The Summer People- Some History

The History of the Summer People really begins with the Romani- as they share common roots and history. If you look through historical records, the first real mention of the Summer People, first appears in the writings of Theophanes the Confessor in AD 803. Theophanes wrote that Emperor Nikephoros I had the help of the “Atsingani” to put down a riot with their “knowledge of magic”. From there, the “Atsingani” seem to vanish from history- until now- with the release of my series- The Summer People.

Please visit my website at: https://smusing.com/ for lots of amazing stories, as well as the first three books of the Summer People!

A partial reprint of the wiki article has been added below.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Romani_people

The Romani have been described by Diana Muir Appelbaum as unique among peoples because they have never identified themselves with a territory; they have no tradition of an ancient and distant homeland from which their ancestors migrated, nor do they claim the right to national sovereignty in any of the lands where they reside. Rather, Romani identity is bound up with the ideal of freedom expressed, in part, in having no ties to a homeland.[5]The absence of traditional origin stories and of a written history has meant that the origin and early history of the Romani people was long an enigma. Indian origin was suggested on linguistic grounds as early as the late 18th century.[6]

One theory suggests that the name ultimately derives from a form ḍōmba ‘man of low caste living by singing and music’, attested in Classical Sanskrit.[7] Many also believe that Gypsies are descendants of Dalit because of the word zingaro (ατσίγγανος) (untouchable) that was used to designate gypsies in Greece . An alternative view is that the ancestors of the Romani were part of the military in Northern India. When there were invasions by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi and these soldiers were defeated, they were moved west with their families into the Byzantine Empire between AD 1000 and 1030.[8]

The genetic evidence identified an Indian origin for Roma.[9][10] Genetic evidence connects the Romani people to the descendants of groups which emigrated from South Asia towards Central Asia during the medieval period.[11]

Language origins[edit]

Until the mid-to-late 18th century, theories of the origin of the Romani were mostly speculative. In 1782, Johann Christian Christoph Rüdiger published his research that pointed out the relationship between the Romani language and Hindustani.[12] Subsequent work supported the hypothesis that Romani shared a common origin with the Indo-Aryan languages of Northern India,[13] with Romani grouping most closely with Sinhalese in a recent study.[14]

Domari and Romani language[edit]

Main article: Domari language

Domari was once thought to be the “sister language” of Romani, the two languages having split after the departure from the South Asia, but more recent research suggests that the differences between them are significant enough to treat them as two separate languages within the Central zone (HindustaniSaraiki language group of languages. The Dom and the Rom are therefore likely to be descendants of two different migration waves from the Indian subcontinent, separated by several centuries.[15][16]

Numerals in the RomaniDomari and Lomavren languages, with Hindi and Persian forms for comparison.[17] Note that Romani 7–9 are borrowed from Greek.

HindiRomaniDomariLomavrenPersian
1ekekh, jekhyikayak, yekyak, yek
2dodujluidu, do
3tīntrintærəntərinse
4cārštarštarišdörčahār
5pā̃cpandžpandžpendžpandž
6chahšovšaššeššeš
7sātiftaxauthafthaft
8āṭhoxtoxaišthašthašt
9nauinjananunoh
10dasdešdeslasdah
20bīsbišwīsvistbist
100saušelsajsajsad

Genetic evidence[edit]

Further evidence for the South Asian origin of the Romanies came in the late 1990s. Researchers doing DNA analysis discovered that Romani populations carried large frequencies of particular Y chromosomes (inherited paternally) and mitochondrial DNA (inherited maternally) that otherwise exist only in populations from South Asia.

