Happy Halloween everyone! We know you’ll no doubt be busy preparing for trick-or-treaters and pumpkin carving but make sure you take some time out with your morning coffee to read the last part of our Halloween Round Robin and find out what happens to Kalen and Faye. A Jane Lovering finale is not to be missed There’s one more competition to enter too!
Please note: To enjoy this story, you should read each part in order.
Click HERE to read Part One by Berni Stevens
Click HERE to read Part Two by Rhoda Baxter
Click HERE to read Part Three by Christina Courtenay
Click HERE to read Part Four by Kirsty Ferry
A Hallowe’en Faerie Tale: Final Part by Jane Lovering
We danced for what felt like days, but every time I glanced up the moon was still in the same position, as though it had been nailed to the black silk of the sky.
‘The queen wishes to meet our human guest,’ Kalen said, after we’d performed a particularly difficult waltz that had left me out of breath whilst all the other dancers seemed unaffected, almost cat-like in their grace and elegance, and also their air of slightly self-satisfied arrogance. ‘She is intrigued by your presence.’
He took my hand and led me to a dais, surrounded by gauzy curtains which fluttered in an unfelt breeze. Upon the platform sat a woman so beautiful that I immediately felt pathetically unworthy and slightly fat in my laced-up bodice and swirly skirt. Everything about her was perfect. Her hair was glossy black, parted in the middle and rippled with just enough curl to make it not hang like a 1960’s folk singer. Her face could have advertised anything from perfume to expensive cars and she wore a dress that managed to leave everything to the imagination whilst assuming that you didn’t have a very good one. She looked like Faerie Barbie.
‘So.’ And even her voice was perfect, light and amused, accentless. ‘This is the human woman that you rescued from the Dark Court’s attention.’ She rested her chin in her cupped hand and looked at me as though she was going to buy me. ‘Hmmm.’ She made a ‘twirling’ motion in the air with her other hand and Kalen obediently swung me around. ’I suppose she will do.’ Then her attention focused in on me. ‘Has Kalen provided you with refreshment yet, my dear? Do have a cup of sherbet.’
I wanted to point out that, what with it being Halloween, I’d already had enough sherbet to knock out a ten-year-old, but Kalen was already passing me an ornate silver goblet filled with liquid. It foamed and smelled of all the delicious things I’d ever eaten or drunk. I realised that, with all the dancing and partying and not knowing how much time had elapsed, I was actually really thirsty, and raised the cup to my lips.
A large tartan shopping bag appeared out of nowhere and smacked the goblet from my hand, spilling frothing liquid across the impeccable grass in front of me.
‘Don’t you know that you never eat or drink in Faerie?’ a crotchety voice asked. ‘Honestly, what do they teach them in schools these days? Well, geography, I suppose. And French. But obviously not how to behave when you’ve been stolen away by the Folk… tch.’
Mrs Alden, wearing what looked suspiciously like a winceyette nightie and ankle-high slippers in purple tartan stood in the middle of the faerie ball, as incongruous as a naked man in Harrods. She’d lowered her wheeled shopping bag, but was still holding it slightly threateningly by its long handle.
The queen looked furious. She actually hissed at Mrs Arden.
‘Now, now, my lady. You’ll not use this poor child in one of your battles against the Unseelie.’ Mrs Arden gave me A Look. ‘Just because she’s a bit simple and has her head easily turned by a man in tight britches does not give you the right to keep her in Faerie.’ A hand fastened around my wrist. ‘And you, come with me.’
She pulled me away from the floating candles and the music and the laughter. Away from the magic that had made me feel so special, and back through the wooden door. Instantly we were outside the flats again and I could smell the rubbish bins and the damp compost from my pots. My clothes were back to being jeans and trainers, and I felt a brief pang for the loss of the cobweb dress and silver slippers. Mrs Arden continued to bundle me until we were back inside the building, and then inside her flat, whereupon she pushed me down into an armchair, made a quick phone call that I couldn’t hear, and turned to me.
‘I suppose you told them your name.’ She was shaking her head. ‘Really, child. You let yourself be elf-struck, and on this night of all nights … well. You were just lucky I was there.’ She reached into the tartan shopper and pulled out another horse-shoe, this one was still bright and had a few nails protruding. Mrs Arden sighed. ‘And at my age I shouldn’t be wrestling with horses, it’s no joke trying to pull these things off, you know, when you’ve got half a tonne of Welsh Cob trying to nibble your nightie.’
I was still stunned. I just sat, trying to get my head around what had just happened. The memory of the faerie ball was fading, wisping into dream.
‘I knew what was happening the second you burst in and stole my horseshoe. If you eat or drink in Faerie, they have you, you know.’ Mrs Arden’s voice softened now. ‘They can keep you for two hundred years and do what they want with you. And what they want is rarely pleasant.’ Her voice dropped away, as though she knew. ‘And then they just drop you back where they found you. All your family dead and gone, never knowing what happened to you.’
There was a knock at the door and she went off to open it to a tall young man with familiar piercing blue eyes, who I was absolutely NOT going to refer to as Kalen No. 3. ‘This is my great great grandson,’ she said.
The young man smiled at me, with absolutely no sense of recognition, but a warm friendliness. ‘Hello,’ he said. ‘I’m Mark.’
I opened and closed my mouth a couple of times. ’And I’m …’ I hesitated.
Mrs Arden twinkled at me. ‘It’s all right,’ she said. ‘Halloween is just about over, and this one is definitely mortal. He’s the spitting image of his great great grandad, though …’ she added softly.
‘I’m Faye,’ I said. ’From next door.’
Mark nodded. ‘I’ve seen you coming and going, when I’ve been visiting Great Gran. I’m renovating the old hall down the road there, going to turn it into a house … I was going to knock and ask you to come over for a coffee, but …’ he spread his hands, ‘it just never seemed the right time.’
Mrs Arden nodded to herself, as though quietly satisfied. Then she stared at the space above the door where I’d wrenched holes in her architrave. ‘Now, I’ll leave you two alone together to get to know one another … and to get that bloody horseshoe back up where it belongs!’
We were beginning to have our suspicions about ‘Kalen Number 1′, but we’re so glad Mrs Arden stepped in to save the day – and that Faye finally met the ‘right’ Kalen (or Mark!) What a fabulous way to end our Round Robin and to begin the Halloween celebrations!
Thank you to all of our talented authors for putting the story together. We don’t know how you manage it! And thank you also to everyone who has read the story and commented. We hope you’ve enjoyed it and that you all have a wonderful Halloween.
If you enjoyed Jane’s writing in today’s Round Robin, you might want to read one of her novels – and this could be your chance! We have one copy of Vampire State of Mind and some Halloween chocolate to give away. To enter, simply comment below and tell us what you think of the story so far
There will be a competition each day of our Round Robin and all winners will be announced 1st November.