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Old 04-24-2008, 09:37 PM   #1
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Earth, Sky, Fire and Rain - Chapter 30 (25/4/08)

Here you go... Free steak knives available for collection at my place.

Disclaimer: All false and made-up. Inaccuracies and liberties taken are my own fault.

end of chapter 29:

"Have you been writing down your dreams at all?" Dr. Mossman went on to ask. I flinched again, maybe not wholly internally.

"I was at the beginning, but not so much any more," I replied.

"Well, I'd like to give you some homework before our next session," she said. "Start writing the dreams down again, and try to remember how you felt during them. And remember, if you're serious about getting something from these sessions, you need to be completely honest, with both of us." She was still smiling, but I felt like a guilty school girl. I don't know what annoyed me more – the possibility that she'd known I'd held a lot back, or the thought that she'd just assumed that I would.

Chapter 30:

The circle was complete.

I could not suppress a sigh of relief as the last stone slid into place, and we began packing the earth back into the hole. The summer solstice was the next night, and the entire village was exhausted, worn down to the bone by the frantic pace Ewain had pushed us to. But it was done, and in time. He was prowling around the inside of the circle, his expression both triumphant and eagerly anticipatory.

He and I were no longer lovers.

The next night, there would be the dedication ceremony, a ritual to mark both the circle's completion, and our usual summer solstice rites. Sacrifices of food buried in the circle, in homage to the Earth spirits. Drums and dancing, entreaties to the spirits to bless us with health and bounty. Both were sorely needed. I would use the mushrooms to seek more direct guidance from the spirits.

I had to put all the death from my mind. With what little authority seemed to remain to me, I had told the village that I would spend all the next day in preparation, and that neither myself nor the circle must be approached for any reason. I hadn't eaten since the previous day. I must be purified, body and spirit alike.

Sometimes I still fancied I could see Raele's blood on my hand. The cry of that blood had haunted my dreams many times since her death. I had to wash that stain away; I could allow nothing of the pain and death of the circle's construction to mar its dedication. I didn't know everything, but I felt in my bones that damage had already been done, because of that death and pain. It must be healed, and so, therefore, must I.

The elders had still waited for Ewain's nod before they'd muttered their 'of course, Ritemaster's to me. That worried me, but I put it out of my mind as well. I had a day of fasting and meditation ahead of me, and some hard questions to put to rest.

Well, I thought once I realised I was awake, that explained the dream I'd had in Australia. I'd been wondering how that fit in with everything – Mag's attitude before this dedication had been relatively calm, I'd thought, considering everything I'd dreamed more recently, in the events leading up to that earlier dream.

But then, why did these dreams have to make any sense at all?

Still, something of Mag's calmness had slipped when she'd seen Ewain at the ceremony. It was no easy thing, I mused, to look at the face of someone who had indirectly caused the deaths of three people, and who had also been your extra-marital lover. Perhaps those interesting mushrooms had helped her to distance herself from the horrible events, and carry on in her capacity as Ritemaster.

It was so hard to try to remember that these dreams may not be real. I got tricked into thinking of them as being as real as they felt, which I knew to be a dangerous assumption to make.

My sessions with Dr. Mossman were weekly, and this time I was armed with my notebook again, containing my dreams of the previous week. There had only been three, but there they were. Dream events and associated feelings all faithfully documented. My feelings, as well as Mag's. I wondered if Dr. Mossman appreciated how differently I felt about things as Mag and as myself. Well, she would now.

Glen had asked me how the first session had gone, of course. I'd given him a fairly vague and non-committal reply, and pointed out that nothing much could be achieved in one session. I wondered if he expected me to tell him every detail of the therapy... that would be like getting psychoanalysed twice in one day, I thought. No thanks.

This time, Dr. Mossman asked me to take a seat on the couch. She sat in an armchair, not facing me directly.

"How did you go with recording your dreams?"

"I wrote them down, there were only three this week. Do you want to read them?" I belatedly realised I should have written them in a separate notebook from the first lot.

But to my relief, she shook her head. "No, that's fine. It's for your benefit, primarily, to help you remember how you felt about what you were dreaming. And that will help us identify what might be causing these dreams. Can you tell me what was happening in your life when they first started?"

