Copyright©(1999-2000) Elaine L. Becker
All Rights Reserved
DISCLAIMER: This story is an original creation and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, real or fictional are unintentional. Any words to any songs or any poetry used in this story are attributed to their original artists in the story itself. Television and/or radio programs that are referred to in the story are not to my knowledge, real program content, but created by me solely for use in this story.
This story is about two women in love and may contain language or sexual scenes unsuitable for children or others who are easily offended by material of this nature. This is a story about same gender relationships. If you have a problem with same gender relationships, you should probably see your therapist. Hate is an illness that love can cure.
Comments or suggestions should be sent to: Womynstar@aol.com
Caer sat on the small stool, facing the fire. She did not like how she was feeling. Her feelings and thoughts were all jumbled up. Her reality and her dreams were fighting for validity. It was her dreams that she wanted to be her reality. She wanted the warmth of Finians arms around her. She wanted to feel protected. She felt so vulnerable and alone. She closed her eyes as tears started to trickle down her cheeks.
The darkness she expected to find behind her closed eyes was filled with the high-cheek boned, angular face of the woman from her dreams. As she looked into the deep, blue eyes that were holding her, she heard a whisper. "Im listening, Caer." For a fleeting moment, Caer experienced a profound sense of loneliness. She opened her eyes and looked at the fire. She is feeling the physical pain of our separation as I am. Caer thought as she remembered her own feeling from the night before when she lay in her bed feeling the emptiness there.
Suddenly the fire popped and hissed. Her memory was jogged back to a few moments earlier to the whisper she had heard just before she felt the loneliness that had carried her off. She thought about what it might mean. Im listening, Caer. Her eyes drifted over to where her harp hung from its place on the wall. Caer suddenly understood. She was able to reach Finian through her music. Music often reaches places that nothing else can reach, Caer thought as she smiled at her new revelation.
She got up, walked across the room, and retrieved her harp. She placed it on the floor beside the stool in front of the fire and went to prepare a mug of spiced apple tea. From the jars on the shelf in her small kitchen, Caer took some dried apple pieces, a piece of cinnamon bark, and some dried rosehips. She placed the fruit and spices on a small, clean square of white linen and folded her little package, neatly tying it with a string from the edge of the linen. She placed the little white square in her mug and slowly poured hot water from the kettle over it. Within moments, her nose was greeted with the calming aroma of apples and cinnamon.
Caer took a sip of the hot tea, placed her mug on the floor beside her, and picked up her harp. Her skilled fingers gently caressed the strings as she checked to make sure that the instrument was in tune. Satisfied, Caer began to play. Soon, she was lost in the soothing melody of the song. Caer felt overwhelming love flowing from her fingertips into the small wooden instrument. The strings of her harp became Finian as she began to make love to them. Tears of grace began to fall from her green eyes as her soul reached out through her music and found its refuge.
* * * * *
Finian unconsciously threw her long, muscular leg over the large body pillow, as her arms wrapped tighter around it, drawing it closer to her body. She placed her cheek against the coolness of the fabric and felt its soothing caress. A slight smile played with the corners of her lips as she breathed the deep, evenly paced breaths of sleep.
She was lying on soft ground. She opened her eyes and found herself engulfed in a sea of green. The bright light of the full moon, reflecting off the lush, green grass, made the eyes that held her in their spell, appear as two emeralds shining in the night. She was aware of hands caressing her body and she felt warmth linger on her skin even as the touch moved on.
Finian reached out a hand and cupped the blond womans cheek, gently brushing away a tear that fell from a green eye, with her thumb. She was vaguely aware of a harp being played as she slowly leaned forward and her lips melted into Caers. She felt strong, gentle hands on her back, urging her closer. Finian did not resist as she gently probed her dream lovers lips, with her tongue, finding an invitation.
Caer gently pushed the tip of her tongue through her lips until she felt the warm, moist object of her search. She drew her tongue slowly back into her mouth, enticing Finian to follow.
Finian explored the inner recesses of Caers mouth, gently probing, tasting, running her tongue over Caers teeth. Circling the other womans lips with her tongue, Finian teased at the tip of Caers tongue, inviting her in for some exploration of her own. Finian shuddered as Caers warm, soft tongue found its way across her swollen lips and began its own exploration, pausing every now and then to engage in a rhythmic dance with her own.
Slowly, Finian pulled back, savoring the essence that lingered on her lips. She opened her eyes and stared into the darkness, listening to the receding euphony of a harp.
