One night of your life for seven years of love. Would you pay the price?
Jack never dreamed that a reluctant trip back to his home town would thrust him into the world of the sidhe. He finds that the legends are true, but the sidhe have changed. They have a new bargain to offer the mortals who bring them fresh stories and share new technologies.
But is the price of this new bargain worth it?
“You’d have known me once, Jack,” he said, “but your people have different tales of glamour to tell now, don’t they?” He cocked his head to one side. “Your ancestors would not have been fool enough to sleep where you sleep now. Although, I suppose the gateway warning isn’t so clear nowadays.”
“Door, perhaps.” He gestured, and the hillside a few metres away from me opened up, the turf swinging up and out in two great leaves as if they were indeed the leaves of a door. I’m not ashamed to say that I yelped and scrambled to my feet, but there was curiosity as well as fear pulling at me. Had I managed to fall asleep on a spaceship that had grown a lawn to disguise itself? I walked the few metres to the doorway and peered in from what I hoped was a safe distance.
The turf was soil on the underside, and it had hidden a dark passage cut through the soil. A passage more than wide enough for two men to walk abreast, yet with no props or columns or beams in the walls, nothing but thin air holding up the earthen ceiling.
And then I knew who and what he was, and was afraid. The Good People are called that for a reason, and I’m not so out of touch with my cultural heritage as to not know what it is. It’s never a good idea to express your true opinion of those with power. No, stay away from the Fair Folk if you value your sanity and your life. Fair of face indeed, but capable of cruelty and capriciousness. Even the ones with no malice in them have a way of forgetting that mortals are, well, mortal. They’ll take you away for a year and a day, or even a year times seven, and have no thought for your own life.
Legends. Myths. Superstitions.
Not real. We all know that, don’t we?
Well, an old legend, an old warning, had sprung to new life, and it stood in front of me. I stood in the warm sunshine and shivered as if the gentle breeze that blew from the opening had come straight from Antarctica.
Then there was a hand on my shoulder, and a voice like silver bells saying, “It will not suck you in, Jack. It must be your choice, to take that road.” And he waved his hand again, and the doors closed themselves.
“It’s probably not a good idea to leave it open, not in the day,” he said. There was laughter in his voice as he added, “After all, it might frighten the mundanes.”