The Lost Butterfly-illustration

This is an illustration for my novel series “The Lost Butterfly”. It’s drawing on paper in color pencil, wax crayons and oil pastel.

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Moon Story-Myths of a new world (ch.1)

MOTTO:

I am the Ocean, wild and restless….Passionate and tumultuous….running from shore to shore, embracing coasts and sands….lighted up by my bold lighthouses….Goddess…Cradle….Lost in love between the Land and the Moon

Land-god: Adanes

Ocean-goddess: Eneys

Moon-goddess: Selurys

River god: Joren

River goddess: Janysse

Forest goddess: Shantania

Mountain-god: Gormell

Sun-god: Arauss

Wind-gods: Walcor

Animal kingdom: Faunes

Plants: Floriesse

There was a time when the planet was just a barren bulge of rock rolling around the sun, followed closely by its equally dull companion, the Moon. The surface of the Earth was dull-brown, cracked and dusty and the grey moon in its skies was much closer than nowadays.

In the eerie silence of the hollow space surrounding this odd pair, Time was monotonously flowing and there was no sign that things would change anytime close. Oh, but that was just an illusion! As soon as the news of an untouched and hopeful planet spread through the Universe, fleets of young and bold gods took their course towards the planetary system. They were coming from different corners of the stellar vastness, their knowledge gained and polished throughout many other such challenges. There were land-gods and water-gods, air-gods and moon-gods, ice-gods and fire-gods, wind-gods, forest and plain gods, star-gods, thunder gods, rain gods and everything imagination could bring to life. They came in various shapes and size, greeting each other as old friends. Soon, the Earth was undergoing huge changes and some of these creative young spirits were ready to call this new planet: home.

The excitement and the hardship of the challenges of reshaping of the planet brought some of the gods and goddesses close and love took flight in blaze under the new skies. The mighty Adanes, leader of the land-shaping gods had no eyes but for Eneys, the skillful goddess of the planetary ocean. They quickly teamed-up and while the young man was putting all his strength into rising rows of towering mountains, the graceful young woman was bringing the blue waters up to the rim of the land, washing the shores, smoothing the lines, filling them with soft, silken sands and colorful pebbles.

On the land, Joren, the River-god and his sweet-heart, Janysse, the River-goddess were running free, sometimes alone, sometimes together, cutting deep in the flesh of the rock, creating steep or large valleys, jumping on boulders, falling in sprinkling, splashing, roaring cascades….Their children, crystal clear springs, glittering streams, boisterous rivulets were crisscrossing the land in an huge life-giving web.

To keep close to his loved one, Adanes raised islands inside the swaying expanse of blue-green oceanic waters while Floriesse, goddess of the Vegetal Kingdom adorned them with lush greenery and exotic flowers. Then came Faunes, god of the Animal Kingdom and filled the branches with colorful, noisy birds and under his artful touch, some of the flowers took flight, becoming butterflies. Enchanted by the beauty of these unexpected gifts, Eneys’ heart was flooded by her love for Adanes and she rolled the frothing waves around the islands, building magic underwater gardens below their shores.

As the final touch of creation was done upon the planet, the gods and goddesses gathered on the top of the highest mountain to celebrate and to enjoy the fruits of the land.

-What a beautiful work we did, my friends!-exclaimed Shantania, the forest goddess. I’ve never felt so inspired like I felt here! I’ve loved to dress up in greenery your bold heights, Gormell-she continued with a charming smile towards the giant god of the mountains. I raise this cup of wine to all of you!

-Cheers!!!

Lying lazily on his comfortable chair, the Sun-god was shaking his head in slight disapproval. He made a grimace as he took a sip from his glass ….

-Yeah, you’re right Shantania. This place looks great now! But that dull piece of rock following this magnificent planet is annoying. It spoils the harmony of the entire neighborhood; it’s lifeless, colorless and hopeless…I wish it didn’t exist!

-Don’t be so cruel, Arauss!-exclaimed Eneys, distraught by the harsh judgment upon the poor little moon. It’s too small to contain life but I think it’s still a lovely companion for the planet.

The other gods laughed and that just spilled oil on the fire; the Sun-god got angry. He was a temperamental guy, usually joyful and nice but on a short fuse. He jumped to his feet and trashed his glass.

-I could send that useless pebble to the outskirts of the system!!!

-Don’t. You. Dare.

The voice saying this was something between a hiss and a growl, instantly sending shivers on the spine of the audience. They all turned towards the newcomer and so did Arauss. The Sun-god was about to deliver a shattering reply but as he faced the stranger, he reddened and swallowed his fury.

-Oh, I see….It’s you…-he muttered.

The shortness of his response left everyone stunned. They weren’t used to see the flamboyant young man stepping back from a confrontation. Who was this stranger anyway? The gods watched it with unhidden curiosity.

The young woman standing before them was tall and slender, an androgynous appearance. She was wearing a dark blue velvet tunic and slim pants and her black hair was braided in a complicated coiffure. But the most astonishing, even disturbing feature was her face: it was half black, half silver-white and the almond shaped eyes were matching the opposite colors. From the black half, the eye of liquid silver was watching them coldly, piercingly while the night black eye of the silver side had a warm but melancholic look. The woman bowed politely towards the audience.

-I salute you-she said and this time her voice was deep and soft. Let me introduce myself: I’m Selurys and Arauss is my step-brother. I came here to change the fate of the modest companion of this planet.

In a spur of a moment everyone surrounded her, talking excitedly, offering her treats and wine and a place at the table of gods. Though he stood morose at first, Arauss reconciled after a while with the presence of his step sister and the feast went on joyfully.

-I’m glad that she came to give a chance to the little moon!-said Eneys, her wide turquoise eyes twinkling happily. She seems to be a nice person.

She cuddled in the arms of her husband and Adanes laughed, squeezing her lovingly.

-You have a wonderful heart, my darling. By the way: I’ve tried to get some information about Selurys from her brother but I think that Arauss is already drunk because he mumbled something about her being a trickster or some kind of a magician.

-She looks strange but I remember my grandmother telling us stories about some elusive gods of light, called “tellurians”. It came to my mind the moment I saw her. I don’t care if she’s going to perform tricks or magic as long as she can keep the moon safe from her brother’s rage! Arauss can be so annoying sometimes…

-I’m sure she will-chuckled Adanes, kissing Eneys. Don’t worry! Let’s go dance!

