Drew Payne’s Website

The First Night of Spring

Dog Rose moved silently across the lawn of the small park, heading towards the locked gates on Manor Road. Tonight he would take his route around the Victorian terraced houses that lined the streets around there. This was one of his favourite routes but he hadn’t travelled it for several nights. He liked to vary the routes he took, never to be seen in the same place two nights on the run.

 

When he reached the gates, Dog Rose simply gave a shiver of his body and he passed right through them. For a fairy like Dog Rose it was easy to shift the reality of his body and pass through any solid object; but that was barely one of his talents.

 

The humans were still arguing about when spring actually began and had been for centuries now, they still couldn’t agree when it was. But the fairies, like Dog Rose, had always known when spring began, and tonight was that night. Dog Rose intended to mark the night with something special, something he had been searching to do for so long.

 

This area had been his territory for centuries now. He had lived here ever since he’d been brought into this life. Back then there had been an entire community of fairies living here and he’d relished their company. Back then this all had been open countryside and farmland full of long narrow fields with thick hedges, even full orchards of trees. Over the following decades and centuries Dog Rose had watched the city slowly and relentlessly covered over this area. He saw the fields turned into factories and streets of terraced houses. Now the only open areas were the patches of grass and neat parks in the east end of the city.

 

As the area changed, swallowed up by the city, the other fairies had left or drifted away. They had said the city was no place for them but Dog Rose didn’t agree. As the city grew around him he found his new environment fascinating, there were so many new opportunities here, so many more chances for mischief as more people came to live here and the new buildings went up.

 

As the other fairies left, increasingly Dog Rose found himself on his own, and the more he found himself alone, the less pleasure he found in creating mischief. For the last handful of decades, since he had been the only fairy in the area when White Daisy left to find herself the countryside again, he had barely committed any mischief, there was no pleasure in it anymore. In the company of other fairies he could revel and laugh as the human tried and searched for the cause of his mischief; alone it just felt pathetic, as when he had been a human child and had been forced to play alone. Though he hated to admit it, Dog Rose was lonely and longed for company of his own kind.

 

It had been raining during the day before and the pavement Dog Rose moved over still had the odour of moisture, there were even occasional puddles to reflect the clear night sky. Even at this late hour of the night, the streets were still not dark, light poured out onto them from the houses and street lights that lined them, but still Dog Rose was not concerned. He could easily make himself disappear if anyone came along whom he didn’t want to see him.

 

The boy was there again, sitting out on the flat roof of the extension to his home, the last house on Livingstone Street. The boy was still staring up at the night sky, his legs pulled in front of him as his whole body was pulled down in sadness. Dog Rose had seen him many times before, over many nights he had even struck-up a kind of friendship with the boy, though Dog Rose had appeared to the boy in the guise of another youth.

 

Unseen, Dog Rose drifted up to the flat roof and then with a shiver of his body turned himself into his disguise, the one the boy had seen before. Then he walked around the roof to the boy and sat down next to him.

 

“Hello,” Dog Rose said.

 

The boy turned towards him and Dog Rose saw that the boy’s face was swallowed with a large and angry bruise. Seeing Dog Rose the boy’s face broke into a smile, though the corner of his mouth was pushed down by that bruise.

 

“You came back,” the boy said. “I haven’t seen you in days.”

 

“I’ve been occupied, you know how it is, but I’d never not come back, not to you. What happened to your face?”

 

“My dad found another gay mag in my bedroom. He said he’d beat the gay out of me, this is what I got, and the kicking to my back. God I hate him, I wish he was dead or I was dead or a million miles away from here. I hate it.” A tear appeared in the corner in his eye as he spoke.

 

“Why don’t you leave, run away?”

 

“I’m sixteen and I’ve got no money and nothing. I ain’t got a job and he takes what dole I get. I’m stuck here until I can get a job or something.”

 

“You could run away with me?” Dog Rose said.

 

“You’re no older then me, you got any money or anything?”

 

“I’ve got something better?” with a shiver Dog Rose cast off his disguise, his body falling back into its true form. His skin glowing silver, his blonde hair falling over his tunic with its matching britches, and his translucent wings rising out of his back. His body slipping down to its real size as his wings lifted him up into the air.

 

“Oh God,” the boy whispered, his face filling with delight.

 

“Come with me,” Dog Rose said.

 

“Yes,” the boy replied.

 

Dog Rose lent forward and placed his mouth over the boy’s. In a deep and passionate kiss Dog Rose drew out the human spirit of the boy and breathed into him new and magical life. It was a kiss of love and new life, the same kiss that Dog Rose had received when, centuries ago, he was first drawn into this life.

 

****

 

Dog Rose led Lichen, his new companion and the first new fairy in this area for decades, back up Livingstone Street, at an almost break-neck speed. With delight rushing through his body, Dog Rose was taking Lichen to start a night of mischief. They would light this area up with their pranks and humour and Dog Rose would feel Lichen’s excitement bubbling over as they ran along hand-in-hand.

 

****

 

The next morning the body of Gavin John Riches, a sixteen year old youth, was found on the roof of his home, in Livingstone Street, East London. No one could determine his cause of death, though his body showed the evidence of the long abuse he’d suffered at the hands of his father; but soon interest in his death faded, people were far too concerned about the strange outbreak of poltergeist activity in the area.

 

 

 

Drew Payne

May 2008.