The Moon rose red
And we slipped through the shadows;
Like wraiths of smoke
We ducked under lights
And slipped in the Garden,
And under the nightflower bloom
We sang the old names.
The wind rolled through clouds
The thunder boomed in the east
And still we sang and danced round the tree.
If it was rain that hid us,
As we slipped back to the real,
Who was there to say
How we shone under the Blood Moon?
Beware of the helpful stranger
Found at the crossroads at night.
Trust not their fire or their maps
They will lead you astray.
Wear your coat inside out,
Hold some iron in your hand,
Do not leave the marked road
Lest you end in Faeryland.
Shadows were dancing at the corners of Timmy’s eyes as he hurried home. The game of hide-and-seek he and his friends had been playing had lasted a lot longer than it should have and now Timmy, whose house was the one furthest from the park, had to make his way in the dark.
“The mayor should put some lamps around here,” he grumbled, repeating the words his father said every time they walked out after sunset. The shadows jumped again and this time Timmy could have sworn he heard something rustle. Shuddering, it was a cold night for the season, he told himself. Nevertheless he walked faster.
“This better not be the others trying to prank me,” he mumbled when rustling was heard again after a few minutes. Having had enough, he turned abruptly to look behind him. Phantom shadows moved for an instant to his left, but by the time he had completed his jump –and a rather impressive jump it was, the kind that you usually encounter in movies with more gunshots than dialog- the enemy he encountered was an innocent-looking pile of leaves lying on the sidewalk. Timmy snorted at his nervousness and turned homewards again.
Then, just as he was crossing an intersection, the rustling was heard again. A chill ran down his spine. He turned again. An empty bag was crossing the road right behind him, carried by the breeze. From an alleyway a crash was heard and with a yelp Timmy started running. If any more shadows appeared, he was too focused at the lone light shining in front of his home’s door to pay them any attention. Timmy frantically searched for his keys, the rustling of leaves, much closer now, filling his ears. The door opened… Timmy risked a glance behind his shoulder, only to see a small pile of dry alder leaves fluttering innocently at the porch.
The next afternoon there was a knock on the door. Timmy looked on curiously from the kitchen table as a strange man stepped through.
“My name is Erich Koenig,” he introduced himself to Timmy’s mother. “I just moved next door and thought I’d meet the neighbours.” Mr Koenig looked and his eyes met Timmy’s. With a smile he nodded his greeting to the boy and left, a trail of dry leaves following him, dancing in the light breeze.