Late that night, Eneys was peacefully sleeping in the arms of her love, under the dome of sparkling stars. The planetary ocean was gently rocking from shore to shore, the night breeze playfully ruffling its glossy surface. All the gods were resting except for one.

From her vantage point, Selurys was watching the world. She held up a hand, her long, graceful fingers moving in a slow, mysterious dance until a bluish white light sparked on her fingertips. Selurys caught that luminescence, rolled it carefully in both palms and then, with a swift gesture she spread it over the world bellow. Minutes later the light reached the surface of the ocean, making it translucent for the fraction of a moment. Selurys was watching intensely, searching for something hidden in the liquid abyss. When she finally spotted it, she nodded and left the place with a small sigh.

Up in the skies, not so far from the planet, the silent moon was waiting for her.

Standing in the middle of the dull-grey plain, the young goddess was spinning round and round, her long, silver streaked black hair flowing in the air like a magic veil. Black and white, black and white…the two-faced goddess was turning with arms raised to the skies…Black and white, black and white….

Mesmerized by her spinning, stars were leaving their places one by one, gathering in an enchanted flow, spreading, crashing to the ground with the sound of a million crystal bells…Swoosh! Selurys was turning and the velvet canopy trembled and stars were falling like the rain…Swoosh! The Goddess turned and the glow draped her in a silver cocoon…Swoosh! She kept turning as millions of shards and star-splinters were sinking deep in the soft dust…

Black and white, black and white…Selurys was dancing, swirling, while under her feet, graceful dandelions erupted, turning the plain into a swaying ocean of silver globes. When the last dusty grey spot was covered in silver white, the goddess stopped to catch her breath. The surface of the moon was gleaming and glittering in the milky light.

With a faint smile on her face, Selurys left the bright side of the moon and turned her attention towards the one hidden in the shadow. This side was eternally facing the star-specked darkness of the Universe and light could not survive on its surface. Nonetheless, the moon deserved beauty on both its sides so Selurys traced a few magic signs in the dust and slowly blew air over them.

A shiver ran across the dark land and the rocky crust seemed to waver…then cracked. Tall, dark stems were rising one by one from the cracks, bearing clusters of glossy, black flower bells. The thin, cold air was filling with sweet scents and tiny, silver-spotted black butterflies were flying up and down the dark plain. The work was done; the Moon, faithful friend and follower of the Earth was shining in full glory. Exhausted but happy, Selurys lay down and fell asleep. The Gates of Dawn were soon opening and Arauss was ready to give the start of a new day.

Eneys was wondering if Selurys has managed to do anything for the little moon. It was impossible to get a glimpse of it in broad daylight; Arauss was the undaunted master of the skies for now and all she could do was to wait patiently till the end of the day. Eneys sighed and turned her attention to the rolling waves of emerald and blue. A family of dolphins was splashing playfully, cutting the waves and the goddess of the Ocean joined them with a smile. She summoned a foam horse and led him towards the glowing horizon. The early wind sprayed the salty water into her face and covered her into a shimmering cloak of mist. The galloping of the Sea Horse ended as he reached the soft sands of the shore of a small but spectacular island.

It was one of Eneys’s favorites, with two high pointed peaks and lush forests. She jumped quickly off her horse’s back and run happily along the shore, splashing the water under her feet…..

A large and dark butterfly crossed her path and gracefully sat on her left shoulder. Eneys halted her run and held out her arm, inviting the butterfly to walk into her palm. It was a beautiful creature, with glossy black wings spotted with silver specks….like the night skies. The goddess was amazed; she has never seen such a butterfly before. Yet somehow this fragile creature looked familiar and Eneys was wondering where that feeling was coming from….

-You like my butterfly, Ocean Goddess?-asked a velvety voice behind her.

Eneys turned swiftly and faced the tellurian goddess. Selurys was looking at her with head slightly tilted.

-Your butterfly is beautiful-said Eneys. Now I know why it felt so familiar; it resembles you in both colors and grace. How is the moon doing?

-You’ll see it tonight-said Selurys with an enigmatic smile. You’re invited to visit. The butterfly was meant to be my messenger but then I decided to join you. Would you show me around the island? It’s been a while since I’ve talked with someone….We, the tellurians we are regarded as some oddities by the other gods-she added with a grin.

Eneys shook her head and smiled.

-I would be delighted to show you everything you’d like to see. Come, let’s take this path through the forest; there’s a beautiful waterfall at the end of it and a passageway to the Ocean that only I know.

Selurys bowed courteously and followed the turquoise eyed goddess. Soon, the curtain of greenery closed behind the two young women as they delved deep inside the sanctuary of the tropical forest.

As one footstep followed another, connection blossomed with every word the two young goddesses were exchanging. Like leaves opening one after another on the growing vines thirsty of sunlight, the ongoing conversation was constantly growing and entwining, opening new doors and paths inside the soul of each of them. By the time they reached the remote waterfall, they were both feeling like they knew each other since the beginning of times. The sudden bond was rooted somewhere so deep that they were oblivious where it lied. So when Eneys reached for Selurys and took her by the hand to show her the entrance to the underwater cave, the slim fingers closed in a familiar hold.

-Look down, Selurys!-whispered Eneys, excitement filling her sweet voice. Do you see that light in the depth?

Selurys scrutinized the shadow-filled hollow at their feet and she spotted the bluish patch of light.

-What is there?-she asked.

Eneys playfully shook her head, her long blue-green strands floating in the air and she gave a short laughter.

-There’s a row of stairs leading there. That, my dear tellurian, is my Secret Garden. It’s the place where my foolish heart is hiding to dream and I don’t know why, but I feel like showing it to you. Something tells me that you won’t laugh of me. Come!

The row of stairs was narrow and slippery, the air was damp and cold while the light was scarce in the high cave. But that dimness was not a problem for the eyes of the tellurian goddess; she was a child of Shadow and Light and she was more comfortable here than under the blazing of his brother’s sun. As they stepped off the stairs, the scenery opened before their eyes. It was a shore, a sky and an Ocean inside the planetary Ocean. An unexpected sighting. A personal area. The glow was seemingly coming from an invisible source or maybe the light was encompassed in each grain of sand, in each drop of water and each breath of air. It wasn’t the light of a sun but an inner radiance.

