Scarlet Moon (A Tale of the Fey)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
I wrote this originally for a short story contest after the fashion of the darker faerie tales.

Submitted: January 01, 2010

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Submitted: January 01, 2010

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Scarlet Moon
On that one fateful night, I dreamed of faeries. I should have known better; in fact, I did know better. I dreamed them anyways. I just never expected that they would come. You have to believe me. No matter what I tell you, you have to believe it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t want this to happen. But it did, and it is my duty to tell you what happened… no matter how much I want to forget it. 
My life up until that night had been unusual compared to the lives of most people who lived in the village. The village was placed in the midst of a forest, just a league or so away from our neighboring tribe. However, since the neighboring village had been our sworn enemy ever since the day of Creation, the residents of my village did not wander out of our territory. We survived off the land, collecting fruits from the trees and bushes and sending out huntsmen to track down wild animals that we could eat. Overall, we were just the normal everyday tribal village in the middle of a forest. That is, except for the forest on the eastern side of the village. Everyone avoided it, and rumor had it that the cursed faeries of the night lived in there.
Yes, the faeries that lived in the forest were evil and horrid creatures. They were grotesque and beautiful creatures, often at the same time. Almost all caused mischief for the villagers, and if you did not put out bowls of milk or offerings for them, they were said to take revenge upon your family. When they were called, they came right away; the faeries knew when someone was thinking or dreaming of them. Tall, small, human, and animal faeries were present, and many could shift their form at will. No matter what disguise they were in, there was always a mark on their palm that revealed their true identities as faeries. The villagers lived in constant fear of them, and any contact with the forest was forbidden at all costs.
This is why, when my mother found me as an infant, swaddled in cloth, on the very edge of the eastern forest, the villagers were quite unhappy about her decision to keep me. My mother, Lilac Sky, named me in the traditional way of the village—using the conditions of nature and life around me at the specific time I was born, or in this case, found. Lilac Sky always insisted that the moon was scarlet when she found me that night; hence, my name became Scarlet Moon. Just one year later, she gave birth to my sister, Silver Flower. No one, not even myself, knew who Silver’s father was, and the scandal took the attention off me for a little while.
Growing up, the other children did not mock me; rather, they feared me. Lilac Sky and others had told me that I was beautiful, but until the children started fearing my unnatural looks, I had not thought anything of it. Personally, I thought that it was just my eyes—unnaturally green and large. The fright was complete when I grew to be five feet and eight inches tall, which was a full foot taller than the second tallest person in the village. Their fear was partially the reason I never showed anyone the strange mark on my hand; it would just be another reason to distrust me. I was sure it was just a birthmark; it wasn’t as if I was actually a faery.
Out of all my studies and chores, I had one great love that I kept secret from everyone else—including Lilac Sky and Silver Flower. No matter how many chores, I always took time to listen to the stories of Sour Wind, the village elder. This would have been perfectly acceptable if not for one detail—the stories I loved the most were the ones that featured the world of Faery. To my delight, Sour Wind had many stories about faeries. She told me about the good and the bad, the dark and the light. She even told me about faery markings, though I sat on my hands whenever she mentioned them. Sour Wind did not care that I was interested in these stories, but she gave me a warning every time I asked for a story. “Beware those fancies of yours, child. Remember that before bed; cleanse your mind of this faery talk. You must never dream of faeries, or else they will come. And when they come, they will bring their mischief and evils with them. You just beware.”
And so it would have gone on, if on my seventeenth birthday I had done what she had said and cleansed my mind. But I didn’t. Festivities had gone on for what felt like forever because in the village, the seventeenth year was the crossing into womanhood. So, sleepy and weary with my stomach pleasantly full of food, I fell asleep and dreamed of faeries. Sour Wind was right of course. The faeries came, and they came the very next day. Just no one knew it until it was too late.
