Copyright D. J. Doyle
Mike and Jerry wasted no time, when Mike’s parents pulled up outside the log cabin and raced to the river with their nets and buckets. Best friends since they were two, but not alike in any way, Mike had brown hair and eyes to match, while Jerry was ginger with blue eyes and freckled head to toe.
“Be careful boys, don’t get too near the edge. Dinner will be in an hour,” said Deirdre, Mike’s mother.
“We will. See you in an hour. C’mon Jerry,”
Mike had begged his mother for Jerry to come along on their short holiday, saying he’d miss his best friend too much and would be bored without him.
His little sister was too young to go fishing with him and cried as she saw the two boys, barefoot and in shorts, scarpering through the long grass.
“Oh man, I hope we catch a toad,” said Jerry.
“No, bruh, we want a fish. Imagine my Dad’s face if we went back with a huge flapping trout or pike for dinner tomorrow.”
“Yeah, sure. I’m not a big eater of fish, though,” replied Jerry, and viewed the small bucket they had and struggled to believe a fish would fit.
They stood at the bank with their nets stretched out, and waited to dip it in once they saw movement in the water.
“Look bubbles,” yelled Jerry and pointed to the water.
He swiped the net and scooped up, the murky water flowed through and splashed down below. A fish flapped in the net.
Jerry brought it in close and picked the fish out of the net. Mike fell to the ground laughing, pointing at the little minnow fish, no bigger than his index finger, twitching in the breeze.
“You got a huge one there, Jerry. We’ll have full tummies with that one,” he chuckled.
“Not funny, Mike. I thought it was a large fish.”
As Mike rested on the grass laughing, a buzzing noise flew by his ear, he knew it was too loud for an insect, but birds didn’t make that sound. He leapt from the ground and swung his head around. His pounding heart drilled against his ribs.
“Did you hear that?”
Jimmy frowned. “Hear what? Don’t start messing with me.”
“I’m not, something buzzed right by my ear, something big. It wasn’t an insect, too loud.”
“Well, nothing else buzzes. It’s your imagination. Are we getting into the water to get closer to the middle?”
Mike still focused on his surroundings, he had a hunch it would pass by again and readied his net.
“Shhh, I can still hear it, somewhat.”
On the ground again, he instructed Jerry to hide in the long grass, while he waited. Adrenaline pulsed through his blood, as his vision became like a chameleon’s, darting in every direction. That’s when he saw it, a little black figure hovering towards him. Within a split second, Mike held up the net and swiped downwards, the metal wire slapped the ground. Without looking, Mike knew he had caught it. When he turned his head, he nearly shit himself. Although he was expecting some unusual insect, maybe affected by toxic waste and mutated, what he entrapped befuddled him.
“Did you catch it?” asked Jerry from afar.
“Yes, but I don’t know what it is.”
Trapped in the net, stood a little creature about a foot tall, humanoid in shape, but with black leathery skin with a purple hue, blacker wings with a blue tint, and silver razor-sharp teeth which stood out because it had no lips. It had no eyes or nose, yet two tiny ears pointed outwards from each side of its head. Its growl and hiss were barely audible.
Mike stood in a state of shock while he studied this ‘thing’ in front of him.
“Let me see, let me see.” Jerry thundered towards Mike who put out his arm to stop him from getting close. Once it came into his vision, Jerry gasped and was about to scream but Mike covered his open mouth.
“Shhh, I don’t think it can see us.”
With a squeaky yet intimidating voice, it spoke, “I can’t see too well but I can hear and sense your every movement. If you release me, I will do you no harm.”
“Wh...Wha...What are you?” asked Mike.
“Why, I am a fairy, of course, Have you never seen a fairy before?”
“Not like you. In the cartoons, they are bright and magical,” answered Jerry.
It growled again. “I am known as Amadán Dubh, and I do have magic, yes, but as you can see I’m not beaming nor glowing.”
“What does that mean? Amadán Dubh,” questioned Mike.
“Oh, your Gaeilge is not good. It translates as ‘Dark Fairy’. As you can see from my skin, I am very dark.”
“So, you can grant us a wish?” asked Mike.