The sand was smooth and silky, the waves gentle and the breeze was soft and scented. Eneys and Selurys sat on the shore, quietly talking. With a few swift moves of a hand, the Ocean Goddess was building ephemeral cities of water while Selurys was sending clusters of silver spotted butterflies to fly around the translucent towers and bridges. Another gesture and the cities were crumbling just to make place to floating islands or fantastic water creatures. The velvet butterflies were gathering and splitting in complicated ballets and the two young dreamers were laughing joyfully.

-It’s getting late and I have to go-said Eneys with an apologizing smile. Adanes will soon return from the continent.

-It’s time for me as well-chuckled Selurys-or I’ll miss my appointment with the Moon. Take your loved one and watch the sky tonight!

They rushed back to the cave, taking the stairs in a hurry. Behind them, the radiance of the Secret Shore was fading. Only the soft, ivory sand was still holding the memory of the two rows of footprints…

The night embraced the world, softening the sounds and effacing contours. On the high dome of the skies the twinkling chandeliers of stars were lighting up one by one. No one was sleeping on the planet. As Eneys spread the word, gods and goddesses, nymphs and naiads and other magical creatures were gathering in excitement, watching the sky.

The wheel of stars was slowly turning when a new light glazed the rim of the horizon. The silver glow gradually spread, conquering more and more of the dark waters of the heights. A thin slice of a white disk emerged beyond the horizon and the stars retracted from its way. All murmurs died on Earth as everyone was holding breath.

One smooth push and the Moon sailed into the ocean of dark above, showering the planet in silver light, casting an eternal spell upon every corner of it, upon every living creature, upon every dreaming soul. Standing in the middle of her dandelion field, Selurys enjoyed the flow of awe mounting towards her. She searched the faces for the one she felt close and there she was! Eneys was riding her carriage of dolphins and she was leading the waves of the ocean towards the light that was falling from above. The waves were rising higher and higher, their fingers of foam reaching to the Moon and the people of mermaids and mermen were riding the rolling waters, saluting the new jewel of the night sky. Eneys stopped and bowed with a smile before Selurys, her green eyes shining like emerald, reflecting the moonlight. Selurys returned the smile and with a spin, released the seeds of the silver dandelions to fly. Millions of tiny sparks filled the air, landing in a slow and graceful swirl on the planet bellow. By the time Eneys reached the island where Adanes was waiting for her, a delicate veil of silver dandelion seedlings was covering her long, blue-green hair.

-You look like a bride, my dear with this flower veil-said Adanes teasingly and kissed her. You’re the Moon bride, I might say….

-It’s beautiful, isn’t it?! The Moon.

Eneys was truly excited by the splendor of the planet’s companion.

-I must admit that Selurys has performed nothing less of a miracle with that seemingly hopeless boulder- boomed the voice of Arauss from his chair hidden in the shadows.

-I have invited our friend to join us tonight-said Adanes to the Ocean Goddess. He wasn’t in the mood for the crowd.

-Good evening, Arauss!-said Eneys, embracing their guest. You seem to be impressed by your sister’s work. May I ask then why do I feel that there’s some bitterness between the two of you?

Arauss sighed.

-It’s not easy to talk about. The Clan of the Tellurians is a strange and challenging one. Whoever lets them in its life can be sure to live through the heights of joy and the depths of misery. They can vanish without a trace and without explanations, leaving you empty and devastated. That’s what happened to my beloved father; one day he woke up to an empty bed and was left with a troubled little girl that never fitted in our Court life. Selurys has remained an oddity despite our father’s best efforts. Not that I was of any help. I was too cocky to accept her and to defend her in front of my friends. She left the Palace as soon as she became of age and since that, we never crossed path.

-She’s very creative and I think she likes me. Despite the appearances, we seem to have a lot in common as points of interest-said Eneys cheerfully.

-And I can understand if she has fallen under your spell-chuckled Adanes. Who wouldn’t? –he asked with a blink.

-Just keep in your mind that she’s a natural charmer, Eneys-warned Arauss. But who knows; maybe your charm will prove more powerful and you will tame her.

Walk a Dream-waking up in someone else’s dream

Chapter 5.

“ If  this is a dream, I don’t want to wake up anymore!”-she thought, walking slowly, hand in hand with the slender young Magician.

When the echo of the last word died off her mind, she felt an unusual tickling through her body. With a soft crack, something invisible peeled off her entire being and she breathed more easily after.

-You successfully shed your first layer of armor, my dear…-said the young man, smiling at her.

The girl was puzzled.

-What armor?-she asked.

-An armor is your protective wall, one that shelters the soft inner core from the claws of unfriendly reality.

-I see….-murmured the girl. Do you wear an armor too?-she asked, half serious, half teasingly.

-I am an armor-he replied swiftly, showering her with another of his radiant smiles.

-Oh!-she exclaimed, worry echoing in her voice.I wouldn’t want you to break like my armor did!

His eyes sparkled in amusement.

-Don’t worry! I won’t! I am both an armor and a piece of the core. And I am not the only one.

“ This is getting more and more interesting…”-thought the girl, breathing in the refreshing air of the forest. The mix of scents and the taste of the mist in her mouth filled her with an eerie sensation. She kicked off her shoes, leaving them behind and she walked barefoot in the cooling azure grass. Her feet recognized the pathway, herskin remembered the touch of this place. She yelped as the surge of emotion washed over her and she started to run, leaving the Magician behind.

  The forest thinned before her and the grass blades under her feet merged into à rivulet flowing to an unknown destination. She splashed joyfully the clear water, running breathlessly till the young man caught her from behind, lifting her up in the air. The forest ended abruptly and they flew over the now bubbling river that was falling in a spray of rainbows in the abyss below.

-This was close!-chuckled the Magician, landing on a cliff. You’re quite surprising sometimes! Now- he continued, raising his magic wand-we have one more task to complete tonight.

 Writing a sign in the air, he changed the scenery. Night fell upon the land and a pathway was shining before us in the air, leading into the distant depth of the darkness. Each tile of the road was à star and when touched, it gave à musical sound. The Magician turned to me, invitingly.

-Come!-he said, sparks filling his dark eyes. Let’s go! Don’t be afraid.

