Soulspell

A short story about faerie circles and soul mates.

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1. Soulspell

 

Marie

 

    “Wait.” His hand, gripping mine tightly, pulls me back towards him. His brown eyes are dark with passion, and at the same time bright with love. “Just....one more.” he says as his lips meet mine, and I immediately wrap my arms around his neck, kissing back hungrily, licking, nipping, tasting him. Finally, I pull away. “Okay, okay. Come on. We need to get inside.”

    He nods, bending to grab his bookbag up off the ground. I watch him for a moment, fighting the urge to pull him back to me, to kiss him until the end of time. I look away as he straightens, and feel his eyes on my back as I pick up my own bag. I look at him, watched his mouth move. “I love you, Marie.” he says.

    “I love you, too, James.” I reply, smiling. He smiles back, then we both turn to go inside.

 

-✩✩✩-

 

“Do you need a ride?” A smooth voice interrupts my thoughts as I gaze at the road in front of the library. I turn. A guy my age is standing a few feet away--and suddenly that’s all there is. Just him, and he is beautiful.

    I blink, my brow furrowing. What the hell is wrong with me? I was just thinking about my amazing boyfriend, and now I’m suddenly enraptured by this total stranger?

    “No, my ride is coming. Thanks, though.”

    He steps closer, and I see the deep blue of his eyes, an unnatural blue that doesn’t look human. My heart stutters in my chest.

    He hold out his hand. Resting in his palm is a small fruit, with skin the color of the sunset. “Hungry?”

    I cannot refuse. Something in those night-blue eyes provokes me to pluck the fruit out of his hand and take a bite.




 

James

 

Marie isn’t at school today.

    When I ask Liz where Marie is, she shrugs. “Dunno. She didn’t text me or anything. She’s probably sick.”

    I spend the day in a fog of worry, stumbling around the school like a mindless zombie.

    Is she okay? What if something happened to her after I left the library? Dammit, I should have stayed until her mom got there.

    I can’t sleep, having heard no word about why Marie was absent, and I spend the night tossing and turning and worrying.

    

    The next morning, my mom calls me into the living room and points at the TV, where a shiny plastic newslady is saying solemnly, “Marie Greyhart has been reported missing as of Wednesday afternoon. She was last heard from at the Bon Air Library just before 5pm. If anyone has any information...”

    I can’t hear anything else over the buzzing in my ears.

    Marie is missing.

    Marie is missing.

    Missing.

    She could have been kidnapped, tortured, raped...killed...

    

    She could have...no, she wouldn’t run away. Not without me.

    Someone took her.

    Someone stole her away from me.


 

6 years later


 

    “Now, does anyone know the legends of the Fae Kingdom? Of the faerie circles, the midnight dance? Anyone?”

    The room remains silent, and Professor McKlean sighs. “No one ever pays attention to those legends anymore. All that matters is those damn phones, and damn technology. That, and sparkling vampires.”

    A chorus of amused chuckles greets that comment, and the professor shakes his head good-naturedly.

    I can’t laugh. I never laugh. I haven’t laughed even once in the six years since Marie disappeared without a trace.

    The only reason I’m even alive and in college is because there is still hope.

    My parents were hesitant to let me go to college all the way in Canadaigua, New York, but I wanted to go to the same place Marie would have gone.

    The police never found Marie, which means that they never found a body, either. There was no evidence of anything, except for a half eaten piece of fruit that turned out to be an unknown species. Scientists and detectives scratched their heads.

    Finally, after a year of no leads, they gave up.

    I kept hope close to my heart. Hope that she would be found alive and well, and not in a dumpster in the city. Hope that she would return home, and return to me. Hope that she wasn’t gone for good.

    

    I almost didn’t leave Virginia, for fear of leaving Marie behind, but Liz convinced me to get out of that state. “When she does come home, she’ll know to look for you in New York. Trust me, she’ll know.”

 

    She hasn’t found me yet, but I’m still here, and taking a folklore class because it sounded like something Marie would take.

    “The legend goes that, every so often, a faerie will find a young human, usually one whom has felt the stirrings of love, and tempt them with faerie fruit. Once the human has taken a bite of the fruit, they are trapped in the faerie’s spell, and will follow the faerie into the fae circle. It is there that they will dance among fae men and women for the rest of their lives. It is nearly impossible to break the spell, but there are whispers of times when it has been done by the true love of the spelled human.”

    My hand shoots up, almost of its own accord. Professor McKlean looks at me, clearly surprised. I never speak in class voluntarily. “Yes, James.”

    “What is the fruit?”

