There really are Faeries at the bottom of my garden. Or, at least, there were when I was younger. But I'm afraid they don't seem to be there any more. I wish, I really wish they were.


A World Beyond Book Cover I forced my way through the hole in the crumbling brickwork that separated the two gardens. Xanthia was waiting for me, leaning on the mossy boulder as usual, as calm and serene as always. I had asked her once whether she sat there all day waiting for me to arrive. She had looked at me most strangely.

"Oh no! I always know when you're coming to find me," she replied, frowning prettily at my confusion, "Of course I make sure I am here to meet you."

But she would never tell me how she knew when I would arrive, even when I did not know myself when my chores would be done and I could escape for an hour or two.

Today, Xanthia was already naked - gloriously, wonderfully naked and basking in the warm sunshine - with just a single flower in her hair to counterpoint her elfin beauty. Her summer dress - made of a diaphanous material I have encountered neither before or since - lay discarded on the lawn at her feet.

I rushed to her, kissed her boldly, then held her body close for the longest time, the delightful scent of her hair filling my nostrils. Xanthia eventually pulled back, then reached for my face and drew me close. She kissed me, and again, and thrice again. Then I too pulled back to look upon the face of my love.

I studied her face, drinking in her distinctive features: the wide mouth, the high cheekbones and slightly pointed ears, the fair skin and the translucently blonde hair. It was not that she would look out of place on the average high street, not really, but when you knew the truth, it was evident to me that she was somehow not quite human.

Unconscious of her own nakedness, Xanthia gently helped me out of my clothes: the buckled shoes and white knee-length socks, the summer dress of printed gingham and the brassiere that Mother insisted that I wear, even though my adolescent breasts barely needed any such support.

In spite of the heat of the sun, I felt suddenly chilled, exposed by my nudity. Recognizing this, Xanthia smiled warmly then held me close to her breasts for a long moment before bending to strip away my last item of clothing, the voluminous knickers that chafed and itched unbearably in the warm weather.

I gladly kicked aside the underwear. Xanthia - always the bolder one - ran a gentle tongue over my left nipple, causing me to gasp involuntarily. She pressed the lips of her mouth against the more intimate lips between my legs, her tongue now expertly licking me. As always, the heat of her body ignited the passion in mine, a roaring hot sensation that left me so very sensitive everywhere at once.

I moaned aloud, unable to contain my passion and my pleasure. Her lips found my mouth, now spiced with my own moisture and her fingers delicately explored that sensitive opening, already wet and aching for her attentions. I needed her, wanted her so much, and she knew it. I could tell it in her every touch, her skillful fingers soon bringing me to the first of the many shattering climaxes we would enjoy together that last afternoon.

*

Afterwards, we lay together on the sun-warmed grass, Xanthia's head cradled on my shoulder, our legs entwined intimately, dozing and sated. We could have stayed like that all afternoon, or al least until the urgencies of her touch, the passion of her need would stir us both to further paroxysms of ecstasy.

It was not to be. Xanthia stiffened in my arms and looked up, her eyes wide and darting from side to side, a worried expression suddenly creasing her forehead and making her look so very much older. She struggled to stand up, her posture erect, poised, somehow alert to some change I could not perceive, analyzing something my own senses could not fathom.

I stood too, alarmed by her apparent agitation. Suddenly a cool wind began to blow, chilling the perspiration which still beaded my body. The breeze stirred the tangled locks on my head, made me hug my naked body with cold and a sudden fear.

"What is it? What's wrong?" I demanded, shivering.

Xanthia turned to me, held my shoulders and looked directly into my eyes.

"There is bad news," she said gravely, "The time has come for us to separate. You must go, now."

"No!" I cried, "Never! I don't want to go. Why do I have to?"

"You must," she repeated, shaking her head sorrowfully, "It is too late to stop the change, and you cannot stay here."

From the other side of the wall, the bell that summoned me for dinner started ringing, a summons that to disobey would leave me confined to my bedroom for a week. At almost the same moment, heavy grey storm-clouds gathered overhead, so suddenly it seemed impossible, and rain began to fall in great heavy drops.

Xanthia swept up her dress, the rain beading her face and flattening her hair.

"Go!" she cried, "Get your things and return. Go now!"

I bundled up my clothes awkwardly. She pushed me towards the hole in the old brick wall. I stumbled, took a couple of steps forward, practically fell through the hole in the wall. When I turned around, Xanthia was gone, invisible in the grey torrents that battered the brickwork and blinded my eyes.

There was enough glass left in the old lean-to greenhouse to provide some shelter from the rain. Inside, I struggled back into my sodden dress and stockings, my brassiere and my hated knickers. My shoes soaked and muddy, I ran through the rain to the main house where my parents were stood in the porch, an expression of concern on both their faces.

My mother's concern was for me, although her mode to display that concern was to chastise me sternly for my sodden and mud-splattered clothes. My father barely noticed me. His mind was elsewhere, frustration at being unable to complete whatever task he had started plainly visible on his face.

I ran inside, the tears on my face unnoticed, washed away by the rain.

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