lovely: aos sí
behind the perpetually empty lot is the old schoolyard, abandoned to the woods in my grandparents’ day. you come across them on the rusty swing set, their voice twining with the chain’s metallic screech in a gentle cacophony. your momma whispered caution into your childhood tales, so as easy as two and two being four, they ask for your name and you tell them to call you lovely. you know better than to ask for theirs.
as you walk down the moss-carpeted forest path they slip their hand into your back pocket, light as chalk dust seen only in sunlight falling through a half-open window—a specter’s shadow, a half-forgotten dream.
your feet sink into the ground, step out of the trees. cloud shadows cut across the dappled starlit moor, unravel its whistling melody sung in no man-made tongue. they warn you not to follow it, breathe ghosts along your cheek. i have staked a claim, my lovely, they murmur. and i protect what is mine.
they tell you, ask no questions, receive no hurtful truths that cut deeper than the half-sweet lies you were taught to expect. their face is a pane of glass, flat and transparent; their tears are the rain, uncaring and constant. the sunset’s echo rings between you—you, the immortal and the ever dying.
oh lovely, my lovely, they whisper under glowing moon and winking stars, with desks dragged through rotted doors and upended behind your backs. near every creature has teeth. it’s human hands that are truly weapons of destruction, but look at how your fingers fit so neatly between mine.
you whisper back, when have you last let the wind kiss your skin? it’s all kind, in the end.
they hum, thoughtful, and bare their teeth, eyes flash. in shared silence you lean back against the desks and smile at the moon. somewhere in the back of your mind you’d like to think he smiles back.