Novel Preview Part I
I woke up from a dream in which there was only Selene and darkness.
Her hair felt like silk caressing my skin, her red cheeks were warm, and illuminating to the touch; filling the emptiness within me. Her green eyes were glowing intensely, resembling bright emerald stars in the darkest of nights.
She blended in the shallowness of my dwelling place. My home. Where I have lived suspended in time for almost ten years, existing. My chaotic flat is the true representation of my mind. It perpetuates a tormenting intense scent of jasmine blossom. Jasmine used to be my favourite fragrance, now it’s impregnated on the walls, impersonating the essence of my living, from the a day I smashed the perfume bottle against a mirror.
Irritation, impatience and rage are often my sincere and most faithful companions, as well as my comfortable and indulgent solitude. Together with the vexation deep in the heart and the longing, always the longing. It’s hard to explain, it is the longing for someone or something that you miss, but was never there in the first place.
At times I picture myself running away from my head, determinedly fleeing from my thoughts. The reality is that there are memories I cannot escape. The story I’m about to tell, I tell it not because I want to but because I must.
I heard her whispering my name.
Her laughter echoed in the dark; she woke me up. Her breath caressed my senses; her face was directly above me, her eyes staring into my soul, piercing, and then she vanished.
The deliciously disturbing and unexpected visit from my best friend made it impossible to go back to sleep, it was 4 o’clock in the morning,
“Selene, come back!”
I begged in the mists of a million thoughts and questions, mixed with fear, excitement and anxiety.
It was her ghost! was it not? I asked myself. Selene is dead, or at least, she is not fully alive, has she just died? I will call her mother tomorrow to find out…
“I will call her mother tomorrow.” I repeated this in my head, yet fully knowing that there was no way I was going to do that. The thought of contacting Selene’s mum made me shiver, it made an avalanche of negative emotions erupt, deep, thick fear staring at me whichever way I looked at it.
Whenever I am under stress or in a bewildering and hostile situation, I feel instinctively drawn to water. I feel instinctively drawn to water when I’m happy and excited, or in love, also when I feel lonely or depressed, afraid or insecure. I do feel drawn to water in any and many situations as a matter of fact. I strongly believe that in another life I was a fish.
I made a bubble bath, infusing it with lavender and rose petals, I laid on my bathtub; letting my mind go, free of thoughts if only for a few seconds.
The middle of the night is the time when all my senses are at their highest sensory vibrations. I can often feel my untamed passions trying to brake free in the middle of the night.
I desired to feel Selene’s presence once again. I breathed in the fumes that emerged with the rich vapours of natural essence and then carefully, and meaning no harm, I focused on the flame of the candle. It glowed soft and golden. I instantly saw the drake, just dancing with the flames at first then making to whisper. I watched attentively to see what she was saying until I realised what I was doing.
I rebuked myself. I know what fire can bring, this time I so much wanted to let it in but I was too afraid. I closed my eyes at once, my inner vision projected dazzling sparks of light flashing like fireworks in the mind.
A while ago I decided to deny the manifestation of anything that reminds me of the magical unknown forces, paranormal occurrences, parallel pathways, the art of wishing and desiring, the magic of love in its truest form, and all these practices and activities which I became so deeply acquainted with, during my childhood.
I plunged into the water, then, still submerged I opened my eyes.
Selene’s ghostly figure reappeared and assumed what seemed an impossible posture above me, perfectly fitted in the bath, hovering under the water; her nose touching mine. She flashed a mischievous grin and she evaporated, like mist in the forest at dawn.
I gasped, opening my mouth oblivious to the water, yelling…
My childhood screams loudly from the place I left it. Selene’s ghost leaves me in reveries taking the form of unwanted thoughts; memories threatening to break the strict silence they’ve been forced to keep all these years.
Selene, Tamara, Dama, Luna and I met when we were little girls aged five and six. We lived in one of the lost, small villages in the “Fortunate Islands”. Our town is hidden behind a thick and tall forest near the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
It was the first day of the summer, many years ago.
It was in a time when the essence of life means beauty, freedom and excitement; when the soul of a child is naturally attuned with the universal flow of all. With no needs, wants or desires other than the constant awareness and the unceasing performance of joy, in a here and now basis. In a time when innocence finds perfect contentment in the mare fact of existing.
I was five years old, and I was enjoying a hot day on the beach. My body was subtly baking under the heat of the sun; I was floating face down on the sea, watching playful little redfish slip through my fingers.
I heard someone speak next to me under the water. I turned round with a start, glimpsing at the face of a girl who vanished instantly when I tried to focus on her. She disappeared, but she kept talking; I could hear her voice inside my head, loud and clear.
