"When shall we meet again? In thunder, lightening, or in rain?" "When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won." "That will be ere the set of the sun." "Where the place?" "Upon the heath."
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air."
The azure skies above, blanketing the earth in its motherly clutches, stretched across the vast plains of grass and sweet scented wildflowers. Only the wind rustling in the tall, shady trees, and the sound of a rippling stream broke the magical silence of this heavenly scenario. Patches of lavender and dandelions extended their stalks alongside the crystal stream, dappling the countryside with colourful patterns. But with perfection also comes a fault, a minor error that can change opinion and mood. As the grey clouds gathered and dusk approached, the night air grew cold and the old, rusting signs gave no warning as the creatures of the wild drank the tainted water. A bolt of lightning lit up the sky, breaking the shadowing barrier of clouds. Startled, I awoke from my trance and jumped up, suddenly realising that I had been lying in the rain for over an hour now. Meditation was my escape, yet sometimes I would curse myself for 'overdoing' it. I shook the droplets of water from my face and pushed my hair away from my eyes before setting into a steady pace back home.
At thirteen years of age, people would say that I have a gift, an ability to withdraw myself from the completely awake world and travel to a sanctuary of dreams where only the spirit may enter. They can call it what they want, meditation, ESP, the holy lord's gift, but I call it My Escape. I don't quite understand how and why I have it, all I know is that it is as natural to me as crying is to an infant.
As I neared the house I could hear my mother humming to herself as she hung up the clothes on the washing line down the back. I crept in before my mother had a chance of telling me off for leaving wet footprints on the kitchen floor and fled upstairs to have a shower. The hot water ran over my body, offering comfort from the pelting rain drops that had frozen me. Steam arose from the shower and condensed upon the bathroom mirror. As I stepped out of the shower and wiped the mirror with my hand I noticed my reflection. Something so familiar seemed so different, somewhat alien. My normally oily skin spotted with acne was now smooth, and had a red glow to it. I dismissed the latter as a result of the hot water, but such a change in appearance as the loss of acne in less than three hours puzzled me.
I changed and went downstairs to find my mother sitting at the kitchen table looking very annoyed. I could tell she was about to go off at me.
"Where the hell have you been?" She didn't wait for me to answer. "You were at that field again, weren't you? I don't want you ever going there again. Church comes first, now you will have to learn that the hard way."
My mother was a small woman, and no-one really took her seriously. I guess that is why my father didn't believe her when she told him she was leaving him. I follow in my father's footsteps. I don't respect my mother, she cannot control me, she doesn't understand me. I could tell she was distressed as well as furious now. She thinks my soul is lost to the devil and that only god can save me. The thing is, I couldn't give a damn. I don't believe in the devil, I don't believe there can be such a creature created entirely of evil. It just seems beyond reality to me. I turned my back on her and started to walk away, not wanting to hear the rest of her evidently prepared speech. She began to yell at me again, and I could hear the pain ripping through her throat as she tried to reach me. But I had already shut her out.
My room was on the far side of the house. It had once been the study, but I had transformed the once lifeless room into a sanctuary of animation with a creative touch. It had always been pretty dull to me, but as I walked into it now, it seemed alive and vibrant. The crimson sponged walls contrasted harmoniously with the teak bed and study desk. The large wooden chest at the foot of my bed, engraved with symbols of the ancients, was my most favoured item. I had received it as a present on my tenth birthday from my recently deceased father. Upon it burned a single, waxen candle, illuminous in my dark room. A parcel, wrapped in brown paper and tied with a piece of white cord, lay on my bed. No card was attached, but I soon found myself asking my mother where it came from.
"Oh, that. It came with the postie. He said something about a gift to uncover the deeper meaning of your gift." It was fairly obvious that she had paid some interest to the parcel and had memorized the postman's exact words. "Strange, now that I think of it."
"What is?" "The postie. He addressed me by my maiden name. I didn't even notice." "How does Sam know your maiden name?" "That's just it. He doesn't, but that wasn't Sam. Sam is on holiday in the Caribbean."
My mother left the room and I returned to my thoughts. I gazed at the candle. Its flickering flame was almost hypnotising, and I found myself visualising metamorphosed images of it. Firstly, the flame turned colour, and then the candle itself twisted into spirals and coils. After returning it to its normal state I began to question myself.
Did I really do that? Of course I did. But that's impossible; magic? Me? Believe what you will, do as you must. But, its fiction, fantasy. Yes, that's it. It's just my imagination, nothing more...
