SEASONS OF THE GODS 1
A Change of Seasons
The snow was thick, heavy and plummeted from the
sky like Demeter's frosty tears. Brigid stood knee deep, her kilt
just brushing the surface and collecting a clumping edge of cold
which she didn't feel. She'd been standing still for almost an hour,
listening to the wind breathe against her flesh and feeling the
moist wetness of flakes that melted against her skin like kisses.
Her hair was now dark from wetness and had finally given up the
fight against the cold and was sprinkled with a fine dusting of
white, though her scalp remained as warm as ever. Her golden eyes
reflected the seriousness of her face. She watched solemnly as the
trees bent to the tempo of the winter's dance.
It would have been a beautiful thing if any of it
Quietly, meditatively she thought. She was so deep
in her own mind that she only barely conscious, yet never quite
unconscious. This had become her refuge. Here she let her mind lay
out all the details or rather and more importantly, the lack of
details, that led her to suspect that the realm wherein she stood,
was a figment, a partial fact, not quite real.
Her first clue had been the ambiguity of her senses
which seemed to fluctuate between intense and nonexistant. This
of itself would have been of no concern for her, but it was the
other things that added to her feeling of displacement. For instance,
there was a lack of memory. Jan, the one she suspected was also
figment, said it was just shock, but shock eventually wore off.
Either the gods had been playing with her mind again (unlikely,
because she knew how that felt) or time had made an abrupt shift
from fall into winter, without the usual slow patterning of leaves
falling and the gentle or not so gentle turn of the weather. Yet
here she stood looking at trees stripped bare. Then there was the
lack of response from the Gods, at least the ones she knew. She'd
not seen them since her untimely arrival.
There were only four things she knew to be real,
because of the sensations associated with them or perhaps she was
just clinging to the hope that they were real, but in this she was
bound. Her wives and her son and the love she felt for them were
the only real things she could identify in this world. She felt
as if they were like mountain climbers, attached solidly to each
other, but attempting a too precarious surface. She feared what
would happen if even one of them slipped and fell and she knew they
feared it too. They all felt it. She knew that was real also. They
all felt it and couldn't talk about it, lest whatever or more importantly
whoever, caused it would discover that they drifted with an awareness
that this world was less than perfect (everything seemed to have
the fluidity of the dream and that was, she suspected, the entire
problem) and it fooled none of them.
She wiped the melted snow from her face with too
wet hands and stalked back towards the house, which was a replacement
for a memory of the inn which the false Melinda claimed never had
been. Of the faux people (though perhaps that idea was an injustice
and not quite true) they associated with, only three braved their
secluded world, Melinda, Janice and Robin and of the four, Brigid
was the only one who left the house often, in the hopes of finding
some clue, some way back or forward to a place as true as themselves.
She was getting to the point where she didn't care which, as long
as they continued in each other's presence and got out alive and,
she whispered, "sane."
When she stepped indoors she was greeted by a warmth
she could feel. The house had become another true place, a refuge
bolstered by Melinda's magic (she wondered briefly if the others
of this world could feel it like they did, or if it reeked of dreaming
as their world did to her) and Janice' wisdom. She gave Nikkos a
reassuring hug and kiss which brightened a face that had become
too morose by far. She whispered words of kindness and touched his
dark skin with her tan fingers. They all needed the contact of each
other and touched often.
She listened carefully and heard Melinda humming,
which led her gently into the kitchen. There the dark haired priestess
prepared what their bodies believed to be food, finding a consolation
in the mundane task. Brigid warned the woman of her presence with
a spoken word, "Beloved." Then she carefully wrapped her
arms around her love and squeezed, but not too hard. She patted
the only evidence of time's passing and the gods' love. None of
them knew who the sire was. Here was yet another reason to find
a way out, lest Melinda's fate be that of Demeter's, a mother separated
from her child by time and place.
Melinda dropped the knife onto the cutting board
and turned in the Demigoddess' embrace. "Anything?" she
asked. She was careful to keep her voice even, almost light.
Brigid smiled, also careful, "Just Demeter's
tears and a few trees dancing." She paused a moment, unsure
if what she said next would be meaningful. They walked the edge
carefully. "And a drift." She didn't dare say more, but
Melinda caught her meaning. For all anyone else knew Brigid could
be talking snow. There were some benefits to this weather.
Melinda nodded and touched Brigid's cheek. "Janice
is out in the garage. There is something you should see." Then
she caught the demigoddess mouth in a soft lingering kiss that warmed
her insides as nothing else. They passed a few moments basking in
each other's presence and then parted, reassured.
"I'll go see love." Melinda turned back
to her preparations and Brigid made her way through the home.
Janice stood up as soon as she heard the door click,
tools in her oily hands and a well chewed cigar in her mouth. The
she smiled at Brigid's startled gasp. The adventuress pointed at
the white vehicle.
"Look what Jan brought."
"Gods." Brigid walked towards the Bronco
and looked in the rear window. A small bundle still existed, partially
hidden by plank or two. She saw it move and sighed. There was hope
"Maybe." Janice looked thoughtful, "I
think, they figured we need this to get around."
Brigid blinked, "After all this. . .time, you
think they," she hesitated to continue the sentence.
Janice shut the hood with her elbow and went to
the counter to lay the tools down. Of all of them, Jan was the most
interested in what made things work in this world. Jan found it
reassuring that unlike the television she'd taken apart earlier
(there had been nothing on the inside until suddenly there was,
like an afterthought) the Bronco's engine had been satisfactorily
clunky. It was primitive, but real.
The red head turned back around and looked at Brigid.
"Have you noticed how they," Brigid knew Janice meant
the alter egos and Robin. The adventuress paused, trying to find
the right words, "seem to hang around us more often. They come
to visit us." She went to the sink, stuck her hand in some
goop and began to wash and spoke a little louder, a little more
emphatically, to be heard, "A lot. Mel hugged me when they
left." Janice turned off the water and dried off her hands,
then spoke casually, "It," her expression became softer,
"felt," she lifted her eyes to Brigid's and caught the
demigoddess in a strong, convincing gaze, "good."
Brigid deliberately softened her breathing and phrased
her next word carefully, "really?"
Janice nodded, "Really." Janice' smirked,
nodded at the interior of the house and continued with the implication,
making it clear, "So, do you think there's room?"
Brigid looked back inside and then walked to the
frosty window of the garage. Her expression was soulful and remembered
a phrase she'd heard as a child when relatives had threatened to
overtake her bedroom. Her mother had been firm, yet kind. "There's
always room for those we love." Fortunately for her mother,
Brigid had grown to love her noisy rambunctious cousins. She turned
to Jan and smiled, "I guess we'll find out."
A little awareness
Nikkos huddled into bed with them. His was not the
actions of a lover, but of a child (though he was really a young
man. But how can you relate to girls (or boys) who don't seem quite
all there to you? How can you relate to books who's text seem to
disappear as soon as you turn the page? You learn to cope. But does
that make it any less odd?) dealing too long with the strange and
unfamiliar. Brigid wrapped her arms consolingly about her son and
wondered that they needed sleep within a dream, but their bodies
got tired, though not nearly as quickly as in the "real"
world, (though she also questioned how she could distinguish between
one and the other anymore. It was an almost arbitrary decision based
on the feeling of one felt "right" and the other felt
"not quite") and they were most definitely in their bodies.
She softened her breathing to almost a croon and cradled him against
In one sense this experience had been good. There
was a stronger bond between all of them. Perhaps at one time, she'd
only claimed Nikkos in word, now he was a huge part of her heart.
This young man she would do more than die for. And for her wives,
well, to separate her heart from them she would have to pull it
out and she doubted even that would stop her love for them.
As if sensing the trail of her thoughts (and that
seemed to happen more and more often of late), Melinda scooted up
against Brigid too, smiling and embracing, then dipping back into
sleep, with Janice curled up against the dark haired woman's back.
Brigid wondered if any of them remembered their dreams at this time.
Dreams within dreams. At least she'd not been bothered by the type
that claimed her in the past. She sighed and closed her eyes. In
this case, she guessed, it was okay to surrender to Morpheus. Maybe
she'd get it all figured out.
Janice Covington, counselor, stalked around the
foyer of their house, almost growling to herself. Melinda, supine
against the couch, watched as the woman she loved paced and cursed.
The red head stopped, "Okay, let me ask you this. Where is
Melinda sat up, thinking. "Well, this is our
Janice's arms raised up, "Does this feel like
our house to you?" Then she started pacing again and switched
thoughts, "What state are we in?"
Melinda's expression grew concerned as her mind
puzzled out the answer. She suddenly realized she didn't know. Her
heart started beating a little quicker. Her face turned a little
scared. Jan swore again.
"There was an inn wasn't there."
Melinda thought again, parsing stray thoughts from
the truth. She had a sudden visualization of a large building and
lots of Amazons. "I remember an inn."
Janice stopped and took in a big breath, then she
stalked towards her lover, too upset to soften her walk. She knelt
and took Melinda's hands in her own. "Beloved, I think we are
in shit city."
Melinda nodded. Her mind turned practical. "We
better call Robin."
Janice's eyes narrowed. "Why?"
Melinda touched her lover's face gently, "Because
my sweet, she was with us when they arrived."
Jan's jaw dropped in sudden realization. Her eyes
went wide, "We gave them the Bronco." Her heart beat a
little faster and she looked in the direction of Brigid's home.
"We can't let them leave without us."
Melinda spoke firmly, "They won't."
"What makes you so sure?" The red head's
eyes narrowed and she peer closely at her lover.
"I'm not." Melinda bit her lower lip,
"But I trust Brigid and," she gave a little laugh, "myself.
If we've figured it out. . ."
Janice continued for her, "They've figured
it out." Melinda flowed up and helped her lover stand back
up. She squeezed Janice's hand reassuringly.
"Let's go make that phone call."
Brigid's heard the vehicle arrive before the pounding
on the door began. She scooted down the bed, trying not to wake
anyone, yet managed to wake Janice. She nodded to let the adventurer
know that she would get it and Janice laid back down. It was still
dark out. The lcd clock said it was very early in the morning. Brigid
grabbed a robe and headed out of the room, silently closing the
She woke up a little more fully when she saw the
who it was. "It's fourthirtyam folks, what's the rush?"
she asked as she wiped the sleep from her eyes and yawned. Then
she opened her eyes a bit more when she realized that Jan was carrying
something, a bed roll.
Jan's voice was tough, but her stance was worried,
"You gonna let us in or you gonna abandon us?"
Brigid's jaw dropped. "Abandon? Huh? What?"
She shook her head. Time for arguments later. Jan looked like she
was freezing, she was trembling so much and the others didn't look
that good either. Brigid's voice softened, "Come on in, I'll
make some cocoa or whatever so you can warm up."
They filed in. Their expressions matching the one
her son wore earlier today. She felt the thump of awareness. They'd
figured it out.
A Bit of Hope
They had been holed up in that glowing bubble in
the middle of the front room for hours. Or so it seemed to Jan and
Janice, who paced around the luminous sphere in a mutual fit of
anxiety. Every so often, they would stop, look at each other with
total understanding and the occasional snarl of worry, then start
pacing again. They were making Brigid dizzy and she finally had
to get up and leave the room for a minute.
Robin, who had finally regained her composure and
most of her sunny disposition, watched the proceedings with a real
sense of amusement. It wasn't that the situation was all that funny,
but the way the Jans were handling it seemed to strike her funny
bone just right. She wasn't sure what it was, only that there was
something about the expression on their faces and the natural rhythm
they fell into that was. . .precious.
Nikkos sat on the floor, his expression serious,
his legs crossed and his arms resting on his legs. For once, despite
the seriousness on his face, he didn't have that hopeless look that
had permeated his whole being. His faith had been restored.
His belief system had been thoroughly shaken by
this experience, especially when they'd met the other Janice and
Melinda. He'd not known how to handle it. He didn't know what he
would have done if it had just been him, alone in this situation.
He'd thought, because he felt fear, that he was a failure, despite
everything Brigid told him. She seemed so on top of everything,
her expression hardly ever contained worry (that he saw). He thought
he would never become a warrior and wasn't worthy. Yet, Janice and
Jan (would he ever get used to this?) who were obviously strong
and powerful warriors, were marching about and expressing certain
worry. It soothed his heart. Maybe he wasn't such a wimp after all.
Maybe Brigid's praise for his bravery had been sincere. Maybe bravery
And then there was the priestess and the Gods, and
even though the priestess had been able to do magic, it didn't seem
like the Gods were hearing. That had shaken him. And the other Janice
and Melinda had seemed like heathens, nonbelievers. They didn't
seem to have the same worship. Now he knew how wrong he was. To
have two such powerful women in their camp was a wonder. Success
would surely be theirs.
Brigid returned to the room, took a moment to touch
Nikkos (who gave her a surprisingly shiny smile) and sat down by
Robin. Robin grinned easily at her friend. "Hey Hero."
Brigid smiled and passed the Oreo cookie bag to the dark woman.
"Ooh, love these things, at least they taste as good as in,"
she paused, "well they taste good." She grabbed a few
cookies and took a bite of one, then handed the bag to Nikkos.
Brigid grinned as she munched on her's, "Things
to be grateful for." She waved the cookie at the Janices, "You
want one." There was a mutual growl of denial from both. She
leaned to Robin, "You know, you'd think they'd be used to this.
I mean they live with priestesses and all. Mystical whammy stuff
should be, like, second nature."
Robin crunched into her cookie, "Yeah, but
we're talking, one's preggers and one's, well you know, ultra sweet
and it is magic. They're just worried on principle."
Brigid snorted, "Well their principle is making
me dizzy." Actually, she was quite relieved. It had been an
amazing thing. As soon as the two Melinda's had gotten together,
it was as if something clicked. They'd immediately gone into high
priestess mode and had declared a conference. Brigid had no idea
what they were doing or saying, but she figured it would lead to
a solution. She hadn't been able to think right, she'd been so consumed
with worry for her loves, not to mention guilt. She felt like it
was all her fault that they were even in this mess. She patted Robin's
knee. Thank God for the woman. This morning she'd finally been able
to vent how she was feeling and felt much clearer for it. It had
surprised her how easy it was to fall into that easy camaraderie
they'd had before, especially after what happened with the other
Robin. She hoped someday to be able to explain why she'd been so
distant with her friend. It hadn't been just the dreamscape they
were dealing with, though Robin fully understood that. She mentally
shook her head, how do you explain to someone so obviously talented
at making people happy, that her alter ego's talents lie in the
opposite direction. Brigid smiled at Robin easily and turned her
attention back to the pacing duo.
She laughed inside, they were so alike, yet different.
Both had that gruff exterior thing going, yet one seemed to have
more life experience than the other. She wondered how that was possible
and simply figured that time moved differently in the two worlds.