“Greetings. My name is Fey Night, and this is my brother, Forest Storm. Is it possible for us to stay in your lovely village for a little while until we are able to continue on our journey?”
Those were the first words of the newcomers that arrived in our village the very next day. Newcomers were very rare in my village because of our isolated territory. Fey Night and Forest Storm were the first people I had ever seen that had not grown up in the village. The assumption that they were traveling alone was enough to cause a disturbance in the daily life of the villagers. It was their appearances that really caused a splash.
They looked positively stunning, not to mention completely different from the rest of the villagers. In fact, as Silver Flower so kindly pointed out during the noontime meal, they looked like me. Fey Night was around my height with long black hair as opposed to my long brown hair and bright green angular eyes that peered out from her normal complexion. Her willowy form reminded me of my own, and her tapered fingers seemed to dance wildly with a magic of their own when she moved her hands. Forest Storm was not much different except that he was a boy and had short brown hair that seemed ruffled at all times. He was about a full six inches taller than I was, and to be fair, he had a fairly muscular build unlike Fey Night, who was as slim as a new sapling tree.
My neighbors, Rock Fairth and Star Shine, agreed to house the strange new inhabitants being the friendliest of all the villagers and the most welcoming to newcomers. Forest Storm and Fey Night were most gracious guests, and most of the villagers fell in love with them from the start, ignoring their looks and their sketchy backgrounds. I thought that I was the only one who distrusted them, but then Sour Wind voiced her thoughts as well. “Those two newcomers will bring nothing but trouble. Just you wait and see.” Then she fixed her beady eyes on me and asked in her crotchety voice, “Do you know why they’re here, little miss Scarlet Moon?”
I shook my head silently and fled as soon as I could. At the time I had no idea why the newcomers had come to our village. I had put the faery dreams out of my mind and completely forgotten that I had dreamed them. At least, that was until people started disappearing.
It all started when one of the villagers went to wake his son up to go hunting and found his bed empty. The bed was unmade, but there was no sign of any struggle. The worry came later, when the son did not return by noontime. A scouting party was sent out to search for him, and while they were gone, another person—a girl this time—was missing. The scouts didn’t return back until evening, and when they did, they looked like they had been mentally and emotionally scarred by whatever it had been that they had seen. By then, the entire village had gathered round to see what the commotion was and what the scouts had found. Without one word, they opened up a bag and dumped its contents on the ground. 
The villagers let out a collective gasp, and mothers covered children’s eyes with their hands so they wouldn’t have to behold this ghastly sight. The contents of the bag were bones. Not just any bones that is; they were human bones. With one look, I knew they were the remains of the son and the girl that had disappeared just hours before. The father seemed to have come to this conclusion as well; he ran into his tent and lapsed into mourning. 
A committee meeting of the villagers was called for that very night, to try to understand what had happened. I realized with a certain sort of dread that I alone knew what had happened to the poor victims. Fey Night and Forest Storm were walking together in deep thought, holding hands and seeming to be oblivious to all other problems in the world. With a mixture of fear, desperation, and a strange bit of jealousy, I ran back to my simple dwelling inconspicuously, avoiding attention from my mother and sister, and stayed inside for the rest of the night, trying to cleanse my mind of all traces of faeries. 
The next day, two more people were missing, and again, their skeletons were found in the outside forest, closer to the eastern edge than the last ones. The disappearances continued for the next two days, and the fear in the village mounted to unspeakable proportions. Sometimes, screams were heard in the night, and though many tried to discern the source of the screams, the location was never found. The screams went on.
One day, Sour Wind disappeared. I was by then the only one who looked after her, and I was the only one who really cared deeply about her disappearance. Her skeleton was found the next day, right outside the eastern edge of the forest. As usual, most tried to get on with life as normally as possible, but I knew that something was amiss. I knew it had something to do with Fey Night and Forest Storm, but no one believed me. So I lived on in my belief, contrary as it was to everyone else’s beliefs.
