Unless we’re writing fairytales, we require original launches into our stories. Short story authors especially, wrote essays on succinct and enticing starts to short fiction. And this is doubly important with flash fiction.
I once read a foreward to a short story collection where author Isabel Allende (one of the editors of the collection) mentioned that if you can’t nail your story within the first paragraph or two, the story won’t succeed. However, this sort of thinking often leads to writer’s block and other forms of procrastination.
For people such as me who free writes short fiction as oppose to plotting out my stories, I often balk at writing the introductions to short fiction. And yet, at other times, the stories come to me fully written complete with a seductive opening line.
Here are examples of introductions to both my short fiction and my novels. And my trick is to get everything on paper or on to a Word file. Then, I go back and rewrite the opening paragraphs. My writing grows stronger as I delve in more deeply with my characters and watch their movies in my thoughts.
“Marcos first encountered her face glimpsing through a crowd of shoppers. Next, he saw her slight frame draped in a black skirt that clung to her thighs and swirled around her knees, her white blouse hugged her torso and a pendant swung around her breasts like a pendulum. Her body appeared and disappeared down the aisles of the natural grocer as she rushed about tossing tomatoes, mushrooms, mangos, and bags of flours into her cart, then ticking items off of a list—a true picture of elegance and efficiency.”—Apple of Seduction (short fiction)
“He never gave her the china cabinet or piano. He gave her jewelry, clothing, china, and trinkets from countries he traveled to, but he failed to grant his wife the two things she wanted most in her life.”–The China Cabinet (short fiction)
“Miranda saw Pierre’s face reflected on a window of a coffee shop. She battled against her doubts and stood frozen by the shop’s door, realizing that she could’ve pretended to browse the various exotic bags of coffee beans that strewn the shelves of the old world style shop. She could have drunk in all the smells of pastries baking in the back or reveled in the French swing jazz that wafted through the shop, but instead she dashed to the bus station to catch her connection.”–Love Quadrangle (novel)
“She fascinated me–the way Maggie flipped her hair back with a whisk of her hand while she played her instrument. All in one motion she swiped the hair away from her face and strummed her guitar without missing a beat. In my foolish girl heart, I imitated Maggie–carefree and indifferent to consequences.”–Maggie Magdalene (short fiction)
I think this suffices as examples. I still go back to my old stories and rewrite or polish the introductions. As we evolve as writers, we owe it to ourselves to revitilize our archival stories by applying new tools and techniques. And often times, this proves more fruitful then starting from scratch.
Often times, our original stories already have solid bones. As we improve as writers, we don’t need to reinvent the stories but we do need to reinvest in them. Some stories haunt us for years until we flesh them out, polish the beginnings and strengthen the conclusions.
I have written screenplays, novels, and short fiction since my thirties. I concentrated on mainly poetry and song lyrics in my twenties. And I’ve learned that we must show up with courage in our hearts to embrace the creative spirit or muse. Some stories require finessing over the years until we get it right or get into the zone.
We surrender what doesn’t work and then we wait it out until inspiration fires us up. That could be one day, two weeks, or three years before that happens. In the meantime, we go back to the drawing board with a different story or work on another creative project. Then when the time is right and inspiration strikes, we write that seamless story that leaves our readers breathless.
I was traveling in the mountains with a man that I never thought I’d see again. And it started when I read about Lila Downs cabaret singing mother which sparked a past life memory. The mountain quest had to do with healing scarred souls if we didn’t get lost along the way. While I wasn’t good at reading maps, I understood the soul path.
“You told me to take this road,” Teshi scoffed.
“Alright, I read the map wrong. No need to get cross,” I countered. I studied the worn map. “Okay, let’s backtrack until we’ll find the right road.”
“Backtrack? I thought that’s what we were doing.”
As we drove in uncomfortable silence, I stared at the mountain crevices, swallowing hard to stop my ears from popping. I wondered if taking the ascension experience literally was the right way to go. As it turned out, we searched the mountains for an Old West town. And it felt like a quixotic journey, to say the least.
Our lives had been heading for trouble for years. Teschi’s music career crashed. I also found myself on the wrong end of the music business. Instead of performing my compositions, I wrote about the lives of fulfilled musicians. Add financial troubles and health issues to that list.
While this was going on, I remembered this old life in 1840s Oklahoma. A real beauty back then, I sang in saloons and pleasured men on the side. Living the life of a true libertine, I, Louisa often tossed my head back in hearty laughter. I wore sleek white gowns and long silk gloves like a bride of the southern plains. Similar to Jeanne D’Arc, I held my own with those men, even winning a hand or two at cards. Then he came swaggering into the saloon like a cowboy in some Hollywood western. I couldn’t have known that when I exchanged haughty glances with him, he would suck my life force then leave me dead on the ice-covered earth.
Hans arrived from Germany in search of prosperity promised to all those willing to exploit the New World. And I, the town’s welcoming wagon, permitted this man into my life. At first, I held my own, but we quarreled about the other men in my life. We quarreled about my music profession and how that wasn’t the type of work for a real lady and not the kind of woman he’d marry.
As time passed, I lost my will to live. I fought off his abuses, reluctantly mothered two children and lived my life trapped between four walls. He kept my loved ones at bay. I sang to myself to heal the bruises and broken bones. I sang with the caged canaries to stay sane. I quilted and I knitted alone like a proper lady of the plains, but deep down, I suffered.
Then one day, the big blow came. Hans made the decision to take the family to California so that he could prospect for gold. He didn’t dare go alone leaving me to the temptation to return to my former lifestyle. So we hooked up with a wagon train and endured an arduous journey. I eventually died from pneumonia during a snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Not long after that, Hans realized that he loved me and mistakes he made. He abandoned the children and locked himself away in a mountain cabin. For years he lived in the wild like some old-timey hermit. Then when he couldn’t bear his grief any longer, he shot himself in the head.
I watched this as I hovered above him. My former sandy-haired husband seemed so frail that I forgave him. However, we had already set a dark energy in motion that would haunt us in another lifetime, if we should actually meet.
Meanwhile, in this lifetime, Teshi and I wound our way through mountain roads in search of a town that I recalled from my childhood. I thought we would find it, relive the events from the past and release them. But no matter how hard we tried, the little town eluded us. The gas meter reminded us of the precious fuel and time we wasted on the crazy journey. Would our friendship even survive the strain of the holiday?
I spotted a lookout point ahead. “Hey, let’s stop there. Let’s eat lunch and take our eyes off of the road.”
He safely pulled the rental jeep to the side of the road. Taking in the alpine scenery, we hiked up a narrow trail until we reached the lookout point. I felt dizzy when I looked out at the vista, but I refrained from complaining since it was my idea to stop there. I grabbed the baguette, cheese, and olives from my backpack while Teshi laid out a picnic blanket on the mossy earth.
