Lost In Thought

He wondered what it was like to be God looking down on everyone from the multi-coloured galaxy. He looked at the tall candle pillars on the deep church window sills and saw the flames flicking in a draft. Was God even interesting in what was going on down here? He thought, did he listen to the prayers of the world or did he just let the angels deal with those?

He tried to hear what the vicar was saying as they all bowed their heads together, but he just couldn’t concentrate. He believed that could be true, so was God creating other Earths then? And what if some of those new Earths were the same as this one? And right now, what if there was a man just like himself sit in a church pertaining to be praying when really he was wondering about the possible existence of other earths and humans?

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Winter Wanderer (Part 5)

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Beck finished putting on Nightstorm’s saddle and bridle. With a glance over his shoulder, he led the horse through the broken door and a few steps away from the abandoned elf tower. The snow crunched loudly around them and once again Beck and Nightstorm sank a little in the white drifted. Leaving the warhorse listening and smelling the air, Beck went back and held his hand out for Olwyan.

She stood in the doorway, peering out uncertainly huddled in her riding cloak. She looked down at his hand then the depth of the snow and the footprints he and Nightstorm had created. Olwyan picked up the side of her skirts, lifting them clear of the snow then took his hand and stepped into one of Beck’s footprints. Her smaller booted feet sink into the snow. She took another step and found the going easier then she had first thought.

Beck led her up to Nightstorm and reached for the back of the saddle.

‘I shall give you a lift up.’

‘I cannot,’ Olwyan stated, ‘I have never ridden a horse.’

‘That does not matter,’ Beck replied.

‘I will walk, thank you.’

She turned and took a few steps away, still using Beck’s footprints. Behind her, she heard Beck clicking his tongue and walking Nightstorm on. She stepped onto fresh snow and her feet sank into the softness, she stopped looked into the forest, the task of walking back to the road now daunting.

‘It’ll be easier,’ Beck said close behind her.

‘I can’t!’ Olwyan snapped.

She turned and saw that Beck had come to her side with Nightstorm two steps behind him, standing still. The huge black horse stood proudly out against the white snowy scene, an ink blot on white paper. He flicked his tail and looked off into the forest, his ears pricked for any sounds.

‘Give me your hand,’ Beck said gently.

Olwyan held it out, but did not look at him. Beck moved her hand towards Nightstorm’s nose. She shut her eyes and tensed, holding her breath. She felt a hot breath then warm velvetiness on the back of hand.

‘He’s soft and he wouldn’t hurt you,’ Beck whispered, ‘turn around.’

She did, but kept her eyes shut. Olwyan felt her hand being flattened against the horse’s muzzle and moved upwards. The velvet feeling changed to one of silkiness as she felt his short hair under her fingers.

‘See? That’s not so bad.’

Olwyan nodded, not trusting herself to speak. She felt her hand being dropped and movement beside her. Beck’s mumbled words reached her, but she couldn’t full hear them. When he came back to her side, she cracked open her eyes and saw that Nightstorm had moved and she was now looking at his saddled back.

‘I’ll lift you up,’ Beck said, ‘put your foot here and your hands here.’

‘I shall try.’

She felt Beck hands on her hips and her feet leaving the ground. She placed the right on into the stirrup and her hands on top of the saddle and helped him lift her up. Moments later, she was surprised to realise she was there. Straighten her skirts and cloak, she patted Nightstorm at the base of his mane and looked over his head. She had a higher view of the forest now.

‘Where are you going?’ she called to Beck as he moved away.

‘It would be unfair to ask him to carry the both of us and my things,’ came the reply.

Olwyan wiggled in the saddle, ‘I have changed my mind. Get me down.’

‘Sorry, but no, your highness,’ Beck tacked on as he grabbed the reins.

He grinned up at her and clicking his tongue, tugged Nightstorm into moving. Olwyan swayed forward and grabbed the top of the saddle, her legs knocked together and a sick feeling hit her stomach.

‘Tell me about your bracelet,’ Beck called up.

‘I want to get down!’

‘Trust me. It is easier and faster this way. Talking will take your mind off it.’

Olwyan pressed her teeth together and sucked in a deep breath. She felt Nightstorm moving under her, the warhorse not seeming to notice her fear. She shut her eyes and thought about anything else other then what she was doing right now.

‘When we get to the road you can get down. The snow might not be so deep there,’ Beck’s voice drifted to her, ‘the passing carriages and horses will have helped too and we are lower here. We need to make to the next outpost before we lose the light as well, even if it does not snow again, it’s too cold to travel at night now.’

‘Do you know where it is?’ Olwyan asked.

‘Roughly.’

She opened her eyes and mouth at the same time, harsh words dancing on her tongue.

‘Don’t worry about it. Now tell me about you.’

Olwyan was silent for a moment. She slid the sliver bracelet around her wrist, looking at the detailed pattern and words etched across it.

‘You know don’t you?’ she said softly.

Beck didn’t answer, but carried on leading Nightstorm through the snow.

‘I wanted to a be City Priestess,’ Olwyan breathed, ‘but I could not learn the magic. I barely got into the Order, but I thought being there, practising and learning would help. But it was beyond me. I did not want to leave, so they said I could go to help set up a new order in Ravenglass. Of course, that meant being married off and having babies. I did not mind, I was doing it for the Order and if I had a child who could weld magic then I would have been happy.’

‘Do you believe that?’ Beck asked.

‘Yes. And my suiter was so nice. He was tall, not as tall as you though and he had black hair and a young face. The first time we meet he presented me with a dried flower from the mountains. I thought…well, that we would get on. We were in separate carriages,’ Olwyan dropped her voice, ‘I do not know what happened to him.’

‘We should head back then and see if we can find anyone.’

Olwyan nodded and looked through the snow covered trees. She could see nothing resting against their trunks or tangled in their branches. A gently wind blew some snowflakes about and soft chiming coming from the movement of the icicles. Nightstorm snorted underneath her, but ploughed onwards. She patted his neck then wrapped her fingers around the leather saddle again.

 

To Be Continued…

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 8)

I looked up into the fire pit letting my mind digest all of that. My fingers went to close the book, but suddenly I decided to look up my current situation. Perhaps, there were more meanings now I was here. I turned to the front of The Arcana, give a quick thought as to what to look up then started again.

What did I know so far? Moor, fire, trees – were they birch or beech and elms? Night time and possible witches. I flipped to the start of ‘M’ and hurriedly went through the pages, until;

Moor

Indicates feelings overwhelmed by negativity. Alternatively, a pun on “more”, is there something you are in need of more?

‘Negativity?’ I whispered.

Not a good start. Okay next;

Fire

Depending on the context; to see fire symbolizes destruction, passion, desire, illumination, purification, transformation, enlightenment and anger. If you are not afraid and it is under control, then it’s a symbol of your own internal fire and inner transformation. It can also represent your drive, motivation, and creative energy. Alternatively, a warning of some dangerous or risky activities.

I glanced up, my eyes going straight to the fire before me. It didn’t sound like things were getting any better. The wind shook the trees around me, drawing my attention to them. What did The Arcana say about them?

Trees

To see bare trees indicates used up energy. You have put your all into something now you are exhausted. Perhaps depressed. Alternatively, the dream signifies the cycle of life or the passage of time.  Withered or dead trees indicates that your hopes and desires have been dashed. Additionally, crows symbolize the end of some cycle or behavior. It is representative of death. Beech tree; intellect, learning and wisdom. Alternatively, it represents death. Elm Tree; death, misfortune, and bad luck. Birch tree;  self-punishment or guilt issues.

I gulped and uttered, ‘no.’

This wasn’t right after how far I’d come. Why was the book now giving me all these negative meaning when I now needed it the most? Perhaps the meaning of night would offer me some comfort? I skipped back the pages and looked it up. My fingers traced the words as I read;

Night

Represents major setbacks and obstacles in achieving  goals. You are faced with an issue that is not clear cut. Perhaps, you should put the issues aside, clear your head and come back later. Alternatively, death, rebirth, reflection, and new beginnings.

‘Death, again! Come on, Arcana don’t do this to me!’ I screamed and all but threw the book down.

I shut my eyes and quietened my panicked breathing. What else was there? Oh, the witches that started all of this off. I couldn’t remember what their meaning was. I turned to the back and looked it up then read aloud, ‘witches represent destruction and evil, either through seeing them physically or objects that are connected with them. Witches are also linked to negative ideas about females and the body. This could have been brought on by recent events connected with these matters. It is often centred on bad experiences with a heartless woman who is or will become a danger to you.’

I paused, breathed and read the next part, ‘Alternatively, a white or good witch has the opposite effect and they are seen as a symbol of goodness, power and enchantment. They can appear to protect you and/or offer guidance through their magic.’

It was the same as the last time I had read it.

I closed the book and put it away. Somehow the dagger was still in my hand and had been this whole time. I took in a few deep breaths and looked into the fire. The flames were getting through the logs quickly, but it was far from going out. I listened to the wind in the trees and the howling of some creature far away. What did it all mean? What did The Arcana want me to do?

A crackling laugh echoed above and I looked up, but didn’t see anything. A shiver went through me and after a quick glance around, I stepped into the safe cover of the trees. What else did I remember about this dream? I tried to recall quickly. I was child, in a white nightie, lost on the moors at night. I stumble on the witches meeting here and making a potion. They capture me and after torturing me, throw me into the caldron….

I looked down and saw no white nightie or child body. The thought that this difference could be key came to mind. I felt the Hagstone heating up and grabbed it to look up at the sky. There was a witch on a broomstick above me. I watched her circling then coming down just in front of the tree enclosed cleaning. I didn’t remember her being so detailed before.

She carried the broom in her right hand and a large caldron- surly too heavy for just herself to carry and fly with!- in her left. She had on a black hat, a short black cape and plain black dress. Her hair was bright green and face covered in warts. She looked like a traditional Halloween witch. She walked in and set the caldron on top of the fire.

I looked at the sky again and watched four more witches flying in. They are looked so different and covered the whole scale of witchy looks. Those four joined the first one and they began the preparations of the potion. Another crackling laugh raised my head again and this time I counted eight more. Those witches came into land and they all greeted each other.

My heart and breathing were loud in my ears, but I stayed frozen and watched them. Soon the potion was bubbling away and they were chanting. A few added some more things in and two were tending to the fire. I gripped the ice dagger and thought about getting The Arcana out again. What was I meant to do?

‘Where’s the child?’ one witch shouted up.

