Fairy Ring

James’s Note: This micro fiction is actually the story that inspired what may someday become a short story collection. It’s all about the strange little things that keep the world safe. Just like a certain spider you may have heard of.

“Iron Bane! Iron Bane!” roared the monstrous army, their cries shaking the heavens. The ranks were filled with pooka war dogs, troll berserkers, knocker siege engineers, and countless other nightmare soldiers.

Their Master, the Faerie Lord Rothar, Iron Bane, thrust his spear into the air in time with their chant. Finally, he slammed the butt of his spear into the hillside with the sound of cracking thunder. The army fell silent as he addressed them.

“For too long have we waited! For too long have we languished, trapped in Faerie, barred from the human world! The world they stole from us!”

The Faerie Lord pointed with his spear at the glowing portal on the ground. It was ringed by the glowing ghostly shapes of toadstools. “Now, at last, the fairy ring is open. We will pour through this portal like a tide of death. I have seen into their world. They have built cities bigger than ever before, and bred in numbers unimagined. We shall crush their cities into rubble, and hunt the humans like the swine they are!”

The army went wild, their roars deafening. Just as the lord was about to begin his invasion, the portal began to pulse. Rothar looked on in horror as he saw something was going horribly wrong.

The army began to riot, as they saw the glowing translucent toadstools disappearing. The portal collapsed in on itself, vanishing in a blinding white flash.

The fairy lord fell to his knees, and cried out in anguish as his invasion of Earth was defeated before it had even begun.

On the other side of the portal, a mother and her young son were going for a nice walk in the  park on the hill. Willie, who had just turned six yesterday, was chasing after his new puppy, who may have been part terrier, but was probably mostly mop.

At the top of the hill, he had seen a huge ring of toadstools. He knew those popped up sometimes after it rains. He thought they were called a fairy ring, but he couldn’t remember where he’d heard that. So, he did exactly what any child his age would do and began attacking them with a vengeance.

His puppy, knowing how these games were played, merrily pounced them as Willie sent mushrooms flying with every kick. Just as he was thoroughly decimating the ring, his mother called him back over.

“What were you doing?” she asked quizzically.

He gave her a sunny smile. “Kicking over a mushroom ring.”

“Why were you doing that?”

He shrugged, “I don’t know, Mom. It’s just what you do.”

“You know you’re a strange child, right?” his mother said with a fond smile.

“Yep!” he exclaimed,, grinning as though this were the highest of praise.

He and his mother, puppy in tow, headed back to the car, oblivious to the fact that they had just saved the world.

Lucky for us, the world is full of strange children.

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