Phaedra lay half enveloped in the cold snow. Her body was becoming numb, her mind still. A deep peace came over her. The fear and panic of free falling through the air, the sheer horror of realising he had thrown her bodily from the bedroom subsided. Help was coming, was it not?
She had heard the wail of the ambulance; she would be safe in hospital. Disjointed sounds and fragmented voices swam in and out of her awareness, a vague sensation of being lifted, moving at speed, flashing lights, sirens whining. Then the people crowded over her, machines bleeping, monitors, pipes, tubes fixed to her body, aware of it all but not engaged in any of it. The circle of masked faces staring down at her, the bright light glaring, something over her mouth, a voice counting down,‘3, 2, 1 and, yes, she’s under.’
A rapid pulling and a sensation of release as she felt her consciousness detached from the broken body on the operating table. Detached from the drama unfolding in the sterile and white Theatre, she was aware of floating and looking down on the scene unfolding, watching events as through a curtain of gauze, the intensity and urgency of the doctors gathered around the body, her body, barely clinging to life, as the machines whirred into action. She wanted to shout out and tell them it was all right, she was free. The voice of authority cutting through the intensity of the scene,‘She’s going into arrest, stand clear!’
An intense pulsing flash as the volts from the defibrillator surged through her body, and as her body convulsed she saw a tunnel of pure white light, so clear and bright, pure like the driven snow and the light began crystallising and refracting a myriad of rainbow colours. Her awareness left the emergency room and focussed on the intensity of the light, which began to envelope her. In the midst of the light, the outline of a man began to materialise, his hand outstretched in welcome, calling her name, beckoning…
Phaedra became aware of her hand, stretching out to meet his, and her eyes connected with his deep cobalt blue stare and a feeling of joy as recognition of the man began sweeping over her. As their fingers touched, there was a charge of electricity, little blue sparks of light and then a tremendous noise like a sort of sonic rush and they were gone out of the white light and travelling at huge velocity along a tunnel of oscillating multi coloured stars.
Then they were there, but ‘there’ was nowhere whilst paradoxically being everywhere, and there they were but they were not. A realization of being without a solid human body, the man and she were numinous light bodies, floating, merging, at one with each other. A myriad of multi-faceted, vaporous colours, swirling all around. An incredible lightness of being and an understanding of being one’s true self at one’s highest octave, pure spirit. She felt a sense of being part of all that is, all that ever was, and all that would ever be, as her consciousness expanded into infinite space. The man was moving gracefully. Swirling her ecstatically, around and around in a beautiful waltz.
Dancing in the Light of Love.
Two eternal souls, in spirit form, dancing in the light, living in the moment and that moment was eternal. She was part of him just as he was of her, and they were no longer separate entities, but one being becoming the light. The feelings were so sublime, almost unbearably beautiful. In the Light, they became one in bliss. He looked deeply into her very soul, his thoughts resonated within her, and she knew everything else was an illusion and this was the Truth. And the Truth was beautiful.
Then everything began closing in and she was aware of becoming pulled once more, the light began fading and as she fought to stay in this blissful place, the force pulling her grew stronger. Her heart ached, torn away from the man. She was aware of a searing burning pain and she was back in the Emergency room, and the strong voice echoed around the sterile room, ‘Well done team, she’s back.’
‘Would Sir care to join me in my bedchamber?’ Evelyn enquired, head tilted coyly to one side.
Adam was taken off guard by her request, this was a move he had not anticipated. Evelyn had been so elusive his normal confidence with women had subsided. The lady had spoken and he did not need to be asked twice. With gallant good humour Adam responded,
‘If the White Queen so wishes, then her Black Knight is honoured to acquiesce to M’Lady’s request!’ Adam made his way across the flagstones of the darkened Inn. As he followed the swish of Evelyn’s long Gossamer dress as she vanished into the all-pervading gloom, he smiled quietly. He had set out to play a game to win, a game of check mating her into the bedroom. Now the tables had been turned, Adam really did not care. He desperately wanted to be close to Evelyn, and not for any of the reasons he has started with. It was not lust that now motivated him, there was an almost magnetic pull to his beautiful, beguiling companion. They had started a strange journey together, and Adam was more than happy to see where it led to, somewhere across forever, he hoped.
At the top of the steep and narrow stairs everything was absolutely pitch black. He was aware his feet were treading on ancient wooden floorboards that creaked in complaint at their weight. Evelyn continued catlike down a long length of corridor. She did not seem to need any light to find her way.
