Walk in Dream-waking up in someone else’s dream (2)

Before I could see who was speaking or even utter a sound, the alarm clock brought me back to reality, tearing off the veil of dreams. It was both frustrating and relieving. The strangeness of the dream left me with a slight unease. Even after I washed my face , I had a feeling that a piece of the dream was sticking to me like cobweb. I sipped my coffee slowly, trying to set my thoughts in a sort of an order, not sure of the outcome yet. Running through the list of my daily chores, several questions echoed back from my night.

 Where did the little boy disappear? Who was he? And who was the one catching me from falling? And why, oh why did this pesky alarm ring in the most important moment of the dream?! Well, blaming the clock was futile; no matter how interesting the night might have been,  I had to get back to reality prepare for work. I sipped my coffee and fled the house…or at least that was my intention.

  The moment I started to descend the stairs,the space warped and I was facing a steep tunnel opening under my feet. Startled and dizzy, I staggered and  stepped back till my vision cleared and reality fell back in place. Cautiously,  I took again the stairs and left the building. It was getting awfully late.  

~~~~~~

      Finding herself in front of the open gates, she stepped in without hesitation. It was still summer inside and the air smelled like sun. The grass under her feet swayed if the soft wind. She looked ahead, searching for the forest but this time, the scenery was different. She was in à deserted corner of a hill side and the meadow stopped at the feet of a high tower and a disheveled building that looked like an old mill. She walked towards it and soon she was in the front yard, where, not so surprisingly, a little boy was playing with his choo choo train on the ground.

     He looked very much like the other child, just this time he was a bit older. Noticing her presence, he raised his head and looked at her  cheerfully. He had a round little face with big,dark brown eyes, round little nose and a big smile. His silky hazelnut hair was cut short under the ears. He was wearing a white shirt and shorts, with a small bell attached to his belt.

-Hi!-he said with a clear voice. Do you want to play with me? Look, I have a choo choo train! Do you like it? My Dad gave it for my birthday!

-It’s lovely!-said the girl, smiling at him. I love trains and I never had a choo choo train. So, what are we going to do with it? I see that there are lots of pebbles here on the ground. Would you like me to help you build a road for your train?

-Yes!Yes!-shouted the boy excitedly. Let’s do it!

 He jumped to his feet and started to gather pebbles. The little bell attached to his belt was ringing at each move. He looked like an elven child in the meadows of the Sun. The girl stood up and picked pebbles and some scattered sticks, glancing from time to time to the little boy who was bouncing happily around. They soon had enough stuff to start building the path and they kneeled in the dirt, working together with the innocent carefree spirit of childhood.

-What is your name?-asked the girl, pressing a round white pebble in the ground.

-Jordan-replied the child. They call me Jordie at home.

-Jordie. What a lovely name. My name is Kai. Look, Jordie, we can make a bridge here for the train to cross the small trench. We could say that there’s river running under the bridge. You know, your name is the same with that of a mighty river!

-Yupiiii!-exclaimed the child. Let’s see how Choo Choo is going to cross the river!

~~~~~~

At first he lead the train in the path of pebbles, giggling and shouting excitedly. Then somehow, the train sped up and burst forward off his little hands. We watched it rushing towards the bridge of sticks, crossing it, then heading towards the tower.

-Yay! He’s going into the tunnel!-yelped Jordie and we both jumped to our feet and started to run after the runaway train. I caught his hand and we ran breathlessly, while before our eyes, the tunnel opened  wide its dark mouth to swallow up train, us and everything around. I wasn’t running anymore; it was the ground that was propelling us further! I took up Jordie and he held his arms around my neck, laughing happily. For him, it was just a funny game but I was deeply scared… For a fraction of a moment, the gates of darkness were  towering before us….then silence engulfed our world….

 When I finally opened my eyes, I couldn’t see anything in that black void surrounding me, except for the shimmering silhouette of warm, yellow light floating at a small distance. I was alone…again; Jordie had vanished from my arms…or not? Before I could answer my own question, the creature of light grabbed my hand and pulled me upward. We were probably flying to the top of the tower, because the small speck of glow I saw first was growing into a large circle.  I landed on narrow terrace going around the top of….a lighthouse. The creature of light dissolved into the brightness , yet I could feel the presence of a childlike spirit embracing me.

 The perspective opening from here was overwhelming. The blue-green sea was stretching to a horizon that was also the  shore of the Universe. The wind whistling in my ears was carrying both the salty breath of the sea and the dust of the swirling star geysers. I stood there mesmerized, almost forgetting even to breathe…Here, at my feet, foam-tipped translucent waves were toying at the base of the lighthouse, rolling colorful shells up and down the soft sands. The continuous rippling of the sea was emulating the swaying of the ocean of stars. Day and night were sharing harmoniously the same dome of skies, the same scenery, the same moment. I could hear light seeping through the entwined layers of day and night, falling with the sound of windchimes…or maybe with the sound of a little bell sewn to the belt of that little boy bearing the name of a river.

Cling! Cling-cling! Cling-cling! Cling!

“Jordie! Where are you?!” -called the voice of a young man, half amused-half worried. “I can hear your bell, you cannot hide much! Come on, Jordie! It’s time to go home!”

Cling-cling! -ringed the bell and we all went home. I woke up in bed and this time I was sure that my little friend was safely home as well.

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MEMORIES

The Sun hopped over the row of hills guarding the shore and the light showered the sea, wiping off the last shadows of the night. The water was quietly rippling, gently touching the soft, silky sands.

It was a remote shore, calm and serene, one that offered the long sought intimacy to the romantic dreamers. In the fresh light of the morning, the row of footprints was glistening in the sand. They seemed to come from nowhere and they were ending just as abruptly….But the shore knew them well, just as she knew the one they belonged to. She gathered the nacreous grains around the imprints, holding them lovingly, shielding them from the boisterous wind or the curious fingers of the waves. She has already lost a few of those precious memories so she was hanging desperately to the last ones remained. She wasn’t ready to let him go…her poet…the young man with eyes full of stars that used to walk her sands and sit there, dreaming his wonderful dreams, writing with a finger his poems into her wet cheeks….He had become her daily guest and she had grown on loving him. Now he was gone and she felt lost and deserted. She was afraid that she might forget him, as wind and water were robbing her day by day from the last remembering imprints. The shore shivered from inside, rolling the tiny grains of sand…Oh, why was love so beautiful and painful altogether?

 The sea kept rocking from side to side, leaving intricate laces of ephemeral foam on the rim of the shore. She was aware of the torment her friend was going through….She knew how love and loss can tear into the heart. Her deep, translucent one was carrying its own scars. She sent ahead a soft little wave and touched the shore…

“ Let him go, my dear…let him go….Let me ease your pain and I promise you that he will be remembered by the sound of my waves and the song of the wind…”

 The wave rose and caressed the white sands, smoothing the surface, washing away the footprints…The echo of the shore’s last sobs died in the wind and the world regained its balance.

 

ON THE OTHER SIDE

 

“ Knock,knock! Are you sleeping? “-asked the dream.

“Not anymore…”-he mumbled as he stretched and opened his eyes. He was in a haze so he fingered the table next his bed and recovered his glasses. The image cleared. He noticed a packed suitcase on the chair.

“That’s odd…”-he thought. He couldn’t remember packing it. But he lived alone on the house so no one could’ve packed that suitcase but himself.

“ Huh, I need a coffee…”

He stood up and walked to the kitchen to warm some water for his coffee. But the kettle was already filled with fresh and hot coffee. He stared at it in disbelief.

“ I must have started sleepwalking”-he thought. “Better wash my face and drink that coffee before anything more happens.”

Luckily, by the time he washed and dressed up nothing new happened in the small cottage.

Oh, but the day was just starting. The man was a musician and he has moved in only a few days ago. He needed a break from the crushing noise of the big city and the ad in the newspapers was speaking of a peaceful corner of pristine Nature. So he left behind everything, packed his suitcase and embarked for a journey into the unknown.  The place was remote and somehow otherworldly: a narrow country road, playing hide and seek between softly curved hills and gentle meadows, a few patches of trees from time to time and so much azure in the open skies that the man got almost dizzy watching it. The little house was neat and properly equipped, giving him the necessary freedom to let himself go. He slept like a log during the first night spent there. Far from the huge turmoil of the beast of glass, concrete and steel, his mind stretched like a cat, then cuddled in the arms of silence…

The healing sleep filled the man with new energies and the next morning he ventured on the hills around, breathing in the caressing sunshine of an early summer. He even walked to the nearest isle of forest and walked under the green canopy, in the twinkling of the light filtered by the murmuring leaves. The forest had its own orchestra, an invisible yet cheerful one. The man was amazed by the skillful arpeggios of the hidden birds, by the hushed voice of the wind in the trees and by the faint sizzling of the sunlight through the elusive holes of the green dome. The harmony of life encompassed in these voices was seeping in his mind, turning into the notes of a new melody. Under the spell of music, the gates of his soul were slowly opening…

So when the dream woke him up, he quickly dismissed the odd feeling and prepared for another joyful walk. He was about to leave the house when the dream called him from behind.

“Don’t forget to take your suitcase!”

“Why would I need it? I’m not leaving yet. I just want to take a walk.”-he said.

“Take it.”-said the dream. “You might need it. Don’t worry, it’s not heavy. I have packed it myself.”

“ OK, I’ll take it.”-said the man with a grin. “If it makes you happy….”

He took the suitcase and stepped out. The air was crisp and scented; the birds were singing and the waters of the skies calm and blue. The man turned to the main road and took the way towards the higher hills that were hiding an unknown horizon. He walked happily, with quick steps and whistling the melody of his first trip around. The road boldly cut through the hills and took a steep turn. The man stopped, facing the thick wall of fog.

It was sky high and dense like a brick wall, cutting off abruptly the path and engulfing half of a roadside tree. The man looked at it in silence.

“ Why have you stopped? “-asked the dream.

“What…what is this?”-stuttered the man.

“Hmmmm…”-mumbled the dream. “It’s….a portal. You have to step through it if you want to see what lies on the other side”.

The man nervously shook his head.

“What is on the other side?”-he asked, eyes rounding in surprise while thin filaments of fog were reaching towards him, touching him gently.

“Whatever you wish is on the other side….” –whispered the dream.

The man took a step forward. The wall of fog closed behind him with a sigh.

It was night in the land beyond and the path under his feet was leading towards a cliff. The warm evening breeze filled his nostrils with a salty scent and the rasping sound of the waves washing the shore reached his ears. The Sea was near. Excited by the discovery, the man hurried towards the cliff. He sat on the top of it and took a deep breath. Deep down, the silver glazed sea was gently rocking from side to side.

“ Open your suitcase, my friend!” –said the dream.

The man opened the suitcase and looked inside: nested in a small box, he saw a harmonica.

“Oh!…It’s been a while since I played a harmonica….”

“ So why won’t you play it now?”-whispered the dream. “I know that you have a new song in your mind. Would you play it for me? “

The man took the harmonica and fingered it lovingly. He closed his eyes and started to play. One by one, the musical notes got wings and took flight towards the star-spotted skies. And while his song was unfolding, flowing and swirling, the cliff under his feet joined his song. The Ancient Spirit of the Land came to life to the sound of music and she regained her voice. Her clear, high voice made him shiver and the passion flowing through it slammed the gates of his soul open. He kept playing the harmonica, with eyes shut and tears flowing down his cheeks….

From the top of the skies, the silver Crescent was slowly descending towards the cliff. It stopped above the musician and sent two moonbeam ropes down to him.

“Open your eyes, my friend..”-murmured the dream. “It’s time for you to follow your journey….”

The man looked around and saw the silver ropes. He grabbed them and the evening breeze pushed him gently over the cliff. The Silver Crescent was gracefully sailing through the glowing night, above the endless expanse of rolling waters, towards a far horizon, while the rocky Spirit was singing the new song learned from the musician….

“Safe sailing, my friend…” –said the dream. “Safe sailing….”

 

He woke up in his bed, at home in the city. He woke up smiling. It’s been a while since he last smiled. He jumped from the bed and rushed to the window. He opened it impatiently; the night was not over yet. He looked up to the sky and for the first time he saw the stars. His sky was teaming with glittering spots and his soul was singing a new song…..

Love

She was beautiful beyond comparison and her beauty was matched by her passionate temper. Her wide, turquoise eyes reflected her emotions on a grandiose scale. When she was calm and serene, her eyes were translucent pools of blue and green, lovingly reflecting the high dome of azure skies and all the light that was raining from above. But not all her days were like that.

Sometimes, dark streams erupted from the deep, chasing away the freshness of light greens and blues. On these days, the soul-mirrors turned ashen, streaks of muddy green mixing furiously with steel blue and violent grey. Those days her entire being was engulfed by rage, pain and mindless passion. Nothing, no one could stand in her way….Except maybe…him.

He was standing calm but determined, facing her tantrums. He was holding an inner light that has always mesmerized her. She loved and hated that light with equal passion. She loved him. She was leaning on him lovingly in her good days; she was ready to bring him down in her tempestuous days. Despite this roller-coaster love, he kept standing, softly smiling with lights flickering in his eyes.

She was the SEA and he was the LIGHTHOUSE.

MIRROR-PRINCE

Motto:

Here we are
Two candles lit up in the night
Holding the corners of the Universe
With our hands of shimmering lights….

Arching towards each other
Bridging the nightmare-filled abyss
Of infinite dark matter
Adding one thin ray of soul after another
Stretching, longing, stretching, rushing….

Star builds upon star
As the pathway is gathering shape
In the soft sound of the sands
Slipping through the hour-glass
One star ignites uniting infinity.

 

 

Once upon a time there was a kingdom ruled by a young king named Johann. He was a lovely young man, with a warm and compassionate heart and gentle character. He looked after his people and kept the kingdom in peace and prosperity. Everybody loved him. The only problem was that he wasn’t showing any interest in getting married and the years were passing by, much to the worry of his family and the Court. Whenever they asked him to make a choice, he just dismissed the request with a smile and found something else to keep him busy. But questioned almost on a daily basis, the young king gave in to the loving pressure of his close ones and decided to let the Court to find him a Queen. Soon enough the artful portraits of princesses from all over the world started to pour in.

When he caught the first glimpse of the portrait of Princess Helga, King Johann was captured by her radiant smile and her fresh beauty. There was no doubt in his mind that he has found the Queen of his heart and of his kingdom. After this magic revelation, a beautiful wedding ceremony brought them together under the stars and the benevolent smile of the gods. The Sun and the Moon weaved a bridge gold and silver light and King Johann took Queen Helga to the Castle of Hope. The smile of the young queen filled the soul of the king with blazing joy. Everything looked perfect and under the spell of happiness even the shyness of the king was fading a bit. The marriage was blessed and proved to be fruitful so in due time messengers were sent all around the kingdom to spread the good news. When time has come, the King summoned to the castle the best doctors to help into the world the child that was to come.

It was a long night, with thin sheets of clouds sailing the dark skies, dimming the light of stars and hiding the bright face of the Moon. Despite the best efforts, the pains of the young Queen seemed endless and fruitless. She was under a dark spell that she knew nothing about and neither were the people around her. It was unknown to everyone that Helga was carrying a seed of shadow ever since her birth and that her suffering released that darkness straight into her mind. She saw a tall woman cloaked in black watching her closely from a corner of the room. Her face was old and wrinkled and her eyes were deep hollows.

“Two children are fighting inside you, Helga. Give me one of them and I’ll save the life of the other and yours, of course.”

The Queen was horrified.

“No!” –she cried out, but her lips were sealed.

“Deny me and you’ll die and then I’ll take all of you in my world!”

A lightning cut through the night and a powerful thunder shook the castle. The Queen turned her face away and gathered her strength….but she knew that she was losing the battle. The old woman was standing now next to her bed and her insidious whispers were seeping inside the pained mind of Helga.

“ Give me one child, Helga and save the other!”

“Take it!”

At that moment, the skies cleared and the Moon sent its rays through the windows. The newborn cried out and the old woman disappeared. In that split moment in time, the Moon captured the soul of the other infant and closed it into the soul of the newborn. This way, the little Prince was carrying inside him the soul of his lost sister and he was twice a heart and soul. But that was something only the Moon knew. For now, the kingdom rejoiced to the news of the birth of a Prince, heir to the lands and seas. They named him Brian, meaning “noble, strong”.

The little boy grew fast and he was an energetic, joyful child, always in quest for something new around the castle, climbing trees and rocks, running with the dogs and horses, playing with the children of ordinary people, giving sometimes the impression that he was more than a handful. He was the apple of the eyes of his parents and the marvel of the kingdom. But his mother was tormented by the fear of losing him just like she has lost the unborn one. She was afraid to tell anyone about what she had been through; nobody would’ve believed her. So she asked for help to an old witch that lived in the forest next to the Castle. The witch listened carefully and then she said:

-My Queen, take this mirror and hide it in your room. When the Blood Moon will occur, take a strand of hair from the little Prince and tie it around the mirror, say the spell and his soul will be locked inside. This way he will never leave you and no one would take him away from you.

Helga thanked the old woman and anxiously waited for the night of the Blood Moon. As soon as she pronounced the spell, the waters of the magic mirror wavered and a sizzling blue light swirled inside until the silver waves of glass encompassed them and the surface became still and cold again. The Queen hid it in her treasure chest and locked it with a gold key that she was wearing always on a chain around her neck. Time passed on and the royal child grew more and more beautiful and lovable. He was a little big man full of personality and wit, spreading light around him like a twinkling star. King Johan took him often on a ride around the castle, showing him the surroundings, teaching him about people, plants and animals, birds and butterflies. The child listened to the stories with eyes sparkling with excitement and soon as they arrived back to the castle, he ran up to his Mom to share with her all the joys of the day.

One day, the horse took the King and the Prince on a remote pathway, through the depth of the forest, under the cooling shade of the trees until it stopped in a clearing. Right in the middle of that clearing there was an old tower, forgotten by the passing times. It was a tall and slim building, with small, narrow windows scattered around its walls and with a big, wooden door. King Johann jumped from his horse and walked to the door, trying it. It was closed. Its lock must’ve been rusted by the passing of so many years so the king decided to leave it like that. He mounted back on the horse and holding Brian with a protecting hand, walked the horse around the tower. The little boy raised his head and saw a glimpse of light on the top of the pointed roof.

-Look, Dad! There is something up there!

The King looked in the direction pointed out by the little Prince but saw nothing.

-There’s nothing there, Brian. Maybe it was just the sun playing on one of the windows. Let’s go back! It’s turning late and your Mom will be worried.

The boy said nothing. As they turned towards the forest, he gave a quick peek to the tower and…here it was: the light was shimmering on the top of the tower, calling him to visit again.

