Arhiva revistei literare Faleze de piatră

Crossroads

Posted in Română-Engleză, Traduceri by Hopernicus on 13/08/2011

 Bunul rinocer fantastic, artist Maia Martin

TOMLYN of Devereaux, son of the second Count of Devereaux, was walking with long brisk strides on the old Roman road leading to the Crossroads. Janet – he had to think hard to remember her name – was a fast talker and he had almost lost track of time. The sun was covered by dark lead-like clouds and flurries started to fall – unusual for late September. He had to hurry up, this evening he was meeting with Maegan! Very strange that woman! Supposedly she lived in the neighborhood, but he knew all the young ladies that lived within twenty leagues. She had showed up now and then and each time he had asked her about her lodgings, but she just smiled. Once he tried to kiss her full lips, but she avoided him so easily that he almost tripped. Honest to God, not too many girls avoided his advances.

Late afternoon was gathering above the Forest. The white butterflies that dropped from the ominous heaven above were melting on his face, blocking his far sight. The walls of the Village houses appeared infected with leprosy and shaking flakes. People lit their rooms behind their pig skin covered windows; the sickly yellow light reminded him of the eyes of wolves, when they came out of the forest during the winter nights. Then, just like now, no villager was out of his abode or the beer-smelling parlor. The Edifice by the road resembled a heap of boulders in the mauve tinged light, fighting the moving forest that appeared to be attacking the Village… Grandma had always been afraid to talk about the Edifice and the Forest, and each time he boasted about them she had lit candles, freezing in panic.

Tomlyn was not a handsome man, as the classic models went, but the girls liked him well enough anyway. Not too tall but built strong, with bulging arms and shoulders, narrow hips and strong legs, deftly movements, dark skin, icy blue eyes, long black curly hair and daily shaved, he had his share of lovers. The skin color came from his grandmother’s side, a small noble family in Languedoc, while his eyes were from his grandfather’s side. His great grandfather was a Norman gen d’arms fighting on the Bastard’s side. He had lost his life at Hastings, but his son got a fief in the new kingdom and became the first Count of Devereux.

Tomlyn’s chances to become the next Count were quite slim – he had three older brothers. The eldest was considered the inheritor and Tomlyn was his scoutier. The next eldest took his vows and was now a monk, secretary to the King’s chaplain. The third eldest went to Flanders, the fief of King Henri and was now a knight fighting over there. Alright, if the eldest, Guillaume, should die, as well as Bertrand in Flanders, then perhaps maybe… but he did not spend much time thinking of his future. He was not tempted by a career in arms, or a religious one, he was just fine being a scoutier without many responsibilities. He enjoyed mixing with the villagers and the humble people in the Castle. There were not too many noble families around; the closest was about a three days ride from the Castle. Guillaume had found his wife only just in Essex, east of Londres, and that was because her grandfather used to be a knight who fought side by side with his father in the King’s Army. His family would undoubtedly find Tomlyn a nice noble Norman girl in the end, but in the mean time he didn’t mind if a girl was Norman, Saxon, or Walsh. For him, a good ride was as good on a delicate Arabian horse as on a strong Burgundian one. His friends would laugh at his boasting, but let them laugh! He knew better than anybody what kind of mount he enjoyed…

The Autumn Equinox was only about a month away, and it was a time that most of the villagers dreaded. Both the old stock – the Walsh and the Saxons – and the new comers – the Normans – were not looking forward to it. They had learned soon enough the local traditions and superstitions about the Old Folk living in the Other World, who were more likely to touch this world during the beginning and end of the year. Now the elves, spirits, faeries, goblins and leprechauns were walking among people, pestering them with pranks. And there were rumored stories about young boys taken by the faeries to their world never to be seen again. And yet, the Walsh were looking forward to the Equinox, the time when the Foreigners started growing power to fight back the Long Night, to help the Sun renew itself for new Life. The priests frowned at the pagan superstitions, but the people, having only the Edifice between the Forest and the Village, were on their own. While praying to God and the Lord Jesus, they believed that the old Druids, the Magi, the Sages, and the Witches, although not friendly to the New People, were trying to save the Land. And that was good news for all! Grandma used to say: “Let them save the world, but keep away from them!” The Village Blind Man would pick up fragments of stones and lay them around the Edifice, or around the Village. “Let them come out”, he would screech, “the Good Ones will help us, God willing. But we have to help them, too!”