47.3% of Romani men carry Y chromosomes of haplogroup H-M82 which is rare outside South Asia.[18] Mitochondrial haplogroup M, most common in Indian subjects and rare outside Southern Asia, accounts for nearly 30% of Romani people.[18] A more detailed study of Polish Roma shows this to be of the M5 lineage, which is specific to India.[19] Moreover, a form of the inherited disorder congenital myasthenia is found in Romani subjects. This form of the disorder, caused by the 1267delG mutation, is otherwise known only in subjects of Indian ancestry. This is considered to be the best evidence of the Indian ancestry of the Romanis.[20]

The Romanis have been described as “a conglomerate of genetically isolated founder populations”.[21] The number of common Mendelian disorders found among Romanis from all over Europe indicates “a common origin and founder effect“.[21] See also this table:[22]

A study from 2001 by Gresham et al. suggests “a limited number of related founders, compatible with a small group of migrants splitting from a distinct caste or tribal group”.[23] Also the study pointed out that “genetic drift and different levels and sources of admixture, appear to have played a role in the subsequent differentiation of populations”.[23] The same study found that “a single lineage … found across Romani populations, accounts for almost one-third of Romani males.

A 2004 study by Morar et al. concluded that the Romanies are “a founder population of common origins that has subsequently split into multiple socially divergent and geographically dispersed Gypsy groups”.[20] The same study revealed that this population “was founded approximately 32–40 generations ago, with secondary and tertiary founder events occurring approximately 16–25 generations ago”.[20]

Connection with the Burushos and Pamiris[edit]

The Burushos of Hunza have a paternal lineage genetic marker that is grouped with Pamiri speakers from Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and the Sinti or Sindhi Romani ethnic group. This find of shared genetic haplogroups may indicate an origin of the Romani people in or around these regions.[24]

Possible connection with the Domba people[edit]

According to a genetic study on The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 in 2012, the ancestors of present scheduled tribes and scheduled caste populations of northern India, traditionally referred to collectively as the Ḍoma, are the likely ancestral populations of modern European Roma.[25]

A mtdna or ydna study provides valuable information but a limitation of these studies is that they represent only one instantiation of the genealogical process. Autosomal data permits simultaneous analysis of multiple lineages, which can provide novel information about population history. According to a genetic study on autosomal data on Roma the source of South Asian Ancestry in Roma is North-West India. The two populations showing closest relatedness to Roma were Gujaratis.[26] The classical and mtDNA genetic markers suggested the closest affinity of the Roma with Rajput and Sindhi populations from Rajasthan and the Punjab respectively.[25][27]

Early records[edit]

Many ancient historians mention a tribe by the name of Sigynnae (Tsigani) on various locations in Europe. Early records of itinerant populations from India begin as early as the Sassanid period. Donald Kenrick notes the first recorded presence of Zott in Baghdad in AD 420, Khaneikin in AD 834.[28]

Contemporary scholars have suggested one of the first written references to the Romanies, under the term Atsingani, (derived from the Greek ἀτσίγγανοι – atsinganoi), dates from the Byzantine era during a time of famine in the 9th century. In the year AD 800, Saint Athanasia gave food to “foreigners called the Atsingani” near Thrace. Later, in AD 803, Theophanes the Confessor wrote that Emperor Nikephoros I had the help of the “Atsingani” to put down a riot with their “knowledge of magic”. However, the Atsingani were a Manichean sect that disappeared from chronicles in the 11th century. “Atsinganoi” was used to refer to itinerant fortune tellers, ventriloquists and wizards who visited the Emperor Constantine IX in the year 1054.[29]

The hagiographical text, The Life of St. George the Anchorite, mentions that the “Atsingani” were called on by Constantine to help rid his forests of the wild animals which were killing off his livestock.

#Romani#heritage#Wales#Arts_Wales#Gipsy#TravellersTimes#Gypsy#RomanyGypsyLife#NLWales@yrynadllwyd#Romaniarts

The Summer People- Book Three

Is out today! Make sure and grab your copy. Available in eBook and paperback.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1074508815/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i10

What is a hero?

Some answers require that we ask the right question!

‘ He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,  
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.’


Easter, 1916 – By William Butler Yeats

The Summer People- Book Two. Coming to a bookstore near you Summer 2019. Get your copy of Book One NOW!

