Hi everyone, yes I'm still alive, though only barely after a week of full time (33 hours 45 minutes, not including the fact that I get paid for public holidays!) work. I have decided I need to put in some effort to keep up my blog again, and so here's a non-scary little Hallowe'en story for you, written by me, and inspired by this picture from The Lady Lair.
Hidden behind some willows at a bend in the stream is an old wooden jetty leading up to an old stone cottage. In Autumn, the leaves turn red and golden brown and yellow and the trees stand in a colourful blanket that covers the river-smoothed rocks and in places the drifts reach up and over the jetty. The only way to read the cottage is by rowboat up to this jetty, then by carefully stepping log to log and plank to plank up the jetty that turns into a set of rickety stairs up to the courtyard in front of the big blue front door of the house. The cobblestones here are weathered, but smooth, and free of leaves as if someone had only recently swept them all away. But noone comes here anymore, and the door creaks as a breeze blows through; it is never locked. On the other side of the door, the sunlight streams, not through the windows, which, though intact, have grown cloudy with dirt, but down from the gaps in the green-tiled roof. The floor is dusty and in places covered in moss and lichen, and further into the house the light dims under the intact sections of roof. The kitchen smells faintly of damp, but the stove is intact, and a small bundle of wood still sits next to it in an indestructible basket made of willow saplings. In the corner of the kitchen is a door, and on the other side another courtyard with a stone well, and beyond, a glade of elm and birch trees, where a child's swing hangs, forlorn, from one rope.
But instead of this melancholy scene, a scene that only hints at happier times, you see the sparkling lights and hear the choral voices of the faerie who have taken this place as their own, and you gaze in childlike wonder. You see fae children lined up across the swing, playing clapping games and laughing. You see the hearth in full flame, and warm your hands, while a small stout woman stirs a pot of fragrant stew on top. You see that the lichen and moss are gardens of flowers and vegetables, with fae of all sizes tending them and singing a working song. To stay and watch too long is not advised, so with reluctance, you turn away, open the big blue door, and cross the neatly swept courtyard. But before you step back into your little row boat, you kick up the red and golden brown and yellow leaves so that they fall about you in a flurry of colour, and grin, knowing that you'll never tell a soul about the old stone cottage at the end of the old wooden jetty hidden behind the willows in the bend in the stream.