 

The call of the secret tower remained unanswered for a while and the King forgot about it. Its memory lingered only in the fantasy of the young Prince who was waiting for a chance to escape alone into the forest. He was big enough to ride his horse and he took his chance one day when he went for a ride with some of his friends. Young boys and girls, they were competing, laughing and teasing each other. Taking advantage of the boisterous commotion, the young Prince skipped towards the hidden clearing and stopped only when he reached the silent tower. He raised his head and smiled: the glittering light was in place, just as he expected. He touched the heavy door and pushed it lightly; the door opened silently, inviting him to step in. He entered and the door shut behind him with a firm noise, locking him inside. It wasn’t a happy outcome but since he was already in, he decided to look around and leave the worries for a bit later. Brian took the circular row of stairs leading to the top of the tower. A pale light was piercing the shadows, escaping through the narrow windows. As he walked upwards, the monotonous climbing lulled the mind of the youth and he slowly lost the sense of Space and Time. It seemed like the stairs were stretching infinitely on both directions: up and down. He was stepping on like a sleep-walker while strange, veiling sounds were echoing around him. The walls around faded into a blur and the only feature before his eyes was the clear-cut image of a door resembling to the entrance of the tower.

Brian pushed aside the door and stepped out on the narrow balcony running around the top. A small lantern was shining on the floor. The warm, yellow light was dancing like a living creature, hypnotizing the puzzled youth.

“ I was expecting you, young Prince….”-whispered the light. “Listen to me carefully: you are in grave danger and I am your only help. “

Brian looked at the light and raised his eyebrow in disbelief.

-What danger? What are you talking about? And why has the door locked behind me?

The light wavered.

“So many questions, so little time….”-it whispered. “Prince, you will forget a lot of things in the years to come but you cannot forget me or you’ll be lost to the darkness that follows you. Look at me and remember!”

A sudden gush of wind put out the light of the lantern and darkness enveloped everything.  Instinctively, the Prince closed his eyes and focused on the seed of light behind his eye-lids. His head turned and he fell into the abyss, the mad laughter of someone invisible following him into the depths. He woke up outside the tower; it was night and his horse was nowhere to be seen. When did time pass? He shook his head and searched for the light inside; it was only a faint glint but it was there, guiding him through the shadows that were clinging and sticking to his limbs. It was well after midnight when he finally reached the castle. It has been a narrow escape.

 

He knocked at the high door and the guard opened the small window to see who was there. The moment he saw the Prince, he rushed to open the gates and then he ran to the Castle shouting:

-He’s back! He’s back!! Your Majesty, the Prince is back!!!

The lights exploded around the courtyard and people came out running from everywhere. King Johann almost flew down the stairs, ready to embrace his son.

-Where were you?!-he cried out as he held him in his arms. You were missing for five days! Five days! We thought that some beast caught and killed you…Come! Come quickly! Your Mother has locked herself in her room since you went missing and wouldn’t want to come out. Go to her! Run, my child, run!

Brian hurried upstairs to the halls of the Queen, his mind turning like a carousel. Five days….When did those days pass by? What happened inside that strange tower? Oh…he knocked on his mother’s door, shouting:

-Mother! Mother I’m back! Open the door, please!

But she already knew. The noise of joy has already reached the highs of the castle and then, there was something inside her head, whispering….

“ He’s back but not for long…Oh, poor little Queen….you sacrificed one child but the one you saved is not worth your pain….he’s ungrateful and silly….wandering in dangerous places….adventurous and careless…Your little scheme with the mirror…Oh, hahahaaaa….Such a futile attempt….” The voice of the dark snake of doubts poured its poison inside the fragile mind and soul of the Queen and the Shadow opened its wings above her. She sighed and opened the door, letting the Prince in.

-Mother! I….I’m sorry…I lost track in the forest and ….I don’t know what happened to me.

“He’s lying!”-hissed the Snake of Doubt. “ He did it on purpose. He left his friends behind and sneaked off in search for adventure! Look at yourself: you almost died of worries….”

Tears built up in the Queen’s eyes and anger replaced the fear and pain.

-You’re a careless young man, Brian! It never crossed your mind what pain you might cause to us if anything happens to you! Oh, why did I choose you?! What was I thinking?!

The young man turned pale.

-What are you talking about, Mother?

-I am talking about your sister I sacrificed to save your miserable life! I gave her up to the old woman in exchange of your life! Ever since you were born I was thinking about my other baby while I was trying to keep you close to me!!! You…You…!

Helga picked up a mirror that was lying on her table and trashed it to the floor. The glass broke with a sharp sound and a bright blue light spread around and then vanished in the thin air. The moment the mirror broke, Brian felt a pain cutting through his mind and he felt like falling into pieces. Time sped up then all of a sudden it slowed down, slipping of the grip of his mind. Everything seemed pointless and all he could remember was the cold expression on his Mother’s face and the seed of light that was shining somewhere deep inside him….somewhere….somewhere…where?

At first, no one noticed the change in the Prince or in the Queen’s behavior. The King and the Court were happy that Brian was back, safe and sound. But the young man was becoming more and more confused. The shadows surrounding him were all of them born out of the shards of the mirror and were carrying a piece of his broken soul. They were coming and going in and out him, disconnected and chaotic. He couldn’t remember them but people around him were fully aware about the changes and differences between these faces and facets of the Prince. A dark shadow spread over the Court and the smiles and laughter left the premises. The King was devastated; he was unable to make his child whole again. And to make things worse, the Queen herself became more and more ill, silent and recluse in her own quarters.

Up in the skies, the Moon was watching the unfolding of the events and decided to put an end the reign of darkness. The night it reached full circle, the King of the Night knocked on the window of the unhappy King.

-Don’t lose your hopes, my King-said the celestial deity. Your son will become whole again. But for that, he has to pursue his journey and find each part of his shattered soul and piece them together. He has already found the light within to guide him. All he has to do is to start his journey. I will watch his path and let you know about his whereabouts.

King Johann sighed and hope returned in his soul. He fell asleep while in his own room, the Prince was delving inside himself, searching for the grain of light and ask for her help. Before he could realize what was happening, he found himself on the top of the tower, with the light shimmering on his left shoulder.

“I’m here. This is my house: the Lighthouse. But I also live inside you. Your core is my home to. Don’t be afraid; I will be with you always. Look there before you: what do you see?”

-I see a boat on a shore….-whispered the youth.

“Then that’s the place where we start our journey. Now rest and sleep, my lovely Prince. The quest has just begun!”

 

Dawn was barely breaking through the misty breath of the night when King Johann led his son trough the gates of the Castle of Hope. They silently embraced. No words were needed; they both knew what was about. Brian hopped on his horse and the journey of finding himself begun. The dark bird of Shadow was following him but deep inside, protected by the diamond walls of his core, the warm, yellow light was burning and leading the way. Days and night passed until he reached the faraway shore where the sail was waiting. Strangely, it seemed that the captain and the crew knew that the Prince was coming so as Brian came aboard, the vessel lifted the anchor and cut its way into the horizon. The sea opened her arms of green-blue waters and diligently pushed the sail towards mysterious lands.

As the contours of his home land were slowly fading behind, the Prince relaxed and opened towards the captain and the crew. His outgoing personality eased the communication and soon, he was sitting on the deck atop of a barrel and listening with interest to the fantastic stories told by the sailors. They were simple but friendly people, living a hard life to earn some money for their families at home. It was easy to forget about the pain and confusion that made him leave his home. Aboard the ship, rocked gently by the smooth motion of the sea Brian slept well for the first time after a long time. No more shadows, no more whispers, no more nightmares and heartbreaking memories. The only hard moment of the day was first time in the morning, while he was trying to shave his beard. There was a small mirror in the cabin but each time he looked into it, the mirror was empty….like he was invisible. After a while, he simply avoided to look in it; the only proof of his bodily existence, beside of the people around him was the shadow he was casting on the deck.

“Well, my friend-he thought-you’re my only image left. You are the shadow of a shadow…”

He sighed and shook his head. He was only at the beginning of his quest and he was not giving up on the hope to regain itself one day. The light inside was shining brightly.

 

During this time, strange things were happening at the Castle of Hope. King Johann left soon after the departure of his son. He was travelling to one of the neighboring kingdoms, answering to the invitation of the king of that country. Queen Helga remained at the castle; she wasn’t keen to meet anyone. In her moments of clarity, she was deeply upset about all that had happened to her and to her only child. But those moments were overshadowed by days and nights of anger and fury. It was on one of those nights when the voices in her head pushed her to the brink of insanity. She jumped from her bed and ran along the corridors of the castle, smashing each and every mirror that she could find.

-Where are you?!-she shouted. Where do you hide?! Come back immediately! I am your Mother!

When the last piece of silver glass fell to the ground, she lost her consciousness and she was carried back to her room and placed in bed. Doctors came and spent day and night trying to decipher the cause of her malady. But the hook of darkness was powerful on the poor woman and she kept falling in and out of her endless nightmares.

 

The ship of the Prince reached the harbor of the city of Betelgeuse and they stopped there for exchange of cargo and to pick up food and water. There were also some repairing to be done so the Captain and the Prince agreed to stay in the city for about a month. It was a rich and beautiful town, situated at the crossroad of some important commercial routes so it was crowded, colorful and divers.  A whole new place for the inquisitive young man. He took a room in the house of a venerable lady and comfortably settled, he started to search and map the place. He was amazed by the huge diversity of people pouring in from all over the world. The city of Betelgeuse resembled very much to a miniature copy of the world he was living in.

The streets were narrow and paved with colorful stones; the houses were paint in white or blue or turquoise and flowers of various shapes, fragrance and beauty were hanging from walls and delicate balconies. Music, chatter, laughter and the shouts of vendors filled the air, ringing in the ears of the Prince that was coming from a more tranquil area. In the labyrinth of coiling streets and the swarm of people, colors, scents and sounds, he sometimes felt like taken by an invisible current towards an unknown place. The feeling became more poignant as he got deeper and deeper inside the city. He always found his way back to the rented room except once…He ended up in a quiet street, almost deserted…most to his surprise. It was like a place cut out from somewhere else and inserted here…for him. He looked around for people but saw none.

-Are you looking for something special, young Sire?

The voice was low and raspy; it was the voice of a tall, old woman, dressed in black. She was standing in the doorstep of one of the houses and was looking at him.

-Come-she said. I rarely get a visitor in my little shop these days. Let me show you around and give you a refreshing drink from my own garden.

She took him by the elbow and he hesitated for a moment; her touch was dry and cold, sending a shiver on his spine.

“Oh, come on-he thought. She’s a nice lady and you’re imagining things.”

The Prince followed his host inside the house. Apart from the main room where the shop was, there was the same narrow and dim-lit corridor that after a while led to a small terrace with a table and two chairs. The table-top was decorated by an intricate mosaic with floral and animal motifs entwined. The old woman placed a carafe and two glasses on the table; an amber colored liquid filled the carafe and some strange, probably indigenous spices and seeds were floating in it. She poured into the glasses and offered one to the Prince. But he was captured by the display of delicate glass balls hanging all over the place, held by nets of silk-thread. They were of many sizes and with differently colored mist swirling inside them. The young man walked around, looking at these strange objects. He could sense a subtle energy flow coming from each glass ball, like that something inside them was alive.

-What are these?-he asked, turning to the old woman.

-Oh, nothing special, just some magic dust inside ….I am making them to fill my lonely hours and decorate this space.

-They are….beautiful. I have never seen such things before.

-Oh, Sire, there are many wonderful things in this world I’m sure you haven’t heard about. My humble creations are nothing compared to them. Come, taste my refreshment. It’s getting hot outside.

Brian took the glass and tasted the drink; it was refreshing indeed, filling his mouth with a cooling sensation while the spices rose into his head like a calming veil of mist. Even the light around him seemed to change, the contour of things getting a faint rainbow glow. Strange …strange indeed….He shook his head to clear his mind and turned his attention back to the woman. There was something in her posture that looked familiar but he was unable to point out what. She was telling something but somehow the young man found himself unable to follow her or to capture the meaning of the words coming out of her mouth. His eyes, his mind were getting heavy….and he was very, very thirsty. He was about to take sip of the drink when he caught a glimpse of one of the glass balls glowing with a blue light, like calling him. He stood up with some effort and went straight to the ball and took it in his hands. It was warm and pulsating….How odd…but he was sooo thirsty….he needed to drink and that woman was shouting something….but….Holding the glass ball in his fist, he took his glass and….Bang! Something like an animal jumped on him and he staggered, dropped the drink and smashed the glass ball in his fist. He heard the scream of the old woman, saw the blue mist spreading then felt it going down his throat and everything went black before his eyes.

He regained his senses in a split of a moment and found himself in a crowded square of the city. The lonely street vanished, along with the old woman….the only proof of the happenings were the unusual feeling inside him and the dog that was sitting at his feet, watching him and wagging happily his tail. Brian bent and patted the dog then looked around, trying to figure out where he was. Luckily, it was near his lodging so he hurried there, with the dog following him. As they arrived at the house, the landlady met him at the door.

– What happened to you, gentle sire? You look pale.

-Uhm?…Oh, please…excuse me. Yes…You wouldn’t believe me…I’m not sure about it myself…

The landlady chuckled and let him in.

-This city might become confusing for newcomers. Sit down, I’ll make a tea and you can tell me what happened to you. By the way, I see that you got a friend. He doesn’t want to leave you alone.

Brian petted the head of the dog sitting at his feet.

-Yes, I think so. Can I keep him here?

-Sure. Our animal friends are protecting spirits; they are pure and selfless. While I bring the tea, you might find her a name; that will seal your connection forever.

She went to the kitchen and the young man sighed. He looked into the warm, brown eyes of the dog and smiled.

-I’ll call you Asha, little one. You like it?

A happily wagging tail was the answer and Asha put her head on Brian’s feet. The landlady returned with a silver tray and a sweet scented tea. She poured for her and her guest and listened to the recount of what happened to him. The more she heard, the more serious she turned. When he finished the story, the lady stood up and cleared the table. She returned with a round bowl of glass and a golden box; she placed them on the table and sat down.

-My dear guest-she said. This sounds way more serious than I expected. I thought about something that might help us solve the puzzle. My late Grand Mother was a well-known Fate-reader and I have learned some of her magic ways. I’ll place this bowl here, right in the middle and I will pour some special sand inside. Then, we’ll see what comes out of it.

She opened the golden box and took a fistful of white sand; she sprinkled it slowly inside the bowl, round and round. At each round she was doing, another color emerged inside the glass. When she finished, she invited the Prince to drop a hand of sand right I the middle. She took a deep-blue silk scarf, embroidered with diamond stars and covered the bowl. She whispered a few words and uncovered again the glass bowl. Things have changed inside: the sand turned to white mist. A small, bright-blue flower was inside that mist, her delicate petals scattered all around. She had only a few left and her core was pulsing with a pure, white light. High above the flower there was a dark shadow, hovering like a bird of prey. The landlady shuddered at the vision and shook her head. The mist faded away and all that was left inside was the white magic sand. There was a moment of deep silence before she decided to speak.

-I am not sure if I understood well what I saw, so I need your help.

Brian nodded.

-You have suffered a great pain recently and your soul has been shattered.

-It’s…true.

-There is a malevolent shadow following you closely, the one that created that mirage of the empty street. You have to be very careful. It is a very powerful shadow.

-Yes. I think you’re right. When that old woman touched my arm, it felt dry and cold like a dead hand. But I dismissed that initial feeling, considering that it was only my imagination.

-There is also a bright light inside you, one that cannot be reached by the shadow. You are a very special person and you hold inside something that can defeat the darkness. Let that light guide you. In the meantime, don’t walk around without your new friend. Even if it’s not always a force of darkness following you, a big town like this holds many more earthbound dangers.

Asha uttered a small bark of approval and the atmosphere relaxed. The Prince thanked the landlady and went upstairs to his room. He shared his meal with the doggie, made her a comfortable place on the armchair and he hopped in bed. He was exhausted.

 

The dream brought back painful memories. He was in a dark, damp room with no walls, ceiling or floor; shards of mirror were falling from above, slashing his skin, cutting deep the flesh, furiously trying to open the way towards his most intimate corner, the core of his soul. He curled up on the dark floor in fetal position, desperately trying to protect himself. He heard the screech of that old woman: “ I’ll catch you! I’ll catch you! Give me back what is mine!!!” He had no idea what she was talking about. Somewhere in that darkness, the veiling voice of his Mother was calling him…”Where are you? Where are you?”

He woke up brusquely, his face damp from tears. It was midnight and a creature of silver light was sitting on the rim of his bed. When he saw that Brian woke up, he tilted his head and talked.  Brian heard the soft voice…inside his head.

“ Don’t be afraid; the Moon sent me. He is watching over you at night. He has sent Asha to protect you. Now let me explain you some of the things you witnessed yesterday. The shadow following you is not an ordinary one. This was born from a very different darkness then that of the night. This is a deadly one, born from a bottomless void and feeding on fear and anger.

In the appearance of the old lady, it has challenged your Mother when she was the most vulnerable and asked her one of her children, in exchange for the life of the other one. Your twin sister was sacrificed for you; but at the last moment, the Moon stole the soul of that little girl and placed it in you, merging the two of you. When your Mother broke the mirror, you survived because she knew nothing of the female soul and so it was only the male one that was shattered. One of those shards was captured by the Shadow and she locked it up in that glass ball you unwillingly broke. You have released a part of your soul and consequently, it has returned inside you. But I must warn you: the Shadow won’t allow you to rob it again of your soul, if it can get hold of even the tiniest piece. So, open your eyes and learn not only to watch, but to see. Rely on the light within. What might elude the eyes, can be spotted by the heart! Good luck, young Prince!”

Beginning with that day, wherever the Prince went, Asha followed him closely, guarding him day and night, even in his strangest moments. In the spicy silence of the warm days and nights that followed each other in this lively town, Brian faced for the first time what really happened to him in that tragic day at the Castle.  Aside from the disturbing fact of not having a reflection in the mirrors, he has been unable to trace down his missing parts of the personality. Most of the time he felt….a real, tangible human being like any other bold and energetic young man of his age. The Moon was watching over his dreams but its power was increasing and decreasing as he went through its celestial stages.