Breaking News!

New News March!

Recent Review:
5 out of 5 stars- Visually gripping!
March 15, 2019 Format: Paperback
From page one this book grabs you and refuse to let you loose! The scenic descriptions rival any other. I honestly felt like I was dropped into the world of Jake, Ash and Eli taking part in their adventure. I can’t wait for the next part of this amazing tale!

Click Here for Paperback!

Click Here for eBook!

But wait, there’s more! During the beta trials, etc. I was contacted by no less than (4) audio book narrators to turn this little beauty, into an Audible Book! (And it doesn’t even have any ratings yet- it’s so new to the world.) All this in less than a day of it’s ‘non-official’ eBook release! As such, I am pleased to announce I have signed a contract with the amazingly talented Rachael Sparrow to produce The Summer People- Book One. (Currently, it looks like late March or early April 2019 for the Audible Release!)

Rachael Sparrow is a voice actor whose voice has been heard on a variety of national commercials, video games, educational training videos and podcasts, from Amazon, Amazon Alexa, Xfinity and Google, to the Video Game Fairy, Cross of Redemption. Voicing “The Summer People” will mark her debut, full-length audio book.

As a Platinum member of voices.com, Rachael’s work was recently spotlighted, and she was interviewed as a mentor for new voice artists.  Rachael is also the proud director of Sing! Voice Studio, where she trains and coaches young singers and actors. Rachael lives with her husband and two children in Bucks County, PA.

I am honored to have her tackle this project, and cannot wait to hear the final product.

Book Description:

Leave it to the Serpent people to steal everything, including Jake’s parents. Determined to find them, he seeks out his next-door neighbors, the Twin’s Ashley and Elijah. Together with Merwin, a mysterious stranger of the Order of Rasputin, they begin a journey of discovery and fear, of a people called the Summer People and their age-old enemies, the sibilant. 

“To create peace the Summer People basically gave up their king,” Ashley said. “put in him shackles and chains, carried him off to the Sibilant homeland, a dark and terrible place with lots of screaming and pain. That’s the only way the Sibilant would stop fighting.” She leaned in then, began whispering. “According to stories, he’s still there today, waiting to be freed. Waiting for a hero to be born.” Eyes narrowing, “Waiting times such as these.”

“Time such as these?” he asked. “What’s so special about these times?”
“You,” Ash replied, eyes narrowing. Grabbing his hand. “It’s you, Jake! He’s been waiting all this time for you!”

For those that have asked!

Lots of inquires as to where to grab my books- wanted to share these links. as always thank you for your continued support.

The Titles:

The Valerian Cycle- In which a young man in New York City sets out to find the truth and whereabouts of his father who’s been missing for the last three years. Seriously, this needs to be a movie!

A Gathering of Darkness- Book One of Valerian Cycle- Click Here for Audible; Click Here for eBook: Click Here for Paperback

Kaelynn’s Tale- Book Two of Valerian-  Click Here for Audible; Click Here for eBook: Click Here for Paperback

Fata Morgana- My stand-alone, horror, mind-tripping novel whereas you fondly remember, so do you trip- even after you’re dead!- Click Here for Audible; Click Here for eBook: Click Here for Paperback

And soon to be released- The Summer People– in which we discover no matter how small we feel, or out of place, we can still be hero’s!- Click Here for Chapter One

Love you guys!

Steve. (aka S.M. Muse)

Meeting folks = Dream come true!

The Summer People- Chapter 4


Chapter 4

Fireplace crackling, hands and feet bundled beneath mounds of warm blankets, Jake couldn’t remember a time he’d ever been so warm.

Then again, thanks to being lost in the woods with Ash and Eli, he couldn’t remember a time he’d been so cold, either.

Just in time.  Three little words his father and mother kept saying to them over and over again.

They told the cops, ‘just in time.’

They told a couple of neighbors who had joined in the hunt with his parents, ‘just in time.’  With those three little words their whole world seemed to be all tied up.