The others grew silent.

‘She should be here by now,’ another gargled.

‘I don’t sense her,’ a very old and blind witch cut in.

‘Perhaps we should go and find her?’ a very beautiful, blonde chimed in.

‘No. She always comes to us. It’s the way,’ the first spoke again.

All the witches murmured and swayed around the caldron.

‘Who has the best eyes?’ the gargling one asked.

‘I!’ cried the blind one, ‘and I tell ye now, she’s not coming.’

I stepped from the trees, ‘I’m here!’ I shouted.

The closest witches stumbled back then froze with the others as they all looked at me.

‘I’m no longer a child!’ I cried and lashed out with the dagger at the nearest witch.

The dagger easily sliced through her and the witch screamed. Black blood squirted out and the witched turned, crumbling to the ground. The other witches cried out and rushed me at once. I felt their cold, gnarled fingers ripping into me. I sliced out with the dagger in all directions, determined that they wouldn’t take me. Fingers flew across the air, more black blood dripped down me and the witches screamed loudly in my ears till it was all I could here.

Despite everything, they grabbed me and dragged me over the fire and caldron. Screaming and kicking, slashing out with the dagger that had become unmoveable from my hand, I fought them off. Their fingers pinched through my clothes and laughter rushed through me. I screamed and screamed then I felt the kiss of the fire.

‘It can’t be like this!’ I yelled.

‘It can and is, child!’ the first witch roared back, raising above us all, ‘throw her in!’

The witches heaved together and threw me upwards. Wind and my own scream rushed around me. I flew for a second then landed over the caldron, knocking it over and sending the potion sizzling into the fire. Black smoke engulfed me and heat cracked my skin.

‘Ashes to ashes,’ the witches chanted.

I felt myself sinking and struggled to get up, but I was trapped under the caldron. I screamed and the fire burned my throat. Suddenly, I heard a cry and a panic of words. Had someone come to save me? No, the witches had suddenly realised that their potion and I had gone up in flames and smoke. I smiled and felt myself melting away. I felt the fire and ashes giving away under me and I fall through a blue haze. Landing, for the first time up right, I looked around and saw total blackness.

Had I died for real? Garson said that wasn’t possible. If I died in the dream I came back to my own bed and life. I touched myself not sure what was going on. My clothes felt the same and I still had the satchel. I fumbled around inside of it and finding nothing of valuable right now, pulled out the feather. My connection to my life, Garson had said.

A dim, growing light ahead of me caught my attention. I looked up, feather in one hand and dagger glued to the other. The light grew and grew, becoming the soft glow of a candle. What was this now? I steadied my breathing and got ready to fight again. As it drew closer, I saw it to be lantern and a familiar person was holding it up.

‘Dean!’ I shouted and ran towards him.

I threw my arms around him and pressed my face into his chest.

‘Abs! I’ve been looking for you everywhere!’ He half-shouted.

I laughed at his American accent, but didn’t release him from the hug, ‘are we back in the mine? Did you get caught?’

‘No. This is a new place. I’m not sure how I got here…Well, I think I do know. Come here and I’ll explain on the way,’ Dean stated.

He wiggled out of the hug, took my hand and walked me into the darkness. The candle lantern burned brightly around us, but it didn’t display anything.

‘I think I’m here to help you as a thanks for helping me,’ Dean picked up excitedly, ‘you see when you went through that portal, I tried to follow you and I ended up here with this light.’

‘Really? I’ve been on such a journey since then!’ I jumped in.

‘But you made it and when I saw this. I knew you’d come to fix it. Everything made sense. Look.’

Dean rose the lantern up as he stopped and I had crane my neck to look up. A massive gold web was spun out before us. A gasp escaped me. The web was so huge it was impossible for me to see it all at once. I reached out a hand and touched it lightly. The web was ice cold and seemed to shiver at my fingertips.

‘I’ve been looking for the broke part and I think I found it, but we’ll have to climb,’ Dean explained.

‘How safe is it?’ I asked.

‘Safe enough. It’s very solid and there’s only small gaps between the strands. Think of it like a ladder.’

I nodded.

‘We can go side by side.’

‘I’d like that,’ I answered and give him a smile.

I put the feather and finally the dagger into my bag. Dean put his foot on the first strand and his free hand four up then began climbing. I joined him and together we worked our way up the Dream Web. When Dean began moving to the side, I did the same. The climb was easy and I didn’t feel nervous at all. However, I began to tire and slow down. I pressed my hand to the golden strand and breathed deeply. I yawed and went to rub my eyes before remembering I needed to hold on.

‘Come on, Abs!’ Dean called down to me, ‘we’re almost there.’

‘I’m so sleepy!’ I called back.

‘Don’t give in! Talk to me.’

‘What about?’

‘I don’t know, anything. Just focus on that and climbing.’

‘I’ve not got a clue what I’m doing really,’ I started off with, ‘I just battled a coven of witches and defeated their plan. Whatever it was.’

‘Witches?’ Dean spoke.

I nodded and began climbing again to join him. The web still felt cold and shivery under me.

‘It’s a dream I’ve had often. Like the mine one and the plum travel and the triangle forest. Different stuff sometimes happens, but they are all the same really,’ I explained, ‘Garson, the-not-angel, the person who told me about all of this said they’d been replaying dreams to find someone to fix the web.’

‘And what happens when we fix it?’ Dean asked.

‘I don’t know…maybe it’ll make the dreams better? And safer?’

‘He didn’t tell you?’

‘If he did I don’t remember.’

‘Look, there it is. The broken strand.’

I looked and saw that a few meters above us was a snapped off golden strand which had created a small whole in the web. I sighed deeply, annoyed it was still so far away. I climbed up a few more strands, Dean now following me. My mind fell to thinking how to fix it, but until I got there I couldn’t vision it.

Finally, I reached up for the strand next to it and hooked my hand through. I looked at the snapped strand and waited for Dean to shine the light on it. Once that was done, I picked up the smooth golden rod and tried to slot it back into place. There seemed to be no way to reattach it.

Frowning, I left the strand hanging again and dug around in my bag.

‘You got any glue?’ Dean asked.

‘No, just this multi-tool,’ I said pulling it out.

Dean frowned, but didn’t say anything as I tried to pick up the strand again and work out how to fix it with anything on the tool. Nothing seemed to stand out and looking closer, I saw there were no screws or anything else, just a hole were the end of the rod slotted in. I tried again, but it wouldn’t hold.

‘It’s no good, why didn’t you tell me this before?’ I sighed.

‘I didn’t think…I thought you knew how to fix this thing,’ Dean shot back.

I put my other arm through the good strand and lend forward, puffing out each breath and sulking.

‘Don’t you have anything else you could use?’

‘I got a feather, a prayer book, an ice dagger, this tool, a Hagstone, The Arcana…maybe there’ll be something in there!’

I put the tool away and grabbed the book, slotting my hand through the strand again and putting all my weight into leaning forward, I flipped through the book. I could just make at the words.

‘What is there? The web, gold, the lantern….candle,’ I listed off then flipped to candle.

‘Seeing a burning candle signifies that good luck and hope is coming. You are at a comfortable life stage, but seek spiritual enlightenment. Candles represent intellect, awareness and a search for the truth. To carry a lantern represents the feelings and wisdom coming from you that will guide you in the life’s journey. I’ve read that before, in your dream.’

‘What else?’ Dean asked.

‘Web, represents desire to control everything. Alternatively, suggests you are being held back from fully expressing yourself. Feel trapped and do not know what to do or where to go. That feels so true right now…but not helpful. Okay, next.’

I flipped to the ‘G’s and read aloud once again, ‘gold reflects a spiritual reward, richness, refinement and enhancement of surroundings. Also, your determination and unyielding nature.’

‘Useless still,’ Dean put in.

My mind reeled and an idea, maybe suggested by the book itself or something else made me turn the pages back and looked up dreams.

To dream that you are dreaming or daydreaming shows your emotional state. You are excessively worried, fearful about a situation. Dreaming also serves as a layer of protection from what you are feeling, allowing the experience of certain difficult feelings that may otherwise be too painful to confront.

 DreamcatcherIndicates that you are putting up a wall or barrier against the negativity. Perhaps there is something subconsciously that you are trying to prevent from emerging.

‘That wasn’t any good either. Oh, Dean what are we going to do?’

‘Climb back down and figure it out,’ he suggested.

I shook my head, ‘I don’t think I could make the climb again and anyway, if I haven’t got it right now, why should I get it right if we go back down. No. There must be a way.’

Closing the book, I slipped it back into my bag and turned to look fully at him. Dean’s expression was one of saddens and pain. I looked at the lantern and saw the candle flickering away and the wax pooling at the bottom. Glancing at the rod then the candle an idea began to form.

‘Wait. I think I know what to do. Dean hand me the candle,’ I requested.

‘What?’

‘The candle. The melted wax! It’ll glue the rod back in place when it dries,’ I explained quickly.

‘But how will we see to get down?’

‘That doesn’t matter, right now! The candle! Please, Dean, please,’ I begged.

He dropped his head and I thought I saw him bit his bottom lip, ‘all right. I’m going to trust you, Abs. You give me my freedom and I’ll always owe you for that.’

He held up the lantern to me. I undid the latch and with a shaking hand took the candle out. Slowly, I brought it up to the rod and drippled some of the wax into the hole.  Turning quickly, I tried to get the wax on to the end of the rod, but couldn’t do it.

‘Grab it,’ I gasped.

‘I’ll have to drop the lantern,’ Dean growled back.

‘Do it!’ I said.

Dean flung the lantern away and grabbed the rod, as wax begin dripping onto my fingers. Ignoring the pain, I tilted the candle and the wax dripped on to the rod.

‘Swap,’ Dean shouted.

I handed the candle to him with gritted teeth and grabbed the rod. I slotted into place and held it there. The wax started drying on my hand and I heard Dean’s small gasps of pain. I held my breath, praying it would hold. Suddenly there was blinding flash of golden light and we were both thrown off the Dream Web.

I screamed and reached for Dean, but felt nothing other than air against my fingers. Wind rushed around me, drying my throat and silencing my scream. I spun around and felt tears being torn from my eyes. I wanted to yell for Dean, but there was bubble in my mouth. I flipped back over and looked up at the Dream Web, it was lit up and shining brightly.

I noticed that the light was sweeping across the wall behind it and even the ceiling.  I saw a wonderful collection of paintings that made little sense, but looked like Bible scenes, only they had an Egyptian style to them. There were no words, but the pictures told so much, if only my mind could stop and figure it out.