In dim nights when the sky was home  only to a thin silver crescent, the Shadow emerged from its deep, chilling hiding and shook his wings of horrors over the waters of dream, pushing the sail of the young man’s mind towards shores of pain and misery. That magic mirror of his soul crashed and blew to pieces in countless agonizing nights. After each such ordeal, he woke up trembling, with Asha licking his face until he was able to focus finally on the reality around him and calm down. His screams of terror and his heartbreaking crying remained unheard by the people of the house, doubling the burden of the suffering. But at the same time, of these nights and of scattered signs of the day, a pattern emerged. Just like the light breaks down through a drop of water, scattering in a colorful rainbow, the pure light of his soul was broken to pieces that held different colors and tones, each of it connected to a certain kind of memory. The chain of memory was equally broken through the same act and nothing seemed to fit in the line again. Imagine a string of pearls broken by an angry gesture, each tiny nacreous bead jumping, rolling in all directions. How would you know which of these beads was the first in line? Who came first, who followed? The string of Time cut, who could find the leading sequence? At this moment, all that the young Prince was having were bits and pieces, feelings and emotions and slowly piling proofs that his missing parts of soul were following him in the invisible ethereal space around him. Whenever an event, a sound, a color, a word brought up a memory that resonated with a certain color the communication opened and his missing part was taking over his body and mind.  His whole life was taken over by these rushing rivers of blazing colors. From the deep rooted, boiling red, through the glowing orange into the light, bright yellow, descending into the crude green that matured into leaf-emerald, to the cooling intense blue and then the tragic purple. But no matter how chaotic the emerging and flowing of this river was, in the fragile sky of his inner sky there was a pure light, bright and eternal, protected by the diamond walls of his essence. This was the seed of the light that the broken river yearned to return to and become whole again.

But where to start from? How would you bring back the river to its source, when the riverbed has vanished and the river has become mist? How would you catch the beads of light, the tiny droplets of the river of soul and connect them again to a new and delicate thread? Maybe this is a road that shouldn’t be walked alone….because though the journey is entirely personal, each of us is a fragile construction of glass that gets stronger under the touch of love, a love that lights up the pathway through darkness.

The sun rose in magenta above the colorful town and the silence broke in lively noises. The Prince woke up with a new hope in his heart and he breathed in with ease and joy the spicy aroma of the morning air. He shared his meal with Asha and they left together to take a walk on the far side of the harbor. The busy port of the city stretched around the harbor but there was a small beach running at the feet of a wall of broken cliffs and some strangely shaped isles, adorned by bold little trees and climbing vegetation. The ever moving sea has carved small portals through the rocks of the shore and even through the basement of the largest isle. The water was shallow here, with large banks of soft sands running far under the translucent veil of waters. Asha ran in and out the water, splashing and barking happily and the young man laughed heartily at the playfulness of his faithful companion. He decided to get closer to the largest isle, lured by the unusual shape of the whole piece of rock and its portal where the waves were rushing in and out, back and forth in laces of white froth.

It was a narrow opening that led not only to the sea but also to the cave hidden inside the high island. What was surprising inside was not the high ceiling but the play of light on it and the deep underwater cavern mirroring the one carved inside the rock. Man and dog stopped cautiously at the rim of that green depth. The rays of light seeping in through tiny holes were bouncing on the surface of the water, reflecting on the ceiling in a gently rocking net of phosphorescent green. The young prince was mesmerized by the changing shapes of light, by the rhythm of their concerted move and the sudden frenzy that was created by each unexpected surge of water inside the cave. His eyes kept following the hypnotic movement, the balance that slowly rotated inside his mind to…. until he found himself back in the Castle of his childhood. He was a little boy, watching the play of light on the surface of the water in the fountain that was in the middle of the main yard. He was absorbed by the playful twinkling of the sunlight, by the jumping droplets of water and the continuous murmuring of the fountain. Caught in the world of childhood fantasies, he wasn’t aware that his mom was calling him. She saw him adrift in daydreaming, ignoring her and she got upset. Very upset. She rushed to him and with a swift movement of a hand pushed him…and he fell in the water, hurting himself. She just turned her back on him and left, murmuring something unintelligible but in a cold and angry tone. The brutal gesture left the little boy in shock; he coughed, choking on the water he swallowed as he fell in the fountain…it tasted a bit salty, as tears mixed in. Fear and sadness replaced the moment of careless joy….Did he do something bad? Why was Mommy mad at him? He must’ve been bad….his Mom loved him…did she? Later that day she had shown him so many affection…But the rift was already there, shadow pouring in through every new crack. Was he so bad, worthless that she ended up in hating him? The pain tore through his heart like a bolt of lightning and he staggered…his foot slipped on the sand and he fell into the deep, dark waters.

Time slowed almost to halt as the translucent green-blue layers of the sea opened to let him in…he was falling since an eternity…gently….softly….delving deeper and deeper in the heart of the acquiring sea…it…was…so…good…and….calm….to…let….go……Two arms embraced him and the loud barking of Asha brought him back to reality. He was laying on the shore, dizzied by the strong sunlight, the dog yelping and barking. Someone was gently tapping his back to help him spit out the sea water. He sat up and shook his head. His heart was a heavy lump in his chest, the freshly recalled pain still echoing inside it. He sighed and turned to the person next to him. It was a girl with dark eyes and amber skin and a mess of bronze colored hair. She was all wet and was watching him questioningly.

-My, my stranger. What were you doing in the Cave of Lost souls? You would’ve drowned there if it weren’t for your dog. We had to work a bit to get you out…

-I’m sorry, I knew nothing about this. How did you know I’m a stranger here?

She laughed and tilted her head teasingly.

-You look bright enough.  Weren’t you surprised that no one was visiting this quiet little paradise?

-Hmmm…I must admit I never questioned that. But why is this place so deserted? I was drawn to it by its untouched beauty…

She smiled and nodded.

-It’s beautiful but deadly. That cave is a trap and even if you elude it, once you get through that portal, you end up in another world. Many people got lost here before we learned the secret of this place. Only a young and inquisitive stranger would come here once in a while. Now, if you feel strong enough, I would suggest we leave this place before it shows us more of its dark sides.

The Prince couldn’t agree more. It seemed that the Shadow was waiting to catch him at almost every corner. Once again he’s been lucky to escape its mortal grip. But how did it come? If this was such a dangerous place what was a young girl doing there, all alone? He threw a look sideways, trying to assess her. She chuckled.

-You’re wondering what I was doing here….

-Yes.

-How strange would it be if I’d tell you I was looking for you?

There was a moment of silence. They have already left the danger zone and entered a small street that was curving towards a tiny square, with a huge fig-tree in the middle. The day has turned to its second half and noises have quieted to a hum. Around this square there were small houses and bright-blue doors with low benches and sleeping cats. Elders were gathering in small groups, talking and laughing, sharing news or memories, giving a playful, understanding look to the two youth and the following dog. Asha approached each group sniffing and wagging tails, getting a pet from time to time, returning happy and bouncing to her master’s feet. The girl led the Prince to the shade of the old tree and they sat on the small bench below the leafy umbrella.

-I am…a Spirit of the Sea and I am a Wanderer. I know her secrets and I follow her movements. Yet, I cannot save everyone, though each lost soul saddens me deeply. But something called me this morning; a call that was resonating entirely differently. It called me from a depth that was intimately mine and I followed without doubts. You must have something special because of the way I caught your signal. Let me show you…May I?

She placed a palm on his chest, right above the heart and slowly, gentle warmth seeped inside him, coming from her. That warmth sank deeper and deeper, layer after layer until it reached the core of light. Embraced by the warmth, the diamond core glowed like an awakening star. The light ran through the path that bridged them and for a fraction of the moment enveloped them in a delicate aura. It happened so quickly that no one noticed except for the two of them and yes, Asha.

-Now you know-she said with a smile and stood up. No, please stay. You need a moment of rest. I have to go now but our connection remains. Meet me at the sea when your ship sails. Till then, try not to get in trouble again. You seem to have a vile shadow on your track.

Before he could protest, she vanished, leaving behind the warmth inside his heart. Oh, well…it seemed that in this town the things and people shared the habit of appearing and disappearing all of a sudden. The Prince bent over his dog and lovingly petted her.

-Come, Asha, we’d better go home as she said. I bet you’re hungry and so am I. The treat is on me and you deserve the best, little precious.

He stood up, bowed politely towards the people of the square and left with Asha bouncing before him. Days after this experience the captain of the ship came and announced him that they were about to leave. Prince Brian thanked his landlady for the lodging and the help she provided and promised to return after completing his journey. The ship was waiting in the port, sails in the wind. Soon, they were speeding ahead while the bright and colorful city faded into the distance. Where were they heading, the Prince didn’t know. He leaned against the banister and watched the turquoise waves crashing against the body of the ship. He wondered if the Wanderer girl was following him; she hadn’t even told him her name. His mind wandered back to the things that have happened to him and then slipped back in the distance of Time and Space.

There were so many things he couldn’t remember, others that he couldn’t face or understand. To the people of the Court at the castle of Hope he seemed a cheerful little boy, living a happy, carefree life, surrounded by the love of his Father and the doting of his Mother. Such an ideal life, such a happy family! There were even ones envying him and sneering at him occasionally.

“ Ah! Look at this spoiled brat! His Father is treating him like a star and that Mother if his, she’s always beside him, like she’s afraid that he might vanish!”

Oh, how frighteningly true these words were and how many shadows were hiding behind the sunny picture. Torn between the hatred and the fearful despair, the Queen was equally brutally hurting him sometimes, only to smother him later with her clinging motherly love. And the child was equally frightened of her, yet yearning for the warmly protective love of the mother. Her demons did inhabit not only her fragile mind but they left scars all over the little soul of the boy. Now that child had grown into a young man and after the tragic shattering, his childhood scars turned into deep ravines that were leading into frightening darkness. The Prince sighed and raised his eyes; the horizon was shrouded in an eerie glow. The army of clouds was building up the wall of a tempest. Oh….never a dull moment! The Prince knew that a new confrontation was following. Instinctively he touched his chest to feel his heart.

“I’m here…”-whispered the light inside.

“I’m here to…”

This time it was a murmur like the voice of the sea under the calm of the Moon. The Wanderer girl was with him. By noon the sky turned pearl-grey and the fine line dividing the waters of the sea and of the skies faded into a milky blur. Above this thin layer of vapor the ranks of storm clouds were gluing together a fortress that was hitting the high skies. Whatever was hiding behind that wall, it had no warm feelings towards the souls carried by the fragile vessel that was boldly cutting the waves of the sea. Despite the menacing display above, the sea remained calm, the rippling of her surface barely rising more than hours before. It was only the ocean of air that seemed to thicken with each minute while strange electricity was filling the gaps between every breath of air.

The invisible rivulets of high charged particles broke down the wall of clouds to a gigantic creature of mist, with spidery limbs and hungry fingers that shut off the sunlight almost entirely. All that was left from it was a pale circle of white light…it could’ve been the Moon if it wasn’t still day. The octopus of clouds spread its arms above the sailing ship and released from its belly a net of phosphorescent web of light that surrounded it like fishing net. People on the deck were nervously watching the unfolding of unusual events. The captain ordered everyone at post and he spoke to the Prince.

-Sire, I’ve never seen anything like this before but nothing good can come out of it. So I would suggest you return to your cabin for your safety.

Asha barked her approval to support the captain but Brian has something else in his mind.

-Thank you for your concern, sir but something tells me that this particular display was set in motion for me. So, I would like to stay, if you don’t mind. I will not interfere with the actions of the crew in case of danger.

The captain sighed.

-Very well, Sire. In this case, we proceed on following our route until the forces above decide otherwise.

Eerie silence fell over them and the sea calmed down to the stillness of a mirror. It was reflecting a dark sky, heavy with slowly but visibly swirling clouds and flashes of light playing hide and seek inside them. Then, a vortex opened inside the swirl and a ball of sizzling light descended from above, facing the Prince that was on the front deck of the sail. The young man was following intently that light as it stretched, coiled, changing until it took the shape of a tall woman. A familiar face. His mother, Queen Helga. Or at least her shadow embodiment. She took a few steps in the air, pointing an accusing finger to her son.

-Where do you think you’re going, young man?

Her voice was cold and edgy, just like in those moments when her dark side was emerging.

-I’m trying to find myself and piece it together-he answered calmly.

-Hahahaha….! That would never happen’cause I’ll crush every little piece of you before you can confront me or leave me again!

The laughter was chilling in its tones of madness. The Queen shook her head and came closer.

-I won’t admit any betrayal in my life! Never again! You ungrateful child! You know nothing yet! Hear! We were four girls but it was me who loved him the most of them all. I never crossed him, I never nagged him or did anything against his will and yet, he betrayed me! ME!

-Who are you talking about?-asked the young man.

-MY FATHER! I loved my father and he betrayed me! He said that he has never loved me and that I was not good enough! He broke my heart and he didn’t even care!

-Then why do you hate me? Why don’t you love me?-asked Brian in a small voice.

-Because you have ALL I had not and you…you don’t even deserve that. Your father loves you; but you are not better than me why should you have what was denied to me?!

-I’ve never asked to be born-whispered the young man, staring into the dark waters bellow.

-I…gave…you that chance! YOU belong to ME! You owe me your life and you cannot just run away from me! I will follow you everywhere! You can love only one person and that is: ME!

Brian felt bile rise in the throat  and a grain of anger was building up in the back of his skull.

-What love?!-he shouted back. You have caged me, locked my soul into that mirror only to break it to pieces at your will. You have nothing! I am but a shadow of myself, torn and scattered, my pieces lost somewhere, somewhere at my grasp, yet constantly eluding me. THIS is what your love bred. Destruction.

-You!… You insolent! I’ll crush you!

Suddenly she grew taller, her eyes in flames and her whole body tense, like a tigress ready to jump. He could hear her growl of fury and his own anger reacted to that. Asha yelped at her feet but he was already changing. The pains, the fears, the constant shame, the numbing sense of worthlessness, all of this piled up negativity pushed to the surface of his mind, carrying him towards an epic confrontation with the shadows of his past. A strange cold was seeping through his veins and his body, gathering near his heart in a circle of ice. It was then that a delicate creature of light emerged in the space between him and his mother. Graceful and radiant, her soothing aura was slowly easing the tension he felt inside.

-Brian –she said with a gentle smile. Please, calm down. This is not you. Don’t let her or the Shadow turn you into a replica of their monstrosity. You’re the beholder of a light that they can neither understand, nor destroy. That is the true YOU.

-And who are you?-he whispered.

-Part of your broken soul. I am you and I am me at the same time. Your soul has many layers but that bright line sums them up. Right now, right here you have an option: accept me or let hurt turn you into her. But remember: I am part of you. You are no more a part of her. You can be whole and yourself again.

The entity of light was gradually fading as she was speaking. But even after her last sparkle died out, he could feel her presence lingering around him. So he took a deep breath and pushed that snake of fears in their dungeon, reached out and merged with his lost piece of soul. Bit by bit his limbs were losing that chilling coldness and the circle of ice squeezing his heart melted away. Before he lost consciousness he heard the screech of the crumbling shadow, threatening him and a familiar voice cutting that short.

-Move out of the way, Shadow or I’ll raise the sea and bring you down from the skies!

The Wanderer girl rose from the sea atop a wave and tore the net of lightning that was holding captive the ship. She splashed a bit of foam on the Prince, getting him back to his senses. The storm clouds vanished as the sun opened a window inside their canvas and a fresh breeze pushed the sail forward. Asha started to bark and jump happily and the young man stood up. He felt….better, stronger, much more the old self. He turned around searching for the Wanderer girl but she was nowhere to be seen. He bent over the banister, scrutinizing the sea but all he could see was a bunch of playful dolphins bouncing in the waves. The wind tickled his face teasingly and he had a distinct feeling that someone was chuckling behind him. The captain and the crew were on their usual rush around like nothing has happened.

“ Uhm, maybe it was only my imagination”-murmured the Prince but he knew it wasn’t true. It was just another episode of his personal journey.

The rest of the trip went on uneventfully so one day the ship stopped in a peaceful harbor and the captain said:

-Sire, my duties end here. My ship has other assignments but your journey will continue on this land. Please wait here and someone will come to lead your way from now on.

Prince Brian thanked the captain and the crew, took his personal belongings and his faithful friend, Asha and stepped on the land. He watched the ship departing until the while sails faded into the bright clouds underlining the horizon. He looked around and the place felt like home. The narrow stretch of sands and rocks continued in a grassy incline and a young, deep-green forest mounting the hill. The young man sat on a larger boulder, leaving Asha to run happily up and down the slope. The streak of air descending from the forest was fresh and cooling and carried the promises of light-woven pathways under the lush green canopy.

-It took you some time to get here-said a voice that had a familiar sound.

Brian turned in the direction of the voice, facing the girl that was sitting atop another boulder and who seemingly popped out of nothing. She was smiling playfully and had a kind, warm look in her eyes.

-Who are you?-he asked. Something was telling him he should remember her but then his memory was hazy and fragmented sometimes.

She chuckled.

-I’ve changed my appearance according to the place but I’m the same Wanderer that followed you through the sea.

-Oh, that’s why you sounded familiar. But how comes that you’re different?

-I’m a Wandering Protective Spirit. My body is far away from here and it’s in a stasis that allows my core to travel and adjust to the requirements of the moment. The essence of me is what’s connected to the essence of you so I follow you more easily this way. Is there anything else you want to know? I think you’ve guessed by now that I’ll be your guide inland….

It was his turn to chuckle.

-Something tells me this will be some journey! Please lead the way, miss. I follow you. Come, Asha! By the way….do you have a name?

-I have many names but this time I’ll leave it to you to name me….

The forest was opening into a small, grassy plateau followed by another heavily forested hill. The narrow pathway that has led them through the woods was now crisscrossing the meadow of long-stemmed grass and red flowers. It seemed very odd that there was no other color just various shades and tones of red from the light magenta through the bright cherry- red to the deep, velvet burgundy. They stopped in the middle of this blazing field and the Wanderer girl picked one blazing red flower, smiled and went on, heading towards the new patch of trees.

The slope was almost imperceptible as the path was coiling around the high trees. The air was cool and fragrant, the sunlight filtering like a magic powder through the glossy leaves of the canopy. Invisible birds were calling each other, small, delicate bugs and butterflies were dancing gracefully in the light. Soon enough there was another opening, similar to the first one, just this time the flowers were orange colored. From the pale peachy ones to the deep, hot orange ones, small and silky, tall and convoluted, all of them were melting into a bright symphony of this warm, vivid color. Once again the Wanderer girl picked one single bright-orange flower and adding it to the red one, she followed her way uphill.

By now, Prince Brian was expecting another magic meadow to open in front of them and he was right. An ocean of yellow flowers was meeting them, like a gathering of small, various shaped little suns, with golden light melted into each petal. Citrus yellow was alternating with deeper tones of yellow only the lean towards the tones of amber and honey gold. The flower chosen this time was the purest bright yellow and it fit well with her red and orange companions. The next field that was of pale, light green was a strange one, with flowers Brian has never seen before. But the bouquet the Wanderer girl was holding was developing into a rainbow and by the time they left the purple field, she looked content with her bunch of colorful beauties. As the trio was travelling through the last patch of woods, the girl plaited a coronet of rainbow, using some grass to make it resistant. When they reached the top of the height, a steep slope opened below, leading to an emerald green meadow with a deep, blue lake in the middle of it. It was like a magic eye that mirrored the blue azure of the spotless skies above.

