Adrienne Powell is currently studying linguistics at Brigham Young University. When she is not writing (which is rare), she is usually dancing, playing with her little brothers, creating some kind of ... [+]

Image of Long Story Short Award - Fall 2020
Image of Short Fiction
Just before the snow falls, the fairies lay their eggs. To you, they look like plain white berries, hanging on little green-leafed branches of shrubs. But go out at night and you will see them hatch. The little people come out in their bright clothes, gossamer wings, gowns of petals and tunics of leaves, sparkling like miniature stars against the dark tangle of trees.

All through the night they dance, to music mournful and gay, solemn and merry. Their flutes and viols mingle with the wind as their steps merge with the dance of the falling leaves. Maybe some nights you have heard them through your window.

Step outside when heaven is moonless. Steal into the forest and watch the revelry. Soak in the dance, be intoxicated by the song, spend your night in wonder. But do not get caught.

I was caught once. Many Octobers ago I slipped out to watch the fairies. I was entranced as I hid in the trees and observed the revelry. I stole closer and closer, unable to resist the pull of the music, the longing to join in the dance. I stepped too close and, with whirl and a tug, was pulled in.

Without sound, they spoke to me. Stranger, if you wish so much to join us, you will learn to dance.

Pulling, whirling, sparks and swaying. Leaps and bending. I had no choice. I danced and danced and danced and could not stop. I danced until my feet bled and my toes were numb from the cold earth. I danced until my vision blurred and my head wobbled and colors swirled the world into a kaleidoscope. I danced until my arms went limp and my fingers were pulsing with too much blood. But still I could not stop. I danced until all went black.

I woke up in the early light on the hard, frosted earth. There was a mark on my wrist, shaped like a fairy ring. I could not feel my limbs, nor did I have the strength to move them for a long time. Not until the sun was high and the frost fled did I find the strength to crawl back home.

That is why every year, when the Pleiades are at the peak of their flight, I disappear. That is the night when I am pulled back to the forest to dance until I collapse. And that, reader, is why I sometimes act fey, especially in October.

So go into the forest. Watch the revelry. Bask in the song. Be enchanted. But do not get caught.