The pale sun danced in his olive green eyes and he brushed his chocolate-colored hair from his face. I tried not to fall in love with him again, knowing the suffering that it caused me. I silently reminded myself of the real reason for our quest.
I pulled out my raincoat and laid it down on the ground. I sat down and toss an olive in my mouth. “I have to pee. Do you think there’s a toilet around here?”
“I doubt it. Sorry, Laura, you’re going to have to squat over the earth like our ancestors did.”
“I’m a spoiled city girl. What do you think they did when they were on those wagon trains? The men could easily take care of the problem, but women were overdressed.”
Teshi chewed on a large piece of bread he stuffed in his mouth. “You’re the one with the past life memories so you tell me.”
“Those memories never went into the finer details, just the bigger picture.”
“Are you sure that you have the right man because I don’t recall this life at all?”
“After I met you, I felt this horrible chill in my body that wouldn’t go away.” I showed him my goosebumps.
“So what does that tell me? We might just be on a wild goose chase and waste expensive gas in the process.”
I stretched my legs. “It happened. Recently when I was reading about quilting, I found this story about the pioneer women leaving the Midwest against their best wishes. Their husbands decided to take the family out west and the wives were forced to leave their loved ones.”
“So what does that have to do with me?”
“When I read that information I saw your face in my mind’s eye.”
“So then you called me and took me away from my work.”
“What work? Your career had just about ended. Your bands were striking deals behind your back.”
He chewed on the remaining bread and stared off into the distance. “Maybe we did live that life, but what does it have to do with us now?”
“You can’t see the patterns repeating themselves? Here you are again prospecting in the United States, but of course, your search for a new type of gold. What about your tantrums of jealousy when other men glance at me?”
He folded the picnic blanket while I grabbed my backpack. We ambled back to the car as he reflected on my question.
“I don’t know what to say, but I have questions not just about our relationship, but relations between different cultures, people, and nations. Why do we play so many games?”
We climbed into the jeep and drove off to our destination. Like two bloodhounds, we believed that we would sniff out the “cowboy” town. Perhaps the smell of barbecued animal flesh would have sent us on the right course. What a chilling thought for us vegetarians.
“What games were you referring to?”
“What about the passive-aggressive behavior of those Native Americans we met recently? Why do you think they were so polite to us in person, but caused us harm behind our backs? I still live in Europe so why would they blame me for genocide at the hands of someone else’ ancestors?”
I gazed out the window at the snow-capped mountains. I unroll the window and gulped in the mountain air.
“They don’t have access to the real power holders so… My ancestors came here in the middle 1800s as miners. They too were mistreated, but only took that out of themselves and their families instead of complete strangers. I don’t understand any of it. But I think that all the peoples of the earth are due for an enormous healing. And that we’re responsible not for what our ancestors did in the past, but what we do now.”
“Precisely. So, if I play games with others, then I’m accountable for the people I hurt. So why is it different for oppressed groups? Are passive-aggressive behavior and subtle ways of revenge considered self-defense? And why hurt the nice guy when it’s the ones in power that cause the most damage? What good comes out of that?”
“I know. It seems to me that those in power want none of us to get along. How can we ever reach a place of peace when we still are in the throes of a divide and conquer mentality?”
“I have no answers.”
“I don’t either.”
I spotted signs of civilization ahead. “I think that’s our town!”
“Are you sure? What are we suppose to do when we get there?”
“I don’t know.”
“Great, I come here from Europe and you don’t know.”
I laughed. “Lighten up, we’ll figure something out.”
I recognized Winthrop because the main part of town had not changed since my childhood visit.
“Yep, partner, this is our cowboy town. It’s Howdie Doodie Time!”
Teshi parked the jeep near a western saloon and he looked around. “Wow, this is just like a movie set. Do people actually live regular lives here?”
“Yes, they do. Strange place, isn’t it?”
We climbed out of the jeep and walked the streets. We saw a slim man dressed in black wearing a large cowboy hat. He reminded me of Hank Williams, but he possessed an unreal aura.
I whispered to Teshi, “I think we need to talk with him.”
“I don’t know, but I think he has something important to tell us.”
“Are you reliving scenes from The Celestine Prophecy?”
“Call it women’s intuition.”
“Okay, I’ll indulge your women’s intuition, but what do we say to the cowboy?”
“Maybe you can ask him if there are any good vegetarian restaurants around.”
He looked around at the western storefronts and laughed. “Do you think we’re going to find that here?”
We strolled up to the cowboy. “Excuse us, but how has the weather been around here lately?”
The cowboy touched the brim of his hat and he stared at us. “About time you two showed up.”
“Were you expecting us?”
The cowboy winked and then he pointed to a wooden bench not far from us. “Why don’t we have a little conversation over there?”
Teshi glanced at me nervously. We followed the cowboy over to the bench and we all had a seat.
Teshi asked, “How do you know about us?”
“I don’t. I’ve met many couples seeking solace from those wagon train years, or pains they endured living in the Old West. They come to this small town to heal themselves and some succeed.”
“Are you a mind reader?”
“No, but I pick up information in the wind. I know that in order to move onto the next realm of being, each of us must atone for what our souls did in the past. It would be no different for you. And you ask how do I know that you have come on a healing quest?”
He pointed to a big quartz crystal that hung on a leather strap around my neck. “Your new age good luck charm gave you away.”
I laughed. “Are we so transparent?
“What does it matter so much at this point? You’re two city slickers who seek to heal and you’re not sure where to go for it. You think that if you recreate the scenes from the most painful parts of your soul journeys, you might find lasting peace. Am I correct?”
I fidgeted with the strap on my over-sized backpack. “I thought that if we crossed a mountain pass and visited an Old West town, we’d conjure up those energies and heal them. But I never came up with an actual plan after we made it to our destination.”
The cowboy chewed on a toothpick. “And so you went through an entire tank of gas, got lost, and now that you have reached your destination, you feel stumped. You might feel foolish.”
Teshi guffawed. “I don’t feel foolish because it was her idea.”
I nudged Teshi on the shoulder. “I don’t recall you coming up with any better ideas.”
The cowboy gazed at us through his smoky gray eyes. “Once again, the woman is correct. You can heal yourselves and I’m going to show you how.”
Moments later, we found ourselves following a complete stranger along a path that took us behind the town. We hiked up a slight incline and towards a small stone structure with smoke sifting out of the chimney.
I wondered if we made a mistake. We didn’t even know this man. Why did we trust him? And we failed to tell any of our relatives about this sudden trip to the mountains. I wondered about the cowboy’s intentions. He smiled reassuringly at us.
