Genre: Mysticism & Fantasy
A sweet tale of Magic and Mysticism! I hope you enjoy it!
Now, Where We Belong
It had been years since she had played, or maybe it was days? Shaking the momentary confusion out from her mind, Sophia Maxwell-Bell ran her long, slender hand along the wooden edges of the piano as she circled it, eyes transfixed. She lifted her head to the skies, closed her eyes and breathed a full amount of fresh,crisp morning dewy air into her lungs relishing every second, the smile not leaving her face. “Oh, it feels great to be alive” Sophia thought as she returned her gaze back down to the piano.
She didn’t know where she was.
“Sophia, Sophia!” The draggled sounds of her acquainted friend called out to her.
“Here Manuel, I am by the beautiful piano”.
Manuel staggered towards her clearly in much pain as he almost dragged his left leg to follow the other. Had he been stabbed? Shot by an arrow? Sliced by the paw of a bear? “Manuel, Manuel, what happened to you?”
“The men Sophia, they saw me, they know where I am hiding. Please, it is no longer safe, we must go.”
Looking around, shushing her friend, Sophia listened for the men that Manuel were talking about. She heard nothing. And got straight to work on the damage done by whatever it was to Manuel’s leg. Tearing cotton from her hem, using the clean dewy moisture from leaves cleaning the flesh then carefully bandaged above it to stop any blood from being lost. She could see Manuel’s shock and took the brandy from his back pocket and made him sip before she poured a little onto the wound to disinfect. All the while pleading he muffled his sounds of agony.
In hushed whispers they talked, Sophia first, “These men, who are they?”
“They are the scavengers of the dead – The Soul Preyers – and we are in great danger, we must, must get going before they find me, us, here, we must go, now!”.
Sophia hauled Manuel to his feet, steadying him as he tested the weight of his pained leg, he could walk, all but wincing as they stepped towards the thickest part of the forest. They would seek refuge with The Mage, and hide from the scavengers that were craving their bones and coming for their souls.
Manuel’s leg was slowing them down, Sophia took regular stops to listen for they Preyers and when she was sure, they would move on, that being the only times of rest.
The Moon now was high in the sky shining its brilliance over the forest, and that’s when they heard the sound: It was the bone-chilling howl of their persecutors, they were gaining space on them, they had to hurry. Manuel and Sophia hurried their steps. “It’s not far now” Manuel spoke gasping for air, “Through those trees, just there, see? When we get there – we must hurry – I will alert the Mage of our coming and he will give us safe shelter”.
Obeying his word Sophia focused hoping they had enough time before they were seen. Entering the thicket, manoeuvering past gnarled branches that shot out like daggers, scratching both their flesh, they finally stopped as they reached its other side.
A short man, a very short man, gestured fervently with his arms motioning them to quicken their step and to follow him. He lifted his arms and swept the air; the trees obeyed him, parted, and they went through. With a last mumble of words, the opening was closed. “Sit, sit down, my friends, I shall bring what I need to repair our friends wound. And of course Tea for you my dear”. The Mage stepped through a heavy, velvet red curtain that hung from the top of this ‘place’ – whatever this place was, and he was gone.
The place was like a cove, small and circular. They both sat at a simple round wooden table with three stools, “An odd number” Sophia thought. And there were rugs across the earthen floor, a fire burning on the opposite side where a large, comfortable seeming armchair sat, on its arms a pile of books. Sophia breathed in and took in the aroma and scent of the cove, it put a smile on her face as the warmth and safety enveloped her ; She made the right decision to allow Manuel to bring them here.
She hadn’t heard the Mage return, but he came equipped with a folded cloth in one hand and a cup of tea in the other that he sat delicately in front of her motioning to drink while he unfolded the cloth on the table. Without looking up from his wares he softly spoke to Manuel “They can smell your wound, we must hurry to heal the torn flesh”. With that he helped Manuel’s painful leg upon his seat and got to work on the torn calf with his magic. He poured, he sprinkled, he dabbed and with a final press of his hand, when it was lifted, the wound had vanished leaving not even a streak.
“Now”, he caught both of their attention, “You must now go to where you belong” Sophia felt a surge of sullenness. The Mage continued. “It’s been 600 years since you passed away my dear, that is why the soul hunters are appearing now. Your time is up” Sophia’s brow was creased trying to figure out what he was saying to her.
The Mage swept his arm to hs right and a large silver, shining portal he opened. He took Sophia’s hand in both of his and gently spoke. “Your loved ones are waiting, my dear, there, you need to go to them, 600 years is a long time in this netherworld. You too Manuel” His focus now on him. “Them, ‘The Preyers’, have come to collect your souls as bounty and they will not stop looking until they find you both. They now have your contract”. Sensing their confusion the mage decided to call forth their most precious loved ones through the portal – each of their spouses. They both stood and hurried towards their beloveds. “Is this true?” Sophia asked her dear husband who simply nodded. “But why? Why have I been here for this long?” He gently whispered to her that all will be explained once she steps through with him.
Suddenly, the sound of thunder and lightning broke the gentleness that was. “Go! You must go, now! They have found you! There is no time, Go!”.
The Mage hurried around casting spells and creating magic to disrupt the seekers. Out of concern Sophia took his hand “But, Mage, they know where you live, you will be harmed!” The Mage smiled warmly at her. “Go, my dear, Manuel, you too” And with that the Mage disappeared as well as all the familiarities of his cove. Sophia turned to her beloved, they had a fraction of a second to leave before The Preyers claimed their bounty. She looked across at her friend Manuel and smiled. He smiled back. And with that they both took each of their partners hands and jumped through the portal.
The Portal closed just as The Preyers entered the Mage’s cove.
For now, at least, the Portal will remain closed. But only for as long as another wondering, lost soul needs it opened up once again and helped safely back to the Other Side where they belong.
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The Piano Photo prompt from the site of Kellie Elmore’s ‘Free Write Friday’