“We got to you all just in time,” his mother had said in the woods, dropping the flashlight she’d been carrying in an effort to rush in and swoop him up in her arms, (which kind of embarrassed him in front of Ash) tears streaming down her cheeks, eyes all red and swollen.  In that moment it occurred to him, what a mother’s unconditional love felt like.  It felt like being smothered up in your mother’s arms, her tears making your cheek wet, all the while swinging you from side to side like a rag doll.

He hoped he never made her that scared again.

His father, only seconds behind his mother, had also rushed in.  Disclaimer, a father’s love is different from a mother’s.  It shows itself as a hand roughly mussing up your hair and a turned away face followed by the general clearing of the throat.  “‘Bout damn time,” his father managed.  (Father’s hug would come later, when no one else was around or watching.)

Being a guy was so funny sometimes.

At this particular moment, though, his father was in the kitchen talking to the remaining cops, shooing out the last of the neighbors, while his mother was on the phone with the Twins’ parents, all the while fixing the three of them, mugs of hot chocolate.

“Nice place,” stated Eli.  He was currently bundled up next to Ash.  Along with Jake, they were currently in the living room, a large comfy room dominated by a flat screen television off to their right, and a large crackling fireplace in the middle of the east wall radiating bounds of heat.  A series of two divans and a loveseat were arranged in a wide, welcoming u-shape in front of the fireplace.

The walls of the room were pale yellow trimmed in white, and were covered in framed photographs of all shapes and sizes, showing all sorts of Jake’s relatives and family pictures.  Some of the pictures were in color, some in black and white.  One in particular showed Jake, his mom and dad, all scrunched together on a brilliant spring day outside of their home, with lakes in the foreground and mountains in the background.

Others showed the entire family standing in front of famous landmarks like Mt. Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty, hamming it up for the camera.  Others still captured him in his favorite Dr. Seuss PJ’s- he must have been all of three at the time, flashing his one-of-a-kind smile and large brown eyes.

In other words, the room was filled with family shots, lots and lots of family shots.

“Thanks,” Jake said.

A moment of silence followed by a heavy sigh.  “How mad do you think your parents are?” Eli asked, trying to peak around the corner and down the long hallway leading into the kitchen.  From their current location, all they could see was Jake’s mother still on the phone in the kitchen, red-rimmed eyes and tear-streaked cheeks, hand held up in front of the phone’s mouthpiece.

A crease of worry streaked Jake’s brow. “Not too mad,” Jake replied, trying to put a smile on things.  “Mom mainly cried, and Dad patted me on the back a lot.  Right now I think they’re more scared than anything else.  How mad do you think your parents are going to be?”  That was the big question, the sixty-four thousand dollar question.  He had never met Ash or Eli’s parents before.  So he had no idea how they were going to handle the events of the evening, other than the fact the Twins would probably be banned from ever leaving their home again, let alone visit him.  After all, Ash and Eli were being home-schooled- homeschooling parents could be weird.

Ash answered before her brother could speak, “We’ll just have to wait and see,” she said, scooping up a knick-knack on the side table next to the fireplace.  It was a world globe, the kind teachers kept in most classrooms.  This one was really old though, the varnish coating the continents and seas, yellowed and cracked from age.

About that time the front door opened and closed, bringing with it the sound of whistling winds.

“We’ve got to get our story straight,” Ash said, leaning in close, eyes swallowing his.  Setting the globe down, she grabbed hold of Eli’s hand and pulled him close.

“What do you mean… story straight?” asked Jake.  In that moment Ash’s eyes took on a fearsomely wicked gleam.

“About what we saw out there, before the adults found us.”

He was confused by what she was saying.

“The faerie fire…” Eli added, eyes mirroring his sister’s.

As he spoke Jake quickly peeked around the corner toward the kitchen; his mom had hung up the phone and was conferring quietly with his father.  Neither one looking their direction.

