Max had only been to the Hidden Glade once before. Mum had wanted to go on a picnic there…before…and had managed to convince Mom to come with them. He wasn’t sure why Mom didn’t like the park. It was peaceful with huge trees and interesting bird songs that sounded very different from the birds he saw in the feeders at home. Even Mom had admitted it was nice as they’d packed up to leave. But they’d never gone back.
Although Max couldn’t run the entire way to the park, he was well and truly away from school by the time he stopped running. It was weird being out on the streets during the day. There wasn’t a lot of traffic and everyone seemed bent on going where they needed to go. Some adults looked at Max oddly, but he held his head up and walked quickly past. He was ready to run if any of them called after him. None of them did.
Once he got to the park’s entrance, there was nobody around. He climbed the steps from the parking lot up to the hill grateful to get away from prying eyes. The air beneath the tree canopy was cooler than out on the sidewalks and the sun darted between the leaves, illuminating a late-blooming flower here and there.
Max took a deep breath. Eventually, he’d have to go back, but right now this was what he needed. A place to be alone. To be away from the pain and fear. He followed the path deeper into the park. Mum had said there was a pond at the end of the path where she’d fished as a kid, but Mom hadn’t wanted to go there and so they stayed in the main picnic area. This time, there was no one to stop him from venturing into the forest proper.
It was perfect. Max was in a completely different world. The crunch of leaves underfoot didn’t seem to scare away the birds, they sang all around him. Squirrels ran across the path, nuts in paw, completely ignoring his presence. It was magical and Max walked slowly taking it all in. Until at last he reached the end of the path and the lake.
A perfect glistening lake spread out before him, the waterfall behind it was quieter than the one from Granite falls. It seemed to drop its water into the pool below effortlessly. No roar of falling water to detract from the tranquility. As Max watched a huge fish leapt lazily into the air trying to catch the insects that were buzzing above the surface. It landed back in the water with a splat. His Mum had been right, it would be a perfect fishing spot.
Max sat down on the slope facing the water and watched the fish swim below the surface. He wasn’t very good at recognizing what kind of fish they were but they all seemed large and lazy. The sun’s rays broke through the leaves at the exact spot he was sitting. He was warm and comfortable for the first time in a long while. He watching the fish swimming circles, the air buzzing with tiny insects.
Max jerked awake his head snapping up from where it had been resting on his knees. What was that?
The pond and the fish and the insects and the sun still pooled warmly around him. In fact he was almost too warm. He looked around. Was it a bird? It hadn’t sounded like a bird; it had sounded like laughter.
Had he been followed? With growing dread, Max stood up and turned in a careful circle looking for anyone hiding in the bushes. If they were kids from school… he felt the cold weight settle back on his shoulders. He didn’t think the sun had moved but if school was out, he was going to have to go home.
Max whirled, the laughter was right behind him. He ran up the hill trying to find the source of the laughter. Nobody was there. He blinked. How had they gotten away so quickly?
“Down here, silly.”
Max looked down bristling at the implication that someone could hide at his feet without him knowing. Sure, he was growing a lot these days, but not that much. As he had thought, no one was at his feet.
“Silly boy,” the voice said again and something sharp pinched his thumb.
“Ouch!” He looked and tiny red dots oozed from his thumb. Something had bit him.
Max felt that something or someone tug his hair and he turned quickly, trying to see what was tormenting him. He stepped back so fast he fell on his butt.
“Teeheehee!” the…creature laughed again, holding its belly as tears streamed down … her? face. She was laughing so hard she was rolling around on the moss. “Gotcha!”
Max wasn’t hurt from his fall. He was too stunned by the tiny creature in front of him. She was laughing so hard that she was having trouble breathing, snorting with laughter spasms. After several minutes of almost stopping, snorting, and then breaking out into laughter again, she finally managed to take a deep breath and stop. The two regarded each other across the grass.
“What are you?” Max asked finally.
The creature just raised her tiny eyebrows and then flew at him, her wings sounded like an angry bee. She buzzed right in front of his nose.
“A fairy,” Max finally admitted to himself. Okay, how cool was that? A fairy was here right in front of him. “I had no idea you were real. Um… what’s your name?”
“You can call me Briar, Max,” she said settling back down on the grass.
“You know my name?”
The fairy shrugged. “Of course. You’ve been touched by Death but aren’t under its protection. If you were anyone else, we wouldn’t be talking.”
Max frowned. What did she mean touched by Death? He opened his mouth to ask her, but instead got a mouthful of wet moss. “Urg.” Most of his landing on his check. He wiped his face and tried to spit out the taste of dirt.
Max looked around blinking the stars out his eyes, but Briar was nowhere to be seen.
“Wait, where’d you go?” He called out looking around the now empty clearing. Had she just left him?
He heard giggling from the bushes nearby and could see the edge of a sparkling wing. With a smile, Max crept up on the tiny creature. She seemed intent on hiding, but like a little kid, Briar was unable to hide without laughing. He crouched in front of the bush and slowly peeled back the leaves.
Wide surprised eyes stared up at him and then, with another peel of laughter, she launched herself into the air and took off across the glade. Max ran after her struggling to keep up once she moved into the deeper forest and he had branches and trees to contend with. He barely managed to keep her glowing wings in view, but he kept up.
As Max broke through the dense brush, he skidded to a stop. The glade that lay before him was bathed in eerie twilight, the air filled with motes of light and the chiming of bells. Max watched the light spiraling overhead. Were those fairies too? He blinked, feeling dizzy as the fairies spun around him, but Briar was waiting, her smile wide and sharp.
“This is where you live?” Max asked overwhelmed. It was like he’d stepped through a portal into a completely different world. Even the air felt different, heavy. His head spun. How was this place even here? It was off the trails, but had no one had ever found it?
