Reports of fairy activity continued to flare in and around the city throughout the spring and early summer. While some city leaders privately acknowledge unexplained events, none is willing to go public with their suspicions, but this reporter remains convinced the fairy activity will continue unabated. Research has shown fairies are egotistical beings who seek attention both good and bad. Once an infestation takes hold, little can be done.
Thus far, the Stoughton Press has confirmed three cases of fairy mischief. First, a stroller temporarily abandoned on Main Street, was recovered overflowing with violets and dandelions. Next, a kitten escaped her owner only to return with her coat covered in what has been determined to be the pollen from a distant relative of the plum tree, one never seen before. In response, botanists are scouring the area to find the tree. Finally, and most disturbing to this reporter, the fairies have once again made contact.
Arriving at the office early on the morning of August 1st, I was dismayed to find the tattered remains of the previous day’s donuts next to my desk. While donuts formerly drew me like catnip, they no longer tantalize. Something I attribute to Oton’s gluttonous habits. The donuts had to go, but as I reached for the box, my fingers stiffened. Tiny footprints swirled through the powdered sugar and orbited the colorful sprinkles. Too tiny for troll prints, it could mean only one thing. Fairies had invaded the office. With growing unease, I followed the footprints to my laptop and reached for my mouse. I was unsurprised to find it smeared with tiny, chocolate hand prints.
Be at the portal tree when the summer fades into autumn. Come alone if you want to learn the truth.
The words stared out at me, daring me to close the document, but I couldn’t do it. My reporter senses floated to the surface although my inner child cowered in a hidden corner. I pressed print and locked the office door before I began researching the autumnal equinox, a mere 53 days away. Exhaustive research failed to uncover reliable references to any tree that could be termed a portal, but I have alternative resources.
After parking my car behind a stand of sumac, I started down the path. Upon rounding the first bend, my attention fell on strange mushrooms. With a hobbyist’s knowledge of the woods, I had never seen anything like them. In various forms and even more colors, they seemed to glow from within, but as I approached, the light faded. Luckily, I was able to snap these photos before they went dark.
The winking mushrooms grew sparse then dwindled away before I entered the village. The trolls remain cautious, but they have grown comfortable in my presence although I feel like a lumbering giant among the ankle high trolls. I located Oton and pulled him away. Being troll, Oton has no interest in human scribbles so I read the message to him. His eyes soared across the valley. “You know where it is, don’t you.” He looked over his shoulder. “Yes, but it’s not my secret to share.” I followed his gaze to the even smaller trolless they call Leaf. “Will she tell me?” Oton shrugged, but Leaf dipped her chin and began walking. I followed her through the night, her long auburn hair swaying with each step. I knew we were going in circles, but the tiny trolless never looked back until we skirted an abandoned farmhouse. Finally, Leaf stopped and pointed to a massive tree. “You can’t tell anyone. It’s not safe.” A shiver slithered up my spine. “I’m not sure I can find it again,” I said. “You will, when the time comes. The fairies will make certain you find your way.”
While this reporter prepares to embark on a career making—or breaking—assignment city residents are advised to remain calm as the fairies have shown no sign of real aggression, but things could get interesting at 3:22am on Wednesday, September 23rd.
Originally appeared in the Fall edition of the Stoughton Press