Then it happened. I could not sleep for the life of me, so I lay there wide-awake thinking of the many misfortunes that had befallen my poor village in the past few days. Indeed, by that time, there were only a few people left; even my neighbors had perished. While I was lying there, I heard a soft lulling song and then someone leaving the dwelling. I walked to where my sister slept normally and noted with a rising fear that she was not in her bed. Running outside, I stopped and realized that I had no idea where she had been. A scream sounded out in the night. 
With a strange sense of intuition, I knew that Silver Flower had been the one who screamed and that she was in grave danger. I headed towards the eastern edge of the forest, with an unknown force guiding my steps as I ran. Not knowing what I’d find there, I ran with a relentless fury towards where my sister waited in great peril. With my intentions fixed on saving Silver Flower, I did not hear the soft footsteps following me as I ran.
When I reached the outside edge of the forest, I only hesitated a minute before dashing through the trees and into the woods. Immediately, I could feel a presence watching me, and voices seemed to swirl around me, taunting my efforts. I didn’t know where to go; I knew I was lost. My sister would never be saved, and they would find her skeleton in the woods tomorrow just like everyone else’s. I fell to my knees, and my vision seemed to fade before my eyes. It was hopeless. I would have probably stayed there until morning, but one voice stood out from the whisperings of the forest. It gave me strength to push forward, and I stood up slowly. For I never had backed down from a challenge. I was going to find my sister.
I had only run a few more yards before I stumbled into a clearing. What I saw there stopped me dead in my tracks. I could feel my heart turning to ice, and my brain paused. My sister was lying on the ground, her neck at an odd angle and blood pooling around her. Fey Night was standing over her, about to lower her jaw on my sister’s limp wrist. She had turned into a feral beast only known in stories. Her hair had turned into a stringy mess, and her eyes were the color of the night. Her teeth looked jagged, and an evil aura seemed to be oozing from her every pore. When she lifted her hand so that her palm was showing, I could see a black faery marking on her palm.
I stumbled backwards, and the movement caught her eye. She turned her feral gaze upon me, and the snarl that was loosed from her throat was not human in the slightest. Fey Night stepped towards me, dropping my sister’s wrist. By then, I knew my sister was dead. The fog in my mind lifted, and I dodged her as she flew towards me, screeching. I reeled backwards, and she whirled on me again. The creature—for that’s the only way to really describe her—was furious that I had dodged. She ran towards me, circling around me so fast that I didn’t know where she was. I knew I was no match for the stronger faery, and I just wished that it would end soon. Suddenly, just as I had consigned myself to death, she lashed out, her hand expertly hitting a place on my head. The last thing I saw before I became unconscious was Fey Night approaching me with a triumphant look in her night eyes. There also seemed to be a strange shadow behind her, but before I could ponder it, I was unconscious and knew no more.
The taste of metal was what I noticed when I came to a while later. Grimacing, I realized that it was blood; I must have bitten my tongue when Fey Night had struck me down. With that thought, I remembered all that had happened. I tried to sit up, but a wave of dizziness swarmed over me. Looking around, I recognized my surroundings as the clearing I had been in before my lapse of consciousness. With a flash of surprise and shock, I saw Fey Night crumpled up next to a tree unmoving. I knew she was dead, but how?
A shadow fell over me, and Forest Storm was suddenly standing over me. He didn’t say anything, but he raised his hand and showed me his palm. I gasped, for on his palm was a mark that was identical to the one on my palm. Sour Wind had told me this story; I just never knew that one day it would apply to me. Starting to weep, I buried my head in my hands. He ran his hand over my hair, and my tear-filled eyes stared up into his, then past into the blood-soaked moon that hung eerily in the sky that night. He offered me his hand, and I took it, allowing him to lead me into the realm of the Faery, with the knowledge that all along I had belonged there, in the Twilight Realm, with him. Crying softly, I walked away from the destruction and devastation that I had inadvertently caused for my village and towards my past… and my future.


© Copyright 2019 Kimika. All rights reserved.

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