He made a few steps, to show me that the path was solid and safe. With heart beating in my throat, I followed him.The sound rising under my feet reverberated in the space all around, like wind-chimes. But  he was  walking faster than me so I hurried after him, creating a whole surge of sounds entwining,rolling, echoing in and out, sending shivers all over my body. With a soft crack, my next layer of armor shattered, leaving me floating in the air, weightless….I kept flying in the sound of wind-chimes, while the stars of the pathway turned into fireflies, filling the space with strange, greenish light.They swirled and zigzagged in the air, showing me the way. Before me, the Magician was a shooting star, with a long trail of blaze.

-We’ll meet again!-he shouted, before fading.

I was alone, flying  into the unknown…….I woke up with mixed feelings, sprawled in my bed, arms wide open. The elation of the flight was undeniable and the sight had been magical.I had a twinge of sorrow for losing so early my companion of wandering. I tried to recall his face, but his features were already fading from my memory. But there was one thing I couldn’t forget: his smile, coming from inside.

      His smile was coming from inside…me.

The Invisibles-Chapter 9.

-We have to use this summer to train for the assault against Asterius. His guards are powerful and loyal to him and they have also ferdogs that can inflict lethal wounds during the fight-stated Satoru at the meeting of the community.

-I could train more Shadowcats till then!-offered Galen, a tall and lean Changer, with feline features. They are not afraid of the ferdogs.

-I will pick a team of helpers and we will teach the fight techniques to anyone willing to join-added a bulky man. My friend Ogren has already volunteered!

Satoru nodded approvingly.

-Great! I agree with these action plans but we must keep in mind that things might end up nasty t and the ones left here in the forest camp must be protected. For now, the training will be the first stage of the preparations. But we need to find a way to get inside the Citadel unnoticed. I need every person to come forward with its idea, no matter how improbable-sounding one and share it. There has to be a weak point in the protection of the city even after the measures ordered by Asterius!

~~~~~

Up in the Citadel, the High Commander of the White Guards was overjoyed by the success of his play put in action. It reached a shocking, bloody end, delivering a hard blow to both his enemies: those who were helping the Invisibles and the Silver Tree. It muffled even the discontent inside the Council of Elders where Asterius knew that he had some opponents. But no one knew that he was slowly damaging the Silver Tree to determine it to grow a seed, one that he would then plant and manipulate for his purposes. His loyal followers, the Guards under his command and his nephew, Rolf Asterianus, they all looked up at him as to the savior of the Citadel.

He smirked at the thought of his future power and poured himself a glass of heavy red wine.

-Cheers…to me!-he said to his reflection in the window glass. Beware, you crippling and you, monsters! Your days are soon to be cut short….

But while Asterius was celebrating his victory, Satoru and the outcasts were busy in creating the plan of the attack. Savian’s thorough knowledge of the Citadel was of great help and they were searching every inch of the white walls to find the weak points. The data gathered through the air mail brought by the pigeons was used to create the map of the White Guardians’ shifts. The pressure of time was almost tangible; the great damage suffered by the Silver Tree was raising the question of how much it will resist and how its demise might affect the land and every living thing. There was nothing similar described in their known history and people were fearing the worst. Cora was keeping in touch with the Silver Tree in her dreams, the only time when the Tree, being alone, was confident enough to communicate with her.

And even then, the dark shadow threatening its life was present somehow.

“It’s killing my Tree…”-cried the little, fluffy Spirit. It came today and poured some horrible thing in the water! He said: -You have no escape! This is killing you bit by bit but not before you finish your work! Then the seed will be mine!”

“But who is he?!” -exclaimed Cora.

“Oh, he’s a horrible, horrible person….My Tree is so afraid…You must hurry! I don’t know how much it can resist!”

“Tell the Tree we are almost ready but we need to find the way to get in!”

“ Hurry up…….Pleeease…..-veiled the Spirit, fading inside the red mist.

Cora woke up exhausted and thoughtful. So much to do, so little time for it!

~~~~

The Silver Tree took the message and decided to help with its last remaining strength. All it needed was to finish the silver shell for the Seed and then, dig deep into the ground, find the buried roots of the Moon-thorn bushes and revive them. After Avik’s escape, Asterius ordered people to set the bushes on fire and clear the space next to the walls. But these ancient vegetal monsters had roots far deeper than anyone expected and the Tree sent his last drops of life-giving energy to them. Waking up from their sleep, they responded to the appeal and began to dig their way upward. They grew and grew, extending their strong roots under the walls, until they formed a vegetal network under the Citadel’s protection. All they needed was a moonless night and the signal of the Silver Tree. This was the final message, Cora received in her dream and this was the breakthrough they were waiting for. Soon, it would be the long awaited night and the army of Invisibles and their allies was ready to face the enemy.

The night before the attack, Cora and Satoru found themselves teeming with things unsaid, emotions unshared and confessions delayed for too long. The air was dense around them as they sat on the steps outside the house, hands clutched on the cup of linden flowers tea. Finally, Satoru broke the silence.

-I don’t know how things will work out tomorrow….so I wanted to say something-he said, his voice stranded by emotion.

He stopped for a moment turning to Cora and gently ran his fingers through her hair.

-You are the most beautiful and amazing girl that I have ever seen. I look at you and I can’t believe I am not dreaming. I think I’m in love with you….So, if we manage to safely return tomorrow, would you stay with me…forever?

Overwhelmed, Cora swallowed hard before answering. She set aside the cup and put her arms around the young man’s neck.

-I cannot see myself otherwise but by your side….-she whispered.

He held her close, lovingly…. Up in the skies, night unfolded its wings of stars, shimmering in the magical rhythm of love.

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.

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 LAND INSIDE

INTRO:    I have always dreamed of leaving the city behind. I was born and raised in the city but somehow this yearning for losing myself in the open arms of Nature was like a seedling of light that has taken roots inside me from the very early moments of my life. I love and admire the results of human endeavor, the city is comfortable and beautiful and humanity has reached the stars…So why am I so desperate to run and follow the wind on the hills? Why do I miss so badly to walk in the morning dew, in the sea of slowly waving grass, under the dim light of early suns? Why do I need the silent breath of the exhaling land to hide me in the cooling autumn days? What is this creature inside me that feels so caged and who’s rattling the irons of the limiting body? Somebody is sharing with me this fragile shell, somebody’s heart is beating inside mine…Like a butterfly, grown out of its chrysalises, I am struggling to free my wild self and let it fly. So yes, I am closing the door of clear cut lines and precisely set boundaries and I am opening the gates to the unknown. I see nothing before me…but I can feel the call of open spaces and of the high skies above. I’m not a pointless wanderer; there is something, someone in that distant horizon calling out, signaling and the Universe reverberates that call, hoping for an answer…

 

In a world of touchable realities, you need sometimes a protective disguise. An inner world of wildly galloping fantasies is not exactly something to put on display. A person defying well rehearsed and widely accepted role-sets would need a deceptive appearance until it would find the sought freedom.  So, dressed up as a young man, with a backpack loaded with all I might need, I travelled to the remote mountain area where a small cabin was waiting for me. It was situated near the land of Natives and I hoped to get in touch with them and learn their way of harmonious relation with Nature.