There was that whole feeling of, "the same, but different,"
when it came to the red heads. One was definitely monogamous, the
other definitely not. Of course, that could be cultural, but Brigid
didn't think so. Janice Covington the elder (though she didn't look
elder) was so completely in love and loved by her Melinda Pappas
that Brigid doubted she'd ever look anywhere else. Some people were
just made that way. Janice Covington the younger was so completely
in love and loved by *her* Melinda Pappas that she felt totally
safe in loving others (for which Brigid was enormously grateful).
It was a whole different way of thinking, neither better or worse
than the other.
Brigid smiled reassuringly at her wife and received
a smile in return. She noticed that Janice the younger's (They were
just gonna have to work out a name system) expression seemed a little
lighter. The demigoddess took a deep breath and settled into eating
Some time later, the bubble dispersed. The red heads
stopped their pacing and their expressions took on an aspect of
mutual relief. All of those present noticed the difference in Melinda
and Mel's appearance. They wore flowing robes, when Brigid could
have sworn they'd been wearing something altogether different when
they'd first entered into their conversation.
Jan spoke up first, "So?"
Mel gently wrapped her arm around her dark haired
counterpart and smiled reassuringly, "We think everything is
going to be okay."
Brigid felt a knot of worry untying itself in her
chest. Mel continued, " Because there were two of us, we were
able to make contact, though a bit brief, with one of the Gods."
She nodded towards Janice, "I believe on your side of reality.
We think it was Dionysus, but " Her lips quirked and her eyebrows
raised, "Apparently Zeus opened Hecate's portal."
There was a multiple, "AH," of understanding
which emanated from Brigid, Nikkos and Janice.
Melinda continued for Mel, "It caused a huge
ripple of magical effects all over the place. But that was bound
to happen anyway. It was simply a case of remarkably poor timing."
Brigid grunted and murmured, "typical."
Which got her a slap on the ankle from Nikkos. She gave him a look,
but changed it to something softer. Then she looked up at the priestesses,
"So how do we get out of here and back to the real world?"
Melinda looked like she was trying to decide how
to phrase something. Mel gave her a squeeze and spoke up, "Well
we have a theory."
Jan spoke, "What's the theory sweetheart."
The red head settled down on the arm of the couch by Brigid.
"We believe this is a real world."
Brigid started. "Huh?"
Melinda continued, "But we are caught in one
of its dimensional surfaces."
There were more huhs from the group.
"Tell you what," said Mel, "Let's
sit down around the table and get something for Melinda to eat,
then we'll explain everything."
It ain't simple, but it's easy
"We all start off with an unspoken agreement,"
Mel began, "We say, on some level, 'this is the world and this
is how it is supposed to work and these are the ways in which we
are supposed to see it.' But sometimes," she looked around
the table until her eyes rested on Jan, "things happen that
cause us to step out of those boundaries we've established for ourselves."
She smiled. "The funny thing is, that even as we agree with,"
she waved her hand, "the "common" experience, we
create our own reality, our own field of experiences." Melinda
sat down with a plate heaped with finger foods. She smiled at everyone,
then began to tuck in neatly. Mel continued.
"One way to put it, is that we are both the
dreamed and the dreamer and we are constantly dreaming within dreams.
Another way to think of it, is as a holographic scenario that surrounds
us and envelops us as we maneuver in vehicles designed to interpret
information in specific ways. Naturally, when our environment changes
there is some disorientation. Usually, we simply adapt to it, much
like you did Brigid, when you found yourself in another reality."
Brigid nodded thoughtfully.
"In fact, if it makes you feel any better,
we are constantly shifting our reality around to meet the various
changes that occur whenever we make a decision or decide to cooperate
with someone else's vision of the world. So we are really quite
expert at shifting from world to world. We hardly ever realize it,
because of those agreements I spoke about."
"There's another way of looking at this. There
are multiple layers in multiple realities that we traverse, often
without knowing it. Take dreaming for instance. Dreaming serves
several purposes, physically and mentally. It keeps us fresh and
alert and creative. It also acts as a passageway." Brigid nodded
again. Everyone was listening intently. "One can and does cross
from reality to reality in their dreams, sometimes feeling more
"real" than other times. Again it is something we do with
out thinking or worrying about it. It just happens."
Janice rocked back on the legs of the chair and
looked thoughtful. The priestess continued, "There are agreed
on reality altering circumstances that come into play, as we understand
it. Emotions, beliefs, interactive agreements (such as when you
fall in love and decide to share a life), and acts of god (I don't
know how else to put it)." Mel pointed at Melinda and then
at everyone else.
"We are currently out of step with the world
because something knocked us out of our usual spatial awareness.
You could say that we are still in our holographic suits, but we're
not quite plugged in right. We see our realities shift, which is
why we feel so disoriented, as if our timing is a little off. That's
because it is, in a way. You see, we are not quite in the dream
and not quite in the world and we haven't reconnected in some way
with our previously established agreements and it is very possible
that we can't go back to the same places we were at all. But there
is a solution or rather a potential."
Robin spoke. "What's that?"
"We have to wake up."
Brigid sat up, "Huh?" She felt frustrated.
She'd been saying that a lot lately.
"Let me put it to you this way. When you dream,
what is the worse thing that can happen."
Nikkos young tenor filled the room, "Nightmares."
"What happens with nightmares?"
"You get chased around or scared until you,"
"What's the best thing about dreaming?"
Brigid looked like she was about to say something. Melinda picked
up on her thoughts.
"Besides that, Brigid."
Robin snickered and answered, "We wake up,
usually refreshed, feeling pretty good. Sometimes with a lingering
memory of having been somewhere else for awhile."
Mel nodded, "Here comes the tricky part. Melinda
and I have some ideas, but we want all of us to get in the rhythm
at the same time." She ahemed, "We also have a belief."
She looked at Melinda who nodded as she chewed, "We believe
that we will, how to put this, wake up changed. I don't know if
we will carry a memory of this experience or not. But it's a chance
I'm willing to take."
They all nodded.
"So, here are the possibilities." Melinda
began outlining a simple plan. "This is not a situation that
can be resolved mechanically. The bronco won't work. It was the
magic around the car that caused the reality shift." She bit
her lower lip in concentration. "Has anyone ever tried to actively
stay conscious during a dream?"
Brigid snorted. Melinda raised an eyebrow. Brigid
blushed and answered, "I didn't try, but I was. really aware,
I mean. I feel kind of like that now. Like I'm in a waking dream."
Melinda nodded, "Good, then we'll have something
to start with." She looked thoughtful. "Have you ever
tried to change something in the dream? You know, like change a
piece of paper into a stone or something?"
"Uh, no. But I was shot once."
Melinda blinked. "Uh-huh. What we want to do
is to get to the point where we can literally change things within
this space, then we have to consciously make the decision to cross
over into the other reality, whichever one it is. This one, that
one, it won't matter. We'll either forget how we arrived and it
won't matter or remember and there will be nothing we can do about
it or remember and there will be something we can do about it."
"Meaning?" Jan asked.
"It is possible, that once we've learned how
to cross worlds. . ." she looked thoughtful.
"Melinda?" Brigid asked.
"Isn't, you know, magic. . changing enough."
"It is and it isn't. We are talking the feel
of the dream here, the substance. Sure we change things with magic,
but when we do, normally it is within the," Mel didn't get
a chance to finish.
"agreement." Nikkos said.
"We figure we're already out, we might as well
"How do we go further?" Janice asked.
"We don't dream until we've awakened to it."
"Huh?" Brigid was glad it wasn't her this
Robin looked fascinated. "What she means, Nikkos,
is that we stay awake until we hallucinate and we realize we are
hallucinating." Nikkos looked staggered. Robin grinned, "Or,
we can do what the Zen masters do and can learn to stay awake while
meditating. Am I right?"
Mel nodded and grinned, "By that time, we should
be able to manipulate what we are looking at, since we are already
on the edge of the world."
Jan snorted this time, "Damn confusing, if
you ask me."
Mel grinned, "you are right love, it is. But
it will work."
Brigid realized that she had been heading towards
that solution for some time. She was suddenly glad that she hadn't
quite succeeded. Brigid looked seriously at her wives and son, then
at her friends. "It has to."
Time's mighty hand
They took the Zen route, sort of. Meditation in
one form or another was and is a common human experience. One discovers
daydreaming and that is one form or one discovers the moment, when
doing an ordinary task, and that is another form. For them it was
a matter of choosing which method.
They chose embracing the moment. Each day was an
exercise of acceptance and surrender. When they walked, it was with
the full awareness of walking. Which meant at first, that their
steps were very slow. If they washed the dishes, it was with the
full awareness of washing the dishes, from dipping the cup into
soapy water to rinsing, to drying, to putting it back in the cupboard.
Each of them operated in their own way, but the principle was the
They quit trying to identify what was different
with the world and instead simply embraced it for what it was. If
they experienced the odd moment of being outside, they embraced
that too. It was all part of being in the now, all part of waking
from the dream. In the evening, they would have a group sit, where
they all worked at simply breathing. In the morning, it was the
same. Their days seemed to speed by.
They all knew when it happened.
They sat in the circle and their breath, which up
to that point had been quite individual, slowly shifted until they
were in a moment of one breath. In and out, push and pull and who
knows who thought of it first for they all thought of it. They were
breathing as the sleeper breathes. In and out, push and pull. Their
thoughts converged into the pure moment of the dream and they had
to open their eyes so they could smile at each other. And that was
when they woke up.
I think maybe I would have been happier with a different
schedule. Okay, I know I would have been. But it was the only way
to work it out so that my afternoons and evenings were free. So,
I learned to get up a little early, that wouldn't hurt me. A seven
thirty in the am class. Somehow I was going to have to convince
my body that I was an early morning person, though I'm not, really.
I dreaded it. I have a hard time waking up in the morning.
I've always been that way. Mom would practically
have to push me out of bed and then drag me through a morning routine,
till I started waking up. She kept coming up with new methods, trying
to find the one that would finally work at getting me up and going
with some sort of coherency and maybe even a smile. One time she
jokingly woke me up with the family wagon's jump start cables.
My younger brother Nick thought it was extremely
funny. He would. He's an early morning person. Up before the crack
of dawn and out jogging or something like that. He's a very physical
person. He tried to get me into martial arts, but that's more his
thing. I am into art. Though I did learn a few things, just to make
him happy. He taught me to meditate, but I'm not very good at it.
I get too easily distracted when he pokes me in the ribs.
You wouldn't know we were siblings just by looking
at us. He's very dark and I'm very not. But there's a reason for
it. Both of us were adopted. He got the sensible name. I got Bernice.
Well, that was what my dad wanted me to be called, but apparently
mom set her foot down. Actually I got, Brigid Bernice Gracious Poughkeepsie.
Try saying that three times fast and you'll tangle your tongue something
fierce (although I've gotten pretty good at it.) Meanwhile, my brother
gets "Nick." Now what would make you think I was jealous?
I'm not really. I love Nick more than my own life.
Mom says I was the type of sister who would take her brother everywhere
with her, and that I practically mothered him when I was younger.
When I got older, of course, things changed, but we always got along.
I was there when he broke up with his first girlfriend. He was there
when I started having the nightmares. We never told mom and dad
about either. It would have just worried them.
The nightmares were really what started me into
art. I'd read someplace that it was therapeutic. And you know, it
really was and I was kind of good. Okay I was really good, even
if it was just my own opinion. At first the dreams weren't really
clear. They were kind of like, what. . a fuzzy memory with a lot,
and I mean a lot of details missing. I tried to put that in my images.
I never see their faces. I sometimes, but not really,
hear their voices. Some big guy is lifting me by the neck and shouting
some terrible mean things. I hurt all over and I can feel him choking
me something awful. I can't hardly wear anything around my neck
for any length of time. I don't do tshirts and I do not wear necklaces.
They squick me in a major way. It's because of the dream, I know.
Anyway, this guy is huge, bigger than a mountain
it seems like, and he has me in this neck hold and he's yelling
and they are all frozen like they're afraid for me. I can practically
feel the fear pulsing off of them, even though I don't know what
they look like. I feel like we've been fighting forever and I know
it will all be lost if they hesitate. I shout, "Do it!"
I guess, meaning kill the son of a bitch. I don't know if I'm being
noble or not, by that time I don't care if I die or not. But they
don't move. Well, not at first.
Then it's like watching one of those hero movies.
You don't see her (and I know it's a her because of the outline
of her body) throw it, but there's this round killing thing that
goes whirring across the room and it plants itself right smack in
this guy's hand. He screams and he lets me go and I start to plummet,
but the bad guy catches me with his other hand. Damn it. This time
he's mad at me.
He pulls me up close to his face. He has a huge
mouth, so big that prize winning pumpkin or watermelon would fit
in it. Suddenly I remember who this guy is (and yes, it is every
time like this. I forget until I remember). He's Cronos, the swallower
of babies. His voice is like a thundering river and I hardly understand
the words. He tells me a lot of things, like how I interfered with
his plans and have caused him grief. He can feel my heart beat and
I know he knows that I don't care what he does to me, that I did
it for the love of my family and it was worth it. Then he starts
to laugh something evil. Really evil. His breath is foul.
"For this you will forget. You will forget
them all." I know who he's talking about. I can feel it in
my bones, but my mind won't tell me who they are. But they're the
one's without faces. I deny it of course, tell him I'll always remember.
That they will always be part of my heart.
He just laughs and accepts it as a challenge. He
says, "Fine. If you ever remember one, you'll remember all.
But if you never remember and you die, you will be wiped from the
stream of time as if you never were and they will forget you."
A masked woman stood up, Hera. She's the only one
whose name I remember. She tells him not so and she alters the wording
somehow, but I can't remember. Something about the heart being buried.
(I am telling you now, I plan on being buried. No cremation for
me, no sir. I'm pretty sure this part of the dream is tied up with
a movie I saw where the guy was still alive and put through a crematorium.
It was too gross. There are some late night movies not worth staying
up for). Anyway, she says he can't have my soul just cause he's
mad. So, I don't get wiped from the stream of time, but if I don't
remember *by* a certain time (and who the heck knows when that is.
I mean, this is a dream, after all) then they forget me and "Cronos
becomes the God of All again." (Hera is the reason I chose
to be polytheistic, plus there's all those other cool gods. Aphrodite
is one of my favorites. My mom doesn't understand it, but she tries
to be supportive. She's a gnostic christian herself and figures
we're all on our own path.)
So then Cronos lifts his hand and he hurls me so
hard I feel the breath in my body disappear and then I'm going through
a long, scary, moving, dark tunnel and I can't breathe and bam,
I wake up in a sweat and it takes me awhile to get back to sleep.
Which is why it's so hard for me to wake up in the mornings. Nick
used to stay up with me during that waking part. I don't know how
he did it, but he said it was worth it to see me start up another
painting. Now he's a freshman, stuck in a dorm (University policy)
and I'm an almost finished Grad student who has to take a very early
in the morning class.
The Gods must have it out for me.
Of course I was late.