Something soft hit me in the back and I bounced up, grunting loudly. I flopped back down again and lay spread eagle on what felt like a trampoline. I felt Dean land beside me and rolled over to him once he’d finished bouncing.

‘I think we did it!’ I shouted.

‘Yeah,’ he forced out through his heavy breathing.

I sat up and now with light filling the room took stock of where we were. A door was forming and opening far to our left and I scuttled over the soft trampoline and climbed down the side. Dean called after me, but I ignored him as I saw Garson stepping through the door.

‘I did it!’ I yelled over and waved.

He waved back and turned to say something to someone behind him.

‘Abs! Wait up!’ Dean called.

I stopped and waited for him to catch up, we both walked over together and Garson greeted us warmly.

‘Hello, Abigail. Thank you, Thank you,’ he said and taking my hand shook it.

‘Hi, Garson and your welcome. Dean helped me,’ I replied.

‘Thank you, Dean,’ Garson added.

Dean gave a little bow.

‘So, the dreams are safe again now,’ I stated and looked up at the glowing Dream Web.

‘Yes, Abigail and you can now return home,’ Garson declared and looked behind him, ‘you can go through that door and wake up safe in your bed.’

‘I’d like that very much, thank you.’

‘But what about me? How do I get out of here?’ Dean broke in.

Garson and I eyed him.

‘I’ll help you return to the dream world,’ Garson said ‘and if Abigail gives you permission, you may roam freely there.’

‘I do,’ the words bust out of my mouth, ‘give my permission,’ I tacked on.

Dean hugged me tightly, snatching the breath out of me, ‘thanks,’ he whispered into my hair, ‘I’m going to miss you and I’ll never forget this, Abs.’

‘It’s okay. I’ll still see you again, right?’ I asked having created a gap between us.

‘Of course! I’ll always appear in your dreams when you need me. Maybe we could fight those witches together sometime?’

I nodded then reached up and kissed him. His lips were warm and soft against mine.   Garson coughed loudly and I let go.

‘Bye, Dean. See you soon,’ I whispered, pressing my forehead against his and focusing on his lips.

‘You too, Abs. Good luck,’ he added and kissed my head.

Letting go, I allowed Garson to push me through the door whilst not breaking eye contact with Dean. I was shoved through and it closed behind me. Darkness surround me then there as a gap of light and I opened my eyes back in the real world.

The End.

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 7)

The house was indescribable. There were metal rooms coming off it in all directions, even though it seemed impossible for it to be stable when only attached by one metal bar. A countless number of towers and chimneys rose out of the top like a fairy tale castle, only this was far beyond Disney. The front door was round, bright read and had a Christmas wreath attached to the door knocker.

Bert opened the door and we all hurried in. The warm smell of food hugged us welcome and I heard a fire crackling merrily away. The children began taking off the hats, gloves, coats and boots and I saw they all had the same carrot orange hair. They hung their stuff up on pegs with their names next them and placed their boots underneath.

I took off the hat and gloves Flo had giving me and handed them back to her. She put them in her coat pocket and led me into the first room. It was cosy space with a fireplace, two large armchairs, a table, some potted plants and a bookcase. Flo took me to the fire and I knelt before the flames and warmed myself up.

‘I’ll tell Ma and Pop you are here,’ Flo said then hurried out of the room.

I brought the satchel around and checked inside, before pulling out the multi-tool. I whispered Dean’s name and hoped he’d escaped, before closely inspecting the tool. I couldn’t put any of the parts away though it looked like they once did slot down. Rust lined most of the tools, but it still looked useable. Setting it aside, I drew out The Arcana but before I could open it, Flo reappeared and said her parents wanted to meet me.

She led me into a massive kitchen, which really was the heart of the house. A large table took the centre of the room and the other four children were all ready gathered around it. The Pop was sitting at the end and carefully rearranging his cutlery.  He was short with a red large beard and flowing hair, a pair of glasses was balanced on his stubby nose. He reminded me of dwarf. The Ma had her back to me as she was stirring a huge black pot over an open fire. She had long red hair too and looked a little taller than Pop. Her dress hovered just above the floor and was tucked into her white apron at the back.

‘This is Abigail,’ Flo announced, ‘sit here, next to me,’ she added.

I took the chair one away from the one at the end of the table. Pop give me a grunted hello as Bo handed me a metal goblet of water. Thanking him, I said hello to the parents and took a sip of the water. It was cool and refreshing. Next Ma turned and handed me a bowl of stew. I took it from her, thanking her and noticing how pretty her face was and how much it looked like Flo’s. She turned and dished out everyone else, before joining us at the table. I prepared to pray, but when the words didn’t come I opened my eyes and looked around the table.

‘What are you doing, Abigail?’ Flo asked.

‘Don’t you saw grace before eating?’ I asked.

‘Grace?’ Bert questioned.

‘To thank the Lord for the food…’

‘We’re not that religious,’ Pop cut in.

He was hacking off chucks of bread and passing them around.

I un-pressed my hands and dropped them into my lap.

‘You go ahead,’ Ma waved in.

I bowed my head, shut my eyes and muttered The Lord’s Prayer.

Bet nudged me and handed me a chunk of bread. I took it from him and dipped it into the stew. They all begin eating and talking at once, break the silence they had given me. Their chatter rose as the children talked about the snow storm, building a snow castle and finding me. I stayed quiet and eat the delicious and meaty meal.

‘Where are going to?’ Ma asked me afterwards.

‘To the Dream Web,’ I said.

‘Well, you’ve come to the right place. The children can take you wherever you want to go with their plum travel machine.’

‘Really?’

‘Yes, Abigail! We’ll take you,’ Flo shouted.

‘Do you know where it is?’ Bert asked.

I shook my head, ‘I only know I need to find it and fix it.’

Bert hummed and went thoughtful.

‘We can still try to take you,’ Flo said, ‘plum travel is adaptable.’

‘Let’s give it a try,’ Bert said and stood up.

‘You kids be careful now and come right back!’ Ma stated.

The children nodded and got up. I followed them out of the kitchen and back into the hallway. They put on their winter clothes again and we went outside back to the plum travel machine. Bert walked over and I joined him. The device was still unclear to me because it looked very impractical. There was a panel with lots of buttons, lights, switches, glass gages and other stuff, none of which was labelled. I watched Bert moving some of the buttons and switches around then hearing noises from behind the machine, I walked around.

The three youngest children and Flo were holding a large sack and tipping it inside a bottom drawer of the machine. Bright purple, ripe plums were tumbling down and gathering inside. When it was empty, they discard the sack and hurried to their trollies. I walked over to Flo’s and climbed on top again.

‘So how does this work?’ I asked.

‘The machine uses the energy of plums to travel to different places and times,’ Flo explained.

‘How does it do that?’

‘I’m not sure on all that science stuff. But Bert knows all about it. He invited it.’

I nodded, not sure if I believed all of this.

‘Let’s go,’ Bert said and climbed into the cart behind me, ‘our best chance is to go right to the edge of Dreams then decided what to do. Hopefully, you’ll see something Abigail.’

I nodded my head and we took off in the same fashion as before. Lights surrounded us, flashing like lightening and for a few moments it felt like we were inside a storm. The children screamed and cried excitedly. We flew in the air, snow fluttering around us then skid across an iced river and over more snow. We bumped up and down, snow flying all around us and clouding the view.

The trolley tumbled to the right and I held on. The children’s screams changed to ones of fear and a voice called out that something had gone wrong. There was a blue haze of light then I was soaring through the air. I hit the ground and rolled to a stop. Moaning, I sit up and looked around. The children were tangled in the line of shopping trolleys behind me, but they all looked all right.

Standing up, I want over and helped them then they all hurried around the machine and trolleys. I helped put everything right then seeked at Bert, who was inspected the control panel.

‘What happened?’ I asked.

‘We hit some kind of barrier. But we did make it were we wanted to be.’

‘Look!’ Flo cried and we all looked.

The landscape before us was changing from snowy hills to flat moorland. Flo grabbed my hand and hide behind me. The rest of the children did the same as the snow vanished and we were left standing on damp spiky ground.

‘What is it?’ Flo mumbled into the edge of my jumper.

‘You haven’t seen a moor before?’ I asked.

‘No and I don’t like it!’

‘What’s that smell?’ Bo cried.

I sniffed, ‘bog water and heather.’

‘We should leave,’ Bert said and slipping from behind me, began spinning dials on the machine.

I felt the Hagstone warming and quickly dug it out. I pressed it my left eye and looked over the moorland. In the distance was a trail of black smoke.

‘You go. I need to stay,’ I said quickly and pulled my satchel over.

‘But, Abigail! This is a terrible place!’ Flo squealed.

‘I know. I’ve been here before…I’ve been in all these dreams before. I don’t worry about me. Get yourself home.’

Bert nodded and ushered the younger children to their trollies.

‘Please be safe, Abigail. Here take this,’ Flo said and handed me a small white dagger.

I looked it at and saw it was entirely made of ice. The blade glinted a little when I turned it and the handle felt cold through my gloved hand.

‘Thanks and I shall try.’

I turned and walked away from the children and their plum travel machine. A waved them goodbye and watched the light display as they returned back home. Breathing deeply, I looked over the rising and falling moorland as it had now seemed to settle fully into shape. The ground was a mixture of greens and made up of a number of different grasses and mosses. Small bushes and clumps of flowers were dotted around, but there wasn’t much else to see. The sky above me was a washed out dark blue going on grey.

I put the Hagstone to my eye and looked at the cloud of smoke still in the distance. Biting my tongue, I walked over, heart pounding in my ears, unfortunately knowing what I’d find at the end of my walk. I found the moor easy going and comforting. I had practically grown up on Yorkshire Dales back home. A gentle, cold damp breeze blew around me, but my hat and gloves loaned off Flo kept the chill off. My boots and clothes kept me warm and dry, I guessed there must have been a magic charm on them from not-angel- Garson.

Halfway there and the sky turned fully grey and drizzly rain started. I grabbed the Hagstone and looked through it. The smoke was still standing out like the beacon it was. Picking up my pace, I walked deeper across the moor still clutching the ice dagger Flo had given me. I should have put it in my bag, but it made me feel safer. Tutting, I reminded myself to check The Arcana when I got to the fire pit. Hopefully, I’d have time.

