I’m having problems with my computer. It’s taken me hours to do this post. It should have taken half an hour at most. I’ve been asking people to support this blog for years, but few have. If you could donate some money then I could upgrade my computer and begin posting regularly again. Otherwise it will just be sporadic posts from now on.
Jess and Cindy went downstairs for breakfast. They saw many others sitting at the tables. Jess ordered some breakfast. A few moments later it was set down in front of them. Jess spread a thin smear of jam across some bread and took a bite. She then looked astonished.
“You have got to try this.” Jess insisted handing the bread to Cindy. She took a bite. It was as if she was eating the ripest and sweetest strawberries she had ever tasted.
“Wow!” Cindy stated. She knew any jam she now ate at home would never taste as good.
“There’s a pair of knickers up on that tree.” Cindy said pointing upwards. So far all their missing clothes had been spotted hanging on the tops of trees, as they wandered around naked looking for them.
“Well you did say: “Let’s go hiking in Faerie, it could be interesting.” Well you were right there.” Jess stated. Cindy shrugged her shoulders.
“Well that’s the thing with Faerie, anything can happen.”
“Great.” Jess replied. “You have fae blood. Do you have any powers?”
“Of course I don’t. I’m not Melissa.” Cindy blurted out.
“Melissa? Melissa has powers?” Jess asked surprised. Cindy’s face went red.
“I shouldn’t have said that.”
“Melissa has powers?” Jess repeated.
“Yes, she’s a sorceress.” Cindy admitted.
“A sorceress? How do you know?”
“One of the last times I was in Faerie. I sold that letter of hers for the silver bell at the Faerie Market. The seller took it as payment as it was “a letter of apology from a sorceress”. Thinking back on it now, I may have been ripped off. Later I got trapped on a spider’s web in-between the worlds, and Melissa helped me escape.”
“Huh! Were you ever going to tell me about any of this?” Jess asked.
“I didn’t want to tell you about it. I’m always scared I’m going to lose you to Melissa.” Cindy admitted. Jess sighed, put her hands on Cindy’s shoulders and looked into her eyes.
“I want you to listen to me Cindy. I like Melissa, but I don’t love her. I love you. That’s why I married you. I really wish we could get beyond this.” Cindy nodded at her words.
“So do I.” Cindy agreed.
“Well… we could climb the trees.” Jess said changing the subject.
“It would take a long time to retrieve all our clothing. Besides some are on pine trees and we would get covered in resin.”
“Do you have any ideas? I’m not doing the rest of the hike naked.” Jess stated.
“Maybe if we go find help from someone.” Cindy suggested.
“From whom? We haven’t seen anyone since we went through the portal.”
“If we go down the path, we might find a homestead or something.” Cindy said. Jess sighed again.
“Well it’s better than nothing I guess. Lead on.”
They walked down the path. They hadn’t gone very far when they saw a small figure walking towards them. It was a gnome with a long grey beard. He wore grey robes and had a little walking stick in his right hand.
“Hi.” Cindy said once he got nearer to them. The gnome stopped and looked up at them quizzically.
“Hello.” He said. “I don’t mean to pry, but do you always wander around Faerie naked? I think I should warn you there are certain places I wouldn’t advise you to go without clothing.”
“This isn’t a choice. We went swimming and now all our clothes are at the tops of trees. I suspect pixies are to blame.” Cindy told him.
“I see.” The gnome replied while scanning the treetops. “It does sound like pixie mischief.”
“Do you know anyone who can help us?” Cindy asked. The gnome nodded.
“One moment.” He replied. Dropping his walking stick, he fished out a small flute and then played a few notes. A few minutes later a fairy appeared fluttering it’s butterfly wings. The gnome spoke a few words to it in a language Cindy and Jess didn’t know. The fairy then fluttered off. They stood there waiting. A short while later fairies began appearing carrying Jess and Cindy’s clothes in their hands. The fairies began dropping the clothes at their feet. Within an hour, all of Jess and Cindy’s clothes lay in a pile before them, as far as they could tell.
“Thank you.” Jess said. The gnome looked over their clothes.
“Another word of advice: if you ever plan on meeting the Queen, wear something less mundane.”
“Well I don’t think our plans include meeting the Queen.” Jess replied.
“Thank you for your help.” Cindy said. The gnome bowed low.
“My name is Lemnas.”
“I’m Cindy, and this is Jess, who is my wife.” Cindy told him.
“You live in a farm next to a portal, don’t you?” Lemnas asked.
“Yes. How do you know?” Cindy asked.
“Let’s just say you are known.” Lemnas replied.
“Okay.” Cindy said confused.
“I’ll leave you ladies to get dressed.” Lemnas said. “You owe me a favour.”
“I guess we do.” Cindy replied.
“It will be getting dark soon. There is a good inn a few miles up the road. I have stayed there many a time, you might like it there.” Lemnas suggested.
