The Fairy Ring Writing Contest Submission – Mark Wilson

From the brain of Mark Wilson (@mors_kajak), our first entry about banjos. Enjoy.

Kappa Die Tutti Capo [1] by Mark Wilson


The house was full of dust, but my cough as I entered was exaggerated, an “Anyone there?!” composed of fear. Not reassured, I moved towards the door at the end of the hall.

Distance had meant I hadn’t seen my late grandfather for years, although we continued to correspond: “Before you take possession of my house, there is something I must share. You probably don’t remember the pond in the wood that borders my garden…”


I had been to that pond this morning. The day was still and hot, but the woodland sounds had died into silence by the time I was twenty feet from the water, and the air seem to hum by the time I was within ten feet, which was as close as I dared approach.

I don’t know if I got them all. I learned to reason with them, but they are so very dangerous, and I risked the lives of so many.


I opened the door to the basement, shivering despite the sweat running off me.


The kappa are so polite, you see, but there were so many, I had to bargain them all into giving a concert…

I descended the stairs, my attempt at a further cough only a quite rasp.

As I entered the basement, I was greeted by a tableau of terror. A dozen of the creatures, frozen in polite rictus, each with one of grandfather’s banjos clutched in dead hands, the rusted capos still clamped round the third fret. Their heads were bowed to the empty chairs, as if still receiving echoes of long-ago applause, the floorboards around their feet stained from where the pond fluid had spilled from their heads.

There was a drip from the ceiling. A scrape on a capo, and the sound of a banjo string snapping…


[1] Desperately contrived and unamusing (except to me) sort-of Latin pun. I expect there are bonus points for that…. 🙂

Photo by Rick Jackofsky, courtesy of


The Fairy Ring Writing Contest Submission – Anna Meade

In the interests of being fair, I offer up to you my own submission to The Fairy Ring Writing Contest. I can’t win, of course, but I wanted to share my humble effort as I believe all writers are in this together. I hope you enjoy.
Violets by Anna Meade
“I want a man who’ll twine violets in my hair.”
I wrote this sentence and then doodled violets in the journal margin. My whimsy would be the death of me. My days were spent on the outskirts of the woods behind my parents’ home, sprawled under a tree on a faded blue-check blanket, barefoot and hair-tumbled and romantic poetry-addled.
I rolled onto my back, staring at the late summer sky. My too-long skirt tangled round my legs, so I sat up to extricate myself. The shadow fell over me then.
I squinted up at him in the sun, “Hello.”
He smiled and put a finger to his lips. His step barely stirred the grass. He took me by the hand to his bower, where we supped on honeysuckle and blackberries. 
“Every day I am with you feels like a year,” said I, idly leaning against his shoulder.
He smiled, so tenderly, and wound flowers through my curls.
His hands were gentle and his kisses were poignant. I stayed awake as long as I could, but my traitor eyelids fell. I slept so heavy, filled with ambrosia and dreams, and when I woke all the forest was in the chill grip of autumn.
I shivered and hurried back towards the edge of the woods, back to my parents’ home. I ran to the door and pounded, “Mother! Father! I’m back!”
The door opened and a startled wrinkle-raisined face peered back at me. “Are you looking for someone, child?”
I stumbled backwards and ran towards the forest, heedless of my way. I found my tree and beneath it, mostly buried in the dirt, I unearthed the smallest fragment of paper. It was weather-faded and nearly illegible, but I knew what it said:
“I want a man who’ll twine violets in my hair.”
Painting by John William Waterhouse; Photography by Andrew Kuykendall

The Fairy Ring Writing Contest Submission – Mark Blackmore

This entry courtesy of Mark Blackmore (formerly @profquigley) now @mrmarkblackmore who entered this contest under great duress. Thanks Mark!

Unofficial Briefing
by Mark Blackmore
Well sir, PC Stein and myself were first on the scene in Hyde Park. This was at 8.45pm, as it was beginning to get dark. On arrival at the wooded area next to the Serpentine, we ushered back a crowd of approximately 60 people who had gathered to view the disturbance.
I would describe it as a settlement of some sort, though no dwellings were immediately apparent. The trees were illuminated … no sir, I was unable to make out any actual light source. PC Stein also failed to discern any reason that the trees were glowing, sir, and would say so if he were still here.

There were several individuals milling around. I would characterise them as hippies, due to their long hair and mode of dress, which included fairy wings. They appeared to vary greatly in size and the smallest ones gave the impression of hovering in mid-air. I assume the unnatural light caused tricks of perspective, and they were simply very far away.
I attempted to ascertain whether the required permissions for a display in a public park had been obtained, and was approached by two individuals wearing fake ears. On being questioned they identified themselves as Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of Faerie. They were unnaturally beautiful sir, and possessed an inner radiance that will haunt my dreams.
Yes sir. Sorry sir.
PC Stein responded “Is that right? And I’m Bottom, but I’ve left my donkey head at home.” No sir, this just confused me. I’m more of a Dan Brown man. It was at this point that the bolt of lightning struck PC Stein, and he disappeared. Yes sir, it was of course a coincidence, though I’m just wondering if the next lads we send in might wear rubber-soled shoes?