A golden retriever barreled out of the house and was followed by the most beautiful blonde woman I had seen in my life. Her green flowing gown lifted slightly in the breeze as she glided towards us. She took Teshi’s hand.
“Greetings my dear ones.”
I stared into her clear blue eyes. “Who are you?”
“You know me. I’m Clara. Don’t you remember me? I was on the journey with the two of you. I held your hand when you died in the snowpack. You weren’t alone. I was there by your side. Of course, your fever was causing you to feel delirious.”
I took a deep breath as tears rolled down my face. “That’s right. There was a woman by my side. I remember your woolen hand touching my forehead. You whispered some words to me just as I was ascending from my body.”
“I sent you the memories from that life. I’m not sorry I did that because healing that life is the only way to remove black clouds from your lives now.”
“Why can’t Teshi remember?”
“He does in small ways. His subconscious is aware of that life and the roles you played. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be here with you today. When you got lost in the mountains this sent a chill through his body.”
Teshi faked bravado. “Oh, no, I’m fine with the mountain roads. I was concerned that we’d run out of gas.”
Clara smirked. “He’s always been a man concerned with small details. But my dear, you must now look at the bigger picture. Your friend here has already done that, but your stubborn attitude has log jammed the healing process for both of you!”
Teshi smiled sheepishly. “I try, but I don’t remember it.”
The green lady and the cowboy lead us to a shady spot under an enormous cedar tree. She beckoned to Teshi. “Come, lie down on the grass.”
Reluctant, but Teshi obeyed her. I wish that I could work up such magic with him.
Clara placed her hands on Teshi’s forehead and heart. Within minutes he fell into a trance.
“Who are you?”
“Where do you come from?”
“Why did you come to the west?”
“I was wandering through Europe and not doing so well. I heard rumors about the New World and all the success I could find there. I came across some money to board a ship and I headed to the west.”
“Have you found what you seek?”
“Not until I saw Louisa singing in a saloon. I never saw such a beautiful and wild thing in my life, but I also wanted to tame her. I wanted her all to myself. I needed to possess this woman.”
“And you possessed her alright. What did you hope to get from that?”
“I hoped to be charmed by her beauty and that we’d start over somewhere else and she’d finally be happy.”
“Happy? How did you expect Louisa to feel happy when you stole her family, friends, her music career, and any hopes she had for her future?”
“And now what do you say for yourself?”
“Isn’t it enough that I took my own life? What else do you expect from me?”
“Why don’t you ask her that now? Try apologizing. And helping her to get her music career back will release both of you. You know, whether you notice it or not, she needs you in this way. And she still has talent.”
Teshi nodded in silence. Tears rolled down his face and down the stubble on his neck. I felt compassion overtaking my heart and released from bondage.
Later that day, Teshi and I checked into a quaint bed & breakfast. As we strode through the dining room, we noticed a cabaret singer performing “old west” songs. I chuckled to myself. The Universe pulled all the stops that evening. The next morning, we awoke bright and early. We sat in the jeep watching the sunrise over the mountains. I felt a sense of power rising in me, an at-one with the universe. I winked at Teshi.
“See, it wasn’t a Quixotic Journey.”
Teshi ignored me, started the engine, looked over his shoulder at the mountains, and let out a huge sigh.
This is a comedy/urban fantasy based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The setting is Seattle-2020.
Pacing her office, Demeter wondered how she would protect Persephone from the latest news. If Persephone caught wind of Pluto’s latest actions, she would throw the earth off kilter. She made plans for Persephone and Eurydice to visit an artist community in Hawaii offering a retreat.
In her cottage, Eurydice packed lightweight clothing for her impromptu journey where she planned on healing from nervous exhaustion. Her limbs and mind weighed so heavily with Pluto’s revenge on music that she could barely climb out of bed each day. She stopped cooking and had lost over ten pounds. She had lost her appetite for just about everything. Now that Pluto banned all music, except music selected by the Plutocrats, her nerves tied in knots. Her immunity weakened and she sensed a head cold coming on–a certain death to a diva.
Meanwhile, the Archangels gathered in Lincoln Park to formulate a strategy to bring healing music to the masses despite Pluto’s music ban. Chamuel shared her idea with the others.
“We can enter the dreams of those humans who give us permission and sing to them. We can also send them songs telepathically. That is until the Extraterrestrials clog up the telepathic highway.”
Ariel responded, “As far as I know, the E.Ts haven’t joined forces with the Plutocrats. They’ve never gotten along and I don’t think they’ll join in with Pluto’s bid for dominance. They have their own agendas which hardly involve music.”
The Archangels strode along the beach with their feet just hovering above the sand and surf. Weak sunlight glinted on their wings and the sound of the surf muffled their whispery voices. Archangel Michael picked up a sandstone pebble and tossed it out the hungry sea. Gulls circled overhead in search of crab carcasses on the beach.
“My concern is the despair experienced by the musicians who now find themselves out of work. Sound healers and music therapists will soon join the breadlines and many of them haven’t held a regular job in decades.
Sadly, we conveyed to them to follow the musical path to help humanity ascend and they dedicated themselves to our requests only now to suffer this fate. I’m hearing their pleas, but I’m not sure how to comfort them. Yet, we must defy the Plutocrats in taking the musical gifts away from the earth.”
Ariel picked up a pebble and tossed it to the waves. “In the meantime, we’ll teach humans to listen to the music of nature. I know that the faerie communities have turned up the volume, even defying natural laws to appear in forms humans can see so that they pay attention to birds, the wind, and other natural sounds.”
Later that day, Demeter met with Persephone at the speakeasy. The women huddled in a corner booth whispering so that any Plutocrats in the vicinity didn’t overhear their conversation.
“So are you taking me up on my offer and accompanying Eurydice to Hawaii?”
Persephone sighed. “What about my clients? My schedule is jam-packed with herbal healings.”
“I can take care of them. It will be tight for me, but if I extend my office hours, I can fit them it.
In the meantime, imagine hanging out on those lovely beaches with palm trees swaying overhead. It’s almost cliché to describe paradise, isn’t it?”
Persephone tugged on the sleeve of her green wool sweater. “It’s true we can’t let her go alone in the state she’s in. I visited her cottage the other day which resembled a sty. Her fridge was empty, dirty dishes languished in the sink, but she hasn’t eaten anything. I can understand her despondence having lost her career.”
“This is why you must go to Hawaii. Besides, you can stay for part of the time and just let her rest for the second half of the retreat. Just make sure she has safe passage and get her settled in, and then return.”
In his office with gray and black walls, Pluto gathered his Plutocrats for a meeting. He shut the blinds and he lit candelabra with a torch.
“So far, the music stores and radio stations are all complying. However, I would like to pass laws against musicians selling real estate since many of them will try to sell their homes at this time. This would saturate the market and cause real estate to collapse.”
