Mid Week Flash Week 3 – The Beat Goes on


My next entry for Miranda Kate’s mid week flash challenge, inspired by this guy:
 
 
 The picture prompt this week is by  Ekaterina Zakharova, a Russian photographer who named him ‘1Fairy’. You can find more on her Deviant Art page.

The General Guidelines for the mid-week flas challenge are here.  
 
 
The Beat Goes On
 
The trouble is, no one believes in fairy tales anymore.
Back when I was a kid, some people took them seriously. My Nan did, certainly – she left cream out for the little folk, touched wood, sprinkled salt, and always warned us to stay on the paths if we ventured into the woods. She even gave me a tiny iron horseshoe to keep me safe. I should have kept it.
But nowadays, with our lives so dominated by social media and selfies sticks and double shot mocha cappuccinos, we are lulled into a false sense of security. The woods are just somewhere I jog through, not an otherworld of mystery and magic.
I was panting along, well on course to beating my personal best, the only sound the slapping of my feet on the path, the thudding of my blood in my ears. I was totally in the zone. Then I noticed the annoying little stone in my shoe.
 
I tried to ignore it, but after a few steps I realised I couldn’t. Look after your feet, and they’ll look after you. If I ignored it, I’d get a blister, and that would totally mess up my training.
I reluctantly stopped,  and stepped off the path to sit on a convenient log and sort it out. As soon as I sat, it was like the volume had been turned up on the world. Suddenly I could hear the wind sighing through the canopy, the birds calling to each other. The sun was warm on my back and the air smelled so sweet. I lingered too long, breathing in the magic of the woods.
Then I heard it – or maybe felt it, I’m not sure. The steady beating of the drums, the low, intoxicating oboe, the high, infectious pipes that made my toes tap. I should have stayed on the path. Nan warned me. But I wanted to see where the music was coming from.

I walked away from the log, away from the path, struggling through the bracken.  Each time I thought I was nearing the source, the wind changed and just like that, it was far away again.
I tripped on a bramble whip and stumbled, and suddenly he was there, catching me.
He was not of this world, that much I know. It wasn’t just the antlers, wasn’t just the forest colours that swirled over his skin, wasn’t just the deep, hypnotic, amber eyes that gave it away. No mortal creature could be so perfect. Naked but for a deerskin loincloth, every muscle perfectly defined, as if sculpted by angels. I was suddenly very aware of my sweaty tracksuit, scraped back hair, the spot on my chin that I hadn’t bothered to try and cover.
I tried to burble out a question, but he held a finger to my lips and suddenly all I could hear was the music, all I could feel was his warmth.
His fingertip left my lips, trailed slowly down my neck, along my collar bone, down my arm. He entwined his fingers in mine, and I let myself be led into the clearing, where the other Fey folk danced.
I’ve never been much of a dancer, but with him leading me it just seemed natural, easy as breathing. Like being drunk but without the queasiness,  I span and danced with the beautiful ones, laughed as they ripped my clothes from my body, paid no heed to anything but the beat and the dance and his hypnotic eyes.
I don’t know how long I’ve been dancing. I carry on through light and darkness. Through the heartbreak of him leaving, my bloodied feet continue to dance. I laugh through the jealousy as he brings some other girl to the clearing. I sing with the fair ones as we rip at her clothes. I am the dance. I am the music.

Somewhere inside, the old me cries out to stop, to rest, to go home. But the music never stops. The beat goes on. 

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Author: Victoria Pearson

Victoria Pearson lives behind a keyboard somewhere in rural Bedfordshire, with her husband, her four children and her dog. She writes very strange stories.

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