I have to confess something: 2017 was the year of distractions (as you can see by the lack of posts on this site). I put my novel on hold and I stopped working on The Tales of the Seelie Court. But I still kept writing and I wrote this short story called Into the Dark Forest, which features my favorite magical creatures: faeries! The characters and places and this story are not related to my other works about faeries, but I dare say it is still a magical, little piece of writing. Enjoy!
Into the Dark Forest
It was that time of the year when the trees wore their most colorful dresses and the air chilled when the sun set. But while the sun was still up, the weather was warm and the world bathed in a golden glow. In that time of the year, the outside became Hayes’s favorite place on earth.
On one of those golden days, Hayes fled to one of the parks to escape his chaotic home. No matter how much he loved all his brothers and sisters, sometimes he longed for a short break. Here, everything was peaceful, and he could rest his back against the bark of a tree, his long, lanky legs stretched out over the foliage that covered the ground.
He kept his eyes closed so all that he could see of the world around him was the light filtering through his eyelids. He could tell that most people had already left. Apart from the occasional laughter and the rustle of the foliage as people walked through it, it was only the sounds of nature that he could hear. Birds chirping, wind shaking the leaves, and somewhere in the distance the low rumble of the afternoon traffic.
When Hayes opened his eyes again, he noticed someone who he’d never seen in this park before. It was a boy, about his age, but the complete opposite of what scrawny, dark-skinned Hayes looked like; the boy was tall, muscular, and very pale, with fair hair and a face that looked as though it was cut from white marble. Hayes was immediately struck by his extraordinary appearance and intrigued by the way he moved. The strange boy was barefooted and barely made any noise as he prowled through the park. He seemed frantic, as though he was looking for something.
Hayes sat up straight, his eyes now following the boy’s every step. The boy walked up to a tree, examined it, then shook his head and walked on. The more Hayes watched the boy, the more peculiar he appeared. His clothes were odd, too. He wore something that looked like a golden breast plate over his shirt.
Finally, the boy stopped in front of one of the largest trees in the park. He examined the bark closely, running both hands over it. Then, with a jolt, he reached up for the lowest branch and pulled it down.