Summer is crisp in the mountains and the steep pathway slippery. I climbed for hours through the dense forest, following the narrow road made mostly for deer and mountain goats. Occasionally, I slipped over the lax terrain covered by crawling herbs, the rock slide rumbling down the slope into the abyss I’ve left. My heart was pounding in my chest, I was gasping for breath, silently cursing my need for adventure…Oh, well, city girl on the track…But the place had an undeniable charm with the light filtering through the green canopy in playful dots…There were singing birds orchestrating the symphony of dawn and buzzing, colorful insects warming up in their dance in the light. I laughed off my annoyance and took the road with renewed energy. It paid; soon, the forest thinned and I reached the plateau.  The rock expanded in a generous balcony reaching above the valley bellow. The sound of the rushing river was faintly echoing to this height. The horizon stretched abruptly into a panoramic vision of the entire place. The sun was steadily climbing the ladder of skies, soaking up the thin strands of vapor floating above the land below. I turned to see the cabin; it was there, guarded by the last piece of soaring cliff and the forest that was following me closely. Mission accomplished.

I was waiting for the night. Living in a city deprives you of the real magic of the night skies. The lights we have created are robbing the mysterious beauty of the galactic display. City dwellers seldom look at the skies, even during the day. As I reached adolescence, the feeling of being caged became tangible and so was the need to leave the cocoon. My first encounter with the night skies happened in a remote country side. It was true awe….All the stars came to this first encounter and ever since then, we kept connected. So, here I was…ready to renew the magic.

As the sun was plunging in the thin layer of mist outlining the horizon, the shadows of the night begun their steady crawl to the heights, pushing aside the latest glimpses of light. From cracks and crevices, underneath rocks and boulders, long, spidery shapes of darkness emerged, climbing higher and higher until they conquered the plateau. The bright azure deepened into ink-blue then the darkness wiped out the color of the skies and the night begun. One by one, the Universe lit up its diamond candles and the invisible hand of magic filled the arching infinity with bright patches, blazing swirls and crisscrossing constellations. The cool breath of the land was rising from the dormant valley, carrying the scent of heated grass, wildflowers and spicy resins. Silence blanketed the surroundings and for a moment I had the feeling that I could hear the distant sound of buzzing galaxies. It was there…a faint thud, a mysterious rhythm, like a heartbeat echoing through the star-dust filled corridors of Space…Tadam…tadam…tadam…The whole wide Universe was like a living organism, with light rushing through its veins.

-It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

The voice asking me was deep and pleasant. I almost jumped off the cliff; I quickly turned to see who was speaking but my eyes met only the darkness.

-I’m sorry-the voice was slightly apologetic. I didn’t mean to startle you…

I breathed out heavily and regained my voice.

-Where are you?

-You cannot see me-came the swift answer. At least not yet. But I am sitting next to you.

-Oh..k…-I said and sat back on my spot.

-So-the voice asked again. How do you like it?

I thought for a moment, searching for the words…The opening perspective was shimmering in the light, mist was breathing, moving, waving over the land sleeping bellow. I felt lighter and for a fraction of a moment, I lost the physical contact with the plateau…I shook my head in disbelief.

-It’s…even more beautiful than I expected.

We sat a few moments in silence; I was wondering who was the one speaking under the cloak of invisibility.

-The Moon is about to rise-said again the voice.  Let me show you something before I leave. Look here.

There was a faint rustle in the grassy spot between the two of us and a small ball of glow emerged from the tangled vegetal strands. It hovered for a moment above the place, then spread into a sheen of light while the ground below it rose into a miniature replica of the surrounding mountain range and the forest covering it. I was stunned by the details of the image, the texture of the canopy, the glitter of the river that was rushing deep inside the steep valley.

-Now-said my companion with a tint of amusement in the voice. I have followed your journey to the plateau…

-You did?!-Suddenly I felt a bit embarrassed, remembering my occasional clumsiness.

-Oh, I surely did. I was afraid at one moment that you would bring down the whole slope, so I thought to highlight the safer paths to the local communities for you. Watch this!

I felt a slight movement above the magic map and dots of light appeared, marking the roads and the areas inhabited by the Native clans. I followed their pattern attentively, trying to memorize all.

-I’ll help you remember these. You have to let me touch you…don’t jump up again, please.

I froze and instinctively closed my eyes; there was a light touch of a hand on my forehead. It was…humanly warm. The image of the map transferred in my mind while the warmth of those invisible fingertips ran through my veins, spreading in my body. I relaxed and opened my eyes. At that moment, a bright flash crossed the skies.

-Wow! A shooting star!-I exclaimed.

-Make a wish-said the voice.

The answer just stumbled out my mouth.

-I wish this night would never end…

-Granted, stranger-came the reply. See you tomorrow night!

Whoever it was, it disappeared in an instant. I knew it…the place next to me felt suddenly very empty. Though the presence of this elusive, magic entity had been almost imperceptible, once gone, the void it left behind became disturbingly tangible. The thin, silver crescent of the Moon hopped above the horizon and the display of stars begun to fade. Ruler of the night skies, Master of magic and dreams, the celestial traveler took his place on the black velvet and sparkled. I bowed before him and went to sleep.

 

The lighthouse was slowly decaying on the empty shore. Its entrance door was rusting under the corrosive bite of Time and the sea that once soothed the heart of the lonely tower was gone beyond the dark-grey horizon. The sky was ashen and the clouds were hanging like old veils torn by the claws of an ancient sea-monster. This was a place forgotten and un-loved, a space that was barren and, by now, seemingly pointless. I stood there, facing the display of hopelessness, listening to the veiling of the old metal door shaken by the erratic gush of wind.