Tomlyn never understood who they were, “just fools talking” he would think to himself. If anybody tried to ask the Blind Man about them, he would screech louder than ever, showing his white glare and shaking until he spilled his dark bitter beer. Grandma wouldn’t say anything either, but would just glare at him murmuring under her breath. Yet, the day before she died, she did talk to him. She said: “Tom, take great care when talking about them! Make sure they don’t notice you! Your only chance would be if your good one wanted to help you! But the good ones rarely do, they like playing as well!” Grandma was a strange woman, married by the first Count in Brittany, over the Channel. She never said anything about her country, but Tomlyn sometimes heard her speak in a strange language to the old stock servants.

The Forest, however, wasn’t as forbidding as the tales went. The villagers often went there with their axes to clear new pastures and land for new crops. Old tales told of a time when the Forest was all around the Village, with people grazing their animals in clearings in the Forest. Sometimes Tomlyn wondered if the Forest was not angry at the people she nurtured and protected ever since the Romans were around. But some people entered it even more often than he did for hunting and for picking wild berries and mushrooms. There was also a time when some marauding knights attacked the Village and the people who did not have time to take to the Castle ran to the Forest; the knights didn’t have enough courage to follow them.

But not during the Autumn Equinox! During this time a villager would sooner cut his arm than a branch in the Forest; he would rather go cold and hungry than enter the woods. And an evening like this, with flurries falling at the time of year when a shower was considered a bad omen, and the Moon lurking behind the black clouds, scared most of them to death. If his grandma were still living, she would probably stop him from going out to meet some strange girl at the Crossroads. “Well”, he thought, “she would not know Maegan! For her I would go to that small cabin in the Forest, where nobody could see us…”

The Foreigners especially scared the shit out of the villagers. They came only once or twice a year, but the villagers gossiped the whole year long about strange caravans, strange Ferries with strange beautiful items displayed on strange counters. They also talked about young people disappearing during these times. Tomlyn believed that talk was nonsense; he never met a Foreigner, nor saw a ferry or strange caravan. He would go anytime to such a Foreigner’s Market, but once, on the Summer Solstice, when people were talking about the Ferry at the Crossroads, he found none.

Tomlyn was approaching the Edifice and thought absently about the talk of the town. People said that it always takes longer to get from the Village to the Edifice than from the Edifice to the Crossroads, although the Edifice was just as far from one than the other. He didn’t think so – he had tried many times to measure the distance – but not now when his steps took him to the Edifice in no time at all. “It is strange”, he thought watching the ruins, “that I never wished to enter the Edifice. I pass them daily sometimes, and yet… inside there may be mud, dirt… creepy crawlers… Ugh! No, I don’t want to go in there!”  And he thought, passing the ruins and strolling toward the Crossroads, that he never met one single villager who really entered the Edifice and told others about it.  He forgot almost at once about the Edifice, his whole mind concentrating on the Crossroads. Oh yes, he could already see the tall volutes-decorated, blue-gray stone Cross.

Nobody talked about that cross, especially not pater Duncan, the old priest serving the small Church of the Saint Virgin in the Village. Some old villagers said that the Cross was older than the Saxon people, even older than the Romans. That when the first Christians came to the land, the Cross has already been worn by rain and wind… That the Cross was older even than the Lord Jesus! That could not be, the Lord was in existence from the Beginning of Time, but maybe, just maybe, the Cross was not Christian. “Why is the cross inside a circle?” Tomlyn sometimes asked himself. Once he had asked Grandma and she said that it was the Sun, but he didn’t believe her. The Walsh used to have the same volutes on their objects, weapons and attire…

On the opposite side of the Crossroad, facing the Cross, was the Fountain. People often used the Fountain. No spring in the neighborhood has such good water: clear and cold, and somehow illuminated from behind. The women came even more often than the men, bringing with them cloth and dresses for washing, because they believe that a dress washed in the Fountain’s water was shinier, its colors stronger, and those wearing it are happier and luckier. Strangely enough, the animals refused the drink the water; they would only do so when overpowered by thirst, or were forced by their owners. Because the people observed that a cow that had drank the Water gave more milk, its calf was healthier. A horse would run faster and longer, never to trip… The local knights used to bring their mounting horses before leaving for battle. He who accompanied his brother to jousting would always do right. One way or another, the people connected the Fountain to the missing people.