The sad thing was, it wasn't because I didn't get
up. That I could have dealt with. Rather, it was a series of events
that really had nothing to do with me, but were just annoying enough
(like that one guy taking the very last parking spot and me have
to park way over yonder and walk farther than I'd planned. Not that
I minded the walk, but I'd had the timing planned to account for
my current pace) or distracting enough (like Dio stopping me so
that he could invite me to another wine taste event. Like his namesake,
he loves the stuff, has several hangerons (male and female) and
his wine tasting tends to extend into overlong parties. I hardly
ever go and I was definitely in no condition to attend this time.
So I excused myself by looking at the obvious and he was like, "Oh,
yeah." Then I told him that Nick and his buddy's might appreciate
the offer. Dio and I have been long time friends and I could tell
you some rollicking stories about when we were in high school, but
that's for another time) or just plain frustrating (as I was crossing
the street I was nearly run over by a little red sports car. I hate
new freshmen. Okay hate is too strong a word, but these kids who
get out into the world to be on their own for the first time often
become careless drivers. It was a good thing that I was still fairly
flexible). So there were some reasons for being late. None of them
good enough to explain (except maybe for the parking. Everyone understands
the parking problem.)
Therefore, it was much to my chagrin, that the first
words I heard spoken from the teacher as I tried to sneak into class
without actually looking at the instructor was, "You are late,
mzzzz," and I knew she was leading up to my name, which I gave
after catching my breath from the unexpected tingle I felt shiver
down my spine. I hazarded a glance in her direction and saw not
one, but two instructors, both of who looked vaguely familiar (but
all instructors look vaguely familiar). I knew in an instant that
it was the tall dark one who'd asked me my name as she imperiously
(and I do mean that word specifically) waved me to be seated. Obviously
she was type that had already taken roll and moved on. Gods this
was gonna be one of *those* classes. It was a good thing I loved
I found myself looking up the steps for a free seat,
hopefully one by the aisle, which I knew was actually too much to
hope for and I saw one. Right by Joni and I immediately felt another
buzz down my spine again. Not only was it going to be one of *those*
classes, it was going to be one of *those* semesters. I sighed in
a kind of helplessness and started pacing up the steps slowly. She
knew I was going to sit by her and I knew she knew and I knew she
was a thrilled as I was. Not. Not that we hated each other, we didn't.
In fact, the opposite was probably quite true, it was just. . .
Well it's hard to explain really.
She gave me an impassive look, which was good, because
it could have been much worse, as I struggled to settle my stuff
and myself as carefully as possible. I do not know who the designer
of these swing seat desk auditorium things are, but I can tell you
now, they do not make them for pregnant women. But I was surprised
by Joni's next action, because she actually helped me as I tried
to settle, make that squeeze, into the seat. Somehow she managed
to pull the seat a little further out. What else could I do, I gave
her a grateful look and got an answering almost but not really smile.
Hey it was better than nothing, considering. Now to understand my
situation with my pregnancy, you have to understand my situation
with Joni and to understand my situation with Joni you have to understand
my experience in tenth grade shop.
Hap Smith was his name and he was my first acknowledged
to myself real love. I don't mean school girl crush, because I think
I could have survived that. No I mean deep down to the bones love,
the kind that would live and die for, the kind that took to kindling
with each vocalization, each breath, each unexpected touch. He was
my shop teacher, handsome but with a flaw (he had an injury in his
youth which he never talked about, but everyone speculated on. I
never really did. I was too busy being, "in love.") which
made him more appealing, very married and thus definitely not available.
It was like he knew too. Not that I was being obvious. It's just
that over the course of the semester I became quieter and quieter,
hardly able to make a sound in my behalf, yet I lived for those
moments when he would guide my hand with his giant one in some new
creation. It was as if a piece of my soul was being restored, a
piece I never even knew was missing. And yes, I wanted him, but
this wasn't about want. It was about unspoken need. And he acted
on those needs by not embarrassing me or letting me be embarrassed.
He treated me like any of his students and I knew it. I knew I was
no different. I just felt like I was different, because sometimes
he would catch me looking and glance back solemnly, unoffended,
knowledgeable, understanding. I never even had a chance to blush
or develop the usual schoolgirl fantasy.
Then there was Joni. She was my second acknowledged
to myself real love. And I had no idea how to even approach her.
She was a senior and a very popular one at that. Well, not in a
cheerleader kind of way, mind you. She wasn't that type. But she
had a lot of admirers among her peers and I was a lowly tenth grader
so I didn't even stand a chance. I think the most we ever did was
say hello and she was gracious about it for a senior. Once she even
walked with me to my class, with not a word between us. Mostly because
I couldn't talk worth beans around her and felt I was safer in silence.
But the looks we cast at each other could have set the halls of
the school on fire. She made my heart palpitate in a way I couldn't
have explained. It was then, that I realized that I had no gender
preference in love. I just loved. Anyway, the combination of school
and love made my first semester back from summer camp an exquisite
mix of pleasure and pain.
She graduated early, being the smart chick she was.
I stayed on until it was my turn. By that time, I'd found my tongue
again and had a social group of my own, including Dionysus, who
was a Greek import and proud of it, and my brother, who I always
had room for (I was not one of those never talk to your sibling
types. My mom raised me better) and a couple of other people I haven't
really seen since (typical). I decided maybe it was time to talk
to Mr. Smith and tell him, if not how I felt, at least how much
I appreciated him. I meant to do it before graduation, but some
small crisis or another kept coming up, until finally, I was wearing
my cap and gown (I graduated with honors, thank you) and the graduation
ceremony had just been completed when I spied my one and only opportunity.
Which again never happened.
I remember walking toward him, with every intent
to say something nice, positive, yet meaningful. He was pretty tall,
so I didn't lose him in the push of the crowd. But I did lose myself
as soon as I found him. Well, more like, lost my tongue again.
I saw his wife. My heart just fluttered out the
window like a butterfly on the way to a field. I remember staring,
which was rude, I know. I remember thinking, I know her,
yet not being able to place where. I remember feeling yet another
click of something falling into place and I remember her return
gaze which was so soft I could have fallen forever and always have
been caught. I reached for something to say, some way of touching
them as they'd touched me, when every single friend and family member
descended on me in a congratulatory grouping that wiped the opportunity
That was when the other kind of dreams started.
The kind that keep you up at night for a different, wetter reason.
Fortunately for me, I went off to college and didn't have to explain
to Nick why I didn't want him coming to my room any more. But I
started adding new types of artwork into my collection and boy were
they hot. Very. These were fantasies I knew. They had to be, but
they felt so real sometimes. Sometimes I had flashes of other people,
but they remained faceless, but they felt real too, so I guess I'm
just one of those bizarre dreamers. I'd include them in my drawings
or paintings or whatever when I felt like it. It depended. Mostly
I dreamed about Hap and Deidre (I looked up her name) and Joni.
What was interesting about this, was that their
faces started filling in on some of the images of my nightmare dreams.
Wild. I knew it was just because my mind was so occupied with them,
so I kind of discounted it, yet at the same time went with it. The
other interesting thing, was that my dreams started branching off.
I had fewer and fewer purely scary dreams, other kinds started mixing
in. I even had a bunch where I was pregnant. It was like I was living
whole lives within the dream world. I got to where if it was really
interesting, I would write it up and then try to interpret it later
through my artwork. I was lucky, my freshman year I didn't have
a roomy, so it was okay that my dorm room got crowded with canvases
and the like. I didn't really have anywhere else to put them, because
I was only taking general ed classes and hadn't started on any of
my selectives yet. That's when I discovered a love of history.
It's also when I put my first piece up in a gallery.
Something was bound to happen
It was one of those art competitions for new artists.
You put it up and stuck a price on it (and I made mine pretty high
because I didn't want anyone buying it) and some judges from the
community would make an assessment of the piece. I only did it because
Dio saw one of my paintings and said that I should. Should. What
a word. I don't know what I was thinking, but I did it. I framed
the piece, put it up and didn't win any sort of prize for it. But
it got bought. It paid for my first college loan and I came to the
attention of Clarisse, the Gallery owner.
She figured if I had one piece that sold, I must
have others. So, she came to my dorm room and I shyly shared those
pieces of my heart with her and she loved it. She helped me select
a few, not all and put them up (none of my erotic pieces. Those
were private and I kept them safely out of view.) Apparently other
people liked them too. I was out of the dorm room by the next semester
and in my own home/studio.
It was nice, I guess. Usually there was one opening
a semester, almost always just as I was getting ready for some big
old test, so I rarely attended. I wasn't the only featured artist,
but my pieces sold consistently. I didn't have to do the burger
job, which was good for me. We got to where we had a simple arrangement.
I gave her a key to the house and I'd set the pieces out for review.
She'd select a few, leave the rest with a note about which she would
want to use later or never. or which she'd like to send to another
gallery. I'd pack off whatever needed to be sent away and put away
the others. I was sentimental.
Anyway, last spring I was dealing with a pretty
hairy set of midterms, when she decided to put up another show.
Okay, whatever, but my problem was that I didn't have time to pull
out the images. I don't know what I was thinking. If I'd have been
smart, I'd have said, "not this time. Too busy," but that
wasn't what happened. Instead I said, "Oh, yeah, uhm,"
as I'm looking at this extremely confusing text (there are some
historians that can not write coherently), "come on over and
pick what you want." Then I forgot about it.
It wasn't until I received the invitation that I
realized what happened. Okay, no, that would have been convenient.
I didn't actually look at the invitation as soon as I'd received
it, or else I might have been able to avoid the whole thing. Though
looking back on it, I really can't say that it wasn't bound to happen
anyway (I mean it could have happened anytime) or that the results
were bad or anything. It was simply entirely too embarrassing. Anyway,
by the time I bothered to look at the thing, the show had been up
for two long weeks. "Brigid's Visions: A Very Special Collection;
Adults Only; Evenings Only" Oh MY GODS! Of course it would
be the most well attended opening ever.
I think I quit breathing for a whole half hour.
Okay, maybe not that long, but it felt like it. Then my brain started
to work, sort of, ran into the studio and opened the closet where
I'd kept all those pieces, from the statuary to the paintings and
they were almost all gone, except for the most sketchy pieces. I
can't even begin to tell you what happened to my heart. The next
stop, and I don't even remember how I got there, was the Gallery.
Fortunately for Clarisse the door was open, or I
probably would have broken it down. She wasn't at the desk, which
meant she was in the back room. But I didn't have to go to the back
room to see the results of my stupidity. Nope. Nope. This time,
my work was the one and only star of the show and it was out front
for the whole world to see. I think my body turned shades of red
that hadn't existed until that day. Gods she even put up my self
portraits and I don't mean the kind that you normally see. You know,
head and shoulders. Nope, they were my "experimental ones,"
in full and living color. The only good thing was that none of them
were photographs. It did, however, explain all those looks I'd been
getting and the sudden spurt of invitations to date (from both men
and women). I was pretty busy, so I didn't really notice, I'd just
said no, thank you and went on with life. (Which brings me to the
whole dating/sex thing. I dated every now and again, had sex, once
in a long while, but I wasn't really into pursuing much in the way
of relationships. I don't really know why. Had too much going on
in my brain I guess.)
If it had been just me, I would have been okay.
I'm pretty sure of it. I could live through that embarrassment.
But see, it wasn't. When I puttered at my artwork, I used my dreams
and I let my imagination take me wherever. Which meant, that, in
this case there were images of Joni and Diedre and Hap all over,
sometimes in trio, sometimes in doubles and sometimes in singles
and sometimes with those faceless individuals that I'd talked about
earlier. I'm not saying they weren't images of fine craftsmanship
and artistry. They were. But they weren't mine to hang up. Okay,
they were, but you know what I mean. If I had their permission I
might have considered it, but these were images done in the privacy
of my own home for the privilege of my own eyes.
So, I was kind of distressed when Clarisse finally
came out of the back room carrying another one of my canvases to
replace an obvious blank spot on the wall. I had a brief zing up
my chest and wondered how much had been sold. One was more than
I would have wanted. I tried to keep my voice even, after all, it
wasn't Clarisse' fault, entirely. I do wish she'd checked with me
first, but I was the one who'd made the open ended invitation. So
I sucked it up and managed not to frown, but only enough that I
looked like I was grimacing from swallowing something wrong. "Hi
"Brigid!" Oh, such an open face. Happy,
enthusiastic. I was madder than hell.
"Clarisse." I began, clearing my throat,
"We have to talk."
"Boy do we." I watched as she set the
canvas down and prepared to hang it up. I couldn't even be embarrassed
by the subject anymore, I'd passed that point. "This is great.
We've sold twelve paintings, ten drawings and four of the statues."
I groaned and closed my eyes in dismay. I don't think she heard
me, because she went on blithely. "Yep, and that's just here!
I sent several pieces up to. . ." My vision dimmed to the predator's
sight, narrowing on the pulse of her neck. My hands clenched and
unclenched as I tried to remember that this was my fault, not hers.
". . .and one of the models was there for the opening. She
was really nice. In fact, she and . . . right in the other room
helping me. . ." I didn't even feel my body move, I was in
such an agony of emotion. But I'm pretty sure the only reason my
hands never made it around Clarisse' throat was that there was a
body obstructing my path and pushing me back. I couldn't even see
clear enough to tell who was doing it, but I fought to make it to
the gallery owner, with a mind set on kill.
I don't think Clarisse saw any of it. Whoever was
manhandling me, pushed me back so firmly that I rocked on my heels
and only barely caught my balance in time to actually clear my vision
a little. Blonde hair, brown eyes, a firm line of the mouth that
said, *do not mess with me.* I couldn't have even if I tried.
It was Joni. I think, if I could have willed the fates to snip the
cord, it would have been right then, but it wasn't up to me.
It was then that I heard the another voice coming
out of the back and my head swiveled to look. "How about this
one. I like the texture." It was Mrs. Smith herself, looking
more gorgeous than I remembered. The floor came up to greet me.
They took me home. Diedre didn't think I should
drive in the state I was in and Joni practically carried me, though
my legs did move by themselves sort of. I was kind of dazed. I was
so tremendously grateful that a. I hadn't ruined their lives
and b. they liked the stuff. At least that was what they
reassured me with when I came to.
I didn't realize I'd torn through my house. When
we entered, it looked like a hurricane had run through and tossed
things liberally about. Yet another thing to blush about. I tried
to take control.
Like that happened.
Next thing I knew I was sitting down, holding a
drink in my hand and Joni was looking me seriously in the eye and
smoothing my unruly hair to the side. "You okay?" The
touch of her hand seared my skin, though why I should notice it
now, I don't know. My eyes said it all and I had to look away quick,
while I was still able. I ducked my head in a kind of yes movement
and took a sip and gasped as liquid flamed down my throat. Oddly,
I felt an almost immediate sense of relaxation take over and I sighed
and looked up. Diedre leaned over the couch, her arms resting on
the back, her hands clasped together. Her expression was as solemn
as I felt. Her mouth was on mine so quick I couldn't duck. Her hand
wrapped around my neck and she pressed me to her lips, I guess to
keep me from flying back. It was probably a good thing. I think
I orgasmed from my lips to my toes with that one kiss. It was like
a really really wet shock.
