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This is Fantasy Boys XXX flash fiction entry for the 16th Drabble Cascade.
The theme this week is 'hidden'. I have been thinking about following on the flash fiction I wrote for Drabble Cascade 14, The Fall, looking at it from the human side, and 'hidden' inspired me to think about how the Dail was hiding from his human visitor, who I decided to call, Ben, and how discovery comes slowly.
I wanted to work through from the moment Ben discovers the old oak to when he meets Dail, and my thoughts broke neatly into five sections, so I decided to write a series of 5 brief interludes in the form of drabbles (100 words exactly). However, then I cheat, both for flash fic and drabbles, because I wanted to round off the piece and so I added an extra ten words at the end, taking me to 510 words (I hope you'll forgive me).
Ben looked up at the huge oak tree and an intense loneliness washed over him so great his eyes misted with water. Part of him felt silly standing at the base of the wide trunk and thinking how alone this great edifice of the woodland was, because they were surrounded by trees, but he knew, somewhere deep down, that she and he and...and something else, but his mind refused to focus on what, were totally alone, different from the English forest stretching in every direction. Sad, but not understanding why, Ben turned and walked away from the old matriarch.
Back again - what was it now, fourth or fifth time he'd stood here, looking up into the Summer-green canopy, looking for what? Yet still Ben did it, his mind drifting and instincts shifting. His first few visits had made him sad, almost to tears, but guys didn't cry. No, he'd pushed that away and now he was searching, looking for the reason behind the melancholy and it lay somewhere above him, of that he was sure. Eyes narrowed, Ben traced the patterns of whispering leaves above him. He saw it - a wisp of fleeting shadow - and his heart raced.
"Good morning," he greeted and smiled to himself as that made the loneliness in his belly ease a bit.
When he'd started talking to trees, well, one tree, he wasn't sure. It was daft and he'd have gone beetroot if his mates had found out. Still, there were things about him his mates didn't know, things he was still working out for himself.
"I think I'm gay," he admitted to his silent, convivial companions and shivered with a surprising relief.
Ben woke gasping, sweaty and with his dick throbbing hard against the bedclothes. He collapsed onto the mattress, moaning as the duvet brushed his arousal and sent skitters of overload through his system. Leaves, he couldn't stop thinking about leaves, fluttering away from his body, leaving him exposed to - his brain stalled, something tried to block his thoughts, but he would not be denied - to his watcher!
Ben sat up rapidly as he remembered the shadow, the knowledge he had never been alone with his oak. His body flushed with heat and purpose. Scrambling needily, he dived out of bed.
It was cold, he'd forgotten his jacket in his haste, but Ben tramped up to his tree, shivering with more than just temperature.
"Hello?" he began and felt silly, but he had to go on and hastily he confessed all, his need, his dream.
[Go away,] she whispered, laughing at him, and the rejection was almost too much.
Yet, turning away, Ben stopped, distracted as a shadow, his shadow rushed past him, landing hard, and he just stared. Before him was a startled young man, scruffy, many-hued hair, ears the shapes of leaves sticking through it, green-tinged skin.
He was the most beautiful thing Ben had ever seen.