"Caer," she whispered as the last fading strains of the harp disappeared into the darkness. Finian ran her tongue over her lips and was mildly surprised when she tasted spiced apples. She stared into the darkness almost as if she were watching Caers form fade into it. She had a strong sense of withdrawal, but not separation. Finian closed her eyes, pulled the body pillow closer and drifted off on the memory of sweet music and sweeter lips.
* * * * *
Caers fingers slowly came to a stop, gently resting on the strings. Her head was bent slightly forward, lightly resting on the warm wood of her harp. She was aware of a lingering impression on her lips. Caer slowly opened her eyes and lowered her harp to the floor. She raised her hand and gently touched her noticeably swollen lips. A smile crept across her face as she remembered strong, protective arms wrapped around her and bottomless pools of blue that promised her eternal love.
Caer stared into the fire, allowing the sensations to wash over her. Tears again threatened to spill down her cheeks. "Finian," she whispered. She had missed those arms for so long and was only now beginning to realize it and understand it. When she felt Finians lips on hers and her strong arms around her, protecting her, she had ancient, physical memories. Her body responded to memories that her mind did not have words for. Her heart surged with a love that had no beginning or end.
Caer stood and picked up her harp, running her hands over the smooth, warm ash. She marveled, for a moment that how over the years, the almost white wood had taken on more of a flaxen color, to match the color of her hair. She remembered, for a moment, the day she had first seen the harp. She was only three and had been dragged into town by her mother, who wanted to pick up some bolts of cloth. It had been the nannys day off and her mother had not been pleased about having to take Caer with her. Next door to the textile shop, was a luthier. While her mother was busy looking at colors and textures, Caer, being the inquisitive child that she was, wandered next door to check out the interesting sounds she heard coming from that direction.
Caer walked through the open door of the luthiers shop and her tiny, green eyes fell immediately on a small, harp resting on the floor against the wall. Caer no longer heard the plinking of metal strings that had drawn her to the small shop. The intricate woodworking on the harp mesmerized her. Someone had painstakingly inlaid the soundboard with tiny pieces of various colored woods to create four apple trees. Each tree represented a season. Twenty-three years later, Caer still remembered the chill that went through her body when she reached out her tiny hands to touch the pictures in the wood of the harp. One hand accidentally brushed the strings and the sound that whispered out to her seemed to call her name. She felt an ache deep inside, a mixture of sadness and elation, like something that had been lost was found. Her mothers angry, frantic calling finally pulled her out of her daydream.
Caer allowed the memory of her mothers frantic calling to again bring her back, but this time she remembered the feeling of timelessness, of immortality that she had felt when her tiny hands had brushed those strings for the first time. She placed the harp into its leather case, and hung it back upon the wall as she realized that she had words for those feelings that she had experienced so many years ago. Her head was buzzing like so many honeybees, with all the thoughts that were swirling there. Caer threw a couple of logs on the fire and started to tidy up her small space, as her methodical, bardic mind set about putting her thoughts in order.
* * * * *
The sound of the telephones incessant ringing woke her from sleep. She groaned as she heard the answering machine click on. Thank the Goddess the sound is turned down, she thought as her full bladder demanded attention. As Finian swung her long, graceful legs over the edge of the bed, her eyes noticed the clock. Nine-thirty, she thought as she glanced at the window on her way to the bathroom. At the same time she noticed the grayness showing around the edges of the burgundy blinds, she heard the rain hitting the window. For a brief moment, she entertained the idea of climbing back into the warm waterbed after she took care of business.
The telephone ringing again started to chase the thoughts of going back to bed out of her mind. "Aargh." She groaned as she walked back into the bedroom. Remind me to turn that damned ringer off at night, she told herself as she glanced at the bed in the gray dimness of the room.
Finian stopped when she saw the tangle of blankets and pillows. Even her body pillow was all twisted around. She was usually a very quiet sleeper. Once she found a position, it was hers for the night. It wasnt often that her bed looked like it did now. She stood staring, trying to remember what it was that she had been dreaming that had made her. . . Finian blushed as she brought her fingers to her still swollen lips.
Slowly, bits and pieces of a dream started to filter through to her consciousness. Finian walked across the room to the edge of the bed and sat down. She picked up the notebook that was lying on the table and opened it to a clean page.