Adam followed closely on her footsteps, not entirely comfortable in the pitch blackness. He heard a rasp as an antique door was scraped open across the ancient floor. Then totally unexpectedly light illuminated the darkness. He had gained admittance into M’Lady’s bedchamber and Adam Knight, arch womanizer was as nervous as hell.
Evelyn’s room was lit with a myriad of candles. They were on the stone window ledges of the two latticed windows and also placed in the hearth of the large inglenook fireplace in which a fire was lit and blazing with dancing red and gold flames. The heady scent of Patchouli filled the room.Momentarily, the thought crossed his mind that the entire evening Evelyn had not left the lower floor, what unseen hand had lit the fire and fresh candles? She walked towards her four poster bed which had been hewn from rich dark oak and ornately carved. The bed was draped with heavy silk brocade, purple and gold threads entwined in an elegant pattern. Adam was surprised. Downstairs the Inn had been so dilapidated. This room was fit for a goddess, for his own personal goddess of the Half Moon Inn.
And there she stood by the light of the fire in all her beauty. As Adam regarded his Eve, his heart filled with love. She was just so delicately beautiful and ethereal. He had never been a religious man, yet he found himself whispering to her a verse from King Solomon’s Song of Songs:
‘Who is this woman?
She seems to shine like the dawn.
She seems as beautiful as the moon.
She seems as bright as the sun.
She is as wonderful as the stars’
And in return Evelyn whispered softly.
‘My Beloved is mine, and I am his.’
Evelyn slowly removed the Gossamer dress, letting it slid down her body and fall in a gently crumpled heap at her feet, she delicately stood out of the dress and stood before him in her nakedness. There was a translucent quality to her unblemished porcelain skin, almost as if she were not of this world. In the soft light of the dancing flames she was timeless and numinous. Adam, enthralled, walked towards his prize and ran his hands through her long black hair and entwining his fingers in Evelyn’s luxurious, flowing locks. His eyes were fixed on hers, lost in their depths of darkness. She still held mysteries as yet unfathomed but the night was not over yet. He saw his own face reflected back in the light of her eyes, and saw softness there, he also saw compassion and tenderness. He saw Love. With exquisite tenderness she undressed him and taking a little vial of oil from the hearth, she kissed his head, hands and feet as she reverently anointed his body with precious Spikenard. The aroma of the heady amber oil filled his head as Evelyn, taking his hand in her delicate fingers gently led him to the little latticed window.
Throwing open the panes, a rush of cool air stroked their naked bodies.
‘Isn’t she beautiful?’ whispered Evelyn, looking skyward. The storm had passed and the night sky was a black velvet blanket covered with a myriad of sparkling diamonds. The moon hung low against this celestial backdrop, a perfect orb of brilliant milky white.
‘A giant pearl’, he smiled, ‘A moon pearl!’
Evelyn did not answer as she stood moon gazing. She was totally transfixed, entranced looking at the heavenly orb.
Raising her slender, milky arms into the air, her slender body swaying gently, she began chanting and intoning sacred words.
‘What are you doing’, he puzzled.
‘Drawing down the Moon’, came back her cryptic reply. With eyes closed and her body still slightly swaying she chanted melodic words.
‘I am the Maiden,
I am the Mother
and I am the Crone
I am the Hart and the Moon gazing Hare
I am the Holly, the Ivy, the Oak
I am the Owl, the Nightingale and the Crow
I am the Forest, the Meadow,
I am the Hearth and the Home
I am the Rivers, the Oceans and Seas,
I am the Light of the Night and Lilith’s Dark Moon
I am your Hopes, your Fears and all your Desires
….all that there is dwells in me
I am the Goddess of the Triple Trinity.’
Evelyn appeared to have an aura of shimmering light around her body. Her body was present in the room, yet he could see she was transported to another place that was not of this world. Adam saw she was lost in a trancelike state, caught between him and the magic and mystery of the moon.
Adam was not sure if the effects of the fire and candle light were causing him to see things. Her face was lost in rapture and she appeared to radiate an inner light. At that moment he did not know her. She was more than his delicate Eve, she was emanating a supernal light, a power and radiance. The moon beams were dancing in the room and there was a feeling of power and wonder. As Evelyn’s chanting and swaying increased he felt a surge of ecstatic energy course through his body, as if he were electrified and alive with her pulsating words. And then she was quiet and still, it all subsided and Adam, filled with emotion, fell to his knees, wrapping his strong arms around Evelyn’s slender waist. Burrowing his head in her soft belly he sobbed as he had never ever cried before. His hot tears ran in rivers over her soft skin, and Evelyn tenderly stroked his hair, and let the release come. All the pain stored in his heart burst forth. The dam had broken and the floodgates opened. Eventually the wracking sobs abated and he felt cleansed. Looking up at the brilliance of the moon, a peace descended upon him.
