The Lure of the Fae

By Amelia Brown

I stood in the middle of a circle.  I should have known better, for it was formed of mushrooms.
            One moment passed to the next, and with it my vision of new trees and lemon-green changed to gnarled wood and dark forest.
            A man with thin-tipped ears stood before me, his stance so light I could not be sure if he was floating.  He paid me a courtly bow, then extended a hand of tapered fingers, each exquisitely beautiful.
            But I was familiar with the Fae.  I knew to let my heart leap into my throat, and feel my pulse beating in my hands.  The clammy sweat that began to trickle down my back was appropriate.  The tension in my gut of palpitating fear made sense.
            I closed my eyes inside the faerie ring and froze for the count of ten.
            When I flicked my eyes open, I was back.
            I stepped quickly away from the mushrooms and let myself rest against a narrow tree, catching my breath, and soaking up the newness of the glade around me, letting my heart return to steady beating.
            And I tried not to think of the age-old forest that had greeted me—the one I saw behind my eyelids every time I blinked.  Even as I pushed away the image, I thought of it with longing.
            Suddenly regret filled me.  What had I done?  Had I, in truth, left Faerieland?  And the Fae man with the tipped ears… had I left him, too?  His crystal eyes still seemed to bore into me despite the realm between us.
            What a fool I was!
            But then, I remembered, I had long thought practicality a mark of the foolish.
            I stepped into the ring once more, and when my eyes next opened, I took the hand that was offered me.

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