-This lighthouse needs a heart-whispered the already familiar voice.

A heart? I felt a surge of deep sadness inside me and I woke up in bed.

 

The sun was already high in the translucent ocean of azure when I took the path through the forest. I was heading towards the Hogan of an elderly wise man, hoping to find some answers and to learn about the herbs and animals of this area. The map imprinted in my mind the previous evening was guiding my steps, each bush or dense of trees becoming familiar and soon, I found myself at the entrance of a beautiful tunnel of vegetation. The entwined row arching above my head was leading to the clearing. Through its luminous greenery, the warm light was falling in a delicate gold dust. I ran down through this magic pathway and stopped to hold my breath in the wide opening.

Old Joseph Grey Wolf was sitting on a log, sorting dried herbs for teas and treatments. He knew I was there, before I could open my mouth.

-Come closer, young lady-he said. Have a seat.

I blushed and swallowed down my embarrassment. I sat next to him and we faced each other with undisguised curiosity. He had an interesting face, wrinkled and burned by the sun of many summers. Yet the eyes were ageless: bright, piercing, challenging. Dark brown. Like mine. He studied me swiftly, with a small smile in the corner of his inquisitive eyes.

-How did you know? –I asked.

-A bird told me that we have a light-footed guest coming this way…

I laughed; he was right. Suddenly, I felt liberated from all my fears and my disguise became obsolete and…stupid.

-Grandfather, I have some questions bothering me. I came hoping that you can help me sort them out…

The old man stood up, brought out two cups from his house and poured some tea. He handed out one to me and sat down.

-If you want to ask me about your visitor, all I can tell you for now is that you have to be patient. In time you will learn enough about this spirit to answer your own question. Is there anything else bothering you?

I sighed; the dream was still fresh in my memory.

-I had this strange dream about a lonely shore and a deserted lighthouse…It felt so sad…Does this dream have any meaning?

Grey Wolf shook his head thoughtfully.

-Everything has a meaning if you know how to read the signs. That empty shore is the land of sacrificed dreams; it’s that sad because each time we give up on our dreams, we die a bit from inside…until there is nothing left but the bitterness of a wasted, dull life. There are so many such shores in this world…

-Is that shore my life?

The old man smiled at me.

-That is for you to find out. Remember, the land inside is a reflection of the world outside. You have to give life to that land and you have to find the light that will shine upon it. Listen, see and learn. The answers are both inside and around you. Now go home, Blue Flower. The night is waiting at your door.

We shook hands and I thanked him for his words. Somewhere, deep inside I was feeling a grain of light moving. Though the way home was uphill, I took the steep path easily. I reached the house, fixed something to eat and boiled some water for a tea. Grey Wolf has packed me up with fragrant wild-flower mixes. I prepared the tea and waited for the night to set in. Would my invisible friend show up?-I wondered…

The night unfurled its flag of shadows and darkness while the dome of the skies lit up in blaze. I was sitting under the stars when I heard the voice I was waiting for.

-You’re early I see. Good evening, stranger.

I laughed sensing the relaxed amusement of the voice.

-Would you like a tea?-I asked.

-Yes, why not.

I took my courage to push the conversation further. I poured the tea and placed the cups between us. This time, the voice chuckled and I already knew what was behind that laughter.

-I’ve never had tea with a ghost so I wasn’t quite sure if you drink-I said with a smile.

-I’m not more of a ghost than you-the voice replied. I am a person.

-Then why can’t I see you?

There was a brief moment of silence before I got the answer.

-Because you have to learn to see. Looking at something with your eyes doesn’t mean that you really see it. You have to go beyond that.

-Hmmm… you might be right. Old Grey Wolf told me the same: listen, see and learn. And he knew about your visit to.

-Grey Wolf is a dear friend of mine. He knows a lot about me….

The cup of tea rose in the air and my invisible companion took a sip.

-Uhm, good. Wild Thyme and pepper mint…He gave you my favorite mix.

I blushed and I silently thanked the old man. Somehow, I wanted to make my elusive guest feel good. I had come here in the middle of nowhere to escape from the pressure and noise of the city and human crowd. Yet, the moment this spirit left me alone I realized that all beauty seemed pointless if you couldn’t share that elation with someone…close to you. And to make things even more unusual, I was having this feeling of mutual connection with this… person after only one encounter. The warmth of that touch from the previous night had unchained my soul…

-So, why are you here? –I tempted a question.

-It’s my favorite spot to watch the Stars. And you…Why are YOU here?

Though I was prepared to hear this question, I was unsure what to answer.

-Huh…Let’s see. I felt caged and restless living in the city. I came here hoping to find my way, the real one. I have lived too long according to others’ expectations. I was choking inside my cocoon. And…someone told me that I have to give a heart to a lighthouse. It was you, isn’t it?

The voice laughed softly.

-This is your journey. I cannot give you the answers but I can walk beside you, if you wish…

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes before answering.

-Please do. This is so new for me. I feel the gates opening before me and opening inside me as well. It’s…wonderful and scaring. I’m not sure whom am I going to meet in this inner journey. Stay with me, please. I don’t have to see you; your presence is comforting….

The silence that followed my outpouring of the soul was meaningful, speaking volumes. We shared another tea and we counted all the shooting stars that night. The counting ended up in lot of laughter. We sat there like two islands connected by a magic bridge, while the River of fate was leading its mighty waters around us.

 

Days followed days and nights followed nights and I have battered the pathway to Grey Wolf’s Hogan. He gathered all his patience and introduced me to the secrets of wild flowers and herbs, while teaching me the secret language of animals to. From the subtle rustle of the leaves, from the pattern of tiny, broken branches to the different tones of the cry of the eagles, from the shades of the clouds at dusk to the scent carried by the winds, the great Syllabus of Nature opened its files to my astonished eyes and mind. The nights were filled by the charting of constellations and listening to the thud and buzz of the interstellar space. My invisible friend and me, we must’ve drunk an ocean of herbal tea while the talking kept flowing with more and more ease between the two of us. I’m not sure what I’ve learned about the hidden identity or personal history of my visitor but I have opened my inner gates and walked together on paths I never knew it existed. My inner world started to unfold and each new path was walking above unexpected rivers, leading us through arches only to end up on unexpected sites.

My night dreams changed to and suddenly, I was missing the lonely shore and the sad little lighthouse. I kept wondering what has happened but they just seemed to vanish from my dreams.  Unhappy with this outcome, I decided to ask….

