A Peculiar Afternoon on Melgrove Fields: Part One

graphic by Luke Sweeny / equinox staff

Julia Messinger

Equinox Staff

A soft gust of warm wind ruffled the dry leaves clinging to the maple trees. Their branches were at the stage of almost peeling, the bark fading into a light gray and stripping off in curls. The rustling of dying leaves is a constant sound in this orchard of maples. Not many like this exist, a whole rolling field of maple trees. In fact, this one might as well be the only.

The weather stays constant over this area. Dim, cloudy skies that seem to stretch on forever, just like the trees do. Every day around noon the sun will fight to peek out from behind the clouds; even muted, the streaming sunlight will warm the springy, green hills enough that any feet traversing the landscape will feel the raw life pulsing up through the earth.

Speaking of feet, it’s rumored that only one pair now feels the cool blades rush underneath their running toes. Currently, that same pair was splayed out in the field beneath one particular maple tree, connected to legs which were spread underneath the heat of the emerging sun. These legs belonged to a body of broad stature; a torso with wide shoulders which sprouted long arms and a head crowned with rich, red ringlets. In the summer, these ringlets matched perfectly with the deep maroon of maple leaves. Now, the leaves littering the ground around where the curls sat in the grass resembled more the color of the hair of an elder.

A soft, pale hand swung up from its resting position on the ground and scratched lightly at a spot next to a button nose littered with freckles. Said nose then proceeded to scrunch up, twitching until the itch went away. Emerald green eyes squinted up through feathered eyelashes at the sky, steadily brightening; these eyes knew very well that this would be the peak of brightness today, and that they wouldn’t have to squint much longer once the sun was swallowed by the dark, gray clouds once again.

Dark red, well-groomed eyebrows sat right above these green eyes. Every feature on this fairy’s face stood out in stark contrast to his pale skin.

He’s not the only of his kind. He remembers often how he and his siblings would frolic about the fields, climbing the ancient trees and taunting each other playfully from the highest branches.

Strangely, at some point that now blurred in his memory, everyone disappeared. The fairy truthfully cannot remember what exactly happened; he doesn’t think that anything tragic ripped his family away from him. It’s just the matter that at one point they were there and then at another they were gone.

The only thing he’s sure of is that his name is Aerus. (Pronounced Air-is. He would always pout stubbornly and whine, “That’s how it’s supposed to be said!”, when his siblings would taunt him by calling him Ay-ee-ris.)

Aerus wonders sometimes if he’s just got something wrong with the part of his brain that’s supposed to remember things. He thinks this mostly because the only memories he possesses are about his early childhood, up until about his thirteenth cycle. Speaking of, another thing he’s (pretty) sure of is that he just passed his twenty-third earth cycle, which also adds more concern as to why he can’t remember anything substantial past the last Moon Festival.