-Come-she said turning to the young man. Let’s go down there. The lake is waiting for us.

Asha was the first to move, jumping, rolling and barking joyfully. In a few moments she reached the bottom of that small valley and stood there, watching them as they descended laughing and running like children, until they got breathless.

-Oh, I haven’t laughed so well since my childhood-said the young man. Thank you for this moment of enjoyable foolishness…I think I needed it….so many things have happened lately.

The girl winked.

-We all need to ease the pressure of the shadows upon us and let the light strengthen our body and soul. Laughter with a touch of foolishness is the best medicine, my Prince. Let me show you around this place.

They camped next to the little blue lake, in the thick and fragrant grass. The expanse of clear water had a narrow bank of white sand, like a frame that made the blue even brighter. Looking inside the water, it seemed like it was opening into a sky of another world. It was crystal clear, yet infinitely deep. The rays of the sun were dancing inside it and occasionally some flashing sparks sped through, probably fish. Prince Brian touched the surface of the lake; it felt smooth and silky. A cool and calming sensation seeped through his fingertips, bringing back memories that were far, so far….He turned to the girl with a silent question in his eyes. She tilted her head, smiling softly.

-It’s a passageway…It’s a friendly portal to dimensions that are beyond everyday reach. The land we are travelling through is unseen for others than you and me. Your journey is unfolding both inside you and in the outside world. Our souls are mirroring a world that only our eyes see. It is the same world, seen through unique lenses so the reality has so many layers and facets, just like an infinitely shaped diamond. The bits and pieces of your soul are inside you but they have lost the connecting thread of light that held them together. It’s the reality that bore them that has echoes outside you. Each time you find such a print that speaks only to you, the thread rebuilds inside you and your missing fragment of soul completes the puzzle of your fragmented core. And then you remember yourself a bit more, until you become finally whole.

He listened to her quietly then asked:

-So those fields we came through held a significance relying to this place? I saw you picking one flower from each meadow…

-Yes. They represent the rainbow that is inside each drop of light. The coronet that I made will allow you pass through the magic portal of this lake. I will follow you closely since I am connected to your core-light and I carry its echo. Rest a bit, I’ll fix something to eat and then we will wait for the Moon to rise. It’s full Moon tonight and magic will be at full height.

 

The sun dissolved in a blaze of crimson and gold, leaving the skies to the stars and the Moon. The blue above deepened and darkened until the high dome of air became black velvet with twinkling diamond spots. The surface of the lake preserved a faint bluish glow, like some of the daylight had been captured inside the crystal layers. The night hours went on slowly, a nightingale kept her concerto on a branch hidden by the shadow. Then the Moon made its entrance, hopping above the rim of the valley and lighting up the surroundings in silver lines. Suddenly, the lake returned to its bright color, an azure gem inside the space that seemed to lose boundaries.

The Wanderer girl picked up the rainbow-coronet and placed it on Prince Brian’s head. She leaned above the dog and whispered something in Asha’s ears. Then she took the young man by the hand and they walked to the border of the lake.

-Walk in without fear, my Prince. It’s like the primordial water of a womb of magic. It heals and protects. Nonetheless, you might encounter or remember painful things that you were not conscientious about. They are part of your past, they have left imprints inside you and they are engraved in the building stones of your soul. Yet the bricks are not the building. You are a masterpiece that transcends the tangible pieces that build up your reality. When you feel like falling apart, think of the shrine of light you hold in the very depth of your core. You are that light…..Take back your life, your passageways and stepping stones and keep your essence alive…If you ever doubt yourself, the echo of your core will signal from inside me. Are you ready?

He nodded in approval and they stepped inside the acquiring blue.

 

It was warm and dark inside and he was floating in the water, stretching his limbs in a slow-motion ballet. His eyes were shut but he knew he was in a safe place. He turned a bit, made a small grimace and curled up again. Silence….warmth…..peace…Then pain! Shrieking, high sounds from an outside world he didn’t know….The small body convulsed in fear and his soul cracked imperceptibly under the strain…instinctively, he reached out and his fingers touched a soft, smooth surface and he calmed down….his sister…it was his sister with him. He wasn’t alone. Her hand touched his hand and he knew she was smiling at him. Despite the booming sound from outside, he fell asleep, suckling his thumb….

The light changed and he suddenly remembered the shouts and fighting that were part of his everyday life, though on the surface they were a happy family. Torn between the gentle care of his father and the sticking love-chilling hatred of his mother, the soul of the child was slowly deteriorating, the fine cracks webbing over his inner shell. If during the day it was easier sometimes to find a hiding place or a refuge from the family storms, the night came with surges of black waters and blood chilling nightmares. His tears dried out soon and he suffered in silence, waiting with eyes shut for the sunrise. The warmth of the first rays were soothingly chasing away  the shadows and the little Prince always found the strength to laugh, run, discover or even dream with eyes wide open.

 

The light pouring from above was a warm yellow one and it instilled a peaceful, calming sensation to him. There were no clear contours of the place where he was, just a glowing blur surrounding the spot where he was sitting. He was kneeling on a huge water-lily leaf, floating on the surface of the azure waters. There was a tingling sensation on his chest and he touched it instinctively. When he removed his hand, there was a light and warm translucent globe in his palm. A web of thin cracks was covering the smooth surface and those lines were slowly enlarging while a bright white light was escaping from the inside. In the same time, a dark smoke appeared from nowhere, rushing towards the opening cracks, trying to replace the light and fill the hollow left behind. Light and darkness were mixing, entwining, chasing each other around that fragile globe and he knew that this was his broken soul, with the Shadow trying to fill it up and kill his inner light.

-No!-he shouted and he hid the globe inside his chest. Never!

The yellow light turned into soft green.

 

Emerald green light was undulating in the bottom of the sea, around the lazily undulating long stems of the algae forest. A school of butterfly-fish emerged from the dense of the forest, facing him. They halted for a second and then swam off with a graceful bow. He swirled in the water and looked down towards his feet; there were no feet but a powerful, glistening fish-tail. He was a merman, a magic creature of the sea and the sea was his protecting craddle. The landscape of the area was alternating in large expanses of sand with secretive creatures moving under, patches of dancing algae forests and rocky sides with intricate sea-gardens adorning each side. He swam through the whole area, enjoying the sense of comfort and safety and then pushed himself up with a powerful swirl.

Bluest blue exploded brightly above him as he was gasping for a breath of air. Under the dome of azure his physical boundaries disappeared and he became one with the color and the space encompassing it. The center-point of the place with no coordinates was a light-blue diamond that was slowly rotating and sparkling. He closed his imaginary eyes and delved into the blue diamond, right into that bright spot where the light was erupting in a continuous source. As he reached the core of the core, his whole entity retracted inside and the walls of crystal surrounded him like a cocoon.

Then the Universe turned purple and the battle begun. In the thick lavender haze that surrounded the blue diamond huge, dark gaps opened and tall, erect figures draped in purple capes emerged one by one, walking slowly. Each of them was holding a silver mirror towards the diamond but the smooth surface was not reflecting its light. There was no reflection, nothing inside those eerie pools of silver! Then all of a sudden, the draped persons raised the mirrors in front of their faces and some of them turned black, some were filled with white light. The procession of tall, slim figures was coming closer and closer and closer….and inside the mirrors there were faces, all kind of faces, dark or lighted ones, speaking to him, calling him, begging him to recognize them, to accept them, to take them inside to the blazing light. He tried to follow them and recognize them and yes, some of them were so familiar….The tens of voices were ringing in his ears, making him dizzy and the purple shapes were now leaning and rotating around him like in a carousel and he was unable to pick up the ones he felt close to him…Oh! The swirl of the buzzing faces was like a wasp attack, with tens of furious or desperate or crazy creatures pushing the boundaries of his spirit. He felt lost and pained and almost giving in to the pressure till he realized that behind that swarming purple nightmare there were real faces of all those who hurt and cracked and crushed his soul….and he swiftly regained his balance. And he faced them one by one and then the swirl came to a halt while a halo of light was forming around some of the draped shapes. Those embraced by the light were his lost pieces of soul and he pointed out each and one of them….and they passed through the protective walls of the diamond, reuniting with him. Yes, there were some smaller gaps and healing cracks…but he was becoming whole again, the same yet a new himself. Each part of him was an entity of his own, carrying a history and different identity but as they gathered and adjusted to fit side by side, the light of the core was growing in strength and with the last piece falling into place, the star ignited and blew away the shadows of the Past!

RED…of the life-giving blood inside the womb

ORANGE….of the little fish in the fountain where he almost drowned

YELLOW….of the Sunlight that casted away the darkness

GREEN…of the energies of his youth

BLUE….of his hope-filled inner world

PURPLE…of the pain and elation of rebirth and wholeness

PURE WHITE LIGHT…of the diamond and one star shining again, undisturbed, uninterrupted, free and everlasting, core of the Phoenix he proved to be….

He stepped out from the sea, reached the silky sands of the shore and smiled. The soft breeze enveloped him in its salty, spicy cloak of scents, seagulls cried in the skies and the sun rolled its light on the tip of the waves. The lighthouse was now proudly guarding the shore; it has regained its sense and the source of light, it wasn’t just a strange and crumbling tower anymore. The early mist was slowly dissolving into the blue above and the land inside opened before the young Prince.

“ Go, my Prince….-whispered the light. You are home now….You are whole now….Build up your new horizon and fill it with the magic inside….My time as your guiding spirit has come to an end but I’ll be always somewhere…in the wind ruffling your hair or in the raindrops rolling down your face….Go now, beautiful soul….Rise and shine….Goodbye!”

The whisper faded into the murmur of the sea and Prince Brian opened the gates of a new day in his life. The Kingdom of Reality was anew and pristine, the people of the Past were settling on the shelves of Memory and there were no obstacles for the Bird of Fire. All the highs, all the skies, all the star-paths were opening to his thirst for quest into magic.

As for the Wanderer-girl….well, she lives at the Lighthouse, lighting up candles on the shore….for that the Phoenix of the Prince would never lose sight of his eternal home.

WANDERINGS

                   The long rows of lavender fields stretched up to the rim of the high hill, where a lone tree was watching over the scented valley. The summer was at full height, the warmth of the sun diluting the spicy aroma of lavender blue into waves of wandering breeze. The sky was flooded by light, its azure dimming under the power of glow. Nothing warned about the tempest concocting inside the atmosphere. Before I could even realize what was happening around me, the ocean of air thickened in silk-grey and then turned into violent, dark grey streaked with steel blue sizzles and phosphorescent turbulence.

  The clouds gathered into tidal waves, the wind erupted from the tip of the storm and the world was shaken from its “dolce-far-niente” of a summer afternoon. Taken by surprise, all I could do was to run uphill and hide under the arms of the tree. I couldn’t care about the lightning…What was unfolding above was scarier than any threat. This tempest was not an ordinary one. Under the rush of the horses of winds the scent of the lavender fields was intoxicating. Suddenly, the skies cracked with a thunderous noise…that continued above my head, in the branches of the tree. I heard a sharp cry and something heavy was coming down, hitting and breaking sticks and leaves. I stepped back instinctively and that something landed with a thud on the heap of grass under. Whatever it was, it wasn’t happy of this speedy landing. But what was it and where did it come from?

 

The young woman bent over the dark shape that has landed so unexpectedly beside her and spoke softly, trying not to scare the new comer and hiding her own nervousness about the strange happening. While this cautious ballet was unfolding under the tree, the storm quieted in the skies and the sun returned to its vantage point on the top of it.

-Hey….Are you ok?-the girl asked timidly.

The shape at her feet was humanlike so she hoped that they could communicate somehow. A painful grumbling came from the curled up body and the creature turned towards her. A pair of light-green eyes was gazing at her and the answer came in a strange, alien language. And the face…well, it was definitely human.

 

Hearing the row of unintelligible words left me speechless for a moment but after all, what was I expecting from someone who crash-landed from the skies? So I swallowed to calm down, smiled a bit and slowly held out a hand to help…it up. From the messy hair, full of sticks and shreds of leaves, the pained and puzzled expression of the youthful face, the unisex  silver-grey overall and black boots, it looked like a man. But there was something behind that first impression, a touch of soft sadness, a thin streak of fragility, elusive shadows that faintly shone through the appearance of the whole.

-Come…let me help you-I said, hoping that my gesture was at least universal among sentient beings. You have brought down half of the treetop in your hair-I added with a chuckle.

There was a short flash of light inside those luminous eyes and a strong hand grabbed mine. The stranger stood up and shook his head with a grin. He coughed, spitting out some dirt that got in his mouth and we both laughed. It was a sign of normality inside an awkward situation. I helped him brush off all the dirt and we could finally face each other and assess the situation. It was only then, that I realized that the storm has vanished just as sudden as it started. The landscape around was untouched and even the treetop seemed whole. Here we were, in the middle of an ocean of blooming lavender, two strangers brought together by some sort of currents of Space, Time or Fate. And what would’ve you done with an alien that has landed at your feet? Hmmm…I wonder. Oh, well….I know what I did: I took him home.

 

The cheerful row of colorful, tidy houses was crisscrossing along the large, violet-blue field of scented flowers. There was a cherry-red house at the end of the lane with a delicate flower garden in the front yard and one of fresh vegetables behind the house. It wasn’t easy to get closer unnoticed through the mostly open terrain but the two young people managed somehow to escape from one bush to another, one tree to another, hiding, waiting until there was no one to sight them stealing in. They took the way to the hind door and soon as the girl unlocked it, she grabbed her companion by the hand and pushed him inside hurriedly. He was safe for now.

 

I have moved to this cozy little village almost a year ago. As a free-lancer writer, I needed both a job that would provide me with an income and a place out of time where my wildest dream could come alive through my writings. I have searched for the craziest opportunities, dismissed most of them until I’ve stumbled upon a photo and a story, some kind of an add connected to the place in the picture. It talked about an abandoned lighthouse that waited for a bold and dedicated person to open it for the public. It was supposed to house a small post office for the equally small villages scattered in the area around. A few hours a day would’ve provided me to a decent income and I could’ve lived in a house rented by the company. It took me one second to decide; for me, it was dream come true. My family and friends were not surprised at all; by now, they were used to my peculiarities and my stubbornness. So, I left everything behind and moved in the little red house. The villagers were fine and friendly people, willing to help me and becoming my steady customers. My little Buggy loved the country roads and served me well as I commuted day by day between the edge of the lavender fields and the sandy shores of the blue-eyed sea.

Of course very soon I had elderly ladies and gentlemen worrying for me, trying to get me into relationship with the youth around, hoping to make me marry one of them and settle for good in their neighborhood. I mixed easily with people so I didn’t mind; I knew they were just…loving and caring. My sense of humor helped me through awkward moments and nobody got hurt during that. But now….I was inside the house, breathless from running, hiding under the line of visibility, dragging a stranger from above behind me. And I was hungry. So, I expected the same was…him. But what do you give to an alien to eat? I let…him look around my place and opened the fridge: hmmm, milk, eggs, butter, cheese. Some leftovers from lunch. Lucklily, there were some strawberries in a casserole and some early summer apples in the fruit-box below. Oh, and a salad for the evening. Ok….I turned abruptly and found myself face to face with my guest.

He was right behind me, peeking inside my refrigerator with questioning eyes. I gazed inside those unusually clear eyes; the translucent green waters were shifting and escaping to any attempt to catch them, even for the fraction of a moment. The soft, black pupils were shying away for a moment, just to return my gaze with innocent curiosity moments later. A familiar yet strange scent of mixed sea breeze and…star-dust was coming from him. He blinked, I chuckled and took him by the hand.

-Come-I said, hoping that he would guess my intentions. Let’s eat something before we both collapse of hunger.

I sat him down to the table and he smiled. It seems that tables are a familiar piece of furniture all over the Universe. I placed all the available food in the middle, took out some sliced, homemade bread, two plates, forks and fruit knives. And so it began the first interstellar dinner in the history of mankind. And since sharing food had always provided a good communication ground, the stranger and me, we went through the traditional “You Tarzan, me Jane”, just this time he learned that I was Iris, while what I could comprehend of his name was something close to “ Stellar”.

Ok, before any of you is freaking out about my mindless courage to share my private space with a total stranger, let me tell you that while he was bravely going through the challenge of Earth-food, Pixie, my red cat descended from the attic, gave us a short look and hopped in….his lap, purring noisily. A wide smile, almost childlike appeared on the face of my companion, then he gently ran his fingers along the silky back of the animal, saying something in his melodious language. So, after being certified as ” friend” by my trustworthy cat, I had no problem in getting him to sleep in the small bedroom upstairs. There was an additional bathroom next to it, so my guest was safe up there from any incidental visitor from the village. I’ve chosen to sleep downstairs on the sofa, with Pixie curled up under the blanket at my feet. It was a piece of furniture comfortable enough.

After the load of excitement of the day, I fell asleep almost instantly and the night felt short for my needs. I woke up with the first rays of the rising sun. I set up and for a moment, I was wondering if yesterday’s events really happened. But the sighting of the two tea cups on the table was a tangible proof; I never had tea with my imaginary friends….So I hooped down of the sofa and got into the daily routine. I put a kettle on the stove for a tea and made scrambled eggs for two. I packed a small sandwich for work and dressed up. A new, shiny summer day was emerging outside, scattering fluffy clouds all over the sleepy azure of the morning sky. Refreshed and ready to go, I sprinted upstairs and knocked at the bedroom door. No answer. I carefully cracked the door and saw that my guest was still sleeping. I approached and touched him lightly.

-Hmmmm….-the mumbling was, oh, so familiar and human.

He was sleeping on his belly, sprawled on the bed. His silver-grey overall was laid on the back of the chair while his black boots were tossed under.  I sat down on the edge of the bed, taking a look at him. The black, spiky hair was cut short above the ears but left longer, down the neck. It was thick and strong, slightly curled, with changing, silver streaks, depending on the play of lights. The skin of the youthful face was soft and tanned, with an amber tint. Long, curled black eyelashes were bordering the now sleeping elusive eyes. On the whole, the face was just as hard to capture as the play of lights inside the green pool of the strangely captivating eyes. It all depended on what you wanted to see. It was equally the face of a young man with boisterous expression or the face of a young woman, a tomboy with soft, pink lips and a delicate smile that was still lingering over them even in the deepest sleep. The strength of the man was in the bone structure and the firm grip but the fingers were long and expressive and the skin had a velvety touch. As I was watching him, Stellar moved in his sleep and I saw a small tattoo on the back of his neck. Five small stars in an unfamiliar pattern were printed deep in the skin. I touched them…instinctively and he sighed and then opened his eyes. I retracted my hand before he could realize that I touched him and I blushed. What the hell was I doing?

-Come-I said with a reassuring smile. Let’s eat; I have to go to work.

