Thick slabs of brown bread, slathered in butter with a thick slice of corned beef. Two Thermos flasks, one with home-mixed Ribena in, the other full to the brim with black tea. A bag of cashew nuts, already opened and depleted somewhat by snacking. And a Kit-Kat, four fingers. One now missing.
These were the products Roger Truman brought with him to the Misty Moors on the day of the solstice to sate his hunger.
A Gore-tex poncho, binoculars, a telescopic lensed camera and a notebook with biro were his tools of observation (and warding off any of the yet to arrive light drizzle that had been forecast for that evening.)
He peered at the mound through his binoculars, eyes having grown accustomed to the lower levels of light. It was the longest day of the year, and it was the perfect time for him to try and get a glimpse of the elusive fae noctilucent, fairies that were rumoured to only be visible to the human eye during those short summer nights. To his disappointment, he had seen nothing so far.
She had seen him though. All bemused, she drifted closer on fluttering, translucent wings. The man watching her home looked old, for a human. Kindly, though. With big bushy eyebrows and sideburns, a flat cap and slightly crooked nose. It was amusing, really. If she hadn’t have been heading home early from the three-day Solstice Ball, she’d never have seen him there, and he would be completely clueless.
That wouldn’t do. Someone had been coming to the Misty Moor for years, never with a net or a bottle, just someone coming to watch. From the things he had brought with him, and the crumbs she had found previously, she was certain this was the one.
With her mind set, she landed near his camera to carefully fix the cap over the lens before moving to settle on the binoculars.
“Looking for fairies?” She asked, a big smile on her face as the man startled, peering over the top of his binoculars with wide eyes. Stepping carefully down the length of the viewing aid, her bare feet barely touching the rough plastic finish of them, she ducked over to peer down one of the lenses. “You’ll never see them like this.”
“I… I see.” Roger stammered, not wanting to make any sudden movements for fear of frightening the little winged lady away. “What’s the best way to see them?”
“A little bit of honey, or jam, on a leaf.” She said in a most offhand fashion. “But we always check for traps. If you try to trap us, we’ll make you pay.” Pausing for a moment, she put her hands on her hips and leaned in to stare at him. “You’re not going to try and catch me, are you?”
“No, no, no! Of course not, I just wanted to see… oh, where oh where are my manners?!” He exclaimed, offering his little finger to the fairy to shake. “My name is Roger, it’s very nice to meet you, … what should I call you?”
Her response was in the language of the fairies, a sound much like a tiny silver bell ringing with the gentlest of shakes.
“I think that might be a bit of a problem for me to say.” Roger admitted, before smiling. “Could I call you Bell?”
“Bell’s fine. I like it. Bell.” Bell nodded, before looking up at the sky. “You leave crumbs, you know. But at least you don’t litter. Mind if I keep you company? I have to get back to my mound soon, but I’ve got a couple of hours.”
“I’d be honoured, Bell.” Roger’s voice was almost youthful sounding at the prospect. “I don’t have any honey or jam, but I could offer you some tea or blackcurrent juice?”
“I’ve not had tea before.” Bell admitted.
“Well then,” He spoke with audible excitement, “would you join me for a cup? I have so much I would like to ask.”
(Author’s Note – Happy Summer Solstice, everyone!)