Thursday, 25 May 2017

Marvellous Moments #2 - Leaf

I saw these on a walk. I have no idea why they look this way but they inspired a new story from Cara and Snaps.

Marvellous Moments 2 - Leaf




“C’mon Snaps. The day’s too good to waste amongst boxes and paint fumes.”
Cara shrugged out of her shirt, already decorated with enough splashes to satisfy Jackson Pollock, took a moment to admire the calming green on the fireplace wall then headed out the back door, Snaps alternately running rings around her feet, or pelting off with gleeful barks.

She took note of the plants whilst heading toward the little gate which gave onto the woodland beyond her boundary fence. Aunt Grace had been an enthusiastic, if somewhat erratic, gardener, but most of the plants had been ‘set free’; Grace had been keen on the idea of one man’s weed being another man’s prized bloom. The garden sang with colour, Cara not even sure what half the riotous profusion was.
‘With all due respect to you, Aunt Grace’, Cara mused, ‘I may have to prune if I want to find the path!’

She waded through a drift of cow parsley, cautiously skirted what looked like a bramble thicket, set off a cloud of whirling dandelion seeds and plucked a mint leaf to chew on whilst releasing the rusty bolt on the garden gate. 

A narrow ribbon of worn earth ran left and right from her gate, a footpath used by people and animals alike. Crossing it, Cara stepped under the canopy of Fairy Woods. As a child the name had delighted and she held fond memories of running through it with Grace, both barefoot and laughing, searching for secret doors to the fae worlds, and catching occasional glimpses of the folk who lived there.
“Not likely to happen today, huh. Snaps?”

As ever, the dog was in transports of delight, running hither and yon, occasionally bringing back a particularly interesting leaf, stone or twig for Cara’s approval. Mostly he scattered about, wuffing and barking in pure joy, his volume not conducive to spotting the naturally shy woods folk.

She had always been fascinated by the variety of trees in Fairy Wood. Larches stood shoulder to shoulder with birch, oaks sat ponderously in small clearings, holding court with ash saplings and venerable hazels. The stream – which ended in a tumbling rapid and green pool – was rarely seen but through a whispering veil of flighty willow fronds. At the far edges of the wood stood a row of pines which had always made her think of a barrier against the world, of Tolkien’s Ents.

She reached hands out as she walked, brushing leaves, feeling the multitude of textures and shapes. Insects formed an orchestra to accompany her steps, but after a while she began to hear another sound, something discordant. 

Pfft. Not an insect, at least not one she knew. Pfft, pfft. It was getting a little louder and she thought it came from overhead. Gazing upward she noticed a peculiarity. A stand of sycamores were currently shading her but one stood out from the rest. Pfft, pfft. Trying to locate the sound she found herself staring at the strangest leaves she’d ever seen. No smooth green here. Pfft, pfft. Instead they were mottled, making her think of a stippling technique, but this was no Seurat.

Pfft, pfft. Instead, the artist turned out to be a small, frustrated pixie, spattered with green and furiously shaking what looked like a miniature spray can. Perched next to a semi –coloured leaf, it took him a moment to notice Cara’s attention.
“Erm… I’m not here?” he ventured uncertainly.
“Yes you are and I remember you. Treebo, right?”
The pixie frowned, scrambled over and dropped to sit at the level of her face. He turned his head this way and that, frowning, and then grinned.
“Cara? Yes, I see it now. I forget how much you people grow, but your eyes haven’t changed. It’s been a long time.”
“30 years or so. Can I ask… what on earth are you doing?”
“Painting the leaves of course. Tarina will be passing through tonight and everything has to look perfect, but I ran out of paint!”
“Tarina?”
“Yeah, old queen Lucani retired. In all honesty she went a bit odd. Decided to go live behind the rapids and attempt to become a water goddess. Tarina is the new queen and she’s a bit …” he paused, looked around as if expecting spies, “of a brat. She’ll grow out of it. She’s only 300 and going through her awkward phase. Still, everything has to be just so.”

Cara paused, studied the trees and grinned.
“Fancy a visit to Grace’s house?”
“Not sure I have time. Need to go back to my tree and get more paint.”
“It’ll be worth it, and Grace’s is nearer” Cara wheedled and grabbed a handful of Snaps’ collar as he flew by, “I’ll even give you a lift.”
If there’s one thing a pixie can’t resist it’s a ride on a dog. Treebo shrugged, leapt onto Snaps’ back – much to the surprise of the dog – grabbed a handful of fur and they set of for the cottage.

On entering, Treebo quietly doffed his cap and bowed his head, Cara also falling silent for a moment.
“She was a good woman, you know, Flippin’ peculiar, but good, and respected the Folk. She is missed.” He said softly.
“I hope I can step into her shoes and do them justice.”

Treebo nodded, clearly reserving judgement, and Cara led him into the back bedroom, which she was currently turning into a work room. A green work room.
“By the gods, it’s the same colour as my leaves!”
Help yourself” Cara smiled, nodding to the open paint pot on the floor. Treebo refilled his odd little reed and nut paint sprayer, grinned and bowed.
“Got to go, little Cara, but don’t you stay away. We miss having our local crazy human.”
He sped out the door and disappeared down the path, leaving Cara laughing and hoping she would eventually earn the respected place her Aunt Grace had once held amongst the fae of Fairy Wood.


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