I heard a very sultry, "My turn," and
felt my face being grasped by two warm hands and then pulled to
the front. Then another pair of soft lips moved against mine. My
mouth opened to say something and she took full advantage of it.
After that, there was nothing to say. Instead, our tongues played
for a moment and her hands moved down to the underside of my arms
and I found my self being helped up and my clothes being slowly,
voluptuously removed. Each touch of their hands upon my skin, even
if momentary, gave me the sensation of having a soothing balm slathered
upon my soul. My own hands reached out after a certain point and
I was touching them in ways I'd only allowed in my dreams.
I was so hungry for these women. Starved. The tears
leaked out of me. I couldn't stop them and Diedre whispered in my
ear not to try, not to resist, but to let them love me. Her breath
made me shiver. I could feel the pressure of her soft curves against
my body and her hands came up to cup my breasts, even as Joni captured
one in her mouth. I felt the tingle down through my belly to legs
and my knees pretty much gave out. I groaned and surrendered.
Diedre's hand drifted down even as she was dragging
her tongue slowly along the curve of my neck. I can't recall moving
from one room to another, but we must have, because when I opened
my eyes we were in the bedroom. I closed my eyes again. Sometimes
you just have to ignore the things you don't understand. The flat
of her palm circled my belly and I swear it was like she was trying
to ignite a fire, a very moist kind of fire. And trust me, I was
kindling. Then it swept down to the curls of my sex and she began
a tender invasion that pretty much caused anything not in the primal
mode to simply disappear.
My throat made a noise I didn't even know I had
in me and I forgot that I was anyone or anything other than someone
being very very loved. My body arched and Joni pressed against my
front and caught my mouth in a kiss that lit sparks (at least I
saw sparks) in my brain. Then her hands pulled my butt so that her
hips kind of ground into mine. And Diedre's hand was still working
a very distracting magic.
I don't know how or when we managed to find the
bed. My mind wasn't on it. It was on them. Well, more like it was
with them. Kind of hard to describe actually. I remember the feel
of my hips matching their tempo, a kind of gentle driving with them
at the helm. I was going wherever they took me. Any chance they
gave me, I reciprocated, and they let me love them in return. I
lavished it on them, poured my heart upon their bodies, surrendered
everything I had and was to them. It was a beautiful thing. It was
pure relief. If bits and pieces had been restored before, now it
was chunks of myself reclaimed and healed, molded into place by
the slide of their bodies against mine. I came so often and they
were whole body shudders, whole self orgasms that started from the
heart. My body was in total ecstasy, the rest of me in utter bliss.
At one point, I suppose a moment of rest, Joni's
hand on my belly was gently circling, much like Diedre had, except
less provocatively (although I could feel a tightening of desire
begin a pleasant return). Diedre's leg was over mine, I could feel
her wetness against my thigh, and she teased one of my nipples even
as she smiled over me at Joni, who was resting on her side. I was
still breathing heavy from our last encounter and my breath was
slowly settling, when Joni kissed the side of my face and then made
her way to my lips again. I loved the way this woman kissed and
immediately responded, enjoying the taste that still lingered. She
slowed to a stop and her face hovered over mine. Her expression
was serious again.
"Do you trust me?"
I thought about one second and nodded my head.
"Do you trust me?
I guess she wanted a verbal answer.
She asked me again. I answered, this time with a
kiss and a yes.
Apparently that was what she wanted. She pressed
down on the lower half of my belly, right on top of my uterus about,
and the stars fell, the sky moved and the earth turned upside down.
Meaning, I had the orgasm of my life. I had a feeling of fullness,
of sudden abrupt wholeness and we began making love again, the three
of us even more passionately, more ardently than before.
I woke up to the smell of breakfast. It was the
only indication, besides the indentations on the bed, and the neatness
of some of the rooms, that they had been at my home. The breakfast
was still warm, so I knew they could not have been gone long. I
was still feeling the buzz of happiness and had hoped to see them,
but I guess it was too much to hope for. The breakfast was fabulous
though. I ate it all.
It wasn't until the end of the semester that I began
experiencing a kind of queasiness in the morning that I'd never
felt before. I would be sick as all get out in the morning and then
a little better. When it went on longer than a week, I went to the
doctor and was told in no uncertain terms that I was in the family
way. When I told the him that it was impossible that I hadn't slept
with anyone (I hesitated to say I slept with two women and you know
as well as I do, the impossibility of that being the cause), he
asked me if I'd been to any parties during the semester. Well, I
had been to several of Dio's, but he usually hangs with a nice crowd.
I couldn't imagine anything bad coming of that. Yet, the doctor
proposed that I had been given a mickey to knock me out and well
here I was. He proposed an abortion.
I can't even begin to explain the reaction that
took over. I hauled back and slugged him a good one. Oh, I was apologetic
in a big way afterwards, and he was even understanding (sort of.
.he attributed my reaction to hormones), but I had no idea where
that impulse came from. But I guess it meant that I was absolutely
having this baby. He recommended a gynecologist and a counselor
and asked that I never come to see him again. Oh well, I didn't
like him all that much anyway, Robin has really turned out to be
someone I could talk to and my gynecologist is a very gentle woman
named Gwen who totally understands.
About three weeks ago I found the card, which had
fallen behind one of the drawers in my room, that I guess I was
supposed to find almost six months ago. By then it was too late.
How could I call Joni and then explain, well see, I'm pregnant,
but I'd sure like to get together with you. It would never happen.
And so that was why, when I saw Joni in class, I had that sense
of disappointment and so, I couldn't be as thrilled to see her,
as I might have been under any other circumstance.
My hand flew as I took notes to match Dr. Pappas
lecture. This was good though, I've been to class where I've practically
planned out a new canvas over the course time, so I wasn't complaining.
I knew I was right about the class. It was going to be a challenge.
Add to the mixture Dr. Covington as the co-lecturer and you've got
twice the challenge. I mean that in a good way, but I dreaded the
tests. Two different lecturers usually meant two different test
styles, making it a little more difficult to study.
A couple of hours later and this early morning class
was over and the rush was on. Looking at the pace some of these
people were keeping as they descended the stairs en masse caused
me to think maybe it would be in my best interest to be the last
one out. Not that I could have gotten up and caught up with the
press of the exodus anyway. I didn't expect there to be trouble
with that decision, having forgotten that I was on the outside edge.
"What'samatter, you planning on living there?"
His voice was deep, rough and his features bespoke an odd parentage.
His stance was aggressive and I think I might have been worried
except for one thing, Joni took offense on my behalf. He towered
over her, but this incredibly beautiful woman was the one who looked
scarier (in my humble opinion). She narrowed her eyes, poked the
guy with a long finger which caused him to grasp his chest in pain.
Her voice was a smooth as ice and colder, "I
suggest you take the other way out." She nodded to the other
side of the auditorium where most of the other students in our row
were already headed. He looked at me one more time with beady eyes
(that was a mistake) and started to say something nasty. Suddenly
there was a pen embedded in the surface of the table, right in between
the spread of his fingers. He was leaning on the table to look intimidating,
but that deflated him real quick. He sat on a different row the
Then she turned around and smiled at me so sweetly,
I could hardly credit her with the action I'd just seen. "Come
Brigid, let's. . ." The world swirled for a moment in a really
really nice way. Endorphins rushed, muscles clenched and relaxed,
as my body forgot for a moment that I was in class. I think I managed
to blink my astonishment. I looked down quickly at the presentation
space, fearing that I might have been seen. The instructors were
safely occupied with students who had questions. I looked back up
in astonishment at Joni. She shook her head ruefully, laughed very
gently, very quietly, and touched my cheek. "Oh Brigid."
She leaned forward, "Let's get out of here and talk."
I nodded silently, not trusting my voice because I was still feeling
the results of that abrupt jolt of pleasure and so was my little
one. I felt a burst of happiness well up in my chest.
She helped me gather my stuff and wouldn't let me
carry it. So we headed down the stairs and I was not in fact the
last one out. There were still worried looking students surrounding
Dr. Covington and Dr. Pappas. Maybe this semester was going to be
Joni sort of took over once we were out in the hallway.
She asked me when my next class was, I told her (in an hour, same
building, different floor). She said, "Perfect." Then
I found myself dragged, by strong feminine hands, into one of the
office alcoves where they hide the professors away. It was an L
space, and she pushed me, gently, all the way back towards the last
door in the hallway. I found myself leaning against it's smooth
metallic surface for support as she blocked me in with arms. She
looked down at me with a mischievous grin, then laid on a kiss so
thick, so tantalizing I couldn't think straight. This was talking?
She pulled back and swiped my lips with her tongue.
My sight was glazed over. Then she asked me the question I was dreading.
"Why didn't you call me?" I told her the truth and I watched
her face fall into one of abject disappointment. Her brown eyes
reflected the sadness in her voice, "So you don't trust me?"
My jaw dropped. I'd not thought of it like that.
Truly I hadn't. I hadn't thought of it as a matter of trust, but
well, I could see her point. But it wasn't about me trusting her.
I tried to explain. "But I do. I mean, I did. I do trust you."
Her gaze narrowed dangerously, "Oh?" Her
voice held the same edge she'd used on that guy, "Really."
For some reason, the only result of that statement, which I suppose
should have scared me, was that I was immensely, hugely turned on.
She leaned forward and breathed in my ear, "Well, we will see
about that." Her voice was so sexy that I moaned.
I was wearing a nice, flowing dress. It was still
warmish, though the chill of winter would be here soon. A dress
was easier for me. I was one of those women who started showing
early, just the build of my body, and I got tired of the effort
it took to put on pants. The point being that I felt one of her
hands on my thighs, even as she started kissing me again and I suddenly
knew where this was going. Any other time I would have protested,
said something along the lines of "Oh we can't," but this
was her test and I intended to pass.
Her hand moved up and cupped me at the apex of my
legs. She pressed a little, rubbing her body against mine, so that
I could feel the points of her nipples even through the cloth of
my dress and her blouse. I whimpered, brought my arms around her
and tried to kiss her, but she would have none of it. She was running
the show, not me. She grinned wickedly and then dipped her face
to my neck, where she licked me along the pulse of my life before
planting her lips firmly against my skin. Then her one of her fingers
dipped into the crevice of my sex and she began spelling delight
with that digit. I spread my legs a little more, finding it easier
to stand than I expected, but maybe that was because she was supporting
me with that amazingly talented hand. Then I felt her hand move
again, until I felt pressure at life's opening and I knew she was
going to have me. She slid into me carefully, just two fingers,
but it was enough to make me groan. I could feel my body's urge
to surround her and ground my hips against her as she moved her
hand against me, using her thumb to play scrumptiously against the
erect tissue of nerves the Gods provided women for their joy.
She had me. My hips rocked to her artistry, my voice
whimpered at her direction. And finally, when I thought I couldn't
stand it anymore, when the crescendo had built until she was slick
with my desire, she whispered deliberately, "Come, Brigid,"
and my body became an ocean of rolling ecstasy. She held me till
I floated down again, waiting until my mind had returned to my body
before removing her hand. Then she grinned that evil grin that only
she can, and she leisurely licked her hand clean with the very tongue
that had been driving my the skin of my neck insane.
My hand went to my neck and I could feel the heat
where her mouth had been. I knew I had been marked and I blushed.
Her brown eyes danced with carnal enthusiasm as she stroked the
hickey with a wet finger. Her voice was low, almost genial, but
definitely seductive, "You and I are going to be spending a
*lot* of time together Brigid. This time, you'll remember to call,
no matter what, won't you?" I nodded firmly, many times. "Good."
She patted my belly gently and I felt the little one leap happily
in response. I think he liked her. I know I was liking her very
much. "I'll meet you after class Brigid." She pressed
against me and kissed me fervently.
That's when we heard the clearing of throats. I
opened my eyes to see Dr. Pappas and Covington looking at us with,
(well I'm not sure how to describe it, I think it was amusement
so that's what I'll call it, though it could have been shock. But
they weren't acting shocked, just . . amused) amusement. I'm sure
we looked a sight, a pregnant woman who looked very rumpled and
ravished with a fresh hickey and a beautiful blonde in jeans who
looked like she was very much in control of the situation. Joni
just gave them a saucy grin before kissing me quickly again, picking
up my stuff and handing it to me, then leaving with a jaunty little
greeting to the two professors.
I looked up at the plate by the door. Sure enough,
it was their office. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and managed
a very shaky smile before I pushed away from the doors surface.
Then as I was about to apologize for blocking their way, Dr. Covington
spoke. "Ms. Poughkeepsie, may we have a few minutes of your
time. That is, if you aren't planning another rendezvous somewhere."
I was sure blushing a lot today. But what else could I do. I decided
to deal with the problem head on and nodded in assent.
A moment of your time
The office was very nice. It was well lit (they
had windows!!!), simply decorated so there was a sense of both personalities
in the room (two desks fit to give both of them a view of the door
and some really cool artifacts), some greenery and even a throw
rug. There were a couple of guest chairs and Dr. Covington indicated
I should take the one by her desk. After they spent a few minutes
unloading stuff onto their respective desks and moving the other
guest chairs around so they were facing me and I them, Dr. Pappas
began speaking in her careful English.
I thought that they were going to say something
about fornicating in the hallway, but that didn't happen. Instead,
I was informed that they were on my comprehensive's committee. It
is kind of hard to describe my response to that, because at the
same time as Dr. Pappas was informing me of my fate, Dr. Covington
was handing me a folder and her fingertips brushed against my hand.
My heart did that thing again; the same thing I'd experienced with
Hap, Diedre and Joni, only it expanded to include Dr. Pappas and
Covington and I had this HUGE sense of Deja Vu, as if I'd heard
their voices all my life and only now had recognized them.
I knew suddenly that Dr. Pappas' carefully hidden
accent was Greek. I knew that she had a sensitive spot on the back
of her knees that if touched (touched!! Hell, Licking would do the
job even better) just right could almost send her straight into
orgasm. I knew that Dr. Covington had a favorite kind of cigar,
that her left nipple was a skosh lower than her right, and her body
exuded a spicy scent unlike that of. . .of. . .I couldn't place
her, but I knew her. Now, how I knew this, I couldn't tell you.
But I knew it was as true as I was sitting there and I burned with
I covered my feelings and my confusion by opening
my folder and I found myself looking at a long reading list consisting
of ancient literature, historical treatises, texts and a few books
by the professors themselves. I looked back up in shock, actually
registering the last few words Dr. Pappas had been saying. "You
mean I have to read all of this by. . ."
"The time of your exams, yes." Dr. Pappas
nodded. I started scanning the list, looking for titles that I could
maybe get away with skimming. There weren't all that many and they
all had to do with subjects I hadn't been studying, really. Not
officially anyway. I tried to explain my dilemma. Dr. Pappas pulled
out a folder with my name on it and read off part of an interview
that I'd forgotten I'd participated in. Sure enough, I'd stated
a strong interest in the topic before me, Ancient history, with
an emphasis on women, Greece and religion. I tried to explain why
I had chosen to pursue modern women's history instead and for that
effort I got the sternest lecture I have ever received on the topic
of "doing the thing you love," subtitled, "*why*
it should not be just a hobby and no wonder your papers have been
dry," even as Dr. Pappas pulled out another very full folder.
