Drawing on paper in color pencils, ink gel pen and acrylic. Illustration for “Wild Woman” story of a love lost and found, again and again in the flow of Time. Enjoy!
Drawing on paper in color pencils, ink gel pen and acrylic. Illustration for “Wild Woman” story of a love lost and found, again and again in the flow of Time. Enjoy!
Wild Woman, Wild Woman
Let me chase you under the Moon,
Under the light of star-chandeliers!
Your breath, like ghosts in flight,
Fading into depths of night…
Wild Woman, Wild Woman
Beast of beauty,
Rolling laughter of the thundering spirit,
As my shadow follows you with hungry heart!
Wild Woman, Wild Woman
The hills and forests have frozen
In the silence of your absence,
Emptiness filled with sorrow
My Secret Garden,
While the gates have rusted
In crimson pain.
Wild Woman, La Loba
Come back and run with me!
Let’s stir the wind that sleeps in the grass,
Let’s splash the pool of shining stars,
Let’s catch the Phoenix, bold and bright
Before it takes flight into the light!
Wild Woman, Wild Woman
Kin of my soul,
Echo of my untamed inner beast,
Wake up! Wake up!
Dark waters of oblivion are surrounding you…
Remember me, Wild Woman
Never let me go…..
The cougar stood atop the cliff, her eyes gazing in the distance, puncturing the shadow-filled night. She was tense and unhappy, growling low in a pain that only she knew. The chill that was slowly emerging from the depths made her skin crawl. The night was cruelly empty and pointless from her point of view. The one she was waiting for was missing.
A shooting star crossed the heavens and the graceful cat breathed out a wish…then shook her head and turned. It was just another foolish hope; the one she was waiting for on countless nights wasn’t going to return. Like the mist of early mornings, it has faded along with the first rays of the rising sun.
The row of cliffs was ending in a field of swaying grass and the cougar jumped in the embrace of the vegetal wave. The settling dew cooled her body and dimmed the ache of her soul. She swam through the ocean of long, silky stems and rolled in the grass until she became dizzy of the changing perspective upon the star-speckled skies. She then stood motionlessly for a while, while the yearning of her heart turned from roaring tempest to silent winds. She stood up, gracefully stretching her limbs and started to run towards the forest. The night was ending soon and the aurora of a new day was ready to light up the skies.
Reaching the entrance of the forest, the cat stood on her rear legs and shuddered as she turned into the woman she used to be in daylight. She stepped through the green portal and disappeared under the arches of the trees. She soon reached the habited area and stopped in front of her garden, pushing open the gates. The first rays of the sun were already seeping through the thin layer of rosy clouds and the soft breeze was rustling through the leaves of the small orchard. Stranded behind the fences, the neighbor’s dog was barking frantically. His keen senses were strung high by the lingering scent of a wild beast roaming the area.
“You know it, little one, don’t you? “- smiled inwardly the woman as the last tiny hairs of the sand-colored fur were sinking deep inside her skin. She chuckled and entered the house. Outside, the sun ripped off the clouds and the day broke in full blaze.
The water boiled up in the kettle and she poured some of it into the mug, stirring it with a spoon. Her mind was wandering and while she hopped on the window sill with the steaming cup in her hands, a haunting shadow emerged from the mist of the memories….
It’s been a restless night, with boisterous winds knocking at her bedroom window. After a few futile attempts to sleep she woke up and opened the window to give room to the night wind. The rush of air brought with it a strange yet familiar scent that seeped hurriedly through her nostrils, invading her whole body, leaving her nervous and confused. Curiosity aroused, she dressed up and left the house in the middle of the night, following the call encrypted in the scents of carried by the air. She crossed the patch of forest and the grassy meadow; she descended the steep slope until she reached the proximity of an old, dry riverbed. It was full Moon that night and the clear, white light was outlining every shape with an eerie contour.
The old woman was kneeling in the dust, scrambling through the dirt with her spidery fingers. She was digging out old bones, wild animal bones and she was placing them before her, arranging them in a pattern only she knew. From time to time, she searched through her bag, finding the missing bone, placing the missing link on the ground while she was humming some kind of an ancient incantation. Hidden in the bushes, the younger woman was following the whole ceremony with eyes wide open in awe. The old, shabby lady she knew from the village has turned into an embodiment of a seemingly long forgotten force of Nature. Above them, the Moon reached zenith and its light was covering the world with a dome of silver glow.
Old Spirit Woman rose to her feet and made a few magic signs in the air; she started to sing a song of Life and Death, a song that chilled even the bones of the one who was secretly following her. At the sound of this ancient veiling, the bones on the floor connected one by one: the elongated skull to the first vertebrae of the long but powerful neck, then to the flexible spinal cord, attaching the strong, slender limbs and the large rib-cage. Skin and flesh emerged in the rhythm of the song; thick black fur grew all over the graceful body. The crescendo of the incantation reached its final height and the animal jumped to its paws. It was a majestic wolf, with dark fur and silver and gold speckled mane. The beast shook and stretched its body, bowed before the Spirit Woman and sped out of the dry riverbed. Running nearby the hiding young woman, the wolf turned to her and grinned. She froze under the look of those mesmerizing eyes and she felt the hair rising on the back of her neck. As their eyes met, a deep connection was resurrected, one that they were both oblivious of. A flood of images invaded the mind of the young woman, while the shadow wolf disappeared towards the forest. The last image caught on the retina was of a tall and slender woman running and laughing heartily before she faded in the darkness.
-I gave you life the same way….-said the old Spirit. You can come out, my child. My work is done here.
The young woman stepped into the light.
-You knew I was here?-she asked incredulously.
The elderly woman laughed shortly.
-Heh, child. Your scent was brought to me by the wind long before you have reached this spot. But I wanted you to witness this rebirth. The one you saw tonight will move one day to your village….Now go home, my Wandering Daughter and sleep. There’s no more wind to knock on your window tonight.
-Good night, Wise Mother-said the young woman and bowed shortly towards her.