 

He stopped short of the Crossroads. There was a Foreigner’s Market after all. It seemed that not all the people’s talk was nonsense. The market, in truth, looked plain enough. There were two or three wagons painted in strong colors, but nothing else to signify the people were strangers, yet he could not recognize any of them! Not the people walking around, nor those behind their counters with fare. Some were Jews for sure, by their dress, and two looked like the Saracens his grandfather had told him about. A few were women, not something one saw very often in a Christian market. And there was Maegan! She was behind a counter right in front of him, and when her eyes stopped on him, she laughed and made signs with her hand, inviting him to see her fares. With his knees shaking, Tomlyn strode towards her. “Why, she’s a seller”, thought Tomlyn and Maegan smiled. Her white perfect teeth shone on her dark face and, like giving her an answer, the sun’s last rays broke the clouds. The butterflies stopped falling and the Forest stopped breathing – but Tomlyn felt it staring at him through myriad of shiny eyes. With shaking shoulders, he stopped in front of Maegan’s counter.

“Glad to see you,” he smiled.

“Likewise,” she smiled back.

“I didn’t know you were a Foreigner,” he found his voice.

“A Foreigner? Why, I’m not.” She laughed again. The sound of her laugh passed through his heart like a fiery sword and the boy put a hand on the counter to steady himself. “I am around most of the time. Often enough. Just a simple girl selling a few trinkets.”

Tomlyn looked at the objects on display. They were beautiful in a strange way. He couldn’t explain how. “They are beautiful. Never saw such. Why don’t you bring them in the Market, in the Village,” he said.

“Why? Who would buy such a trinket? And wear it…”

“You have a nice hand”, said Tomlyn with double meaning.

“Sometimes when I have nothing to do, I look for these objects. Sometimes I make them. They’re not always made by my beautiful hands.” she laughed and then looked at him with her green eyes. “I like coming with them to these markets, where foreign people come and talk about foreign lands…”

“And yet, I know a few young ladies who would wear your objects,” Tomlyn said, taking one of them and looking closely. It was round, made with a shiny metal, perhaps silver, with a few flowers rotating inside at different speeds. Indeed, he had never seen such a thing.

“I bet you do,” smiled Maegan. “Why don’t you buy one of them some trinkets? You could turn her heart…”

“I would buy one for you”, he said, and Maegan looked him in the eyes.

“Would you? But I made them! Nobody’s ever offered to buy one of them for me…”

“I do.

“You’d like my heart turn to you? I don’t think so.” She started to laugh again. “What do you want for your present?”

“A kiss…” Tomlyn found enough courage to say.

“A kiss?” Maegan stopped laughing and watched him seriously. “You want to buy one of my trinkets and to kiss me. Really you do?”

“With all my soul!” he said, and the wind dropped in the mud. Next to him, Grandma was sadly shaking her head. “They like playing, boy. Pray the good one will stand by you!” But Tomlyn did not pay attention to her and went around the counter to embrace Maegan. The girl tilted her head, raising her full shiny red lips to him, and everything seemed to stop.

 

 

2

 

TOMLYN shook his head trying to clear his vision. Wow! Now that was a kiss! Or was it? He could hardly remember a thing – everything started to spin  and the sky came tumbling down.  The Crossroads has disappeared, as well as the Cross, Fountain, Foreigners, Market, caravans, wagons, counters… and Maegan, too. “Where the heck am I?” He wondered, looking around. It looked like a garden, maybe a clearing in the woods. Rosy smog surrounded him, cutting his view short. The shadows could be trees, perhaps. He could not see the sky, but the sun was warming his brow.

“You can call it the Edifice,” he heard a voice behind him. “But it is not.”

“What is not?” asked Tomlyn turning around. A man that was not too tall but strong – somewhat similar in form to him – dressed in a long blue coat, was a few steps behind him. He looked like his grandfather only his long hair was sparkling white, not blond. He couldn’t see his face because it was kept in shadow.