I winced as she read off unimaginative titles for (I will admit
it) somewhat unimaginative papers.
Then she laid the folder aside and pierced me with
an ice blue gaze. Her voice thrilled down me when she said my first
name, "Brigid, you must read these books. They will figure
heavily in your Oral exam and you must know this information inside
and out. Study your other material, remember it, but *know*
this." She poked at the list with a long finger and I had to
resist the urge to lean down and slide my mouth around that digit.
I could have smacked myself. I couldn't believe how hard it was
to focus on what she was saying, rather than on how seductive her
mouth looked while she was saying it. I dragged my mind to attention
back to what she was saying and did a lot of nodding, though I think
I may not have absorbed much information after that. She said something
about committee and two other professors and weekly meetings and
book reviews. Dr. Covington was grinning at me in a sardonically
knowing way and I had a moment of paranoid worry that she knew that
my brain had skipped school, passed church and run into the playground.
Then we discussed my pregnancy, how I expected to
be able to attend class, their preference that I sit up front from
now on, (Okay, but why they should be worried, I don't know. I have
been climbing stairs safely since I was a little girl, but whatever.
It's not like pregnancy affects one's hearing and I had remarkable
hearing. Still I decided to cooperate. It wouldn't hurt me any)
due dates and such. I explained that I while it was cutting it close,
I expected that I would be wearing my cap and gown while still top
heavy. They explained that I was to inform them of any changes as
soon as I could and that I should remain in contact with them. No
problem. I figured I would be having this discussion with all of
my teachers, so I didn't think anything of it.
Eventually they let me leave (with enough time to
spare), after scheduling a meeting every Wednesday after class and
an invitation to call on them anytime I needed help (and Dr. Pappas
emphasized the word *anytime* with a slide of her eyes to
my belly that kind of made me blush. I'm pretty sure that I was
being hormonal and therefore imagined the almost seductive way she
said that word. I decided that this time, I was going to
have to have a "talk" with Joni and then I would tell
her why. I figured if she wanted me to trust her, then I would.
I'd explain everything that I could and maybe she could help me
get a handle on things. Obviously I wasn't helping myself much.)
I nodded and said that I would. They gave me warm handshakes and
I strove to ignore the shivers of awareness that screamed through
my body. I had no idea how I was going to make it through class.
I had it bad. Again.
The Lights Go On
Joni was waiting for me after class. She leaned
casually against the opposite wall from the door, her dark eyes
intent and her mouth curved in a half smile. She exuded a confidence
that had kind of a feral quality to it. Little one leaped in recognition,
or maybe it was just my heart. Either way, I was glad to see her,
though I wondered about her other classes. When I asked, she just
smiled coolly and told me not to worry about it. I shrugged. I hadn't
been worried, just curious.
Her arm slinked about my waist familiarly and she
pulled me close so that my body was pressing against hers. She smiled
at me like a predator, then her mouth swooped down on me and all
sense of decorum left my consciousness. I kissed her in return almost
helplessly and was in kind of a bewildered state when we were finished.
Well, bewildered isn't exactly the word, I suppose, for there were
all sorts of other sensations I was experiencing. I felt like she
was stirring something up in me that had been in reserve for a long
time. Certainly I felt something spark, though I couldn't place
what it was. I shook my head to clear it a little and simplified
my conversation to one word. "Wow." If we received any
looks I didn't notice, truthfully. My attention was quite occupied
by the wiry blonde.
When I recovered enough to think a little bit, she
gave me a lazy grin. Then Joni pushed away from the wall, secured
my books from me, and guided me so that she was walking me out the
door of the building. Her arm never left my waist, so I had to accommodate
by putting my own arm around her. This was a new sensation to me,
but not an uncomfortable one. In fact it was quite lovely and I
loved the feel of her body walking close to mine.
The walk to the car didn't seem as distant as it
had this morning. My mood had altered considerably. We conversed
a little on the way and I explained that I had some things I needed
to talk with her about. She nodded and mmhmmed and said, "fine."
Then we were at the car and she was sliding my books into the back
and I was getting ready to dip into the drivers side. Before I could
do that, however, she pulled me back up, gently, and pushed (not
hard, but firmly) me against the side of the car. Then she blessed
me with another luxurious kiss and told me that she would be by
my house very soon. I remember nodding and smiling and feeling a
true warmth spread through my body.
I don't remember how I got home.
I think it was with the car because the vehicle
was safely ensconced in the garage, but heck, the way I felt I could
have floated home and not have known the difference. I shook my
head in confusion and decided that the Gods were simply watching
over me. Then I proceeded to do a little clean up, since I knew
I intended to do more than just talk with Joni. I thought fresh
sheets might be nice and selected a flowered set which reminded
me of roses. I always liked the thought of sleeping on roses (sans
thorns of course.) By the time the bed was made I thought to myself,
*you know, if you're gonna have clean sheets, you might as well
have a clean body.* I decided to go for the shower.
I don't know about you, but I'm a water kind of
gal. I love baths, I love showers, I love swimming pools and hot
tubs. I love the way rain pelts the skin (especially in the summer
when it's been hot and muggy) and the feel of water streaming down
my body when I stand in the shower. So you could say I was having
a pretty good time with myself (not *that* way, just in the sensate
way) while I waited. My eyes were closed and my hands straddled
the wall as I let the hottish water splash down my face. (I can't
do that for long, because I have to stand back and breathe, but
I sure liked it). My sinuses were clearing, my back was starting
to loosen up again, and my muscles were genuinely starting to relax
when I felt a warm hand slide around my front and cup my breast.
Talk about startled!
I shouted in surprise, threw my body back and nearly
stumbled, but was caught by strong arms. "Shhh, shhhh, it's
all right, it's only me." Joni's hand drifted to under my breast
and flattened against my ribcage and my heart started to slow its
panicked beat at her soothing words. She chuckled softly in my ear,
"Sorry love, didn't mean to startle you." I nodded, turned
around in her arms and smiled shakily. Then she said, "Brigid,"
as if she were going to tell me something.
I was looking in her eyes, hands drifting to her
sides, and thinking pleasant thoughts about her when she said my
name and I felt a powerful spark of lust ignite within me. It just
took over. My mouth connected with hers in a blisteringly impassioned
kiss and her eyebrows shot up in surprise. Then, of their own volition,
my hands were traveling all over her body and I was reveling in
how wet and warm she felt. My lips and tongue blazed a new trail
down her chin and onto the rest of her body. I suddenly felt more
limber and more powerful than I could remember ever feeling.
I ducked down further, until I was almost crouching.
The water was splashing me and it felt cool compared to my feverish
skin. I finally knelt, and captured her thighs and hips in my arms
as my mouth found what it was looking for. I drank her up until
her cries echoed out of the bathroom and filled my ears. It was
wonderful and I craved more. I practically climbed up her body and
wrapped around her. If I were a snake, I don't think I could have
gotten much closer. When our mouths connected again I felt as if
every cell in my body had been charged with some new kind of electricity.
I passed out.
I woke up in a bed of roses. At least for a moment
I did. I could swear I smelled them, felt them against my skin,
soft, silky petals. But when my hands clenched against the sheet
those sensations were gone. I had a sudden sense of loss, as if
I were missing something very important and a tear rolled down my
She wiped the wetness away with kisses. I felt her
slide into bed with me, her warm weight press against my skin and
where she touched I felt that burning soothing sensation. I opened
my eyes to greet my lover and scooted immediately to the left, almost
toppling off the bed. I didn't even have a sheet to cover myself.
"DR. COVINGTON!!!" I really really wished
I had a sheet and awkwardly snatched at the blanket. She grinned
and held it away teasingly.
Okay, I don't know about you, but they have rules
against this type of thing. Academic rules that say something along
the lines of: "Your life will suck and your degree will go
poof if you sleep around with your professors." I was pretty
sure of it. But then you hear the stories about people who marry
their professors so what did I know.
The only thing I knew for sure was that my professor,
one who was on my committee was in my bed, giving me grief. "Look,
Dr. Covington," I began as I reached again and caught the edge
of the blanket. "I don't know what you're doing here, but this
isn't. . ." I tugged hard and so did she.
Her cupid lips quirked and her eyes gleamed with
humor, "I think we're familiar enough that you can call me
Jan or Janice." She glanced at my body freely and tugged harder
against the blanket. I let it slip through my fingers and placed
my hands on my hips.
"What is that supposed to mean?" I asked.
My stance wasn't aggressive, but it did say I wasn't budging till
I had some answers. A sparkle of light caught my eye and I turned
A tall raven haired woman stepped nakedly into the
room, carrying a silver tray heaped with food. Her gaze was much
more serious than Dr. Covington's. Her voice was silky and her accent
was strong, "It means, my love, that the cavalry was called
in." She set the tray down and began pouring a drink. It looked
like orange juice. "We were the closest."
I was blanking here. I hated the sensation. "I'm
She handed me the glass with a command, "Drink."
I took the glass and put it to my lips. Orange juice. I was very
aware that I was thirsty. I did as I was told. I felt strong arms
wrap around my belly, firm breasts press against my back. Dr. Covington
had moved off the bed and was now holding me. It should have felt
funny, but it didn't. It felt so natural. So right. I was confused.
Dr. Pappas continued.
"Joni didn't realize how close you were to
awakening." Blank. Blank. Blank. Damn it. Awakening? "But
she knew as soon as she couldn't stop you, she would need help.
She called us." She shrugged, "Well actually, summoned
us." She raised an elegant eyebrow at Dr. Covington, "Good
thing our evening class was over. Hmm, Janice?"
Dr. Covington. . .Janice was nibbling my neck. I
was blinking and trying to deal with the achy sweetness that was
swirling in me. "Couldn't stop me?"
Janice spoke, her voice like a tiger's rumble, "You
had the equivalent of a power surge. You were you, but you weren't.
Di ." Dr. Pappas gave a warning shake of her head and I think
that Janice changed what she was about to say, but I couldn't tell,
"Diedre said you've had them before, though for different reasons.
She said your body was just trying to remember."
Well that made no sense, except for the remember
part. I could understand trying to remember. I felt that way now,
except I was also getting very distracted. "You called Diedre?"
"Well, she was here for a little while."
Janice caressed the my belly softly. I recognized her touch. Her
hands were more calloused than I remembered. I clung to that thought
and grabbed her hand in my own. I began examining it, comparing
it to my own. "We needed a little professional help."
Dr. Pappas' laugh was a most lovely thing. "You
were quite a handful." I looked up from my examination and
felt a flash of memory. Recent. My hands had explored Dr. Pappas
quite thoroughly. I tingled with the memory of how slippery hot
she felt inside. Oh gods.
Janice snorted, "Mel, that is an understatement.
She was eight handfuls." The professor kissed my neck and I
felt a shiver of response roll down my insides. "My hands,
your hands, Diedre's hands, Joni's hands." Oh gods. I was flashing
all sorts of memories, some of them quite. . . acrobatic. Gods,
that couldn't have been good for. . . I looked down at my belly,
Melinda put down the sandwich she was making. I
figured I'd gotten to know her pretty well too so it was safe to
think of her by the first name. She grabbed my chin and made me
look her in the eye. "The baby's fine. I promise. Ask. Remember,
you told us, you can ask."
I told them? I told them. Oh gods, I told them Everything.
The dreams. The nightmares, the baby, everything. I was crying because
Diedre left and she smelled like roses. I love roses.
Lips claimed mine, soothing, distracting. I was
kissing back. Her mouth felt luxurious, wet. Didn't I just do this?
I remembered this. Not the same though. Different. This was much
less. . .intense, frantic. It was sweet. I felt normal. I had my
I tested, because I had to. I had to know. There
was a murmur of blissful satisfaction from my little one. So. He
was alright. Which meant that I was alright. So.
I surrendered to the kiss and wrapped my arm around
this woman that I loved that I didn't know, but knew absolutely.
I lost myself in the kiss, but not as deeply as before. I felt Janice's
hands curl up and around my breasts as she pressed against me. Oh
yeah. I remembered this.
I had an important question to ask. Well, important
to me at least. I dragged hand down from around Melinda's shoulder
so I could play with her nipple. I knew I was totally responding
to what Janice was doing. I pulled back from the kiss and asked
nervously, dreading the answer either way, "So, uhm. . are
you still on my committee?"
Janice started laughing into my back. It was a pleasant
sensation, but kind of uncalled for, I thought. Melinda's eyebrow
arched and she smirked, "Oh yes. . .yes we are. You won't get
out of your comprehensives that easy and don't even Think that this
will have anything to do with how we grade you. In fact, I guarantee
you." She smiled evilly at me, "We will be the hardest,
most difficult examiners you've ever had. Your Orals will be Hell."
I knew from her tone of voice that she meant it.
"Oh gods." I groaned.
Janice spoke up, still laughing, "Look at it
this way, sweetheart, at least studying will be fun."
Be Careful What You Ask For
Now I've been walking myself to my car for years.
At least as long as I've had a car, so while it was nice that one
of them wanted to accompany me, I told them no, politely. I mean,
just because I was pregnant didn't mean I couldn't get where I wanted
to go. And I know, I was a lucky woman. Not many can claim that
they've got several lovers to look out after one, but at the moment,
I thought mine were Well intentioned, but pushy. Okay, so I was
in a mood. I was entitled.
Diedre was with Hap, most of the time. Back in my
hometown I guess, a three hour drive away. So I rarely saw her,
but you know I was ecstatic when I did see her. She took me places
(and not just through ecstasy's window). It started with the statement,
"I see your taste in clothing hasn't changed." Which,
I have to say was Not true. I mean, I have developed some
maturity in fashion sense, but, I was so glad to see her that I
went along with her and got some new outfits. (She even paid!) I
will admit they looked very nice on me and we did more than clothes
shop. I've always liked Malls. Though how she found that place with
the handcuffs, (it was small, way in the back) I'll never know.
I guess she just has a talent for that kind of thing.
Joni moved in. Just like that. One day the only
thing that said she was present was a bit of breakfast and the next
my furniture had been switched around and she was lazing about on
the couch when Jan dropped me off at home. Not that I minded, considering
she was wearing a whole lot of nothing at the time and considering
where we ended up, but it was still kind of a surprise. And she
treated me like a treasure, as if I would break apart at any moment.
It was driving me subtly nuts. I couldn't believe it. I told her
she was acting like an overprotective father and she gave me the
Janice and Melinda were as good as their word. They
were marvelous lovers, enthusiastic, passionate, intense and delightfully
well rounded. They were also the toughest, most thorough teachers
I'd ever had. I haven't been asked if I've done my homework since
early grade school. I always do my homework. Yet, one of them asked
me every day, then they'd give me pop quizzes on the spot. But the
way they gave those quizzes (I get tingles just thinking about some
of the kisses they delivered) oh, that was motivation in and of
itself. I think that if I was even inclined not to do my
homework, I would have changed immediately for the reward.