I frowned in thought. "Well, I thought they'd started when I was in Australia, mapping out there. But I'd been having these nightmares too, although I couldn't remember anything about them, except the fact that it was a nightmare... Now, though, I think those were related too. I think they were about someone being killed during the circle's construction."

"And when did the nightmares start?"

"It must have been about the middle of last year," I said, trying to remember. "It was a little while after I'd been out in the field... I'd been scanning this part of the 'desert' of Wales with a magnetometer, and this archaeologist at the university wasn't happy with what I'd done." I blushed at the remembered embarrassment. "Glen thought I was having the nightmares because of that. But it seemed a pretty excessive reaction."

Dr. Mossman nodded. "I'd like to ask you more about the content of the dreams," she said. "If you find it difficult to speak about how they make you feel, you can use these cushions we have here." She indicated the little cushions that were next to me on the couch. They were various soothing shades, and when I picked one up, I saw it had the word 'sad' written on it. I blinked.

"Just pick up whichever one, or ones are appropriate for how the dream made you feel, all right?"

I looked at a few more – 'happy', 'afraid', angry', 'turned-on'. I dropped that last one like a hot potato. And there were others. "Where's the one for 'sceptical'," I muttered. Dr. Mossman gave a polite chuckle.

"These are just to help you express yourself," she told me in tones better suited to soothing a recalcitrant child. This whole situation had suddenly become surreal.

"I'm really not sure..."

"Shall we give it a try, at least?"

I grunted. I was supposed to be here for my own mental health, I supposed I should trust that Dr. Mossman knew what she was doing. But... cushions?

"All right then. Now, can you tell me something about the other characters in your dreams?"

"Um... I guess Eleri was the first one. She was the Ritemaster in the village before Mag took over. Mag was her acolyte, like an apprentice." I fidgeted nervously. If Dr. Mossman's tactic had been designed to put me firmly on the back foot, then it was working like a charm.

"And how do you feel about Eleri?" She looked pointedly at the pile of cushions.

"Well, I..." Feeling like an absolute fool, I picked up the 'sad' one. My face was crimson. Dr. Mossman pretended not to notice.

"And why does Eleri make you feel sad?"

"Well... Mag was very close to her, and she died before Mag felt her training was complete. It was years ago, in the dreams, I mean, although I dreamed that happening at the time. But Mag still feels sad when she thinks about her."

If Dr. Mossman was in any way confused by that jumbled statement, she gave no sign.

"Who else is there?"

"Er... There was Alun, who Mag was mated to. They had two children... A third didn't live long after birth." I gave the 'sad' pillow a poke, for Dr. Mossman's benefit.

"Do you feel sad about Alun as well?"

"I dunno, a bit I guess... um." I rummaged among the cushions, still feeling ridiculous, until I found one that said 'guilty'.

Dr. Mossman looked at me with an unspoken question. And just like that, we'd arrived at Ewain. I glared suspiciously at the cushions.

"Well, in that society, it was, uh... acceptable for a Ritemaster of Earth to... um... well. To have extra-marital relationships," I said at last. Luckily my face was already red. I fiddled absently with the 'guilty' cushion. "Mag was having a relationship like that with another man, called Ewain. It wasn't VERY acceptable, but it was permitted."

"So Mag and Ewain were lovers, even though Mag felt guilty about it?"

I shook my head. "Not at first. Her attraction to Ewain was almost entirely physical... all that chemistry and pheromones going crazy, you know. She was totally wrapped up in him... and he has... I mean, he had a very charismatic personality."

"And how do you feel about Ewain?"

My eyes darted to the 'turned-on' cushion against my will, but that wasn't true any more. And it had never been true of me, just Mag.

"Well, here is where I get confused," I said. "Do you mean my feelings, or Mag's? They're not the same at all, especially concerning Ewain. And even Mag's feelings have changed dramatically during the course of these dreams."

"How do you feel about him now?"

Scowling, I went for the cushions again, and came up with 'angry' and 'afraid'. "This is really over-simplifying things," I said. This wasn't sitting well with me at all.

"And Mag?"

"At the moment, about the same," I admitted. "Earlier, it was more of those two." I pointed at 'happy' and, reluctantly, at 'turned-on'. "She was obsessed, really. Ever since he'd walked into the village from somewhere else, she'd been drawn to him. He was all mysterious and charming."