“He is not your grandfather, boy” he heard his Grandma’s voice. “Take great care, they like playing too. Your only chance is if your good one is willing to help you…”

“The edifice” answered the stranger. And don’t call me a ‘stranger.’ I’ve been around for almost eighteen years now. It is not a garden, either. But I made it look like one, so that you would feel more comfortable here. Well, I have to admit that it is your Edifice.”

“The ruins? The dirty muddy ruins?”

“Eh, in fact they are not so dirty. Nor muddy. And they’re not at all ruins. But We had to dissimulate them one way or another, didn’t We?

The rosy smog dissipated a little, and Tomlyn could see that the shadows were not trees after all, but some kind of smooth stony walls surrounding him on all sides. Above, the smog remained, and the sun too.

“Who are you?” he asked the foreigner.

“Well, sometimes you call Us Foreigner, don’t you? But you gave Us many names in the millennia we began together.”

“Are you a Foreigner? What’s your name?”

“It’s not that simple. I wore different names in different times. You can call me Prometheus, Oanes, Ossiris, Wottan, Oberon, Faustus, Lucifer…”

“Are you Satan?” asked Tomlyn, now really afraid.

“Satan. Or Michael, if you prefer. Personally I prefer Oberon. Is Oberon alright with you?”

“Are you a devil?” Tomlyn was more concerned about his fears.

“Only if you wish it. As I told you, We have been given all kind of names by different people in different times and places. Devils and angels, fairies, werewolves, goblins, harpies, centaurs, nymphs and satyrs, orcs and elves, gods, dwarves… even saints!”

“But who are you in fact?”

“Oh, it is not that simple to explain all that to a man from the Past.”

“I am not from the Past! I am from… now.”

“Yes, I know, you are so young! But your vocabulary misses so many words.  Just believe me, you are from the Past. From my Past, that is. Well, just let me adjust you a little bit, activate some more of your brain, give you some understanding. Trust me, it will make it easier and will not harm you. Now, is it OK?”

“OK?”

“Never mind. Let me show you something. Somebody in your future will say that an image says more than a thousand words. He will be right, you know? There.”

On the stony wall an image started to flicker. After a while, Tomlyn could discern different forms, some of them tall and light, other small and dark. The landscape was a reddish plain, without grass or trees or mountains. He could not see the sky.

“Yes, do you see?” asked Oberon. That form is Us. The light ones are Luminati, the dark ones Raptor. What are We? A kind of… cloud, let’s say. An entity formed by myriad of entities.”

“What do you eat?” asked Tomlyn seeing no green stuff.

“Well, how can I put it? Ourselves. A kind of cannibalism – but it is not. We nurture on feelings that we generate Ourselves. But that was a bad thing, in the long run. Look.”

The image now showed many more dark forms than light ones.

“Yes. The Luminati were disappearing. A few millennia, maybe a few million years, and We would have been only Raptor. Probably by now, it is. So, a part of Us, mostly Luminati, decided to look for a new home.”

The flickering image changed again. Now it showed a reddish-brown globe that diminished to a point and disappeared, being replaced by a fiery globe that became in short time a star, which got lost in a starry summerlike night sky. Then, an ellipse replaced it, but soon a spiral appeared and grew into stars and a star and a globe… And again, and again…

“We traveled and looked for a home in different places, and for so long, but we didn’t find it.” Oberon’s voice was gloomy. “Of course, we traveled some centuries only. You wonder how that could be. Look.”

In Oberon’s hands appeared a square of cloth about one foot across, with a knot in each corner.

“How far do you think is one knot from another?” asked Oberon.

“One foot, I’d say.” answered Tomlyn.

“Of course you do, but look!” Oberon folded the cloth and the two opposite knots touched each other. “You see? We could fold the time-space. Don’t ask me how, but we know how to do it. We are an old and very wise regnum. The biggest brain in the Universe! Only the Creator knows more than We do. So, We used this… object, the one that you know as the Edifice, to transform Our brain energy into Power and folded the Universe. But yet, it took Us so much time and energy. We were almost extinct when we got here. But We were lucky! Maybe you too…”

“Our luck was them, the good ones,” mumbled Grandma’s voice. “Boy, I feel a change in you, don’t let them take you.”

