Sylvia had always heard that calling a faerie lover would end in disaster but that had never stopped her from wanting one. She read everything she could get her hands on to try and find a loophole, something that would give her a glimmer of hope. Maybe there was a faerie man out there somewhere who didn’t play by the rules, one who could love a human and not leave her crazy, blind or dead when it was over. Or maybe there was a spell she could cast that would make her impervious to the consequences of loving a faerie.
Now as she looked at the ancient book she’d found in an old book shop that glimmer of hope poked a hole through the impossible shining down on the words that just might make it happen. The book was handmade, tied together with leather thongs that threatened to crumble every time she turned a page. Dust puffed out between the pages and she had to squint to make out the small, delicate script but there it was; the spell she’d been looking for. It was simple. So simple she was having trouble believing it would work but the writer had attested to its efficacy by gluing to the page a fine glistening hair said to belong to her beloved. It was wound into a spiral, silvery white with just a hint of green and looked to be at least two feet long.
After reading the spell she sat staring at the hair, the urge to touch it bordering on need. It took her more than an hour to make up her mind, alternately pacing the room then sitting to stare at it some more before finally giving in. Sylvia took a deep breath, closed her eyes briefly then gingerly let the tip of her finger alight upon the glinting hair. An immediate warmth spread from her finger all the way up to her elbow before she pulled her hand away. Three times she touched it with the same reaction each time but after the third time the hair on the page flashed a soft, pulsing green light like a firefly. In that moment the decision was made.
The forest was dark and still the night of the warm new moon in August. With just a candle to light her way Sylvia slowly stepped along the familiar trail, crickets singing their chorus, a cacophony of sound that drowned out the sound of her footsteps and breath as she stumbled along. At the huge ancient oak tree she placed the candle on the ground, plucked a single strand of hair from her head then placed it at the foot of the tree. She hugged the tree, kissed the bark, and then closing her eyes said the three simple words from the spell book and waited.
The same warmth she had felt from the faerie hair began spreading through her starting at her feet then climbing up her entire body until she was so warm the desire to free herself from the cotton dress she wore became a priority. But she knew from reading the author’s account in the book that continuing to hug the tree was essential to completing the spell. So she hugged, clinging to the rough surface like a life boat in the sea, sweat pouring down her face, between her breasts, behind her knees.
Just when she thought she couldn’t stand the heat anymore a low voice whispered in her ear, “Here, let me help you with that”, and the dress slipped from her body like melting butter. She looked up. The tree was gone and in its place stood a tall, glowing man more beautiful than anything she’d ever seen. His skin was a warm coffee and cream brown that contrasted dramatically with his extremely long silvery green hair. The only piece of clothing he wore was a suede breach clout and a single silver chain dangling from one of his pointy ears that brushed his shoulder as he dipped his head down to kiss Sylvia’s trembling lips. She felt the waves of heat from his kiss all the way to her toes, a gasp escaping her open mouth when he finally pulled his head back. His lips turned up in a warm smile as a quiet laugh sounding like the rustling of leaves slipped from between his star-white teeth. Taking her hand, his green firefly eyes flashing into hers he breathed, “Shall we walk?”
Her candle flickered and went out.
The only light in the woods came from the dryad’s body which glowed a pale green casting ghostly tree shadows as they walked. He led her to a hollow where the moss was so thick she sunk into it up to her ankles. It was there they made love, the kind only angels whisper of when clouds cover the moon and rain threatens.
Sylvia woke by the ancient oak, her head pillowed on her crumpled dress, a golden sky predicting a glorious sunrise. She dressed, picked up the cold candle and trudged back to her house, where she fell into a deep sleep. When she woke at sunset she saw something glinting on her window sill – a long silver-green hair was coiled neatly on the beam glinting in the purple of dusk.
For days Sylvia felt lost like part of her was missing. She kept forgetting things, simple things like brushing her hair in the morning or turning out the lights before going to bed. Then a longing set in, a deep velvet hunger for something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Chocolate became her best friend and ice cream was the only thing that stilled the heat that rose into her throat every night at moonrise.
Days, weeks, months poured out of her life until it was August again and the new moon found her at the ancient oak once more. But the words didn’t work this time and the night grew darker while she hugged the tree watering its bark with her tears.
After dragging her weary body back home in the morning rain Sylvia found the old book of spells tucked behind the bread box in her neglected kitchen as she waited for her toast to pop. After spreading chocolate frosting on her toast she took the book to the table and opened its crumbling pages to the spell. She looked at the two strands of hair glued to the bottom of the page, the longing clutching at her heart like tiny fingers begging for air. Then she noticed some diminutive words just below them, so small she had to get a magnifying glass to read them. There in the grey light of a drizzly August morning Sylvia read the fine print:
This only works once so enjoy it while you can.