Welcome to the October 2020 Storytime Blog Hop!
This October, I am happy to present the next installment of my Tarot project, II – The Priestess. I hope you enjoy it, as well as the other stories featured during this month’s blog hop, including V. S. Stark’s A Perfect Match, which I am also hosting and which you can find below in the list.
If you want to read my Tarot stories in order, here are the two previous entries:
And now here is the new one:
II – The Priestess
As the sky turns golden, then crimson, then turquoise, the crescent moon appears in the western sky. A silver trail, too bright to have come from the moon, sparkles off in the distance. A howl rises in the night. Somehow, I know it is still the same dog I’ve been following, now enchanted by the moon. What mystery is this? I need to know, and something in me knows I just need to listen.
Crickets, owls, the rustling of leaves, distant yips and howls from wolves or coyotes accompany me down the silver path. These sounds are the expected music of nighttime in the woods. But as I walk the trail, I hear a chant. Dissonant and ethereal, it grows louder the further along the path I go.
Eventually, I arrive at a cave. A small stream flows out of it, back down the mountain, growing from a slender tendril of water into a raging river. A sense of the tides and waves rising and falling in my blood awakens me to the ancient primordial flow of river to sea to clouds to rain to streams to river . . . One of the Mysteries I needed to learn — but the longing still drives me forward along the silver path, right into the large opening of the cave.
No, not a cave. A cathedral. The walls rise high, to a point, with elaborate stalagmites and stalactites reaching toward each other, the sacred pillars of the Earth. Water drips, and the sound echoes off the earthen walls, giving percussion to the chant, which continues to grow while the other sounds of the night are hushed, smothered by the darkness. And I too am smothered, devoured.
In the center of this cavern is a small pond, the source of the stream. An opalescent stone seat faces me from across the pond, drawing me forward. As I approach, the mournful melody surrounds me.
It is too much; I fall onto the stone, the song infusing me, somehow nowhere and everywhere. Trapped, and yet longing, I begin to sing, my voice creating a descant harmony rising above and below the melody of the stone. My vision blurs; I no longer see the cave, but something beyond. Shapes form in the water of the pond as the light of the moon dances across the surface. A blue ball becomes green, gardens grow, my mother smiles as she stirs soup, the spotted dog leaps from the cliff — I see everything up to this point, and then the dog again, now in a lush green garden, jumping and bouncing at the skirt of a golden-haired goddess clothed in red.
I am leaning too close to the pond. As I fall in, the world dissolves, and I know where I am going. I have been granted a Mystery of the future: the Garden of Life.
A note on beta reading: I had several beta readers for this story, and the comments ranged from needing to change everything to it being perfect the way it was. I say this because while I did make a new version trying to compromise between the two camps, it failed among some of those who liked the original, so I have gone back to the original. I realize this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I did not want to dilute it only to be unsatisfactory to everyone. Please note that any remaining mistakes are mine and that things you may consider to be “sub-par” were deliberate choices on my part after seeing all of the different comments.