“You see?” Oberon went on, “I don’t think at that time We were able to leave Gaea. We recognized her as a sentient entity. We asked her to allow Us to stay here because We felt the potential. Oh yes, the bio-life on this planet has potential! We could see that everything here has feelings, and that is our food. How can that be, you ask yourself, but even a plant has feelings. It feels fear when someone wants to cut it, and its neighbor plants feel sadness when it dies, but a plant feel joy when someone admires it, takes care of it, even when the sun and rain nurture it… Those higher on the scale of evolution have so many more feelings, above all, the man. But when We came, there was no man, of course”

“Do you mean you feed on us, men?” asked Tomlyn.

“Yes, I do. But it is not your exploitation by Us. Is more like a… symbiosis. You see, like that between a flower and the butterfly that pollenizes it, You cannot say that the butterfly hurts the flower, that it is bad for it. Both regna benefit from that symbiosis. The flower attracts the butterfly through its smell and color and gives it nectar, but without the butterfly and bees, the flower will cease to exist.”

“So, you are our butterfly?”

“Well, you can say that, but only in part. The Man will cease to exist – but not the Adamite. OK, let me return to the history. So, We tried to evolve different species – to provide Us with more, higher quality feelings – but that project didn’t succeed. One after another, sepia, dolphin, elephant, ape evolved until they got their right place in their habitat, at which point they symbiosed with Gaea. They were perfectly adapted, and did not need to evolve further.”

“And man?”

“At that time there was no man. There were some kind of apes, which were sometimes called primates. We learned from the other experiments, so we decided that it was vital to enter in symbiosis with them, before Gaea kicks in. And that our Chosen one doesn’t have to be adapted to its environment, but to be ready to create one suitable for its needs. We tried with several primates, until the One, the Adamite We call it, proved to be the right one. Well, the other experiments didn’t survive Our separation, they just died.”

“You mean if you decide to separate from us, we will die?”

“It could be. Maybe you will just return to your Adamite condition, although We doubt it. But, you see? We have to depend on this relationship as well. We cannot separate anymore! We are here to be together. We are Human, together. This symbiosis proved to be a trap for Us. Of course, we can try a different symbiosis with other bio-life, but there are not many choices left…”

“Still, I don’t understand what Maegan has to do with this story.”

“Oh, Maegan is one of Us, of course. But her form evolved a lot, maybe because of the symbiosis. She is kind of independent from us, although still a part of us. Her kind saw that being only Luminati or only Raptors was a limitation. It can only feed on what it gets. But the independent kind, let name it ‘Maegan,’ learned to create conditions to produce food. Oh, let me take a step back. What differentiates a Luminati from a Raptor? The kind of feelings it nurtures on. The Luminati prefers good, elevated, pure feelings. Love is the most important one but also hope, admiration, friendship, respect, compassion, mercy, faith, humility, joy. The Raptor prefers the negative, low feelings: hate, selfishness, envy, arrogance, fear, hypocrisy, ambition. While Luminati don’t need much pure feelings to feed, Raptor need great quantities of evil feelings, intense even, to satiate it.”

“You are devils, after all!”

“No, We are not. Only if you decide We should be. We give you only the opportunity. We make you know the Good and the Evil. You know the old story about the fruit, hmm? We do not tempt you. We show you both paths – you decide which one to take. And most often you decide to take the evil one!”

“Why is that? Not because of you?”

“Don’t point your finger at Us. We made possible Buddha and Manchu, Jesus and Mohamed… and other great philosophers and human spirits. You know what you have to do, only you decide to do otherwise.”

“The Raptors made us to do that?”

“No. The instincts of an animal are to survive as a species. The evil feelings are more suitable for survival, therefore, you prefer them. And from that, the one that benefits is Raptor. We, Luminati, suffer.”

“Why don’t you destroy the Raptor, then?”

“Because We are not animals. We have no survival instincts. But the truth is We are Luminati and Raptor at the same time. The one that makes the difference is the Human.”

“Now who points the finger?”

“But it’s true. You see? when a new human being is born, even in its mother’s womb, a part of Us enter it. It will be its Soul. The decisions the human makes during its life will determine if the Soul will become a Raptor or a Luminati. Any wonder that the Raptor is more numerous than Luminati? Just look around. Look at yourself!”

“And what about me?” Tomlyn changed the subject, uncomfortable by the course it took.