‘Thank you Mother’ he whispered into the night sky and Lady Luna shining her benediction down upon her son.
He felt the light touch of Evelyn’s skin on his. Tenderly she raised him to his feet, and dried his wet face with strands of her long black hair. Taking both his hands in hers, she led Adam to her bed. By the light of the fire and warm candle glow their bodies entwined. Every brush of her lips and delicate touch of her finger tips electrified his body. With a passion Adam had never felt before, he wrapped his woman in his strong arms and was lost in the sublime bliss of her love. Two bodies merged and two spirits soared. He felt as if he had left his body and was pure Spirit, as was his beloved. Two became one. Two bodies, two hearts, two souls unified across time and space. There was no Adam and there was no Eve, there was just unimaginable and unbearable ecstasy and Bliss. In the light of the flames and the half light of the night they danced in the light of love and experienced the almost unbearable light of being.
When their lovemaking was over, Adam held Evelyn as if he would never let her go. They lay together watching the moon in her beauty and fullness.
‘The Lady has blessed us Adam’, murmured Evelyn.
‘Ah, the Lady came alive in you my Love, Eve you are my very own Moon Goddess and I worship at you.’
Adam fell asleep in his lover’s arms, wrapped in her embrace. His tortured soul was at last content and at peace.
★ A cautionary tale of asking an adept of the Dark Arts to misuse witchery★
The lone horseman cut a shadowy figure, barely visible threading his way through Sherrards Wood. The trail was overgrown and difficult for both man and beast to negotiate, especially as the weather had a mind to be unkind and inclement this winter’s eve. It was a night to be fireside with plates piled high with good food and fine wine served by comely wenches. He cursed vehemently as the cold rain began soaking through his opulent velvet cloak, the fur trim sticking uncomfortably to his skin. The north wind, having taken a dislike to the man, had a mind to torment him and screeched obscenities right back at him.
Unsettled by the strange shadows prowling through the trees and the howling wind Favian made haste. He violently dug sharp spurs into his horse, urging it to break from its steady canter into a gallop. Almost expecting to see a pack of baying hellhounds giving chase he glanced over his shoulder, unaware the path was narrowing ahead. The hoot of a barn owl startled his steed, and spooked, it lurched to the left into dense undergrowth. The move was unexpected and before the man could gain control of the reins angry brambles scratched and tore at his noble face. Favian shouted at the horse as he felt a hot trickle of blood coursing down his cheek, rivulets of red running over his lips. The taste of iron was bitter and he spat in distaste, wiping his mouth with the back of his gloved hand. Savagely he used his whip on the animal’s flanks, blaming the innocent creature for his discomfort.
By the time Favian reached his destination he was in a foul mood. He would not have ventured out on such a night if it were not of such import. Dismounting, he tied Ned his uncomplaining old horse to an ancient chestnut tree. There was no thought to the creature’s well being. It had been a long hard ride and food or water would have brought welcome respite to the tired horse. There was none to be had. Instead the man saw to his own needs and reached deep inside his cavernous cloak searching for a comforting leather flagon filled with mead. Having availed himself of a long draught of the sweet tasting and warming liquor he strode purposefully towards a dilapidated hovel. Standing forlornly within the forest clearing it was a far cry from the opulence within his father’s castle walls. A spiral of thin grey smoke rose up into the damp night air, whatever comfort it brought was carried away on the howling wind. The crackling of broken twigs caused the hairs to rise on his neck. For a moment he hesitated. A sense of foreboding came over him and he felt uncharacteristically afraid. Drawing in his breath and a dagger from his side and with feral eyes searching for hidden foes, he was on high alert. The skinny black cat that rushed by him brought relief from his fear and aiming a misplaced kick at the cat he laughed as it turned, arched its back and hissed. Another deep swig of the mead strengthened his conviction and he followed the creature towards the hovel. The cat was sat outside a weather beaten wooden door staring directly at him. Its amber eyes were penetrating and he had the uncomfortable feeling the creature was boring into his mind. He shook himself, he was not a fanciful man, it was only a cat not some phantasmagorical creature of the night the likes of which the villagers spoke of in hushed and fearful tones. Favian was strong, and if not for an accident of birth as the second son of a nobleman he would be on the brink of becoming the most powerful Lord of the Manor in these parts. The cat was in his way. Favian did not like anything or anyone to stand in the way of what he wanted. Without a second thought he unsheathed his dagger and took aim.