A Plutocrat, auburn hair and a swarthy complexion in his twenties spoke up. “What will the musicians do to support themselves? Many of them won’t be able to find any other work? They only know how to perform, record, and teach music.”
Pluto banged his fist on his large iron and wood desk. “That’s not my problem!” He turned to his right-hand man, forties, balding, with a crooked spine, “Who hired that apprentice? We can’t have any Plutocrats sympathizing with musicians.”
Instead of cowering and shuffling the way to the corner as other Plutocrats would do after chastisement by Pluto, the swarthy Plutocrat stood his ground.
“Perhaps, I’m too dense to understand your plans, but what do you have against personal music? After all, music calms the masses and prevents them from rioting. My mother told me when I was a child that music feeds the souls.”
Pluto glared at the Plutocrat and leaned into him with his face now inches away from the Plutocrat’s nose.
“If I were you, I would hold my tongue. Do you think I care about feeding souls? My job is to keep the economy going and we can’t keep the economy going if people are spacing out listening to music. It’s a distraction we can’t afford.”
Pluto spit in the face of the Plutocrat while the Plutocrat stared defiantly at the governor.
In 5D, Orpheus and Cassius hung out with wood nymphs who fed the men green grapes the size of plums. Despite Orpheus’ despondent mood, the nymphs clad in white silk gowns with white geraniums in their sparkling blonde and red hair radiated joy. Hummingbirds and large bees zipped through the air leaving a permanent drone in the atmosphere.
Orpheus picked up his lyre and plucked a few notes causing the nymphs to recline in the grass and close their eyes. Cassius grabbed his quartz crystal bowl in the key of A-major adding more drone to the atmosphere. A woman harpist with flowing black hair set up her golden instrument on a stump near Orpheus then joined in, while releasing shimmering notes from her Celtic harp. She sang in a high clear voice that caused birds to land on branches and fall asleep.
In his reverie, Orpheus visualized uniting with Eurydice while helping her to ascend into 5D. Meanwhile, the frequency of the musical instruments charged up Orpheus’ body and magnetic field. As he powered up, he sent telepathic messages to Eurydice.
As he sent the messages, he received a vision of Eurydice and Persephone sitting on an airplane that flew above the Hawaiian Islands. He witnessed Eurydice closing her eyes and took that as a sign that she picked up his messages.
Meanwhile, Eurydice experienced a dream in which the oracle bird returned to her with a new message. The bird’s bright eyes gazed into Eurydice face.
“What I told you came to pass.”
Eurydice nodded. “You didn’t tell me that the loss would devastate me.”
“You’re not devastated. Ask your friend Persephone about the rebirth process which that woman knows well. Pray to Isis if you must, or ask Jesus about reincarnation. They’ll tell you, that what appears as ending acts as an open door to a life you never could imagine before.”
“I lost everything. I can’t even imagine this open door to opportunity. How will I survive without music?”
“My dear, you’ll have to go underground.”
“What do you mean by underground?”
The bird shook out his feathers, glanced over his shoulder at Eurydice, and then flew away. Eurydice turned towards Persephone who snoozed next to her.
“That’s true, Persephone does know how to find light in the darkness. What secrets does she hold in her heart?”
In West Seattle, the Archangels mounted their bicycles then single file rode out of Lincoln Park, with their wings straight out behind them leaving silver feathers in their wake. The bicycles picked up speed and launched into the air allowing the Archangels to fly over the West Seattle Bridge and land downtown in the midst of glass and marble skyscrapers.
They turned their bicycles onto Pine Street then headed downhill to the Public Market. Dismounting their bicycles, they left them on the cobbled walkway and entered the chamber of the Daily Oracle. Once inside, they waded through blue feathers and approached Archangel Gabriel who oversaw the bird oracles.
The Archangels gathered around a table constructed from an ancient cedar tree. Michael shook hands with Gabriel.
“Greetings, my fellow light beings. What’s the news in the outer world?”
Michael chuckled as he played with his sword. “Pluto put his plans in action and now musicians and musical healers scramble, as I’m sure you’ve heard.”
Gabriel gently closed his sapphire eyes and took a deep breath. Robin eggshell blue lit up his throat chakra. “I thought as much. Meanwhile, Orpheus entertains thoughts about returning to the Fourth Dimension to persuade Eurydice to ascend.”
Ariel took a sip of peach nectar from glasses Gabriel placed on the table earlier. “Why does that sound like an awful idea all the way around?”
Gabriel nodded. “It’s easy for those individuals in 5D to forget about the gravity and traps in this dimension. They feel invincible while in the Fifth Dimension and suffer amnesia about the darkness that resides here.”
Michael placed his sword on the table, rose from his cedar stump chair then paced. “It would be a mistake for Orpheus to descend into the Fourth now…a huge mistake. First, he only has a total of six hours to even woo Eurydice much less ask her to ascend to the unknown.
Second, Eurydice is at a retreat in Hawaii, which is harder to get to than Washington because Orpheus could confuse the coordinates and end up in the Bermuda Triangle. And finally, I believe all this stuff about soul twins is highly exaggerated. But then we know, Orpheus as an idealist, so there we go.”
In a cramped studio apartment, the swarthy Plutocrat, Marcus Ariel of Arc sat at his cluttered wood desk with his head in his hands. He agonized over Pluto’s chastisement knowing full well not to speak one’s truth around the governor.
However, Marcus inherited his ancestor Joan of Arc’s inability to keep one’s opinions to oneself. While not as hotheaded as Joan, Marcus exuded the same wide-eyed innocence as well as, foolishness in putting his sword in the wrong hands. He once worshipped Pluto and that’s what caused him to join the political campaign that got Pluto elected as Governor of Washington State—illegally.
However, after the Pluto’s real personality ripped the blinders from Marcus’ eyes he still swam in denial for as long as possible. But now, with Pluto sacrificing musicians and healers in the State, Marcus’ conscience bothered him. Besides, his days were numbered now that he landed on Pluto’s radar and it wouldn’t be long before he would need to escape to the Underground. Oddly, Pluto paid no attention to the happenings down under, mainly because the governor experienced repulsion at the thought of that cavernous place.
After all, if he escaped the past that kept him bound to cosmic father’s wishes, more like the curse, why would he ever return? Marcus made the analogy of a Hollywood nymphet never returning to the small Iowan town where she spent her formative years. Just as the thought of that tainted her hard-earned reputation as a glamour girl, Pluto assumed that any connection to the Underground once referred to as Hades, would taint his reputation as a world leader.
However, in the meantime, Marcus sat on his hands as to not end up in Pluto’s prison hidden away on an abandoned and flooded San Juan Island or so the rumor said. Yet, the dreams kept coming where he saw himself leading a rebellion along with a fiery hair woman with an obsession with locks.
