The first house I lived in was a bi-level with a long, straight-shot hallway from the kitchen to the living room. Full length mirrors were set into the walls, in very 1980s fashion. My brother and I would turn off all the lights in the house and run up and down that hallway, catching ghostly glimpses of ourselves in the mirrors, playing “Night Faeries.”
A foreboding kind of rush would prickle through me as I held my arms out wide, making them wings, and swooping along in search of night flowers and glowing fruits (I think we were watching a lot of FernGully at the time). There was something illicit to the whole thing—being in the dark, transforming ourselves into something human but not quite. I couldn’t have recognized it at six years old, but there was a whiff of the uncanny to our game, and it was laced with “what if.” What if we were us, but we could fly? What if we were us, but magic?
That, I think, is one of the reasons fae stories are so enduring. They could be us. Fae are often portrayed as looking human, speaking like humans, interacting with humans, but they’re more. Immortal, bearers of powers that inspire both awe and fear. We want to get closer.