Then she turned sharply and headed to the patch of trees in the distance. Old Spirit Woman shook her head and a faint smile smoothed for a moment the intricate web of wrinkles on her face. She raised her hand in the air and the sign made by the spidery fingers turned into an effluvium following the Wandering Daughter. Like the wave of an invisible ocean it embraced her, touching with a gentle finger the excited mind. The veil of memory wavered under that touch and the happenings of that night slipped into the abyss of forgetfulness….
But the connection revived in that split of a moment of wild eyes meeting wild eyes was running deep. Countless generations of mothers, daughters, aunts and sisters, all of the long line of Wise and Wild Women had kept that intimate connection alive. Like a thread of magic, it had run through their veins in the rush of the red, fiery blood, it had sparkled dreams and desires inside their fast-beating hearts, it had turned the young fresh minds into bearers of eternal wisdom. But beyond that kinship running through their every cell, Wandering Daughter and La Loba were sharing a more personal history, one that was sang by the winds of the meadows, whispered by the rustle of leaves and carved inside the soft walls of two passionate souls….
The wheel of stars was turning slowly in the skies while the young woman was sleeping peacefully in her bed. The waters of her mind were calm and still, mirroring her quiet inner skies. As hours passed, the Moon kissed good-bye the Night and delved into the withering horizon. A swift shadow crossed the forest and La Loba stopped on the top of a hill. The village was sleeping in the arms of the morning mist.
The She-Wolf uttered a low growl of content and a strange light shone through her eyes. She breathed in the fresh, crispy air, reading carefully the hidden messages carried by the mix of scents. She smiled inwardly as she caught the familiar one…
The voice that called was deep and velvety, like the purring of a big cat.
-Would you like to share a coffee with me?
Kay turned and faced the stranger with amused curiosity. But she was not expecting to encounter such a disturbingly powerful presence. As she raised her face towards the one towering above her, she felt a kind of electricity running through her entire body, raising instantly the small hairs on her neck. She tried to assess what she was seeing: a strong bone structure, tanned skin and a pair of black sun-glasses, full, pink lips stretched in a pleasantly confident smile, revealing two rows of white teeth, all these features were composing the elusive face of a young woman with a strong aura of masculinity. Her gold and silver striped jet-black hair was cut short above the ears and there was a rebellious strand falling in her face from time to time. She was wearing a black jacket, jeans and boots but that was just adding to her ambivalent charm. For Kay it was instant hit; before her mind could find a proper response, her heart simply said:
-Why not? –and her eyes filled with sparks.
The shared coffee turned into a sizzling conversation and the bond was almost instant on both sides. The more they talked, the deeper they connected, opening secret inner pathways in the soul of each other. Suddenly, the world around them faded in the background and space filled with ancient magic. Beyond the words, there was a back and forth flowing of energies woven into a protective net around the two women. Echoes of passed eons were surging from the depth of Time, carrying bits and pieces of stories lived and re-lived again and again in a never-ending story of soulful kinship. But Kay and her companion were oblivious of the Cosmic moves and shifts; they were joyfully chatting and laughing, sharing thoughts and dreams in a frenzy. How wonderful this encounter was! Unexpected and meaningful, strange yet familiar….
-Where do you stay?-asked Kay finally. Do you have any relatives in the village?
Sage shook her head and laughed shortly.
-No, I am a total stranger here. I just arrived today and decided to sit here with a coffee and delve into the local atmosphere. It was then that you came into my vision….So I think I’ll rent a room here if it’s not too expensive.
Kay thought for a moment then she took a bold decision:
-I have a spare room and I live alone here. You can stay with me if that would be suitable for you…
-You mean it?-asked Sage incredulously.
It was Kay’s turn to laugh watching her new friend’s amazement.
-Why would I say it, if I don’t mean it? Come, let me show you my place and then you can decide if you stay or not.
Of course Sage liked the house and the quiet, comfortable room that lead to the courtyard behind the house. She quickly unpacked while Kay kept herself busy in the kitchen. Moments later Sage joined her, lending a helping hand to fix something to eat.
Watching her graceful little host moving around the tiny kitchen, smiling and energetic, Sage thought about how strange was the unfolding of the latest events. She remembered the tingling sensation that filled her body as she caught a glimpse of the first colorful roofs of the village emerging from the embrace of the coiling mist. Suddenly she felt home, though she was 100 percent sure that she has never been here before.
But she trusted her instinct so she walked down the slope and shortly after that she had reached the location. A few questions and people shown her the way to the Bed and Breakfast and she stood in the corner, sipping her coffee and trying to assess the area. It was a lively community inhabiting a rich natural space. Sage relaxed, smiled inwardly sensing the curiosity in the glances the villagers were throwing in her direction. Yes, she was quite an appearance, taller than many of the men around and with that confident, carefree manner. The lady at the counter brought her the breakfast and Sage ate it slowly, enjoying the spicy taste of homemade food. She was fighting with the last piece of ham and eggs when she sensed a subtle change in the air. It was like someone with a significant aura has entered the room. Sage looked up from her plate instinctively, trying to discern the source of that personal energy. It was hard to miss her.
She was there, talking and smiling to everyone and people were filling up with her radiation. She was moving swiftly through the crowd in the room, reaching the counter and talking with the owner. Sage stood up instantly and before she could even think what she was doing, she heard herself inviting the girl to a coffee….She sighed. There was a promise in their encounter and she wanted to know what it was about. Summer was still lingering in the valley, the sun was showering with warmth the hills and the forest was dense with cooling shadows. Life seemed good and Sage decided to put aside her hidden worries and simply enjoy the magic of the moment.
The Cosmos moves in subtle ways inside and outside us. The Universe is our cradle, our playground but it is also woven into us in intricate patterns, connecting soul to soul. It’s like an invisible net of high complexity, one that has successfully eluded measurements and explanations, at least till now. Most of us, we are oblivious about its existence and we focus through our lives mainly on the daily struggles and personal goals, on the relentless quest for happiness. But then, there are moments when something unexpected breaks the dull line of our lives and we are subjected to strange encounters, we get caught up in accidental connections that turn us upside-down so that we finally end up questioning all about our vision upon our existence. These are moments of shocking awakenings, of wonderings filled with both awe and anxiety. What is this? How did it happen? Why? Why now? …..Why me?
