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A Fairies Tale

written by: Majestic

The water was still as if it were glass reflecting the images around it. The shadows of the trees could be seen, only to be split by an animal before gliding back together, becoming the one image it was before.
I looked across the lake to see dark wooden steps, hidden between the trees, leading to the unknown. The looked dark among the green as well as aged. It was believed they led to another realm like a hidden world in the world itself. At least, that's what the villagers believed. Whether it was true or not, I wasn't sure. The logical side of me said it was impossible. Only a superstition. But yet, there was another part of me that wanted to believe the stories were true. To have some kind of adventure that couldn't be found in the real world. A place untouched by mankind.
I sighed longingly as my dog Sandy, began barking. I followed her gaze out to the water where a small engine boat was heading towards me. The boat slowed as it came closer to shore and one of my neighbours waved out to me.
"Hey Hayley!" he called out to me. "Enjoying the sunset?"
"Yes, actually. I am" I replied as I calmed Sandy.
I whacked my brain for his name as he tethered his boat to his dock nearby. Once he was sure his boat was secure, he moved cautiously towards me, keeping an avid eye on Sandy.
"Don't worry. She won't hurt you" I assured him as I gently pulled Sandy to a sitting position. "How was your boat ride?"
"Not bad" he said, sitting down on the grass beside me. "Thought I'd get at least one more ride in before Autumn takes full control.
I nodded knowingly and my eyes drifted out to the lake filled with colourful shadows of red and orange reflecting in the distance before being replaced by darkness.
"So how are you doing? Settled in yet?" he asked, drawing my attention back.
"Almost. I have a few boxes still left to unpack."
"Do you need any help?"
"No thanks. I'm okay."
"If you ever do need help, don't hesitate to ask."
I gave him a weak smile, "I'll keep you in mind."
My eyes slowly went back to the stairs, where shadows were beginning to encase it in hiding. I thought I saw a rustle among the trees, only to feel the wind.
"You seem distant tonight. Are you okay?" he asked, a sign of worry on his face.
"I'm fine. Just thinking."
"Alright. Well, I better be getting home. Have a good night" he said, standing. "You're sure you're okay?"
"Positive" I assured him.
He ran his fingers through his thick brown hair in thought. "If you're sure than. I guess I'll see you later. Goodnight."
"Night" I bid and watched him leave, disappearing in the safety of his home for the night.

A pale moon slowly appeared in the darkening sky, giving off a soft glow. I remembered my Grandma telling me stories when I was a child. Of how fairies came out to dance in the moonlight and how Leprechauns liked to play mischievous tricks in the darkness. Of the banshee's sorrowful cry and of the Druid's song. In some ways the stories were childish but yet I had carried them all through my child and adolescence years, to the young adult I am now.
Again the old stairs called to my wandering eyes and it only seemed to bring my Grandma's stories closer to mind.
I suddenly decided I would go. Tonight, while the night was still young. It was stupid, I knew. But I had to lay the superstitions to rest and ease the fairy tales of my youth.
I stood and Sandy stood with me, looking up at me with curiosity in her eyes. I knew I couldn't bring her with me. This was something I had to do on my own. I took Sandy into the house and grabbed a sweater and flashlight-two things I knew I needed for the night. Once I was sure Sandy was safe and secure in the house, I grabbed my rowboat and headed across the lake to the stairs.