-Do you happen to know why I can’t find the lighthouse anymore?-I said abruptly in the middle of an evening talk.

My guest stood silent for a while, seemingly lost in thoughts.

-Actually, I do-came the answer. But tell me: why are you looking for it?

-Because I left it so lost and lonely and if I remember well, a voice told me that the lighthouse needs a heart. I have decided to give mine to it.

A smile filled the space between us.

-Brave decision. Let me think about it and we’ll see…

I went to sleep with a faint hope and soon, I was sailing on the waters of the land of Nod. I was walking in darkness, guided only by the glowing step-stones under my feet. It was an eerie feeling and I was unable to discern the features of the space around. My walk ended in front of a high door decorated with strange signs and symbols. I couldn’t find a door knob so I pushed a bit the two wings. They opened into a misty space filled with light. Puzzled, I stopped there.

-Step inside, don’t be afraid-said the voice I was already expecting to hear.

-But I can’t see anything….

-Free your mind and listen to your heart…

I took a step forward and felt solid ground under my feet. I walked for a while through the glowing mist until it cleared before me at a certain distance and I could see…bellow. And there was the lonely lighthouse and its deserted sandy shores. It looked almost the same than the first time I saw it in my dreams…Almost the same. The grim veil of shredded, grey clouds was gone and at a distance I could detect the shimmering of the light dancing on the surface of a remote sea. The sea was slowly returning to its lonely friend.

-I wish I could go there-I said loudly.

-You can fly…-came the answer.

-I can’t-I blurted out almost instinctively. I don’t have wings…

-Don’t start with what you can’t-my companion said-trust yourself a bit more and give it a try. Just let yourself flow with the currents…Reach inside; your wings are sprouting….

I sighed and closed my eyes….and space opened under my feet. Before I could cry out I was already flying. I opened my eyes and I saw the wide expanse of sand closing at high speed. For a fraction of a moment I’ve lost confidence and I felt like falling. An invisible hand grabbed mine, keeping me up. It was warm and reassuring; we kept flying until we both landed safely next to the light house. Breathless but elated, I stood there shivering a bit…

-Thank you-I whispered.

-It’s ok-echoed the invisible whisper. You need some practice in trusting your own abilities.

I raised my head to see the lighthouse. It looked less disheveled; colors were returning and the rust that once stained the door has disappeared. I turned to my elusive friend-I could feel the presence quite strong by now- and called:

-Come, let’s see the tower from inside. I want to know how far the sea is.

When we reached the top of the tower I was almost breathless from climbing and excitement. The sea was scintillating, its blue-green mass rocking gently, pushing the frothing waves forward and slowly conquering the sands ahead. From the top of the lighthouse the advancing of the sea was clearly visible. The salty water was seeping into the blond sands, the small, curving hills dissolving under the touch of fingers of water. With a bit of effort, you could hear the rhythm of the through and fro of the mighty, translucent body and the occasional cry of the seagulls in the skies. The great dome of light was holding its dormant source of signaling light inside the thick walls of glass. I touched the smooth surface and suddenly something moved inside me and inside the core of the lighthouse. We connected almost instantly and I could feel strange energies bursting from inner depths, rushing through my veins, seeping through my fingertips, sizzling in a grid of light up and down, up and down the slender body of the lighthouse, until behind the glass wall a faint glow was born. The seed of light grew stronger and stronger until it began to swirl in a cosmic rhythm…Blinded by the power of shining, I closed my eyes and stumbled a few step backwards, losing touch with the light core. The effluvium of light died out almost completely, leaving behind a dim seed of light nested inside the huge bell of glass of the top.

-What was….this?

-Humanity is a galaxy of lighthouses, signaling and echoing….lighthouses and shores, lively or deserted ones…like the soul of each individual.

-And what is on the other side of the sea?-I asked.

-The twinkling stars of the human galaxy….

-I never knew about this…I never knew what would live inside me…I feel so…different now that I have found it…

At this point my dream has become so intense that it was hard to separate it from reality; the presence of my invisible companion made it even more…tangible. Was I in or outside of my inner world? Before I could even realize, I have found myself outside the magic door.

-Are you here?-I asked.

-I am…-came the answer. It seems that we have built a connection that moves us both to the same destination. Sleep now, Flower. We have a long journey ahead…

I felt the soft touch of light fingers running through my hair and I fell in the depths of a quiet sleep.

I woke up in the morning with the memory of that touch….haunting me. It was like a moment of truth; suddenly, every corner of my soul echoed it…It was everywhere, imprinted in the fabric of my inner lands…I dressed up in a hurry and decided to visit Old Grey Wolf and speak with him…

He was smoking calmly when I stormed in.

-Good morning, Grand Father!-I said, trying to catch my breath.

He chuckled and answered with a nod of approval.

-Something bothering you, Blue Flower? You’re quite early…

-Grand Father…Please, help me! I’m…I don’t know what to do! I’m…in love….-I sighed; it was out….

The old man was looking at me intently.

-I see…And how can I help you with this? I can hardly remember the times when I suffered the same.

-Please!-I said. It happened so quickly and so many things happened to me since I arrived here…I feel like caught in a whirlwind, losing control….and maybe losing what I want to keep the most…

I paused for a moment.

-I’m listening-said Grey Wolf.

-So….I want to know who is this invisible spirit visiting my nights and my dreams….I’m afraid that if I complete my journey, I would fade away…I don’t want that! Please…

The old man took a sip from his pipe and then exhaled slowly, raising a thin veil of smoke between us. His voice sounded deeper and raspy as he answered my pleas.

-Your visitor is not an ordinary person; she’s a Two-Spirit and she walks with ease in both the inner and the outer world. If she decides to reveal herself to you, it will happen tonight: it’ll be full Moon. Go home in peace, Blue Flower and don’t lose faith. Lit up your lighthouse and watch the other shore…If there is to be an answer to your heart’s desire, the light would bring its echo.

On the way home, I kept thinking about what Grey Wolf told me. The night ahead was holding a real challenge and I went over and over again through all I wanted to say, trying to find the best way to express my thoughts and my feelings. I have never waited for the nightfall so impatiently; but the more anxious I became, the slower the minutes and hours passed. Time seemed to crawl and the grains of sand of the hourglass got stuck in the narrow passageway…Finally, Time took pity of my painful fretting and picking up speed, brought the night to my doorsteps.