This row of haunting questions in various, personalized forms are buzzing in our mind while our inner Ocean is slowly waking up, its restless waves stirring the soft shores of the soul.
For Kay, her encounter with Sage came at a moment when her entire life had been set in balance and she was comforted by the thought that she had already seen all….As the Universe has an odd sense of humor, nothing can be more deceitful than such a confidently optimistic state of mind. For the enigmatic and complicated spirit of Sage, the outpouring light of Kay was an instant hit. On the other side, the challenge of unraveling the light-filled or shadow-hidden territories of Sage’s inner world acted like a magnet on the vivacious spirit of Kay. Before they both realized what was going on between them, the universe has already set in motion the connecting. The two kin-spirits had recognized each –other long before their bearers became aware of all that they were sharing.
With a small gesture, Janet Collins set straight the colorful tablecloth on the small table near the window. It was still very early and her guests were sound asleep. The morning sun was twinkling on the golden rim of the china tea cups only to melt inside the lovely bouquet of yellow flowers carefully placed on every table.
Mrs. Collins smiled with satisfaction. Everything was ready for a new day and the arrival of her customers. The small but homely Bread-and-breakfast was a favorite of both tourists and local people. You could also purchase tea and coffee for home so Kay was a regular customer here. More than a week has passed since she came to get her box of Earl Grey tea and then she went home with that stranger. Janet sighed; she felt almost relieved when Kay took away that particular person…..No, there was nothing wrong with that young woman; on the contrary, she was very friendly and extremely polite…But her overwhelming presence made Mrs. Collins uneasy. Now, after so many days, curiosity replaced anxiety. What were those two girls doing?
Luckily she didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Kay just stepped in and Janet couldn’t stop thinking that she looked radiant.
-Good morning, Mrs. Collins. I came to fill up my reserve of teas. Do you happen to have some other choices on your shelves?-asked the young woman cheerfully.
-Good morning, Kay. What happened? Has your tea supply dried out all of a sudden? –asked Janet.
Kay chuckled and shook her head.
-No, not at all. But I thought to offer my guest a wider choice. So I would love to buy some green tea and a can of hot chocolate. She loves hot chocolate and Old Jeremy is providing us with fresh milk.
-Well, well…I see that you are pampering her. It’s amazing how the two of you became good friends in such a short time. How long will she stay here?
-I don’t know-said Kay with a smile. I didn’t ask, she didn’t say….She can stay as long as she wants. It’s only the two of us in that house and she doesn’t keep me away from anything.
-Well, Kay I’d rather see you pampering a young man, if I may say that. There are plenty of them around and your clock is ticking….-commented Janet, fumbling with the colorful cans and boxes. Here’s your tea and the hot chocolate.
Kay took them, paid and she winked at Mrs. Collins.
-Something tells me that my Prince Charming wasn’t born yet. Thank you for the concern…Have a nice day, Mrs. Collins and don’t worry about me. If I’ll find my soul-mate you’ll be the first to know about it.
As the young woman left, customers started to pour in, leaving no time to Janet Collins to worry about Kay’s future. Yet she couldn’t escape to the strange sensation that something was about to happen….But what? She sighed and dismissed the feeling. Right now she had a business to run.
Kay opened the gate and stopped for a moment to watch Sage doing her daily routine of physical exercises. The well trained, supple muscles were moving gracefully under the tanned skin. Sheen of sweat was glistening on the agile body that moved with confident ease. Kay watched her with an admiring smile. Moments later, Sage became aware of being watched and turned to her, the dark eyes flickering playfully.
“ A young wolf….” Thought Kay, taken aback by the image that popped up in her mind.
-Hi! I’ve purchased some goodies for breakfast!-she said cheerfully. I’ll fix something to eat till you get ready.
She winked and slipped inside the house. Soon they were sitting at the table together.
-Ey….Thanks!-Sage acknowledged the hot chocolate prepared for her. I love it!
She grabbed the steaming mug and completed it with a generous fill of cream. Kay chuckled; she found Sage’s sweet-tooth irresistible. It added a touch of child-like innocence to the strong and complex personality of her friend.
-What?!-asked Sage, raising an eyebrow.
-I was wondering if I shouldn’t have chosen a larger cup for you….
They both laughed. The door cracked and a wrinkled, funny face poked in.
-Good morning, my lovely ladies!-said the old man, raising his ragged hat. Here’s your fresh milk!
Kay jumped from her chair and invited Old Jeremy in. She took the bottle of milk and invited the old man to sit down at the table. She quickly poured a cup of fresh coffee and placed in front of him, along with some small cookies.
-Here’s your coffee, Mr. Branigan. It was waiting for you!
Old Jeremy took a sip cautiously from the steaming cup then look at the two young women with a mischievous smile.
-Heheh, such fine ladies you are both…Were I young like these foolish ladies in the village, I would sleep under your window to be the first to great you every day! They should be here, pending on the fences, eyes glued on your window and not wasting their time in the pub…
Sage shook her head and laughed shortly.
-I might be the reason of their absence. I seem somehow intimidating to many of them.
The old man nodded approvingly.
-Eh, you might be right, my dear. I can hardly think of any lad matching you…except maybe for Georgie Ham and Frank, his cousin. They are a bit dummies but they are good hearted. How about you, little one?-asked Old Jeremy, turning to Kay.
-Yes, tell us Kay-smirked Sage. Don’t leave me heartbroken over the misfortune I brought upon you by scaring away the potential Prince Charming.
Kay grinned and filled the cups with coffee for everyone.
-I’ve just came to think that there must be some new spots on the Sun because Mrs. Collins was questioning me about the same thing this morning. So I’ll give you the same response: you’ll be the firsts to know when I’ll find my Prince Charming.
Later as Kay was cleaning the table, Sage heard her commenting in a low voice: “Who said I want a Prince? What if I am looking for a Princess ?” Sage turned towards her with a new light sparkling through her eyes. Kay raised her head and stared into Sage’s dark eyes. The flow of energy connecting them broke the final seal on the Gates of Memory and remembrance spread from the depths of Time like a wildfire. Feelings…feelings summoned from the thousands of forgotten moments of love and hurt were gathering into a crazed river that menaced to flood two fragile, human hearts. Kay’s eyes filled with tears and she ran out, gasping for air.