I don’t know how much sense my words made to him but in less than 10 minutes he was descending to breakfast. He looked refreshed and relaxed. He was wearing something like a T-shirt and stretch-pants, both deep blue and….he was barefoot. I think he just had enough of his boots. He caught my gaze at his feet and chuckled. I laughed and brought him a pair of slippers. We sat at the table and suddenly, I felt like we had done this a hundred times before.

I drove to work with a worried, small heart; I had to lock Stellar in and I didn’t like the feeling at all. It’s hard to leave behind a puppy, locked and lonely, but he was not a puppy. He was an intelligent being, fallen from his world into one alien to him. Were I in his place, how would I react? Losing family, friends, familiar faces, familiar places….ending up in a place you know nothing about, uncertain that you’d be ever able to return home. My heart sank with the flood of thoughts running wild in my head. I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled.

“ Put yourself together, girl. Focus. You cannot help him if you panic.”

I reached the lighthouse, parked the car and opened the office. It was mail collecting day and that kept me busy in the next few hours. Some of my friends from the villages around came in, bringing mail collected from the elderly neighbors or their own sends. Some of them came by sea and completed my provisions with fresh fish. We shared a laugh, a joke and a few friendly words and they left. Soon, the Post Van arrived and the mail was loaded beside other sacks, Freddie Barnes, the chauffeur filled me with the latest gossips collected on the road, then off he went. I left the office a few minutes and sat on the steps. The day was clear, the air translucent and warm, the breeze bringing soft noises and spicy, salty scents. It was such a peaceful place, loaded with romance and mystery…The lighthouse offered  enough space upstairs for at least two additional rooms and the top of it was unused, though the diamond-shaped light bulb was still functional and so was the whole flashing system. But by now, there were no ships needing its blazing services. Oh, well…Perhaps one day the lighthouse will come to life. The sharp sound of my cell phone brought me back abruptly into reality. It was my landlady calling with an alarmed voice:

-Iris dear! Mrs. Pickett called me a few minutes ago and she said that there is somebody in your house! We thought about calling the constable….what if it’s a dangerous burglar inside?!

My brain froze for a second; a policeman to rush into the house and take Stellar by surprise was the last thing I needed. I had no idea how did Mrs. Pickett know someone was in my house but she was my closest neighbor with a propensity for …spying on people. She also loved my tea-rose bushes and frequently came to see them. I calmed down and answered   to the anxious lady waiting at the other end of the line:

-Mrs. Green, calm down please. You don’t have to call the constable, there’s no burglar in my house. My cousin arrived late last night and I left him sleeping. Probably Mrs. Pickett saw him while she was inspecting my roses.

I’ve heard a deep sigh and Mrs. Green chuckled.

-Iris dear! I’m so relieved. Oh, I’ve told Mary (-that was Mrs. Pickett’s name) not to peek inside people’s house ‘cause she might misunderstand what she would see. Well, dearie, thank God we didn’t do anything stupid. I’m sorry if I made you worry. Good bye, dearie!

-Good bye, Mrs. Green and thank you for calling.

I’ve put down my cell phone and shuddered; oh, my goodness…Then as I raised my eyes above, I smiled. I had an idea: moving with Stellar into the lighthouse.

 

The next days and weeks went on with bonding and bridging the interstellar relationship inside the house. Stellar was an avoid learner and soon, he was able to speak at least a few short sentences in English while I gathered some knowledge about his native tongue. It was a melodious language, a bit like singing but slowly my ears became accustomed to its modulations. The first thing I tried to find out was the cause of his crash landing on this planet or in this reality. Stellar made a very unhappy face and shook his head; he couldn’t remember. Even his home planet was only a faint memory and if he had left loved ones behind, he couldn’t tell. All he knew was the pain in his heart, the longing for something untouchable and a rush of panic sometimes, one that he tried to hide and keep under control. So for now, our best shot was to teach him about Earth and move out to the lighthouse, far from the curious eyes of the villagers.

Needless to say that Mrs. Pickett was at my door soon as I got home that first day. She was eager to see my….cousin.

-Oh, Iris-she said as she slipped inside the house-I was so worried, my dear girl. You are alone here, with this wilderness behind the house so I was so frightened to see a shadow moving behind the shadings. I heard that it was your cousin….I’m sorry for making all that fuss, but you do understand my concerns, don’t you?

I smirked and sat her down, poured her a tea and satisfied her curiosity.

-Mrs. Pickett, I appreciate your care and concern for me but please, next time you call me first.

She smiles sheepishly and asked between two sips of tea.

-And when did your cousin arrive? I haven’t seen a car the whole day passing by….

-He arrived late this night so I assume you were sleeping by then-I replied.

“ Nosy old biddy…”- added my mind.

-And he still needs to adjust to our time zone. He’s from abroad and he’s not speaking our language very well. You’ll excuse us?-I said with the sweetest smile, as I lead her to the door.

I could clearly see that she wanted to stay more, hoping to get a glimpse of my so called relative but she gave up finally and I closed the door firmly behind her. As I turned, Stellar was sitting on the sofa with a grin on his face and I laughed to. Humans are all the same, regardless of the planet they come from. Curious neighbors are everywhere, much to the annoyance and the amusement of those becoming the subject of their curiosity. But there was a silver lining to all of this; Mrs. Pickett spread the news about my visiting cousin around the village so I could purchase him a few new shirts and trousers without any more explanations or raised eyebrows.

 

Curiosity killed the cat and Mrs. Pickett couldn’t help but kept spying on my house to get a glimpse of my elusive cousin. Stellar was staying indoor while I was at work and even after my return, we used to stay in the garden behind the house only late at night. Stellar seemed to slowly regain his memory though it was far from whole. He was curious about the lighthouse and the prospective of moving there. But the day before moving, the meeting of third degree took place between Stellar and Mrs. Pickett. She was lurking around the house early in the morning, pretending to check on the rose bushes. Well, it looked like most of the roses were in trouble around the windows; strange, isn’t it?

The curious, mousy lady leaned close to the window and shaded her eyes with a cupped hand; she forced her vision to discern what was inside the living and….She jumped off with a sharp cry, stumbled, quickly turned and ran away. The young man looking at her from inside shrugged then returned to the sofa where he was leafing through a book. I don’t know what she was expecting to see inside but I can assure you that there was nothing frightening in Stellar’s appearance. Maybe his flickering, mesmerizing green eyes were otherworldly…Anyway, Mrs. Pickett has never in her life ran so fast home. She unlocked her door with trembling hands, locked it from inside and put the chain to, then collapsed in the armchair.

“ Aliens!-she mumbled. The aliens are invading us!”

That evening my Mom called.

-Hello, Iris. I just got a call from your neighbor, Mrs. Pickett. She sounded worried and frantic. She asked me about your cousin from abroad….

-Oh, Mom….you know that lonely, elderly ladies tend to be unhealthily curious about others. I have a friend here and I didn’t want the whole village to worry about my status…-I chuckled.

Mom laughed.

-I know and though you always had the strangest choices and ideas, I know for sure that you’re not a fool. So, I’ve told that the young man is my step-sister’s son and that he has been raised in a faraway country. She calmed down a bit but I think she still kept some doubts about him. Anyway, I just wanted to warn you…not everyone shares you open mind and heart. Take care, my dear and call me sometimes, ok?

-Yes, Mom and thank you. Don’t worry, he’s not a green-skinned alien and he won’t eat me. I’m quite hard to swallow.

-Interesting that you say this; she kept repeating that she was thinking he’s an alien from space, an invader…Greeting to your interstellar friend and keep me posted, will you?

-Good night, Mom. I love you to!

So after this conversation I called Stellar, we packed up quickly and left by the car. The night was arching above us, the Milky Way in full diamond blaze. Stellar was silent and lost in thoughts. Despite the scarcity of communication in words, we seemed to be already connected on a deeper level and we could anticipate what the other one intended. The country road crisscrossed like a dark serpent, hidden in the lavender field then opened a bit to end finally at the lighthouse. The sea was whispering not too far, gently washing the shore. We stepped out of the car and Stellar raised his eyes to the top of the tower. Even in the dim light I could read the amazement and awe on his face. This soaring, slender building seemed to resonate deep inside him. He took a deep breath and exhaled, trembling of the mix of emotions building up inside him. He whispered something in his language, repeating it over and over again.

“ Hikari…Hikari…”

I touched him gently on the shoulder.

-Come-I said, taking him by the hand. Let me show you something.

He followed me like in a trance. We climbed to stairs till we reached the exit on the top. I’ve opened wide the door and we stepped out on the circular balcony. The sea was rocking slowly bellow, the stars were sparkling above us. Diamond lights were glittering on the tips of the waves, the galaxy of stars above mirrored by the galaxy rolling in and out of the shore.

-Watch this-I said and I connected the lighthouse circuits. The light bulb came to life in full blaze and started to rotate in its own rhythm: Light-dark-light-light-dark, light-dark-light-light-dark, light-dark-light-light-dark…Magic filled the air and my companion was overwhelmed by its touch. He was gasping for air and tears were running down his face.

“Home…”-the words stumbled out of his mouth in pain. His home was in the light and he had fallen out of it through the darkness. We stood there for hours, tracing the trail of stars in the dark ocean of air…He was holding my hand, squeezing hard in those moments when the remembrance of his lost home washed over him. At the end of these hours, he finally regained his composure, the flow of the emotions returned to the riverbed and he was able to talk without falling apart.

“ My home is different from what you’d think….yet we are just like you, humans. Same dreams and hopes, same failures. We inhabit the light and our home is in and out of your reality. There are passageways leading to the tangible, material worlds and you can reach us as well….in time.”

Stellar’s voice was softening while he was speaking about his world. He seemed lost in an untouchable distance, drifting on the currents of the Space, through the depths and heights of the Universe. He shook his head and turned to me.

-I love this tower of light. I’d love to stay here; I’m sorry if I scared off that little lady. Am I so different? I don’t seem to realize…Tell me, please Iris. Is there anything wrong with me?

-You look pretty much human to me-I said with a reassuring smile. You also have beautiful eyes but it’s probably their flickering that freaked out Mrs. Pickett.

Stellar’s face turned serious and concerned.

-I did not realize that. My eyes are extremely sensitive and they see beyond what humans see, so they have a specific movement. Oh, poor old lady…She was running fast for her age….

I couldn’t help but laugh, imagining her speeding up….then I felt sorry and also worried. Fear bears monsters and none of us needed complications right now. We resumed our talk and left the light on the top to send its messages towards the sails of the sea and to those of the blinking stars. The first night spent in the lighthouse was filled with strange dreams…What had caused the fall of the very special person Stellar was? Who or whose fault was this exile into the material world? My mind was turning, trying to figure out what might have happened…and then, I fell into the bottomless abyss of dreams.

“ My birth was foretold by many strange signs. Light creatures as may be, we have our share of bodily existence so we have our home planets and a life that is basically the same as in every human community. So, days before I came into this world, long, thick streaks of mist filled the valley where we lived, dimming the sunlight during the day and turning into strangely phosphorescent ones in the night. My parents grew anxious, fearing something bad that could happen to both mother and child. A local Wise Woman came to our house and drew some protective patterns, just like your colorful Mandalas. But Nature refused to comply and by late evening my mother was transported to the local House of Birth in Light. “

Stellar stopped for a moment and his voice trailed a bit…

“ I am not sure if I was born to be a blessing or a curse for them….” The sadness of the sentence cut inside me as I was sitting next to him on the top of the lighthouse, listening to the history of my interstellar kin.

-Oh, shhht, Stellar….No child is born for the misfortune of his parents. It’s what we turn it into for obscure, awful reasons. Children are pure light of love embodied, a gift that should be treasured and protected until it grows and opens in full beauty.

He sighed.

“If you say so…”

A shooting star crossed the canvas of the night sky, sizzling in electric blue before it faded into the shadows.

“ So, moments before midnight, as the line separating light and dark passed above us, the sky cleared and let the light shine….bringing me into it. They said that just like the awkward moment of my birth, I was caught between the realms of life and nothingness, stubbornly clinging to the thin thread of life. Days and weeks passed before people around became certain of my victory above oblivion. It was only then that they named me. I have been…nonexistent during my battle; a tiny entity with no name, no identity.”

There was another break in Stellar’s story and I suddenly felt strongly attached to his fate. The unveiling of his previous history exerted a strong pull upon the intimate strings of my heart. The feeling that this encounter was holding more substance than it appeared at first was becoming stronger with each memory shared. I looked at him and saw his jaw tightening. You could tell from his expression that he was becoming aware for the first time of the reality he was talking about. Gloom was setting upon us and I was decided to fight it. I grinned and placed a hand on his shoulder.

-You won the fight for life against all odds! Maybe you’re more resourceful than you know…Come, let’s cook something before hunger will kill us both. The past might have long shadows but we could easily succumb to the dangers of the present if we’re not fit to face them.

I never thought that I could have smooth tongue. First time in the morning, Constable Patrick Calahan was knocking on the door of the lighthouse.

 

The young red-headed Constable was both annoyed and slightly ashamed. He loved his job as guardian of the citizens of his small and sleepy village. He was born here and has grown climbing each and every tree and jumping the neighbors’ fences. He knew everyone and everyone knew him. He could remember a younger Mrs. Pickett, not so crazed by loneliness and way more understanding towards others. Alas, that was the past! Now, Mrs. Pickett kept nagging him, calling day by day to tell him that an Alien invasion was taking place right under his nose and that Iris Grey from the Lighthouse Post was in cahoots with them. He has tried to calm her down, to ignore her, to argue with her but nothing seemed to work this time. So when the elderly lady threatened to call his superiors in the city, he took his motorcycle and drove to the Lighthouse. Iris had recently moved there for the summer. Patrick liked her because she was funny, open minded and she was helping him with his love letters. The lady of his heart was teaching at the kindergarten and seemed to appreciate the Constable’s romantic writings…well adjusted by the skillful Iris. The young man was desperately trying to keep things under control and minimize the damages.

The sun was stretching its first rays above the faint mist of the early morning when Patrick knocked on the door, wondering what on Earth he could say to her….Luckily, Iris already guessed and chuckled:

-Early visitor, Patrick? Mrs. Pickett couldn’t sleep and sent you on wild goose chase?

The policeman reddened and coughed to hide his embarrassment.

-Eh, you know her well, Iris….She keeps nagging me so I came to talk.

-Get in and have a seat, Constable Calahan. I have a tea for you.

She poured tea for her and Patrick and sat on the couch, facing him.

-Well?

– I’d like to talk with your cousin, Iris. Hey, don’t laugh; I’m serious. I have to do this properly or Mrs. Pickett will keep up with her story about the Alien Invasion. Does your cousin have a passport or some ID ?

Iris raised her eyebrows questioningly.

-Seriously? You want my cousin to prove you he’s not an alien or what?

There was a clear tint of irony in her voice and Patrick almost choked on the sip of tea he was taking. He coughed and shook his head in denial. He felt stupid.

-Good morning! I hope I’m not intruding…

The voice was pleasant and calm, situated between a deep baritone and a velvety alto. The young Constable turned and faced the newcomer. It was a tall and well built young man, with spiky, black hair, tanned complexion and…sunglasses. Which was very odd, considering that they were inside the lighthouse.

-I’m Stellar, Iris’ cousin. I understood you wanted to see me-said the stranger and smiled.

To Patrick the young man looked harmless; he was just another slightly punkish city-dweller, probably an artist considering the haircut and the sunglasses. He stood up and they shook hands. The grip was firm and manly and nothing in the appearance of the cousin made him think of an alien…not that the Constable would admit such nonsense anyway. Iris poured a tea for her cousin and now they were enjoying it in a trio.

-So, how long do you intend to stay in our village, Stellar?

The question stumbled out of his mouth in a very “police” manner and for a moment Patrick cursed his lack of subtlety. But the other one didn’t seem troubled by that; he took a sip of the tea and took off his sunglasses, before answering the question.

-You have a lovely village and this lighthouse is a fascinating place to live-he said, looking at the Constable sidewise. But I am a kind of a wanderer, in search for new horizons so you can tell that nice old lady that I won’t disturb her premises for long.

Patrick grinned and put down his empty cup.

-Thank you, Iris. I’m sorry for disturbing you so early. Have a nice vacation, Stellar and no problem. I’ll calm down Mrs. Pickett somehow.

He left with a sense of relief. This guy was pretty normal and Iris didn’t get mad either for intruding. Patrick sighed; at least he can come back later with another draft of his love-letter…Oh, and he’d pay a visit to Mrs. Pickett and charm her until things settle peacefully.

The moment Patrick closed the door behind him, I slammed my cup to the table.

-Oh! Right now I wish I was an alien and eat Mrs. Picket piece by piece!

I’ve heard Stellar chuckling and turned to him.

-I hope you were joking about leaving this place so soon-I said.

He shook his head smiling a bit sadly.

-I still don’t know what brought me here and if I left my planet as an exiled or an escapee. So, you’ll have to “endure” my presence for a while….I said that only to calm down the Constable and take him off your back.

We both laughed and then I descended to the office. A new day was opening its wings.

 

The Universe is a strange place, full of breathtaking beauty and chilling dangers. Life is one of the mysteries yet to be unraveled; it’s so bold and creative, conquering the hardest spots of a planet. But life is also fragile and easily shattered, wiped out, erased, crushed and sent into oblivion. Then, when it comes about intelligent, sentient, self-aware creatures, things get even more complicated. Emerging from inside a reign that is ruled by the harsh and objective laws of nature, of the survival of the fittest, boldest and most creative in solving the quests of life, humans, just like any other ones similar to them are carrying this spirit, while building a society of their own, based on principles that on many aspects collide with these natural instincts.

Thirst for power, greed, ruthless actions deemed to gain advantage before anyone, at any costs….these attitudes, though come from the basic instinct and competitiveness of the species, are rejected and repudiated, conflicting with the moral principles that allowed humanity to continuously rise above itself. But principles are one thing, individuals are something else. And these insidious flaws rise sometimes where you expect the less.

The child that has fought so hard to gain his right to love and light grew oblivious of the long row of challenges waiting ahead. As any other child, he was a chalice of emotions and had beautiful eyes wide open towards the miracles of the world around him. And just like the moment of his birth, he was charming and joyful, yet hard to bend; he was a real personality, a miniature one, but undeniable. A handful. A twinkling little star. The Universe spread its wings of blazing galaxies and took him under its protective magic. This resulted in an even more powerful personal aura, spreading around the child, then teenager and young adult. And the more he was shining, the more attention and love he attracted, the more envy and animosity it generated in some of those meant to love and protect him. We are born into this world and we learn to face its challenges….unless they come from our loved ones. By the time the Child of One Star became a full grown adult, his pure, translucent core was a diamond that has been battered, crushed, shattered, cracked by the darkest forces lurking in the Universe….and it was still shining through all the scarred facets like a true star. Nothing and no one could ever take away his gift of love and light. Connected through an invisible thread to the fountain of light, he was rising above hurt and pain, reborn like the flaming Phoenix. So, one day his enemy…(or enemies? ) pushed him into a ravine of darkness opened into the flesh of Space, hoping to get rid of him. And he fell….in a tree in the middle of a lavender field.

