River Mist Tales: The Rose Invitation

Don’t be shy. Come in, the mist is settling over the river, the dark will be upon the forest any time now.

Here you’ll find some small comforts, a pot of tea, some spice cookies, a soft pillowed chair tucked between the window and the fire.

Ignore the cats, gossip mongers all of them.

I’ll be working at the desk tucked into the far corner if your any needs or she knocks upon the door.

Enjoy her photographs and her 12-line tales. She’s a bit loose with the truth, a bit too revealing with her magic.

Until you come again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

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The Rose Invitation

Glancing out her office window towards the older campus buildings, the older paths overgrown and shadowed, Evelyn paused, looked back towards her desk, then shaking her head she retraced her steps, reaching down into the trash retrieving the silver linen envelope.

This is crazy she thought, an invite to join the legendary Society of Fey at a moonlight party with a rose for entry.

But the envelope was not in the trash basket, puzzled Evelyn stood up, reassuring herself she had crumpled up the unsigned invitation and tossed it away.

Then she saw it, only it wasn’t the same envelope, it was larger, longer, her name, written out in an enviable cursive hand with more flourish, more urgency, more beauty.

This envelope was propped up against her computer, not a crease or a crumple, sitting tall in perfect condition, luminous as a full moon on a cloudless night.

Hesitating Evelyn stared at the envelope, finally reaching out, picking it up, turning it over.

The seal, round, pale as starlight, imprinted with a three phase moon surrounded by intricate knotwork was unbroken.

It lay heavy in her hand, this new invitation, not so easy to ignore, nor crumple, nor toss.

She slowly slid her fingers under the seal dislodging it from the envelope, not wanting to destroy the waxy bit of bas relief.

The card inside was a deep midnight blue paling in hue as Evelyn drew it out, letters rising upon it, as if someone was writing the words as she watched.

The request for attendance was kinder, less formal, full of hope and compassion even as the requirement of a single rose was made explicit and nonnegotiable.

At midnight with the invitation in her pocket, a rose in her hand picked from her neighbor’s garden, Evelyn knocked upon the arching door flanked by silvered birch trees, a door with phases of the moon carved upon it, intricate knotwork flowing around it, a door she had never seen before though she had passed through these older paths of the campus almost daily, watching, waiting from her office window.

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