At the lock shop across the city, Pandora reclined on couch sporting Greek imagery reading a secret book of codes she stole from a locked chest. Periodically, she took a sip of peach and honey nectar laced with passion flower so that she could relax her restless mind.
Born a triple Gemini, her mind never took a break. Always searching for puzzles to solve, codes to break, or locks to pick, Pandora itched for an adventure. Someone in passing told her about the Underground Movement and how their leaders searched for unusual talents such as hers.
And now that Eurydice lost her reign as opera diva along with all the musicians fired to make room for more of Pluto’s darkness, Pandora believed she found her cause to support. The woman she met in passing told Pandora about secret societies meeting in the caverns who worked with drums, crystal bowls, and ancient chants. According to this woman who spoke in whispery tones and shielded herself with a silver cape, musicians were flocking down under and forming new societies.
Pandora made a note to herself to share this information with Eurydice upon her return from Hawaii. But how would she entice Eurydice to join any movement when that vocalist appeared selfish.
At the retreat center in Hawaii, Eurydice laid on a bed sobbing while Persephone comforted her. A stiff breeze blew in through the open window knocking an exotic plant off a bamboo desk. Persephone rose from the bed and picked up the plant and placed on the desk. It took all her strength to close the window.
“It looks like a typhoon is on the way.”
Eurydice continued to sob, not caring about the storm outside her window and virtually ignoring the efforts of her comforting friend.
Persephone returned to Eurydice and helped her friend sit up and recline against large pillows sporting Hawaiian flowers.
“What will I do next?”
Persephone picked up a glass of pineapple juice and she brought it to Eurydice parched lips. “For now, rest and we’ll figure out the next step later.”
“I won’t even be able to teach music. All I know is music. I only studied music thinking that I had a long career ahead of me.”
“Don’t blame yourself. We know we were in trouble when Pluto got illegally elected.”
Eurydice grabbed the glass from Persephone and she gulped down the juice. “How could people be so stupid as to elect that scoundrel?”
Persephone shrugged her shoulders and laughed. “They didn’t. Oh-oh-oh, and just to think I was once married to that scoundrel.”
Eurydice sighed then she looked around the room cluttered with wicker furnishing and Hawaiian print. “How did you survive that marriage?”
“I’m strong and he doted on me at first. My mistake was eating that pomegranate. I didn’t even like the taste of it.
Do you recall the moment you lost your innocence?”
Eurydice shook her head. “Perhaps, that moment is now.”
Persephone grabbed a glass of pineapple juice and sipped the contents. She leaned her head back against the large pillows.
“So tell me about the messages from the oracle bird again.”
“He said that I would experience a loss, but not to worry because something better was on the way. But he might as well have spoken in riddles because I have no idea what opportunities could possibly come to me now.”
“He did speak in riddles, my dear. I wonder what opportunities await you because I believe what the bird told you. So tell me, what have you dreamed about lately?”
Eurydice closed her eyes and concentrated on recalling her nightly dreams. “I’ve experienced dreams where I’m running and the ground is covered in moss so I’m slipping and then, I see a bright light ahead of me.”
“A man’s hand, an attractive hand with a silver ring featuring a lyre, reaches out to me from the light. Then I get a sense that I’m climbing or flying because I’m ascending like a bird.”
“That’s interesting. Do you ever get a glimpse of the man’s face?”
Eurydice shook her head. “But I’ve heard a man’s melodic voice in my head and he’s talking to me about paradise.”
Strolling near a creek bubbling over with fish, Orpheus stared at the ground and kicking pebbles into the creek. Cassius strolled alongside the bard also lost in contemplation.
“Have you tried contacting the muses? Surely, Eurydice worked with the muses so they might have an in with her.”
Orpheus shrugged. “What’s the use? Besides, the muses I met were coquettes. They flirt, gossip, and can’t be trusted, at least not with a man’s heart.”
“Don’t even attempt then to contact the sirens.”
Orpheus shook his head. “I wasn’t planning on it. I still believe in the direct approach which is speaking directly to her soul.”
Cassius pulled off his sandals and dipped his toes into the creek. He crept into the water and grabbed Orpheus’ hand–His swarthy face tilted upwards as his brown eyes gazed into Orpheus’ blue ones.
“Come, cool off in the creek. This water has a miraculous effect, especially after the muses, who we know you don’t like, blessed the water with their chants.”
Meanwhile, after the storm passed, Eurydice and Persephone lounged on wicker chairs on a patio drinking Hawaiian smoothies. Persephone glanced at Eurydice face which began to glow with a life force again.
“So tell me about the dream you had with the man with the lyre ring.”
Eurydice placed her glass on the table and she grabbed a tie for her hair. She secured her hair in a ponytail stretching the length of her back.
“This time I saw his entire arm and a thigh.”
“Really, was his thigh sexy?”
Eurydice chuckled. “It wasn’t bad. He had calluses on his fingers which right away told me he plays some kind of string instrument.”
“Most likely a lyre since you mentioned that he had a silver ring with a lyre on it. Do you think that he’s a real man?”
“I don’t know yet. I hope so. I wonder where he is.”
In 5D, Orpheus and Cassius waded in the creek up to their thighs. The water invigorated the men and they laughed heartily tossing back their heads and splashing water on each other.
“This water really does have a magical effect. I feel fantastic.”
“Do you feel any songs coming on? I know I do. I always hear the drums of Mother Earth, even in this dimension.”
Orpheus waded back to the shore with the water tugging at his muscular thighs and calves. After he returned to the shore, he sat upon a rock allowing the sun to dry off his hair and skin. Cassius joined him on the large smooth rock, shaking out his dark hair.
Orpheus sighed. “Maybe Eurydice isn’t interested in men or falling in love.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“I have plenty here. Why do I require a woman to live out my life in this dimension? All my needs, but one are met and maybe I don’t even require great love. “
“It’s the idea of love that matters to musicians and poets.”
“I feel a song coming on.” Orpheus slipped off the rock, grabbed his sandals and returned home but his heart was not convinced of his words.
I’m revisiting my fourth novel, “Love Quadrangle”. The original title was in French, “Menage a quarte” or something to that effect. The story revolves around Miranda (a writer-turned-photographer, Pierre (sustainable architect from Quebec), Francois (a travel photographer from France) and Justine (a writer and bookstore clerk from Washington State).
I chose scenarios that appear in the middle of the novel where four lives cross paths in creative ways. Pierre and Miranda are the main couple. Justine is trying to steal Pierre from Miranda and Francois is trying to steal Miranda from Pierre. But then Justine and Francois get entangled. All does not go well in love and war.
