In the light ( 🙂 ) of this week’s supermoon…
An extract from ‘Drawing Down the Moon’ – one of the creepy tales to be found in my collection Fables and Fabrications. (Available in paper and kindle formats)
…She breathed in ozone-laden moisture and remembered how she had stood on the hillside within the temple grounds on many such nights as for old enmity he held for her sisterhood.
Wilder elements always focused her psyche. This rite was something she had not anticipated acting out ever again, yet it was always there; waiting in the shadows for her to reach out and pluck it into the semi-light.
Kicking off her shoes she shed her coat, letting it slip free of her fingers. She unzipped her skirt and allowed it to drop around her ankles. I who have nothing, she crooned into the room’s silence, and smiled. In the old days men were crazed by the notion of spying on her order. In the old days the Sisters would have crazed any man known to risk that spying. She unbuttoned her blouse as she hummed the recent ballad, swaying her hips, taking her time, taunting. Any added emotion her audience brought to the rite was to be welcomed.
She stood tall in nothing but black chemise and composure. Long ago she would have been naked but temperature ruled against it. They would have their floor show soon enough. Let them leer, allow them anticipation.
Her lips moved, like a slow reader, not singing now but chanting. To herself first, and then more loudly as her conscious merged with the echoes of beyond. She called on the Keres, daughters of Nyx, on Mnemosyne and Bia and on Lethe, but most of all she called to Styx and to Hecate. She slipped into the ritual as a ripe and luscious strawberry slides into the rich, sweet, darkness of chocolate. She became the rite, the vessel, through which the tendrils wafting off the Veil strayed into this world.
Energised by her actions she moved to the fountain; stretching her arms toward the spigots, whirling three times in a twisted, fluid dance; aping the very water. She swayed beneath the liquid, allowing it to cascade around her neck and shoulders before throwing her head back to loose a wild ululation. She called once again upon Hecate and Styx to allow the soul departed a brief return.
From beyond the clouds she felt the pull of the moon. It called her and she called back, repeating her watery dance twice more. Then she dropped to the hard, cool floor; prostrating herself before her elementals, with arms outstretched.
Wind rattled the glass, reaching into the room and splaying the fountain’s water flow in its passing, rippling the voile curtains into horizontal.
Whilst this Thessalian woman worked her dark acts; diving into the world of shades and emerging with an act of full blown necromancy, just two pairs of eyes watched her, in thrall as the bodyguards, having washed the corpse had withdrawn; apparently not to be privy to any information the deceased might have.
Cin saw Jeno.
Cin saw her boy.
Their heads were almost touching. She saw them both look at her, and whisper to each other.
Betrayal? Was he also a man? Mid-rite she could not permit her own wants to intrude. She could not, would not, see her boy intimate with the man who killed so lightly.
The storm cut off as though a switch had been flicked. Where there had been only cloud, a harsh moonlight slotted across the untidy shagginess of blasted borders and winter lawns, glinting off the door panes and onto the woman who waited for its touch.
Cinthia swept off her eye patch to expose a puckered depression. Deliberately, elegantly, she came up to full height with arms up and rigid fingers splayed wide. She flexed each digit, clawing at the shaft of light, emitting a litany of noise from deep in her throat.
Listeners could not discern words in either Greek or English, but there was an unmistakable cadence placed on the edges of those notes that shredded nerves as surely as cat-claws down velvet curtains.
The moon’s colour changed, starting on one side and creeping across its face, growing deeper and larger than its silvery persona. It had taken on a reddish hue, hanging low, resting on the jagged horizon of surrounding rooftops; a fecund and brooding night bird waiting to drop on its prey.