"How have things been between you and your partner – Glen, isn't it?"


She just looked at me.

"Fine, now," I amended. "We had a rough patch two or three months ago, but, again, that was caused by these dreams."

"How so?"

Oh boy, here we go. I sighed, and shifted on the couch. "The first time I'd gone out in the field in this area, near that stone circle, I ran into this random guy. He was out with his family," I made a point of meeting Dr. Mossman's eyes and emphasising that point, "and he walked up and asked me some questions about my equipment. We had a chat, and then he left. There was nothing to it."

"Go on," Dr. Mossman said.

I really didn't want to, but I told myself I had to. I was paying, after all.

"We met again a couple of other times while I was on that job. It's a tiny village, one pub, hard to avoid people. We just talked, there were no sparks or anything, trust me on that." Beanie-wearing weirdo that he was. "I started having the nightmares, and those dreams, well after I came back from that trip. Except circumstances took me out to that area again, and Ed – that's his name – was there again, too. He said... well, he told me that he'd been dreaming about that place too. It's poppycock, he was obviously stalking me or something."

Dr. Mossman looked at me with that eternally accepting expression. It was maddening.

"By the third time I got sent out there, he'd tried to tell me he was dreaming the same dreams about the same people, except... Except he was dreaming them from Ewain's point of view."

I watched the counsellor's face, waiting for her to say "Aha!" or to see a light bulb appear over her head.


She said, "How did you feel about Ed, when you first met him?"

I saw her glance at the cushions, and I recalled that baffling tumult of emotions when I'd first seen Ed. My feelings about him now were probably even more confused. How the hell was I supposed to express that through bloody pillows? And I wasn't sure I wanted to, in any case. This whole thing was humiliating, childish. Cushions!

"No, look, I'm sorry, I'm not doing the cushion thing. I mean come on, that might work for kids, but I'm nearly thirty-eight years old!"

"You don't have to use the cushions, Lisa," Dr. Mossman said, seemingly impervious to my manner, "but you still need to tell me how you feel about Ed."

"I don't have a thing for him."

"That wasn't what I asked..."

"No, but I know what you're thinking. You think that because Mag was shagging Ewain in the dreams, I want to shag Ed, but I don't. Nothing could be further from the truth. And now you're going to think I'm protesting too much because I'm hiding something, but it's the simple truth. Glen came to the same wrong conclusion, and that broke my heart, but I think he's finally convinced that I want nothing more to do with bloody Ed. Who keeps calling me up in the middle of the bloody night! Okay, that only happened once, but Glen answered the phone. Anyway, I don't think this is going to work, I'm sorry for wasting your time."

I stood up, and Dr. Mossman did too. She didn't seem at all concerned.

"Lisa, please sit down..."

"No, thank you. I suppose you're going to tell me we're finally making progress because I'm flying off the handle."

"Maybe that's what you've seen on TV, Lisa..."

"I barely watch it any more. I came here because I'm afraid I've been deluding myself about these dreams, and I just want them to stop..."

"Then we need to talk about them, Lisa."

"I can't do that with cushions! And stop using my name, Bridget! I'm sorry."

I picked up my bag, and walked out. I couldn't face talking about everything in so much detail with that woman. That thing with the cushions... god. Who does that? It was crazy. I nearly laughed.


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Old 04-24-2008, 10:30 PM   #2
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1st post!!!

Get your butt back in there Lisa!!

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Old 04-25-2008, 08:27 AM   #3
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I think I'm starting to figure something out... Of course I'm usually wrong.

Awesome chapter!
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:03 AM   #4
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change of mood pretty much!
Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 04-25-2008, 12:54 PM   #5
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i like it.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:01 PM   #6
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You cannot leave it there! Ack! Like Zuey sez; get back in there.


(Oh yes, for the record; I'd shag Ed.... Did I just admit to that? )
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:27 PM   #7
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Originally posted by youvedonewhat
You cannot leave it there! Ack! Like Zuey sez; get back in there.


(Oh yes, for the record; I'd shag Ed.... Did I just admit to that? )
Why yes, yes you did, YDW...

Thanks for the comments, guys!

I'll post the next chapter tomorrow... Everything's starting to come together now...

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