The landscape stayed the same around me for the next few miles then I noticed I was walking up a steady slope. Ahead of me everything was becoming more hilly and rock was poking out of the grass. Knowing, I didn’t have much further to go I picked up the pace and soon enough entered a tree enclosed space. Stopping at the top of the hill, I looked out and saw the darkened moorland spreading like cake icing below me.

I hurried into the shady clearing and the large crackling fire, pulling The Arcana out as I did so. Struggling in the fire’s glow, I looked up everything I could remember from the plum travel dream.

Snow signifies inhibitions, unexpressed emotions and frigidity feelings. You need to release these emotions. Alternatively, you are feeling indifferent, alone and neglected. Driving in snow means to be extra cautious about approaching goals. Watching snow falling represents a clean start with new perspective, spiritual peace and tranquillity.  A blizzard suggests emotionally cold and frigid feelings. You feel excluded, a lack of love and the absence of your family. Ice means lacking a flow of ideas and thoughts. You are not seeing any progress in your life.

To see children, signifies an aspect of your childlike qualities. You are trying to satisfy repressed desires and unfulfilled hopes. Alternatively, it highlights innocence, purity, simplicity, and a carefree attitude.  A trolley indicates an open-minded about the new journey or phase in life. You are taking little steps toward goals and pacing yourself. To see a plum symbolizes youth and vitality. The plum may also represent self-image.

Time travel is a wanting to escape from present reality. You want to go into the past or jump forward to the future. Also, represents your romantic tendency. Traveling represents the path toward your goals. Alternatively, traveling signifies a need to escape from your daily burdens. A junkyard represents fear, frustration, and anger which you have repressed. It may also symbolizes your discarded attitudes, old habits, and former beliefs.

To see or wear gloves represents the way you handle things. You are getting a handle on a problem, but you need to be more cautious. Or perhaps you are overly cautious. Also, you need to acknowledge and express the creative side. To take off gloves symbolizes respect. A dagger represents some “cutting remark”. Perhaps you feel that you have been stabbed in the back. Taking a dagger from somebody’s hand means you will overcome hardships and misfortune.

I looked up into the fire pit letting my mind digest all of that. My fingers went to close the book, but suddenly I decided to look up my current situation. Perhaps, there were more meanings now I was here. I turned to the front of The Arcana, give a quick thought as to what to look up then started again.

To Be Continued…

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 6)

My sweaty hand slipped from Dean’s as we stopped running. I bent over, hands pressing to my knees and trying to draw in enough air to fill my burning lungs. I shut my wet eyes, squeezing out the last of the tears, even though I was still sobbing. Without really caring, I sat down and drew my legs up. I curled into a ball, my head to my knees, my arms around my legs and the satchel digging into my side.

‘It’s all right,’ Dean whispered, ‘that whistle was the morning alarm. I didn’t hear the break out one whilst we were running. I think we’re going to be okay.’

I rose my head, pulling in long shaking breaths, which misted on exhale. The stitch in my side throbbed and ached alongside my legs and arms. I felt dampness creeping under my bum and wiped my eyes to take a long around. We were in some kind of alleyway. The walls of tall red brick houses loomed over us and the cobble stone floor was wet and mossy. There was a line of overflowing iron bins towards the end and scraps of rubbish around them.

Dean came back to me and crouched down. I sniffed and wiped my face again as he looked me over. I was still crying and the pain in my chest was growing worse. Dean rubbed my back and said soothing words. I pressed my forehead to my knees again and shutting my eyes, waited till I had calmed down.

Lifting my head up, I put a hand to my chest and felt something hard under my fingers. I pulled out my chain and clutched the gold cross and red Hagstone together. The Hagstone burnt my fingers and I quickly let go. I looked down at it, wanting to pick it up to look through it, but worried it would burn me again.

Dean got up and walked to the end of the alley, where he looked about. When he didn’t come back, I picked the Hagstone gingerly and pressed it to my left eye. The colour changed to black and white, but I saw nothing in the alley with us. Letting go I left it out to lay on the stripy tie.

‘Where are we?’ I called.

‘Not sure,’ Dean said back, he came over to me whilst slipping off the leather rucksack and opening it. He rummaged through and pulled out a large folded map.

I moved so he could lay it down between us. We both looked at the hand drawn details and I couldn’t help but think of Victorian London. Dean put his finger tip to the area marked Constance Mine and traced it along the road we had run down. He paused at the road’s end then turned right and began trying to track the way we had come.

I looked back at the small drawing of the mine and saw that it was quite detailed. There were rows of squares to one side which ended in a bigger one with a red cross over it. Opposite were small rectangle and blocks of grass then the entrance to the mine itself.

‘We are here, I think. Which is okay, but we need to get….here…’

I looked and watched his finger go across the map and to a large area. There were a number of enclosed buildings and trees. Dean lifted his fingers away and pressed them to his chin, which he rubbed as he began musing. I stared at the area and saw it read Academy.

‘Is this London?’ I blurted.

‘A London,’ he corrected, ‘it’s just one of many running on a different time and under different events. I want out though and to go back home.’

‘To America?’

He nodded, ‘to what is left.’

I frowned and looked at the map again, so many questions came to mind.

‘Let’s go,’ Dean cut in.

He folded the map away and stood up. I got slowly to my feet and fixed my clothes. With a glance towards the alley entrance, he strolled out and I tagged alongside him. We walked for a few minutes in silence and I admired the buildings around us. Most were red town houses with three or four floors; some were white painted with black iron fences and steps down to basements.

We turned a corner and saw two policemen walking towards us. Dean grabbed my hand and shot me a-keep-quiet-look. We slowed our approach and I saw that the policemen were wearing dark green uniforms and carrying pistols at their hips. They eyed us up with dark eyes and then stopped before us, blocking the way and forcing us to stop too.

‘Bit late, ain’t you?’ the one before Dean spoke in a thick south London accent.

Dean stayed silent.

‘Lost are you?’ the second policeman who was before me asked.

Dean gave a shake of his head and nudged me in the ribs.

‘We’re fine thanks,’ I rushed in, ‘just late like you said.’

They policemen looked at each other, cocking eyebrows before they turned back to us again.

‘Where’d you live? Visiting family, were you?’ the second asked me.

I nodded eagerly, ‘and now we’re going back to the Academy,’ I glanced at Dean, who also nodded, but didn’t speak.

‘You seen any undesirables about? We heard there might have been a break out at one of the mines,’ the first spoke after a slight pause.

‘No, officers.’

‘What about you, me lad?’ the second cut in.

Dean shook his head.

‘Speak up, speak up!’

‘No, sirs,’ Dean squawked in a fake cockney accent which made me cringe.

The policeman paused, their hands going to their pistols.

‘We really haven’t seen anyone,’ I jumped in, ‘we should be going now, but we’ll keep an eye out.’

‘Where are you from originally?’ the first sneered.

‘West Yorkshire,’ I breathed, ‘but you know how it is there.’ I clamped my mouth, not sure why I added that on and what it meant.

The policemen eyed each other again and seemed to relax a little.

‘Those crazy sisters,’ the first policeman hissed, ‘writing all those thought provoking novels.’

The second just shook his head.

‘Well, we shall…’ I started, but stopped as the second man flung his arm out to halt me side stepping him.

‘What’s that?’ he pointed to my cross.

I pulled up the chain and showed him, ‘I’m a Christian. A vicar’s daughter,’ I said without even thinking that there might be no religion or they might be against Christians in this dream world.

‘Why didn’t you say that before?’ the first one gushed.

‘We’re terrible sorry to have trouble you, Miss,’ the second added.

‘Please pardon us,’ they said together and bowed.

‘Oh,’ was all I could reply.

‘We shall be on our way,’ they chimed together and with a tip of their hats, walked around us and down the street.

I held my cross in both index fingers, the Hagstone dangling loose and heavy as I inspected the gold.

Dean half-twisted to watch them leave then turned back to me and in his own hushed voice said, ‘well done.’

‘I guess vicars are especial in this time?’ I questioned.

‘You don’t know the half of it,’ Dean laughed.

He grabbed my elbow and we walked down the street. We walked for what seemed like a good long while and didn’t see anyone else. The streets and houses seemed dead and though I wanted to ask Dean about this I didn’t. My body was aching and my head thumped with a headache. To make matters worse the Hagstone felt like it was burning through my clothes and melting my skin away.

We turned down a long twisting road beside some kind of factory and began making our way down it. Water dripped from a broken guttering on the roof and I heard the sound of cotton machines bashing away from inside the building.

‘I think we’re lost,’ Dean muttered.

‘What’s that?’ I asked pointing to something lying on the ground ahead of us.

Dean gave a shrugged and we walked over. There was a strange tool lying on the ground. It looked like a large Swiss penknife with all its parts pulled out. I stepped closer, putting my head to the side as I looked down at it. I could see something that looked a like a screwdriver with a wretch next to it, some scissors were jutting out and a bottle opener? And a few other things that looked familiar, but their names wouldn’t come.

‘What do you think it is?’ I asked.

Dean pulled a face but didn’t reply.

I bent to pick it up, but as my fingers touched it I felt the pull of the blue haze. I reached my other hand out quickly to grab Dean’s, but I wasn’t fast enough and tumbled head first into another dream. I landed in a soft a pile of snow, which drifted up around me before falling lightly on my hair and face.

‘Dean? Dean!’ I shouted and thrashed around.

I scrambled up and looked but could see nothing but snow. My right hand clutched around something and I looked down to see the multi-tool penknife. My bottom lip trembled and I thought about throwing the thing away. Loud laughter drew my attention and I looked up.

Coming out of the snow was a shopping trolley with someone sitting in the cart.

I put the tool in the satchel and dug my boots out of the snow. Noticing, I was no longer wearing the school uniform but was back in clothes I had set out in and hurried over. Getting closer I saw that there was actually a line of five shopping trolleys strung together by a red twine rope. Inside each cart sat a child and they were all dressed for winter weather.

‘Hey there!’ I called and stumbled through the snow piles.

One of the children spotted me and began waving. The others joined in a few seconds later.

I ran on and approaching saw something really odd. Behind the last trolley was a tall purple rectangle object attached to a wooden go kart like frame. There was a plastic funnel with purple balls inside of it on the top and lots of tubes running around the box.

‘What’s that?’ I asked as soon as I could.

The children, who hadn’t got out of the shopping trolleys, greeted me then the oldest who was a boy and sitting in front of the contraption said, ‘it’s plum travel.’