Sometime later, Finian placed the notebook back on the table and still blushing, padded softly in her bare feet, to the kitchen. She started the coffee maker and poured herself a bowl of Rice Krispies. As she munched on the crunchy cereal, she pushed the play button on the answering machine.
"Fin, its me." Finian noticed a slight hesitation. "I just wanted to say Im sorry for being so one-minded, or I should say two-minded, last night. I know that youre not crazy and I dont really believe that you have this Caer person tied up somewhere like a little treasure. But, Fin, I gotta tell ya, my pea-sized brain isnt really getting much of this. Well, just wanted to say I was sorry for being so brick-headed last night and well, I am trying. Love you, talk to you later."
Finian stared at the answering machine. Maybe Michelle is right. Maybe I am losing my mind. None of it made much sense to her either, when she really thought about. Dreams, visions, hearing things and seeing things that no one else did. But she could not deny the very real connection she felt to a seemingly unreal person. Suddenly Finian remembered the taste of spiced apples from the night before. She ran her tongue over her full lips, remembering not only the taste but also the feelings.
The sudden ringing of the telephone again jarred her from her reverie. She reached out and picked it up. "Hello," she said into the mouthpiece.
"Hey." Bobbis voice rang out. "Mich and I were just getting ready to go out and have brunch. I called a little while ago, but got your answering machine. We were wondering if youd like to join us?"
"Ah, thanks, Bobbi, but I think Im going to pass, this time. I, uh, slept kind of late this morning and havent even had my first cup of coffee," she answered as she reached over the coffeepot to the cabinet where she kept the coffee cups.
"How about a raincheck? Oh, and tell Michelle I got her message and its okay. I know how hard it must be for the both of you to understand what the hell I am talking about when I dont even have a very tight grasp on it right now." Finian hesitated. "Bobbi, have you ever been in a situation where something was happening to you, but you couldnt put it into words, yet, at the same time you knew it was something real and out of your control?"
Bobbi laughed. "Sorry, Fin, Im not laughing at you. But what you are describing sounds just like falling in love for the first time. And, yes, I have been in that situation, about six years ago, when I first set eyes on your friend, here." Bobbi suddenly, sobered. "I do know what youre talking about, Fin, at least I think I do. I believe that something very real has happened to you and seems to be still happening. Some part of me understands it, but that part of me, like you, doesnt have words, either."
"Thanks, Bobbi. I really appreciate the support." Finians voice got quiet.
"Hey, are you okay? Your voice changed all of a sudden," Bobbi asked gently.
"Yeah, Im okay. Thanks for the invite and please tell Mich, apology accepted, although there was no need for it. I cant be upset with her for not understanding, when I dont even understand."
"Finian, if there is anything I can do to help, you know Im there for you," Bobbi told her. "And you know Michelle is too, even though she seems a little scattered at the moment," she added with a laugh.
"Scattered, hell," Finian laughed back. She just hears this as me coming out of the closet, and thats all there is to it. Ill tell ya, if that were all there was to this whole thing, Id be jumping out of the damned closet. But, Bobbi that is not what this is all about. I may not know yet exactly what it is all about. But, I do know one thing for certain. It is much more than just coming out of the closet."
Finian heard Michelles voice in the back ground on the other end of the telephone line, asking Bobbi if she were ready. "Hey, you two, thanks again for the invitation and enjoy your Sunday. Ill give you guys a call tomorrow or the next day and maybe we can get together for coffee or something."
"Sure, Fin, that sounds good and you have a great day, too. Sure you dont want to come along?" She asked one more time.
"No, thanks, Bobbi, Im just going to hang around here and do mundane things like laundry and maybe curl up in a corner with a book on this rainy Sunday."
"Okay, then, well talk to you soon, bye."
Finian hung up the telephone, refilled her coffee cup, and padded to the living room. She settled her tall body onto the leather sofa and picked up the remote control, hitting the on button. Her senses were momentarily assaulted as light and sound imploded into the room. She quickly pressed the volume-lowering button and sighed a breath of relief when the sound suddenly disappeared. Flipping slowly through the channels, something caught her eye. She stopped and backed up a couple of channels until she found what she was looking for. There on the screen was a circle of standing stones with lush, rolling greenery surrounding it. Finian turned up the volume slightly, in time to catch the words, County Kerry, Ireland. As the logo for the History channel was being displayed on their way to a commercial break, she went to the kitchen to refill her coffee cup.
