Thorn was one of the group who spent New Year’s Eve at The Wizard. The pub had a notice advertising an evening in fancy dress as characters from fairy tales and nursery rhymes, so we thought we’d be safe enough provided we left before the obligatory unmasking at midnight. Some of us added special effects but most of us just went as ourselves. We mixed happily with Hansels, Gretels, witches, pirates and even some fairies with plastic wings. The landlord had laid on plentiful supplies of Hobgoblin, Tangelwood and other popular ales so the evening was soon proving to be a roaring success.
Thorn was soon deep in conversation with a young man from the village and I could see they were heading for more than talk. Sure enough, by eleven o’clock they were kissing, snuggled together on a settle in the corner of the bar. Some of the regular customers looked slightly affronted but hey! it’s legal and the landlord wasn’t bothered.
We were. This didn’t look likely to end at midnight and whilst I might get away with passing for human in a dark corner, Thorn wouldn’t. Silver hair, spiral horns and jet black eyes might just give the game away. Not to mention his wings, which would be hard to fold and conceal in a hurry.
Yarrow shepherded the others out of the door at about ten to twelve, leaving me to try prising Thorn away from his companion. Difficult. Then it seemed to dawn on him, almost too late. The chimes of Big Ben were already on the radio as he leapt to his feet and pushed through the crowd. His boyfriend tried to tug him back. Fortunately, we wear gloves on occasions like this, to reduce the risk of our claws showing. Thorn pulled sharply and got away, leaving a gossamer-thin glove in the young man’s surprised grasp.
It was no good using the door; the crowds were too thick and Lovelorn would probably follow. We headed into the ‘gents’ and scrambled through a small window into the concealing darkness of the wood. I yelled at Thorn all the way back to our trees, not really listening to what he had to say. Yarrow was waiting to add some yelling too. Eventually we realised that our friend was in tears - shame at nearly giving us away vying with shock at being parted from his soul mate. Which, we gathered, was exactly how he considered the young Oliver Prince, totally human representative of the Cheshire Set.
We made him train with the unicorns all night, to try to take his mind off his misery, but that meant we had to train too, and by dawn our major, joint, new year’s resolution was to leave human pubs well alone next year.
In the morning there were plenty of humans walking on the Edge, enjoying the weak sunshine and the day of leisure. Yarrow and I saw Oliver, alone. He accosted a number of other lone walkers, all male, and showed them the glove. Most just looked bemused; a few laughed at him; one tried the glove on but it didn’t fit. We didn’t tell Thorn. But we might as well have done. By Wednesday they were together, walking, talking and occasionally kissing. Oliver obviously knew by now that his lover’s beauty was no mask but he didn’t seem worried.
We swear not to let humans know about us. All of us take occasional risks. The heavens know I have. But this seemed so deliberate. We managed to separate them and while Oliver was searching the bushes we told Thorn of our concerns. He brushed them aside. Oliver, he assured us, was ‘in the closet’ (a human concept we have never really understood) so far as his family and friends were concerned. Those who might have noticed him in the pub were drunk and unreliable. He would never tell anyone about us, for his own sake. And he rejoined his friend, pretending to have hidden as some sort of game.
This evening I saw them walking hand in hand towards the stone circle. Two young men, cut off from their own communities. Their love will have more than the usual barriers and prejudices to fight. I have doubts about their ability to withstand the storm they have raised. But I wish them joy.
hey I was curious is someone (possibly the mod) could tell me who made your layout?? I love Tori Amos and the pic is stunning.