Briar laughed, the sound bouncing around the trees until it seemed like it came from all around him. “Come,” she said and pulled him forward into the glade.
Max stumbled, struggling to keep his feet under him as Briar led him through the glade. She stopped suddenly and he scrambled to stop his eyes going wide. He was face to … butt … with Briar as she hovered at his eye level. It took him a moment to realized why she’d stopped. But just behind her was a dark gap in the bushes.
Briar turned to face him her smile wide, teeth sharp. Max blinked although her teeth weren’t what had his attention. He hadn’t noticed until now how little she was wearing. Tiny leaves were all that covered her intertwined with dark tattoos. A blush crept up his face and he struggled to look beyond her at the gap in the bushes. Was this where she was leading him? Apparently yes, for once he stopped staring at her, Briar dove through the gap and in an instant was gone.
Max hesitated. He wasn’t afraid of the dark, but this wasn’t the safe darkness of a sleeping house where he knew James was around if something went wrong. This was an unknown darkness. He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. Then, before he could think of another reason why this was a terrible idea, he bent down and followed the fairy.
It wasn’t as dark inside as he expected. A soft light glowed all around him although he couldn’t pinpoint where exactly the light was coming from. He hadn’t traveled long before the passage opened wider and Max spilled into a brightly lit …. room?
A room wasn’t at all what he expected to see. For one thing, he could stand up. There was a normal-sized table and cushions and chairs big enough for him to sit on. Brightly colored fabrics hung from the walls, beads, and shiny objects reflected the soft light everywhere. It made for a dizzying patchwork of light and shadow that never stayed still long.
“Sit.” Briar hummed as she buzzed around the room, easily handling objects larger than she was and she waved Max to the table. He collapsed onto the cushion still taking in the room. A glass egg pulsed with an inner light on the shelf next to the door, rocks sparkled behind it. His eyes hurt with all the bouncing lights around and he closed them briefly.
At the nearby clatter of ceramic, he opened his eyes again and reach out just in time to hold the cup steady while Briar poured a steaming liquid from a teapot as big as she was. The tea smelt better than anything his mom had made. It smelled sweet like honey and berries, and spicy like cinnamon. Briar flashed him another sharp smile and then blurred as she settled down across from him. She reached forward to pour another cup for herself.
Max coughed and quickly picked up his mug averting his eyes. He stared down at the golden liquid steaming inside. Well, that explained why the furniture was so big. Movement pulled his eyes back up as Briar stretched, arching her back her hands brushing the walls of her house. The leaves she wore were bigger now, but they still did nothing to hide that fact she wasn’t wearing anything else. He could see the curve of her…
He swallowed. Hard. And then took a gulp of his beverage. Gold melted onto his tongue and for a moment his attention was truly pulled from the nearly naked fairy who sat across from him. He swallowed and the tea burned down his throat. But it wasn’t painful. He could feel the liquid coating his throat with warmth as it passed. He looked up, Briar was watching him with her dark eyes.
“You like the tea?” Her voice was deeper now that she was … taller, but it still sounded like bells ringing in his ears.
He nodded and opened his mouth to respond. His voice squeaked and he hastily cleared his throat. “Erh – yes. What is it?” He said trying to not to stare at Briar who was now leaning forward on her stool stirring her own tea with a small spoon. She took a small sip before she answered.
She shrugged. “Bit of this and that.”
Max shifted on his cushion trying to find a more comfortable spot. He took another sip of the liquid gold tea. The warmth pooled in his bones like sunshine on a summer day. He tried to think of something to say. He tried not to stare at the fairy. It wasn’t polite to stare, but it wasn’t polite to ignore your host. He was torn.
His attention was caught by a flash of light out the window. He could see a patch of sun that had penetrated the overall canopy reflecting off the water. That reminded him of the pool where he’d first met Briar, she’d said something back then…something odd. He tried to remember.
He cleared his throat again. “You said before something about Death?” He asked and then remembered the other thing bothering him. “And how did you know my name?”
Briar’s dark eyes swirled slowly and pulled his gaze up and in. He felt like he was falling into those dark inhuman eyes. They brightened as she smiled again. She licked her lips slowly and grinned.
“I could taste your name,” she said.
Max remembered the bite on his thumb, he looked down at his hand and saw the two tiny red dots. But it didn’t hurt now. Nothing hurt now. He leaned back against the wall behind him. The wood felt soft. Everything felt soft.
“And I could taste Death in you,” she continued and laughed, the bells of her voice sounded all around him as he fell into her swirling eyes.
- Where to start? Haha. Briar is a creation I made a while back for this story and she is loaded with cc. She’s on the gallery under my name ra3rei. The only difference is for some of the shots I used Necrodog’s HD Feet v2 which was finally updated after she was made and shared and now most of my sims have them.
- The Fairy House has some decorative CC – It is not on the Gallery
- Wood Slat Sliding
- Atwood Dining Glass Egg 2
- Atwood Living Small Tea Light & Plain Throw Pillow (not seen)
- Mid Century Eclectic – Retro Chic Pillows (not seen)
- Myra Living Origami Gem 1 and 2
- Hampton’s Hideaway Large Porcelain Bird (not seen)
- Shaker Kitchen Flour and Sugar Jars & Pestle and Morar
- Lennox Kitchen Mug
- Build-a-Shower Wall Shelf
- Slob’s Life Open book
- Poses for the Briar
- This chapter would have been impossible without Andrew’s pose player & special effects mod or the teleport mod by Scumbumbo.
- Everything else was a lot of move objects, debug items, and gimp “photoshopping” after the fact.
- The inspiring challenge, as always, is by CitizenErased14