“No, but I give you some of my riches. I have plenty of gold.”
Mike and Jerry glanced at each other and back to Amadán Dubh.
“Well, will you release me for gold?”
“Yes, of course. How can we trust you?” asked Mike.
“Yeah, how do we know you won’t just fly away?” added Jerry.
“A fairy cannot break their word, we wither and die an excruciating death. We must follow what we promise.”
Mike turned to his best friend, “What have we got to lose? It’s not like we can keep it trapped.”
Jerry shrugged his shoulders in a kind of agreement. Mike gently lifted the net. Amadán Dubh rubbed his hands together, his razor-sharp nails clanked as they hit each other, and sneered at the boys.
“I hope you are up for the challenge to receive my gold.”
“Challenge? You never said there would be challenges,” said Mike.
“You don’t think I can just hand it over? You must go get it.”
“And where is it?” asked Jerry, his hands firmly placed on his hips.
“In the river, of course, well hidden from human eyes. You must go to the centre and dive down. There you will find a shiny, silver bag full of my gold.”
“Hold on a minute.” Mike took Jerry by the arm and walked a few feet away from where the fairy was perched on a rock.
“What do you think?” asked Jerry.
“He could have flown away, but he stayed. It has to be real. Do we swim for the gold? I’m strong enough to dive, even with the current.”
“Me, too. Let’s do this. Our parents will be so happy.”
Amadán Dubh raked its nails off the rock, sharpening the talon-like claws.
“Have you made a decision?” it asked.
Mike stepped forward and nodded, “Yes, we’ll do it. Point towards the section we must swim to.”
Amadán Dubh flapped its wings and set off down the river bank with the children running behind.
As they sped up, Amadán Dubh turned, and from the palm of his hand, blew dust into their faces. They fell coughing and wiped their eyes.
“What was that?” shouted Jerry.
“Oh, just a little magic so you can breathe underwater. We’re here,” replied Amadán Dubh.
Mike giggled. “It makes me feel funny.”
He raised his hand and viewed his psychedelic aura surrounding his skin. “Wow, this is cool.”
“You can swim down just there.” Amadán Dubh threw a pebble into the water which caused a splash and ripple. To the boy’s amazement, the ripple didn’t flow out, the water stayed alive in that little space. Mike dipped his toe into the fresh water and shivered.
“With my magic, when you go under, you won’t feel the cold either,” said Amadán Dubh.
Full of confidence, the boys cannonballed into the water and swam down to the bottom to find the gold. Although neither had tried to breathe yet through instinct, they were unable to find the gold on this dive and came back to the surface for air.
“It is not there, you are lying, Amadán Dubh,” said Jerry.
“No, it must be the magic wearing off, it only lasts a few minutes. Here, try again.” Amadán Dubh hovered over the water, his black wings fluttered majestically and it blew some more fairy dust into their faces.
Without the first dust wearing off completely, the boys felt invincible. They dived down with full lungs and searched for the bag of gold. Coloured water droplets danced in their vision as the sun shone through, their hands tossed reeds and stones in search of the treasure. Still, they could not find the bag. It was time to resurface, but Mike pointed to his mouth, he was going to breathe out and then in. Jerry nodded, they felt safe. In unison, the boys opened, letting the old air bubble to the top, and breathed in the water, all the way to the bottom of their lungs. Instantly they knew their error and tried to swim to the surface, clutching at their necks desperate for oxygen. It was too far and the water inside impeded their efforts. Mike’s vision went blurry, his body jerked in distress. Jerry lost consciousness and his eyelids closed for the last time. Two bodies floated to the surface face first and looked as peaceful as angels.
An immoral howl of laughter rang out from Amadán Dubh, and a high pitched calling to those hidden around. Eight dark fairies flew over the bodies, four on each, and clamped their spiked claws into the soaked tender skin, blood dribbled down and dripped with the water as their bodies were lifted out and carried away for a feast fit for a Fairy King. Amadán Dubh ensured there were no traces of the boys and slashed the net to smithereens, for no one captures an Amadán Dubh, the trickster Fairy, and lives to tell the tale.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”