This is part two of a fictional tale about fairies, love and death… (for the first part, click here.)
The full moon was waning, and that meant a sacrifice needed to be made soon. But Tara and Sam continued to lay naked, wrapped in each others arms. For the first time in decades, they tried to ignore the harvest moon’s demand for blood. For the first time, they questioned the law of their kind.
They both stared at the moon, silently pleading for it to give them another choice. As forest fairies, there was one night, and one night only where they had to spill blood. Human blood was preferred over killing a fellow forest fairy, but either way, the harvest moon’s demand had to be filled. And tonight was that night. Yet, neither of them moved, unifying their protest.
Though they had just met earlier that day, and both had the original intention of killing each other, their feelings had changed. Their meeting had sparked something inside them. It had created a desire, laughter and hope they had not known. It was also the first time they had both met another forest fairy. Their kind had dramatically dwindled over the past century and they understood why. Fairies were generally kindhearted spirits. And many over the years, died from that fault. Some refused the adult law of the annual sacrifice, and became sacrifices themselves. Others were hunted, captured and tested on by the government in earlier years. Forced into hiding, these magical fairies slowly became folklore and myths, and simply just started to disappear. But they were indeed real, and here two lay, denying the annual sacrifice and risking their own survival.
“We are running out of time,” whispered Tara.
“I know. I just keep thinking that there has to be another way.”
They both continued to lay there silently. Time they didn’t have ticked away.
Sam broke the silence. “Let’s get up before we run out of time. Let’s go hunt, together. For another option.”
“Yes. Perhaps the harvest moon will provide,” replied Tara.
“If it wants us to exist, I hope it does–and soon.”
With that, Tara and Sam got dressed and left the comfort of the waterfall and headed North. They moved through the woods quickly and quietly with Tara in the lead. Though Sam was a natural in the woods, like all forest fairies, this forest was Tara’s home and had been for nearly 100 years. She knew it intimately and headed towards the outskirts of the small desolate town. For over a mile, they moved in silence, neither wanting to acknowledge the lack of time they both had.
Then, suddenly Tara stopped. Sam watched her silently and then heard it too. Screams to the West. Horrible screams. Without a word, Tara took off running towards the distant sound. Sam followed her without question and wondered, Maybe the moon is giving us another option?
As they neared the source of cries, they slowed down trying to determine the situation. Together, two people who had prepared on killing someone in sacrifice before the night was over, stood frozen in horror at the scene they had just run to. At least when they had to kill, they did it quickly and humanly. This scene was just brutal.
There, in the middle of the woods, was a crazed man attacking a woman. She was on her stomach, desperately trying to crawl. Clinging to roots and grasping at the ground, she tried to distance herself from him. But his knife found the flesh of her back and, from the amount of blood covering her, several other places on her body.
Sam lunged forward, “This is our second chance. I’ll take him. You get her.”
Tara ran towards the blood with Sam. When he got close to man he grabbed the knife from his hand, throwing it into the brush. Then, he pounced on the attacker, pulling him off the woman.
Tara grabbed the woman and rolled her over onto her back. She had every intent on finishing her off. She looked near dead anyway, and this was her sacrifice now, thanks to the harvest moon. However, when she looked down at the woman, she froze. The bloodied victim was pregnant. Tara had not expected this and fairy laws were clear. Children were never to be harmed. Ever. Only adults could be a sacrifice. Only adult blood of a human or forest fairy would count. Killing a child would be worse than making no sacrifice at all. In fact, it guaranteed eternal torture.
The pregnant woman looked up at Tara, stretching her arms out to hold her belly.
“Pa..Pa..Pleeeasse help my baby,” whimpered the woman. Instinctively, Tara pulled her torn garment off her stomach. She wiped away the blood as best she could to see her wounds. She was covered in scratches and blood, but there only appeared to be one shallow stab wound on her stomach.
“You belly looks ok. There is only one cut and it’s shallow,” reported Tara.
“I turned. I tried to protect… please help my baby. Don’t let it die,” pleaded the woman.
“Of course you did,” Tara smiled while rubbing the lady’s forehead. “You did great.”
“Something’s wrong. I cannot feel the baby. I cannot feel…Please. Oooohhh. Please. Please don’t let my baby die.”
Tara wasn’t a doctor, but she had lived in the forest for nearly 100 years. She’d seen many lives end, as well as begin. These were typically animals lives though. However, she wasn’t ignorant to human life and had always tried to make her harvest moon sacrifices as painless as possible.