“Thanks for the suggestion. We’ll check it out.” Cindy replied. Lemnas bowed low again, then turned and walked away.
“We’ve been here two days, and already we owe a favour.” Jess said as they got dressed.
“Can’t be helped.” Cindy answered.
“It’s strange he appeared just when we needed help.” Jess stated.
“Happenstance.” Cindy suggested.
Once they were ready, they continued their journey. They had been walking a few hours and it was getting dark once they came across the inn that Lemnas had told them about. It was a large wooden building with three storeys. There were lights in all the windows and it looked welcoming and inviting to both of them. They walked up the path to the main doors and opened them. Light spilled out along with the smell of ale and smoke, laughter and talk. They both looked at one another before going over the threshold.
The next morning, after a quick breakfast, Jess and Cindy packed up their belongings and continued on the path they were following. The day grew warm and the scents of flowers like roses and honeysuckle filled the air. It was a peaceful walk, and neither of them saw anyone else. It was as though they had the whole forest to themselves.
Around midday, when they were thinking of stopping for lunch, they heard in the distance the sound of a waterfall. They followed the sound (but kept on the path), and eventually came to a large cascading waterfall with a pool of water.
“I would so love a swim!” Jess stated.
“Yes, me too.” Cindy agreed. As the waterfall was only just off the path, they both agreed it would be okay to have a swim there, and then have some lunch. They both stripped off and dived into the pool. The water was cool and refreshing. Any weariness they may have felt in their limbs quickly ebbed away in the water. They spent the entire afternoon happily swimming, and only reluctantly got out of the water once their hunger pangs could no longer be ignored.
“Hey where are my clothes?” Jess asked looking around.
“I don’t know. Mine are gone too!” Cindy replied. The spot where they had stripped off was now bereft of any clothing. They both went to their packs and found all the clothes packed away in them were gone too.
Call me Lady Shadow, for that is my name now. I was queen of a great elven kingdom, but my heart was rotten and the Shadow Lord ensnared me. I began working with him to undermine my kingdom and neighbouring lands. Once my schemes were found out my throne was taken, and so now I help rule the Shadow World instead.
We work to shroud the entire world in shadow. I will not rest until I have reclaimed my throne and spread darkness through the land and in the hearts of my subjects. That’s how the Shadow World wins.
Word count: 99
This was written with the prompt lady shadow provided by the Carrot Ranch January 16 Story Challenge.
“Do scarecrows actually work?” Cindy asked as she stuffed more hay into the scarecrows head. Jess shrugged her shoulders.
“How do you mean?” She asked.
“Do they actually scare away crows and other birds from the fields?” Cindy inquired.
“I have no idea, but they’ve been used for a long time, so they must have some effect.” Jess replied. “It’d be a bit silly to keep doing something that doesn’t work.”
“We should give him a name.” Cindy suggested.
“Him? We’re two lesbians making a scarecrow. Why is it a him?” Jess asked.
“I don’t know. I always think of scarecrows being guys I guess.” Cindy answered.
“That’s because you’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy.” Jess stated. Cindy threw a bunch of hay at her. Jess laughed out loudly.
Once the scarecrow had been completed, they called it Max and hung it on a pole in the main field where their crop of corn had just been sown, thanks to their new tractor. After admiring their creation, Jess and Cindy then headed back to the farmhouse together.
During the night Cindy awoke. After lying there listening to Jess softly breathing beside her for a while, she got out of bed and went to the kitchen to make something to drink. She looked out the window at their fields but couldn’t see their new scarecrow. She opened the door and went outside to investigate. When she got to the spot where they had put it up there was nothing there except the pole and crossbeam they had hung it on. The scarecrow was gone. Somebody stole our scarecrow! thought Cindy. Who would do something like that? She wondered. She sadly traipsed back to the house and went back to bed.
“Our scarecrow is gone. I think someone must have taken it.” Cindy told Jess when they woke up in the morning.
“I guess we will have to make another one.” Jess replied as she yawned and stretched. They went to the kitchen to make breakfast. Jess looked out the window and saw the scarecrow still hanging in the field where they put it. She smiled and shook her head.
“I guess you must have been dreaming. The scarecrow is still out there girl!” She said. Cindy immediately looked out and saw the scarecrow too. Puzzled she went outside to get a closer look. There before her was the scarecrow as though it had never been moved. Jess came out and joined her.
“I don’t understand. I was standing right here last night and it was gone.” Cindy said.
“Maybe whoever took it returned it later.” Jess answered sounding a little unconvinced. She walked off back to the kitchen leaving Cindy standing there mystified.
The next night Cindy looked out again and sure enough the scarecrow was missing again and the next morning it was back. Maybe someone’s playing a joke on us, Cindy thought. That evening she resolved to stay up all night and see what would happen…
Cindy stood in the kitchen watching the scarecrow in the darkness. For a time nothing happened, but then suddenly the scarecrow came to life. It awkwardly removed itself off the pole it was hanging on and then wandered away through the field heading towards the fence. Cindy stood there stunned, but then to her surprise she found herself opening the door and following the scarecrow through the field with her heart beating wildly.