Well, isnt that interesting? she thought as she poured the dark, steaming liquid into the cup. Finian returned to the living room just as the program was returning to the screen. The narrator was talking about the compilation of stones and mounds that were now displayed on the screen. It was a place called Kenmare, on the southwest side of the Emerald Isle. Finians ears perked up when the narrator mentioned that the Kenmare stone circle was located not far from the Cromwell Bridge. Her mind immediately conjured up an image of Caer. Finian was suddenly overcome with a sense of protection towards the woman, who up to now, only existed in her heart and her head. As Finian was examining the feelings that were washing over her at the mention of Cromwells name, the voice on the television mentioned another name. Brugh Na Boinne.
Brugh Na Boinne, now known as Newgrange was located in Meath County. Immediately, Finian felt another, different feeling. It was more like a presence, than a feeling. She was drawn to the television screen and focused on the words and pictures emanating from it.
Finian had an intense feeling that Caer was close by, as she watched the television screen switch from one scene to another as the narrator described the mounds, the giant passage-tombs, and the astrological significance of the positions of many of the standing stones that still stood throughout the site. Finian found herself looking for a blond, green-eyed woman to appear on the screen; Caers presence was so strong.
Finian picked up the notebook, which was still lying on the coffee table from the night before, and jotted down the name of the sacred site. She felt drawn to this place called Brugh Na Boinne. It was as if some inner voice or an inner knowing was telling her that she would find Caer near this ancient archaeological site on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
She started thinking about all the ties that the strange events that were happening to her had to Ireland. Right down to the Irish accent she had detected when Caer spoke her name and had sung to her. Was that the message in all of this? Was she suppose to go to Ireland and meet this woman she had dreamed about, both awake and asleep?
Finian shut the television off and sat there looking at the blank screen. She really did not have a clue as to what she was suppose to do. She reached down and picked up her coffee cup and the notebook.
While she waited for her computer to boot up, Finian took her empty coffee cup to the kitchen for a refill. On her way back through the living room, she was drawn to the bookcase. As her eyes scanned the many books, one seemed to stand out. She could barely make out the faded words embossed into the spine of the book as she reached and pulled it from its place on the shelf. It was a book about ancient Celtic holy days and festivals. She quickly scanned her memory, but could not remember buying or receiving this particular book. Finian shrugged her shoulders. One of two things. She thought as she carried the book and her full coffee cup to her small office. Either I bought this book at an auction or flea market with other books or its one that I had when I was a kid and just dont remember.
Fin sat down at her computer and placed the book and her coffee on the small table to the right of her computer desk. She glanced at the book, thought, later, and turned to her monitor.
Finian heard a loud grumble and suddenly felt the hole in her stomach. She glanced at the clock in the corner of her monitor and was astonished to find that more than seven hours had passed. "God, Im starving," she said out loud, feeling the need to break the silence and the spell that had seemed to settle over her while she sat in front of her computer. "Seven hours, my god, where did seven hours go?" She asked herself as she pushed herself away from the desk.
As she busied herself in the kitchen fixing a salad and a small pot of linguini, her mind returned to the trance-like state she had just come from. She performed the physical tasks she was doing by rote as she replayed in her head, all the bits and pieces of information that had been scrolling across her computer screen for the last seven hours.
Finally, her dinner done Finian forced herself to give her brain a much-needed break and carried her food to the living room. She turned on the television and put it on Nickelodeon. She felt her mood rise slightly when she recognized the theme song for the old Patty Duke Show. She felt a smile start to tug at the corners of her lips when Patty and Kathy did their mime routine.
About halfway through the show, Finian realized that whenever Kathy was doing a scene by herself, without Patty, or there was a scene without Patty in it, her attention was not as focused. She thought back to when she watched the show as a child and remembered the same thing had happened then.
Finian lost interest in what was happening on the screen as she automatically ate her food and thought about the small revelation she had just experienced. Im thirty-two years old, she said to herself as she picked up her Pepsi and took a drink, I guess its about time I admitted, at least to myself, that I think I had a crush on Patty Duke. Finian put down the can of Pepsi and laughed out loud, spewing Pepsi all over the coffee table. She picked up her napkin and quickly wiped off the table as she thought about how Michelle might respond to this latest bit of information.
