in the middle of no where.
I took a deep breath, there was no need to panic. I had been lost in the forest before. Mind you it was when I was six, and I had been only twenty feet from the forest edge, but that still counts. Right? I turned in a slow circle, taking in my surroundings. I was in a small clearing, in an almost perfect circle of trees, all of them tall and dark. There didn’t seem to be any gap in between them big enough to fit through. The ground was made up of a thick layer of brown leaves and green moss. I looked up and could barely see a speck of blue sky through the thick, intertwining branches.
Still looking towards the sky, I noticed something dart past in the corner of my eye. I ignored it, putting it off as a bird or an insect. But then I saw it again, only this time bigger, and closer to where I was standing. Then there were dozens of them, all flitting past my line of vision. Gone almost as soon as I noticed it. I looked down and rubbed my eyes. The little creatures were everywhere. Surrounding me in a cloud of fluttering and humming. It started making me dizzy after a moment, watching them fly around me in circles and circles. What were they? I sat down on the soft ground so as not to fall over, and put my face in my hands.
As abruptly as it started, the humming stopped. There was a silence so complete it almost had a noise of its own. I lifted my face from my hands. My heart leaped. The little creatures had stopped, hovering, completely still in midair. I would have stared at them, tried to figure out what the heck they were, if it wasn’t for the thing taking up all of my attention. Standing right in front of me, was a boy. He looked about eight years old. He was thin, and had blond hair, about chin length, and it was filled with dirt and tangles. His eyes were a dazzling emerald green, and his pale skin seemed to be tinted in that same shade. His face was filthy, almost as bad as his hair, and he was wearing long brown pants and a green shirt, both riddled with holes. His feet were bare, and definitely filthier then his hair. But the most shocking thing about him, was that he had giant wings, like those of a dragonfly. They extended out about five feet from his back, and they fluttered every few seconds, as if anxious to carry the boy away.
The boy stood over me, glaring, but he had an amused look at the same time. When he noticed me looking at him, he seemed to try very hard to make his glare more menacing, but I could see that he thought this situation was very funny. After a moment, he took a breath, readying himself to speak,
“So,” he said, trying to sound angry “I hear you don’t believe in faeries.”
For some reason, I laughed. It was more of a hysterical laugh then anything. I thought I had gone completely crazy. I looked around me again, and this time I scrutinized the little creatures that were surrounding me and the boy. It was hard to see them, but they looked like tiny, colorful people with wings the same as the boy, but on a much smaller scale.
“I don’t..” I muttered “I must have hit my head.”
“You did not.” the boy said curtly, “Didn’t you see the sign?”
“Um, well yes.” I responded, that laughter starting again. Then I had a thought,
“Oooh.”‘ I said, putting on that voice people use when talking to small children. “Is this your play area? Did I interrupt a game?” I laughed again. In hindsight, I realize that it was a dumb thought, how could all these tiny people be hovering here if this was only a game of make believe?
The boy looked indignant. “Of course it isn’t!” his wings started fluttering and, as if to prove his statement, his legs rose four feet in the air, until he was almost hanging upside down, his face inches from mine. “How could this be a game? What do you think they are?” he gestured to the little winged people hovering around us.
There it was, the obvious flaw in my thinking. I looked around at the creatures, refusing to accept the obvious truth. They were not Faeries. Faeries were not real, right? I shook my head violently, trying to get rid of the thought. No I must have been seeing things.
The boy stared at me and a grin spread across his face.
“Didn’t you read the sign?” he asked again, “It told you plain and simple.”
The faeries.. no the creatures..not faeries, started swarming around me again. I looked around frantically. The boy straightened out, no longer hanging near my face, and his grin got wider.
“Here be faeries.” he said.
I closed my eyes, the wind from all the tiny wings whipping my hair around and stinging my face. I felt little hands pulling at locks of my hair, and fingers scratching my arms. I covered my head, trying to avoid being scratched on the face. And I heard the boy, giggling, but the sound started fading. Then, once again, it stopped suddenly. I opened my eyes, and I was back on the path I was originally on.
I blinked in confusion. I must have hit my head after all. I lifted my hand, and felt the back of my head. No bump. Maybe it was some sort of seizure? I looked around one last time, there was the sign. It now had a sort of warning feel to it. I rubbed my eyes, stood up, and headed back to the village.
Faeries are real. I now know that. The thing that finally convinced me, were the little marks. They were all over my arms and face, tiny, minuscule little breaks in my skin. There was no other way I could have gotten them, if not from little faery fingers.