|This post is suitable|
This is Fantasy Boys XXX flash fiction entry for the 14th Drabble Cascade.
So the theme this week is 'fall', and that brought to mind all sorts of ideas, from falling in love, to falling off something like humpty dumpty to the fall of leaves in Autumn. And all those ideas sort of coalesced into my offering below, I hope you like it :)
Dail curled over his knees, nestled down into the branches of his oak and listened to her rhythms. He shivered as a chill wind whipped past his ear, one of the first touches of Autumn. Now was a sad time, a time of casting off, of sap being withdrawn from the fine green leaves his sister had worn all Summer, so they would fall to the ground and carpet Mother Earth with their nutrients. Yet, it was also a time of beauty, of golds and reds, and the tips of his own green hair blowing in front of his face were just beginning to turn ashen in the bright, frosty light of the early morning: such was the fate of every dryad, to mirror the colours of their tree, and he was no different, at least in that.
Some said it wasn't right, the tree's magic had to have been corrupted to produce a male child: dryads were female. But he had passed all the tests and his sister and he had sung together in all the right ways as they had grown together, sapling and boy and they had thrived. Now, after nearly two hundred years, Dail had stopped listening to those dissatisfied voices - mostly.
Leaning his head back against her thick bark, Dail closed his eyes, content to be alone with the power around him. Yet, peace was not to be his, because the sound of shoes breaking the first frost of Autumn brought him back out of his communion. Rolling over his knees, Dail poised himself on his toes, looking down to the silvery ground through the camouflage of his home. However, he didn't really need to see, he recognised the person approaching below, his whole being took note, butterflies beginning in his belly and his heart rate increasing. Dail gritted his teeth as the cause of his reaction came into view immediately below: a tall, dark-haired human creature, barely more than a child and a mere speck on the timeline of Dail's existence. But this speck was troublesome, visiting his tree over and again, and even moreso, because Dail did not understand why.
"Hello?" the young man called, blue eyes staring up into Dail's canopy, that gaze so penetrating that the dryad doubted his own ability to blend with the leaves. "Hello, please, I know you're here, I-I need to see you."
Nothing like this had ever happened to Dail before, not in two centuries, but with that plea his heart constricted and he had to resist his own instinct to jump down and answer the call.
"Please, I barely slept at all last night," the stranger's voice revealed desperation, "and when I did, I dreamt of being covered in nothing but leaves. They were falling off one by one...and you were there, watching me."
Dail gripped the branch he was holding, his balance wavering as that information sent a rush of heat through his body.
[Go away,] he whispered through his sister's leaves.
Yet, she laughed sibilantly at him, her twigs shuddering in a sudden gust of wind and, before he could be confused by her betrayal, Dail found himself falling from the arms that had always held him so securely. Used to leaping between branches, Dail managed to land on his feet, but it was a none too graceful landing and he staggered backwards until his back slammed into oaken trunk. Winded and in shock, Dail sagged there, his eyes on the ground.
No more words came from the human Dail could feel only feet away from him, just the sound of excited breathing to which his own swiftly came in time. His sister and his own body were betraying him, leaving his mind reeling. Yet, something inside him urged Dail to run his gaze up over the scruffy figure in front of him: over soft shoes, their laces dangerously loose; up luridly coloured, striped cotton trousers that looked far too thin for the Autumn day and a rumpled short-sleeved shirt that was certainly no match for the biting wind. Finally, his attention reached a thin face surrounded by a tangled mop of dark hair. Then, Dail did not see the mess anymore, he only saw his own passionate confusion mirrored back at him.