Mab checks their watch again and sighs. 11:25. Either they've missed the bus, or it isn't going to get them to work on time anyway. They heave their bag over their shoulder and start walking, wondering if they shouldn't try and make friends with a car-owning coworker. It would certainly save time.
A car zooms by, and Mab loses their balance - thankfully away from the road - and tumbles into the gully between the forest and the asphalt. When they're right-side-up again, almost everything has spilled out of their bag onto the ground.
"Great," they mutter, and pick themselves up. There's a long scrape down their elbow; it stings and oozes blood, but it'll be fine until they can get to work and wash it off. More important is their belongings, most of which - spare clothes, a small notebook, their wallet - is easily gathered up, but they can't find their pen anywhere.
They look further into the forest, scanning the ground for it.
Oh, mushrooms, Mab's brain says. Mab almost discounts it, then looks again. It's not just mushrooms. It's a fairy ring.
They know this is stupid. They're twenty-eight. Fairies aren't real. Brownies don't help around the house, it's the women not getting enough credit. Mushrooms grow in a circle like that because the underground fungus eats everything in the center and spreads outward.
They glance around and confirm that no one's watching, make sure their silver cross necklace is still around their neck, and in a sudden rush of why-the-fuck-not, poke at the graze on their arm until it drips a little bit of blood onto the nearest mushroom. Then they step into the center, close their eyes tightly, and turn in a circle three times counter-clockwise. Unable to stop themselves from hoping, they open their eyes-