    The professor blinks. “Well, it is not a fruit that is known to the human race. It is small and round, with soft red-orange skin. It’s like a cross between a clementine and a peach. Supposedly, the taste is like that of the ambrosia of Greek gods, heavenly and powerful.”

    My eyes widen. The fruit he described...it sounds exactly like the fruit that was found outside the library six years ago.

    “Where is the fae circle?” I ask, startled by the sound of my own voice.
    The professor is startled, too, startled by my sudden interest. “Well, there are several, actually, scattered all over the world. Typically, they’re in wooded areas. There are even rumors of one right here in New York, not far from Keuka Lake.”

    I nod, jotting down his words.

    Mentally, I am making plans to take a trip to Keuka Lake. Marie’s granparents live by there, and I’ve met them a couple of times since coming to New York. They might be able to help me find the circle.

    Hope blooms in my chest, fresh and almost painful.

 

-✩✩✩-

 

    I’ve never liked camping, but it looks like that’s what I’ll be doing tonight. As I tread through the darkening forest, I look around for a clear spot to set up my tent.

    I suddenly spot an odd glow ahead of me. I frown and glance down at my compass. The sunset is behind me, and the glow doesn’t look like firelight.

    Curious, I walk towards the glow.

    I soon find myself in a warmly lit clearing the size of a high school football field. In the center of the clearing, shimmering gold bars surround what looks like an outdoor ball. The dancers are terrifying: humanoid, but with the faces of demons. They leer at me with glowing cat’s eyes and bloody fangs. I see wicked claws glinting in the light of the bars, and even spot a couple of tails poking through dress skirts and coattails.

    Then I spot a face that is not demonic. Instead, it is achingly familiar. My heart stutters in my chest.

    Could it really be her?

    She has a smile on her face that is soft and dreamy, and she is clothed in a lacy midnight blue dress that I have never seen before. Her long gold hair, longer now than it was six years ago, tumbles down her back in gentle waves. She is older, the softness of teen years smoothed away by fresh adulthood. I realize that she’s twenty-three years old now.

    I watch as a faerie with fangs and glowing blue eyes hands her a small red-orange fruit. She grins at the creature, then devours the fruit as eagerly as she once kissed me against the wall of the library.

    She is swept into the arms of a snake-faced dancer, and I watch as she gracefully twirls across the grass on bare feet.

    

    “You.”

    I turn, startled by the smooth voice that comes from behind me. Standing a few feet away is a woman with long, smooth, russet-colored hair and sparkling black eyes. Her skin is pale, cheeks kissed with a healthy pink flush that matches the soft rosette color of her lips. She is clothed in a vivid scarlet gown that flows over generous curves, and her feet are bare. She is beautiful, ephemeral, enchanting.

    She gazes at me, eyes glittering with amusement. “You think you can free her?” She motions to Marie, happily floating from dancer to demon-faced dancer. “She is happy, free.”

    “You’ve locked her inside a cage full of demons!” I cry. I realize that I am speaking to the Queen of Faerie herself, and know that I should be afraid.

    I am not afraid, however, and glare at the queen.

    She laughs, a sound like sweet silver bells. “She sees no demons. All she sees are beautiful men and women who accept her for who she is, and care not about the size of her breasts, or the scars on her skin. She is happier than she was before, free from the stress of human life. I have granted to her a precious gift.”

    “No. You’ve stolen her life away. A life that she was supposed to live with me, if she wanted to.” I reply, watching as Marie laughs at something her current dance partner has said. She is so beautiful in the golden light, face clean of the anxiety that it once held.

    “Would you like to try to take her, then?” the queen asks. I hear the challenge in her voice, and the mockery.

Without looking away from Marie, I say, “Yes.”

    “Very well.”

    I suddenly find myself inside the cage, surrounded by the demonic dancers. Marie is in the arms of a woman wearing a violet dress. I see that the woman’s beautiful face is interrupted by a snake’s mouth, forked tongue flicking between needle-sharp fangs.

    Marie’s eyes meet mine, but there is no recognition, only slight confusion. She can tell that I don’t belong here. Her dance partner sends her spinning into my arms.

    “Marie!” I say, gazing down at her. She’s still a couple of feet shorter than me; although she has grown taller, I have, too.

    Marie looks up at me, and I see the faerie spell in her eyes, clouding her memories of me. She doesn’t know who I am. I remember something she told me once, about always being home when she sees the stars in New York.

    “Marie, look up. Look up at the sky. Do you see the stars? You’re home, Marie, you’re home!”

    She looks up, and I do, too, but I can’t see the stars through the thick foliage. I mutter a curse and look back at Marie just as she is pulled out of my arms.

