She remembered going on an excursion a couple of years ago, where the tour guides had taken them to a fairy grove in Scotland. She, and the group she’d been with, had been told of a story of a boy who had stumbled from here, our world, into the land of the fairies. He had become of interest to the fairy men and women there, but after some nights and days of parties and revelries, he began to grow tired. Worried that his friends would grow concerned about his continued absence, he had made a deal with one of the fairies that allowed him to go home again. When he came out of the grove that he’d first stumbled upon, he saw that the world was a different place, and in the few nights he’d been away, one hundred years had passed in the human world. All the friends and family he had known had grown old and died.
Before the tour group had left, Darcy and the others had been told that they should take nothing from this site, for it was terrible bad luck to leave with something belonging to the fairies on their person. People had been known to come back to this place and return whatever twig or pebble they had taken with them. Darcy remembered being instructed, then, to check the undersides of her shoes for grass or anything else that might have stuck. They were to leave no litter, and to have the fairy grove remain exactly as it had been when they’d arrived.
Darcy hadn’t thought of those tales in years. Life had had a way of grabbing more and more of her entire attention, and she just didn’t have the spare time or emotion to linger on fairy stories that were probably better left in childhood.
It hadn’t been until Darcy moved south of Galway, to an in land city called Killarney, that she glimpsed one of the fairy kind for the very first time. Even in the grove, she had seen no physical sign of anything Other Worldly. The strangest thing for her had been the realization that she was the only one to see the fairy. That nobody else in the bus from Limerick could see it, seemed almost stranger than the sight of the lil’un sticking its tongue out at her on the other side of the window glass. Of course, it had only started doing that when it realized that Darcy could see it, and then it didn’t stop for the whole two hour trip, at which point it seemed to promptly disappear as soon as Darcy stepped out of the bus.
They were curious about her, she could tell that much, even if she didn’t communicate with them all the fairy kind she saw. Once the found she could see them, they were just as curious as Darcy over “why?”
She still didn’t really have an answer for that.
The trees in Killarney turned a beautiful kind of orange and red color this time of year, with leaves then falling and coloring the sides of streets and roads and parks. They crept in to color the city center. It was not so far from central Killarney that Darcy lived now, though when she felt tired or lazy after a waitressing shift, she’d stick out her thumb and take the lift down the five minutes of road that took her to the corner of her turn off.
She walked slowly up that hill, feet dragging after six hour days of work. As she felt the tickle of her hair being shifted at the base of her neck, she thought that she felt conscious of the weight added to her stride. Scratch sat in her hood, watching avidly at the houses and trees she walked past.
Darcy’s stomach grumbled, which made her think of food. The muffin and latte that had seemed enough for lunch seemed insufficient three hours later.
Mm hungry, Scratch said, echoing her sentiment.
‘We’ll be home soon,’ she murmured under her breath. A boy on a bike rode past her and she wished, like she wished every time she came home, that she was coming down the other side of the hill. ‘On day, I’m going to find a spell that’ll make me your size, and make you my size, and you’re going to walk home from my work with me on your shoulders,’ she muttered, when boy and bike had passed them.
Scratch snorted, and said made some comment like, Like that would happen.
Fair point, Darcy thought, rolling her eyes at herself.
As she pushed the key into the front door and let herself in, Darcy was tempted just to do no more than flop onto the bed and while the hours away watching mindless television until it was time for bed. Of course, in no part of that plan was the plan for making food. Darcy’s stomach rumbled again. Instead of slouching in her bedroom, Darcy didn’t stay there longer than it took to drop her back inside the door, before walking on to the kitchen.
They were fairly well stocked. Talie and Charlie had taken care of that the other day on their shop. They had grabbed vegetables —which Talie had told Darcy she was more than welcome to use— and Darcy started thinking towards a sort of stir-fry meal for one.
For two, Scratch interjected.
For two, Darcy mentally corrected.
Filling a pot with water and setting it on to boil, Darcy pulled out the cutting board and enough vegetables to make her meal.
After the meal was made and consumed, both Darcy and Scratch sat back on Darcy’s bed. For once, Scratch even seemed okay with using the television as a focus. He occasionally asked Darcy why this person was doing that, or why that person reacted the way he did, but when Darcy stopped answering, Scratch stopped trying. He sighed, and belched, and then soon after, fell asleep.