Constellations Over Us – Book 1 – Prologue

Constellations Over Us – Book 1 – Prologue

“Grandma, if you keep shaking like that, you’ll fall over and break your hip again,” Reese, age 6, did his best to point out to his grandmother, who was standing in front of a ring of trees and trembling violently with what was presumably rage. The silver-haired woman wore a marigold cardigan that was wrapped snugly around her shoulders, and she only pulled it tighter when Reese spoke.

“What did I tell you about not getting close to faerie rings, child?”

Reese breathed the tiniest of sighs through his nose. This again? Really? If she kept prattling on about her superstitions like this, his father was probably going to have her get checked for dementia. He’d heard this lecture a thousand times already, his grandmother’s rants about the dangers of the Fair Folk, the old stories of changelings and stealing unsuspecting humans. Badass as she was, he still wished she would shut up about it. It was the 21st century! Even someone as aggressively Welsh as she was should have put old fairytales like those far behind her by now.

“Not to do it, Grandmama.”

“Then why did you get so close to this one?”

The awkward little boy stood before her, crossing his arms and looking down at the leaf litter below him. He didn’t have an answer to that one, so he just shrugged his shoulders and sat down cross-legged on the ground, looking up at his grandmother with big green eyes.

“You know I just don’t want you to get hurt, dear,” she continued, extending a hand for him to take. Even though hers was slender and small, it still dwarfed Reese’s.

“But Daddy says they’re not even-”

“Nevermind what your father says, child. Don’t go near those rings ever again, do you understand? Do you swear?”

Reese flinched just the tiniest bit. The old woman’s voice was as sharp as a knife, despite the gentle lilt of her accent. The tone she used was that same no-nonsense one he heard whenever he misbehaved.

“…Yes, Grandmama. I swear I won’t.”

That was 12 years ago, Reese told himself as he stood in front of the same old ring of trees. It was a cold day out today, so he was wearing his favorite green turtleneck and some extra long pants. He tried not to think too hard about that particular point in the past. That was the same year a car crash took his grandmother’s life unexpectedly, and he most definitely preferred not to revisit the things adjacent to the day his family got the news.

Still, despite how long it had been, he still really didn’t feel like he should step in there, between those trees to the center of the circle. It was probably just lingering apprehension from his childhood, of course, but it was powerful nonetheless.

Just step inside, Reese. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

His map was in there, and it was vitally important that he get it out. He was terrible at orienting himself and he knew he’d somehow manage to get himself hopelessly lost on this trail in the woods if he didn’t have a map with him. He squared his shoulders and steeled himself, taking a step forward.

One step… two steps… nothing wrong so far. Just a little further and Reese would have his map back. His fingers brushed against the smoothness of the paper as he picked it up, brushing the dirt off of it and pumping a fist in the air in a gesture of excitement at his achievement. He didn’t care that it was mundane, and he didn’t care that he might’ve looked stupid. He’d done it! He’d overcome the superstition and the fear, and now he was bravely standing in the middle of a faerie ring, map in hand. He felt like he could conquer anything. Hell, he would conquer anything! He’d just begun laughing at how silly the entire situation was when the forest floor gave out from beneath him – which it really shouldn’t have – and he found himself lying on his back in an unfamiliar, dim forest with a canopy so thick it choked out most of the sun’s light. The ground beneath him was covered with springy moss, the air was filled with strange birdsong, and his vision was occupied by a stark white young man with unusually large red eyes and the ears of a horse, peering down at him with visible bewilderment and concern.

Overcome by a sudden sense of shock and terror, Reese did the only thing his absolutely befuddled mind could tell him to do; grab one of the nearby sticks strewn about the forest floor and bonk that thing on the head as hard as he could.

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