Maggie gazed up at her mother as she hung the clothes up on the line. The winds gently blew the crisp clean linens. Enormous white clouds sailed lazily along through the blue sky. Their shadow stretched out where she lay on the grass, slowly flowing over her as they moved. The first day of summer break, no more school until the farm season ended, a smile pulled at the corners of her lips. So many adventures awaited her and her brothers.
While her mother hummed an old Irish tune, Maggie let her mind wander. The warm gentle breeze flowed across her bare legs as she wiggled her toes. She let the slender strands of green caress her feet. A soft giggle escaped her as it grass tickled her. Several blue jays called out to one another from overhead. It truly was a lazy day.
She closed her eyes and her thoughts drifted to the swimming hole she and her older brothers were supposed to go to later on today. She wasn’t allowed to go by herself. Being only eight years old she had to wait for Mac and Taylor to finish their chores in the field before they could take her. The soft lulling of her mother’s singing began to take a hold of Maggie. Her eyes grew heavy and soon she could barely keep them open.
The warmth of the day awoke her, a bit startled, her eyelids flew open. The brilliant sun hung far to the west, letting her know it was late in the afternoon. The clothes on the line hung motionless as the winds had died away. She sat up and stretched, almost like her cat Gilbert would do.
As she stood her hands smoothed out the rumples in her white smock and grey petticoat. Maggie spied the wicker basket beside the pole, her mom had left it at the line. The notion to bring in the dried clothes crossed her mind after all next week was the county fair and she wanted to get on her mom’s good side so she could go.
Grabbing the basket she began to unpin the laundry, it always smelled so fresh and clean when it came off the line. Making sure to place each wood pin into the wooden bucket. Maggie folded the clothes and she stacked them neatly into the hamper, thinking to herself how happy her mom would be. As she pulled her brother Mac’s good Sunday shirt from the line she let out a squeal, the shirt moved in her hands and fell to the ground. Reaching for it, it skittered away; Maggie stared at it with a bit of curiosity. It moved once more, and she could see something fluttering within the pocket.
Pouncing onto the shirt, she grasped the pocket area between her small hands. Maggie was sure she had caught a small bird as she felt the fluttered panic against her palms. Slowly she opened her hands; just enough to be able to see what she had caught. She blinked in amazement, a shock of wild red hair adorned the tiny head of a freckled face minuscule boy, he glared at her, his purple and orange wings fluttered and tickled her palms. He was clad in a green tattering of cloth, a darning needle was held in his right hand. Compared to him, it may as well have been a sword. “Let me loose giantess!” he said in a voice so low she could barely hear him.
Quickly she clasped her hands closed, a bit more in disbelief than in fear of letting the thing escape. Again she parted her hands while a tiny foot kicked her. “You’re a big meanie and rude!” he told her. A sharp prick of a needle into her flesh caused her to yelp and release him. He fluttered up and flew toward the apple grove. Maggie gave chase, very much wanting to capture the tiny being to show her brothers. Everyone knew of the wee folk legends and fairy tales abounded of the mischievous little creatures. But no one Maggie knew ever claimed to have actually seen them.
Clambering into the tall grass surrounding the orchard, Maggie raced after the fleeing pixie. The dust he left behind him glittered in the late day’s sun and made following him very easy, even when she lost sight of him she could still see the trail. Maggie came to a stop before the forest edge. She was not permitted to enter the woods.
She cast a glance back to the small one story whitewashed house. A slow billowing of smoke drifted into the air from the stone chimney atop the roof. Father’s white horse snorted out loudly. It was tethered to the post near the barn and Mother would be busy with preparing supper. Maggie knew she would not be missed for a while yet. Darting in under the bough of a pine tree, she continued to give chase.
Liam eyed the small property over. The fields had long since gone fallow. Long grass and shrubs encroached all the way to the one story house. The apple orchard, although in full bloom would need a serious cleanup and the trees needed to be trimmed. The small house as well needed major repairs. The roof was missing shingles and appeared to be a bit crooked. A thick stone chimney needed to be completely replaced as did the broken windows. The place had seen its last resident nearly twenty years ago. Someone within the family had maintained it for a few years after the old man had died but that too fell by the wayside.
He walked back to his motorhome where he would live until they finished the construction of the property. As he opened the door a slow singing drifted on the light breeze. He turned his attention to the ethereal sound drifting from the woods lining his new property. Having been informed that his nearest neighbor was fifteen miles away, his curiosity peaked.
Liam decided to investigate so he could introduce himself to whoever had trespassed. He stepped into the heavy woods, the soft singing drawing him in further. The sunlight filtered in, casting dust rays throughout the thick woods. The heavy leaf litter floor crunched lightly under each of his footfalls.
The angelic voice grew nearer as he made a small pond. He peered over the tall cattails. A vision of loveliness greeted his gaze. Liam dropped quickly to his knees to not be seen. With shaky hands, he parted the reeds revealing the beautiful image. His heart thudded thunderously inside his chest as he nervously licked his bottom lip.
A young woman bathed in the waters. Her long flowing red hair clung to her milky white skin. He held his breath, not wanting to startle her by making any sounds. She sang in a language he didn’t understand but the tone was so sweet and melancholy. Several butterflies fluttered around her while she sang.
As she stepped to shallower waters he caught sight of her nakedness. A swallow lodged in his throat. Every inch of her flawless flesh glistened in the sunlight. Small trails of water trickled down her body, each bead caressing the soft curves of her frame. A stiff ache began to grow in his pants. Her face tilted up, her deep green eyes peered toward where he hid.
Panic filled him, he scurried backward, not wanting to be caught. As he fled the trees and brambles lashed at him. The idea he just acted like a pervert flooded him and his cheeks warmed. Never once in his thirty years of life had he done something so callous as to spy on a naked woman.
The air whipped around him, his legs flung up toward his body. He flew in the air entangled in a huge net. Leaf litter covered him as he swung back and forth, him and the netting suspended in the air by a thick rope hanging down from a lofty oak tree.