God, that felt good, she thought as she stood and picked up the tray that had held her food. Funny how a little admission even to oneself can lighten the soul. She grinned to herself as she carried the tray to the kitchen. As she stood at the sink washing her supper dishes, Finian started wondering again, if this whole thing really was her subconscious pushing her out of the closet. She had thought about that possibility a few times over the course of the last couple of weeks, with a little help from Michelle, but no matter how she looked it at or how she tried to make it all fit into a neat little box, it didnt work. Her gut knew that there was much more to it than that. If coming out of the closet is part of it this, then so be it, she thought, Ill cross that bridge when I get to it.
On her way back to the living room, Finian went to her office and got the book she had taken from the bookshelf, earlier. She settled her long, supple body into the leather sofa and pulled the afghan her grandmother had crocheted for her, over her exposed legs. It was then that she realized that she still wore the nightshirt she had worn to bed the night before. She opened the book and started thumbing through it.
She stopped when she came to the chapter on Beltaine. She knew from her previous interests in the earth religions that Beltaine, also known more modernly as May Day, was a festival of fertility, rebirth, and the renewal of life. As her eyes followed the words on the page, her mind started putting some things together. Beltaine was the beginning of summer and the light half of the Celtic year. It was one of the times of the Celtic year when it was believed that the veil between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest. It was believed, that at this time of year, when the world was going from the dark of the year to the light of the year, from winter to summer, that the imaginary boundaries separating past and present, were passable. Many legends held that loved ones from the past would come through the veil to once more walk among those in the present at Beltaine, when the Bel Fires were lit to guide them.
Finian lifted her eyes from the page and stared at the blank screen of the television on the other side of the room. She thought back to being at Mystery Hill on May first. She remembered the shimmering rock and how the next day she found the fresh bough of apple blossoms lying on the ground behind it. It was after those couple of experiences that she started having the dreams and visions about Caer.
Finian tentatively let her mind go for a moment to do some musing. She tried to keep a reign on the bullet thoughts that began ricocheting around her head. After several minutes when she couldnt seem to get any of those thoughts to come together cohesively, Finian managed to shut off her head and returned to the book she still held in her hands.
The next chapter she turned to was on Samhain. Samhain eve is what we celebrate in this country as Halloween on October 31. In Celtic lore, Samhain was celebrated on November 1 and is the opposite of Beltaine. It is the beginning of the dark half of the year, when summer becomes winter. It is the time of death, barrenness, and taking stock of the past. Samhain was also believed to be the other time of the year when the veil between the worlds was at its thinnest, the time of year when one could move from this world to the past. Huge bonfires were lit to serve as a beacon for those crossing through the veil as well as to keep malevolent spirits away.
Legend also has it that oftentimes those crossing over were guided to the other side by the sound of bells or music. Most who crossed over at Samhain were the spirits of the dead coming to the land of the living to make contact with loved ones; returning to the other side before the dawn. Obscure legend held that at times, when the need was fervent or the call loud enough, those still ensconced in their living, physical body could also cross. There were some Celtic legends that told of people passing through the veils, never to be seen again. And there were still fewer stories of those who came back through the veil to tell of their adventures. The few stories that remained spoke of other worlds and other times.
Finian suddenly remembered the song that Caer had sung to her in a dream when all of this first began. She recalled the words as if they were being whispered in her ear, her mind lingering on the last few lines.
Let her guide you back to me
Through Samhains sacred fire
When the veils of time are at their least
And the Gate is open wide
Will you let the Goddess walk you through
To be back by my side?
Finians brain started clicking and somewhere just below her conscious minds awareness, cohesiveness started to form. She closed her eyes and let the song play through her head repeatedly, each time lingering on the last few lines.
* * * * * * * *
Caer opened her eyes and thought by the remains of the fire, that she had not been asleep long. She sat up, rubbed her eyes, and got slowly to her feet. She walked to the doorway of her hut, took her mantle from its hook and draped it over her shoulders. Caer moved the leather pelt aside and walked out into the crisp, early morning darkness.
The full moon was just beginning to wane and peeked at her from behind the clouds that floated softly across the night sky. Caer took the stool that leaned against her hut and sat with her back resting against the cool, hardened earth of her home. She gazed out into the night and wondered.
There was no doubt in her mind that the raven-haired woman was her anamchara, her soulmate. She felt oneness, a mending of her spirit whenever she felt the womans presence. She wondered where Finian was. Where did she live? How did she live? Her mind returned to her conversation with Loic a few days earlier. What did he say? He felt as if she were in a place where the old ways had been mostly forgotten. Caer thought about that for a moment and realized that when she dreamed of Finian or had waking visions of the tall, blue-eyed woman, her surroundings felt out of place. There was an energy associated with Finian that felt much faster than here, in her tiny village. Caer tried as she might, but she could not identify what she was feeling.