The curtain of darkness fell over the world, muffling sounds and stirring mysterious echoes in the depths. A boisterous wind ruffled the long-stemmed alpine grass and swirled around me, making me shiver under its touch. I stood on the ground, near the rim of the plateau, my senses sharp and alert, waiting for a sign or a sound….On the celestial display, the stars were modestly twinkling, knowing that the rising Moon would rein tonight the dark waters of the skies. In the distance, the horizon was already glowing, while the planet was gracefully turning its face towards the silver light.

-Good evening, Flower. I’ve heard that you were asking about me…

The voice of my companion sounded a bit strained.

-Good evening, my Star-I said. I was looking for answers and Grey Wolf’s wisdom always helped me out. I hope I didn’t upset you…

An invisible smile crossed the space between us and we both relaxed.

-You did well, Flower. He’s my dear friend and he’s a reliable guide in difficult moments. I had my own tribulations to…This journey is your personal quest; I wouldn’t want to deter you from it…

It was my turn to smile.

-You shouldn’t worry about that. Yes, I came here, in this sanctuary of Nature to free myself from the restrains built inside me by the demands of the life in the city. As my dream has revealed, I was slowly dying from inside and the sea of my dreams receded into nothingness, leaving behind barren shores and my sad and lonely lighthouse. But each night I have spent here, talking with you and counting stars eased my return to the land inside.

Your gentle guidance opened gates and I stepped inside a world I never knew it existed. I grew wings and dared to fly over my inner territories, we climbed the helix of stairs to the top of the lighthouse and you shared with me the story of the Human Galaxy; we roamed the pathways of my secret garden, leaving memories all over. Your footprints are imprinted in the shores of my sea…

But above all, my Star, I’ve seen my inner world through your eyes and I found it magically beautiful. During the day, I walked those corners on my own, learning and building them on; yet, they seemed to have lost that special glow…My garden was holding beauty but that beauty was becoming somehow…pointless. What my heart already knew, my soul was proving beyond any doubt. If beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, then through your eyes I feel more beautiful than ever. I am a flower that opens into beauty under the touch of love. I cannot open and shine otherwise; but when I feel your loving light and the joy glittering in your eyes, I can open in blaze and unfurl my rainbow wings…

A deep silence followed my words. The Moon rose above the horizon and a silver net of rays arched above the two of us. In the softly spraying light, a shape emerged next to me. She was sitting in the grass, looking to me with a serious expression on her face until the magic revealing was completed. We connected instantly; our history was beyond words. She was beautiful, a Blue Star of the skies, a deep soul holding shores of light and oceans of emotions. We stood up, holding hands and under her touch, on the top of my lighthouse the diamond burst into a fountain of rays. Tangible reality washed away and boundaries became pointless. The row of translucent stairs under our feet were leading to the top of a lighthouse that was both of me and her, walls intimately entwined, my light woven into her light…High above us, one star was shining, a beacon of a Universe opening before us, waiting to  be explored…

Sitting in the moonlight, Grey Wolf nodded approvingly.

-Good…-he murmured and took another sip from his pipe.

 

That night, the Moonlight rose in a high tide, washing away the limits of reality. The mountain opened before us, unraveling the pathway to the once lonely shore. The night was following us inside, bringing in the giant circle of silver and perching it above, in the center point of the infinite skies. The air was warm and scented of sea salt and orchids; the sea was calm and dreamy, sending soft waves to splash around our feet as we walked hand in hand along the shore. The water has already reached the base of the lighthouse, building around a small hill of nacreous shells, spidery star-fish and soft seaweeds. Round moonstones were glowing in the sand, outlining the narrow pathway that lead to the steps of the slender tower. A few steps further, invisible hands had lit up a bonfire and placed small candles in a circle. There was a small tray with passion fruits and pomegranates and a bottle filled with amber colored liquor, along with two delicate glasses.

We sat inside the circle and shared the treat until the last ruby colored seed sealed our eternal connection of love. The honey colored wine was spicy and heavy, like the nectar of ancient gods, warming us up from inside, bringing down the last remnants of any barrier between us…In the heat of the summer night, on the shores of an inner sea, under the skies of a new Universe, Woyi, the Phoenix spread wings of flames in and out of the entities of light entwined. Rivers of blaze ran from one side to the other, circling inside the fragile shells and the hearts of glass, rhythm followed rhythm, veins connected intimately until the light was flowing evenly from one another…The Moon above raised a tent of light encompassing the two of us and under his touch, our light combined into a seed of life and light that nested in a warm corner inside me. But we were oblivious of this happening. As the rushing rivers slowly quieted into whispers, we slept in the magic tent until the circle of stars delved beyond the horizon and the sun reclaimed the sky.

A pencil of soft rays playfully tickled her eyelashes and Blue Star woke up smiling.

-Come, Flower, the sun is high up and we are in the middle of the meadow. One more glass of summer wine and we would’ve waked up on another planet!

We laughed, stood up and walked back to the cabin. Beginning with that day, it became our home. But each night, we skipped through the secret passageway of the mountain into new worlds. Visiting Grey wolf has become also a habit that we both loved. He kept supplying us with teas and forest treats and it was his keen sense that detected first what was about to come into our lives.

-A new Two Spirit is about to enrich our clan, Blue Star. Flower has a young blossom waiting for Spring to join us…

We looked at each other stunned yet thrilled; the news was deeply moving and it was close to a miracle. Grey Wolf coughed to capture our attention.

-You don’t have to worry, ladies. The Mothers of the Clan will help you through this…In the world of Two Spirits miracles happen more often.

He chuckled; we were speechless and blushing like two schoolgirls caught red handed. Time sped up and in April, our Two Spirit child cried out for the first time under the stars. A beautiful star-child, with ocean deep eyes and spiky, raven black hair. Our lighthouse has added a shiny, new twinkle to its magic glow.

I came to this corner of pristine life and ageless wisdom to find myself and to release the captive spirit inhabiting me. I have been rewarded with more than I could ever dream. I have found my light and the voice of my heart through the loving eyes and magic soul of my beloved Blue Star. Our Star-Child is growing happily protected by our love and the acquiring Clan. New skies are opening and the waves of the inner sea keep carrying sails full of mysteries…

Above us, one star. Our star.