(This was my entry for Yearning for Wonderland’s Dancing with the Fairies Fairy Ring contest. I have since expanded it a little past its original 300 words)
Seeing the Fay
One February night I was looking at the stars when an orange cat sped into my garden and stopped by the azaleas, out of sight from the street. A moment later, a black cat with a white nose trotted up as well.
I watched them stand side by side, wondering what they were doing, when a little boy’s voice said, “Hello, Andy.” The voice came from the orange cat.
I looked around and saw no one.
“I know you can hear me,” the voice said, and then there was laughter in the garden: from the jasmine, from the ferns, from the Canna lilies, laughter all around.
“I don’t see why you’re wasting time with him,” a voice that seemed to be coming from the black cat said, squeakily, like a badly played violin.
“He’s good to stray cats,” the first voice said. “He feeds them and gives them water.”
“Hello?” I said, a little annoyed to be talked of in the third person by people I couldn’t see. “Who are you?”
“A good question, you see?” the little-boy voice said.
“I have no time for this,” the violin voice said, and then the black cat sped off into the darkness. The orange cat stayed still.
“You … can talk?” I said.
“Oh, it’s not the cat,” the little-boy voice said. “Cats can’t talk.”
At this, new laughter broke out all around.
“Go on,” a voice like water said.
“Go on,” a voice like the fluttering wings of a sparrow echoed. “Do it!”
“Do it!” a thunderous voice said.
“Veil be gone, true sight come,” the little-boy voice said, after a moment. A hush fell over the garden. The wind grew still.
Then I saw a tiny man with the face of a fox sitting astride the cat.
“I know,” the fox-man said. “You haven’t seen any fay before.”
“No,” I said, lost for words. “There … there aren’t any fay around here.”
“You need to be more observant!” the fox-man said, spurring his cat and speeding out of sight.
And then I saw them: blue, green, and pink lights hovering in the jasmine, laughing; tiny girls with wings above the ferns, laughing; two frogs with human hands under the Canna lilies, laughing.
“No fay ’round here!” the thunderous voice said.
And they all laughed and laughed and laughed.