Here is the first part of Chapter 2. Let me know what you think..
…..the wind rustled the loose screens on my windows…..the roof creaked…..the light reflected off of the embossed symbol on Dafydd’s business card….layers and perceptions. My thoughts were scattered and running rampant, ants scurrying to regain a semblance of normal after their home had been shattered by a well aimed malicious foot. The cats started to frantically clean each other, a sure sign they were unnerved. What does one do when one of the most powerful legendary creatures informs you that Armageddon is coming and they need your help? I looked around, I just knew a unicorn was going to come through the wall and impale me.
“So whom do we talk to first Mother, Hecate or Bastet? ” asked Eve.
” We talk to the Captain. Captain Morgan holds all the answers.” I stated as I reached for my favorite rum and a cold Coke. Eve sniffed in rebuke. She and Lillith rubbed against my legs. “Ok, Ok tuna for two coming up.” I opened a can of tuna for them; I figured we all deserved a treat for maintaining our sanity so far. I poured my drink, put the tuna on a plate, went back to the couch and returned to the task of collecting my antlike thoughts. The cats jumped on my lap and did the stereophonic purr, one by each ear. They leaned up against my head so the vibrations of the purrs could calm them and me at the same time. This is probably the most important job of a familiar, to keep the witch from falling off the deep end of her emotions by providing a grounding influence. I slowed my breathing to match the inhalations of the cats and waited for some enlightenment to hit. Three glasses of rum and coke later, I was still unenlightened but at least I was calm.
“Mother, inebriation will really not get you anywhere at this point.”
Lillith, ever the party pooping pragmatist, I looked at her and stood up, I had to use the bathroom, the rum hit and I sat back down. I saw Eve look at her sister and sigh. I think that every sober person throughout history has used that sigh. I started to giggle and proceeded to get back up and stumble to bathroom. Lillith was right of course, and so was Eve. I needed to talk to a guardian and fast. Hecate has been my guardian since I was a child and so she was the easiest to talk to. I just hope she wouldn’t mind a drunken daughter dropping by. I hoped the Goddess of the Crossroads, the underworld and witches would have some answers, because if she didn’t I wouldn’t have a clue as to where to go next. I stumbled with a bit more coordination out of the bathroom and looked at the
bright green eyes staring back at me.
“Hecate first…..no… wait, bread and water first to soak up alcohol, then Hecate….”, I made my way into the kitchen.
Candles flickered, giving off spurts of energy as the spells that I had placed in them were released. Incense clouded my vision and the sweet, acrid smell of Dragon’s Blood, sage and frankincense filled my bedroom. The dragons had been called to guard the corners, the familiars were watching Above, Below and Within. I was just centering when I hiccupped, which resulted in a fit of drunken giggling.
” CONCENTRATE!!” the cats hissed at me. I felt the psychic equivalent of cat claws slowly puncturing skin.
“Ow, ok I’m sorry !!” I took some deep breaths, centered and reached out to that presence that had always been there. I had always wondered why Hecate had called so strongly to me, now I was beginning to understand. Of course as understandings tend to do, it only led to more questions. I pricked my finger and placed the drop of blood on the crystal that had been dedicated to Hecate, I hoped she chose to listen tonight. . Smoke filled the room, I closed my eyes and focused my thoughts on walking through the crystal into another plane. Hecate likes caves and I usually end up meeting her in a big cave with a cauldron in the middle, rather Macbeth-esque I know but that seems to be the images she likes. This time however I ended up in one of my favorite places, Ireland. When the mists cleared I was standing outside Newgrange. This was a twist but I found I liked it. I heard dogs howling in the background signaling her arrival. I turned around and she was standing there, she had silver hair this time and was wearing relatively modern clothes, not the usual cowl and robe attire.
“Out for a short jaunt?” I smiled at her. I am sure that shocks some people. I have found that even though all the books say to praise, scrape and bow before deities the ones I deal with get tired of it. Hecate likes a smart ass, that’s probably why I could never get her to stop watching over me. Her dogs came up and licked my hands; one of them jumped up and gave me a kiss. ” Sorry, no ethereal doggy treats today.”