At the mere mention of faerie fire, Jake felt the butterflies in his stomach start up all over again.  He’d been so happy to be rescued he’d almost forgotten all about them.  “But we should tell our parents, right?”  Even though he didn’t sound so sure at the moment.  I think they need to know.

“We can’t,” she said. “It’s got to be our little secret.”  At his hesitation, she went on.  “You know how adults can ruin things they don’t understand.  They’ll say we made it all up, or that we can’t hang around each other anymore.”  She suddenly seemed to grow older.  “I say we make a pact, a pact to never say anything to anyone, ever, about how the faerie fire brought your parents to us… pinky swear.” As she said this she jabbed her little finger into the space between them.  Eli immediately wrapped his little finger around hers; they were now waiting on him.

At first he was confused, then afraid, then angry.  After all, did the faerie fire, or whatever Eli had called them, the ‘twilight twigs’, really lead to his parents finding them?  He didn’t think so, hence the anger, and all the other feelings.

He was being asked to lie…

As he thought about all the ways he should get up and go into the kitchen and tell his parent’s everything, he didn’t, something about the light in Ash’s eyes.

Calm seemed to fill him, quieting the voices, soothing the feelings.

On second thought, maybe the lights had led them to safety.  Maybe it was the fire that brought his parents to find them after all, a sort of blazing one’s own way, sort of thing.

“So, I’ll ask again, are you with us or not?” Eli pressed, even as the front door opened and closed, bringing with it the jumbled voices of two different persons arriving and asking if their kids were okay.

The Twins’ parents had arrived.

“Hurry Jake,” Ash grinned, yanking on Eli’s little finger.  “It won’t make a difference either way,” she said, all serious like, “whether we found them or they found us thanks to the ‘magic.’  At least this way it’s something only the three of us will ever know about, no grown-ups allowed.”

Jake liked that last part; after all, the grown-ups around him had already killed enough ‘magic’ in his lifetime, no Tooth Fairy, the existence of Santa Claus becoming questionable…  “It’s a deal,” he said, hooking both their pinkies with his, “and it remains our little secret.”

The smile that Ash flashed him as he said this was enough to warm him all the way to the tips of his toes.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen it had grown awfully quiet.

Curious, Jake leaned forward to catch a glimpse of his mom and the Twins’ mom hugging each other.  Their dads were standing side by side; heads leaned in, one toward the other, in deep conversation.  Probably discussing our punishment, Jake thought.

It was the first time ever, that Jake had seen either one of his new neighbors’ parents.

The Twins’ mom looked an awful lot like Ash, only older; her hair shorter and darker, what his mom would have called auburn, or autumn brown.  Her eyes, though, looked an awful lot like his mother’s at the moment, red and streaky, and her face was still puffy from crying.

It was there, though, the similarities between the two mothers pretty much ended.  The Twins’ mom was much taller than his mom; in fact, the Twins’ mom had to stoop over just to hug his mom.  She also dressed fancier, even for being this late; she wore a light gray suit jacket over a pink top, gray slacks and a pair of white UGG snow boots.

His mom still wore sweats, the same sweats from this morning.

The Twins’ dad, on the other hand, was tall and muscular with dark wavy hair, almost black, with a face like a hawk.  As Jake was studying him, the Twins’ father turned to stare down the hallway leading into the living room.  He was looking right at them, and his gaze was absolutely piercing.

Jake managed a feeble wave- one that was not returned.

It was then that Jake realized something else, that his dad was almost the exact opposite of the Twins’, a good six inches shorter and a lot heavier, what his mom liked to call her ‘chubby little husband,’ whose once red hair was now all but gone.  At the same time, his dad was pretty solid too, a real fighter if he needed to be.  And he was sure that in a wrestling match, hands down, his dad could beat anyone, including the Twins’ dad.

Short and low to the ground, built like dynamite.  After all, didn’t most powerful things come in small packages?  At least that’s what his dad liked to say.