I looked up, but due to the swirling snow couldn’t see the details of the machine.

‘Who are you?’ the girl in the next trolley asked.

‘Abigail. I was traveling with Dean and were….I am looking for the Dream Web. I need to fix it,’ I explained.

‘I’m Flo. Nice to meet you.’

‘You too,’ I said.

‘I’m Bert,’ the boy answered, then point down the three other children introduced them, ‘That’s Dash, Bo and Fawn. We are all brothers and sisters. Do you have any family, Abigail?’

I looked at my feet, my hand going straight to my cross. The Hagstone felt cold beneath my fingers, ‘my adopted parents,’ I muttered, ‘it’s just my parents and me. But they’re not my real parents. They found me on the church doorstep, hours old and with only this cross,’ I faded off, my thoughts tumbling and my chest hurting with emotions.

‘Would you like to come with us?’ Flo asked.

‘There’s a storm coming and we’re getting out of here now,’ Bert added and the other children nodded.

‘Okay….’

‘Stand on the back of Flo’ s trolley.’

I did as he said and stood up on the back bar of the trolley and lent over the handle bar. Flo put a woolly hat on my head and give me some gloves.

‘Hold on, no matter what,’ she said.

I nodded and clutched the bar tighter. Snow started to whip around us and the wind howled in my ears.

‘Everyone ready?’ Bert called, ‘plum travel!’

There was a flash of white then blue light and I felt myself lurching forward on the trolley. The delight screams of the children blasted around me and my stomach got the feeling of being on a rollercoaster. More coloured lights flashed then were racing along a river of ice and under a bridge. The trolleys ploughed into a snow drift then out of the other side and into the air. We flew for a few seconds then landed heavily in the middle of a wasteland.

Small piles of snow were dotted around, burying large objects or groups of things. I waited till the line of trollies and the plum travel machine had stopped before having a proper look around. We where actually in a junkyard and I could see the remains of cars, kitchen appliances and furniture poking out of the snow.

The children’s excited cried faded and they began to get out of the trollies. I pulled of my almost frozen gloved hands and stepped down. The children had run to gather around the machine and I joined them, feeling slightly shaky.

‘Abigail!’ Flo shouted and hugged me.

She only came up to my stomach and I patted her bobby hatted head. She turned her face up to mine and I saw glowing red round cheeks, a cute button nose and pink smiling lips. I hugged her back and she snuggled into my white jumper.

‘Let’s go inside,’ Bert called.

Flo took my hand and tugged me along. We walked around two crushed cars and I saw a house built out of scrap metal.

To Be Continued…

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 5)

I stared down, watching us leave the mine behind. The people and ponies below become smaller then faded as we ascended through natural rock. At some points there were spot lights of gas lamps, but I couldn’t see very far out. I was pressed against the wire mesh, the laboured breathing of the other eight people, including Dean harsh against my skin. I shut my eyes and tried to remain calm. I was also reminded myself that this was only a dream and nothing was going to happen.

The cage lift juddered under me and I had to open my eyes to look up. The mechanism was so simple; just two strands of thick cable and an even thicker rope were hauling us up. My mind wheeled, what if it all snapped? We’d plumage straight back down and crash to death. I hurriedly looked away and tried not to think about it anymore. I looked to my right and saw into the other lift cage. The men, for they were all seemed to be men, looked exhausted and covered in coal dust. A few had shut their eyes and seemed to be resting standing up. Two of them were swapping yellowed cards and another was pulling out a harmonica.

Turning my head to the left, I saw the ropes for the first cage, they were moving downwards but we’d yet to pass each other.  I refocused on the natural yellow, dark brown rock surrounding us. I could see chisel marks in some places, small pools of water and the glitter of natural minerals.

‘How’s your head?’ Dean whispered to me.

I touched it automatically and rubbed my hair under the helmet. My fingers came back tipped with soot and I rubbed my hands together to get it off.

‘Well?’ Dean pressed.

‘Okay. I think. I’m still struggling to remember though…’ I paused.

‘You’ll be okay when we get out. The fresh air will help.’

‘Girls,’ a hard voice growled from behind us.

Dean and I both looked around, but we couldn’t see the speaker amongst all the tried faces.

I bit my lip and turned to carry on looking out. I felt Dean put a hand to my back for a brief moment. I part of me wanted to turn and hug him tightly, but my feet wouldn’t obey. Instead, my hand reached to secure the satchel and feel the reassuring weight of The Arcana.

‘Two hundred meters,’ Dean muttered

I looked up and saw a metal sign attached to wall with a light shining on it. The numbers flashed before me then we went passed and into a large opening. I breathed more freely, feeling better now we were not so close to the walls. Water dripped heavily from somewhere and I heard the muttering of voices growing louder. I looked to my left and saw the bottom of the other cage lift coming down. Keeping my eyes fixed, I watched us draw level and saw inside ten men and women. They were a lot cleaner than us and carrying a range of mining tools – hammers, axes, picks and I saw a dagger strapped to someone’s belt. A few had small leather rucksacks on and they were all wearing yellow helmets and carrying lanterns.

I listened and tried to pick out their conversations, but could only make out a few words as we passed them. Their cage disappeared below and I turned my head up to look were they had descended from. I couldn’t see very much.

‘A hundred and fifty,’ Dean’s voice blew into my ears and I saw another sign going by.

‘Are we almost there?’ I whispered, trying not to be over heard.

Dean nodded and I resisted grabbing his hand. I shut my eyes and breathed again. A few minutes later a heard, ‘a hundred,’ and felt the air fully change for the first time. It became easier to breath and I felt a cold wind on my face. I wrapped my fingers around the satchel’s strap and waited for the life cage to stop.

‘Fifty meters,’ Dean uttered, a hint of excitement in his voice.

I breathed in and out, keeping my mind empty and waiting.

‘Twenty-five meters.’

The lift began to slow and I heard the full whirl and turning of the gears. We shuddered to a stop and I opened my eyes. We were still in the mine. Dean opened the door and stepped out. I followed him, clocking the queue of people waiting to get in. We went off to the side and I touched the natural cave wall then pressed my back to the hard, wet surface. Everyone else was getting out of the cage, walking passed the queue and into a wide tunnel.

Having caught my breath, I looked more closely at the people before us and saw that some of them were wearing red jackets. They were weaving around the lines of people, sometimes stopping to talk to them and check the items they were carrying. Also, I noticed a large red painted hut that had the word Foremen written on the sign above.

‘Let’s go,’ Dean said out of the side of his mouth as we both spotted a small man in a red jacket eyeing us.

We set off, walking up the slightly sloping tunnel and out into the early evening. I filled my lungs with late autumn air and looked up at the sky above us. It was dark grey with some puffy clouds and dots of stars. Something else caught my eye and I fully looked at it. A large airship was drifting across us, it’s white gas bag stark against the sky and it’s twin circler propellers whirling, though I couldn’t hear them.

‘Dean, look,’ I said and pointed up to it.

He glanced, ‘its fine. Come on.’

Struggling to look away, I wondered what year it was and where we were. Dean had gone towards a large three story building that had a large red cross painted over the front of it. I stole a few moments to look further around and saw that we were standing in the middle of a large town. There were wooden cabins stretching in countless rows across from me. Some had lights in the misty windows, other smoke coming out of chimneys whilst more lay in darkness.

To my right, was another red painted Foremen’s hut but beyond that were some low stables and fenced paddocks. A few gas lamps were flicking above thin grassy scrubland and I saw two brown ponies nuzzling each other against the fence. A few abandoned wooden carts sat off to one side as well as some bent railing next to them. I looked further out and saw a tall wired fence and gate behind the cabins. Above the top of which, I could make out tall towers, maybe skyscrapers? Just poking out of the sky.

‘Abs? Come on!’ Dean shouted

I hurried away, almost tripping on some large stones.

‘This is a waste of time,’ Dean mumbled to himself.

‘My head’s feeling fine, actually,’ I broke in.

We stopped in the shadow of the AID building and Dean looked me over.

‘So about the escape plan-’

Dean’s hand flew around my mouth and I chocked on the words.

‘No, no,’ he hissed, ‘not here!’

He grabbed my arm and marched me away. We went over to one of the cabins and still holding me, he opened the door and led me in. The cabin was long and filled with bunk beds along both the walls. All the beds were occupied with sleeping men and women. Dean led me right to the back then spun me to the left and down into an empty bed.

‘No talking,’ he breathed, ‘now get some sleep.’

He dumped his stuff on the floor, pulled off his boots and climbed onto the bed above me. I looked down, noticing I still had the lit lantern in my hand and the pickaxe and sack in my other. I put everything down, took off my helmet and thought about taking off my boots, then decided against it.

As Dean settled on to the bed, I curled up then pulled out The Arcana and flipped through the pages, unsure what to look up. Keywords began to enter my mind as if the book itself was suggesting them and maybe it was. I looked up whatever came then pieced it together as I had done in the forest.

To be in a mine means you are getting to the core of an issue and your subconscious is coming to the surface. Alternatively; a metaphor for claiming something.  Seeing coal represents wealth and prosperity, a well as your used potential.  Walking across it means you will overcome adversity and nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. Then again it could mean you have been caught doing wrong. A cave symbolizes the womb, refuge, protection and concealment as well as an exploration of your subconscious mind.

Seeing a burning candle signifies that good luck and hope is coming. You are at a comfortable life stage, but seek spiritual enlightenment. Candles represent intellect, awareness and a search for the truth. To carry a lantern represents the feelings and wisdom coming from you that will guide you in the life’s journey.

To dream you are American or from, symbolizes independence and freedom. Also, commercialism, riches, abundance and political views are represented. A pony signifies your playful side and your unexplored, underdeveloped power.  To see or dream of a wood cabin indicates you will succeed via your own means and that you are self-reliant, independent and prefer a humble, simple life. (For airship see dirigible) A dirigible symbolizes your ambition and determination to achieve your goals, but it can also mean your inflates sense of self.

I pondered over that, my fingers sticking to the page. Finally, I closed the book quietly and lay down. Most of what The Arcana was telling me made sense and I could even link back some of it to the stuff in the forest. I shut my eyes and listened to the soft snoring around me.

‘Hey, wake up. Abs!’ Dean’s voice broke through my thoughts.

I opened my eyes and saw him in the dim light coming from a slit in the curtains. He was wearing a white buttoned up shirt, dark blue trousers, a long matching blazer and a blue and white stripy tie. He had also washed and was no longer cover in coal dust. His face was clean, fresh and more handsome then I had realised. I frowned at his clothes and wondered what was going on, was this now a new dream?