Sage sighed and followed her moments later. It was happening again. They were lost for a while, now they were reconnecting. It didn’t come as a huge surprise because Sage’s instincts were relating more to her wild side. Every inch of her body and soul were carrying the duality of man and woman and that of the human and wild. She has been waiting for Kay’s awakening…and it happened now. She found her standing in the backyard, sitting under the old tree, leaning against the rugged trunk with her face buried in her palms. Sage quietly sat next to her. For a moment, the silence grew so heavy that you could hear the splinters of Reality falling and hitting the grass.
-Sage….-came the tiny whisper. I’m sorry…
-Ssshhttt….-echoed the other whisper. Come, let me show you something!
They stood up and left by the hind gates. They walked hand in hand towards the dark shape of the forest. Sitting on a heap of grass on the top of the hill, the old woman was watching the two girls crossing the meadow. They seemed to be absorbed by the conversation they had. The tall one was leading. Her entire being was radiating a powerful aura and her smaller companion was basking in that flow of light. She looked genuinely happy. In fact, they both looked that way. The intimacy of their harmony was unmistakable. The Old Woman gave a nod of approval and then her contour slowly faded out in the morning light.
As they crossed the forest they came out into a place never seen before. They stepped over that sizzling, thin blue line of demarcation between two worlds and entered in a space where Time was no longer the Master and Reality was bending and extending under the touch of the energy of their souls combined. The large, grassy slope opened under their feet, leading into the meadow that was bordering a quick running rivulet. Tens of colorful wild flowers were swaying under the breeze that was bouncing on the top of the high-stemmed grass. Sage and Kay looked at each other with a smile and then rolled down the hill giggling and laughing like two school-girls. As they reached flat land, they rested on their back, arms wide open, catching their breath…Kay turned on her belly and crawled next to Sage, watching her. There was a rebellious strand of hair falling on her face and Kay gently pushed it aside. She ran her fingers over the straight line of eyebrows and followed the high cheekbones and the strong line of the jaws. Sage’s skin was soft and warm…
-Gods, I missed you so much….-she whispered.
Sage’s eyes sparkled and she brought Kay closer.
-I was waiting for you to remember….I was powerless till then. I’ve missed you badly, girl but now that we are back together, nothing will set us apart. Nothing.
The kiss tasted like summer light and their embrace encompassed the whole passion of a starburst. Heart connected to heart, hand touched hand and fingers entwined hungrily, and one body cradled the other while breath added to breath, running together to catch up with the wind in the meadow. The late afternoon weaved happy stories from silky memory threads and the scenery shifted, opening into arching cathedrals of forest, hillsides covered by raspberry shrubs, with pending braches covered with sweet, ruby fruits, bubbling sources of fresh water dancing on the rocky beds and oceans of acquiring, scented grass where crickets were singing under the lapis-lazuli skies. Love turned into summer wine, hearts became chalices of glass while the souls got drunk of happiness….
-We have to go back, girl….-whispered the low, velvety voice. It’s getting late at home.
-Ah, you’re right…-said Kay, shaking her head to remove the a few grass blades that got tangled in her hair. But we are far from the entrance. It will take us some time…
-Not if we change shape. You don’t have to worry if you don’t remember how to do it, I’ll show you. Just relax and let yourself go….Come, Kay. Take my hand!
And they ran….gathering speed with each new step. Sage laughed and the sunlight was dancing on the row of white teeth. Kay gasped and sensed her body stretching and changing. She separated from Sage as her soul-mate was changing to. The spiky, raven black hair turned in the gold and silver tinted thick mane of a She-Wolf that was leading the way with elegantly high jumps. A magical blue fire was burning in her eyes and she was turning encouragingly from time to time towards the small cougar following her closely. They took the steep slope and jumped the demarcation line, landing inside the familiar forest. It was past midnight when they reached the exit and finally stopped. The Moon was playing hide and seek with a few clouds floating in the skies. The village was sound asleep.
The She-Wolf and the Cougar were cuddling in the grass, the rush of their hearts slowly turning into the calm rhythm of human hearts. Sage placed her arm around Kay’s shoulder while Kay put a hand around her waist and then they walked quietly home. The neighbor’s dog whimpered in sleep, troubled by the mix of strange scent invading his nostrils. Sage grinned and closed the door behind.
The following days and weeks were dedicated to happily roaming the ever-changing paths of the lost Paradise. The forests and meadows turned into golden sands of sea shores, into emerald islands and lush tropical sceneries. Sometimes the land disappeared and the Cosmos opened its arms of blazing stars to the wandering girls. Planets hidden behind dark clouds of stardust were unraveling their secrets; strange creatures welcomed them in their homes.
And when they were not spending the days in the land behind the blue line, Sage and Kay were running wildly together under the Moon. So it’s not surprising that the wind in the hills rolled sometimes strange petals, bits of stardust or small, nacreous shells, like fairy-nails. The old riverbed was holding the memory of alien-like foot prints and the dogs were barking more often in the moonlight…
Love was blossoming inside and outside the boundaries of Space and Time. Soft, silk-like filaments of emotion were weaving the invisible but seemingly unbreakable cloak, embracing and protecting the revived connection of two flamboyant hearts. The planet was rolling in the embrace of summer but the season was ready to write the final chapter. Perched on the top of a hill, the forest was lost in summer dreams and the green of the canopy was still young at heart. As the heat of the day gradually diminished and the nights were cooling down, the meadow was breathing more easily, while the scent of wild-flowers was flowing with undiminished grace. Only the slow turning of colors towards a palette of deep burgundy, blue-lavender, pale yellow and creamy white was speaking about the season to come. Finally, August opened its gates and harvest has begun in celebration. The festival of Lammas was a moment of joyful gathering and each year tourists were pouring in for the event.
Considering the success of previous years, Janet Collins was expecting a serious flow of guests and she was wondering who would help her out this year. Not that she was low on options but the previous year proved to be a real success due to Kay’s support. But this year…Mrs. Collins shook her head: this year, Kay’s presence seemed uncertain. She was more than busy spending time with her friend, Sage.
