I didn't get a prompt this week so the brief is free range.
I hope you enjoy.
Hours later, close to midnight, Owen scrambled down the path toward the lake. A low moon lit his path but leeched colour from the world, turning it blue and silver. Owen shivered and pulled his coat closer around his throat. It was late summer but already the nights were turning cold. He clutched the parcel he was holding tight against his chest. He was by no means convinced that the “gift” Aggie had provided would bring anything but scornful laughter, but she’d never let him down before. Three nights, she’d told him. “Three nights. Three gifts. Then we’ll see.”
The lake lay at the foot of a rippled mountain range that staggered around it in a broken semicircle. It was as if some giant had come along when the earth was forming, found it to be whipped and light like mousse and took a spoonful. One side of the rough bowl was steep and almost fluted, while the other, after a slight rise over the lip, swept gently downwards into the valley below. It was over this lip that Owen now strolled, following a well-worn path from the top of the cliff, between two of its ripples where the slope was less rocky and steep. Even so, it was uneasy going for those unused to it, especially at night. Fortunately, Own had wandered the sheep paths all his life and his feet were sure enough to navigate with far less light than the moon provided.
By the time he reached the bank, a strange hush had fallen. It was this that had drawn him here the first time. He’d been walking back from somewhere, Gethin’s probably. It was before they’d both left for uni. It was a shame Gethin had chosen Cambridge. Owen missed his friend, but he had neither the means nor the desire to attend such a prestigious university – or such an English one. He was lucky the course he wanted was available at Swansea, which was not much more than an hour away, giving him plenty of opportunity to come home to see to Aggie.
On the last night before Gethin left, they’d had a going away party in the village hall. He’d gone back to Gethin’s after, and, fair play, he did have a belly-full of cider before he even got there. When everyone else had gone, Gethin had opened a bottle of Penderyn whiskey. It turned out to be his father’s and to say Gethin Snr was displeased would be understatement of the year. By the time Owen staggered along the path over the cliff tops he was as pissed as a parrot.
He hadn’t noticed at first. That silence. There was always sound. The wind. Small things in the grass. Bigger things eating the grass. Sheep that is. There were sheep everywhere. Bloody nuisances. At least they didn’t wander down to the village anymore. He’d been scared out of sleep plenty of times by sheep knocking the lids off the dustbins. Nowadays, the farmers had to fence them in. It was a pain having to climb stiles, but probably for the best, in the end.
That night, there had been no sheep. No owls. No anything.
By the time the silence had reached the place, deep inside his head, that was still functioning at something close to normal, he was at the place where the path diverged. The right fork led down to the lane that ran to his cottage, the other wound down to the lake. He’d hesitated for no more than a moment, before taking the left path. Some strange urgency had overtaken him and he’d sped up, tripping over rocks and almost falling more than once. When he’d reached the lake, he’d felt stupid. Panting hard, with his heart hammering against his ribs, he’d gazed out over the water, waiting to catch his breath. Then he’d seen it; he’d seen him.
There were no islands in the lake, no protruding rocks or stepping stones, yet there he’d been apparently sitting on the surface of the water itself, combing hair that must have been three feet long,
silver in the moonlight.
At first, Owen had though him to be a mermaid. It had taken a while of breathless voyeurism to discover he was male. It had, in fact, been the point when, as if he’d known Owen was watching, the boy had flowed up to stand on the water. Half-turning he’d stretched upward, then arched his back, giving Owen a perfect view of a long, lean body with a defined musculature and…. Of course he’d looked. He couldn’t help looking. A lovely boy, naked in the moonlight? Where the hell was Owen’s gaze supposed to go? Downwards of course. His cock was perfect.
Owen shivered again. One look was all he’d got before the boy spun and sank into the water. For an instant Owen had been worried, but he’d known all along, in the back of his mind, that this was no ordinary boy. Although he’d tried to blame it on his drunkenness, Owen knew he’d seen a fairy. Of course, he’d said nothing to anyone. Neither had he told of the sightings he’d had since. Four – no five – times he’d stood just here on the bank and watched the boy rise to sit on an invisible rock and comb his hair. The last few times, the lilting notes of a strange song had floated to Owen on the wind and he’d become entranced, sometimes finding himself alone on the shore with the dawn breaking and no memory of what had happened. Of course, he hadn’t told Aggie that part. She never would have helped him if she’d known he was already under the fairy boy’s spell.
With a sigh, Owen clutched the box containing Aggie’s gift tighter to his chest. What if it didn’t work? What if it did?
Now's the time to head off and find out what the other flashers are offering this week