‘I got you some water,’ he whispered, ‘wash up then change. Be quiet, we don’t want to wake anyone. Here’s your clothes,’ he added and put on the bed a hessian sack.

I got up and saw there was a large bowl of water on the table next to me. I washed my hands and face then peeked out of the window. The sky was turning to dawn and I could see the front of another cabin behind us. I heard Dean putting on some shoes and scrambling around.

Turning, I opened the sack and took out the same uniform he had on, only instead of trousers I had a long skirt. The clothes were big enough to put over the ones I had on and I quickly did that. Smoothing out the skirt, I fixed the tie around my neck then picked up my bag again.

‘Why-’ I started.

‘Hush,’ he hissed back with a finger pressed to his lips.

I clamped my mouth shut and watched him put a small leather rucksack on one shoulder. Around us everyone else was still sleeping and a pre-dawn stillness hung in the air. Dean gave me a nod and crept towards the door. I followed closely behind and matched his footsteps to avoid to loose floorboards. He reached the door, opened it and peered out. He slipped through and I followed him. A cold breeze felt nice on my face and I could also smell hay and warm oats.

Dean eased the door back into place and we set off towards the gate, sticking to the shadows of the other cabins. Desperately, I wanted to talk to him, but the risk felt too great. We reached the gate and I saw a large padlock and chain looping the gates together. There was also two small watch towers above us, which I hadn’t noticed before. I gulped my questions about us being prisoners and this some kind of camp down. Dean pressed himself against the fence and I did the same behind him.

Hiding in the shadows, we watched a man in a red jacket come up to the gates and unlocked them. He swung both of them open and on the other side we saw a line of horses and large carts. The man waved the first through and as the line began moving in, Dean slipped out. I was right behind him, chasing down my fear and trying not to be noticed. We squeezed passed a cart containing barrels and other containing wooden boxes full of chickens.

Dean went off to the side and along the fence. I joined him, feeling the wire shaking behind me. Stupidly, I shot a look back and saw a hooded figure on top of the chicken cart. I held my breath and almost stopped, panicked I’d been seen. Dean grabbed my hand as my legs went to jelly and he tugged on me sharply. He yanked me away, forcing my legs into a run as we raced down the street. The sound of a whistle blasted in my ears and bitterly, I told myself off.

‘I’m sorry!’ I gasped.

Dean shot me a look, but didn’t stop running. The pavement slammed under our feet and the small houses opposite us and over an empty tarmac road flashed by. Tears started in my eyes and I was crying before I knew it. My vision blurred and I lost all sense of where we were going.

To Be Continued…

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 4)

I couldn’t tell how much time had passed and the forest never changed around me. I stopped a few times and looked through the Hagstone, but I saw nothing. At a large triangle boulder, which sat next to the river bank, I stopped and sat down. Sighing, I rested for a few minutes then dug through the satchel. There was nothing but The Arcana, prayer book and white feather inside. I didn’t feel hungry, thirsty or tried, just bored.

I pulled out The Arcana and flipped through it.

‘Who are you?’ a loud, thick voice echoed from underneath me.

I froze and looked around, not seeing anyone, ‘I’m Abigail,’ I replied quietly.

‘Where you are going?’ the voice asked.

‘I’m not sure. The fox just told me to follow the river.’

‘Foxes can be sly. Not really trustworthy,’ the voice spoke, ‘what is your purpose here?’

‘I’ve come to fix the Dream Web. Though I’m not sure what that really is or where it is. Do you know?’ I questioned whilst still looking carefully around.

‘No and no. Why does it need fixing?’

‘Garson said it was broken and they needed me – a human to repair it. Where are you?’

‘Right here. Who else is with you?’ the voice rumbled underneath me.

‘No one.’

I dug out the Hagstone and pressed it to my eye. I looked down and saw nothing. Closing and tucking The Arcana under my arm, I got up and turned. I focused on the ground and walked all the way around the boulder.

‘I don’t see you. What are you?’ I spoke.

‘Where are you looking, girl? I’m right in front of you!’ the voice growled.

I turned and stood at the back of the rock. I removed the Hagstone and looked, but saw nothing. I put the stone to my left eye and a large face formed across the boulder. The eyes were triangle, large and dark grey in colour, the nose was an upside down triangle with long sides and the mouth was two triangles put together. The face gave a toothless grin and the eyes flickered.

‘Oh! You…are alive?’ I questioned.

‘If you can call it that, I don’t really. I can’t go anywhere. Now, what is the matter?’ the boulder asked.

‘Well, I’m not really sure what to do. This forest seems to go on forever…’

‘Why don’t you ask for directions?’

I frowned, ‘I did and the fox said…it wouldn’t have lied to me would it?’

The boulder frowned and looked thoughtful for a few seconds, ‘who was it?’

‘It never said its name, but it had two tails!’

‘Two tails? That’s a good fox then and where did it say to go afterwards?’

‘Just to follow the river,’ I stated, ‘what’s with all these questions? Can you help me or not?’

‘Probably not, for you see I’m stuck here. Now, what else can I do for you?’

‘Nothing,’ I sighed, ‘thanks.’

I dropped the Hagstone and started to walk away.

‘Why don’t you try taking a left at the waterfall? I heard from a rolling pebble there’s a short cut to the beach that way,’ the boulder suggested from behind me.

Bearing that in mind, I walked on and minutes later heard the sound of a large waterfall. I picked up the pace and jogged over to it. The river disappeared ahead of me and as I got close, I saw the water falling over the edge of two massive rocks. The riverbank slopped down and I followed it whilst trying to stay away from the waterfalls crumbling side. At the bottom as the water hit rocks and roared loudly the path did split into two.

I glanced back, but couldn’t see the boulder, deciding to take it’s advice, I choice the path that forked off into the forest. Raising the Hagstone to my left eye I had a quick glance through then set off. Just like I had noticed before, the triangle pine trees were neatly arranged and it was easy to walk through them. I saw and heard nothing, though I did stop often to check through the Hagstone.

The trees started to thin out and hurriedly, I went on and passed the last few. I stepped off the grass and on to sand. My boots sank a little and I almost stepped back again. Only, there was nothing to step back into. I turned and looked at the sand stretching out behind me. The forest had gone. Turning back, I looked out over a desert landscape.

The Arcana,’ I muttered and was about to pull it out when I saw something coming towards me. Grabbing the Hagstone, I looked and saw a black and red five headed horse coming my way. I looked over the stone and saw the same thing. The horse was huge and fear stabbed into my chest. I stood still and it came right up to me. All of its’ heads went down and it neighed softly, then knelt before me.

‘You want me to get on…?’ I asked slowly.

Five mouths neighed again and nervously, I climbed on to its bare back. The horse stood and walked off across the sand. I grasped at the black and red mane, noticing how the colours came together in a fire flame like pattern.

‘Where are we going?’

The horse snorted and broke into a canter. Dry, hot wind hit my face. I held my breath and went to shut my eyes when I saw a blue hazy cloud coming up before us. I tried to see inside of it, but it wasn’t till we had gotten closer that I saw a disc of blackness in the centre. The horse broke into run, a small scream tore through me and I grasped the long mane tighter. The blue haze grew larger. The five headed horse jumped and we were sucked inside.

My screams echoed in my ears as I fell to the hard ground. I curled up, unable to see anything through the darkness. Something hard was digging into my side and tears were pricking my eyes. A yellow candle light bobbed out of the blackness and I put my hands over my mouth to stop the screams. I listened, hearing my own breathing and heartbeat then dripping water and footsteps. Voices and the sounds of hammering reached me a few seconds later.

I sat up, my hands scraping against stones and dust. I moaned softly and felt for the satchel. I had landed on it and the corner of The Arcana had gone into my lower ribs. I coughed and breathed in stale, dusty air.

‘There you are!’

I turned to the accented male voice then wished I hadn’t as candle light pierced my eyes. I brought a hand up and felt fingers brush against my own. I almost pulled back but it was too late as the hand closed around mine and pulled me up.

‘I’ve been looking for you everywhere.’

I rubbed my eyes and tried to focus on him. He lowered the lantern, but it still gave enough light for me to see. He was tall and muscular, with a flushed red face that was smeared with black, just like his hands. He was wearing a bright yellow, though black dust covered, miner’s helmet and an undone loose dark grey shirt which was also covered in black dust. He smiled at me, his brilliant electric blue eyes lighting up as his large lips curled up.

‘You’ve been looking for me? Who are you?’ I asked.

He laughed, ‘did you hit your head again? It’s me, Dean.’

‘I don’t know any Deans and you sound American, I don’t know any of them either.’

‘Whoo, you did get hurt. Are you bleeding?’ he asked.

I patted myself down, ‘nope.’

‘Good, come on then,’ he stated and turned, ‘don’t forget your stuff!’

‘Stuff?’ I muttered and looked back.

In the dimming candle light, I saw a yellow helmet, a lantern, a small pickaxe and a hessian sack. I picked everything up, putting the helmet on my hand, the lantern in my right hand whilst the pickaxe and sack went in my left. I hurried after Dean, half stumbling over stones.

‘Can I light my candle?’ I called to him.

He turned and I almost slammed into his back.

‘It’s a good job I found you before the foreman did. Here,’ he said and opening the glass door of his lantern took out his candle. I quickly opened the door to mine and let him light the candle inside.

‘Thanks.’

He growled a little before turning around and walking on. I followed, keeping my lantern low to see what I was walking on. Though I was desperate for him to confirm it, we seemed to be inside a coal mine. The floor was black with dust and small pieces of coal. The walls were the same, though there came a shimmer of silver in some areas of the narrow tunnel we were in.

We can to a cross roads and Dean carried straight on. I peered to the left then right, hearing people hamming away and disembodied voices drifting.

‘Where are we?’ I blurted, unable to stop the words.

The look Dean gave me over his shoulder made me stop. It was a mixture of concern, seriousness and anger. My bottom lip trembled and the lantern wobbled slightly in my hand.

‘You really did do it this time,’ Dean muttered with a shake of his head.

‘Please, just tell me!’ I demanded.

‘We need to get back up top. Don’t you know what to night is?’ Dean shot over his shoulder. When he saw my shaking head he continued, ‘our escape?’ he whispered.

‘Escape?’ I uttered.