His face clouded darkly at the thought of what might have been if it were not for his weakling of a brother. With only a matter of days, if not hours, before the Lord of the Manor breathed his last it would all fall into his unworthy hands. Favian spat in disgust at the thought of Florian, his pathetic sibling whom he had left sobbing at their aged Father’s deathbed inheriting everything. The heir should have been him. He was the man to own the castle and the lands far beyond its walls. He should be the one with men to command, swearing allegiance to no one but the King himself. He should be the one to marry Estella, the comely and virtuous maiden chosen for his brother’s bride. The thoughts burnt as raging coals in the furnace of his mind. It should have been him! He deserved no less. Life was unfair! His were the eyes that saw her first, the French beauty with flaxen hair wound and bound around her proud head and dancing eyes of cobalt blue. He had shown his devotion to her on the jousting field. Yet she had spurned his ardent displays of valour in favour of his weak sibling. How could she prefer Florian’s vapid utterings of courtly love, serenading her with the songs of the Troubadours, to his manly valour?
As his Father’s second son arrangements had already been made for him to enter the church. His future mapped out for him, a future he did not want. It was not what he deserved. A future life as an Abbot was not to his taste, something had to be done and it had to be done now, before it was too late. The hovel before him held the solution. He had come this far and now there was no going back.
He seethed recalling the scene that had become etched in agonies of jealousy upon his mind, robbing him of sleep and peaceful repose. Florian and Estella locked in a tight embrace beneath the eastern tower, whilst he remained unseen listening from a window above.
‘Ah Estella, my heart aches for Father and his plight. I fear the days to come. If there were another way I would keep my brother close, but I have seen the darkness growing in his jealous heart. He would see me join our Father in death’s embrace and take you to his side!’
‘Fear not, my beloved Florian, for I will be forever at your side, two hearts entwined as one. Favian has a cruel and vindictive streak. The powers that be would not allow for him to become the next Lord of this Manor. If ever two brothers were so different! One of you pure heart, the other with a heart as black as night. He would not rule with wise council and grace, as you will my love.’
‘He does not want to enter the confines of the church, but Father and I decided he is far too brutal to take on the auspices of Knighthood.’
‘Chivalry is not in his dark nature, Florian. The church may well prove safe haven for his eternal soul. Come my love, let us return to your Father’s side. Eliza has brought me a potion of Meadowsweet and Wood Sorrell she prepared in the herborium to aid him in his hour of need.’
‘You are indeed blessed to have her as your handmaiden for she comes to you with many talents born of an ancient lineage, my love. Those amber eyes of hers hold much knowledge.’
‘Indeed Florian, for one so young she is well versed in the old ways, which are always useful in dangerous times such as these.’
Hand in hand they had walked back into the castle and to his Father’s bedchamber.
With a sense of urgency Florian sought out Eliza…
The interior of the hovel was dark, lit by a single stumpy candle formed from tallow and the dying embers of a spent fire, and it took Favian a moment or two to acclimatise to the gloom. The tallow smelt acrid and unpleasant and he sniffed in distain. A creak drew his attention and he made out the shape of a crumpled old woman sat fireside upon a wooden stool. She was wrapped in a thick woollen shawl over a dirty black skirt. Her feet were bare and coated in the grime of the forest floor. The cat was nowhere to be seen, despite having evaded his dagger and run through the door which had creaked open seconds before Favian had made his unceremonious entrance. A sudden movement and the fire sprang into life casting a low glow. A blackened pot hung on a hook above the grate. Burning embers added much needed illumination to the pitifully poor interior. It was almost threadbare apart from a rocking chair and a trestle table laden with jars of potions and bunches of dried herbs and flowers. The old woman broke into an unexpectedly raucous cackle and the cavern of her mouth gawped open exposing a few rotten teeth within her wizened maw. Her face was lined and wrinkled by the ravages of time and strands of straggly white hair covered her eyes.
‘What can I do for you good Sir Favian?’ Her polite enquiry was laced with sarcasm.
‘Eliza sent me,’ he stated starkly, not questioning she knew who he was.
‘Oh.’ There was no surprise in the voice that answered.
‘Eliza told me you practice the Arts.’
‘What Arts would they be? What would an old woman such as myself know of Arts? I live a humble life, living of the land and grateful for the charity of those good of heart.’
‘Pah! Don’t play with me old woman,’ he menacingly bent his large frame into her frail body. ‘It is said by those superstitious villagers that you are an adept of the dark arts.’
