The fifteenth response in the One Lovely Blog Award Series is a double header. It is a response to Annie Syed's Still Sundays and Tiffany Saxton's flash story "A Pixie Ghost Story", a proper pixie story.
There are three types of twilight. Ziven walked through the peach orchard as grains of dust swirled like the Milky Way. Memory tricks you, dredging history unrelated to the day's needs. Echoes of Ziven's astronomy professor droned through his memories. Astronomical twilight, when the sun nears eighteen to twelve degrees below the horizon. An imperceptible thing. Not something that Ziven should ponder on the morning of his wedding.
He'd nearly forgotten Professor O'Hare. An urgency brought on by an illicit affair. The shades of veins mottling her breasts like half-buried nebulae. Invisible to the naked eye. Only exposed when the skin was naked. She could have lost her tenure. He had lost his taste in science. So obvious now, on the morning of his wedding.
The peach orchard ended at a canal and Ziven followed the berm along the banks. Frogs belched their songs and in the distance a rooster crowed. The sun entered nautical twilight, still more than six degrees below the horizon. He should be asleep. Had finally given up, leaving Natalia sprawled across her bed in her parents' estate on the morning of their wedding.
His colleagues declared him uncommonly lucky. He'd met the owner's daughter at a Christmas party. Natalia had sat like a bowl of rare porcelain while her father rambled with the executives. She had said yes when he asked her to dance.
Ziven neared a bridge over the canal as the sun entered civil twilight and the gray and whites of night transformed to muted leaves caked with a layer of dust and sunbleached loam. He entered a forest running along a creek. Spindly scrub oaks scratched his arms. Ahead of him, a clearing on the banks of the river. Wisps of light dancing as if the stars had fallen with the creeping dawn on the morning of his wedding.
A clearing at the edge of the creek. The wisps brightened into a ring of light as Ziven approached and then parted like the clasp of a necklace to let Ziven enter.
Natalia and her family searched for Ziven. They found his footsteps tracked through the orchard and into the creek bed. Ending in a ring of mushrooms.
A fourth kind of twilight.