Turning toward his two new friends, Jake managed a hollow smile.  After witnessing the seriousness in all their parents’ faces he added, “It’s a good thing we made that pact,” he said.  “From the looks of it, we’re all going to be grounded till we’re at least sixty.”

The Summer People- Chapter 3

Snow-laden trees… nature’s shelter.

Why, oh why, didn’t he listen to his mother?  She told him not to wander off, that dinner would be ready soon.  Now here he was, along with the Twins, huddled up beside a great fallen tree, its massive snow-covered trunk temporarily breaking the wind.

The woods had fallen completely black, no light in sight.  They were lost, hungry, nearly frozen, and scared half to death.  And now, it seemed the woods were full of wolves, or some other unimaginably frightening animals, out hunting them, crashing into things, or at the very least, howling at the night sky.

“What do you think?” Ash whispered, close to his right ear.

In that moment he didn’t mind her presence.  “I’m not sure,” he said, trying his best to remain calm.

“I still think it’s best we wait the storm out here,” Eli added.  “One, we’re pretty much out of the wind, and two, the snow finally seems to be tapering off.  And it’s a whole lot darker now than it was before.  I think the more we wander around, the more lost we become.”

Jake agreed.  They had been walking for quite some time, and they still hadn’t crossed that second stream yet, which told Jake that they were probably walking in circles still.  “Which means we’re still just as lost, if not more so, than before,” he murmured.

At his words, alarm flared in Ash’s eyes.  Seeing this caused him to swallow and swear to keep his opinions to himself in the future.  After all, she was just a little girl and afraid enough for the three of them.

Tears began threatening at the corners of his eyes.  The more he thought about their situation, the less hopeful it seemed they would ever find their way home, at least until the sun rose in the morning.  But that would mean sleeping outside in the middle of a Montana winter with no blankets and no fire, nothing to keep them warm.  It was already so cold he could barely feel his toes, and Ash and Eli were surely just as cold, if not more so.

He was about to say more when a sudden reflection caught his eye.  Something was moving off to his left, something close to the ground.

Something completely silent…

His mind immediately went back to the wolves howling.  What if the pack had somehow found them?

What if they were already surrounded?

He clapped his hand across Ash’s and Eli’s mouths, fear running rampant, his stomach in a knot.  “Shush,” he hissed.  “Something is out there.”  He could barely stand it.  He was so scared.  The beating in his chest so strong, so loud, it was deafening.

Ash desperately looked around before burying her face in her brother’s coat.  “Could it be the sibilant,” she whispered.  “Have they found us already?”

Sib-a-what? Jake wondered.

In response to Ash’s words, Eli looked afraid, but defiant as well.  He seemed ready to fight or flee, whichever opportunity presented itself first.

As for Jake, he was just plain afraid, and would do anything to wake up and realize this was just some bad dream he was having- but he was already awake, and this wasn’t a dream.  On top of that, he hadn’t a clue as who or what this ‘sibilant’ was that Ash had mentioned!  Only that it made her and Eli very afraid.

And if they were afraid…

He was about to question more when-

There it was again– a light, a movement, just out of the corner of his eye.  Ash immediately grabbed his hand as if she’d just seen it, too.  When he looked in that direction, though, he saw nothing, only darkness.

“What the heck?” he muttered.  He was about to motion Eli to look in that direction when all of the sudden-

“Faerie fire,” breathed Eli.

“What?”

Ignis fatuus, one of the Tylwyth Teg.”  Only this time Eli wasn’t talking to him, but to himself, and he was staring off into the night, off to their right.

Sure enough, by following his line of sight, Jake caught sight of what appeared to be a flicker of light dancing under the trees and in-between the snowflakes.  As soon as his eyes began to focus in on the spot, however, it would vanish-

So, not wolves after all, but something else entirely.

“How do you know what it is?” he asked.

Eli immediately shushed him, one fingertip over his lips.

Okay, he thought.  “Then how do you know what it is?” he whispered.

