Down in the Dark Woods by Gavin Ough

darkwoods75x99Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, readers voted the Nymph comes back to threaten Clood while Trewana is out of the way.

Episode 10

She flitted away abruptly, disappearing into the foliage above my head when I heard a near silent hiss. The Wood Nymph who had pointed his sword at me was back.

“Human,” he spat the word in his deep voice, “Ye have done us a service bringing back the Queen. I will allow ye to go in peace.” He paused for a second, “If ye go now.”

I raised my eyebrows at him and asked, “And if I don’t?” I swallowed when his sword flashed out.

“This world can be a terrible place.” He glanced around, “Ye might find all manner of accidents can befall ye.”

“No need to worry,” I replied lightly, “I’m really careful.” His eyes locked on mine and I stared calmly back until he nodded and slunk back into the forest.

Quercus landed on my shoulder again. “You’re not going to let that little bollix scare ya off now, are ya, Nate?” she piped. I shook my head slowly and walked off in the direction Trewana had taken before.

***

I heard the celebration before I got to the clearing. I knew I was somewhere else because the little island in the lake on my world was nowhere near big enough for this amount of beings.

Music drifted to my ears from pipes and drums, dancers frolicked in time to the rhythm, food was being prepared over an open fire and the drink was flowing freely despite the early hour.

To me it looked like some kind of weird cosplay event. Males and females of any number of different species wandered in and out of my view.

One willowy girl, with long blond braids, clearly had antlers growing from her skull. Everyone here was basically human in shape, nut nearly all of them had…well, extra bits.

When my eyes found her, she was like a vision of heaven. Trewana had her head back, a wide smile on her face as she spun and twirled, her copper locks fanning out around her, dancing and carefree.

“Oh, fer the love of God! You’ve only gone and feckin fallen for her!” I hadn’t noticed I’d been holding my breath until Quercus piped up in my ear.

Before I could answer, two people with blue tinted skin dragged me into the clearing, a wooden cup appeared in one hand and I was shoved towards the queen.

Ribbons had been quickly woven into her hair and she wore a light green, flimsy dress that she gathered in both hands when she curtseyed to me.

I bowed a little stiffly, not knowing this was an invitation to dance. Trewana took my hand and led me to the middle of a circle bounded by nymph and dryad alike.

The best I could do was stumble after her, trying my best not to fall over. Our eyes were locked as she led me around the edge of the circle and more than a few folk whispered behind their hands.

“Nathan Clood, I…” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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