She wandered after the scarecrow as though she was in a dream. She could see the scarecrow ahead of her in the dark slowly walking towards the fence. Then it climbed over the fence and laid down in the tall grasses. Cindy kept approaching and once she got to the fence, she stopped and looked down at the scarecrow. It suddenly sat up startling Cindy and causing her to quickly back away from the fence.
“Sorry didn’t mean ta startle yer.” The scarecrow said with a rough dry voice, like the sound of hay rustling in the wind.
Cindy moved slowly towards the fence again. There was the scarecrow sitting up looking at her with a grass stalk in it’s mouth. Her grandma had always said the land around the farm was imbued with magic and that there was a gate to Faerie in the south field, but to be fair, Cindy always thought her grandma was a little touched in the head. Now maybe she wasn’t so sure, or maybe she was a little touched too…
“Max?” She whispered.
“If it isn’t one of me makers.” Max said. “Why’d ya call me Max?”
“Er, because we couldn’t decide on your gender and Max could either be short for Maxine, or Maxwell, or Maximilian, or some other name.” Cindy explained to Max, still trying to believe she was actually having a conversation with their scarecrow.
“Is me gender that important? There be nout tween me legs cept hay.” Max responded.
‘You could say gender is actually in the head.” Cindy explained.
“There be nout in me head cept hay as well.”
“I could try to make you a brain of some sort.” Cindy offered.
“Wat do I need a brain for? No scarecrow ever went to college. All I do is stand in the field an sometimes talk with the crow folk.” Max replied.
“So why do you come to lie down in the grass?” Cindy asked.
“I need ta rest sometime. Yer have me guarding the field all the long day from the bird folk. At night I need ta lie down. Nought at night except the rat an mice folk an the owls an the fairy folk, an they not care about yer crops I guard. So I come here ta rest.” Max explained.
“Oh sorry, I didn’t realise you needed to sleep as well.”
“Yeh, but don’t worry, once the sun come up I be guarding yer fields again.” Max stated.
“Well thanks for your help.” Cindy offered, as she always believed it was best to be polite to people who assisted you, even if they were mostly made up of hay.
“You and yer pardner made me. I have ta help yer. I’m made from both of yer. You two be different tho. Jess be the doer and you be the dreamer. Jess be really sweet on yer.” Max revealed.
“Well yeah I had guessed that since Jess and I share a bed together and she helps manage my farm.” Cindy replied slightly sarcastically.
“I know her plans for yer.” Max said, seemingly ignoring Cindy’s sarcasm, if a scarecrow could recognise sarcasm that is.
“Her plans?” Cindy asked surprised.
“She want ta make an honest woman of yer. Mark me words.” Max replied.
“If yer gave me real eyes, I wud be rollin them right now.” Max said shaking his head a little.
“I guess I should let you sleep, since you have a long day tomorrow.” Cindy said slightly bewildered by Max’s words.
“Much appresheated.” Max responded. “By the way, the fairy folk watch yer. They knew yer granma or so they told me.”
“The fairies watch me?” Cindy repeated. Here she was standing in the field in the middle of the night talking to her scarecrow about fairies. Maybe she was losing it. Perhaps if she went to bed and slept she would wake up in the morning and realise this was just a dream. She really hoped it was a dream.
“Yeh they help guard this land and they guard yer too. There be a vampire livin nearby, but the land be protected from them.” Max revealed. “They cannot enter it.”
“Good to know.” Cindy replied wondering what this all meant. She didn’t realise vampires actually existed. Again, she really hoped she was dreaming. Max began to stretch and yawn. “I guess I’ll leave you to rest.” Max nodded at her and then lay down in the grass again. Cindy walked slowly back to the farmhouse pondering things. When she got into bed, Jess was already fast asleep and she curled up next to her in the warm bed and quickly nodded off.
When she awoke the next morning and thought of the events of the night before, she assumed she must have dreamed it all, but when she got out of bed she noticed her feet were dirty and there was grass and hay stuck to them. She went to the kitchen. In the morning sun there was the scarecrow standing tall in the field again. Maybe it was the wind that made it look like it was waving to her…
I wrote this story several years ago and published it here in two parts. I’ve decided to repost it in full and make some slight changes.
Jess got out of the tractor. Due to an excessive amount of rain the south field had turned into a swamp. Her tractor was mired, the tires caked with mud. She sighed. Already she had tried for several hours to get the tractor moving again, but to no avail. Cindy had gone to Faerie to meet the Elven Queen. She had been gone a couple of days now. Jess hated it when Cindy wasn’t here. The farm never felt right without her. Jess decided to walk back to the homestead and figure out what to do over some coffee.
Word count: 99
This was written with the prompt mud on the tires provided by the Carrot Ranch September 19 Story Challenge.