Of course, it helped that what I was learning was
so interesting. I was captured by the myths as soon as I started
reading. There were Myths about the warrior goddess and her lover,
the mythmaker goddess (well actually the word is story teller, but
because there was magic in the way she wove those stories, it was
said she could create actual worlds with just one word, thus the
better interpretation is mythmaker or worldmaker. Neither of which
quite describes what it was she was supposed to be able to do).
There were Myths about the war in the heavens, an ugly nasty event
which was said to still be going on and you could tell by the rumbling
of thunder in the sky. There was a listing of all the players, from
angelic and heroic beings in Olympus, right down to the lowest demons
in Underworld, which was below even Tartarus. Then there was the
historical stuff, royalty, countries, bad attitudes, good attitudes,
concepts that changed the western world, concepts that changed the
eastern world, women and power and so on.
And that was all in the first couple of weeks. It
was wonderful having all the attention. I'm not saying I didn't
enjoy it, but it was like going from Famine to Bacchanalia in one
step, an over-protective Bacchanalia at that. It was a little much.
So we had a showdown.
I told them that as much as I loved them, and I
did with every fiber of my being, and as fun and marvelous as they
were, I did not need to see their faces twenty four seven, thank
you. I needed some space and I needed it now. Oh it was a row, but
I held fast and funnily enough, Melinda was right there with me.
I got my way. I was an adult, I could do things on my own, but I
promised to ask for help if I needed it.
Joni's expression was so morose I had to ask, and
was told with what seemed like a quiver to the lip, "Do you
want me to move out?" I didn't laugh at the absurdity of the
question. I mean I could understand where it was coming from.
"Hades NO! I just found you! I'm not letting
you go!" I responded and that quiver changed to a smile so
beatific that I had to take her to bed right on the spot (good thing
we were at home). So we all kissed and made up in the most wonderful
That was how it came to be that I was walking to
my car, keys in hand ready to do their thing, in the dark by myself.
Well it wasn't completely dark. I always pick a well lighted space
for my car. It was dark enough, though, that when I got that shivery
sensation up my spine I stopped and listened. There wasn't much
to hear. There was the sound of traffic on the other side of the
fence, someone just started their car, there were no footfalls.
I took a moment to look around and saw just about as much, so I
The way campus is set up, there are parking lots
all over the place (though there is never enough space to park)
and I picked the closest one to class. My beloveds had been letting
me use their office as a place of study, so I knew I could arrive
early enough to get the space I wanted. Melinda was teaching tonight
and Janice had stayed to grade papers (she was still chuckling when
I left). I, on the other hand, was tired and feeling pregnant, so
I was determined to go home.
This time, I heard footsteps, though they didn't
quite sound right. I hurried my pace a little, thinking I was being
a bit paranoid. Who would attack a pregnant lady? I shook my head
and kept walking until I reached my car, then I started to put my
keys in the lock (and no, my hands were not shaky. I wasn't that
scared. I was only having chill feelings and I'd had those before
with nothing to show for it) and in classic horror movie style they
fell out of my grasp and under my car.
I didn't try to bend down and retrieve them. That
would have been silly. Janice was up in her office, all I had to
do was reach a phone and give her a call, right. I turned around,
fully prepared to walk back to the bridge where they had a campus
phone and found a reason to scream.
There are things a pregnant woman should definitely
not have to deal with and I feel it is safe to say that the walking
dead and demons from Underworld are among those things. There were
three of them. Demons, not walking dead. The only place walking
dead exists is in the movies. Of course, that was the only place
demons existed (to me at least) too, so who was I to talk.
I could immediately see there was a reason why I
didn't really hear footsteps. Only one of them had anything that
seemed to resemble feet. Okay then.
After I was done screaming (and they were still
moving in that slow undulating quiet fashion so I had plenty of
time.) I knew I had several courses of action like talking to them
or checking to see if I were dreaming though i knew I wasn't. (They
were far to slithery real for that and my heart was beating too
fast) none of which I took. Instead I opted for the classic. Runaway!
That was another thing I shouldn't have had to deal
with, though I think I did quite well, considering. Certainly, I
did not do what I feared most, which was fall on my face and get
gobbled up (one of those creatures sported some nasty sized teeth).
I was faster than even I expected so I know it had to boggle their
minds. One second I'm by the door, the next I'm screaming down the
pavement and very glad I avoid those other classic hindrances (high
heeled shoes) like the plague.
I remember the feel of the my footfalls, solid,
pounding. Little one jiggled and had it been other circumstances
I would have checked to see if he was alright. My breasts jiggled
(painfully, thank you). My heart hammered in my chest, but my breathing
was as easy as you please. Hello workout! I promised myself that
I would remember the worth of exercise next time I was bitching
about the next step touch step.
So, I was faster than I expected, but they were
faster too. I guess as soon as they registered that I was moving,
they started picking up the pace. I looked back once (for information
gathering purposes. I mean, I could have been imagining things right?)
My intent was to head back for Jan and Melinda's office, but as
soon as I saw them following, there was a part of me that thought
I'd be leading danger to my lovers. That wouldn't be right.
I looked back around and realized I was about to
slam into a car. I jumped. Holy Damn I jumped and then I flipped!!!
How in the. . .I didn't have time to think about that. But I managed
and they slammed into the car and rolled over (okay so I looked
more than once. I think you would have too. I mean you can be as
committed as all get out to not look back, but sometimes you just
gotta know). I found myself wondering if there was car insurance
for monsters. Then remembered we were in a parking lot. No insurance
for cars in parking lots. Poor sap.
Now that I'd changed direction, I had no idea where
I was going. I knew I needed to get someplace with a lot of light.
I looked around frantically and saw the stadium, a well lighted
stadium and thanked every God I knew. My feet were flying. The monsters
were slithering and galumphing.
They caught me. Well it caught me. The one with
the feet and the hands. Big fingers wrapped around my shoulders,
pressing (ouch ouch ouch). I think I said my first "Help me!"
prayer ever. I mean I worship the Gods, as I explained before, but
I try to get through life on my own. I'm an independent sort.
I don't know how the mind processes information
and makes its selection, but I heard my voice shouting the prayer
to the warrior gods and their companions to give me what I needed
to protect myself. That had to come from all the reading I was doing,
I knew. I prayed for strength, because I intended to fight. There
was no way I was gonna get myself eaten. I had a baby to protect.
I don't know where the sword came from, but I recognize
answered prayer when I see one. I moved so naturally you would have
thought I'd been playing with swords all my life. Lift, slice, bye
Monster hands. Pivot, duck, jab, bye Monster eye. I fought for all
I was worth, shouting and screaming my power, jumping and kicking
and fighting like someone who knew what they were doing. Actually,
come to think of it, I knew what I was doing.
The Demon with feet went down first, because it
was closest. The Demons that slithered were not unintelligent. This
time it was they who ran away. Well, slithered away and boy
were they slithering. I must have scared them. I chose not to run
after them. What would have been the purpose? That would have been
I whispered another thank you to the Gods, turned
and smacked into Joni. I was never so glad to see anyone. Or stunned.
"Is that a sword? Or are you just glad to see me?" she
said. I whimpered in relief and leaned forward to fall in her arms.
Joni looked different. She was dressed in a skimpy
studded leather outfit. I could see the hilt of a sword behind her
shoulder. She looked as wild as a big cat and more ferocious. I
was terribly turned on by the familiar (familiar?!!!) sensation
of the outfit against me. I could feel the heat from her body. Her
touch was sweet, almost tangy, like a citrus fruit. It shivered
through me. "You all right?"
I nodded. I was too breathless and scared and surprised
to do more. She held me close and took the sword from my hand. "Let's
get you home."
Myth in the Bath
I didn't say much. I mean, what could I say? I had
just been chased by demons, fought them off with a sword and my
lover was a goddess. I mean, how would you approach it?
So, Honey, You're a God.
Those were some pretty scary demons, I'm real
glad you showed up. So, How long were you gonna wait before you
told me you were a God?
Nope, better to keep silent for a moment and come
to grips with the idea. And get over my mad. My mind was making
all sorts of associations right now, as I tried to figure out just
who was a god in my life. After all, I had this whole recognition
I was leaning against Joni in the tub, comforted
by her presence, despite some of the more hormonally aggressive
urges I was feeling. Her hands were gently soaping me and rinsing
my breasts and belly, while I thought about the night's events.
I was loving the way her thighs felt against mine. Gods, I was so
physical right now. Everything was about touch and feel and sense.
The aroma of the bath was luscious. My surroundings pleasing. The
only thing missing was taste, and I imagined, that I would be experiencing
that soon enough.
The sword I'd used, lay glistening on the dining
room table. At least she was kind enough to bring me to my own house,
rather than surprising me with what I had almost expected. I had
thought she might whisk me away to some Olympic mountain top. Nope,
instead we'd come to the little piece of heaven I called home.
Of course, I'd figured it out almost immediately.
I had thought the demons were running from me, but after the second
look at my love, I recognized her. I recognized her from all those
textbooks my "mentors," had been making me read.
Callisto. Of course. Why hadn't I seen it before?
She was, like most of the Gods of the Pantheon,
a multitalented individual. She was both a Goddess of War and of
Mercy. Maybe it was better to say, she was the Goddess of Justice
with a kind of militant frothy bent. (There were some entries that
explained that Callisto was also called the Goddess of High Vengeance.
I think that may have been accurate too.) Heaven help you if you
were on the Wrong side of the fence when she was around. Some of
those myths were damn gory. Then again, as the Goddess of Mercy,
she was the one you absolutely wanted to meet on the street, or
in the hospital, or sometimes even in your room, when the weight
of being was too much. Then there were other little things attributed
to her, like she was the goddess of the bloodflower, a unique plant
said to grow only on battlegrounds. That of course was a myth.
Or so I used to think.
Yet, here was myth come to life, in my bathtub,
washing me. I inhaled and let the realization of my child's paternity,
or rather maternity, wash over me. Little one stirred inside. He
was content and thriving. I was alive. It's not like she hadn't
asked. I'd just not understood the question. I caught her hand on
the downslide and pressed it to my belly and little one kicked obligingly.
I didn't expect her to cry.
She made my shoulder all wet and I had to turn around
so she could make my front all wet. I thought to myself, hey, at
least this time it isn't me. I held her close until the tears were
done, then kissed her softly and willingly.
It must have been the water, because the electricity
sparked for me again. This time, though, I had it under control
and simply guided those feelings where I wanted them to go. She
sighed and trembled in my arms, then pulled back.
She was the one who broke the silence. "How
much do you know?"
I touched her lips with dimpled fingertips and brushed
them lightly, "I think I may know nothing, Callisto."
There, I'd said it, now it was out in the open.
She kissed my fingers and led them away from her
face. Brown eyes, filled with concern, gazed at me for the longest
of seconds. "So you don't remember?"
I took a deep breath, hesitating. You see, there
is remembering and remembering. I knew there were gaps in me that
had been filled by those who'd been loving me lately. I knew that
this had to do with my dream. I also knew that technically speaking
some rules were being broken. Perhaps even trashed.
But what could you say. These were gods I was dealing
with and rules were meant to be broken, as the saying goes. So,
I most carefully lied and told the truth at the same time.
"I remember you," I said, reassuringly
and I leaned forward to give my love a kiss.
That was when the green scaly hand grabbed me.
I pretty much decided that it was no fun to be hanging
against a wall.
Now that's just my opinion and it may have been
the particular wall I was inclined against, and the particular crowd
I was being perused by that led to the conclusion, but I think it
was a fair assumption. Of course, if I'd been on a flat smooth surface
instead of this bumpy scrapey cavernish thing or had my feet firmly
on the ground with maybe a little room to ease my shoulders, and
maybe one of my lovers doing something interesting to me with a
fluffy little bushy thing (or maybe even a feather), then perhaps
I wouldn't have felt so badly.
It stank down here too. Well, maybe the cavern wasn't
the problem, but the odor of the creatures was offensive (and that
was putting it nicely). I was doing a lot of nose wrinkling and
trying to resist the urge to sneeze. The last time I got my back
scraped but good and bonked my head.
As it was, I was barely on my tiptoes and my belly
was hanging heavy. Demons have no respect for pregnancy, unless
they are yelled at by bigger Demons. Apparently, I was to be handled
somewhat carefully. It didn't stop them from hitting me up top or
down below though and I was feeling more bruised than I cared to.
I did a lot of soothing for little one, who was uninjured, but aware
that there was some jostling and therefore concerned. Little one
didn't like that. Well, neither did his mom.
And his other mom, I'm sure, was furious. I spoke
the cliche because they were being so annoying, "You'll be
sorry when Callisto gets here." I meant it. It did not do to
piss off the Goddess of Vengeance. I was very glad I wasn't them.
They laughed, which sounded more like a burst of short hiccupy growls
and they waddled, walked, scraped and slithered around in a kind
of evil good humor.
They didn't care of course. I was there for two
purposes it seemed. Entertainment and the other one, which I had
a glimmer of what it possibly might be about.
I shrugged. Inside. I couldn't do much shrugging
outside. I didn't really have the inclination to work it out. I
was sure I would be told soon enough why I was here.
My shoulders ached. I tried to lean back without
getting myself poked in odd places by the rock. There was nowhere
safe to settle. It was all uncomfortable. So, I settled anyway,
as much as I could.
I tried to take into account Nick's advice on what
to do in a crisis and found myself blanking. I'm sure it was very
good advice, but it really didn't seem applicable to this situation,
or maybe (If I was truthful) I was just too upset to think about
it. So I took a lot of subtly deep breaths trying to breath out
the pain. The breathing helped, some. It seemed to clear my mind.
I figured out, that if I lifted my feet and placed
them against the wall, sort of, I could find a few odd protuberances
to settle them on. It was as if they were made for the occasion.
They didn't really hold my weight, but it eased the pressure some
and I felt a little better.
I tried to think of ways to get out of this situation.
I couldn't talk my way out. Tried that, got laughed at. I couldn't
yank my way out. Tried that, hurt my arms. I couldn't fight my way
out. Tried that, had bruises on my face.
At least I was dry now. The shivers had stopped,
though I was still cold. I had to admire their audacity. I mean,
to grab me when I'm talking to one of the bloodiest Goddesses around,
well, that took guts. Which they would lose soon.
I wondered how Callisto would find me. I called
up memories of the Underworld from my recent studies and knew it
wouldn't be an easy task. The Gods, while not actually forbidden,
didn't really come down here much and there was a psychic barrier
(supposedly) that was designed to keep the immortals out of each
other's mental hair.
I supposed she would get her spouses to help. That
was well within her prerogative and she was known to do it before.
I mean, technically there were . . .well. . there were. . .couples,
grouped. . . My mind tried to churn out the names, but came out
with the numbers instead. There were three couples, a group of six
Gods. Married to each other. But wasn't there a notation about mortals,
in the battle of the beginning, twin couples. . .well actually triplicate
if you counted those two goddesses. .who were they? . . .um. . .
a group of ten, practically an army godwise. . .was there anymore.