 

You might wonder how come that Stellar and me, we got to speak so easily; after all, he didn’t speak my language at first. Well, he was a fast learner, that’s for sure. From what I could see and understand, once connected to me, his mind was reading and adjusting to my mind as words and thoughts were forming and emerging. The complexity of the mind surpasses the complexity of the visible Universe. It has patterns and leaps that are yet to be discovered and understood. For now, it works on the thin border between science and magic….’cause each mystery encompasses magic. The perfect shape of a translucent rain drop falling from the ethereal skies is magic, though science can trace its birth and describe its logic. Magic and beauty are children of the same fountain of dreams of light.

So, the beautiful mind of Stellar kept reading and echoing my lines of light until we came to understand each other beyond words and also learned to speak the same language. After Patrick’s visit, days of peacefulness came and we both breathed more easily. I kept working downstairs, making my little office useful in connecting people, while upstairs Stellar was reading, learning and gradually recovering pieces of his memory. He shared these fragile moments of the puzzle as we walked along the shore, in the soft summer nights. What I have learned firsthand was that despite moments of deep despair or burning pain, his willingness of giving and caring remained unbroken. And that resonated deeply inside me and made him so precious to my heart.

-When I said that the Lighthouse is an amazing place, I meant it-he said one night, as we walked barefoot through the bubbling waves washing the shore. We have something similar to them at home, though at another scale. Something tells me that this particular one is placed in a meeting point of light that will reveal itself at the necessary moment.

-If that is true then maybe Mrs. Pickett’s concerns were more real than she knew-I said with a grin.

-Huh…I never thought about it that way…- replied Stellar and turned serious. I wouldn’t want my people to mess up your planet.

-Let’s hope they won’t and that I might scare them as well to go back at high speed. I could become pretty nasty if it’s needed, you know!

He looked at me for a moment then laughed.

-I’m not sure I would like to see that…but let’s say that I believe you.

We followed our walk in good mood. What was lurking in the depths of Space, we weren’t aware. Not yet.

 

In my dream I was walking in a forest, through a strange, narrow tunnel bordered by tall, strong trees, with branches entwined above like the fingers of wooden hands. Under my feet, the thick, old roots were also holding each other in an awkward pattern that resembled closely that of the canopy. After a while, the feeling that I was stepping on warm, living fingers became stronger and the fact that the tunnel was slowly closing on me just added to my anxiety. My only hope was in the light I was following, a bluish twinkling that kept calling me from the depth of the corridor. The rhythm of the sap rising and descending the row of tree columns sounded like a magic drum…or was it just my heartbeat? I couldn’t discern and separate them, my heart was beating wildly in my chest…but it was beating inside each tree as well. I closed my eyes for a moment and…the pounding became clearer and I heard Stellar calling me.

-Iris! Iris! Wake up!

Suddenly I was awake and back to reality. I jumped from the bed and ran to the door. It became clear that the sounds from my dream were in fact the knocks on my door. I quickly opened the door and faced Stellar. He was deeply troubled by something. He took me by the hand and we ran upstairs, until we reached the top of the lighthouse. It was past midnight, the Moon was nowhere to see and even the star light was dimmed by the sheen of vapor all over the sky. It was warm and the air felt sticky; I found difficult to breathe…Something was terribly wrong. But what?!

Stellar was scrutinizing the skies, murmuring.

-It’s here somewhere, it’s here, I can sense it…Oh! Why can’t I remember?!!!

The moment he cried out, the sky cracked with a deafening thunder and Space opened for a moment before us. I froze for a moment and I was unable to make some sense of the swirl of light and darkness inside that crack. But for Stellar that was a familiar appearance and not a pleasant one it seemed.

-Oh, no, you won’t!-he shouted and leaped forward. He turned for a moment-“I’ll be back!”-and then disappeared, while the crack closed without trace. I leaned against the wall, trembling. Tears were streaming from my eyes but I didn’t dare even to blink. I was afraid that I might lose Stellar’s image and that I would wake up from this unbelievable dream to a reality where he doesn’t even exist….

 

So you think that this was a dream and that living in a Lighthouse, far from the rush and rumble of social life makes me imagine things? Huh, no, my friends! And this wasn’t the result of an extra glass of wine, one too much….Not. The moment I descended the top and walked pass the second bedroom I painfully realized that whatever happened during all these days and weeks, it has been real. The moment of loss became even clearer and the pain sharp and persistent. Why? You ask me why? That I knew almost nothing about him and why the pain?

Oh, but the logic of the heart is widely different of the logic that makes our mind tick. I think I was hooked, if not when he fell through the tree, then when he stood up, confused, covered in leaves and sticks, yet holding all that charm that was coming from a depth only the heart can reach and read. Then, there was something else. You haven’t seen the dramatic change in his composure and whole appearance the moment he faced the display of light and darkness inside that opening. That Stellar was holding a duality it has became visible in many scattered moments spent together. This time, the change was poignant: the face of a Goddess in rage was facing the other world and shouting her rightful protest! Stellar-Stella, a unity of harmonious two-spirits, looking back at me with the unsure promise of returning….I wiped off my tears and blinked only when I became sure that the image captured on my retina was  truthfully engraved in the memory of my mind and soul. I went into Stella(r)’s room and sat on the bed; there was an open book there with white, empty pages. Why would anyone have an unwritten book, I wondered, and where did it come from? It was hard-covered and the cover was empty as well. But the moment I touched it, it came to life…and then, I understood: it was a personal diary, one that held the history of the slow recovering of Stella(r)’s memory. So I started to read it carefully…

 

The world of the Creatures of Light was an old and powerful one, with a rich history that resembled in many ways to the one of Humanity.  It had planets and a life-giving star; it had this intelligent species that adapted, evolved then reshaped its environment according to its more and more refined taste and needs. And with the success came the feeling that they were some unique and perfect creatures, way above anything around them, compared only to the purity of the light they came to worship and join. And when they decided that the world they imagined was surpassing any other reality in perfection, they created a system to support, sustain and enforce this particular reality on the imperfection that still lingered around….in the real world.

The law of purity and perfection applied to each of them as members of the People of Light; any variation within it became unthinkable. But reality doesn’t give a damn’ of what any cocky population of intelligent but delusional creatures thinks. So, Reality gives birth to the uncommon, to the rebellious, to the misfit, to the anarchist, to the necessary diversity inside unity. Unity in diversity is the norm of life, no matter where it sprouts or emerges or springs into the world. This peculiar world of perfectionists faced its challenges on a regular basis; but the Guardians of Purity fought back, using anything at hand to battle any…abomination. That’s what they called it: abomination. At first, they kept them hidden, but that became too dangerous. So the High Council decided to strip these unfortunate members of the society from their usual body shape and transferred the essence of their light into the trees that were planted on a neighboring planet. In time, the forest conquered more and more of the surface of that planet, its roots and branches entwining like strong fingers of hundreds of hands. By the time Stella(r) was born, exiling the different ones was already a custom.

The child that was born that strange night was oblivious of the dark shadows and the ugliness of the world around. They eyes of children are set to see the magic and beauty; Stella(r) was a gifted and sensitive child, joyful and energetic like a butterfly emerged from the cocoon. That he was not fitting in his world became evident as he was growing. His step-father was a highly regarded member of their society, powerful and influent. But he was also a fervent supporter of the Law of Exile. When it became clear that his boisterous step-son was a candidate for exile, he was furious. The confrontation turned ugly and the young man fled the house before his father could call the guards to take him into custody.

But hiding from the People of Light was something near impossible; they were easily detecting the light-signature of each person and changing to their shining form of rays, travelled fast on the tracks. In Stella(r)’s case, Reality stepped in and opened a crack in the fabric of Time-Space; the young fugitive escaped….falling from the skies. Whatever they has seen inside that window opened by the lightning the previous night, it was serious enough for Stella(r) to risk their safety and their life. I shut the journal with the hope that they would be safe. My innermost feeling was that my goodwill and protective thoughts would travel along that invisible thread connecting us and shield Stella(r) from harm. Outside the sky was turning pink; the sun was ready to hop above the thin line of the horizon and start anew day. I set my cell phone to wake me up in time and I curled up in bed to catch a bit of sleep. “What is happening there?”-was my last thought before the dark waters of sleep engulfed me.

 

The planet of exile was almost entirely covered by this strange, living forest. Tree connected to tree and one captive soul entwined with the other captive one, like fingers of many hands and like crossroads of a highly complex, neuronal network. The strong roots dived into the depths of the planet, extracting the dissolved essence of life, turning forest and planet into a powerful entity, with a mindset of its own. And I can tell you, it wasn’t a happy one. Though the age of constituents was diverse, on the whole, the mind of the planetary forest was one of a young adult, barely out of its teenage turbulence. With all the heated passion and rebellion of a youth, the pain of the rejected and abandoned child and lacking the equilibrium of a reality check, the new entity sought revenge upon those who turned their children, those considered ”imperfect” into exiles locked up in the motionless vegetal bodies. And it started by developing a powerful aura, learning to use it and to point it towards the home planet, disrupting the comfortable lives of the “perfect” ones. The Entity interfered with the light-communications, altering messages or even shutting them down. Its effects on the life of its kin became annoying to the point that sanctions were demanded by many of the citizens. Yes, there were voices against the retaliation because, after all, the Entity was encompassing the unfortunate children of many families. Still, these voices were faint and unconvincing ( …or unconvinced ?), so after a series of heated debates, the High Council decided to blast off the planet of the Entity. They worked in total secrecy, shadowing their thoughts and plans from the reach of the enemy. They were about to launch an undetectable army of robotic ships to detonate high powered bombs that would make the planet implode when the Space split, connecting Stella(r) to the gathering of the High Council.

How did he read the intention of those people eludes my comprehension. Maybe there is some Universal Justice or it was his passionate core that resonated through the distance and made him sense the danger. Inside the young man I knew a Goddess of flaming Power of Justice was living and she was ready to face her fellows and stop them. Were we there, we would’ve seen only the unleashing of high columns of blazing, blinding lights. The confrontation of the People of Light resembled in many aspects to the dynamic of the Sun

-Oh no, you won’t!

The shout of the young Goddess cut sharply through the humming of the discussions at the table of the High Council. Counselor Enegar raised his eyes to see the intruder. Facing the familiar features, he turned white and swallowed; he was hoping to never see him/her again. The counselor stood up slowly, confronting the intruder while all the eyes turned to them.

-What are you doing here?-he growled. Why did you come back?!

The Goddess stopped at the table, slamming her fist on the smooth surface. Her eyes were sparkling with anger.

-I came to stop you from murdering your children for the second time! What is wrong with you, People of Light?! Have you turned into a nation of coldhearted criminals?! Is that what you really want to do?! Wipe out an entire planet and kill all your unfortunate, rejected children? Why?! Wasn’t enough that you denied us, chased us down, stripped us from our identity and exiled us?! Who gave you this right?!

Enegar leaned forward, spewing out his hatred.

-You are abominations! Your existence is an offense to the Purity of the Light!

Stella(r) shook her head.

-Is it ?!-she cried out bitterly. How do you know that? Has the Light spoken to you personally, pointing out me or the others as failures, or it’s just your fear and your greed talking in Its name? You!…You have  trashed  me and crushed me hoping to break my will, my heart, my soul! I was a child! You were supposed to protect me! All of you! You have betrayed your own children! They were trusting you! What light is that you’re claiming to hold, if it comes so easy for you to dispose of your own flesh and blood?!!!

Having to listen to Stella (r)’s speech, the counselors were shifting uneasily in their seats. Some of them protested or rallied to Enegar’s accusations.

-What are you talking about, Stellar? You’re a Shifter, an Impure! How can you understand our high standars? Go away! Those like you have brought shame to our families! And they are still causing disruption to this decent world! Look what they’ve done!

-Foolish youth!-sneered Enegar. You’ll end up with them! I’m glad you came back so I can finish with you for good!

-I don’t think so!-said Stella(r). I am not a child anymore. You cannot bully me and I won’t let you hurt anyone anymore!

Enegar’s fury rose high and he turned into a column of fire, launching towards Stella(r). She jumped aside and changed shape almost instantly, her sizzling-blue fire clashing with the flames of rage that were his/her step-father. People in the room fled the scene, hiding from the heat of the battle. The columns of flames turned into fire birds and the Red and the Blue Phoenix were chasing each other at high speed, clashing in fountains of fiery sparks, pushing each other back and forth, swirling, biting and screeching. The Crimson bird was strong, cunning and aggressive, while the Electric-Blue one was bold, determined and mobile. The balance of powers and skills was almost even so it was hard to determine who would win the fight.

-Bastard!-growled Enegar, slashing the blue wing that has just hit him in the face.

The Blue Phoenix dived instantly, retreating only to change direction and emerge behind his sworn enemy.

-Murderer!-she hissed. Monster! Your greed is insatiable!

 

And while inside the chambers of the High Council the fight continued, shaking the whole building, in the cold embrace of the Space the Entity woke up in alert. The sense of danger was tangible, yet it was impossible to detect the source. The Entity spread its sensors throughout the space surrounding the planet but it seemed that there was nothing to detect. Have you ever had the feeling that something or someone is hiding behind you and you know it’s there but you cannot see it because it is positioned in your blind spot? Well, it was exactly how the Entity felt at that moment. Aside of being annoying, it was a frightening sensation and fear is not easy to handle. It’s one of the most destructive feelings, one that could easily bring anyone close to paranoia. And right in that moment, an intelligent but immature planetary entity was getting bit by bit paranoid. That was a recipe for disaster, for sure. But the threat wasn’t coming from where everybody expected. Randomness is a law of the Universe and things just happen. A Cosmic tidal wave of scorching energies was heading towards this particular place, threatening to wipe out any form of life, even the People of Light living in that special niche of their own. The emotionally highly strung Entity was the first to sense it, but Its mindset was directed towards the home-planet, so It kept scrutinizing that area, getting gradually nervous, then angry and finally, mad. Hell broke loose when powerful beam of energy hit the home-planet while its rulers were ducking from the responsibility of having caused that indirectly. It was a dangerous moment and Stella(r)’s double-set mind captured it at the limit. She gathered all her strength, charged from behind and slammed the Crimson Phoenix to the ground with a power that left Enegar unconscious. She then returned to her usual shape and stormed out the door, speed along the corridor and reaching the door of the Operation Room, banged the door to the wall, shouting:

-Don’t launch them!!!! Let me talk to It! Please….

The Commander of the Fleet looked questioningly to the eldest Counselor; the man raised a hand, stopping the operation then turned to Stella(r).

-Give it a try, young man. I hope you succeed. We have made enough mistakes.

-Thank you, Counselor Shiro.

She sat down on the floor, eyes closed and holding out both palms wide open, like touching an invisible wall. She dived inside her/his mind, both sides connecting and reaching out to the complex mind of the Entity.

Engulfed by Its fury, the Entity was sending flashes of energy towards the home that has been denied to It, determined to disrupt the society of cold, heartless Perfection and maybe even destroy those who deeming their “different” children as worthless, treated them as objects and dumped them. In the heat of the action it was hard to listen to the faint call addressed to the collective mind but after a while, Stella(r)’s voice reached the cognitive core.

-Stop! Stop doing that! Listen to me, please!

A small, very young voice replied in Stella(r)’s mind.

-Who are you?

-I am one of yours-came the answer in a calm tone. Please, listen to me. We have to talk.

-Are you on…Home?

-Yes. I was a fugitive but I came back to stop this madness. You don’t have to fear Home; they agreed not to reply to your attack.

-But I feel danger! It’s closing on me and I cannot see it! This must be them! It’s nobody else close to me except for them! I have to stop them! They hurt us! They hurt us all! I have to stop it!

-No! Listen to me! Let me connect closer and help you search for the source of danger. I seem to have a gift for that. I am a Shifter!

There was a short moment of silence.

-I will open the connection for you, Shifter. People like you are very rare and talented. How may I call you?

-I’m Stella(r). I have the connection; let me reach out in Space. Let’s see what’s wrong.

The High Tide was rolling through the cosmos at the speed of light, rising up the fiery star-dust, rippling through the fabric of Space and Time, breaking havoc in star-clusters and solar systems. There were no inhabited areas there, so the damage, though of cosmic proportion didn’t affect life. But it was heading towards Home and the Entity and time was running short. The discovering of the threat came as a shock to everyone. Suddenly, all their fights and confrontations became obsolete…Were these moments the last ones to live? Was their civilization going to disappear without a trace? Why did they waste the lives of so many youth in the name of some Chimaeras, instead of holding them close and loving them for who and how they were? Painful questions, ones that should be addressed by each intelligent, sentient being before it becomes too late. Humanity has this inherent tendency of forgetting the true values of love, care, empathy and mutual respect. There are so many things to reconsider in our current history…

But on the planet of the People of Light there was no time to philosophize over these problems. They were in urgent need of a solution. And that came from where they were not expecting. The Entity. It called Stella(r).

-Hey, my friend. I thought of something.

 

The members of the High Council gathered in the Operation Room and Stella(r) was invited to represent the Entity. At Its suggestion, they developed a multi-layered protective field with a radius that encompassed the Entity to.

-Our Protective Field will be a composite one, since each member of the Entity has a different kind of Light and a personalized energy-signature. That would enable us to break down the Wave into smaller ripples and absorb most of its impact on our level-transmitted Stella(r).

-Then we take over what it’s left in the space between us and reflect-deflect it until it would lose its destructive power. If we work in harmony, we might escape with the minimum of damages. Let’s start building this up. Time is desperately short!

They stood up to leave when Enegar entered the room. He looked disheveled and angry. The moment he saw his step-son, he rushed towards him with the intention of hitting the young man.

-What is he doing here?!-shouted the Counselor. Guards! Guards! Take him!

-Calm down, my friend-said Counselor Shiro, grabbing the angry man by the shoulders and pushing him gently away from the young man. Your son is helping us; he’s our connection to the Entity.

-But…but…he’s a Shifter, an abomination…a…

-Things have drastically changed while you were passed out, Counselor. I suggest that you go home and get a good sleep. There’s no time for explanations. I have some tactics to work out with your son, so if you’ll excuse us…

The elder of the Council turned his back on the shocked man, took the young man and left the room. Counselor Enegar left also….he left history on the back door. The Cosmic Tide arrived and broke down on the series of power-field breaker set by the People of the Light and the Entity, united. Days after peace returned in the area, the High Council retracted the law discriminating the Different Ones, acknowledging the value of their uniqueness and wowing to find a technical solution to give back the bodily identity of those who decided to leave the entity and return home. They even offered a seat in the High Council to Stella(r), now that his step-father resigned.