She smiled at me, ” How are Lillith and Eve? Are they still angry at the dogs?” Her voice was the sound of a dulcimer playing by a waterfall “The pups are truly sorry about creating a pool to appear directly underneath them, they really are.” The dogs lolled their tongues to the side in doggy laughs.
I laughed at the memory, ” That was pretty slick. Lillith and Eve need to be humiliated occasionally or else they think they have ascended to godhood again. They are well, they pled a need to guard my body instead of admitting that they were too embarrassed to come. Good jobs pups. So why are we here in Ireland?”
“The pups were restless and I felt a strange presence in the lower plains so I came to see what it was.”
“Any luck?” I said while giving the dogs a last pat.
“Yes and no. You are troubled Naomh’an, what is wrong?”
“Mother, what could be so powerful that vampires would be powerless against? What could I possibly do to stop that being?”
“Well you certainly cut to the chase my daughter. How about a bit of warning before you throw Armageddon at me?” Hence why Hecate and I get along so well. Gallows humor, the tie that binds. I looked around for a place to sit and all of a sudden we were inside the cave at Newgrange, I looked again and there were rocking chairs around a fire, Hecate does have a sense of style after all. I sat and recounted what Dafydd had told me.
“Well, Mother? Any ideas?” She was looking deep into the fire, as if the flames held the answers to the unknowable. She looked up at me, the look in her eyes chilled me to the core. It was the look a parent has when the child discovers a hint of the family’s hidden secret. “How much are you not going to tell me Mother?”
” Ahh Naomh’an, always too perceptive for your own good.” A sad smile crossed her face. ” It is not what I am not going to tell you, it is more a matter of sifting for the truths in all that I remember. How much do you really understand of the deities you call upon daughter?” The Grand Canyon had nothing on the yawing chasm of possibilities I was staring at. No wonder Dafydd had said that history and existence as I knew it was going to be changed. “Yes child, this conversation will change many things, and provide few of the answers you hoped so much to get here. I am sorry for that, but I know that you will use what you get here to make the right connections, I just hope it is in time. ” She stroked one of the dogs, even though he is a demi-god dog he still rolled over on his back and got his belly scratched. Dogs from any plane are still attention seekers. Hecate looked at me and her eyes were shifting color and shape, it was as if through her eyes I was traveling through time and space to some destination so lost in time as to be beyond memory. Her eyes stopped and I realized that we were no longer in Newgrange, we were somewhere alien and yet familiar.
I looked around, we were standing in a open field, the smell of growing herbs and wildflowers so strong that I could taste them. It looked like any of the hundreds of fog filled fields in Ireland and then the fog started to shift and move. I peered into the fog and caught flashes of animal and human shaped species, some I knew, the rest were either mythological or alien. As the fog shifted and churned I heard a murmuring and babbling of thousands of voices, it grew louder and louder until it was a cacophony resembling a World Cup Soccer game. I put my hands to my head in pain and looked a plea at Hecate, she gestured for me to turn around. I had been so entranced by the fog that I had failed to fully inspect the field. Behind us stood a carbon copy of Stonehenge or rather how Stonehenge looked thousands of years ago. The stones however were alive, shimmering with all the colors of every possible spectrum, filled with images and vibrating with inexhaustible power. On the ground in the middle was a pool of what looked like mercury. The silvery surface absorbed the colors, not a single image was reflected in it. The pool was bordered by a ring of gold that was engraved with sigils in a language I had never seen. As the noise got louder, droplets started to rise from the pool and coagulate into a floating sphere that started to shift in shape, size and color. It slowly grew larger and started to settle into a form. A head, a body that seemed to be feline in shape attached to a serpentine neck, with a tail that was not only prehensile but covered in scales as well. The face that was forming had ears that were long and came to a delicate point at the tip, the eyes were perfectly circular, almost bug-like with white irises which were vertically slit and a human mouth that was attached to a draconian head. It stopped shifting, solidified and then from every stone in that formation, a rainbow hued energy shot out and poured into the form, light flashed it roared, turned to face an opening that had appeared in the fog, took one step and disappeared. The cacophony stopped and I remember nothing after that.