. .marriages nope, but the pantheon was kind of flexible, so the
limit might not be at ten. . no, the marriages were official, the
others were a kind of "fling." So. . ten, that I could
think of. .and then whatever allies Callisto had . . . Didn't she
and the Goddesses of Magic get along? That would make twelve, at
least. Oh these beasties were gonna be IN trouble. . .
The only problem. . .the names were failing me.
That was the thought that kicked in the realization.
I already knew two of them didn't I? Diedre, she
of the blonde curly locks and the beautiful body. (even thinking
about it against this cold wall made parts of me warm and shivery.
Suddenly those bumps and cracks and sharp places felt kind of good.)
Diedre, who my heart acknowledged as a true love. Diedre, who came
to my rescue when I had that sexual energy flash. Why hadn't I put
it together then? Diedre and her husband Hap. Hap was another true
love, on sight. Beautiful making hands. Brought up memories of where
I'd wished those hands had gone (and I had a sudden body memory,
or so it seemed. It was as if I could feel those hands resting lightly
against my flesh. Him too? I knew him, as I knew the others? Who
else?) Hap Smith. . . Smith. . .Gods it was so obvious. .How could
I have missed that?
Aphrodite and Haephastus. Immortal. Gods. The Goddess
of Love. She also had some secondary callings, like Callisto. There
were some who said that she was the Goddess of Torture. Apparently
she did it really well and she knew all sorts of ways, good and
bad. I wouldn't know. She'd never tortured me. I had a flash of
something, a pain somwhere, but it left as soon as I felt it.
It seemed like they all had talents that were sometimes
called upon, but not necessarily their main "thing." Or
maybe, we just limited them to these callings. Thes major aspects.
Maybe they had lives we didn't know about? Like being a teacher's
wife? No. More than that and less, perhaps.
And then there was the Making God, the God of the
Forge, the God of Craft. The God of the Challenge, because he was
challenged. Wounded in battle, yet able to carry on. Loved by most
of the Gods on Olympus for his good (though fiery) nature.
They loved me and I loved them. I knew them
from . . .a long time ago. A fuzzy long time. But, time wasn't always
linear, was it? I knew them, they know me. Aphrodite had been in
my arms fairly recently. Next time I was going to ask her to bring
her husband. Actually, I guessed, I wouldn't have to ask, would
They loved me like Callisto loved me. Like Callisto
had always loved me. They would definitely be coming after me too.
All of them.
ALL of THEM!! I knew All of them and I knew them
as I knew Callisto and 'Dite and Hap. I knew them. Their names hovered
at the back of my mind. I knew them.
Melinda and Janet would be coming for me too. I
felt warm all over. My sense of humor kicked in and I wondered if
I was still going to have to take my Orals, and would life experience
get some of those questions waived?
Something was happening deep within me. There was
something about myself. Something that would help. If I could remember.
My palms burned. I must have been clenching. I felt
a tingling on my shoulder, kind of an achy sensation. I figured
it was all this hanging I was doing, but was surprised it wasn't
located on both shoulders. I must not have adjusted right. I repositioned
my body, but it didn't help much. The tingly sensation stayed and
I started to do that breathing thing again and sent
light messages of reassurances to my baby. He was doing better and
my stomach was less upset. I decided maybe I was just thinking too
hard and needed to give it a rest, so I set my mind on neutral for
a bit, and, breathing with the ache as much as I could, hung around.
Feeling the Pinch
It was warm on the beach, nice and sandy. The sky
was so blue, I felt like falling into it. It reminded me of her
eyes. Everything was bright and brighter still. I could feel the
warmth on my shoulders and smell the salty sea air. I turned around
and saw figures coming to me. My loves. My hearts. They were walking.
Someone had a towel strewn about his waist, as if he'd barely stepped
out of the shower. There was a picnic in front of me with food so
luscious my mouth watered. I was lazing about comfortably, sitting
up, waiting. My toes felt good in the sand. Then something started
pinching them. Hard.
I woke, startled and scraped my back again. I moved
my foot from where I'd somehow got positioned and the pinching feeling
Damn. It was a dream and a pretty nice one at that.
Now I was back here. Phph.
Oh well. I settled back with a sigh and tried to
stretch out as much as I could. It hurt. My shoulder hurt. My hands
hurt. My face hurt. My . . . .
Stop bitching Brigid. It hurts, but you're alive.
That's something to be grateful for. Yeah.
I realized that I didn't know how much time had
passed. I was hungry. That feeling gnawed at me. I felt like I had
to pee. The pressure of my bladder was no laughing matter. It hadn't
been for months now. I had no desire to feel the trickle down my
legs though and less to step in it, so I held it back and tried
not to think of that salty ocean I'd been dreaming about.
Instead I tried to picture faces. I started with
the ones I could absolutely remember. I spent a pleasant moment
remembering much more than Callisto's face and I felt, for a moment,
skin hungry again. I consoled myself with the thought that she would
be here soon. They would be here soon and let my mind drift to my
other favorite blonde. Things got all warm again. I forgot about
needing to pee.
"Well well, what have we here?" Damn it!
My attention was diverted from that most pleasant occupation and
now I had to turn my attention outward again, where it was cold
and damp. I felt a surge of resentment. The funniest noise came
out of my mouth. It was a growl.
The toadies who had been hanging out near my feet
backed away hastily. They literally looked like toadmen and so I
nicknamed them. They were the least offensive of the creatures present.
. .I hoped. At least they handn't tried to take a bite out of my
thigh like that other one with the rows and rows of teeth. I felt
somewhat startled, because it wasn't my intention to scare them.
Ever since they started sitting at my feet the others had been leaving
me alone. Besides they had an interesting dice game going. Of course,
I hadn't seen any money changing hands and that had me worried,
but. . . . A growl? Where'd that come from. I spent a second indulging
He was tall enough I guess, not as tall as some.
His face would have been okay except for the sneer and the pasty
color of his skin. His hair was dark, as if it were dyed, sort of
like a really ineffective Gothboy. I didn't recognize him, but knew
I probably should. I was kind of grateful for that. This one was
not one of mine then. Good. I didn't like his looks.
He perused me with dark eyes and smirked. He folded
his arms over his chest (again going for that intimidation thing.
It wasn't working.) "Aren't you going to ask?" He questioned.
I blinked, "Ask what?" I was still contemplating
where the growl came from and hadn't quite reached the point of
having another set of questions yet.
He gave me a frustrated look and led with his body.
His hands whirled forward as if I were missing the most obvious
thing, "Aren't you going to ask who I am? What you're doing
Oh yeah. I shook my head a little to clear the hair
from my face and asked as casually as I could, "Who are you?
What am I doing here?" I figured I might as well cooperate.
It might buy me time and I really was curious.
He smiled and stepped closer. I had to pee again.
There was that sneer. It really was quite ineffective. I wondered
if anyone had bothered to tell him that. He puffed up proudly, pointed
at his chest and spoke in a self congratulatory manner, "You
are looking at the new King of Olympus."
Okay, I won't get desperate. I won't get desperate.
I sighed into my chains. Somehow, barely, I'd managed
not to laugh and to seem duly impressed. It was hard work. That
was both good and bad.
It was Good because he didn't blast me with a bolt
of something because of my "disbelief." It was Bad because
he went on and on and on about ruling the world and being the king
and how bad his life had been and how he deserved it after all these
I nodded a lot, as if I were listening. I did a
lot of, "Yeah, I can understand that." and "boy that's
tough." It got so he was leaning against the cavern wall with
his shoulder, his arms folded across his chest, talking to me as
if I were a long lost friend.
I did my best not to look crafty, but the opportunity
was too good to miss. I turned my body so I was almost facing him.
I smiled and "Uhhuh'd." The toadmen had slithered away
and so this was it.
I was as ready as I was ever gonna be. I casually
grabbed hold of my manacles, preparing to lift myself. I hoped that
I would be strong enough. I kept nodding. I was ready and I. ..
I Didn't do a darned thing because the ground shook.
Hard. Then it split.
Poor toadmen. Not so lucky me. Ouch!! The supposed
King of Olympus disappeared.
Funny, he never got around to telling me why I was
I'd been dangling against the wall, feeling my frail
security rip itself out with each shake and shiver. I clambered
fearfully against the wall, striving for any hand hold, any place
to rest my foot.
Then she called.
Her voice filled me up. It filled me so full, that
all my fear was flooded out, washed right through me. The only thing
I could feel was the warmth in my body and the beat of my heart.
So I pushed myself against the rock and leapt back with thighs made
powerful by my sudden rememberance.
The shackles broke and my wrists were suddenly free.
I felt my body hold itself in the air for the briefest of moments,
like a cartoon. Then, not like a stone, but like a body, I fell.
There is only one way to describe the direction.
It got to where I thought I would never land. It
got to where I didn't care if I landed. Then I realized that I landed
a long time ago. My bladder was amazingly empty, but I wasn't.
Little one kicked about happily. He had enjoyed
the ride. I rested one hand upon my belly and the other against
the soft surface of the bed. The sheets were silk. I was naked and
uncovered, but warm.
I felt, for a moment, like Little Nemo, the boy
who enters the dreamlands, and it feels real, but he always wakes
up to find it was all a dream. I feared that. I feared for a moment
that I was just some pregnant housewife. I felt the sheets again..
. a rich pregnant housewife. I opened my eyes.
She took my hand in her bronze one. Her blue gaze
was gentle. Her lips curved up in a smile before she greeted me
with a long, thought provoking kiss. "Thank you for trusting
me Brigid," she said as she smoothed back my unruly hair.
I managed a smile. My voice quavered and tears filled
my eyes "Anything for you, Xena," I said as I reached
forth my hand to touch her very real cheek. It was wet too. Then
she pulled me, hard and gentle, against her warm body and let me
cry and cry.
Love and War
I guess, the full story of what happened is contained
within me, as are the results. But, I don't know if I will ever
be able to express the fullness. I can only attempt to explain what
I partially understand. Now this is mostly second hand, so bear
It started like this. One day Xena discovered the
madness of a God. Since it was the kind of madness that called for
the destruction of the whole world and race, she came up with a
plan. She figured she had to. Not for herself. It was for Gabrielle.
Technically it was really simple. All she had to
do was warn the Gods, convert them to her thinking, and find enough
people to help her deal with Chronos.
But, Gods are timeless beings (save for Chronos,
and thus we see the cause of his madness. He ages eternally while
those Gods around him remain ever youthful) and so they could hardly
see the point. So she took it upon herself to go to the Fates, who,
though they live timeless like the rest, have seen all from birth
to death and over again. They saw the point. For Chronos, in his
madness was distorting their weave and breaking their threads and
ruining their colors. They are, after all, artists and proud of
The first thing they realized they had to do was
to create new frameworks for the looms, for Chronos was bending
the frame of their weaving with his will (another thing that was
ruining the whole picture). One of the results was the death of
her beloved. That was when Xena made her first deal with Morpheus
and took the long sleep so she could travel between realms.
It was incredibly tough on her as she went about
trying to find her way to the Elysian fields. She almost forgot
her purpose, things were so hard. Then, in the dream realm, she
met someone, who comforted her, and who looked remarkably familiar.
She changed her goal.
Instead of trying to find Elysia, she went to meet
the God of the Underworld and His wife. For some reason, that was
easier. They had a conversation and she told them, or at least her
dream self told them, what was occurring. Then she convinced them
to make Gabrielle a God.
Well, there were two reasons. First, at the time,
Xena still felt quite unworthy of the mantle herself (not to mention
she still had some personal hostility going for some Gods I could
name) and secondly, who is better than a storyteller to make frameworks?
The Fates and and the new Goddess, Gabrielle, fell
in love with each other instantly. They loved her for her stories
and she loved them for the beauty and depth of their work (plus
everyone had a few other things going for them. Compatibility is
a wonderful thing and Gabrielle is about the least ageist person
I know). The bard Goddess began her work fashioning worlds for Chronos
to play with. The Fates began some weaving on the new frames and
Chronos was stalled in his efforts.
The only problem was, there came to be so many of
these looms that they forgot which was the real one. This happened
(mostly) because they found all their weavings to be equally beautiful,
if different. So, they created rooms for the looms and tried something
new. They called for help.
Well, most of the Gods claimed to be too busy. They
didn't understand the seriousness of the problem or the opportunity.
But the Goddesses, now they were interested. You see, they realized
that they now had the power to create in their hands. Aphrodite,
who was and is much smarter than people think, was first among them,
as well as Hecate. And so was Ares, The God of War (who would later
come to prefer the phrase, The God of Radical Change when he wasn't
being addressed as The Warrior God.)
It was Ares and Haphaestus and Dionysus who showed
up to work at the looms. Hap showed up because Aphrodite was there
and because he was a blinkin' creative genius (You should see some
of the toys he's made for. . .heh..sorry got off track there). Ares
showed up because he had his own madness to deal with and he thought
he could create the perfect world. Dionysus showed up because it
sounded fun and like his kind of gig.
Well, as it happens, Ares, who was very competitive
at the time, and Aphrodite, who can be competitive when something
riles her, got into a heated debate about the best way to weave,
which eventually led to a huge blowout about who is the most powerful.
Dionysus, who is the sensitive creative type (or so he likes to
say) offered a suggestion and they made a wager. They would see
who was the most powerful indeed. They could choose their methods
and their looms and they could start at the next rise of Helios.
So it was that Ares found himself in front of a
fresh loom the next morning, ready to create the most fantastic
world of war anyone had ever seen. He'd already picked out the threads
(all red and black) and he had a vision in mind. The Fates, being
the kind souls they are, offered a bit of advice before he started,
but he shrugged them off, said, "How hard can it be?"
and they pretty much left him alone after that. He was ready.
Aphrodite, who'd had a pretty big night soothing
the wounds of a lovely heroic couple who had just been rejoined,
was a little late. The God of War had already started and it looked
like he had a pretty good thing going. Certainly he was putting
a lot of attention and effort into the whole deal and the world
was looking very red and black and warlike indeed.
Now, Aphrodite, she decided not to rush right into
her weaving, but to go and see how the others were doing. She eventually
found her way to the Fate's (many) looms. She spent a good portion
of the morning watching, asked a few questions and then asked if
she could try a few things.
The Fates said, "That is the point."
So the Goddess of Love smiled and went away for
a bit. When she returned she had Morpheus in tow and the Muses.
She found Gabrielle and asked her to make three looms. One for the
King of Dreams, One for the Muses, and One (supposedly) for herself.
Gabrielle created the frames for the Goddess and
Aphrodite spent a little time instructing Morpheus and the Muses
on how to weave (and thus reaffirmed her knowledge) Then she told
them the great secret, which Ares had ignored. The Fates may start
the threads and may end the threads, but the threads move themselves.
Well Morpheus, he was somewhat familiar with that, since that's
pretty much how he operated anyhow and the Muses were excited because
it meant they wouldn't have to spend as much time as they were dreading
(they had things to do, people to inspire, you know), so they began
Well, here is where it starts to get interesting.