-I am honored by your offer but I am not a politician. I feel more like a wanderer. And I still have a promise to fulfill. There is someone waiting for me…

A few weeks passed in the adjusting and repairing on both planets, in connecting the Entity to the communication system of Home, in telling people the whole truth, in fighting the arguments and winning them. Stella(r) was busy as a bee but always keeping alert, waiting for a special storm to come.

 

The days and weeks I’ve spent alone in the lighthouse melted into a slow flow, making me feel like I was stuck in the middle of a river of honey, unable to get out or at least to convince this Time-jelly to move a bit faster. Oh well, if you cannot change it, you put up a smiling face and keep yourself busy (while your inner eye is set on catching the faintest signal from above). Though my cheerful mood and happy face worked well for most of the people, Patrick wasn’t so easy to fool. He kept visiting me, bringing his latest letters and poetry for checking and he used to give me that incredulous look.

-Iris, you don’t fool me.

-What are you talking about?-I said, leafing through his writings.

-I say that you have put up this brave attitude for the public eye, but ever since your…cousin left, there is a shadow in your eyes.

I looked at him, grinned and shook my head.

-You don’t expect me to confess, do you?

He chuckled.

-No. I was just checking. But I have a long history of heartache, so I know when I see it in others.

-Well, I praise you sharp intuition but I would suggest you ask your sweetheart to marry you before you write a whole Saga, while somebody else might be more practical and marry her.

He reddened and then we both laughed.

-You’re right, Iris. I’ll do it soon. I hope your cousin will return soon. I liked that chap.

We parted in good mood. The day was warm, maybe a touch too warm for this time of the year. The office was empty so I left  and walked down to the shore. The sea was lazily rocking under the sun, the white sparks dancing on the rippling waves like little fire elves. Splashing and rolling around my bare feet, the warm, translucent fingers of the sea were leaving behind colorful sea-shells and small, smooth pebbles. I picked some and rolled them absentmindedly in my palms…Where was my wandering alien? Something in the air was telling me that he/she cannot be far from here. But was this true or it was just my wishful thinking? The air was becoming gradually heavy with overheated vapors and a storm was building up inside the far horizon. I returned to the Post Office with the feeling that something was brewing inside my Reality.

By evening the sky turned dark and restless, the convoluted patches of clouds moving hectically. The unrest spread also over the sea and her voice became louder and louder. As the wind rose from the distance, rushing in blows above the liquid fields, the waves surged to the skies with hungry fingers and then rolled on towards the shores in rows of heavy walls. As I lit up the lighthouse, the skies cracked and the lightning net spread across the whole dark canvas, followed by the loud voice of the thunder. The beam of the tower reached deep into the core of the storm and at that point, Space split, pushed from inside by a phosphorescent bullet of energy.

It was heading at high speed towards the shore, guiding itself by the signals of the lighthouse. It wasn’t just a speck of light. It zigzagged above the turmoil of the waters, avoiding most of the splashing waves and it jumped aside each time the lightning hit, like in a game of cat and mouse. I couldn’t take my eyes of it; my heart was beating wildly. As the dot of light got closer, its shape became clearer and I had no more doubts. Just this time, “cousin” Stella(r) wasn’t landing through a tree.  I ran down the stairs, banged the door open and rushed to shore just in time to witness the power-field capsule splashing into the water a few steps from the shore. Stella(r) emerged inside the outburst of light, wet and shaking his head but safe.

-I  have a feeling that you have developed a taste for dramatic entering-I said with a smile.

-Uhm-he mumbled with a grimace, then spit. Agh-he said, half laughing, the sand doesn’t taste better than the leaves! Well, I am back at least!

A large wave hit the shore and splashed us wet. We stood there, facing each other and laughed.

-Come-I said, let’s dry up with a tea. Welcome home, stranger.

 

The morning caught us sitting on the top of the lighthouse, wrapped in a blanket and talking, talking, talking…My cell phone rang; it was Patrick.

-Good morning, Iris. Has your cousin arrived?

Oh…I was stunned. How could he know that? I took a deep breath before answering.

-What makes you think that, Patrick?

He chuckled.

-There were some reports from a few fishermen caught in the storm. They’ve said that there was a strange ball of light crash-landing in the lighthouse area. Of course, Mrs. Pickett called to warn me again about the danger of alien invasion and your suspicious behavior. Anyway, I just called to invite both of you to my wedding next month. Have a nice day, Iris. Say hello from me to your cousin, will you?

-You bet-I said. Congratulations, Patrick! You can count us in.

He hung up and we stood there in comfortable silence, watching the first rays of the sun perching the soft mist floating above the sea. It was an intimate moment of unspoken sharing and cosmic equilibrium. No words were needed as we were already connected on a more subtle way, core deep. From inside the Lighthouse, Pixie emerged and purred himself in Stella(r)’s lap, placing a paw on my arm to. Heavenly peace and happiness. Who would want anything else?

Down in the village,  a perky old lady  was sitting on the porch with a cup of tea in her hands. She looked at the little red house in her neighborhood; it was silent and…lonely. Even the rose bushes seemed less enthusiastic in blossoming since the girl living in the house moved out to the shore. Mrs. Pickett sighed. She stood up and went inside. She took up the phone and dialed.

-Iris? Good morning, dear. I need a few stamps for a letter; do you think you could bring me some in the afternoon? And take that cousin of yours with you. I’ve made some chocolate-chip cookies….

So, this is it…for now. Who knows what would the future bring?

THE LOST SHORE

Motto:

Softly raining flowers of Moon-light
Enchanted waters of the dreaming skies
Lands of the heart
Soul rising high…..

 

He woke up to the tickling scent of salt and algae and he was puzzled; his house was nested in the arms of a grassy field, near a small path of forest, so where was that familiar scent coming from?

He slowly got up from the bed and went to the window; though it was summer ( or at least this was what he remembered), all he could see was the crawling mass of thick, white vapor, like if a huge cloud had suddenly decided to descend upon his house. Intrigued by the unexpected scenery, he opened the door and stepped out…in the sand! The grassy field was gone. He was standing somewhere on a shore, not far from the sea. He could hear her breathing slowly, with each wave hitting the land, slowly and majestic…peaceful and soothing, like the heartbeat of an invisible mother…

This was very odd, but on the whole, he couldn’t complain. After all, it didn’t matter where he was right now…The strangeness of the situation was just adding to the long row of unexpected stumbling and miss-happenings of his life. He was bright, talented and passionate…but the threads of his fate were tangled somewhere and his pathway seemed to run into dead-ends over and over again. Annoyed and disappointed, he decided to take a vacation and move to a remote spot. The rent of the house came at a comfortable price and the place was full of mystery and local legends.

But what was to do with the current situation? He stood there, facing the convoluting cloud…

“ So-he thought, I’m at the sea side now…Well, let’s have a closer look. After all, what can go wrong besides having this hallucination?”

He took a deep breath and made a few steps, heading towards the sound of the sea. As he entered deeper and deeper in the mist, the cloud slowly split before him, unraveling a narrow pathway in the sand. After a few minutes of walk between the soft, cotton-like walls of vapor, he felt his mind relaxing, lulled by the ongoing sound of rolling waves. As his sense of orientation dissolved in this eerie surrounding, he felt light like a feather. Suddenly, the curtain of mist lifted before his eyes and there he was, on the white sands of a blue-green body of gently rocking waters. The whole scenery cleared behind him, leaving just a far horizon blurred by a dull glow.

The shore stretched far to left and right with a few spots of strange trees scattered from time to time. Daylight danced on the tips of the waves and the air was warm and spicy.

“Oh, well-he murmured –at least it’s summer…What else?”

He took a turn to right, and walked towards the closest bunch of trees, playfully kicking the sand. The waves followed him, splashing his feet, leaving patches of white froth to bubble in his footprints….As he reached the shadow of the trees, something unexpected caught his attention: there was a row of footprints leading to the same place. The imprints looked almost fresh in the wet sand; somebody smaller, a woman probably has been there before him. The line of marks was coming from an inconspicuous area, just like his ones.

Who could that be and where did she come from? What was she doing there? What was he doing there? What was this place anyway? The light reflected by the waves gave him a sudden headache…He shut his eyes in pain…and woke up in bed.

Her dream has been so vivid…Sitting on the top of her bed, she could still feel the taste of the sea-breeze and the caressing of the waves on her feet. Something was calling her and her heart resonated inside the dream. Somewhere in this wide and complicated world there was a ray of light waiting for an echo and all of a sudden, her soul caught that faint vibration…The River of dreams changed course, rushing into the sea, leaving her on the blazing shore, under a strange Sun…She sat under the trees, eyes closed, breathing in the raw scents and tuning into rhythm of the sea…The walls of her soul opened, acquiring the wandering light…The sparkling bits of that unknown soul were seeping inside her, settling comfortably in the  protective corners. Something was telling her that this would not be her last visit to this shore…

 

 

“ So….back to reality” -he thought. He didn’t need to go to the window to realize that he was in his house in the middle of the sea of grass. The sun was reclining towards the hilltops and shadows were stretching over the land. He decided to socialize this evening; there was a cozy pub in the village with friendly and talkative people, eager to tell fantastic stories to the unsuspecting towns-people. The young man dressed up quickly and took a ride with his motorcycle. The pub was almost full, with youth and elders lively chatting and laughing. He passed unnoticed for a while and he sipped his beer in a corner, adjusting to the general atmosphere…His moment of peace ended as one old guy, with a mischievous smile sat next to him. He looked like an old, sun battered goblin and his voice was raspy.

-Hello, young man…Eh, I see you have decided to descend in the middle of the crowd…So, how do you like your place?

He watched the young man with a strange glitter in his eyes. The young man grinned.

-I’m adjusting to it but I’m fine thank you.

-And you haven’t encountered anything strange yet?

A shrewd smile accompanied the question. The question caught the young man’s attention. He decided to take the challenge.

-Well-he sighed and took another sip of beer-there’s a strange smell of algae and sea in the air sometimes. I wonder where it comes from….There’s no sea in the proximity of this place, as much as I know….

-Heheh…You’re right and you’re wrong at the same time…There was a  sea once on that spot, a strange one,  a “stranded” sea….It slowly faded out, became a moor and then it dried out, the grass taking over the land. When I was a child, elders were talking about sea breeze blowing from time to time and eerie lights glowing in misty nights. They even said that the house you’ve rented was built on the ruins of a lighthouse, but who knows…Hey, cheers!

The young man smiled and raised his beer.

-Cheers! Thank you for this piece of local history…

-Oh, Joshua Pierce, you old goat! Trying to scare people with your ghost stories…

The voice was of the pub owner’s wife, a sturdy lady with a healthy sense of humor. She shook her head to the old man and then turned to the guest.

-It’s been a while since somebody stood in that house. People usually prefer to live in the village where it’s livelier. But if you need to relax and have peace of mind, you’ve chosen the proper place. I hope you will enjoy staying here. You’re welcome and as you see, Joshua is a tireless supplier of mysteries.

The young man relaxed. The happy noise of the place, the colorful faces, the warm glow of the yellow lights, the spicy taste of the home-made beer, the flickering in the piercing-blue eyes of the old man, they all tangled, swirled, entwined and dimmed the restlessness building up inside him, ever since he….returned from that dream. When he left the pub, the night was already stretching its wings of glittering lights and whispering winds. A bright Crescent Moon was glazing the country road that was crisscrossing through the large meadow. He stood there for a moment and took a deep breath. The air of the night smelled of daisies and poppies, of heated grass, with a tint of…sea.

“This beer was too strong-he decided. I’m already hallucinating.” He nervously shook his head and started the engine, heading for home.

 

She was sitting on the window sill, watching the Crescent Moon. She closed her eyes and listened to the sounds of the night. Shhhh….Shhhh…Shhhh…The sound of waves were faintly audible in the symphony of crickets and nightingales. The moonlight was drawing strange, moving shapes on her eyelids. Deep inside her soul’s chambers the hidden echo was coming to life, sending out waves of calling to the wandering ray of light…Shhh….Shhhh….Shhhh…The Sea of 100 years was gently rocking in a place out of Time. Barefoot, the girl ran along the shore, picking up colorful sea shells. She gathered them in pile under the trees and cleared a spot in the sand. She picked a shell and then another, pressing them lightly into the sand, drawing a growing spiral shape until the last nacreous piece of sea-jewel was set in place. She tilted her head, watching the result. She was pleased by the outcome. She closed her eyes again…and then opened them. She jumped from the sash and hopped into the bed. The first signal was sent out…

The night went on uneventfully and he woke up fresh and in good mood. It was a good start of the day…that lasted until he stepped on a shell on the floor. Surprised, he stepped back and almost fell; he quickly regained his balanced and bent his knees to watch closely the pattern of shells on the floor. It was an open spiral of tiny, colorful sea-shells on the sand that was covering a round spot of the floor. He stood there for moments, eyes glued to the floor, heart pounding wildly in his chest; he held out a hand and touched a small, pink shell…It felt soft and silky; he picked it up, holding it in his palm. It was delicate and rounded like a peach-blossom petal…He looked again to the spiral but while he was studying the little shell, the spiral vanished, leaving no trace on the floor. All he was left was the shell in his hand…He jumped to his feet and turned around, searching for an invisible prankster.

“Hey-he said-this is not funny! What do you want from me? Damn’you!”

He nervously exhaled and left the pink shell on his desk. He forced himself into the daily routine and after a short breakfast, he went out for a walk. It was a cooler day, with a fresh wind running above the grass-tops, pushing the sea of balancing vegetation into a smooth waving. Walking through the undulating green expanse felt like walking into the oncoming waves of the sea…On the shore of that sea there was a spiral of seashells and one piece of it was missing, breaking the harmonious coiling of the pattern…He felt something in his clenched fist; it was the missing shell. He opened his hand and replaced the little shell on her swirl and…somebody was coming. A girl. She was heading right towards him but she seemed oblivious of his presence. She stopped at the spiral and added a few more shells. As she ran her fingers over them, she touched the pink one…She stopped and looked around.

-You’re here somewhere-she said and her voice was warm and soft. I cannot see you but I can feel your presence. I don’t know who you are…I don’t know if you can see me, or hear me at all but I know something: we are both part of…this.

She pointed to the spiral with a small, shy smile on her face then she stood up and ran away, vanishing into light that was blurring the outlines of the shore. A butterfly came into his face and he raised a hand to drive it away…the grass was gracefully rippling in the summer breeze. He returned to the house and the first thing he did was to check for the pink shell on his desk. Just as he expected, it was missing. He bowed his head, then took a soft drink from the cooler and sat to the desk. While his mind was wandering, he kept doodling spiral after spiral on his notepad…

The spiral was turning…turning…opening and expanding….like a swirling galaxy…He touched the faintly glowing center and suddenly, his reality fell into the vortex of light. The travel ended in a room that smelled of childhood memories…with the curtains and shades shunning out the light and his heart, his frightened little heart beating wildly, like a sparrow caught in a fist….The world surrounding him was like a labyrinth of shifting mirrors and trap doors and he was running, running with all his might, just to end up over and over again before the same huge mirror in which his face was floating, stretching, changing and he couldn’t find himself anymore. He screamed in terror but he could not utter a sound; the silent scream was the worst feeling ever….The silence of hopelessness, the silence of defenselessness, the silence of cold indifference, all these silences were surrounding him like huge walls of ice and concrete and he was buried alive, with no one to help him, no one to love him, no one to care…He couldn’t remember when his tears started to fall, drop by drop until they grew into a flow that threatened to flood the whole world…A warm, soft breath tingled his neck and that warmth enveloped him like a blanket of love.

“Ssshhht….don’t cry….I’m here….I’ll never leave you alone…”

He woke up shuddering, with tears smeared all over his face, his palm covering the spiral on the white sheet of paper…In the moment of Times Once Passed, the little boy slept peacefully for the first time after many days and nights of harrowing nightmares. There was no one in the room but he could feel the warm, loving protection of the arms of someone who was whispering in his ears with a soft voice about a star that would always watch over him, a star that was his only…She kept rocking him, until the ghosts of uncertainty vanished, the mirrors and traps disappeared and he could finally face himself in the mirror.

On the white sheet of paper, the spiral has grown and opened like an acquiring galaxy that was gracefully swirling…while new stars danced into her outstretched arms of light. He watched the unfolding of the tiny dots until he realized that from a certain moment, the arms of that feature doubled with another row of star-dots, closely following the curvature of the primary galaxy. The two lines were rushing in pair towards the infinity of Space. By now, if this was meant to be his lifeline, he’s got a companion, one that seemed to be willing to follow him in his journey… That wasn’t quite surprising on the whole; so many strange happenings added up in the latter days…He decided to pick up the challenge, set himself into action and write. After all, writing was his best asset.

-Right-he said loudly. You want to fix my life and so do I. But since it is MY life we are talking about, I will write the script from now on. Watch me!

He grinned and opened the computer. The first words emerged on the screen:

“ As the mist thinned under the rising sun, new features emerged on the shore. Between the high piles of glistening, black rocks there was an intimate little lagoon, with white sands and a few palm trees scattered on the sides. It was a quiet place, with a romantic feeling and the sea was washing this shore with a touch of gentleness. “

 

The morning was opening its gates, releasing the Sun into the world. The first rays quickly spread and the mist covering the land turned pink, then thinned, rising in the warming air. The sea was still calm and quiet, like a lake, only its margins splashing discreetly white froth over the shores of silk. During this timeless night, the scenery changed. Two dark masses of rugged, black rocks were holding a small lagoon inside their arms. It was an oasis of intimacy…Here, the sea rushed in playfully, only to retreat in a hurry, like a child caught red handed, leaving iridescent  sea shells and occasionally, a few stranded starfish. From the top of the high rocky wall a narrow row of stairs leads down to the sands. The top of the cliff is actually a large plateau, covered by long stemmed, yellow-green grass and there is a small, dark forest somewhere in the distance…In the middle of the little lagoon, on the crescent of sands there is a spiral of seashells…

He shut the computer and left the house. On the large plateau opening before him, the long-stemmed, yellow-green grass was swaying in the salty breeze…She was standing on the rim of the plateau, looking down to the small lagoon and smiling. It was such a lovely place, like a warm and dreaming heart hidden deep inside a delicate creature. Her sea-shell spiral was dimly glowing and radiating life, while the wide Ocean was breathing in and out with quiet waves. She descended the steep row of stairs carved in the black rock and ran to the spiral. She sat next to it and closed her eyes; the one connected to her soul was close, very close…As he came and sat on the other side of the spiral, the inner flow of energies connected. The invisible effluvium coming from both sides reached out with delicate fingers, touching, retracting then touching again, until they embraced each other, entwining in a rising fountain of soul-threads, opening into a protective dome above the two of them….

