Elena sits under the maple tree,
a book of spells resting upon her knee.
She speaks incantations, sips on her tea.
One spell is for her, the other for me.
From the Lost Age until Regeneration, the parents treated the Reapers history, and the blood price paid by the sorceress Elena to conquer them, as a fable, and the village children made it into a song and a game.
When the children sang the rhyme, not knowing what they did, the hidden twisted things that heard it surged upward with the promise of their release, gaining more ground each time, until the night they finally split the graves asunder and poured over the land in unholy celebration.
The village children paid the blood price with their lives, and Reapers walked among us harvesting souls at will.
It fell to one of their own to stop them.
We were staring up at the vast, black, silent majesty of the night sky.
Elena took my hand.
“What did you do?” I asked.
“I brought you home.”
“Home? This place is your home? Where is this?”
“It’s more of a ‘what’. This place is the source of all the earth’s magic.”
I couldn’t ask the question that sprang to mind, still taking it all in, but she somehow knew what it would be, and gave me a knowing smile.
“Yes, all of it, everywhere. Open yourself up to it; let it take you.”
“What if I lose control of it?”
“I’ll be your filter. Close your eyes, and don’t be afraid. If you’re afraid, it will manifest itself as something horrific.”
“And if I’m brave?”
She gave my hand a gentle, playful squeeze. “I’ll kiss you for your bravery.”
I stood up straight, squared my shoulders. “Then I shall be the bravest of all,” I said in a voice that made her laugh.
“Close your eyes, now, ” she said again, still smiling. She closed hers, her full attention and concentration on the moment at hand.
I closed mine, and after a few heartbeats it felt like I was floating down a river.
There was a blast of cold wind, and something slammed into me and separated us. I heard her calling my name, fearful and high, but…annoying, grating, hurting my ears.
Bring him back! Bring him back, damn you! Give him back to me!
As her voice faded, I was grateful I couldn’t hear it anymore. The fact that she was gone pleased me, though something else within me wanted to scream her name to let her know where I was.
I needed to take her hand again, and touch her lips with mine.
There was a name for that feeling, but I forget…
I heard children singing, faint and muffled, as if they were far away…
Elena sits under the maple tree…
(to be continued…)