‘It would be very foolish to claim such powers. You know what villagers are like with their silly gossip about witchcraft and the like.’ She left her words hanging coldly between them.
‘Eliza is not given to gossip. That girl knows things!’
‘Aye, she may well do so Sir Favian, but I dare say what she knows she shares only with those she trusts within your Father’s walls and keeps her own counsel.’
‘And she did too, until I beat it out of her!’ he spat in frustration.
The old woman responded icily ‘Did you indeed? Was there any need for that? Eliza has been a true and loyal maidservant to the Lady Estella and your noble family. I hear you tried to make good use of both those fair ladies yourself. I hear your Father has made provisions for you to enter the Church.’ Her voice was loaded with contempt.
Favian clenched his fists, face red with rage. He would have swung for the helpless old woman, but he needed her. His eyes grew cold and he resolved once he had what he had come for she would get what she rightly deserved for such insolence. They burnt witches and no one would doubt his testimony the old hag had put a spell on his brother causing him a quick and painful death. He smiled at the thought of all his plans coming to fruition. With his Father dying, his brother dead and the Manor all but his nothing would prevent him taking the lady Estella for his wife. And as for the comely Eliza, there would be no one to protect her and keep him from her bedchamber now. It would not be long until he got just what he rightly deserved.
‘A man in my position gets what he deserves, and more, that is why I am here and you will help me get what is rightfully mine.’ He crouched down low and grabbed the old woman’s wrists in a vice like grip. ‘Eliza said you practice the dark Arts. She said you were the only one who could give me what I deserve, and give it to me you will!’
‘Unhand me and tell me what it is you want, I will not be able to practice the Arts you speak of with broken hands.’
‘I want control of the Manor and all the land and villagers. The old Lord is on his deathbed and I should be his heir.’
‘Does not his Lordship have a firstborn son, your brother? You are but a second son, the right of title will not pass to you.’
‘Aye, what you say is true, but with less than a year between us my brother is everything I am not. He is weak and his support for King Stephen over the Empress Maude could loose us everything in these dangerous times. As Lord of the manor I will pledge allegiance to Maude and her cause. I will receive great riches and rewards for my loyalty!’
‘There are many in these parts would call that treachery Sir. King Stephen is the rightful heir and his support is strong. You could loose everything, The King is not a forgiving man, so it is said. But how can I help with such matters?’
‘You were the one taught Eliza the power of potions. I need such a potion. I need something to remove the obstacles in my path to my destiny. I need what I deserve and I need it now, tonight!’
‘Then why did you not ask Eliza for such a potion?’
‘She said her skills were in healing and removing those things that ail a body. I beat the truth out of her, she sent me here to get what I deserve from one practised in the old ways and the dark Arts. I am done conversing with you old woman; give me what I ask for. I will have what I rightfully deserve before day break.’
‘Hmm. Indeed I shall use my Arts to give you what you deserve, Sir Favian. If it is your will and you so desire it, then confirm your intent and it shall be so, but I warn you once the spell has been cast to give you what you rightfully deserve there will be no going back. Death will occur and what has been engendered cannot be undone.’
‘I do desire it.’
The old woman stood up and walked over to the trestle table. Carefully she rooted through the bottles and herbs. Selecting those she required she returned to the fire. There are indeed herbs that heal and there are also herbs that harm. Throwing sprigs of henbane onto the fire, she began chanting arcane words. She added Hemlock, Mandrake and Thorn-apple followed by Wolfsbane. The fire began to spit and growl as angry flames grew higher.
Favian stood before it lapping up the warmth, satisfied it had begun. The chanting grew more urgent and the flames intensified.
‘Are you sure I should continue?’ she asked.
‘Do it!’ he replied excitement of what would rightfully be his consuming him.
The old woman opened a vial of a foul smelling liquid and cast it onto the fire, her woollen cloak slipped to the floor. She did not look frail now. Her hair was no longer white, but a blanket of black cascading down her back. Through billowing smoke he could just about make out her shape as she stood tall and proud. As she added more herbs and resins, the smoke cleared. Favian saw her eyes for the first time. Luminous, deep amber eyes. Eliza’s eyes. Shocked he blinked and she was gone. With a roar, flames of blue and gold chased red sparks up the chimney. Favian gave a gasp, it seemed as if the gates of hell were opening. Fire and brimstones spewed out into the room and began encircling him. In fear he cried for it to stop.
A cackle filled the air. The only reply was a vicious hiss from the black cat as it stepped out of the cloak on the floor, fixed him with deep amber eyes and sauntered out of the door.
~Thank you for reading!
★ and more tales of the supernatural are within my latest book★