Caer had been raised to remember the past. She preserved the past and added to its archives through her words and music. The people of her time had little time for speculating about the future. What was important, was today and the lessons learned along the way. Those lessons were taught through the words and songs of the Druids. Without a point of reference, she could not even begin to think about Finian existing in a future world.
Caer gazed up at the clouds as they moved slowly across the moonlit sky. She noticed that some of the clouds were dense and others were so transparent that she could see the darkness of the sky behind them. Her mind went back to Beltaine and the night she had spent at the sacred well. She recalled the song she had sung. She also recalled ancient legends that told of the veils between the worlds. Some of those legends told of people passing through the veils to live in a world that existed along side her own.
It didnt take her long to recall that the two times of the year when the veils were at their thinnest and the only times according to the stories, that people could pass through, were Beltaine and Samhain. Her mind recognized the fact that all of these strange dreams and visions had begun on Beltaine Eve. Is it possible? she thought.
Her mind quickly caught onto another thought. The song I sang at the sacred well on Beltaine, she reflected, was placed upon my tongue by the Goddess to show the us way. Caer could have thumped herself in the head when she realized that she had been so caught up in her dreams and visions and enjoying her vivid imagination when it came to the physical, that she hadnt really given the events of Beltaine much thought. So much had happened since then. Caer felt her cheeks start to redden. For a moment, she wondered if she would be able to look Finian in the eye without blushing the moment that she saw her. Caer smiled as she wondered if Finian would carry her memories of her dreams and visions with her when she came.
Caer forcefully pulled her mind from her delicious reverie back to where she sat on the stool. She reached back for more stories about the thinning of the veils. Themes that kept recurring throughout the stories were about certain magical places where the crossings could take place; most of them near large stones such as the ones that surrounded the circle outside her village. Through the years and the many changes that the Gaelic language had undergone, the names of these locations had been lost or completely changed. She wondered now, if her circle could be one of those places.
Caer let her thoughts return to Beltaine, and to how, as she and Daan had approached the circle of stones, Caer had imagined that one stone in particular had stood out from the others. The veil, Caer mused, the veil must have been thin enough for us to connect to one another. That thought led to another. Finian must have been near one of the magical places at the same time.
Caers mind finally came full circle and returned her to the night at the sacred well and the song she had sung to Finian. Samhain. The veil would be thin enough again at Samhain. Caers mind again returned to Loic telling her that Finian was in a place where the old ways were mostly forgotten. For a moment, she felt panic rising in her chest. What if she doesnt understand? What if she cant find her way through? What if she doesnt know about the magical place? Caers mind was running rampant with fear. She struggled to get a grip on the fear that was coursing through her. There were only five full cycles of the moon before the gate opened again. Would that be enough time for Finian to figure out this puzzle?
A rumble in the distance shook her and she looked up to where the moon had been. The suddenness of cold rain splashing down upon her upraised cheeks not only put the fear at bay, but washed all traces of the tears from her face.
Caer stood up, leaned the stool against the hut to keep the rain from pooling on the seat, and quickly ducked inside. She removed her wet mantle and hung it on a peg by the fireplace to dry. As she reached into the basket behind her pallet for a large piece of dry linen to dry off her hair and her face, she marveled at how quickly the storm had come up. She had been so absorbed in her thoughts that she hadnt noticed the changes in the sky or in the air.
Caer pulled her pallet over a little closer to the fire and tossed a couple of logs onto the glowing embers. She had caught a slight chill from the rain and wanted to feel the warmth of the flames. She thought for a moment about trying to go back to sleep but just as quickly as the thought formed, she knew that she would not be able to quiet her mind enough for sleep. Instead, she filled the iron pot with water and set it over the fire while she ground some chicory root, wrapped it in linen, and placed it in her mug.
While she was waiting for the water to get hot enough, she looked around her small kitchen for something to eat. Finding her choices limited, she settled for a handful of dried beef. With her mug in one hand and the beef in the other, Caer went to the pallet that she had placed almost in front of the fire. She filled her cup with steaming water and sat down. The rich, pungent aroma rose up to reach her nose. She closed her eyes and inhaled, savoring it before it even touched her lips.