“Oh, you are one of the worst. You have shallow feelings – tepid, lukewarm. The indifferent type. But you have potential, Maegan saw it. Not by making you suffer, but making other humans, mostly females, suffer for you. Love you, hope for you, pity you. I told you, it is the new type, the ones that provoke the Adamite in order to enhance their feelings. A time will come when Humans will have no feelings of their own, but what the ‘Maegan’ will induce in you! It will be like it was at Home, but this time We cannot leave. We have to take a stand!”

“What does she intend for me?”

“You will be put in a fountain. Females will be able to see you, but you will not know.”

“Is there any way to escape this fate?”

“Maybe… Your Soul will try to help. It depends on some other Human choices. But yes, your fate can be reversed.”

“Why do you tell me all this?”

“I told you, you have potential. If everything goes the right way, a Luminati will be with Us. Every Soul has a chance to attain Nirvana, become a Luminati. When We will be Luminati only, the Kingdom will come. There will be no possibility for new Raptors. The evil feelings are mere nurture, the good ones are Ambrosia!”

“You do not fear I will tell people all about what you told me?”

“I do not feel fear, ha ha ha! And who would believe you? A new story, a new myth, a new superstition.  Of course We can always make you forget.”

The face of Oberon was now in full light. It was Tomlyn’s.

 

 

3.

 

TOMLYN was back at the Crossroads. There was the tall Cross in stone and the Fountain, but the place was empty. The Market was gone. Maegan was gone. A slim girl he barely recognized was grasping him tightly, in tears. Janet.

“Janet?”

“Oh, I knew it. I knew it! Only if you were taking me with you would I let you go. And it was so difficult… My flesh was burning!”

She let him out of her embrace and took a step back. She didn’t look at him, instead down to her blouse, passing her palms over her small breast.

“It doesn’t hurt,” she said in wonder. “It seemed to me that you were a piece of fiery iron and that my blouse was on flames, that the skin on my breasts was cracking, blackened under the heat. Oh it hurt so badly! But I would gladly take the iron you were through my heart than let you go. I will never let you go again!”

Tomlyn looked at her, amazed. She wasn’t really a beauty, a plain girl with her face and hands darkened by sun and wind. Not tall, with an open face under golden dark hair, straight brows and big, green eyes. He knew many other girls nicer looking than her, with better dresses and finer hands. But not with such beautiful glittering eyes that reminded him of Maegan’s.

“Janet?” he asked again, trying to remember a little girl he met before taking to the Crossroads.

“I would say you don’t know me” she laughed nervously, as she dropped a heavy weight from her shoulders. “But I came each day to the Fountain, happy to see you, to talk to you. Years after years…”

“Fountain? I was in the Fountain, then…” He could remember the long talk he had had with Oberon.

“Hey, I haven’t made you forget.” he heard the deep, mysterious – his own – voice coming from nowhere. “Oh yeah, I’m with you, the angel doesn’t leave his body not even in death. You forget Us, We never forget you!”

“Oberon?”

“Who is Oberon?” asked Janet. “Sometimes, when you answered me from under Water, you mentioned this name. And a girl’s name, Maegan. Is she your lover?”

“No, she lives on the other side…”

“She is the one who took you, isn’t she? The one the people know as Mab. The Queen of the faeries…”

“How did you free me?” asked Tomlyn, watching her eyes. He felt that a new feeling was growing for this slim unknown girl that he somehow knew so well, with strong sun-darkened hands. Yes, it was something different than he had ever felt for other girls. For Maegan…

“Ambrosia,” he heard Oberon mumbling. “I told you, pure Ambrosia!”

“It was not that easy,” accepted Janet. For a few days I waited for you, and then people started to talk about the Foreigners’ Market and your disappearance. One day I came to the Fountain to wash something and I saw you in the Water. So, I came back each day to see you, to cry, to talk to you. For years you didn’t seemed to see me, to know about me. Then, one day, I heard a woman laughing and one of my tears dropped in the Water. Your face disappeared in the circles of waves, but your eyes stared at me for the first time!”

“I told you” Tomlyn heard Oberon’s voice. “Maegan will lose you because of her, not of you. And because of the love this girl has for you!”

“I will stay with her, my soul?” Tomlyn asked Oberon.

