I wake up every night at 4 AM
to calling, shouting, scuffling,
yelling, jeering, singing, wailing,
all outside my bedroom window. I go
to the glass, and peer into the dark
where small, smudged lamps illuminate
the small, smudged shapes of goblin men
and women, beast-like, fae-like, eyes
all glinting, horns all pointing, tails
all swaying, voices saying "Come and
try our, come and try our goblin wares."
I sit and watch and listen to the
chanting, crying callings, and usually
they pass and leave me quietly alone.
But that night one clambered, nimble, up
the tree outside my window, and upon
my sill he placed, so carefully, one
tiny, perfect fruit. "For you,"
he said, all toothy smile,
words muffled by the glass.
"For you." And then he climbed
back down and hurried to the rest.
I took the fruit inside and turned
it over in my hands. Skin smooth as
human skin, scent heady as fine
wine, it was familiar, yet unlike
any fruit I've seen in life:
a dream-fruit, maybe, born from
some rare vine of long-past
childhood slumberings. I bit it and
it tasted of those same sweet memories:
when days were long as shadows and
the winds all hummed with song.
That was three days past, now, and
I wake at 4 AM to no avail. My window
glass is dark. No dim-lit lanterns light
up the black night. No fairy-sellers hawk
their wares. The world is human, only
human, direly human, and I can still
taste the fae-fruit on my teeth, like
some sweet sticky blood. My stomach
aches, my hunger gnaws, unsatisfied
with apples, peaches, pears. All I can
do is wait, at 4 AM, to no avail.