‘Yeah. We’re getting out of here tonight, Abs. We’ve been planning this for ages. I’ll take you to AID first then you can have nap. You’ll feel better,’ Dean said softly.

I bit my lip, wanting to talk more but deciding against it as we turned a corner and found ourselves walking along a cart track. My boots scuffed across worn wooden planks and old iron nails. From up ahead, came the rumbling of a cart and Dean hurried into a nook in the wall. I followed and just squeezed in as lights bobbed up and a pony walked past hauling an empty wooden cart.

‘Hey!’ Dean called out and stepped out as the two people behind the cart went passed.

‘Hello,’ they replied together.

‘Ain’t you from day shift?’ one of them asked.

‘Yeah, just coming back. We’ve been down pretty deep,’ Dean responded casually.

I stepped out and eyed up the men. They were both tall, clean shaven and looked like brothers. They were wearing yellow helmets and loose shirts like Dean. They had stopped to talk, but the pony was trundling on.

‘Have you seen the day foreman?’ Dean continued.

‘They’ve all ready switched over,’ the first man replied, ‘you should get out of here man, we’ve blowing through some walls tonight.’

‘All right, thanks,’ Dean said and signalled for me to follow as he walked off.

We went through more tunnels which grew wider and had more branches leading off. Some had cart tracks or wooden walk ways. We passed people going in the opposite directions, but they and we didn’t exchange any words. Candle light shone off everything, yet was quickly swallowed by the black walls.

Dean led me through some large, hollowed out spaces were we saw small groups of people talking. Though I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying. We passed a few pony stations, which was made up of simple rickety wooden shelters and pens. There were some ponies resting and others eating. I resisted going over and stroking them.

Stepping out a large tunnel, I found myself in a massive cavern. In the rock wall opposite us, three cage lifts were fitted to the wall. A few people were queuing to get in and Dean walked over to the end of the line. I joined him and looked around. There were a number of small huts with signs declaring them as hot food, water, supplies and AID stands dotted around.

‘Didn’t you say something about that?’ I asked, looking over at the red cross painted sign.

‘We’ll go to the one up top,’ Dean said.

The queue moved as two lifts arrived at the same time. We got in the second one, the grill gate slamming shut behind us and rode up to the top.

To Be Continued…

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 3)

 

Beginning my climb up the steps reminded me of walking up a castle’s tower. Each step was a single dark grey stone which was very narrow. I kept my right hand on the wall as I climbed as there were no railings and tried not to look down. The light blue shimmering haze sparkled above me and I contracted on that and where I was putting my feet.

I thought about the first time Jane and Adam had taken me on a day trip to visit a castle in Wales. There had been a staircase like this in one of the towers and I, briefly separated from them, had decided to climb up it. The dark, narrow spiralling staircase hadn’t frightened me as it might have done other six year olds. I was a child of God and had nothing to fear or so I spent all my childhood believing.

I recalled the feel of the walls, much like the one I was now touching, as being damp and cold. The sound of my small footsteps scraping against the stone and shuffling upwards, echoed and filled my ears. I passed an arrow slit from which came pale light and carried on. I was excited, what was at the top? But before I could get there, Jane’s shouting voice broke the quietness and made me pause. She was shouting my name and demanding to know where I had gotten too.

What I had replied? Something like, ‘I’m up here, mummy.’ Then there had been a running of footsteps and Jane had yanked me off the step. She was shouting at me, telling me I was bad for wandering off, it was dangerous. Hadn’t I seen the sign and the chain? I wasn’t allowed here! She had somehow picked me up and bundled me back downstairs. Adam was waiting for us with one of the castle guards. I think they had been talking and thus that had been my reasoning for adventuring.

I paused on the actual step I was on and took a few deep breaths. That childhood memory faded and I looked up. It seemed there was still a long way to go. Carrying on, I tried to recall what had happened after that, but that seemed to be the whole memory. Of course, there’d been more trips to other castles, cathedrals, churches and most of them had also had tower staircases. We had visited the ruins of Bolton abbey one hot summer day and I was wearing a brand new white dress. I was about ten years old and thought I looked like an angel. There had been some event on and the place was full of children, adults and dogs. Maybe, it had been May Day or Easter?

We were all paddling in the river. I really remember that part best because of the way the water shinned under the sunlight as if it was diamonds. The sky was crystal blue with this huge glowing orange ball hanging over us as if it was God Himself. The water was cool and refreshing then I had fallen in and though it had been shallow, my dress had soaked the water up like a sponge. Jane had scolded me terribly and Adam, who left all the discipline to her, sat silently and watched. We had gone home early, I wrapped in the picnic blanket in the back of the silent car then sent straight to bed. Of course, they hadn’t argued. They never did, but there had been negative words spoken in low voices that evening.

I stopped again, my eyes almost sliding sideways to look downwards. Instead, I shot them upwards and looked at the blue haze. I was almost there. Trying not to hurry the last set of steps, least I fell, I reached the top and stepped on to a small platform. I faced the blue haze and looked around. There was nothing else to be seen.

‘What now?’ I asked, turning about.

Before me, the haze started to change colour, catching my attention. Green began seeping into the blue, like ink on a page and shapes began to take form. What look like a forest drawn by a child grew around me then I was sucked inside. A scream ripped through my throat and a train of colour rushed by me. I tumbled and landed heavily on damp soil. Pain shot through my bum and lower back before fading. I fell back and looked up at a dark blue sky framed by the tops of pine trees.

After a few moments, I sat up and looked around. The forest felt familiar, yet alien. The trees were large triangles of green pine needles balanced on brown triangle trunks. The grass blades under me were also triangle shaped. I stood up on shaky legs and listened. A river was flowing somewhere to my right, making a babble of sounds. There were no birds singing or wind.

Dusting off, I started walking towards the river. The odd trees were evenly spaced out as if someone had planted them like that and there were no bushes or flowers. I reached the river and gasped. Though the water was clear blue, the shape of the river was a triangle as were all the rocks and stones in and around the water.

I stepped off the grass and to the edge of the river, looking at the structure. Stones crunched underneath me and I looked down. Most of the stones had holes in the middle of them and were a range of bright colours, some of which shimmered. I picked up a dark red one, which glittered sliver and looked through the hole with one eye. The scene across the river before me changed, becoming black and white and I saw peering around a tree trunk a fox. Looking over, I tried to see the fox again, but couldn’t pick it out.

I put my eye back to the stone, but the fox turned and disappeared out of sight. I sat down on the river bank and remembering what Garson had said, pulled The Arcana out of my satchel. I looked up the keywords and pieced the meanings together;

To be in a forest is a transitional phase, follow your instincts. Alternatively, you maybe wanting to escape to a simpler life due to being weighed down by demands. To be lost in a forest means you’re searching your subconscious for a better understanding of yourself.

Triangles symbolize your aspirations, truth and potential and represent your spirituality (body, mind, spirit). Alternatively, triangles are a warning of some kind, especially if they are yellow, red or orange.

A river if it is clear and calm means you are going with the flow, but it is time to become more decisive and perhaps enter a new stage of life. Fertility, prosperity, pleasure and peace are also symbolized by the water. Crossing a river represents an obstacle or issue that needs dealing with in order to move closer to your goal(s). Bathing in a river equals purification and cleansing.

Seeing a fox represents insight, cunning, cleverness and resourcefulness. Also, a period of isolation, you need time to ponder on some issues.

A Hagstone signifies your need to be protected.

‘A Hagstone?’ I muttered and looked at the dark red triangle stone with the hole in the middle. I was still clutching it in my hand and it had gotten warm. I had looked up stones last and it had been the first meaning. Something at the back of my mind tried to recall what was special about these stones, but I had no idea.

I re-read all the parts again then slipping The Arcana back into my bag, fixed my eyes on the flowing river to think.  In a dream forest, I have to follow my instincts and become like a fox to find myself, but beware triangles. I glanced around and saw that everything was triangle shaped, but nothing was the three warning colours. I need to be more decisive, go across the river and also cleanse. I need to keep the Hagstone as protection.

Smiling and feeling a lot better, I pulled out my chain and undid the clasp. I threaded the Hagstone through and let it rest beside my cross. Looking through it once more, I saw black and white trees, the river and the sky, but nothing else. Slipping everything back under the white jumper, I got up and went to the river.

Kneeling down, I washed my hands and face in the cool water and thought about becoming clean. Cupping some of the water, I also took a few sips and felt a pleasant coldness in my throat. I dried myself on the end of the jumper then dug the prayer book from my bag and looked up the contents page. I didn’t find anything that matched what I needed, so I went straight to the Psalms and skimmed through them, until; Psalms 51.

‘Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin,’ I spoke allowed then read the rest of it in my head.

I closed the prayer book and slipped it back into my bag. I washed my hands and face again then stood up. The triangle forest was unnatural quiet. Glancing around, I decided to follow the river downwards and see if there was a bridge or stepping stones to cross over on. The water flowed calmly beside me, bubbling around large triangle shaped rocks and stones. Faster than I thought, I came across a pathway of large stepping stones. The river was lapping just over them and the stones looked a little slippery.

Carefully, I stepped onto the first one, clutching the satchel strap and keeping my other arm against the leather bag for stability. Water touched my boots and I heard a soft squelching  sound. I stepped easily to the next, the gap between the stones was only small. Trying to fight down the expectation that something was going to happen, I went to the fourth.

Stopping, I counted another four stones ahead of me, which meant I was standing in about the middle. The river carried on, the clear water flowing somewhere known. I looked down at the riverbed and saw a clean sandy floor. Wondering, if there were any fish, I stepped to the next stone and looked down the other side. Not seeing anything, I carried on and walked across the rest of the stones.

Reaching the other side, I turned and looked back, feeling pleased. Ahead of me another section of forest spread out and I debated what to do. The trees to my left looked like they got denser and seemed to rise up further along. The trees to my right, heading down river, looked less dense and stood further back.

‘I’d keep following the river if I were you,’ a soft voice purred.

I jumped and looked quickly around. From a nearby tree came the long pointy face of a fox. It moved out slowly and padded towards me. The fox was red-orange, with a white triangle chest and two tails that ended in white triangle points.

‘Excuse me?’ I stuttered.

‘Didn’t you want to know which way to go?’ the fox asked.

I stared as its mouth form the words and I saw flashes of a pink tongue and white fangs.

‘I guess…’

‘And I’m telling you to follow the river,’ the fox replied as its’ tails waved around behind.