And I left it at that. I turned my concentration to the parcel. It was heavy, and yet not very large. When I shook it, it sounded hollow and rattled. I undid the cord tie and examined the paper. It wasn't as plain as I had expected it to be. Tiny indentations covered the surface. I recognised them a circle enclosing a five-pointed star. The sign of the occult. I hesitated before ripping the paper away to reveal a rather plain black mahogany box. The brass lock on it was clearly newer than the box itself. I found the key in a wad of tissues. It was brass too, and threaded through a length of leather. It had a modern clasp so I immediately placed it around my scrawny neck as I could hear mum's faint voice echo through the passageway.
"Dinner's ready." "Be right down."
As usual, my mother served a TV dinner, but as always, we sat at the table. She insisted that we say grace before eating, so while she did so, I thought of the box lying on my bed, waiting for the tiny key to unlock its hopefully majestic secrets within. I shook my head free of empty expectations and devoured the food in a matter if minutes so that I would be able to examine the box without much delay. I excused myself and bounded up the stairs, leaving my mother staring after me. I guess that's one good thing about her. She doesn't mind my disobedience if it has nothing to do with the 'almighty lord'.
The hinges of the ebony box squealed although they had seemed to be as new as the lock and key. A musty odor arose from the box, leaving me with a displeased expression on my face. The inner face of the box was quite different to the outer facade. The interior walls were layered with a rich green cushion, and pasted on the other side of the lid was a scroll, but I was unable to read it as it was written in some foreign language. Enclosed in the box, though remarkable, were few objects; a quill made from a peacock feather, a bottle of black ink, and two cotton bound books, about the size of an A4 sheet of paper folded in half and half again. Both books weren't that much dissimilar as they were both clothbound and contained parchment paper. The only difference was that while one was empty, the other contained an endless number of pages on which, printed neatly, was an array of antique-like characters, quite like hieroglyphics. If I had bothered to investigate more thoroughly, I would have found a decoder on the inverse side of the cover, but my eyes were growing heavy and I could not contain my sleepiness any longer. A long yawn escaped from within me, and as I laid my weary head upon my pillow, my eyes shut and didn't open until the next morn.
Dawn. The beginning, an assurance that life continues on, and does not fade into the night. All my life I have awoken at daybreak. Another day, another challenge, another chance. As my eyes slowly opened, I caught a glimpse of the moon still high in the sky, beside the sun with its rays of gold filtering through my windows. Confusion mingled in my head, although deep within me, I felt comforted by it; the uniqueness, the bizarreness, the romancing charm about it. Then, just as I grew accustomed to this remarkable sight, a dark cloud drifted overhead and loomed enigmatically, spoiling the view. My eyes widened in perplexity and I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming...
The first thing I saw when I finally awoke was the golden sun, alone in the clear skies above. I smiled to myself, but inside, I felt confused by the emotions stirring up inside of me. I glanced around my room and caught sight of the wooden box. I crawled out of bed just enough to reach the one of the books, the one with the strange writings. I flicked through the pages, and stumbled on a piece of paper tucked into the front cover - a decipherer. It was written recently, and I could just make out the tiny scrawl. I had enough time to decrypt the first chapter, entitled "Dayma; for only the chosen." When I had finally completed that chapter, I read through my notes and to my astonishment, it contained knowledge about the ancient religion's rebirth;
Dayma; a religion from the ages of ancient, embodies the power from which the body, mind and soul generate. From age old teachings these transcripts were taken, and unto thee, they are given.
An inspired thought entered my mind, it was if this book mesmorised me, taking me into its grasps and claiming me for its own. I read about the way Dayma, the religion of the sorcerers, was shunned from humankind as village folk were afraid to accept what they did not understand. I learnt the ways of the Dayma in four short hours, and by the time I emerged from my room, I was confident enough to devote myself to tread the Dayman path. That whole day passed with the wind, a fleeting memory is all that remains of it.
For a year and a day, everything seemed perfect, my mother slackened the rules about Church, I spent most of my time with my head buried in books under the same tree in that same field that I had been forbidden to enter. Then, almost as if an electric current had run through my body, I felt a sudden indecisiveness. If Dayma was to be my destiny, then why had I not performed any magick? Doubts began to turn the wheels in my brain, shadows dimmed my view of the world, and I was sucked under by demons that argued with my wants. That is when the torture began...
Sleepless nights, haunting memories, suicidal thoughts. Every taunting jest inflicted upon by the demonic spirits would add to my pain and suffering. During the night I would sit and think, just sit and think. Recollections of misery and spite swept rapidly through my head, reminding me of the heavy kitchen knife that I hid under my bed. Handling it, I would feel the cold, quick relief it could give me. But I knew I would lose the fight if I surrendered and slid the knife over my wrist, so instead I carried on down my acidic path of life.