At this point Eli turned around to face him, a look of, Really.  I just asked you to be quiet and your only answer is to whisper the same question again?

In return, he answered Eli’s look with one of his own.  “One way or another, I want to know,” he said.  He could be just as stubborn when he wanted to be.

In response Eli started to turn away, thought twice about it, then leaned in close. “Dad used to tell us stories about them,” he began, fingers gripping his sister’s left shoulder.  “The rest I looked up on the internet.”

Jake was about to say more, question Eli further, when he realized Ash was still holding his hand.  It wasn’t uncomfortable at all to be this close to a girl, so he squeezed her hand back.  In response she smiled, her eyes never leaving his face.

Then the fire was among them.

Amazing, mysterious lights…

One second, nothing but the strangeness of what Eli had called ‘faerie fire,’ hard to see, next to impossible to pinpoint and describe.  The next, pale-blue luminescence flickering between them, flames the size of the palm of his hand.  In their eerie iridescence, Ash’s features were highlighted, a warm rosy glow that seemed to add substance to, rather than subtract from, accented with shadow and shade.

At his side, Ash fearlessly reached out to touch the colored flame, a candle flicker burning without heat between them.  Behind her Eli simply stared, his eyes large and fearful, but curious.

Jake, on the other hand, was frozen with fright.

The luminescence before them seemed more reflection than flame.

Picture this, an absolutely black room.  In the middle of this room a small candle softly burns shedding golden radiance.  Now, place a small child next to the candle, and have that child stare deeply into the flame.  That outline, that soft golden glow revealing a child’s features, was being reflected and shown in the blue flame lingering between them.

Ghostly images of children’s faces were all around them.

“Amazing…” he exhaled, afraid to move, more afraid not to.

As if caught in a sudden wind, the pale blue glow began to flicker.  As soon as Ash reached out to touch the glow, it was gone.

Darkness filled the night.

It took a moment before Jake regained his night vision.  His thought, The next time I utter, ‘what is that?’ I won’t expect an answer.  Because some answers don’t come with questions.

“There are more of them,” Eli said.  Flickering points of light suddenly filled the woods around them.  Some bobbing and weaving, others seemed to be drifting into and out next to their location.

Some were blue like the apparition that had appeared among them, others golden or brilliant white.

All were mysterious, however.

“I hate to say this,” Jake began, still holding on to Ash’s hand, “but we really need to start moving again.”  Even though they were lost, he felt they needed to keep moving, even in the midst of such mysterious circumstances.

“But they’re so beautiful,” murmured Eli, taking a step into the night.

“And yet, so sad somehow,” replied Ash.  And she was right, for all their beauty the lights did seem ‘sad’, almost heartbroken. 

“I think they’re magic,” Jake exclaimed.

The howls faded.  Whether it was the ‘lights’, magic, or whatever.  Either way, the wolves appeared to be gone.  Thank goodness, thought Jake.  There for a moment, I thought we were goners for sure!

 As one they began to move through the woods, barely making a sound, surrounded by handfuls of flickering candle-light, oft times trailing, oft times beckoning, all times leading.  Through it all, and with every footfall, Jake began to feel they were gaining ground, drawing ever near his home, then, all of the sudden, all of the lights were gone, except for a handful of pale golden beams, which even now seemed to bob and weave haphazardly though the woods, interlacing amongst the trees, and chasing back the night.

These lights they all recognized- flashlights!  That’s when they heard the voices, his parents and a whole lot of others calling out names.

A moment of pause… then, “We’re over here!” he exclaimed, wanting to rush forward.  Instead he stood exactly still, knowing that as soon as the adults found them, the magic would be gone.

Sadness seemed to fill him, like a cup running over.

‘Magic faerie fire!’  He’d experienced it.  They’d experienced it.

“We’re over here,” Jake finally whispered, looking first to Ash then to Eli.  They both nodded, because sometimes the magic has to leave before a child can finally grow up.

“We’re over here,” all three exclaimed.