Prompt: By noon, the flowers had reached her knees. Written 9 July 2020
Everyone is warned to avoid the attention of the Fair Folk. They are volatile, fickle, and nigh impossible to understand. And they don’t like being seen without permission. If you are born with the Sight, you must live carefully or risk being blinded. Only fools and heroes seek to gain the Sight, risking far more than their eyes in the process.
Women and children are especially at risk of being taken, and are thus usually kept within the town or otherwise escorted and protected.
But these are rules long forgotten in the town where our tale is set. The town has sprawled into a city, and is surrounded not by the forest home of the Folk, but by wide, open meadows on which one can see for miles. Those who remember believe themselves safe here. They are wrong.
It is now that I direct your attention to a girl of no consequence. Her name is not ours to know, nor her age, nor her family status. She leaves the city at midmorning, unchaperoned, and with little more than a basket for picking flowers and herbs. The sky is clear, the sun is bright, and the morning dew has dried. These are not unusual details. In fact, this is not an unusual journey in any aspect save one.
Our Girl of No Consequence has been instructed many times to travel as far as necessary to gather the proper specimens. Today, though, she finds they are harder to find. By the time she finds her elusive quarry, she has left the city so far behind she can hardly see it on the horizon. She does not note this, or fear it, as she has not learned to do so. She also does not note the gathering mists that pull at her steps, or the stalks that follow her path as they would the sun’s.
The flowers reach for her, gradually, and this she almost sees, but decides it must be a trick of the light.
When the pipe’s music bounces softly along the wind, she hums over it without a thought.
By noon, the flowers had reached her knees, and she struggles to pull free of their grasp. She sees, all at once, what she had not cared to notice before, and the pipe’s tune grows frantic. Her heart speeds its tempo to match and she tries to pull free still. She is held fast by mist and magic.
When a figure appears on the horizon, she calls out, not seeing he had come from the opposite direction of the city she once called home.
He gets closer, and now she can see the pipes pressed to his lips and he smiles. Everything in her shrinks back from his pointy smile even as she is pulled toward the music. His stride is steady, even, and slow, yet he reaches her in only a moment, warping space and time to turn miles into steps.
She trembles as he reaches her, so close his pipes nearly touch her chin. The flowers loose their grip, but the music holds her fast. His playing jumps and spirals, rises and falls like the breath of a living thing. Her mind fogs and spins.
He is handsome, she sees. His teeth are not monstrous but beautiful. His hair is light and airy like soft down feathers, and she longs to run her fingers through it. His eyes are the color of the meadow she stands in, and they are beautiful. She reaches her arms out to embrace him.
As I said before, this girl is of no import. Her name is not remembered, nor her family.
And so, being a Girl of No Consequence, there is no prince or knight or sorcerer to ride in from the horizon and save her as the beautiful stranger sinks his sharp teeth into her neck and feeds until he is sated. What is left of her he gives to the flowers for their aid, and he leaves to tell his brethren of the city that Forgot. For those who are not armed with the rules are easy prey.