Day 1: Ring

Art by Rhett Backstrom | Twitter | Instagram

Cold. So cold.

I wake up at dawn, the dew from the grass soaking through my clothes. Why am I outside? The sky is blue, but I’m degrees away from being able to see my own breath.

Autumn.

I shake my head back and forth, deciding the long grass in my garden doesn’t need to be cut. It makes for a fine pillow. I’m confused. I’m still content.

I stretch all my limbs out, shaking a little bit at how satisfying the first stretch in the morning can be. I squeeze my eyes shut and my head falls to the side. I take a moment and open my eyes again.

Instantaneously, I spring up and backwards when I see what I was laying close to. I fall into a seated position into some leaves that have already fallen. They crunch under me.

A fairy circle.

Grandma gave me warnings. Luck inside, bad luck outside? Wait, no. Luck outside. Bad luck inside.

I hear rustling next to me and freeze. My head turns slowly, dreading what could be here this early.

A black cat? Something tells me it’s a she. Her confident strut to the middle of the garden makes it seem as if she’s the ruler of this land. She might be.

Her tiny nose twitches and she moves in on one of the mushrooms that make up the fairy circle. She makes a noise with her mouth shut and jumps forward. I try and leap for her so she doesn’t go inside, but I don’t react fast enough. My leap makes her leap further away to the center of the circle. From closer inspection there are two circles. Does that mean double the luck or bad luck?

The cat does not care about me anymore. She plants herself perfectly into the middle of both circles and lays down in a tiny ball. Her eyes are shut.

Is a black cat bad luck? Does she negate the bad luck inside the circle? I’m reaching into the depths of my memories of all the stories.

I’m lost in thought, but there’s movement in front of me and my eyes refocus.

The cat suddenly lifts her head up and an eerie, deep voice comes out from between her white fangs. “Wake up.”

I sit up as fast as I can. I’m in bed. The setting is normal and I’m in warm blankets not in the dewy ground. My boyfriend has already woken up and left for work. I’m breathing heavy and trying to calm down. That was a weird dream. I run my hands over my face and hair and the vintage ring my grandma gave me turns to the side on my middle finger, making the serpentine stone uncomfortably positioned between my fingers. I turn it the correct way and look closely at it. The green rock has faint white speckles on it. I’ve never noticed it before but they kind of have a distinct pattern like a constellation.

Or… a fairy circle? My head jolts up and I look forward out our big window – shocked. My heart is racing. I lock eyes with a black cat who jumps off of the windowsill and out of view.

I don’t know what any of this means. I feel like I’m stuck in that moment for a long time until my phone ringing snaps me out of it. It’s my mom? I haven’t heard from her in a while. I answer the phone.

“Hello?”

“It’s your grandma.” My mom is crying. “She passed away early this morning.”

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