Monday, 1 April 2013

Magic Falls Part Fourteen

I march over to him, wanting to slap the cigarette out of his hand, but restraining myself at the last moment.

“Who the hell are you?” I snap at him.

“I’m Jamie Moore,” he says. “Old friend of Jack’s, in’t that right, Jack?”

“I’ve known Jamie for a long time,” Jack says. “A lot longer than you, Darren.”

I look back at Jack. “Then how have I never met him?”

“I’ve only just bloody met you,” he replies.

“I know,” I say. “But…” How do I explain that I’ve already known him for months and months before now? 
I know he accepts the idea, but how do I explain how well I already know him?

“Jamie’s the guy that put me in touch with you in the first place,” he says. “I know I shouldn’t have thrown away your paper, but you have to admit that your story was….well, it was weird, and then Andrea went missing, and Jamie told me you were key to it all.”

“Relax, mate,” Jamie says, walking around me and towards the circle. “The issue here isn’t me. The issue here is this thing, isn’t it?”

“Exactly,” Jack says.

“Y’see, Darren – “ he gestures around the circle. “A bunch of poncy art students sculpt stuff that mean that every kid that walks through these trees, in this secluded part of ground in a secluded area of West Yorkshire is thinking about fairies when they do it.”

He begins to walk around the circle as he talks, and I feel the hairs on the back of my neck begin to stand up. “And this is an area of highly concentrated potential for magic. There are a few of them dotted around the country. But areas where ley-lines converge in this kind of number? There aren’t many of them. Bretton Hall is one. Trafalgar Square is another. Glastonbury, Stonehenge, Avebury, the Rollright Stones...there are a handful more, but Bretton? Bretton’s the one everyone forgot about.”

“You’re walking around it widdershins,” I say to him.

“What is that?” Jack asks. “Jamie said it earlier. What is it?”

“Just means anti-clockwise, Jack, that’s all,” Jamie says, continuing to walk. “So, you’ve got this place with this high potential for magic, and then you take all of this concentrated belief of little kiddies believing that fairies live in the area. And that gives off a very bad signal.”

He stops walking. “What kind of signal?” I ask.

He lifts his foot to step into the circle. “The kind the faerie folk listen to.”

He puts his foot down and steps into the circle.

Nothing happens.

“But, see, they don’t want to speak to me.” He says. “See, I reckon Andrea is safe, because the faerie aren’t stupid. They haven’t been doing this because they suddenly got hungry or something.”

“So why are they doing it?” I ask. I’m still rankling at the feeling I’ve been manipulated, but if Jack’s daughter has been taken, then that comes first.

“They’re doing it because of you, Darren.”

Everything suddenly seems very quiet. Very still.


“They’re doing it because of you.”

“What the… what do you mean?”

“Did Darren have something to do with Andrea’s disappearance?” Jack asks Jamie.

“Not quite, mate.” He replies. “But think about it. They take the daughter of his best friend. Of one of the Knights. That was sending a message, that was. And one that had to be delivered loud and clear.”

“Jack and I have only just met.” I point out. “How can they know about…”

“Don’t play stupid,” Jamie says, with a thin smile, and he starts walking towards me. “You came back. The faerie, they exist with a… different perception of time to us. So from their point of view, it’s already happened, and it never happened at the same time.”

“You know I came back?”

“I know. They know. Others know.”

I can’t help myself any more, and I rush him, tackling him to the ground. My hands find their way to his collar as I pin him down and shout at him. “Who are you?”

Despite the fact that he landed roughly, he isn’t winded. He just laughs in my face. “Talk about an awkward bloody question.” He says, as he pushes me gently off. “Who I am doesn’t matter. It never mattered. But you’ll find out, don’t worry.”

The laugh takes the wind out of my sails, and I slump back. “How do I know if you’re on our side?”

“You don’t.” he says, lighting another cigarette. “But you don’t have much choice. Look, if it makes you feel better, I don’t have much of a horse in this race. I’m more about keeping the status quo, and that means pushing a few things into the right places. Putting square pegs into round holes, for example. And right now, you’re a square peg, and that circle is looking awfully bloody round to me.”

“You said they want to send me a message,” I say.

“He’s a fast learner, this one, isn’t he?” he says to Jack.

“What message do they want to make clear to me?”

“I’m not sure, but I suspect they want to negotiate. Y’see, they know all about this war that’s coming, and they want to make sure that whichever side wins, they’re not on the losing one.”

“What can you tell me about them?”

“Nothing. It’s against the rules.”

“There are rules?”

“There are always rules. All I’ll tell you is this. Just think about who they usually prey on. Think about it, and otherwise, do what seems appropriate.”

I look at the circle. “Why me?”

“Because of what you are.”

“What do you mean ‘what I am’?”

“Sorry,” he says, standing up. “I misspoke. Obviously. I meant to say ‘who you are’, didn’t I?”

Didn’t he, indeed. I look over at Jack, who is looking… well, is looking completely out of his element.

I think of Nina, and I know what I have to do.

“How do I do this?” I ask. “I need to walk around it, or, say something, or…”

“For most people, sure,” he says. “If they want them. They’re absolutely sodding gasping to speak to you though, Darren. So I reckon all you have to do is to step in.”

“Will this get Andrea back?” Jack asks.

“No guarantees, my son,” Jamie says. “It’s all down to Darren, now.”

They both look at me as I walk to the circle.

I can feel a crackling around it. Like static.

I lift my foot to step into it, and then put it down inside the circle.

As my foot makes contact with the ground, it happens. I just have time to close my eyes




Continue to Part Fifteen

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