The water was calm and the wind cool. I slipped my oar smoothly, slicing the surface which healed over quickly before the oar met the water again. The wind seemed to help carry me across the water and I got to the other side in minutes. I pulled the boat onto the grass and began the walk to the stairs.
I could tell the stairs were aging well, with some of the surface wood peeling off. The stairs themselves looked solid enough with thick boards of wood for steps. Carefully I grabbed the railing and began the ascend up with the wood cool and surprisingly smooth beneath my hand.
After ten steps my feet reached solid ground and I realized I was on a grassy cliff. Not a different realm.
The air seemed lighter and fresher than from below where I had been and the moon seemed to shine brighter.
My heart suddenly stirred as a gentle wind blew around me, carrying a voice with it.
"Welcome Hayley. Your arrival has been expected."
I quickly looked around me, trying to find the face belonging to the female voice. But there was no one that I could see.
"I know whom you seek and I can lead you to her if you simply follow my voice."
My heart skipped a beat at her words.
How can she possibly know I'm looking for my mother? I wondered silently to myself.
"Because I know your past-and your heart" the voice replied to my unspoken question.
I stood bewildered, unable to speak and not knowing what to think.
"Follow my voice if you wish."
A million thoughts of logic ran through my mind and I ignored them all as my feet moved without command, following the rustling of trees and moving in the direction I was sure the voice had come from. The wind seemed to move at my back now and I nearly laughed out loud at how ridiculous this all was. But yet the trees seemed to part their branches as I walked and their leaves danced around me. Light music seemed to hum from the forest itself and, nearly enchanted, I followed its sound until a soft glow caressed my skin.
"Hello Hayley" the voice said again, only this time coming from the woman standing in front of me. She was radiant, with long black hair and pale skin that seemed to shine in the Night. She wore a crown of dark green leafs that matched the colour of her eyes and they carried a twinkle in them as they met mine.
"...who...are you?" I barely sputtered out.
She gave me a slight smile "come. Walk with me and we shall talk."
She moved, making room for me to walk beside her and I slowly moved, unable to think or speak, only breathe.
I was transfixed by her movements, the grace she held and the peace around her. We walked in blissful moments before she spoke, her voice like a fragile bell.
"Do you know where you are?"
"...in the forest?" I breathed.
"More than that, dear Hayley. You are in a part of the realm of fairies."
I looked at her, wide-eyed. A million thoughts running through my mind at once. Tales from my childhood and rumours from the townsfolk. Childhood tales and fantasy novels from my teen years.
"My name is Mairead" she continued before my words could move from my mind to my tongue. "I am the Queen of fairies-as well as the one you've been seeking, your Mother."
I stopped in my tracks, taken aback from her words, my legs suddenly unsteady beneath me. She had stopped with me, her face smooth but her eyes alight with both happiness and concern. I could only imagine how my emotions showed for, until that moment, I had been numb and now, I only felt shock.
"What...but...how?"
"Always. When I was young I met a young mortal-your father-we fell in love and married. But, alas, after your birth, I had only a short time to be with you. For you see, I was in hiding, for mortals and fairies weren't to be together. But my position in this land is important and without me, this realm would go to waste. So, with a broken heart, I left you in the capable hands of your father. When Derek was in that accident..." her voice had cracked and trailed as she struggled with her emotions and her beautiful face showed grief before she continuing, "I arranged for my greatest friend-the one you know as your grandmother-to care for you. I knew she would lead you to this town and that your curiosity and daring nature would do the rest. So you see, I have always been there, only in the background. How I would have loved to be with you always. To be there for you in your sadness and in your happiness...." Her voice trailed off and suddenly I was caught in her embrace. I was in disbelief but yet I could hear her heart beating on the same course of mind and I suddenly felt safe and secure.
"You are here now and you finally know the truth. That is all that matters. I understand that this is much to take in""
"Hayley!" a male voice called, interrupting her sentence.
David I suddenly remembered as my neighbour walked to me with more grace and balance that I remembered seeing him with. I suddenly took in his dark hair and eyes, his height and strength in his arms and I wondered why I hadn't noticed before.
Than I realized.
Fairy!
"Hayley, you remember David, don't you? Your neighbour?"
I nodded as he came to my stop at my side.
"I assigned him as a guardian for you when you came to this town and even now, in this realm. Protection is always needed for you, being my daughter."
"I'm sorry I couldn't tell you Hayley. I longed to, but I couldn't. You had to find out for yourself. It is against custom for fairies to speak about their world in the mortal realm..."
Mairead-my mother-suddenly put her hand on my arm. Her touch gentle and warm.
"Hayley, my dear child, I understand if you do not believe me. But I swear with my being I am telling the truth. You must believe me!"
I could hear the truth in her voice and see the sincerity in her eyes.
"I do believe you."
And I did.

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