“ I wonder what are they doing all day long?-muttered Mrs. Collins with a grimace. Gracie Mills says that they leave the house early in the morning and that she has never caught them coming back. Where can they go? There’s nothing interesting beyond the forest…Such a strange woman that Sage is! She’s got this silly girl under her spell!”
Janet’s grumbling came to a halt when the door opened and she faced the odd couple she was thinking about.
-Good morning, Mrs. Collins!-shouted Sage with large smile. Don’t you need a helping hand for the festival?! Kay told me how enjoyable it was the last time.
Janet’s face lit up instantly.
-Why yes, of course! Come in, girls! Sit here for a moment. I’ll pour some coffee and I have fresh lemon cake for you. Then, we can talk about the preparations.
And she wasn’t disappointed. Sage proved to be a pleasant surprise and a truly helpful person. With Kay by her side, she decorated and changed the premises with the ease of a magician. During the work, Janet Collins’ perception upon the “odd couple” switched from suspicious to enthusiastic and by the time the Mayor opened the festival, the owner of the inn has become their strongest supporter.
The village filled with excited outsiders and they delved in the magic of celebrating the power of the summer sun, the ripening of seeds and fruits and the replenishing of life. Laughter, music, chatter, humorous incantations and playful shouts were mixing in the air and the wind got drunk with the flow of scents: meadowsweet and sage, fresh-baked new bread and cakes, traditional food bubbling in huge pots, fresh apple cider….The once sleepy village was now teaming with life.
Kay and Sage were busy to help the guests fully enjoy everything. Janet Collins was more than pleased.
-Ey, you got yourself the best helpers, Janet!-said Old Jeremy. Our Kay was a sweetie last year to, but since this boyish lady arrived, she seems to have caught wings….-he finished with a wink.
-Oh, hush, you old crow….That lady worked here like a man and she had kept us on track until we finished. I cannot stop admire her strength and energy. And you know what? She has such a contagious cheerfulness!
-Ey, ey, you’re right, Jannie. I like these girlies to, they are always nice to me. Nah, I hope they’d come to see the bonfire and dance around it with the rest of the youth. I wish I could still dance with them but, heheh, these bones are too old by now. Nah, see you around, Jannie!
Mrs. Collins chuckled.
-See you later, uncle! We’ll see then if our girls will find tonight their pair to jump over the bonfire!
Old Woman pushed open the gates and hurriedly crossed the backyard of Kay’s house. The girls were still in the village so she walked to the front door. She opened her ragged bag and fumbled inside it until she found what she was looking for. With an enigmatic smile on her face, she took out the corn dollie and hung it up above the entrance. It was a beautiful sweet-heart shaped dollie, braided with bright red threads. Old Woman murmured something, she spread a handful of mixed meadowsweet flowers and sage leaves on the doormat and she vanished in the amber light of late afternoon.
Kay and Sage returned home to catch their breath and change clothes before the evening celebration and the bonfire. They were both tired but satisfied: the day proved to be a success and everyone seemed happy. Deep inside, Kay was convinced that Sage had boosted with her presence the whole atmosphere; she was simply radiating energy and the air was sizzling around her. With her tall and graceful frame she definitely dominated the crowd and without noticing, the world moved under her touch like under the spell of a magician. All this time, Kay just followed her discreetly, breathing in the joy spread by Sage. But now they were ready for the last magical sequence of the festival.
Sage pushed open the front gates, let Kay in and they both stopped, looking at the corn dollie that was hanging above their door. Who had been there? Who brought that and why? Did someone know….? These questions were ringing in their mind. Finally, it was Sage who broke the silence.
-So what? Let them know, I don’t care! Are you Ok, girl?-she asked, turning to her loved one.
Kay shook her head, laughing.
-I’ve never been better! This is a lovely gift. I thank whoever left it for us.
She put an arm around Sage’s waist and they went inside. Old Woman watched them from the shadows. She was pleased.
People were gathering in large numbers in the open where the bonfire was ready to be lit. Couples were walking hand in hand, talking, smiling, children were running up and down, shouting, giggling, the elders were sitting on benches, remembering moments of far away festivals while the youth, boys and girls, locals and tourists were forming groups. The Celtic music filling the air, the excitement of bursting, hungry hearts under the star-crowned night, the mystery of ancient times, symbolized by the fire that was about to consume all that had been bad, the hope of love and beauty rising on wings of flames from the ashes….all of them were building into an invisible dome of protective magic above the people bellow. The Mayor lit up the big stack of woods and everyone cheered as the fire erupted victoriously towards the heights. From their spot half hidden the shadow, Sage and Kay were watching the blazing play, holding each other.
Sparkle by sparkle, drop by drop, note by note the magic of the night is seeping inside the young hearts, carried by the flow of excitement that envelops each of the joyfully swirling, dancing boys and girls.
Tam-tadam, tam-tadam, the music chants, followed by the rhythm of the wildly dancing flames…Tam-tadam, tam-tadam, the music chants as boys and girls, hand in hand are now gathering in a long chain of dancers…Tam-tadam, tam-tadam, the heart of the Universe is beating along with every loving, longing heart and the chain of dancers is circling faster and faster around the bonfire….tam-tadam, tam-tadam, tam-tadam, tam-tadam….The flames are now fire-birds soaring into the night sky, hungry hands reaching for the stars above, red and gold, red and gold….Blazing crimson rivers are rushing through the veins and bursting from the frantic hearts, souls are opening, flooded by the heightened emotions….Tam-tadam, tam-tadam, the world is under spell…
Kay and Sage are caught in the enchantment. They have joined the chain of dancers, swirled with the others and they’ve been separated in the frenzy. In the magic circle drew by the light of the bonfire it’s hard to catch more than a glimpse of someone…Light, music and dance are streaming and there’s almost no chance to swim against their strong current. Kay feels lost and though she can feel Sage’s powerful presence inside the flow, losing touch with her is unsettling. The strength of the bonfire is slowly subsiding and people are preparing to try a lucky jump over the flames. Outside the circle of light, parents and elders are making guesses about the forming couples. Playful bets are made and memories are shared about how the fate of some of these pairs developed in the past.
