An excerpt from And if I offered thee a bargain

"Youíd have known me once, Jack," he said, "but your people have different tales of glamour to tell now, donít they?" He cocked his head to one side. "Your ancestors would not have been fool enough to sleep where you sleep now. Although, I suppose the gateway warning isnít so clear nowadays."


"Door, perhaps." He gestured, and the hillside a few metres away from me opened up, the turf swinging up and out in two great leaves as if they were indeed the leaves of a door. Iím not ashamed to say that I yelped and scrambled to my feet, but there was curiosity as well as fear pulling at me. Had I managed to fall asleep on a spaceship that had grown a lawn to disguise itself? I walked the few metres to the doorway and peered in from what I hoped was a safe distance.

The turf was soil on the underside, and it had hidden a dark passage cut through the soil. A passage more than wide enough for two men to walk abreast, yet with no props or columns or beams in the walls, nothing but thin air holding up the earthen ceiling.

And then I knew who and what he was, and was afraid. The Good People are called that for a reason, and Iím not so out of touch with my cultural heritage as to not know what it is. Itís never a good idea to express your true opinion of those with power. No, stay away from the Fair Folk if you value your sanity and your life. Fair of face indeed, but capable of cruelty and capriciousness. Even the ones with no malice in them have a way of forgetting that mortals are, well, mortal. Theyíll take you away for a year and a day, or even a year times seven, and have no thought for your own life.

Legends. Myths. Superstitions.

Not real. We all know that, donít we?

Well, an old legend, an old warning, had sprung to new life, and it stood in front of me. I stood in the warm sunshine and shivered as if the gentle breeze that blew from the opening had come straight from Antarctica.

Then there was a hand on my shoulder, and a voice like silver bells saying, "It will not suck you in, Jack. It must be your choice, to take that road." And he waved his hand again, and the doors closed themselves.

"Itís probably not a good idea to leave it open, not in the day," he said. There was laughter in his voice as he added, "After all, it might frighten the mundanes."