In her century of life, she had had to learn about regular humans. Sometimes, it was merely out of curiosity. Other times, she was on a mission to study them so her encounters with them would not raise suspicions. She needed to blend in to survive. All her experiences combined with her fairy senses, told her enough to agree with this woman. It didn’t look good for her or her baby.
As she stared down at the woman, she ran her hand over the mother’s belly. Then, she laid her hands on the woman’s head. She could feel life slipping away from the woman. Yet, the baby felt strong so far. But unless the baby was delivered soon, Tara knew, it would die with the mother.
Just then, Sam ran over. Tara glanced up at him, and then over to the attacker who lay on the ground, still and lifeless. She knew Sam had made his sacrifice and from the scene they came upon, the world would not miss that human in the least.
Tara looked back at Sam. “She’s pregnant.”
Immediately, Sam knelt next to Tara. “How is the baby?”
“It seems fine surprisingly, but probably not for long,” Tara stated as she looked over the mother. “She’s bleeding a lot, but doesn’t seem to be in labor.”
“We have to save the baby,” said Sam while discovering a deep wound along the woman’s neck. She whimpered under the pressure of his hands. “I don’t think she is going to make it. This gash is so deep.”
“And there are several more on her back,” replied Tara.
“Save…my, my baby…my baby,” stammered the woman who had started to fall in and out of consciousness.
“We will my dear. We will. You did a great job protecting it. You were so very brave,” soothed Tara. She looked up at Sam. “This baby is not coming naturally, but it has to come now or it will die with her.”
Sam felt the woman’s belly, then her head. He was trying to sense the life of each spirit, like Tara had done moments before. He looked up at Tara. “I think your right. She’s going to die regardless. We both know that. But either way, we have to save the baby.”
“Let me at least give her some comfort. She has suffered enough,” said Tara. “Get my backpack.” Sam ran over to where they had stopped and discovered the brutal scene. He grabbed the backpack she had thrown aside and brought it to her.
Tara quickly pulled out a bottle of water and a large rolled up leaf from her bag. She unrolled the leaf and pulled out a pinch of the enclosed crushed herbs.
“Good idea,” said Sam when he recognized the herbal concoction that would give the woman a sense of comfort and euphoria.
“I can at least give her peace before she dies.”
Sam nodded and stood up, giving Tara room. Tara leaned over the woman’s head and put the herbs on her tongue. Then, she poured a tiny bit of water into her mouth, causing her to swallow.
Meanwhile, Sam walked over to where he had thrown the attacker’s knife. After a few minutes, he found the bloody blade and returned to Tara and the dying mother who was now feeling no pain.
When he reached them, Tara had her hands over the woman’s mouth and nose, putting her out of her misery. And as a result, had just fufilled her official harvest moon sacrifice. Sam paused, knowing this fact would not matter if the child was not saved. He stood there, holding the knife in Tara’s sight and announced, “You are going to need this since there is no labor, and the baby must live.”
“I know. I know. But you can’t help me. If I mess up, I want this only on me. It can only be by my hands,” Tara said, looking at the knife.
Sam knelt down beside her and grabbed her hand. “No. You’ve made your sacrifice with kindness. I have made mine defending another. The harvest moon’s demands have been met. It gave us another option. Now, we will save this baby together. And together, we shall remain.”
Tara looked at him. “OK. But if we fail, we will both go to the Casism, instead of just me.”
“Yes, so the law says when you kill a child,” Sam replied coldly. “But…if we succeed, we will be bonded together forever by saving a child on the harvest moon. We have a chance at a blessing I never thought was possible. Not until I met you Tara.”
Tara stared at him realizing that he was referring to ancient fairy blessing that bound two lovers together when they saved a child on a harvest moon. It was more than a spiritual binding too. It was blessing so deep that it released them from the harvest moon’s annual call for blood. By saving the child together, on this night, they would not only be saved from the horror of life in the Casism, but they would be forever freed from the one night of horror that forest fairies dreaded. And, they could stay mated forever.
Tara nodded, “I had not thought of that Sam. I had almost forgotten that legend.”
“So, we will do it together,” he replied and leaned in to give her a kiss.
“Together,” she repeated. “We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
“Yes. Indeed we do. So, together forever. By dawn, it will a new begging for the three of us.”