“That depends on you, my Adamite.” Tomlyn looked at the girl’s lips, so beautiful, full and wet…

“And then, another day, another year, you talked to me! I thought I would die. You were coming back. All the years I stayed by the Fountain now were worth it. I was no longer the Village’s Fool Girl! I’ve never been a fool. I knew it! Only the Blind Man stood by me…”

“He he” Tomlyn heard the Blind Man’s voice. “I’m going to drink a cup of warmed beer for you children. And maybe you will help me, sometimes, to help them, the good ones, help us…”

“From then on we started to talk to each other. Not too often. You told me that I could find a way to free you. I thought and thought, but never found a way. So I went to old Birgitte, in the Forest. People said that only a fool would go to her – but wasn’t I a fool? I told her about you and the Fountain at the Crossroads. And she said to me: ‘There is an old story about Mab and the young men she takes away.’ ‘Is there any way they can be freed?’ I asked, full of new hope, and she answered: ‘Never happened. Mab is a harsh mistress. But yes, the telling says that there is a way. A girl, a virgin, with her heart full of love, should be at the Crossroads when Mab rides by with all her Court, at the Beginning of the Year. Should a girl pull down her lover from his horse and he touch the ground, he will come back in this world flesh and spirit. But it would be tough. Could you be that girl?’ Could I?”

“You could. You have.” murmured Tomlyn, looking at her longingly.

“Yes, haven’t I?” laughed Janet, happily. “But not right away. I went to the Crossroads at the First Day, at Christmas time, and I waited for three days and nights, but Mab didn’t pass. It was cold with snowy storms and I thought I would die, but I had to save you. I went back to Birgitte. She didn’t remember our talk before, but in the end I found that the Old People had a different First Day, at the end of October: Halloween Day. Today is Halloween Day, my love!”

Tomlyn took her in his arms and it felt so good. She continued her story, with her voice muffled in his coat.

“It wasn’t easy. When Mab, riding in a coach pulled by seven black cats, saw me, she started to scream. But I recognized you and had already pulled you down from your stallion. You turned into a slippery snake and tried to escape, but I was used to catching snakes. You bit me and I felt numb, but I didn’t let you go. She said to me: ‘You will die! Even if you free him, some other girl will have him!’ But I didn’t care; I wanted you to be free. That’s all I wanted at that time, you to be free! And I shouted back to her: ’I don’t care! Let me die, but let him be free. Anyway, I don’t know if he will want me or stay with me, but I would rather die, giving my life and soul for him!’”

“You see, my Adamite, what saved you? She gave her life and soul for you! Freely, with no expectation, no rewards… Her good one helped her, because We have to be helpful in our symbiosis. I know, I am her soul too. We are happy. Even Maegan is happy!”

But Tomlyn was listening to Janet, not Oberon.

“And then?”

“Then you turned into a fiery piece of iron and I was sure I was going to die, but I never let go. And you again turned into a something else: stone, heavy as a mountain. I dropped down with you still into my arms – but never let go of you. And when you touched the ground, here you were!”

“Yes,” said Oberon. “You see, my body, that’s the reason We stay with you. Your feelings are Ambrosia, the Nectar of Life. We feel stronger, better… Together. You live and she lives and We live together because we are Humans, together. I was worthy to be Birgitte, to ask Gaea to help Us. I did my part in our symbiosis. Now it is your turn to feed Us!’

“Yes” thought Tomlyn. Loving Janet. Loving our children, our family, our neighbors. Loving this world, its beauties, and the God who gave it to us.”

“You see, that’s why We don’t leave anymore. Even Us, the Souls, have to draw a line and say: ‘That’s it! No step back, no leaving anymore!’ When nothing remains, it is Love. My Adamite, together we can bring the Kingdom here, between us. To be one single world: Our World!”

Tomlyn didn’t have to ask. Our world was not yet their world, and their world wasn’t yet ours, but the Kingdom could be the Humans’ World! Instead, he asked:

“Now you’ll take away my memories?”

“Only if you want me to. We could live with our memories, you know? We are better whole in body and mind. Do you want Janet to forget how she freed you? Do you want to forget why you love her?”

Tomlyn didn’t say anything. He knew that his Soul just knew the right answer.

 

Nick Sava

http://cititordeproza.ning.com/profile/NicksAVA

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