Without explaining anything that had been said, the fairy left. I have to be dreaming. This has to be survivor’s guilt causing me to dream this. Can I actually wake up now? Please? She stood with much effort. The fairy magic that ran through the glade still left Guinevere weak, though, her super senses had returned. Her hearing picked up the sound of a fishing rod releasing and the hook sinking below the surface. Guinevere decided to go and investigate.
“A human? What are you doing here?” She could smell the sweet plasma flowing through the veins of the person holding the fishing rod.
“The fairies like me I guess. When I have a rough day at work, they allow me to come here and fish. But only while I’m sleeping…it is the only way non-faeries can get here after all. But joke’s on them, I know where the entrance to the glade is. I’ve just never figured out their little puzzle.” Something felt familiar about this man. The way he spoke, the way he stood. Guinevere felt a chill crawl up her spin, this was déjà vu.
“Who are you?” She spoke slowly, trying to recall the moment she had experienced before…but alas, the fairy magic was weighing down on her memories.
“Ah…” The man reeled in the rod and set it in the tall grass next to them. He turned to her with an apologetic smile. “Rule number two of the glade. We’re not allowed to introduce ourselves. I suppose we’re both here at the same time for a reason, fairies don’t do things on a whim. So by introducing ourselves, it would mean the fairies are meddling more than they’re allowed. If that makes sense.”
“Yeah. It does.” Her mother’s words echoed in her mind again.
The man and Guinevere sat on the shore of the lake. “So, you come here often?” The longer Guinevere stayed here, the more she questioned if it really was a dream or not.
“Yeah. It’s my escape from the life I’m expected to live. All I have to do is tell the fairies to take me away before I sleep, and I end up here. I can fish all I want and relax. No father breathing down my neck, no mum to nag me, no work, and no wedding planning.” A kindred spirit. Guinevere listened to the man go on about his life. About how he was expected to take over everything as soon as he married, about how he disliked his future wife. To Guinevere, it all mirrored her life.
“I wonder if this is why the fairies brought me here at this exact moment. I’m in the same situation. The only difference is I’m already in charge, and it’s my aunt and uncle. They want me to marry this man I absolutely hate, all because no one will take me seriously in my position.” There was so much she wanted talk about it, but she didn’t want to unload it on this stranger. So instead, they both stared at the water, silent and sulking about their situations. He stood and held a hand out for her.
“Sulking won’t do anything. Let’s walk around and take in the beauty of the glade.” Beauty…I guess. If I didn’t feel so powerless. She took the man’s hand and he helped her up with one tug.
They walked in near silence. He would point out the flora and fauna as they passed something not found in the real world. This man knew a lot of things about fairies, she wondered if he knew anything about vampires or other supernatural beings.
“So…you know a lot about fairies. Do you know anything about other supernatural things? Like vampires or ghosts?” He halted and smiled at her with a smile that could only be described as bittersweet.
“My house has a cemetery in the yard, so of course we have a ghost problem. Spirits flock to our house, I would call it a pest problem but that would be disrespectful to the deceased. As for vampires, I don’t know much about them aside from common knowledge. My uncle went to study them as soon as he turned eighteen, but he never returned. I do know they’re real though, the same as witches and werewolves, aliens and mermaids.
My mum dabbled in witchcraft when I was a wee child. My father frowned upon it, but he told me its in her blood, which means I’m capable of magic if I studied it.” Guinevere had no idea humans could be this knowledgeable about the occult after being kept from it for so long.
“I’m impressed. I don’t think it’s wise for me to say anything about my knowledge. A fairy might appear and zap me.” Despite the news she was given earlier, she was starting to hope this was all real. She hoped this magical human man existed in the world. She hoped to find him and become friends – if the League ever budged.
“Oh come on. It’s obvious. You’re as pale as freshly fallen snow, you have shrunken veins, you’re very cold to the touch. You look as if you’re going to pass out due to the power damper in this glade. You’re drop-dead gorgeous, so you must be a vampire.” This man was clever, Guinevere had to admit. He’s a flirt, just like Diego. “Plus, you mentioned extremely ancient traditions that have pretty much died out in the modern world. The only reason my parents are absolutely archaic is because of our family name…it means something to the human society if we follow certain protocols and rules.”
“Well, you got me there. Let’s hope a fairy doesn’t fly by and kill us for knowing too much. Watcher forbid we find each other on the outside…if this is real anyway.”
“You don’t think this is real?” The man looked truly shocked, but then his brows furrowed. “I guess I could see why a vampire would feel that way…fairies and vampires are mortal enemies – so why would they bring you here? I can assure you though, this is very real.”
“So…you’re telling me, everything that has happened here is real? And it is tied with the real world?” Guinevere wasn’t sure if she wanted to laugh or cry. “Because the fairies told me something earlier that I was hoping was a result of survivor’s guilt. I don’t think I could handle knowing it’s all true.” Concern washed over the man, but quickly faded into a mask Guinevere knew well: Fake happiness. She didn’t want to ask, she was through with bad news.
“If this is real, that means we both actually exist. I can live my life knowing I met a vampire, and you can live yours knowing there are humans who believe in the occult.” Meeting him was the only good thing to come out of her glade visit. She wondered how much of this she would remember when she woke up.
Time seemed to stand still in the glade, she had no clue what time it was and it was disorientating. She had no idea how much time would have passed out of the glade. “Does time pass when we’re here?” She spoke her musings out loud.
“Yeah. Not very quick though. I can spend an equivalent of half a day here, in just two hours real time. I’ve already been here that long, so it will be time for me to leave soon. My parents don’t like it when I nap longer than two hours.”
“How do you leave?” This was something she had wanted to know ever since waking up.
“The fairies kick you out when they know it’s time for you to leave.” He grabbed her hand and bent slowly in a bow. As he raised, he pressed his lips against the tops of her fingers. Guinevere didn’t know how to react, but deep down in her emotions she felt something she hadn’t felt in a long time: Lust. He stood with a wink. “I hope to see you on the other side.” With that, he was gone. Just before she could shout at the fairies, she was surrounded by darkness.
She opened her eyes and reached for her cell phone. It had been an hour and eleven minutes since she went to sleep. “Why am I awake?” She muttered. Why do I feel hungover? She tried to think of her dream, but the longer she thought about it the more slipped behind a foggy barrier. She gave up and went back to sleep.