She tried not to panic.
Their footsteps were soft, delicate prances on the old wooden floors. The only reason she knew they were close is because the grain would crack just slightly, would dip and creak just enough to give away their proximity. But they moved fast. Too fast for her to know for sure which direction they were coming in.
Drawing her knees into her chest she held them tight, blinking through watery eyes, taking quiet, shallow breaths.
It was happening again. They were coming for her.
She couldn’t see anything in the darkness. Not that she’d want to, she knew the horrors the Fae brought.
They weren’t anything like she’d read in the fairytales. There was no magic pixie dust to help her fly to Neverland.
Sure, they were blindingly beautiful, ethereal creatures, but their fragile appearance was misleading. All it took was a whisper, a touch of their breath against your skin to destroy you. To change you forever.
She inhaled a shaky breath. Another deafening rumble of thunder cracked outside her window. She pressed her back against the wall of the closet, trying to blend in to the shadows. The familiar scents of home– clean laundry in a basket in the corner, the fading scent of earth and mud coming from the soles of her shoes– made her chest tighten, her throat thicken with tears.
She breathed deep, heard the wind rap against the window. A slow tear rolled down her face . The first few taps of rain danced across the rooftop.
She should have known, no great thing could ever come without a price.
She rubbed at angry tears with the back of her hand. The rain puttered harder, big, thick drops against the ceiling.
She should have never let him kiss her.
That first day, when she’d first laid eyes on him at the far end of the Lavender fields– she’d known he wasn’t like anything else in this world. His hair had shined a pure golden yellow, like Sunflowers. His eyes, even from a distance, looked the same eerie purple as the Lavender surround him, with a touch of Morning Glory.
Bailey had barked to warn her away, to lead her back to the farmhouse and the cows waiting to be milked. But she didn’t listen. She stood frozen, awed at the boy’s stunning, surreal beauty, watching as he picked the flowers, twirled them between his fingers and brought them to his nose, closing his eyes to enjoy their sweet scents.
His gaze had caught hers across the expanse and her heart had skipped a beat. The moment was something of pure fantasy, not the type of thing that occurred in reality. When he walked, it was with the grace and patience of someone who had an eternity. And when he was finally close enough to touch, she noticed a moment too late how strange and empty those eyes were–ancient.
She fought the sob building in her chest. They would take her soon, force her into a life of servitude the wind and rain, the sun and clouds.
See, he’d found her beautiful too. He’d touched her face, twirled her hair and whispered things that made her blush. All the while, he murmured magic beneath those inviting lips, breathed into her by will alone.
The Fae were collectors. They liked beautiful and shiny things. Baubles made of gold or glass or crystals. She was able to fend them off long enough with her locket, then her mother’s china, an old music box, momma’s engagement ring. Until she ran out of things to barter and all that was left to take was her.
A creak in the floor. She held her breath. The weather stilled at her command. Shadows bounced in the small opening below the closet door. It swung open.