-You made this place so beautiful-she whispered. It’s like you’ve opened your heart and let me in…

-My heart guided my mind when I’ve dreamt this place-he said in a soft voice. I wanted to see you again…How did you find me?

-Your light found me….It reverberated through the stars, touching my inner world…It was like a coming home, like it has never left me…just wandered a bit. So I came here, guided by its echo, hoping to meet you…

-What about the spiral you drew?

She kept thinking for a moment. The spiral was born almost by itself; she had just gathered the shells. It was like an invisible hand guiding her hands in placing the silky petals of the sea in a magic shape.

-It looks like a portal between worlds, or at least it’s how I feel it. It has magic powers over Time and Space…But this one here it’s not my spiral; it is our spiral because it was you who move it here.

He laughed.

-You’re right. It intrigued me from the beginning and I have decided to place it here to see what might come out of it. I also changed the place to get a bit more intimacy. That infinite shore was almost frightening. Hey, I wanted to ask you something.

-Ask –she said with a smile.

-Can you see me?

She shook her head.

-No. But I can feel you and that is all I need. Sometimes the eyes are blind, even if they watch, they cannot really see…I have always seen better with my heart. My feelings never failed me…By the way, can you see me?

-Yes-he said. I have been able to see you from the first moment. I just don’t know why…

-I think it’s because this is a dream that you are dreaming-she said. I came into your dream. Maybe we need more time to see each other as we truly are.

-Perhaps you’re right- he murmured. I’m sure this place is holding its own secrets. Oh, well, we’ll see. Now, would you like to walk with me to the shore?

-Why not?

She stood up and smiled again, turning in his direction.

-Don’t worry, I can feel your presence quite clearly and I won’t get lost as long as we keep talking. I wonder how much the shore has changed….

They walked towards the exit of the little lagoon, leaving two rows of closing footprints in the wet sand. Behind them the spiral was pulsing in the rhythm of two hearts connected….

 

As usual, she was the first to leave, running up the stairs with a faint smile on her face…The following days and weeks they kept meeting, walking and talking on the shore. They even made some additional changes on the features of the world around them. They laughed a lot, swam in the warm waters of the Ocean of memories, built sand castles and watched them vanishing under the touch of the rolling waves…The inner connection that brought them together was strengthening with each moment spent together. They’ve opened secret doors and personal pathways of their worlds as light travelled in and out their vibrant souls…In this timeless place, it was the only thing that counted and made sense.

-My dear, why I are you staying all day long locked in your room?

Her aunt was intrigued and somehow worried by her reluctance to socialize with the other youth in the village. Luckily, she accepted her explanation that she was studying and never checked on her. So, she could step into the River of dreams and run down to the shore, to meet the one who was filling her soul with love and light. Who was him, how he looked, where did he come from each day….it wasn’t important for her. The magic of the emotional connection, the intimacy of the echoes inside were priceless and she was living this dream with the trust that whatever brought them in this place, was watching over them with wings of benevolence wide open…

But tonight she had to go with her aunt to the local pub. Midsummer night was coming and people of the village were organizing the annual celebration; her aunt was an active member of the organizing committee. She couldn’t refuse her; luckily, she told him previously that she won’t be able to meet him this time. Oh, she wasn’t happy at all; she dreaded the usual attempts of the local people to connect het with one or other young man from the village. They were nice people and the youth was funny and friendly but her mind was elsewhere and her heart was already given.

In the depth of the night the spiral is glowing on the sand….The Galaxy of Love is swirling, it’s sizzling arms sending sparks throughout the fabric of Space and Time….In the blazing core of the spiral there’s a sudden move….the flames rise high, like a lotus flower, opening petal after petal in a graceful ballet. The newly born Phoenix is flapping his wings, his long, bright feathers catching the wind. He takes a deep breath and launches itself towards the starry dome arching above him, while the magic of love showers over a sleeping, unsuspecting world….

The pub is full with people and joyful chatter. Midsummer night is an ancient and magic filled celebration. In the treadmill of everyday chores, magic moments are sought by each and every member of the community. Local villagers and tourists seek this place for a three days fun. There will be a local fare with goods and traditional cooking, games and dance, music and a final bonfire. For old pranksters like Joshua Pierce this was the best time to tell his stories over and over again in exchange for a good treat or to simply watch the strangers getting hooked by his tales. And tonight, there is a fresh customer; the young niece of Martha Johnston, a good looking girl, coming from the city. She’s nice and friendly, so Joshua keeps an eye on her, hoping to find a moment to fish some secrets out of her and fill her with some creepy tell-tales.

-Hey, little lady-he croons, trying to get her attention. How come that you came down finally? Your aunt says that you are stuck in the house and not willing to join the youth….

She blushes and laughs.

-Good evening, Mr. Pierce. You need some company?  Has anything weird happened recently in our sleepy little village?

The old man grins.

-If you can get me a beer from the lady of the house, I’ll share some fresh stories with you..

-All right, all right…Wait a little. I’ll be back in a moment.

She takes a beer from the counter and returns to the old man, carefully avoiding some of the local boys trying to catch her. She gracefully sails through the crowd and sits next to the old man. At least, he’s harmless. By now, she’s fed up with all the advances and encouragements she’s got from her aunt and neighbors.

-So, here’s your treat, Mr. Pierce. How are things going with the ghosts around?

The old man takes a sip from the beer and smirks.

-My dear, strange things are happening every day but not everyone can see them. Young people but even the older ones tend to overlook certain signs. But since I have nothing else to do, I keep listening to the whispers of the world….Ehem…

She smiles at him encouragingly.

-And you have witnessed something unusual? I know from the tales that Midsummer Night opens the door for magic…

-Heheh… You’re right. And this year seems to me that we will witness unexpected things…There’s a salty breeze blowing over the plain and strange sounds of the sea in the night. Ey, and there’s this young fellow, a writer who rented the house there…a bit of a recluse, like you, my dear. Just sitting in that old house, writing and walking in the grass….though he came here once or twice and listened to my stories. I am not raving, little lady…He said he could smell the scent of the sea in some evenings….Pity he didn’t come down tonight. I think you would’ve liked him. My guess is that the two of you have something in common…Heheh…

Martha Johnston stopped next to them and gave a small push to the old man.

-Joshua, Joshua….she’s too young to believe your ramblings and you keep her here with you while all the boys around are waiting to take her for a dance. Come on, girl. Leave this old goat to drink his beer. We have finished the organizing; now it’s time for fun. Dance is about to start!

The girl sighs.

-Thank you, Mr.Pierce and good night.

She turns to Martha.

-I’m sorry, auntie but I have a headache. I’ll go home now. No, please. I am not staying but you should stay and enjoy the evening. Maybe some other time I’ll stay to.

And before Martha could utter a sound, the girl smiles gracefully and leaves in a hurry. She cannot see much of the young man she bumps into, as she leaves the pub. She takes her bicycle and heads home without turning her head. But the young man follows her departure in astonishment; the girl of the shore has just run into his arms…

-Hey, my friend!

The raspy voice of the old man brought him back to reality. He turned to Joshua and greeted him.

-It’s a pity you couldn’t come a few minutes earlier. You missed a fine little lady. She’s just your type, heheheh….

The young man gave him an inquisitive look.

-How do you know she’s my type?

-Eh, I was not born this old, my lad. I have an eye for love, huh. Believe me, there’s something the two of you share….

“If only you would know”-sighed the young man inwardly.

-Tell me: who is she?

The old man raised his empty carafe with a smug face.

-I have a sore throat….

The writer laughed and brought him another beer. He took a smaller one and sat next to the story-teller.

-So?

-She’s the niece of that lady there, Martha Johnston. She’s a city girl but she’s friendly and nice. Come to the Midsummer Celebrations! She will be there; she’s helping her aunt. You cannot miss her; don’t miss this chance, young man. There’s a load of lads here lurking around her! Hehehe…

The night is soaring….The black velvet cape covers each gentle curve and sharp crest, each breathing wave, each undulating meadow….There’s a cricket-concerto in the grass and a nightingale leads the music with her soprano. The Moon climbs the stairs of glittering stars until he becomes the High Lord of everything. On his shores of silver, the young Phoenix is resting by now. The invisible world of Lost Shores of Time is preparing the next stage of a love story unfolding…

She got home with the feeling that she just missed something important. But she got fed up with the pub and she didn’t want to dance with any of those pushy youth. Now all she had to do was to “survive” the three days of Midsummer Celebration…She opened the window and sat on the sill. She missed the sea and the shore and yes, she missed him badly….Oh, this was such a bright night! The Moon was bigger than ever, his pull on the world almost tangible. He was the undeniable power that was making the Ocean to run high, in an attempt to touch the one that was troubling her translucent heart. Sitting there, watching the celestial lover spreading magic over his unseen darling, her eyes filled with tears…She felt the sudden yearning crying out from the depths of her soul and, at that moment she wished she could fly. She closed her eyes, shutting out the flood of light, searching for a sign, for an echo, for his soul-print. She found him…incredibly close. Where was he?

The morning opened in a symphony of light, bird songs and wild-flowers fragrance. People gathered in the large, green pasture in the center of the village. The colorful stands were quickly raised and filled with all the goods given by the earth as a gift to the diligent villagers for their hard work. By noon, rows of cars and busses were arriving one after the other and the noisy chatter of excited tourists filled the air, muffling the sounds of Nature. Martha Johnston and her niece were busy arranging the boxes of small, home-made cookies. On a larger plateau, placed in the middle of the counter, the girl created a Sun-wheel made of bright-yellow lemon cookies and flower petals. It was a symbolic feature, celebrating the power of Summer Sun and its life-giving light. Martha placed a large jar with lemon juice and she smiled with content. She threw a short, furtive look to her niece; she was good looking with her shoulder long, copper-brown hair tied in a lose pony tail, her gently tanned skin and her melancholic, dark eyes. Her openness and nice, catchy smile contrasted with the hidden shadows of her eyes. Martha chuckled as their tent was attracting people like a magnet. The fare was a real hit this year…

He stood there, watching the girl, hidden by the constant flow of people thru and fro between the tents, stands and music corners.  Caught in the constant come and go of the customers, she was oblivious of his presence and he was pondering if he should buy something from their stand. He could tell that despite her cheerfulness, her mind was somewhere else. Amazing how she could radiate upon each customer, while the depths of her eyes were drifting towards an entirely different place. He knew where that place was….the loneliness of the un-walked shore was echoing inside him to. Breaking the row of days walking in magic seemed so pointless and cruel. Reality required the body and mind to work together and respond to the ticking of the wind-up clock but the heart was feeling and living on a rhythm of its own, free from any restriction…The words of the old man at the pub were ringing in his mind; yet, he didn’t want to startle her…Suddenly, he wasn’t even sure if she can actually see him. So, he watched her until the flux of customers thinned and she took a break, leaving her aunt at the counter. She left the stand, walking towards a shaded place, a large, solitary linden tree, on the outskirts of the fare. As he followed her at safe distance, neither her, nor others noticed. She sat on the grass, leaning against the tree with eyes shut. He stood next to her, watching quietly…She sighed.

-Where are you?-she whispered. I can feel your presence so close…

-I am here-he said almost inaudibly.

She turned abruptly in his direction, saw him and her pupils dilated in surprise. She just watched him as emotions were washing over her. She was unable to speak. She was trembling inside like a leaf shaken by the tempest….The dams of feelings broke down, leaving the flood to run wildly inside her heart while she was struggling to keep her inner boundaries from falling apart. His heart captured the turmoil of emotions and he bent and lifted her, not taking away, even for a second, his gaze from her eyes.

-You can see me now-he smiled softly. Am I so scary?-he asked playfully. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.

She shook her head and laughed between tears…then, with a deep sigh, regained most of her balance.

-How did you know that I am here?-she asked.

-You almost knocked me off yesterday when you left the pub-he chuckled. That was my moment of being shocked. Then I stood at the table of our friend, Joshua Pierce and he highly recommended you… Oh, if he only knew!

They both laughed and the world filled with light. The old man was sitting atop a pile of empty boxes, with a beer in his hands, watching the unfolding of the scene under the high tree. He smiled inwardly.

“ Good…”.

He hopped down and headed to the stand where Martha Johnston was opening new boxes of fragrant cookies. She has poured coffee for her and her niece in two mugs. Joshua stopped and watched her with a glitter in his eyes.

-Good work, Martha. But I think that you need to fill yet another cup with coffee. Your niece is not coming back alone.

Martha looked at him frowning.

-Go away, Joshua. I’m not falling for your pranks. Shush, you old goat!

-Heheh!-the old man was deeply amused. Can I have some of your delicious cakes, if I’m right?

-You wish but that would not happen, I know! Don’t anger me, Joshua. You know how I keep trying to get this girl out of her shell…But she always finds an excuse to stay at home, while there are so many lovely people of her age around. I am truly concerned for her, so don’t upset me, will you? It’s not funny.

-I am not trying to upset you. See for yourself. She’s coming right now.

Martha watched in disbelief the young couple approaching. Her niece was radiating as she was talking with the young man from the meadow house. They were having eyes only for the two of them…They stopped only when they realized that Martha and Joshua were watching them.

-You knew each other?-asked the aunt, still finding hard to believe her eyes.

-Good day, Mrs. Johnston. Good day, Mr. Pierce.-the young man greeted them. Yes, we knew each other, but we didn’t know that we were in the same place. Let’s say that we had an unusual connection, keeping us close-he added, winking at Joshua. I wanted to ask if I can steal your niece for a while; I’d be happy if she could guide me through the fare.

-Oh, please. Go. Both of you. Go, girl…go, go. I can manage here. Joshua is here to help me. I’m fine!

As the youth left, heading towards the colorful crowd, Joshua turned to Martha.

-Now, can I have my cakes, please?

The day at the fare had been wonderfully crazy and joyful. They tried everything from the carousel to the giant swing, from the Midsummer Tea, with its spicy taste and amber color to the small, hot sausages and fancy looking salads, from strawberry-yoghurt ice cream to the sun-colored lemon cookies. They even visited the tent of the Fortune Teller, one of Martha’s neighbors playing the role of the gypsy-woman. It was the only odd moment of the day, because Susan couldn’t read her crystal ball this time. She kept saying that she cannot see them through it and she became nervous after a while. So they thanked her and left. But there was enough fun left outside, so the incident was quickly forgotten. The next two days became just a well deserved following to this first happy day.

On the night of the second day, he decided to return to his writing. He flipped open the lap-top and thought for a moment, then he started to type.

“ A tall, large lighthouse was rising in the middle of the plateau, with red and white striped walls and a large, diamond-shaped light source on its top.  On the left, at a distance, a few rivulets were crisscrossing the land, rushing towards the rim of the large expanse of land. As they reached the margins, they fell into the space opening bellow in a row of spraying waterfalls. Under the thin veil of shimmering water, the greenery flourished, pending plants creating an alternate curtain above the steep wall of black rocks. Two large caves were hiding their openings behind this refreshing attire. On the soft sanded shore there was a graceful bamboo house, with an open terrace and a few, scattered chairs. Rainbow-colored braided hammocks were swinging, tied to the strange, tall trees that were growing next to the house….”

In the Timeless night of the Lost Shores the lighthouse was sending its sizzling signals to the stars and the Universe. The Ocean was calmly breathing, in and out, in and out….like a huge, magic beast. Candles lit the pathway to the house on the shore….The house was waiting patiently.

Martha could hardly wait to ask her niece about the young man. She could see that the girl was almost floating in the air, being in love. And the young man was nice and, Joshua was right, they looked so much alike….There was a strange aura surrounding them as they walked together, talking, smiling, arguing, laughing….The subtle emotional flow was moving ahead smoothly, like a river that has finally found its acquiring bed.

-So, my girl, what do you intend to do with this young man?

Martha took a serious face, watching her niece that was sitting in the window sill, dreaming in the moonlight.

-I’m going to travel with him…to the stars.

She smiled.

-And I thank you for watching over me with so much care and love. We intend to leave tomorrow night, after the Bonfire. Don’t worry, I’ll send you postcards from each place we stop and I’ll write lots of letters. You’re my adorable auntie and I love you!

-Oh, now that you say it….I wish I could keep you more here with me. But I know that you have to go; it’s your time and your turn for happiness. But promise me, you will write me everything about the two of you. If not, Joshua will chew my head off…

They giggled and hugged. Midsummer Magic has been set in motion. In the house cradled in the arms of the grassy field, the young man was packing up for the departure. He looked around, searching for important things left out but he could find none. The thin lap-top was already placed in the luggage so, whatever novelty he would’ve liked to add to the shore, it would have had to wait. He stretched his limbs, took a cup of that Gold-flower tea bought at the fare and left the house. He sat in the grass, sipping his tea, following the thin strips of clouds sailing the dark waters of the skies. He smiled to the almost full Moon, knowing that the smile will reach the girl sitting in the window of her room.

Nothing unusual happened at the fare on the last day of the celebration. People were excitedly waiting for the bonfire. During the day, girls and women were hurriedly working on colorful wreaths of flowers and moss to be placed around the huge pile of woods. Children were giving to visitors smaller wreaths of wild flowers and everybody was holding candles and bouquets of Vervain, Lavender and St John’s Worth to throw them into the fire. As the light was dimming and darkness was embracing the land, music became loud and sprightly, beer and wine put roses in the cheeks and laughter in the mood. Boys and girls, men and women, young and elderly, boisterous children were gathering around the heap of wood and branches. At midnight, when the invisible meridian passed above them, the Mayor lit the fire.

The orange and crimson blaze quickly rose, swinging, swirling and biting the wood with hungry mouth of high flames. People danced hand in hand, round and round in a frenzy of victorious liveliness. Only one pair of youth was watching the fire from a certain distance; they were both wearing lavender wraths and they were closely following the flames taking shape on the top of the bonfire. The flower of liquid gold opened its petals of flames, releasing the Phoenix. The magic bird turned to the girl and the young man, shook her feathery attire and took flight into the night, heading to the perfect silver circle of the full Moon. The young couple kissed Martha and Joshua and then took the motorcycle to the house of the young man. They left it in the small shed and each of them took a backpack.

-Ready?-asked the young man. His green-blue eyes were softly glowing, lighted up by the inner fire.

The girl smiled at him.

-Let’s go!-she whispered.

Hand in hand, they run down the slightly sloping field until they saw the lighthouse standing tall, its bright rays signaling to the dreaming souls, sailing on the waters of the eternal love and light. They reached the Lighthouse and then descended the steep stairs until they touched the shore. The small, scented candles were lit up and the tips of the warm-yellow flames were dancing in the salty breeze. They followed the pathway until they reached the house that was waiting for them…

-Always…she said.

-Forever…he replied.

On the magic Lost Shore of the Timeless space love was blossoming under the smile of the Moon and the flight of the Phoenix…The Ocean was rolling her waves, filling with laces of white froth the two pairs of footsteps imprinted in the silky sands of her eternal shores.