||[31 Mar 2005|07:20pm]
Belle walks into the bar, a soft wrap clutched tightly around her in the cool, early spring chill, a bunch of lilac flowers tucked under one arm and a duffle slung over her shoulder. The sun is going down, and she can hear the wind chimes in the oak tree through the window, left cracked a bit earlier in the day to let the warm afternoon breeze in. The sky is tossed with heavy, gathering cloud, and there is a storm coming in...
She closes the door behind her, leaves her wrap on the bar, and takes the bag to a space by the fireplace. She sets it on the floor, opens it, and from its depths takes out three candles, a silken cloth, a bottle, two chalices, a soda bread and her blade.
She moves a chair closer, and spreads the silk on the floor before it.
With measured steps, she cuts a circle with her blade, a look of concentration on her face, her eyes burning and her brow furrowed. She blows a kiss to each of the four winds, pondering the nymph, the salamander, the undine and the gnome, and how she needs all of them, and the gifts they bring.
She sits on the floor, opposite the chair, and places her gifts on the cloth, the blade by the bread, the bottle opened and ready by the cups, the candles, two white and one pink, set in a triangle around the centerpiece of flowers, heavily fragrant with their cool, sweet smell. She reaches into her pocket and murmuring a bit, lights the candles, smelling sweetly of their consecration--the two white first, and then the pink, her candle, last.
In the firelight, she closes her eyes, and her tears begin to flow.
"Mother...?" she calls softly. "Mother?"
At once, the chair opposite her is occupied by a woman dressed in black cloak and shift. Belle looks up into Her face, and sees Her hair, the glowing color of moonlight, and Her eyes, blue as midnight, and the comforting, delicate wrinkles of the skin, still firm with life, still warm and ruddy. Her hands are folded gently in Her lap, adorned with silver and moonstone, and they are sturdy and strong, laced with vein and sinew, and yet...
Folded in that way, they give the appearance of calm, perfect gentleness.
The voice is low and steady, inviting and intimidating all at once. "Yes, child. I'm here."
By now Belle's tears are streaming, and she looks almost pleadingly into her Mother's face.
"Mother, I'm heartsick, and hurt. I feel broken and weak. I feel tired and despairing...."
The Woman listens, and when Belle's sobs are quieted, She speaks. "It's the woman, isn't it? The woman who crossed over today."
Belle nods wordlessly, unable to speak, so choked she is with sadness and anger, her mind whirling with pictures of that face...that face...
"Child," The Woman says quietly, "hush, child, and dry your tears, because I have something to show you..."
From the folds of her cloak, soft as shadow, she brings forth a huge crystal, spotlessly clear and full of rainbows. It is a giant chunk of a thing, covered with mirrored facets, windows to other worlds...
( And as Belle watches, the crystal fills with smoky phantoms, and she is taken back into her own existence...but not one of this time or place...Collapse )
Hours later, Belle finds herself awakening on the floor of the bar, the sun coming up through the window, the candles burned to their quicks and the purple silk scattered with crumbs.
She stands, and stretches herself awake, and goes to put on the coffee and the muffins, preparing for another day in which she will find herself feeding her patrons...
Because this is what she longs to do, and what she has, through the grace of her Good Mother, been allowed to do....