Ares was having a horrible time. His fingers were
bleeding. There were knotholes he never even thought of, in his
world. The pattern never quite came out right. Here a thread was
too tight, there it was too loose and the colors,while looking really
great out of the loom, didn't seem as compatible as they had before.
He was, however, determined to finish it. He had to win, even if
it meant that he cheated. (Although how he could think he could
cheat when the rules were so vague, I'll never know) He called on
his nephew, Stryfe and made him work on the world for a bit. It
got all mangled up, since that is what Stryfe tended to do anyhow.
Well, that got Ares all mad, which got Stryfe all mad, and Stryfe
left to find a sympathetic ear.
Aphrodite, meanwhile, who had yet to start on her
own loom (and it was getting towards afternoon), started whispering
words in Morpheus' ear, then in the Muses' ears, then in the King
of Dreams' ear again. The Muses started tittering and giggling and
Morpheus was smiling all shy like. So Aphrodite, picked up a pretty
green thread and told Morpheus, "Hey, why don't you ask them
if they like this color."
That was all it took.
Pretty soon Morpheus and the Muses were working
together on the looms (amidst a lot of smooching and giggling and
touching and a bit of copulation) and they were having so much fun,
they wanted to start another, because they had these radical ideas.
They wanted to try to create themed worlds. Their first would be
"Musical World." (Which turned out to be a roaring success,
but "Statue World," kind of had to be dropped as a concept.)
Aphrodite smiled and said, "Sure, but will
you let me have a little input." (Of course, she says this
the way only Aphrodite can, using phrases like, "bitchin,"
and such. I'm not even going to try and pretend like I've got the
vocabulary down. I'm just telling the story here. If you want to
hear her side, ask her.)
The Muses and Morpheus were in a fabulous mood (of
course) and so they were just about willing to agree to anything
as long as they could play together. They told Aphrodite to do what
she wanted to do. Which, was how Aphrodite had it planned to begin
So the lovely Aphrodite approached Morpheus' loom,
which had some beautiful dreamlike imagery going for it, and she
plucked out one of her long golden hairs. She blew upon the fine
strand until is sparkled and shimmered with light. Then, starting
at the very top of the weave, she did the impossible.
Now a weave, when it's started, well, that's pretty
much how it is. There's no changing it, unless you undo the whole
thing. But not in this case. Magic was involved. Aphrodite's kind.
So she touched that strand of hair, which had become a golden sparkly
thread, to the place of origin, and the thread spun itself through
the whole fabric of Morpheus' world, changing it forever.
Then, Aphrodite, with her tiny bit of input, lifted
her arms and laughed with joy, because she could feel the energy
spreading all over. The thread did a remarkable thing. It filled
the loom, becoming part of it. Then it leapt. It hopped right over
to the next world, and, as in the dreamer's realm, is started at
the very top and sparkled its way on down, filling out the world
the Muses had made.
At first Aphrodite thought she might have to cut
the line and she reached for some scissors, but the thread became
invisible between the two looms. She waved her hand, trying to find
the thread and her hand passed through the air. Apparently, the
thread could take care of itself. Aphrodite set the scissors down
and enjoyed the show.
Then it leapt again.
The Fates, who had been ambling along the hallways,
checking on the various looms (and some of the Gods who had a propensity
for snipping too quick) happened to stop by at that very moment
and they saw what the Goddess of Love had done. They were flabbergasted.
The thread, which finished filling the cooperative
loom (Musical World had lots of feeling to it now) seemed as if
it were a live thing and it stopped and hovered, like a swami's
rope, and then the thread plunged through the wall and disappeared,
before Aphrodite could even say anything about it. (And, truthfully,
she'd expected it to stop, but it just kept going).
That thread, that bit of the Goddess, touched every
loom in the Fate's house. Every Loom in Every Room and there was
more left over. By the end there was a dangly strand that bobbed
about excitedly looking for a new world to infiltrate or at least
Well, Ares, he was ticked, very hacked, because
he knew he lost as soon as that thread hit his loom and worked its
magic. Funny, but when it touched the work that he'd made, bloody
and dark as it was, it seemed the knots became less. . knotty and
the tight places less tense, the loose places, more firm and the
colors blurred and blended as if they were meant for each other.
Even the darkest patterns had some. . .life . . to it.
That scared the War God like nothing else and, in
a fit of anger, he went after that thread with a pair of Godly scissors.
He ran through the house, intent on getting his revenge. That didn't
work though. Ares found the thread and reached for it, but the magical
thing eluded his grasp. They played a bit of peek-a-boo with a couple
of the looms, they threaded back and forth. He laid the scissors
down and caught the thread, but as soon as he picked them up again,
the thread slipped through his hands and they were playing the same
old games as before. After awhile, the God gave up in frustration
and went home, intent on figuring out how to win a battle with Aphrodite.
He forgot the scissors. They lay golden and sparkling
and sharp on the ground and were too tempting to resist. The thread
picked the scissors up, not sensing the danger, since a tool has
no feelings to reveal and it started to play.
Well, Ares wasn't the only one who was upset.
Chronos saw the thread too, and it opened his eyes
to the worlds around him. He suddenly realized that he had been
tricked. Oh, and if Ares had anger, Chronos, that aged bitter father,
had rage. He didn't bother with the scissors. He just started to
disintegrate the looms in front of him. There was only one problem,
no matter how many looms he deleted, the thread remained.
You know that phrase, "These things take on
a life of their own?" As sometimes happens with a God, what
they create comes to life. Such was the case with the thread. It
had a life of its own and where it touched, more life was created.
The thread remembered what was supposed to be there and brought
it back, much to Chronos' consternation (and the Fates'!)
There was a twist, however, Each world, each life
came back a little differently than before. The thread had been
affected by Chronos' touch. But, not adversely, mostly. (Not everything
is perfect, and it shouldn't be. That would be so boring after awhile,
wouldn't it? I mean, I've been to Apollo's house. All the lines
are pure, everything is so light it's practically blinding. It's
spotless and it's boring. No offense to the God.) This was all fine
and good, but there was a small problem. The original loom was among
those that were were blasted by the God.
The results reverberated through the whole of the
house, of Olympus and the world it stood upon. Chronos, who was
now in a snit, because things kept coming back again, went back
to his hole beneath the ground to sulk and plan. (He wasn't the
only one hiding from the world and sulking.)
That's when the Gods called on Xena again.
Only this time, the person who arrived was a much
different Xena. It was the Warrior Goddess, the Goddess of Necessity
and Invention Herself. Her world had been created by all the shifts
and she was quite reluctant to "put everything back the way
it was." She had, after all, a life of her own, and she pointed
out that it was very likely, once the shakedown settled, that no
one in their universe would be the same.
Well, no one likes to hear that their world may
never be the same. It sounds threatening. It sounds like forever.
There was a bit of a hubbub from the Gods who'd assembled, including
Father Zeus (who was still in his misogynistic bastard mode back
then). They got to threatening this goddess (who they thought of
as new, but really she'd been around awhile), but she was terribly
unintimidated and all it did was make her do that scary glare thing.
That was when they heard the scream.
The scissors lay on the floor where they fell for
the umpteenth time and the golden thread writhed in agony from being
separated from itself. It was Xena who found it first and Aphrodite
who recognized the thread for what it was. The cries it made broke
her heart and the blonde Goddess wept. Of course, the Warrior Goddess
made the Love Goddess explain everything (well, as best she could,
given the circumstances.) Then Xena went did that "thoughtful"
mode she gets into sometimes.
After a few moments, she smiled grimly and picked
up the loose thread, cradling it gently. "I have a solution,"
she said. That's when she asked for volunteers.
Well, there was some reluctance. She was going to
propose something they didn't yet know about. Their world was still
quaking and things were pretty unsettled.
But this was Xena, and even if it wasn't exactly
*her* Xena, Gabrielle trusted the woman with her life. She stepped
forward first (and you can bet it was one of those gushy tender
forever moments they get into now and again. They are so cute, you
know?) That kind of helped things along. Aphrodite stepped forward,
since she felt it was partially her fault (though the Fates told
her that it was actually her thread that saved the day. She wasn't
ready to hear it.) Where Aphrodite goes Haphaestus goes. Then Hecate
Ares came back just then, demanded to know what
was going on. Aphrodite said, "You wouldn't be interested."
He said he would, and that started the whole competition thing again,
until Xena called a halt to the argument.
She looked the God of War up and down like he was
a piece of meat, then she said, "He stays." That both
irked the heck out of him and made him feel all warm and fuzzy.
He was terribly confused.
Well, the Fates volunteered too, but Xena made them
stay. She pointed out a few things. One, someone still needed to
watch the looms. Two, there were several new universes out there,
some of which might have more Fates and maybe they needed to work
on contacting them and letting those Fates know what was going on.
Finally, Three, the plan required that there be a common thread,
well, actually, a couple of common threads. The Fates had to make
sure those threads at least showed up, at the right time and place,
no matter what.
Then the Goddess Xena took Gabrielle's hand in her
own. She handed the wounded thread to a tearful Aphrodite. Then
she summoned a knife and cut her palm and then Gabrielle's. Aphrodite
laid the thread in their hands and a tear or two fell upon the golden
They tell me the baby's cry could be heard from
the Top of Olympus all the way to Rome. I am sure they are exaggerating.
I do not have that powerful a set of lungs. I don't care what Haphaestus
says about it.
Chronos' mistake was that he forgot that the Gods,
unlike himself, are not limited by time. So, it didn't matter when
I regained my memory. Once I knew for sure who I was and what I
was, well, his little plot to recapture his power fell to pieces.
They won't tell me the details of the battle, though
I understand it got pretty darn ugly. Ares has a nasty scar along
his inner thigh. It's very sensitive. Xena also has a few new lines
upon her body. Mel tells me not to worry about it. She says Gabrielle
will probably be talking about the battle soon enough. Still. .
There were some definite changes that I was aware
of. Zeus looks younger than I ever remember him looking and Hera.
.wow. .what a difference. I mean, her face is uncovered and she's.
. .well she's just not the same person. Certainly the power structure
in their relationship has changed. I'm not quite sure what to make
Hecate made those old Gods pay for the trouble the
caused. As did Gaia. I think some of the old Gods Chronos convinced
to join his scheme may never be again. Certainly I
have no inclination to bring anyone back who tried to hurt my spouses.
Although, I have forgiven Stryfe. He really was
just doing his job. It will always be Stryfe's fate to be king of
Olympus for a time, but it's never for very long (and he seems to
always forget that. . .can't blame the boy for trying. He has a
lot to live up to). He and his toadies tend to fade out of power
once Zeus and Hera remember themselves.
The Fates created a network of . . .Fates. I got
to meet one or two of the alternates. Velasca looks kind of different
as a Crone, but she's nicer as a Fate than she was as the Goddess
of Chaos unchained. That could be because every version of her (young,
old, goddess, whathaveyou) that I could find has Hecate as a lover.
I guess some things are meant to be (especially when you really
control your own fate. . .)
It's been kind of interesting to walk the different
worlds. To see the different ways that people are themselves. In
one Universe, Hera is the Goddess of Love. Apparently she got sick
of Zeus' philandering, but instead of trying to kill the women,
she got even by seducing them. Eventually, if a female saw the God,
they'd simply ask to see his wife and Hera would show up and they
would bypass all the other stuff.
As far as I can tell, right now, there is one deity
set of Gabrielle and Xena and Callisto. There are lots of mortal
and semi-mortal, even immortal variants. I found an immortal, yet
mad Callisto once. She wanted me to let her out of some hole in
the ground. I might have done it, except my Callisto came and got
me. She said, "Some experiences are important to go through."
There are several variants of Aphrodite, Hap and
Ares, but none quite like the ones I hold in my arms at night. Certainly
Ares, as the Warrior God, is unique among all the others. There
are still several highly addicted Gods of War. I tend to steer clear
of them, unless Xena gets me involved in some scheme of hers. (I
don't mean that badly. I just mean it literally. She asks and I'll
do. Except for the parts where she tells me to stay out of something.
I find that one hard to do. I'm sure she hates it when Gabrielle
and I gang up on her.)
There are mortal, semi-mortal, and immortal variants
of Jan and Mel too. You should hear the nicknames my mates have
been batting about to distinguish themselves. I just go by my senses
and their accents. I can very much distinguish between the Greek
and the Southern and Northern American.
I can pick my spouses out of the crowd. I guess
because of the distinguishing features I see in their hearts. Their
common threads run deep and, like me, they have memories of several
worlds, all of which are equally real to them. It makes for some
interesting story telling.
There was a point when we discussed dismantling
the looms, at least on our sides of the universes. Ares simply voted
to leave his threads as they were. That decided it all for us. He
figured it was important for him to see where he started from and
we all agreed the stories of these people's lives had a place. Besides,
the colors are beautiful, especially once the greens started pulling
He's not allowed to play with the scissors yet,
but, my beautiful son (ours--Callisto is a marvelous parent. She
always was deeply loving. Then again, there are so many of us, he
never lacks for supervision or someone to play with--For that matter,
neither do we. . .heh.), Chronos, with his ancient eyes and laughing
face, loves to play among the colorful threads of the Fates. They
are very indulgent Godmother's and I've caught them letting him
touch the looms and start the weave once or twice. He's learning
to just let the threads run themselves as they ought. Maybe he'll
be a Fate when he grows up, or a baseball player or a nurse.
We're raising him as if he were a Mortal (for the
most part) so he'll see how important life is. Gabrielle has already
got some tutors picked out for him, for when he's old enough. One
is named Ephiny. I don't think I've met her. Another is Robin. She'll
Technically speaking, I am Brigid, Goddess of all
that is, within me. I am that Golden Thread, or rather I am the
embodiment of it. I am the dreamer and the dream and a multitude
of other things which really. . .I dunno.
I find it hard to look at myself in all these worlds.
I guess you could say, that in a way, I've been it all and done
it all. It's a bit astounding and frightening to realize that I
am part of all that is. Literally.
But I really can't say I'm different from anyone
else. I'm just me, who I've always been. Bernice Brigid, Brigid
I'm content with that.
I've been talking with the Jan's lately. Now, Max
is at home with Callisto's. .rather, Joni's sister. So that one's
taken care of. Mad-dog's (I really wish shežd pick another nick)
daughter has somewhere out there. I've searched the threads, but
I can't seem to find her. Mad-dog says she had the scars to prove
it, so she knows she had the baby. Then there's Melinda's baby.
Where's is. . she? (if it was a she and if it exists) And Nikkos,
my other son (and brother. . .Only the Gods could think of something
so blasted confusing), seems to have gone missing. We all remember
dream world, but wonder if that's where she/he is at, or if we're
even looking in the right places.
My loves are feeling some urgency about this, which
I can totally relate to, so I've been walking the closer threads,
trying to find a trace of those kids. I'm sure we'll find them.
I mean, how hard can it be? They gotta be there somewhere.
And that is the END!!!!
Happy Holidays and May your Lives
Seasons of the Gods
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