Without thinking I began to walk down the seashore, driven by a force that overcame my will, as if hypnotised. I was led by the voice of the girl until I reached her:
She was six years old. She had long, wavy, shiny ruby red hair, emerald green eyes and pronounced facial features. She was bending down, looking into the sea, speaking to the fish.
She articulated the most eloquent gibberish in an indecipherable language; the sound of her voice shifted me outside the world for moments, maybe minutes.
Then the other girls arrived one by one.
Tamara was five years old, her soft dark skin emphasizing beautiful Indian features, her eyes light brown like honey, sparkling with the radiance of her soul.
Tamara’s glance, like a mirror, reflected the past life of a heroine, a brave queen warrior of the forest. Centuries ago Tamara incarnated a deity Simetra. Her arrival came with a vision which we all shared; a vision that took us back in time.
For an instant we witnessed the goddess’s victory, in one of her greatest battles against giant enemies.
The beach turned into the thick Savannah rainforest with trees that seemed to reach the sky, Tamara transformed, she was now a woman with a solidly built body and straight black hair so long that it almost touched the floor. Her face was painted with black strips, like a warrior. She reached for her arrows and shot with her bow; in a split second an army of monsters surrounded us.
They were fat, one-eyed giants. They threw rays of fire from their hand palms, aiming to destroy Simetra and her fellow warriors: Ollopa, Semreh, and us.
I am sure some of the rays were aimed at us, but we were frozen, due to the surprise, the thrill or the fear, I don’t know, but we were nailed to the floor, like strongly rooted plants.
The three warriors climbed trees, jumping from one to another, seemingly they were flying, swiftly, they released arrow after arrow, wounding the monsters that turned to dust when hit, and fell to the ground.
It happened fast,
I held my breath all the while until the scene turned back to sand, sea, my girls and I.
Dama arrived next, she stood opposite me. The six-year-old was bewitching, her unusual charm adorable. From the moment I saw her I sensed that her beauty comes from her spirit, her unique essence is genuinely enchanting.
It is obvious that when we look at a rose we are looking at one of the most beautiful and sublime works of creation. Yet we must see that it is not only the appearance of the rose that makes it so beautiful: it is its fragrance, its essence, it is the legend of all roses; it is what a rose makes us feel and it is what a rose means.
Similarly, it is Dama’s soul that reveals her beauty, not only her golden hair, and her eyes, which perfectly match the colour of the sky on a clear day.
In an instant, Dama became Freyja; the Scandinavian deity that she existed as, in ancient times. We all witnessed how she flew up from the sand to reach a gold chariot that awaited in the sky. It was embellished with diamonds and pulled by giant white swans. She rode, flying her majestic carriage in the company of seagulls. One of her swans lost a feather, it fell, right above my head and caressed my face before it landed at my feet.
I stood still watching the glorious Princess of Princesses. She was surrounded by the Valkyries, warrior women, who trotted on horseback, flying against the blue sky, heading towards the sun. In as little time as it takes to sigh, Freyja disappeared in the sky but she smiled in Dama’s eyes.
Now came Luna and stood next to me, she offered us a dignified salute upon arrival, then we all held hands.
Luna is pure grace and absolute peace. Her smooth and luminous complexion frames delicate Asian features. Her hair shines an intense sunshine yellow, almost white when touched by light. I glanced at her; Then I instinctively knew that she is the reincarnation of the deity, T’ai Yuan, the creator and the owner of yin and yang, she who is the master of balance in the universe.
With her sublime greeting, came to us a vision of the inside of a temple which was the size of a city, where millions of devotees adore and seek the counsel of the goddess that teaches them the path that leads to total tranquillity, peace, and harmony.
It was in the moment I closed my eyes to feel the peace and harmony that floated from Luna and when
I saw who I am or was in another life. A powerful being. My skin glows almost translucent; I am a carrier of wisdom, I’m a whisperer of secrets of beauty, love and greatness. My curly, long and abundant hair is dark blue as the darkest parts of the ocean.
My eyes deep and intense green, immense green, it seems like it is possible to dive into the depth of them.
My name is Imhskal, I live in the depths of the ocean.
My vision lasted a second but it reflected an eternity.
It could have all been a dream, but what happened in our lives after that magic encounter, taught us that the truth and the reality of love are often far from the reach of the narrow and simple human mind. Some truth can only be comprehended with a bare and open heart in hand. There are mysteries that can only be revealed to a pure soul.
Until then the secrets of freedom, fulfilment and true love’s magic shall remain secret.