Two years passed, although it seemed as if it had been two millenniums. Another year, another weight of anguish lay itself upon my shoulders. I hated myself for opening that box. I hated myself for believing that Dayma could make me something in life, not just another face in the crowd, not just another civilian in the midst, but someone whom the people of the lands far and wide would acknowledge and admire,... and love. With every moon I would grow more and more sickly, something that a simple doctor could not cure. I empoisoned myself with notions of decay, of death, of pain. I wanted to die. I wanted to feel the pain and sufferings of every other being upon this planet. The disease swelled and grew until the locals considered me insane. I did not fight this rumor, as I knew it was as close to the truth as possible.
My mother grew frantic. She began taking me to church every day, and if for some reason that wasn't possible, she would pray over me and chant over and over again;
"Praise the lord, praise the almighty lord, bless us oh holy lord, oh divine of the heavens, praise the lord."
I knew my only hope laid in religion, but what religion would offer me sanctuary from this torment? My body and mind were being infected, but my soul still remained undiminished. Dayma? But was Dayma not the cause of all this pain? No, it was my doubt which empoisoned me. Is Dayma then to be my reprieve?
"Dayma..." A faint whisper found its way out of my system. "What darling? Who? Which day?" My mother tried to understand me, but did not have the brains to really try and cure me.
Then, upon my third year as a bedridden maiden of no more than eighteen, I found my strength, and I found my courage. I had searched all my tortured years for this, and now, within the depths of my heart, I uncovered the will. Embedded deeply into the cushioning realm of dreams, the will is stronger than the binding cords of passion; it is corruption, fulfillment, disaster and fortune.
The book lay on the teak box where, once, I would burn candles and incense in hopes of finding blessings by the deity of Dayma. As I leant over to take hold of the book, I felt a tremendous energy rising towards my temple. It was as if my gift returned to me, returned to me with a simple cotton bound book.
The closer you are to nature, the closer you are to free.
My father always had an amusing phrase to entertain me with. This time, it proved to have done more. I clasped the book to my heart as I leant back in my bed. I studied long and hard, and by the hour of noon I had memorised an entire spell. I thrust back the ashen bedcovers and exerted myself to clamber out of the foundation in which I had been cemented in for the past interval. I gathered together as many candles, incense, and peace - giving music I could find in our old, weathered house.
"Hail, oh Great Deity. By the elements of life, I command thee, be here now and do unto my will." I murmured in a low voice as I continued to cast spell. "Hail, oh Great Deity. By the elements of death, I command thee, be here now and do unto my will." I continued on with the enchantment, until at last it had been done. As I turned and lit the candles with the incense I felt the elements arousing my senses. The wind blew my hair in the east, fire scorched my tender feet in the south, rain sprinkled upon my cheeks and nose from above in the west, and in the north the earth gave me strength. I encountered majestic sorcery that seemed beyond reach and beyond reality. Blue meditative energy formed in my temple and traveled into my hands, creating a ball of turquoise hew, churning and developing into an emerald light, growing until it enveloped the entire circle. I entered a state of total awareness and relaxation. My mind was free at last, and I couldn't help visualising the meadow in which I had occupied on the day that I received the exquisite box; Tender verdant leaves descending gracefully to the crystal water below, causing ripples to agitate the pretended locals - glimmering goldfish and the pure angelfish. Butterflies flitted their dazzling, symmetric wings around my head effecting me to lose concentration ever so slightly.
I focused my energy onto the two main altar candles. As I sought the answer to my ailments, the conclusion came to me as a shock. My eyes closed and I saw myself lying on a bed soaked with perspiration, choking on the few gasps of oxygen I could inhale. I couldn't await such a death, I withdrew from the task of perishing in such an excruciating exit. Another of my father's pleasant phrases toyed with my thoughts:
Some say destiny is foretold, written in the ancient books of stargazers from lost civilisations... I say you make your own destiny.
Realising my only alternative, I slid the knife from under my mattress onto the palm of my hand and gazed at it. I visualised a scene of me laying in peace under the wide boughs of a wild Baobob tree. So serene, a tranquil paradise to comfort my anguish. My last experience was one of love, an emotion never reached by me before. Too overwhelming for graphic detail, my time passed as all's does, and in hopes that my next rebirth will be one of bliss, a sweet smile shone across my face, and told my mother of my euphoria.
"They say he parted well and paid his score: And so god be with him! Here comes newer comfort."