In Canada, at the newspaper office, François thought about the blonde woman he met, Justine, at the beach on the day of the race. He viewed the photographs he took of Justine in her seductive dress and heels, not exactly appropriate for a sporting event. He recalled how she hungrily kissed him later that evening, after he wined and dined her at a nearby restaurant and she agreed to share a night with him at the spa where he was staying. They made love with the passion of two people who had lived in a sexual wasteland for too long.
They spoke about Miranda and Pierre in between lovemaking, but those conversations didn’t last long. By dawn, François and Justine were completely spent and both needed to get to work–surviving on embers of arousal they had for each other.
Now, at his office, François wondered why Justine hadn’t returned any of his phone messages or responded to his e-mails. He was hoping to repeat that seductive night with her, if only.
Justine remembered that night too and her face flushed every time she thought of François’ caresses and his tongue rolling around her mouth. He had given new meaning to French kiss, but Justine was still hung up on Pierre or at least the challenge the architect provided. She had seen him working a few times at the upstairs café but she kept her distance from him. Perhaps, she didn’t stand a chance with Pierre, but he was closer in proximity than the Frenchman who was across the annoying US/Canadian border.
And she had made those vision boards with Pierre’s image which she couldn’t let go to waste. However, when she picked up a Law of Attraction book at work she came across a passage about not desiring someone against his will. When she read about the consequences, she tossed the book against a wall, nearly hitting an unsuspecting customer.
On her break, she listened to an Abraham Hicks teaching CD and experienced a rampage for soul mate and relationship along with the woman in the “hot seat” on the recording. This seemed good and right to Justine. But then what would happen to Miranda if Pierre left her? And maybe her manifestation was the French photographer and not Pierre.What difference did it matter which French-speaking man she ended up with?
She fought her temptation to respond to François’s seductive e-mails and she listened to his voice messages repeatedly. And yet, she wondered if that primal outdoor type would destroy her. She preferred urban men or so she thought.
She also wondered if something happened between the French photographer and Miranda even though Miranda had sworn nothing of that kind, but Justine wasn’t convinced. After all, Miranda had sex appeal and she seemed too vulnerable to not give into the Frenchman’s charms. So because of that, Justine decided not to respond to the Frenchman yet. She thought of making him wait, but she also thought he would find a wide-eyed university student obsessed with French culture to seduce in Vancouver.
On the waterfront, Pierre sat on a bench staring out at the sailboats floating on the bay. The sun sparkled on his skin as he ate a baguette sandwich that Miranda made earlier for him. He thought of taking Miranda on a ferry ride to Lummi Island, where they could ride rented bicycles and spend a few hours together. Since a break from work would calm his nerves, he thought of spending a weekend with Miranda and they could eat at the famous inn restaurant, which they had both read about, but hadn’t gotten around to dining there.
Meanwhile, Miranda drove out to Lake Samish with Racine. As the blue healer ran on the beach with a large stick hanging from her mouth, Miranda remembered the first time Pierre showed her the beach. That was soon after they had met at the lookout point on the Chuckanut Highway, but after months of only communicating telepathically.
She thought that it hurt too much to lose Pierre. Besides, she couldn’t do anything about François and since he hadn’t tried to phone her, she was out of the woods. It was possible that the Frenchman only represented a lost part of her soul or he reminded her too much of her past relationships, which should have healed by then.
Or maybe she envied the Frenchman’s independence as he traveled around the world taking award-winning photographs and grabbing lucrative opportunities out of the air. Meanwhile, she struggled to get any magazine assignment.
How did François end up on the West Coast? Maybe she should accept his invitation to get together. But she couldn’t take the risk, because eventually his charm would seduce her and for what, a short lived affair that ended in remorse? No, she loved Pierre, and the Frenchman was just a test thrown in her path. Who was to say, he wasn’t seducing women in every port?
Meanwhile, Pierre made ferry reservations for the weekend and he rented two bicycles with twenty-one gears, not knowing the terrain on the island. He had no idea how Miranda would respond to his surprise, but he aimed to impress her and get their relationship back on course. Besides, he missed her companionship.
In Vancouver, François ambled on Hastings Street. Later, he stopped by a shop and bought Justine a local designer T-shirt and a silk scarf, not even knowing her tastes in clothing. In the past, Catharine told him that every woman needs a black T-shirt and most women found silk flattering.
The Frenchman refrained from purchasing lingerie for Justine, but this left him wondering what she hid in her dresser drawers in her cramped apartment. Of course, he hadn’t seen the inside of the apartment because he was in a rush when he dropped Justine off after the night of making love to her. He had a good hour’s drive ahead of him and a deadline at work so lingering over coffee at Justine’s studio didn’t appeal to him. Besides, he never cared much for post-coital conversations which he found tiresome.
Moments later, François found himself walking towards English Bay. With his thoughts lost on Justine, his feet took over and headed towards the water with its breathtaking view of the North Shore Mountains. Sitting next to a large body of water with the sunlight reflected in it calmed the Frenchman’s nerves and gave him time to plan his next move with Justine.
Finally, Justine responded to his e-mails. However, her response seemed businesslike. The mystery intrigued him and he knew that he couldn’t just show up at Justine’s studio, but he could show up at the bookstore and say he just came to browse the nature photography books. Or he thought of feigning an assignment in Bellingham finishing up his Ski to Sea article for his blog. He had phoned the bookstore earlier and knew Justine worked that evening so he put his plan in motion.
On the shore of Lake Samish, Miranda sat on a log patting Racine on the head absent-mindedly. Her thoughts wandered to Pierre’s changed mood and she sensed him warming up to her once again. Though she had remained detached from her emotions–not easy to do when she worked in the same office and lived with Pierre, she knew her patience would pay off. She noticed Pierre thumbing through tourist brochures that morning and a gleam in his eyes. She didn’t dare ask about the brochures because she felt anxious that Pierre would say another cutting remark about François.
When Pierre had a bee in his bonnet he reminded Miranda of a dog with a bone in his mouth and just like she wouldn’t attempt to pull the bone out of a dog’s mouth without consequences, she also chose not to stoke Pierre’s wounded ego.
And wasn’t that what the tense home situation was about, Pierre’s wounded pride? Had Miranda known that their lovely couple outing to the Ski to Sea race would end that way, she would never have suggested it. If they had headed to Mount Baker or Nooksack River instead of Marine Park, Miranda would not have encountered the annoying French photographer. If only.
Staring at the foothills across the water, Miranda took a deep breath and brought herself back to the moment. When she looked away from the scenic background, she noticed Racine with a stick in her mouth.
“You want to play, do you?”
Miranda tossed the stick into the water and Racine rushed towards the water on a mission to bring back the splintery mass to her human companion. Miranda tossed the stick for the dog two more times and decided to drive back to town.