Suddenly the chain of dance is breaking and the first pair jumps over the smoldering ashes in the cheer of everyone….then another pair and another….over and over again. Caught in the erratic movement of the crowd, Sage is trying to focus to find Kay. There she is! She looks like she’s desperately trying to get rid of a young man following her. With a firm hand, Sage pushes aside the people in her way, closing on the quarreling duo.
-Come on, Kay, don’t be so fussy!- says the young man. Why don’t you want to take the jump with me?
-Because she already promised it to someone else!
Sage’s voice is a low growl and as she firmly steps next to Kay, the hair on the back of her neck is raising in irritation. A greenish light is flickering in the depth of the dark eyes and the young man wisely decides to step back. He mumbles something about crazy women and disappears in the crowd, to try his luck with someone else. Kay and Sage are looking at each other with a smile.
-Shall we? –asks Sage, tilting her head.
Kay slips her hand into Sage’s palm.
A gush of wind stirs the ashes of the bonfire and in the burst of sparkles the shadow of La Loba and the Cougar is taking flight through it. They land gracefully and before anyone can realize what they’ve just witnessed, the two young women are fading inside the night. There are still many couples waiting at the jumping line….
-What have I told you, Jannie? –chuckles the old man sitting next to Mrs. Collins.
-I have to admit that you were right, uncle. I’ve lost the bet so be my guest in the morning for a coffee and cheese cake!
At the first light of dawn, the merry gathering of celebrating people split and scattered; everyone needed a good sleep. The cool breath of the land was coiling trough the grass, leaving beads of dew at the point of each delicate blade. The sun hopped above the horizon and the trees and bushes imperceptibly stretched their twigs and branches in the warmth of its touch. Somewhere in the distance, in a place where silence was still lying lazily, Kay and Sage were sitting atop of a hill, leaning against each-other.
-We have jumped over the fire so many times, yet our journey ended in losing touch every time…-mused Kay.
-Maybe this time it’s the lucky one…-whispered Sage. I’m tired of waking up alone over and over again, unable to recall what happened.
-I don’t remember either; I’m left only with the void inside…
Kay sighed and shook her head. She turned to watch Sage’s face; it was tense and preoccupied. Kay’s heart sunk so she gently touched the lovely features, trying to scatter the clouds of thoughts.
-Hey…Let’s enjoy what we have for now. Come, put your head in my lap and I’ll tell you a story about a clumsy alien who fell off the skies…
Sage quickly changed her position and looked into Kay’s eyes with a grin.
-Was it a little green man from Mars?
-No, not exactly. I’m afraid it was rather human like and that he wasn’t quite happy about his landing!
The gates of the day opened wide and the sun soaked up every drop of dew. The flowers in the meadow turned towards the light, displaying their colorful outfits. Bees and butterflies filled the air and the early morning wind curled at the feet of the two girls, listening to the unfolding story.
Old Woman scattered a handful of soft, silky pebbles on the ground and her small, dark eyes carefully followed their pattern in the dust. She took out a pair of feathers and sprinkled some water on the rocks. A larger, round pebble that has fallen in the center of an approximate circle turned red while tiny columns of dark dust were rising around it, like ghosts….
-The Blood Moon!-murmured Old Woman. So soon….
With a short gesture she shattered the pattern and stood up. She scrutinized the horizon; maybe there was some time left before the wings of Darkness would spread upon the world. The old Spirit was ready to confront them but most of all, she had two hearts to protect. She hurried to the meadow to pick some wild herbs for the ritual.
Inside the bubble of protective calm, the two young women were savoring their moment of peaceful intimacy. The story of the fallen alien was over and the wind has taken flight to chase butterflies. Kay’s fingers got tangled in Sage’s hair while the latter stole a late-summer kiss from her lips. The boisterous wind returned, scattering cherry-red poppy petals over them, ruffling the surface of the sea of grass, releasing the fresh scent of wildflowers into the heated air.
August was reigning everywhere and love was ripening under its touch. The intense light pouring from above was thickening in sugar and honey in the fruits of the land. Grass kernels were trembling under the touch of the breeze, grapes were dreaming of the vines they’d become…As the stream of love was confidently flowing under the bridge that was connecting their hearts, Kay and Sage were lying in each other’s arms, hoping that the magic of this moment will never end.
That Kay and Sage have chosen to jump over the bonfire as a pair didn’t come as such great surprise for most of the villagers, aside maybe some of the usual gossipers, Gracie-the-neighbor included. People around here were mild and friendly; they were living in a picturesque area and visitors were a daily presence. So the villagers adopted a wise attitude of live and let live and they were not willing to change that. For them, Kay was a good girl and Sage had proved herself equally lovable during the festival so they welcomed their love with ease and grace. Janet Collins didn’t mention Prince Charming anymore and all was good under the sun.
The Summer Harvest festival proved to be a huge success, making the owner of the Bed-and-breakfast immensely happy. And now, there was some news in the papers that could generate another flow of tourists to their village: a total lunar eclipse. They were situated in the shadow-zone that allowed the best perspective upon this cosmic event. Mrs. Collins was musing on these things when Kay entered the door.
-Good morning, Mrs. Collins! Why are you so preoccupied today?
-Ah! Good morning, Kay! I’m glad you came. Look! What do you think about it?
She handed the newspaper to the girl and then she disappeared inside the shop to bring the usual provisions to her early customer. Moments later, Mrs. Collins returned with a bag full of cans and goodies.
-Here!-she said, handing the groceries to Kay. So, what do you think of this new event?
-I think it’ll keep us busy again, Mrs. Collins. I’ve never seen a total lunar eclipse before! Well, if you need some helping hand, Sage and I would come with pleasure.
She paid the groceries and turned to the door.
-I go to share the news with Sage! I bet she’d be thrilled! Have a nice day, Mrs. Collins!
-A nice day to you both, Kay!-said Janet with a content smile. See you later!
Sage was thrilled to witness the celestial event and to lend a helping hand to their friend at the inn.
-We have a chance to witness a cosmic event together, girl…-she said with a happy smile. Let’s see that hot chocolate and then, we can sit down planning the following days.
She bent and placed a kiss on Kay’s forehead then helped her unpack the groceries.
