I use the spellings Fairy, faerie and faery interchangeably, although I believe the words can be used to denote slightly different kinds of fair folk. In Wales, we tend to not really care how we spell it because we're too busy trying to make sure they don't upset the cats.
Samhain (Halloween) has always been a special festival for me. At a time when the veil between the worlds is thin and can be crossed by those who know the paths (and those who stumble onto them), the faeries are out in force, causing all kinds of mischief.
Many Welsh myths and legends are bound up with mysteries involving the fae folk, who get involved in all kinds of shenanigans, sometimes to help, sometimes to hinder, and sometimes with murderous intent.
No Celt with knowledge or affinity with the old ways, the old stories or the little customs that linger, would tell you that fairy tales are nice. There may be dainty fairies with gossamer wings, tiny. chubby babies sleeping in flowers, or magical animals by the dozen but they're all waiting to curdle your milk, lure you off the path to your doom, or tangle your horse's mane in the night.
Fairy Tales are dark and twisted things, like the people who inhabit them.
Don't get me wrong, I love Fairy Tales and I love faeries. They might not be pixie dust and daydreams, but you can always trust a faery to tell a cracking good tale - mostly lies, or at least almost incomprehensible truths.
Like our Celtic faeries, those who inhabit the pages of Willow's Way are generally not of the sleeping-in-a-pansy variety, although there are plenty of those around. Willow and his peers can be surprisingly boring and frustrating. Sometimes Tay feels it's all too much, that he simply can't bear the constant danger, the wholly unfamiliar world he finds himself and the heartwrenching pain of having been torn from the only family he knows, never to see them again. And then, sometimes he's just plain bored.
Slowly, Willow becomes more of a friend and less of a pain in the butt, while Cale becomes less of a friend and more of a monster. It's a bit much for a somewhat sheltered boy from the Valleys, but he has no choice but to press on and ride the tale to its end, no matter where that might be.
Dark Fairy Tales Book 1
Cale always told Tay that fairy tales were dark. But they always have happy endings, right?
Taylor Preston is a normal sixteen-year-old whose biggest worries are his GCSE exams. He’s right in the middle of them, but he has a summer of fun with his parents to look forward to after. Or not.
Despite their promise to spend the summer focusing on their one and only son, Tay’s parents, Local Authority specialist foster carers, take on one more special case.
Willow’s arrival throws more than Tay’s summer into chaos. Suddenly, his best friend is possessed by a demon, his parents aren’t his parents after all, and he’s literally living a nightmare in a fairy tale world that as dark as anything Cale ever warned him about. All he has is Willow and a burning desire to save his friend before he succumbs to the demon and Willow kills him.
It was dark when they left the club. Most of the younger kids had already left, and the rest of them tumbled out into the cold, clear night. After a rowdy round of goodbyes, the four friends headed for home. Willow looked shell-shocked. Ally was still chatting away, and Tay had an idea it wasn’t helping.
Almost as soon as he stepped onto the pavement, Tay got the feeling they were being watched. He tried to look around surreptitiously, not to worry anyone else, but he couldn’t see anything.
“Do you feel it too?” Cale asked quietly, not for Ally to hear.
“Yeah. What’s going on?”
“I can’t see anything. I don’t think anyone’s following us, but I’m totally creeped out.”
“I think Willow’s feeling it too,” Cale said, nodding his head. Willow’s eyes were everywhere, his back tense as a bowstring.
“What can we do?”
“Just have to keep alert.”
They were walking past the park when Willow stopped dead and turned his head from side to side, his eyes scanning the area.
Tay glanced towards the park, and for a moment, he panicked when he saw what looked like oily black smoke rolling over the ground, reaching for them with its tendril fingers. He blinked, and when he opened his eyes, there was nothing but mist.
“I’m freaking out here. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
“Don’t need to tell me twice. Come on Willow, get a move on.”
Willow looked around once more, then nodded and started walking again. Tay saw the terrifying crawling darkness in every shadow. Black fingers reached for him from every alley, every opening. Without realizing, he walked closer to Cale.
“Do you want me to put my arm around you?”
“If you get any closer, you’ll be crawling up me. Do you want my big strong protective arm around you?”
“What’s freaking you out so much?”
At the corner of Tay’s street, the friends parted. None of them were hopeful they’d be able to meet up the next day. Indeed, Ally argued against it as vehemently as Lily had.
“See you Monday then,” Cale said. “Take care.”
Cale nodded. “Watch your back.”
“Just go home.”
Cale grinned and followed Ally, leaving Tay and Willow to trudge down the street.
* * * *
When Cale had walked Ally home, he headed back through the park. A cold wind bit into him and he shivered, pulling his jacket tighter around him. He caught movement out of the corner of his eye—something black. Freezing, he spun toward the movement. There was nothing there. Moments later, a squirrel ran up the trunk of a tree, scaring him half to death.
“You’re losing it, Bishop,” he muttered to himself, then turned back to the path. He froze again and tilted his head back, running his eyes up the column of black smoke. Somewhere near the top were two glowing red lights. They looked suspiciously like eyes. “Oh shit.”