Later that evening in another part of the city, Justine arrived at the bookstore late because she had waited for a plumber to fix her broken toilet. Then when the plumber did show up, he didn’t have the right equipment and he needed to make a trip to the hardware store to pick up a new toilet.
Only ten minutes late for her shift, the clerks seemed too laidback to notice. Besides, Justine was on duty that evening buying used books. Those shifts usually crawled along at a snail’s pace with few people coming into the store to sell their books. However, that night, one of Justine’s favorite authors arrived at the store to give a book signing. However, the person trailing behind the author as she made her way down the stairs took Justine by surprise.
Though her heart beat wildly and her thoughts reverted to a night of lovemaking, Justine played it cool when François approached her.
Justine rearranged the books on the desk then she slowly looked up to François’ face. “What brings you here?”
“I had some research in town.”
“And you were…?”
“Okay, so I lie. I came here to see you because I thought that night was special.”
Justine turned her flushed face away from the Frenchman and she glanced around to make sure that none of her colleagues were in the vicinity. The guy in the metaphysical books section glanced over at Justine and François, but then the author called to him and that left Justine in the clear.
“Look, I’m at work and…”
“I know, but I thought we could meet afterwards. What time do you get off work? I will take you out for dinner to anywhere you want to go.”
Since Justine was in the mood for wining and dining, she remembered the cushy restaurants on the Bellingham Port. She tested the Frenchman. “Okay, could you take me to dinner at Anthony’s?”
“What is Anthony’s?”
“It’s a highly recommended restaurant that serves mainly high quality fish and it’s on the port so we could take a moonlight walk near the bay.”
François looked up the restaurant on his Smart Phone. “Okay, I made a reservation for 9:00 p.m. Is this too early?”
“Make the reservation for 9:30 p.m. and pick me up here.”
Glancing at his watch, the Frenchman wondered where he would hang out for three hours.
As if reading his mind, Justine pointed upstairs. “You can hang out in the café and enjoy the view or wander around Old Fairhaven. If you enjoy author events, you can stay for the book signing.”
“Who is the author?”
“On second thought, you probably wouldn’t like the author because she writes relationship comedy.”
Justine laughed, “You know, like When Harry Met Sally.”
“I don’t know this one, but you are right, this author probably focuses on women readers and not hardy men.” François glanced at the room filled with women. “Ah, I am right. I guess if I wanted to meet women, this would be the place.”
“And this isn’t what’s on your mind.”
“I am fine in this department. I will go upstairs and work on my laptop. I am researching the resort at Whistler. Have you been there?”
Justine shook her head just as a customer approached her with a box of books. She glanced over her shoulder at François, “Okay, so meet me upstairs in the front of the store at 9:00 p.m. Oh, and I’ll need to go home and change clothes.”
“Then, maybe we need to make the reservation for later…” With those words, François bounded up the stairs like a real woodsman.
In the Columbia Neighborhood, Miranda stood over a boiling pot waiting for the pasta to cook. She had picked up pasta sauce at a local restaurant and with the price she paid for the sauce, she decided it was more economical to buy the pasta at Trader Joe’s and cook it herself. She tossed a salad earlier and found the homemade dressing Pierre had made the previous week.
Moments later, Pierre arrived with two hybrid bicycles in tow. Miranda nearly lost her cool demeanor watching Pierre balancing the bicycles with each arm while keeping the front door open with his foot.
“I have a surprise for you?”
“Did you buy those bikes?”
Pierre shook his head vigorously. “I did something crazy and I rented the bicycles. But you know that I haven’t rode one in years.”
“That makes two of us. So what’s the occasion?”
“Remember the Lotus Inn?”
“This is the inn on Lummi Island that you take that little ferry to, am I correct?”
Miranda left the pasta boiling on the stove and she helped Pierre push the bicycles up against an empty wall. “These are nice. How much did it cost you to rent them?”
“Only $25 each a day and we have them for the entire weekend. You see, we aren’t going to take the Jeep on the ferry.”
Miranda chuckled, “We’re not?”
“How long has it been since you have ridden a bicycle?”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe twenty years.”
Pierre chuckled. “We’re riding bicycles all weekend because I booked a reservation at the inn.”
Pierre took a deep breath and smiled. “What are you making? I smell basil and…”
“Oh no! I forgot about the pasta.” Miranda rushed to the stove and turned off the burner. She took a fork and tested the pasta. “Oh, darn, it’s mushy. Well, at least the sauce is extraordinary.”
Pierre ambled to the kitchen and pulled a baguette off the top of the fridge. “Let’s eat the sauce with bread. My brother, sisters, and I did this when we were children. We dip the bread in sauce. If we still have some of the goat cheese left we can have that too.”
Suddenly, Pierre had the urge to cook. He pulled zucchini from the fridge, chopped garlic, drizzled olive oil into an iron pan, and sautéed the vegetables. He added the sauce while Miranda warmed the baguettes in the oven.
“Have you ever been to Lummi Island?”
Pierre shook his head. “But I have brochures and a map.”
“That’s encouraging that you have a map. I know men who won’t consult maps.”
“These men get lost and then blame it on their partners.”
“Oh, so you know that routine too?”
“And I prefer to read maps instead of fight with my partner for several hours. It’s more peaceful this way.”
Pierre poured the vegetables onto a large plate while Miranda sliced the baguette. Then she handed the leftover goat cheese to Pierre to spread on his baguette. After taking a bite of his masterpiece, he grinned.
“Maybe we don’t need a five-star chef.”
Miranda savored the bread and vegetables. “So then we can skip the ferry ride to Lummi?”
“Ah no, I already made reservations, besides, I want to see you ride a bicycle.”
“Is this your sadistic side coming out?”
“I don’t have a sadistic side.”
“All humans have a sadistic side.”
“Who told you that?”
“Racine told me when we were out on one of our walks.”
Pierre glanced over at Racine stretch out in her dog bed snoring. “I forgot about the wisdom of a blue healer and her trusty stick.”
“Don’t make fun of Racine. She knows things.”
“And she tells you about my sadistic side, no?”
“She didn’t mention you in particular.”
“Okay, so now you are playing with me. But you’ll see me on a bicycle too and maybe when you see how graceless I am, you’ll leave me.”
Glancing at the bicycles resting against the wall so smug and shiny, Miranda suppressed laughter. “No, but I will bring my camera and then blackmail you later with the photos.”
“And who is sadistic now?
Miranda guffawed. “Now you know the truth about me.”
As she ate the last bite of her baguette, Miranda’s mind wandered to the romantic weekend that awaited them. She sensed that after they digested the heavy dinner, they would make love that night too. She could smell the scent of lovemaking lingering in the air and it had been too long since the couple held and caressed each other. Beside, garlic and tomatoes had that effect on Pierre. There’s an Italian lover hidden in every man.