    “No!” I say, reaching out. In a flash, I’m back outside the circle, outside the golden bars.

    The queen watches me with an amused smile on her face, and I fight back tears.

    “Come back tomorrow night if you wish to try again.” she says.

    I nod. I will not give up on Marie.

Marie

 

    This is a beautiful place.

The light is always golden, like a sunset reflected off the ocean. All round me, beautiful men and women swirl and dance in brightly colored fabrics.

    I am swept from arm to arm, dancing with the beautiful men and women. One of them kisses me, and I taste a heavenly thing on her lips and somehow don’t care that I’m a girl kissing a woman. In this place, it doesn’t matter.

    Every so often, the blue-eyed stranger gives me a fresh piece of fruit, and I bite into it eagerly, letting the sweet honey-smooth taste flood my senses with pleasure. He smiles at me, lips curving in a slow, languid movement, then I am swept back into the dance.

    Nothing matters here. Not my name, not my age, not my gender. No one cares that I have messy blonde hair and acne-studded skin and a chest that barely protrudes.

    This is a place of beauty and joy, of no judgements and no pain.

    I never want to leave this place.

 

    As I dance with a man whose seems to be made of sparkling gold, a pair of warm brown eyes suddenly meets mine. The view is foggy, not quite clear, but I can make out the desperation lining the pupils.

    I change dancers again, and now those eyes are inches away from mine. They’re still foggy, like they don’t belong in this place. They don’t belong, he doesn’t belong. Why is he here? I think he’s been here before, once.

    His mouth moves, saying something that I cannot make out. Marie. Marie?

    Then he says something about the sky and stars.

    I look up, but I cannot see the sky through the leafy green tree branches.

    A thought worms into my mind, a thought about stars and home. The thought disappears quickly, and so do those warm brown eyes as I am pulled into a new dancer’s arms.

 

    He is back again. Why doesn he keep coming back? He does not belong here.

    He speaks of the sky again, I look up again. An odd feeling twinges in my chest when I cannot find the stars. I look back at him. His lips suddenly press against mine. I can taste desperate hope on the curve of his mouth.

    Something sparks in my mind, an odd thought: James.

    I am pulled away, and all thoughts fade.


 

    Again, again, it’s him again.

    “Marie, please! Please! It’s me, it’s James. You’re Marie, you’re the love of my life. You want to be an artist and we’re going to live together some day in New York, and adopt a black pug puppy, and a have child of our very own who will have my black hair and your green eyes. Please, tell me you remember!”

    He kisses me, hard and desperate. I feel his tears staining my face.

    Marie? James? Artist in New York with a black pug puppy. A little boy with green eyes and black hair.

    A little boy with green eyes and black hair.

    My eyes. His hair.

    His hair?

    Him?

    James? James. James!
    I break the kiss, eyes wide. I look into the deep, chocolate brown of his eyes, of James’ eyes.

    I see the hope flare in his irises. “Please tell me it’s not too late.”

    I feel the tug on my arm as my next dance parter tries to pull me away, but I shake the hand off. “James?” I say, voice small.

    His eyes widen. “Marie.” he replies, and somehow he’s managed to weave an entire world of love into the those two syllables.

    My partner grabs me again, tugging hard. I cling tightly to James, to my love, to my soul mate. “James!”

    He holds me tightly, guiding me away from the dancers. “I got you, Marie. I’m not letting go.”

    Slowly, slowly, he pulls me out of the place of light and color and joy.

    I turn, and finally see the golden bars shimmering in the moonlight. The faeries dance, faces no longer beautiful. Now, they are beasts with fangs and claws and poison, screeching and beckoning. I shudder and turn back to James. He gently rests his hand on my cheek. I see now that he is older, and when I look down I see that I am older, too.

    “It’s been a few years.” James explains, noticing my confusion.

I look up at him again. “You-”

“I never forgot. I never stopped searching. I never stopped grieving. And when someone mentioned the legend of the faeries, I remembered the fruit that was found on the sidewalk in front of the library. I started researching, and somehow managed to find the circle.

“I would have spent my entire life trying to find you again, Marie, even if all I turned up was your dead body.” James whispers.

I feel tears streaming down my face. I curve my hand around the back of his neck and pull him to me, kissing him. Six years of lost love surges between us, and our souls entwine gracefully.

After what seems like a thousand years, I pull away. Then I look up and smile. James follows my gaze.

“We’re in New York.” I tell him.

“What makes you say that?”

“When I see those stars, I know that I’m home.”

 

_..✩.._




 

    

    

 

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