The day was dismal. His mood was dismal. He strolled, head bowed, along the narrow lane counting the steps that remained until he would reach the welcoming warmth of his home. The rain turned to hail, like icy bullets shooting down from a leaden sky.
A ball flew from the trees that lined the edge of the lane; a red and yellow ball. It bounced and bounced again, then rolled and stopped at his feet. He picked it up wondering from where it had come. Curious, he trampled up the muddy bank and into the copse. Suddenly everything around him was peaceful. Not a sound, not a drop of rain, nor the slightest breeze. Through the trees a glimmer of light caught his eye; slight at first but becoming brighter as he moved towards it. He shielded his eyes then rubbed them as the sight that beheld him seemed unreal. There was a clearing. A meandering stream trickled and sparkled in the sunlight which bathed the tranquil scene. And on a rock sat a tiny girl, huge eyes, blonde locks of hair and wearing the prettiest floral dress. In her hand she held a rose, a red rose, and all around her were colourful plants, vibrant flowers and golden grasses. She stared at him, showing no emotion on her pale face, then signaled for him to throw her the ball. He thrust it towards the spot where she sat and it fell gently into her outstretched arms. Her face lit up and she let out the faintest giggle. She threw it back into the air and it floated slowly in his direction, passing over his shoulder and landing behind him at the foot of a heavily laden horse chestnut tree. He picked it up, then turned to back to where she sat, but everything had changed. There was no little girl. The sky was black and suddenly the heavens opened and a cruel wind started to drive wintry raindrops into his face. He stood holding the ball thinking it must have all been a dream. But the ball was real. And so was the red rose that blew across the grass.
Nobody believed his tale. Why should they? But he knew what he saw. He knew what happened, but why and how he’ll never know.