At the port, after an expensive dinner at Anthony’s, the evening felt anticlimactic as Justine and François headed back to Justine’s studio. Even though the apartment resembled a college dorm room rather than a home, Justine could at least boast she had a brand new toilet, even if pink toilets didn’t suit her.
Her partner didn’t seem to mind and as soon as she locked the door, he began undressing her. They barely made it to the futon couch when François remembered the gifts he bought for Justine in Vancouver. He pulled a lavender boutique shopping bag from his pack and handed the bag to Justine.
“Here, I bought this for you.”
Justine peeked in the bag and then coyly smiled at the Frenchman. “So you had plans all along, didn’t you?”
“But of course. After the last time we spent time together, I thought I would enjoy spending time with you again.”…
When I was around ten or eleven years old, an elementary school teacher bravely introduced our class to the pantheon of Greek gods. I’m pretty sure this was done through the telling of Greek myths. However, with my obsession for superheros or humanoids with special powers to shape-shift and transform, discovering the Greek gods and goddesses felt heaven-sent.
Then when I was a bit older, I saw my mother digging through an old steamer trunk that held her mementos from her childhood and young adult years. A collection of Catholic saint cards fell out of the trunk and captured my attention. Again, I learned that these humans also had “special” abilities in that they created miracles. So, as I grew into an adult, my subconscious mind started mashing saints, superheroes, and Greek gods into a creative stew.
So, when the ideas for “Super-Natural Heroes” and “Enter 5-D” drifted into my conscious mind, this all felt familiar to me. Without getting too astrological on you (the reader), I was born with my Moon in Pisces–the dreamy sign that is most likely to gravitate towards speculative fiction of the more fairy-unicorn-superhero variety. While I have never worn a superhero costume or even T-shirt as a child or an adult, I enjoy humans stepping out of any limitations or as they say in the spiritual communities, stepping outside of the Matrix.
Sure, people could say that super humans don’t exist until they meet a shaman who can shape-shift into a creature. Shakespeare’s Hamlet also spoke of the extraordinary experience we can experience on Earth.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
So, what’s the point of my blog post? Sorry, I’m having another one of my this is your brain on Neptune moments. Greek gods bring magic to my writing. They bring hope that there are other worlds still worth exploring. They also show us the wreckage caused by power-hungry ones which provides cautionary tales for our political elite who some times act like the Titans residing on Mount Olympus.
I revisted the Greek pantheon and its victims because they mirror the world we currently reside. And I chose to take a humorous approach simply because I’m so tired of this dead seriousness which has taken the planet hostage. Don’t you know that humor raises the vibration? And that scientists have proven that we are all made up of vibrations. So, if this makes me a geek for Greeks, so be it. I’m having a good time learning from human errors too. And I’m also a geek for Shakespeare.
Angel parks her SUV parallel to a pale blue minivan at the market’s lot. She rummages in her overcrowded purse for her shopping list. Thinking out loud, she considers unloading all of the debris that has piled up in her purse and consequently her life. She tosses out an ancient roll of Tums–a good start. She finally locates her grocery list: A dozen eggs, a dozen oranges, two gallons of milk, organic bread (even though it costs more), and Sugar Loops for the kids.
She begins to feel dizzy as she climbs out of the car. The world spins and the parking lot becomes a kaleidoscope. Then a tornado sucks her up and tosses her into a dark forest. She lands on the ground; jolted into a hidden reality where the world appears upside down and backwards, like one’s reflection in a mirror. She reasons that she hit her head on the car’s doorframe knocking her unconscious.
She feels like Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz and she makes a joke about Kansas. The forest, though, seems familiar to her, but she can’t say why. She’s never stepped out of the suburbs where she was born and still resides. She’s never seen a forest or a river and she’s never climbed a mountain, yet this forest feels like her real home.
She rises slowly from the ground while brushing off her floral skirt. Patting down her tangled hair, she then checks her makeup in a compact mirror. In the distance, she notices a muddy trail leading to a cabin, so she decides to walk to the cabin and seek directions back to the suburbs. As she staggers, shoes slipping on the slick trail, she smells a mixture of pine needles mixed with roses. The roses cause her nose to itch, but she ignores this and keeps walking towards the cabin.
Angel quietly raps on the front door. She hears someone shuffling his way to the door as she waits apprehensively for him to appear. Although she would like to run away, she musters up the courage to confront her fears coupled with her longing for answers. An old man answers the door and shouts at her.
“It’s about time you showed up!”
He introduces himself as Uriel, the guardian of the forest then he invites her into his modest home. Growing increasingly uncomfortable, Angel stutters when asking Uriel for directions back to the parking lot. She tells him that she must buy food for her family or they’ll go hungry.
Uriel explains that the only one starving is Angel. “Your soul needs to be fed with a nourishing substance. You don’t even remember that you have a soul and this causes me grief.”
Uriel leads Angel to a modest table where a king-size banquet awaits them. A variety of thick, dark breads sit next to a bowl of lime-green apples, dark cherries and blushing peaches. Angela’s eyes scan over the fruit and bread that wait to be consumed by her. She notices three large pink and blue crystals the size of a small cat.
“Why have you placed crystals among the food?”
“These crystals all contain magic that can help you see into hidden reality. Each crystal represents a different part of you. The light blue one represents your past and the pink and blue one represents your future. The largest one represents your truest potential of living in this moment. The crystals help you map out your journey into other realities and they guide you on your journey into the future.”
He waxes on, “You’ve lost sight of your life’s purpose and you’ve grown bored with the role of everyone’s caretaker. Work with the crystals on a daily basis and you’ll discover that you indeed have a soul and a purpose for your existence.”
They finish their feast and their conversation. Uriel gives Angel directions to a mammoth oak tree with a human-size hole in it. He tells her to dive through the hole and find herself in the market’s parking lot. Angel embraces Uriel. She thanks him for the meal and directions back to her day-to-day life. Reluctantly, she strides to the tree, glances over her shoulder, then dives into the gaping hole, which sucks her in and spits her out in the parking lot.
When she gains consciousness, she finds herself lying on the pavement next to her SUV. She reasons that she must have fainted from a dizzy spell. She hopes no one saw her lying on the ground. As she rises, she notices three crystals gleaming in the sun. She wonders where they came from then she recalls a strange dream in which she was sharing a feast with the guardian of the forest. He gave her three crystals, but how did those crystals make their way into this reality?
It’s possible that the forest represents reality and that Angel dreamed up the life in the suburbs. Then she has control over her boring life living among minivans, shopping malls, and parking lots. She can always wake herself from that nightmare. And maybe this time someone will comfort her.
By Patricia Herlevi (previously published). All Rights Reserved