The wanderer couldn’t believe how long he had been walking in the woods. It felt like days. The mist between the silver trees softened the edges of the world and blurred any sounds into a faint hiss. Everything looked the same and the faint echoes of song that tantalised him on the edge of his hearing were impossible to place. He paused and put a tentative hand on the ice cold trunk of a tree. Perhaps he had passed it before. He couldn’t tell. He had tried arranging stones on the paths to see if he was going in circles but when he found the stones again they were not quite the same as he remembered. They had been a little jumbled and he couldn’t be sure if they were the stones he had left there or not.
He regretted taking the dare. Everyone said that the lane led to Fairyland if you went on a full moon on May Day Eve. He hadn’t wanted to go but Harry had dared him and he hadn’t wanted to look scared. He stopped again and leant against a tree. It was funny. He didn’t feel hungry or thirsty, but he was sure he had been here most of the night. He shivered.
He looked around. It felt like days but there was no sign of dawn. Perhaps the mist was hiding it. He looked around. He didn’t remember this fork in the path. Perhaps that was the way out. He frowned. He could hear voices! He finally could hear voices!
“I don’t know, father.” The voice of a young man said. “The signs are mounting up. There is something coming to Leeds and I’m not sure what.”
“I do not wish to believe it, Steve.” An older voice said. “But I fear it is true.”
The wanderer ran towards them. “Hey, hey there! Can you help me? I’m lost.” He ran into the clearing and then stumbled to a halt. A tall, dark man with devilish green eyes was dressed in what looked like Medieval armour and was facing a slim man in a sharp suit.
“I am Lord Marius,” the man in armour said. “This is my son, Steve Adderson. Why are you here?”
“Harry dared me.” The wanderer looked between the two men. “This is Fairyland, right?”
“Yes, it is.” Steve looked at him. “Have you been here long?”
The wanderer smiled ruefully. “It seems like days. Do you know the way out? It’s just that if I’m out too late my mam won’t let me listen to the coronation on the radio.”
“Coronation?” Lord Marius asked, amused.
“Yes, King George VI. He’ll do a better job and at least he’s married to a proper lady.” The wanderer looked between the two men and their suddenly set expressions. “What’s the matter?”
“I’ll explain it.” Steve said. “I’ll meet up later, father.” He turned to the wanderer. “We need to get out of this domain and have a long talk. What’s your name?”
The wanderer stared at him for a long moment. He had come into Fairyland, some time ago. He had come because of a dare from Harry. He wanted to get back to listen to the coronation on the radio and he couldn’t if his mam was cross and he seemed to have been wandering for a long time. Those thoughts had run a track around his mind for longer than it seemed, with nothing else on his mind. “I can’t remember.”