Light and Darkness are two faces of the same principle and the Shadow is their child. It holds the same duality of harboring creation and destruction, so you can never be certain who finds shelter under its wings. Old Woman was fully aware that once the power of the Moonlight would decrease with the Lunar eclipse, not only the fairies will come out to play. She had been watching over her children from the beginning of Time and she knew well some of the nasty crawlers hidden in the shadows.
She was also familiar with the fragility of Sage’s core, the challenges she had met throughout her numerous existences and the secret of her longtime sufferance. She could recall at any moment those tragic events that have had shattered the inner balance of this beautiful child…They were twice as hard to bear since the wrong had been done by the one who was supposed to love and protect her the most….Old Woman sighed and dismissed the memory. At least, there was one luminous presence in Sage’s life, Kay; and now, the Mother of all Daughters was drawing her magic circles around the house to keep them safe from the creatures of the Shadow.
The cosmic clock was diligently ticking as the planets and moons were rolling on their tracks. The dark beast hiding under the cloak of the Shadow was angry. For days it has tried to get in the house of the two young women living at the end of the lane, but the circles of magic around their house were over-riding its power. The beast was hungry and it was growing impatient. It could sense the fine cracks on the surface of one the souls living there and it craved to delve into it. But that person was protected during the day by her connection to her soul-mate so the beast had to wait for another opportunity. It finally came during the nights, when spirits were wandering in the Realms of the Dream and could easily get lost in its tricky labyrinths.
Like a spider weaving its net, the shadowy beast followed Sage’s spirit in her nightly wanderings and learned about the dark memories haunting her. And as the cosmic event was coming closer and closer, the dreams of the young woman filled with unsettling bits of memories. The constant pressure of nightmares was taking tole on Sage, despite her bravery. She was withering like a flower under the heat of a merciless sun. Though the love she shared with Kay was her most powerful support, she kept sensing that her grip on reality is loosening. And to make things ever worse, she could not remember anything tangible from what was tormenting her during the night.
-I wake up every day with the same empty memory and I feel so tired….It’s like something dark is suckling away all my strength….-she confessed to her worried love. I’m sorry, girl. I don’t want to upset you.
-Sshhht…Hush, my love! Don’t say silly things…-whispered Kay, embracing her and burying the face on Sage’s rebellious strands of black hair. We’ll get over this together.
But she could see that things were getting only worse for now. In a desperate attempt to protect her beloved, she took the corn-dollie from outside and placed it above their bed. Maybe, just maybe this would bring some peace to Sage…
Even Janet Collins had noticed the slight change in the mood of the usually cheerful and energetic young woman. She seemed more like a fading photograph.
-What’s wrong with Sage?-she asked from Kay while they were in the kitchen, fixing some food for the helpers. She seems …distracted and preoccupied, not her usual energy-bomb.
-She wasn’t feeling well lately…-responded Kay with a sigh. She has problems sleeping and I don’t know how to help her.
-You should ask Miss Maggie…you know, the old herb collector, that lady living in the cottage next to Jeremy Brannigan’s. I’m sure she can make a concoction of herbs that would help you out.
-Oh, you’re right! I have forgotten about her! In fact, I haven’t seen her for ages…-said Kay.
-I’m sure you haven’t but that’s understandable. You and Sage don’t have eyes but for each-other. Miss Maggie is fine; she’s still my regular customer and you know, she was asking about you a few days ago. So, you can pay her a visit and ask for help. Bring her some sweets; she loves them….
That afternoon, Kay baked some chocolate-chips cookies (Sage loved them to) and skipped the house while Sage was dozing after the work at the inn. She found the cottage easily and knocked at the door. The door cracked and she saw the wrinkled but friendly face of the old herb collecting lady.
-Good afternoon, Miss Maggie. I hope I’m not disturbing you….I have a problem.
-Come in, come in my child. I was expecting you-said the old woman with an accomplice smile.
-You do? -Kay was astonished. Did Mrs. Collins tell you…?
Old Woman laughed and sat her down.
-It wasn’t Janet who told me. I can read the signs in the air. Something wicked is lurching around the village and the lunar eclipse is enhancing its power. I made a mix of plants for Sage with lavender, hard-hay and linden-tree flowers. They will calm her but I cannot promise you that she won’t have nightmares anymore. The world of dreams is out of my reach. One more thing: don’t go out in the night of the eclipse! It’s not good for Sage. Now hurry up, don’t leave your sweetheart alone!
The following days went on uneventfully…or at least, it looked like the nightmares were gone. The two girls were breathing more easily and color returned in Sage’s cheeks. In the village, all the lodgings filled up with amateur astronomers and romantic city-dwellers, eager to spend the night of the eclipse out in the open. Though the nights were slowly cooling down with each late-summer day, it was still warm enough and enjoyable.
Kay found an excuse for her and Sage to stay home that evening. Reluctantly, Sage agreed to skip the event; she didn’t want to upset Kay. She has had enough worries the previous week, so they dined at home and went to bed early. Maybe if they would sleep this night, things would return to their normal, happy state…
But the beast of darkness had his own plans. As the shadow was slowly covering the face of Moon, the beast was emerging in the dream of its victim. It was gathering the increasing powers and taking the shape of someone the young woman feared the most. Moments before the total eclipse, the dark silhouette emerged before the mind’s eyes of the sleeping Sage, pointing an accusing finger to her. The voice calling was cold as ice and it cut deeply into the soft, fragile core. Sage screamed…
She woke up breathless and in cold sweat. She was sitting on the edge of the bed with a confused expression on her face. Where was she? How did she end up here? Who was that young woman looking at her and why was she so sad? What happened?
-Sage….-the unknown woman’s voice was trembling as she called her name.
-I’m sorry but I don’t know who you are! Please….I cannot stay here!
The girl’s eyes filled with tears as she was shouting her name. Sage felt cornered by the pain she was witnessing; it wasn’t her fault! She knew nothing of the cause of this pain! She stood up and retreated into a corner, far from the young woman. Sage felt the urge to run pushing from inside.
-Sage, please! It’s me, Kay! Don’t you remember me?!
Pushed from her inner resort, Sage sprinted towards the door, avoiding to be touched by the pleading girl.
