It always happened on the last day of the month

Jilly woke long before the sun, a sense of expectation simmering inside her. Her mind still full of dreams, her eyes sleep heavy, she blinked at the silver light edging the bedroom curtains.

Expectation turned to excitement. Jilly rolled over and glanced at the clock. It wasn’t too early.

Slipping from her warm bed into the chilly air of the room, she dressed quickly in the clothes she’d laid out the night before – thick jeans and socks, heavy jumper – and crept onto the landing. The house was pre-dawn quiet. Something made her peep into the ajar door of her brothers’ room. She smiled at the tops of their tousled heads. She gazed towards her parents’ bedroom. Their door, too, was open, but Jilly didn’t move towards it. She blew a kiss in that direction, fighting the spike of sadness which rose, unexpected, in her chest.

Jilly tiptoed down the stairs, along the hall and into the kitchen. The dog peered blearily up from her basket, weakly wagged her tail.

‘Shh,’ Jilly cautioned. ‘Stay there, Molly. This adventure’s not yours.’

Molly closed her eyes and squirmed into the comfort of her blankets.

Jilly took her coat from the pegs by the door, shoved her feet into boots and tied the laces. She quietly unlocked the back door and left the key in. Stepping through, she shut the door, giving it an extra tug to ensure it was locked.

moonlit forest with moose

For a moment, Jilly peered into the dark-shadowed garden, and then up to the star- swept sky where the full moon rode high. Yes, this was the day. Her heart thumped as she walked swiftly down the path, opened the old wooden gate and took the narrow path into the woods.

She strained her ears to catch the distant tinkle of the flutes, the high notes of the singing, the soft fall of the animals’ hooves and paws and claws as they gathered. She hurried.

It always happened on the last day of the month, and Jilly had been part of the celebrations since she first responded to the summons drifting through her bedroom window one summer night years ago.

But today was to be special. The fairy prince had promised.

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4 thoughts on “It always happened on the last day of the month”


    It always happened on the last day of the month.
    Justin would line up a new girlfriend, only to see her disappear into the wide blue yonder on the 30th or 31st of whatever month it happened to be.
    Except for February of course – that would be the 28th.
    After a dozen attempts at achieving a successful relationship, Justin had almost given up hope.
    What was it about the last day. Something magical, or in his case, disastrous.
    He would start dating a new girl and then, as the end day loomed in sight, panic at the thought of another loss.
    In total frustration, Justin consulted his best mate Colin.
    “Maybe you are trying too hard,” Colin suggested helpfully. “Perhaps you need to adopt a more layback approach – let them come to you – rather than forever pleasing them every hour of the day.”
    Justin thought about it. No doubt Colin was right. He did tend to fawn over every new date. That might make them feel intimidated and, after a few weeks, desperate to escape such overpowering cloistering.
    More layback, huh? He could do layback with nonchalant ease, just watch.
    Justin’s latest effort was June, a pretty redhead with a pert nose and infectious smile.
    He was picking her up later that evening to go to dinner and a dance and he knew she was looking forward to it.
    Justin arrived at her front door spot on 7pm, dressed in his best jacket, floral shirt, paisley tie, flared trousers and platform shoes.
    John Travolta, eat your heart out, he thought regarding the evening’s activities.
    Wearing a pretty pink dress that showed off her shapely legs, June opened the door and planted a wet kiss on his lips.
    “Are you ready for a spectacular night, big boy?” she greeted him with a broad smile.
    Justin sighed. Surely, this has to be an omen, for the date was the 30th of April.
    Just be layback. He opened his arms and crushed June to him.
    She gasped.
    “Come on, Justin. I’m famished,” she said. “Let’s go and eat and then we can dance the night away.”
    Justin hastened to comply, opening the car door and making sure June was comfortably settled before proceeding to the driver’s side.
    Dinner was more than he could hope for. The food and wine delicious and June appeared to hang on every word he uttered.
    Then they were on the dance floor flailing to the loud, heavy disco beat. Justin was in his element – arms and legs charging in all directions as he showed off his considerable dancing skills to all and sundry.
    It was then that it happened. In his enthusiasm to impress June, while still appearing layback and devil may care, as his right arm flew in an upwards direction, Justin collected her on the jaw.
    Stunned, he watched as June catapulted backwards, ending up flat on her back in the middle of the dance floor.
    Horrified, all the other dancers stopped mid-step, even though the disco accompaniment continued unabated.
    Shit, what have I done, thought Justin as he rushed to her aid.
    June was out cold, her eyes shut, blood trickling from her mouth.
    “June, June.” Justin patted her on the cheek, trying to revive her.
    A young man burst through the throng.
    “Let me pass, I’m a doctor,” he yelled, and bent down to determine his patient’s injuries.
    “What on earth do you think you were doing?” turning to a by now ashen-faced Justin.
    “J..just dancing, that’s all.”
    “Well, you should learn to keep your arms to yourself, you moron,” came the angry response. “I saw you – flailing everywhere. It’s just lucky you didn’t take out someone else as well.”
    “I..I..was just trying to be layback and devil may care for a change. Don’t seem to have much luck with girls,” Justin muttered.
    “Well, this is not how you be layback by knocking them out,” the doctor’s face was reddening.
    “Don’t you think I know that?”
    Oh god, thought Justin, it’s the last day of April. Do you think June will want to go out with me after this?
    Just then, June opened her eyes and smiled at Justin through swollen lips.
    “June, June, thank god you’re all right,” breathed a relieved Justin. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hit you. I just got carried away trying to be more relaxed.”
    “It’s ok, big boy,” she replied. “I know that. Now come down here and give me a kiss to make up for it.”

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