Daniel M. Clark

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Ocean Mist on the Mountain


Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

What you have to understand is that fairies don’t want to hurt anyone. They live in their small communities and when the big folk get too close, they move out of the way.

It was in the waning days of summer that the humans began to swarm the mountain. Apparently no longer satisfied with driving their vehicles up the newly-built mountain road and back down again, some people had decided to create what they called biking trails. The humans smoothed out rough areas, cut down troublesome flora, and generally attempted to tame nature one trail at a time. And then they climbed upon their wheels, their bikes, and rode those contraptions throughout the mountain forest. They rode them quite close to the tree in which a young fairy called Ocean Mist lived, and this made her very, very nervous.

A group of fairies was playing loops when Ocean Mist fluttered to the branch upon which they were sitting. “I worry about the big folk,” she said without preamble.

Her peers paid her no mind. They went right on playing their game.

Disappointed, Ocean Mist flew away and alighted upon the branch of a massive pine. There she found three Elder Fairies, three of the Council of Twenty-Three. Ocean Mist said to them that she was nervous about the humans, but the Council had decided days before that the humans were not a problem.

The Elders paid her no mind.

Wings humming angrily, Ocean Mist flew through the colony, which was called Mudslide, for not everything about fairies is graceful and beautiful and whimsical. Ocean Mist buzzed toward the home of her friend, Lily. “Lily will understand,” she said.

Lily and Ocean Mist were of an age and they had been friends for as long as either could remember (and fairies have very long memories). Ocean Mist knocked on Lily’s tree. A head of black hair materialized first, then the rest of Lily’s body, as she passed through the bark. “Good evening!” said she.

“I’m worried about the big folk,” said Ocean Mist, again without preamble.

“Why?” Lily motioned toward a branch of her pine and the pair flitted upward.

“You’ve heard the stories. It’s only a matter of time. They’re going to make us move. I love Mudslide, I love my tree. I don’t want to leave.”

Lily nodded. “But the Council said—“

“I know what they said. I think they are wrong.”

The fairies sat in silence for many minutes and many more.

Lily said, “If we disagree with the Council, and we worry about Mudslide, then what should we do? What can we do?”

Ocean Mist looked her friend in the eye and said, “We scare off the humans.”

Lily recoiled. “Scare them? We can’t! That’s just—we can’t!”

Ocean Mist knew this was scandalous. Indecent. It was altogether unfairy-like. But her mind was churning now. Ideas were blossoming. “Yes, we can,” she said with a wicked smile. “And I know how.”

The following day three men were riding through the forest, followed by Ocean Mist and Lily. The humans whooped and hollered and sometimes made their bikes take flight for short distances. Each wore a shell atop his head. Protection of some sort, Ocean Mist surmised, in case of a fall. These men were unwittingly prescient.

The fairies darted from tree to tree. “Are you ready?” asked Ocean Mist.

Lily looked uncomfortable, but she answered yes and that was good enough for Ocean Mist.

The men on their bikes had come to a place where special care would have to be taken not to fall over an outcropping of rock. Proceeding one at a time, the first raced over the stone shelf. The bike’s wheels left the ground for a moment—the man seemed to have intended some kind of trick—and that was all the fairies needed.

Ocean Mist behind the trunk of a birch and Lily nestled among the white flowers of a chokecherry bush, wove a magical line between them. The line crossed in front of the man, who did not see it, and ensnared the bike. He tumbled over the ledge in a twisting mass of metal and flesh.

The fairies zipped to high branches; the other two humans ran for their fallen friend. One tended wounds while the other called for help. They both gave words of encouragement and assurances that help was on the way.

Ocean Mist could not hear everything the men were saying, but they did not sound at all scared. Pain, concern, worry; but not fear.

A piercing wail cut through the mountain. From their vantage atop a tall aspen, Ocean Mist and Lily could see a large human vehicle stop at the side of the nearby road. Flashing red lights annoyed Ocean Mist.

“Human healers,” Lily said.

Ocean Mist crossed her arms and did not reply.

The man that the fairies had so grievously injured was placed on a cart by the man and woman who had come to help. They spoke quickly and precisely, working together to stop their patient’s bleeding and assess his injuries. The healers brought the man on the cart up to their vehicle and placed him inside.

Ocean Mist swooped down to better hear what the people were saying. She had to know if her plan to scare the humans had succeeded. Lily followed.

The woman was speaking into a device. “—seven centimeter laceration to the head, concussion—“

“Did it work?” asked Lily.

Ocean Mist shushed her friend and strained to hear more.

“—hypovolemic shock, stage two, heart rate one-ten—“

“Ocean Mist?” asked Lily.

“Shut up!”

“—impact injuries. Patient is conscious. Patient’s name is Charles Pope. ETA forty minutes.” The woman put down the device and addressed her partner. “Ready?”

“Ready,” came the reply.

The vehicle left, the siren again deafening the fairies.

Ocean Mist wanted to scream.

“Did it work?” asked Lily.

The young fairy surveyed the scene, watching the remaining men taking their bikes up to the road. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “But I’m just getting started.”

What you have to understand is that fairies don’t want to hurt anyone. They live in their small communities and when the big folk get too close, they move out of the way.


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