-No!-she shouted. No!! I’m sorry, I’m sorry….I have to go!! I have to go!!!
She rushed out the door and run to the forest. As her body stretched and re-shaped into the slender form of the La Loba, Reality itself wobbled and opened into a new one, outlined by the usual sizzling blue light. La Loba stopped in the middle of a plain, inside the circle of yellow light thrown by the Blood Moon, waiting. A strong gush of wind cleaned the circle and raised a wall of thin dust around it. The glow of the Moon intensified and the She-wolf shuddered under its touch. She rose to her hind legs and started to swirl and dance in the pouring light. While she was dancing, the dust thickened on the rim of the circle and ghostly shapes of wolves emerged, following the moves of the La Loba. Suddenly, the circle of light extended, engulfing them all and the whole pack was now dancing and howling in frenzy!
The sound of this eerie choir spread around in waves and inside the magic Reality, these waves were glittering and glowing with a golden light. Halted at the rim of this bubble of the Space-Time fabric, the Cougar was following the unfolding of the events with a sense of hopelessness. She couldn’t step in, she couldn’t follow and she couldn’t reclaim the one she loved. Only the knowledge of their eternal connection was offering a faint comfort to her broken heart.
Up in the skies, the Blood Moon was dimming and the power of the Shadow was diminishing with each moment. But by the time the Light reclaim its place, La Loba and the Shadow Wolves were a pack once again and they were running ahead, towards an intangible horizon. But before she was completely engulfed by the distance, La Loba turned towards the Cougar. For a split of a moment, she was again Sage, standing there, remembering… Her eyes locked into Kay’s eyes…
“Remember me, girl! Remember me! Don’t let me fade away!”
The magic of the moment broke up and Wild Woman laughed loudly, then she ran away with her Wolves. The bubble of Reality closed behind them, leaving the Wandering Daughter to cry her chagrin in the arms of the night.
Old Woman was sitting in the moonlight, waiting for Kay to calm down. The skies cleared, the shadows were gone and the beast had won this round….again. The girl sighed painfully and she lifted her face to the elderly woman.
-I don’t understand what is happening to me-she started and her voice cracked….I don’t know if this was a dream or it was only the end of a nightmare. I don’t know why do I have to be in such pain and why my heart feels so empty, if this was just a product of my imagination…But I don’t care if this was a lie or it was just temporary madness, as long as it had such an imprint of beauty inside me, filling my soul with warmth and light.
Right now, all I know is that no matter how hard it is to admit that it’s over, that from now on I will have to roam these paths alone, I will not kill the fire that is burning inside my heart. I don’t want to forget! I don’t want to pretend that it has never happened!! I will not burry my feelings, my dreams, OUR dreams!!! I will always remember the joy and the freedom of running together under the Moon…. Oh, Mother! I wish I could cry until my heart would break and I would fall to pieces!
– You know this wasn’t her fault…..-whispered the old woman pensively.
-I never said that!-exclaimed the young one, her voice filled with pain and frustration.
-Listen to me, Child. The voice of the elderly woman was now grave and seemed to come from far away, from the depths of mysterious Universe.-Let me tell you something: Sage’s Spirit was caught by some strong currents that keep pushing her and carrying her away from time to time. Then, for longer or shorter periods of time her inner light reaches the surface and your connection comes alive again. For a while, you are able to travel together as One and enjoy it, just as it was at the beginnings of Time, when the two of you first met.
But she kept drifting away when those dark and powerful flows were shadowing her soul and you have cried out your pain over and over again thousands of times by now. And each time when the wheel of stars turned, I have revived both of you, hoping that maybe this time she’d stay afloat and that you would reunite for good. I see your pain and I know it. I see her pain and I know that to. This is why I will keep reviving and reuniting you until your fate would clear and your light will shine in harmony, unbreakable.
You’ll see: you will forget her and everything that happened now. But you will remember her when time will come.
The young woman shook her head violently.
-No, no! I won’t let you do it this time! YOU cannot take it away from me! It’s my love, my pain, my decision!
She buried her face in her palms and she sobbed until her pain turned into something else. It was revolt, defiance and anger, then pain and love again and again, in a swirling surge of emotions. Old Spirit Woman watched in silence her Wandering Daughter. She knew her well; there was an ocean raging inside her and she has been one reluctant, single-minded girl ever since she first stepped in this world. Only under the protective canopy of the Magic Night could Kay open the gates of her soul and let the hidden waters wash everything away…. Right now, those waters were menacing to flood the world…
-I will let everything out-she shouted- every inch of pain cutting me like a dagger! I wish I could shake this world off its axis and make the stars fall off their places! If I am going to die in the agony of loss and missing, then I will take down the Universe with me! Oh! I curse the gods for playing this cruel game with me! Why did they give me a heart if it hurts so badly?!
She jumped to her feet and sprinted towards the top of the cliff. The night wind blew into her face and her eyes filled with tears and she cried, she cried until her tears were gathering into a small thread of limpid water under her feet. She kept running, splashing her own drops of soul and her body begun to change, shifting and shaping into the supple, muscular body of her inner beast. The cougar reached the peak and stopped abruptly. She took a deep breath and uttered a painful growl that echoed in the depths bellow.
Old Spirit Woman sighed and gathered her tools. She drew a few magic signs in the sandy bottom of the riverbed and then she rose to her feet.
-Goodbye, my Child….-she murmured in the soft wind. See you in another circle, under new stars, when La Loba will rise to run again!
The contours of her shape were slowly fading under the shimmering stars and soon, all that was left there were the two feathers placed inside the circle of white pebbles… The Universe was opening new, invisible doors and the ethereal flows of timeless energies drew un-walked paths inside the fabric of Space and Time. Somewhere, in the star-blazed core of Eternity, the gold and silver manned She-Wolf was running freely, her eyes like diamonds, her laughter wild and carefree…But the strings of her heart were connected forever to the heart of the graceful cougar who was sitting atop the high hill, patiently waiting for their next encounter.
In the embrace of the Sun, the pale blue dot was awakening to another day.
Remember me, Wild Woman….
My Twin Spirit:
I am you,
You are me.
F o r e v e r w e s h a l l r u n f r e e !