Finian stirred as one long, slender leg slipped out from under the afghan that was draped over her, and landed on a cold patch of leather. She quickly pulled her leg back to the warmth of the afghan and the sudden movement jarred her to wakefulness. Finian opened her eyes and looked around. She looked down and saw the book of Celtic lore lying on the afghan that just barely covered her lap and bent legs. It took her a moment to remember how she had come to be asleep on the couch.
Slowly, bits and pieces started to filter through her brain and merge together to form somewhat cohesive thoughts. So, she thought, if it is true that at Beltaine and Samhain you can sometimes leave this world and crossover to another time, place or both, then where does one do it? Finian thought about her experiences again, on and around May first. She suddenly had an image of her fingertips disappearing into the large stone at Mystery Hill. She had pushed that memory to the back of her file drawer based on the level of fear that she had felt when it happened. It was something that was beyond her scope of understanding at the time and her intellect had directed her to place it somewhere for future study.
Still thinking about the seeming disappearance of her fingertips into the solid granite of the large stone, Finian threw the afghan aside and stood up, stretching her six foot frame to try to work some of the kinks out from sleeping curled up on the sofa. Finian twisted her neck first to the left, then to right and was rewarded with the sound of vertebrae slipping back into place. Wiggling her shoulders slightly to shake off any leftover tension, she headed toward the kitchen to make some coffee. A quick glance at the window on her way to the kitchen had told her that it was still dark outside, but she didnt think there would be any more sleep for her tonight.
Finians mind was still at Mystery Hill as she went through the motions of setting up the coffee maker. The reflection from the overhead light glinting off the stainless steel band around the neck of the coffee pot, brought up the memory of how the large stone at the Hill had appeared to be shimmering when she tried to touch it. Then she remembered the vibration she had felt emanating from the stone. She also remembered the feeling she had experienced physically, in her solar plexus. She also reminded herself again, that her first contacts with Caer began after she left Mystery Hill.
The gurgling of the coffee maker drew Finians attention back to the full pot of warm, dark brew waiting for. She was momentarily surprised that she had been standing there for the entire time that the coffee was brewing. She poured herself a cup of the strong, Colombian elixir and as an afterthought, filled the white carafe with the rest of the hot coffee and brought it with her.
Nestled back under the warm afghan, her coffee cup warming her left hand, Finian reached out and picked up the book lying beside her. She paged through the book with her right hand, as she occasionally sipped the warm liquid. For a brief moment, she wondered if Caer liked coffee, or if she even knew what it was. That was a strange thought, her mind reprimanded her. Where could she be that she wouldnt know about coffee? Finians soon to be twenty-first century mind couldnt conceive of a remotely civilized culture that didnt include coffee as she knew it.
Her mind suddenly flashed on the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Pictures started appearing inside her head as if someone were putting on a slide show for her. She saw hand to hand fighting, buildings burning, stone circles being desecrated, the towering megaliths being toppled, crops burning in the fields, robed beings running into the woods, carrying what they could in two hands. Interspersed with the pictures of violence that were going through her head, were the occasional glimpses of emerald green eyes that seemed to flash a message to her. The eyes appeared calm, yet insistent. She was suddenly aware of a feeling that had come over her. Somehow, she felt that Caer was in no danger at the moment, but that the pictures she was seeing were of something that was to come.
The pictures began to fade away as Finian let the assurance she felt coming to her through those eyes surround her. She couldnt explain why, but she felt confident that Caer would be okay. At least until she got there. "There? Where?" Finian blurted out to the room in frustration. As she said the words aloud, she heard the answer. "1640 Ireland?" She asked herself, incredulously.
She looked down at the book that she still held in her hand, her finger holding the place where she had stopped turning pages. At some time during the foray into her mind, she had placed her empty coffee cup on the table in front of her and she now leaned forward to refill it before returning to the book.
Finian flipped the book open with her thumb to the place her finger still held. As she was getting ready to start leafing through the pages again, her eyes fell on the words at the top of the page. Sacred Places. Under the words was a small drawing of a stone circle. Without reading any further, Finian began to think about the possibility that the Beltaine stone at Mystery Hill may be one of the places where a doorway existed between the worlds. The usually calm, controlled woman suddenly felt a surge of excitement welling up inside of her. Somehow, the pieces of the puzzle where starting to form a picture. It presented a very bizarre picture to her rational mind, but one that her feelings would not let her refuse to look at.
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