I glanced in that direction then back, ‘thanks.’

‘Your welcome. Oh and remember to use the Hagstone.’

I looked down and though I couldn’t see it, I could feel the red stone against my skin.

‘What does it do?’ I asked.

The fox’s amber eyes made a rolling gesture and it sat down, ‘it protects you from evil charms and nightmares. You can use it to see fairies, other fae and magic creatures, witches and traps.’

‘Oh. Thanks. That’s going to be really useful,’ I gushed.

The fox turned its head and muttered to itself. I frowned and caught what sounded like, ‘she forgets every time.’ Standing, the fox turned and giving a wave of its’ tails walked off.

‘Bye!’ I called after it.

‘Good luck!’ the fox shouted back.

I watched it disappear then started walking alongside the river again.

To Be Continued…

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 2)

There was gentle harp music playing. I sighed and tried not to open my eyes. The music was so lovely and calming. Something soft was supporting my head and a fluffy blanket was draped over me. I imagined Heavenly things … Continue reading

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 1)

‘You don’t want that one, Child.’

I looked up from the open book in my hands, annoyed at being interrupted and called a child.

Mr Mole, the book shop’s owner, was standing at the end of the bookcase, a pile of books in his hands and leaning back to look at me. His black framed thick glasses were balanced on the edge of his nose. His face was heavy lined with brown wrinkles, yet his pale blue eye sparkled with youth. His white hair was thin and wispy, failing to hide his bald liver spotted head. He was wearing an old blue shirt, sleeves rolled up and light brown creased trousers.

I shot him a disgruntled look and turned another page, ‘Why not?’ I asked.

‘It’ll give you indigestion. It’s not a nice read for a young girl like you.’

‘Please,’ I snorted and turned around.

I saw him shrug and walk off to the next bookcase row, where I heard him beginning to slot away a book or two. My eyes twitched across to glance at him, but all I could see was the bookcase’s edges. Positioning my finger in the current page, I swept some dust of my long, red and black chequered high school skirt. I then rubbed down the undersides sleeves of my deep red blazer before loosening the matching tie. I also threw my double plated bronze hair over my shoulder. Then, ignoring everything once again, I got back into reading The Trial Of The Pendle Witches.

‘Are you actually looking for anything?’

I glanced up as Mole reappeared.

‘No. Thanks.’

‘You sure?’

I snapped the small dirty grey book close and fixed him a hard look.

Mole smiled sweetly back and waited. I got the odd sense that he knew…somehow, he knew why I was here.

I slotted the book back and looked at the next few along. There were all about different witch trails from all over the world. My fingers reached out to take the Salem one down, but then I saw Mole shake his head. I withdrew and walked right up to him. He still had six books in his out stretched hands.

‘Your secret is safe with me and the books, Child,’ he whispered.

I took a deep breath and touched the small gold cross at my throat. The action was more out of habit then anything religious. It felt warm against my fingers, I pulled out the matching chain it dangled from and began playing with it.

‘No advice, I promise,’ he added.

‘I’ve been having these strange dreams,’ I muttered, ‘and wondered if I could find a book about them.’

Mole cocked a wild hairy eyebrow then looked at the witch trail books and back to me.

‘About witches?’ he asked.

I nodded, ‘and other things.’

He hummed and looked thoughtfully around the cluttered bookshop. The place was a messy labyrinth of old floor to ceiling dusty oak bookcases, short tables, large leather winged chairs and books of all shapes, sizes, years, languages and stories. I breathed in the soft mouldy dankness, loving the smell as it reminded me of the village church only on a heavier level.

‘I think I might have something,’ Mole spoke, ‘follow me.’

A smile flicked on my face and I dropped my chain as I fell into step behind him. We weaved through the bookcases and furniture like mice in a cornfield. Deeper and deeper we seemed to go, until at last Mole stopped. He set the books down on a small rickety table that looked like it was about to collapse.

‘I don’t recognise this section,’ I whispered and glanced at the gloomy corner.

‘It’s a bit out of the way, I know. But it’s the right place for these books,’ Mole responded.

I looked round, my eyes trying to read the titles, but unable to focus in the dim light. The books were undisturbed like a forgotten crypt. Their spines were all hard backed and some were missing their dust jackets or else were made of leather or velvet.

‘This one. It’s heavy,’ Mole’s voice called.

‘What are these books about?’ I asked.

‘Old magic, spells, palm reading, tarot cards, demonology etc and this…The Arcana Of Dreams.’

I looked at what Mole was holding out to me. It was a large, thick, dark purple velvet covered book. Curling gold letters stated what Mole had just spoken. The pages underneath looked creamy and dusty. I reached out and took the book from him. He’d not lied about the weight!

‘I’ll have to loan it to you,’ Mole said, ‘it’s far too…’

‘Expensive?’ I gasped.

‘Collectable,’ he said instead.

‘How much?’

He muttered a price which I barely caught, but my mind spun with it.

‘All right. How many days for how much?’ I asked.

Mole shook his head at our usual arrangement and replied, ‘keep it till you are sleeping soundly again.’

I looked at the book and nodded, ‘thanks,’ before I turned to leave. I pressed the book to my chest, expecting any moment to feel Mole’s gnarled but steady hand squeezing my shoulder. I made it to the front door and turned around. Weak autumn sunlight was trying to look through the grimy windows, though the towers of books were doing a good job at stopping it.

‘Goodbye, Mr. Mole. Thanks!’ I shouted.

‘Good day, Child!’ his voice rushed back to me from the bowels of the shop.

I grabbed the door and walked out into the clean fresh country air. I walked down the cobble street, passed the other seemly small shops that made up the centre of the village. Then the single road and pavement began to rise. I clutched the book tighter and dug my toes more downwards as the hill became steep. Cottages lined both sides, looking like children’s play blocks with their multi-colours and simple structures. At the top and passed a few more houses, was large gap at the hill’s peak before another rise up to the small church.

I walked along the cemetery fence, glancing at the moss or vine covered headstones. The church gates came and went. I turned, walked around the back of the church and up a small cobble track which a small car could just fit down. At the bottom of Church Lane, half hidden by a weeping willow and an ancient oak tree, stood the white thatched vicarage.

I opened the white gate, walked up the crazy paving path on either side of which lay empty flower beds marked out on the short lawn. Stepping on the flat dark grey slab step, I tucked the book under my arm and swung my black rucksack off. I dug out my keys from the front pocket and let myself in.

A warm breeze touched my face then vanished into the cold evening. I walked in, shutting the door behind me. The flower wallpapered hallway was short and taking up by a grandmother clock and the wooden panelled staircase. Listening, I heard the distant voices of my adopted parents coming from the kitchen followed by the smells of cooking. I climbed the narrow stairs and went down the hallway, past two other doors, to my bedroom at the end.

I shut my door and took my rucksack off, dropping it to the floor beside my desk. My bedroom was small and spotless. It looked more like a guest’s room then a sixteen year old girl’s. The four walls were covered in dark white wallpaper with blue forgot me not flowers. A small white window, with matching curtains was opposite me, halfway over the wooden bed. Then a large oak wardrobe and dressing table took up all the space on the right wall. My bed stand table, desk and bookcase were on the left wall, claiming almost all the space there too.

I pulled my shoes off, closely followed by blazer and tie which I abandoned on my made up bed.  Sitting on the wooden tall back, leather seated chair at my desk, I pushed back my laptop and the text books over. I placed The Arcana Of Dreams down in that space. I grabbed my back and pulled out a half-drunken bottle of water. I took a few sips then place it to the side.

I opened the book’s front page then flipped to the actual start. There wasn’t a content page, but the introduction gave clear instructs on how to use the book. Everything was in alphabetical order and I just need to look up the word I wanted to know more about. Witches. I started turning towards the back and was almost there when I got the call to come and eat. Sighing, I closed the book and went downstairs.

Four doors led off the hallway – the living room, dining room, kitchen and Adam’s study. I walked into the dining room and found him and Jane already at the table. I took the empty chair next to Jane’s and looked at the homemade stew before me.

‘Let’s say grace,’ Adam’s too quiet voice said.

I put my hands together and spoke the words alongside them. After we started eating and talking about our individual days. I was mostly silent and focused on eating, though I did glance up at their faces whilst they were talking. Adam’s face was pale and soft, he had large light blue eyes and very blonde hair. He was wearing a black shirt, buttoned all the way and his white vicar’s collar.

Jane was petite, with brunet hair tied up in bun and just a touch of make up to her face to hide the growing wrinkles. Her eyes were green, her cheeks slightly too rounded and her nose too small. She was wearing a baby pink silk blouse and had a Christian charm bracelet on her left wrist.

‘Did you go to the bookshop today?’ Jane asked me close to the end of the meal.

I nodded, mopping up the gravy with some crusty bread.

‘And how is old Mr. Mole doing?’ Adam chimed in.

‘Good,’ I responded.

Jane frowned a little and it seemed she was debating how to phrase her next words, ‘I’m still not sure I like you visiting him so often…Doesn’t the school library have all the books you need?’

I opened my mouth, but Adam bet me to it, ‘I’m sure it does, Jane. Abigail and Mr. Mole are just good friends and there’s nothing wrong with keeping an eye on your friends. It’s like the sermon I give a few weeks back…’

I droned out his voice and drifted into my own thoughts as he began quoting his sermon and parts of the bible.

It was much later and my bedtime when I returned to the book. I tucked it under my pillow before Jane and Adam came into say goodnight to me. Finally, alone, I pulled it out and flipped to the ‘W’ section. My eyes skipped down the page then stopped at the word;

‘Witches represent destruction and evil, either through seeing them physically or objects that are connected with them,’ I read aloud in a whispery voice, ‘Witches are also linked to negative ideas about females and the body. This could have been brought on by recent events connected with these matters. It is often centred on bad experiences with a heartless woman who is or will become a danger to you.’

I stopped, my breathing quickening, yet my mind couldn’t come up with anybody or event I could link to the words. I looked down and read the next passage, ‘Alternatively, a white or good witch has the opposite effect and they are seen as a symbol of goodness, power and enchantment. They can appear to protect you and/or offer guidance through their magic.’

Maybe that’s it? Though the witches always seem so dark to me.

I yawed, tiredness hitting me. I rubbed my face then decided to give into it. Muttering that I’d look up everything else tomorrow, I rested back on the pillows and went to put the book safely on the floor. However, sleep had stolen me before I could and the book stayed hugged in my hands.

To Be Continued…