Starlight, Part 3 — New Short Story

bed-celestial-cool-girl-stars-Favim.com-143605

Here is part three of Starlight. If you haven’t read part two, you can find it here.

Starlight, Part 3

Angie spent the day with her parents. She hadn’t seen them in ages, and it felt good to spend time with them.

While she was with them, she felt something—a little bit of warmth in her heart. She remembered how nice it was to spend time with family.

When it was time for her to go, Angie had a little trouble explaining her travel arrangements. She hadn’t brought her car, and she lived twenty miles from her parents’ house—she clearly hadn’t walked.

Angie just told her parents that a friend had brought her over—and that that friend would pick her up. As she stepped out of the house, she certainly hoped that was true.

She stood on the porch and watched the sun set. Soon, the first star of the evening appeared. After that, more stars studded the sky.

Angie began to feel anxious. She knew her mother would come to check on her soon, and she wouldn’t have a good explanation for why she was still standing on the porch.

The night continued to darken, and suddenly a bright light appeared by her side.

Maia had materialized next to her.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Angie said. “I wasn’t sure if—”

“There’s no time to talk,” Maia said. “You’ve found the letter ‘J.’ Now you have one-and-a-half more tasks to complete.”

Suddenly, they were floating in the air, and in the next moment, they were flying through the night.

“But I have work in the morning,” Angie protested. “I can’t go on a task tonight.”

“Then you’ll have to work quickly,” Maia replied. “Task Two. Combine fire and water.”

“What?” Angie said. “What does that mean?”

“That’s what you have to find out,” Maia said.

They flew on, and before long, they were floating into a building and settling on the ground.

Angie looked around. They were in a supermarket.

“What are we—”

Angie turned around. Maia was gone.

Angie looked around the supermarket in some trepidation. She wondered if she would be trapped in the store like she had been trapped in her old room.

She didn’t relish the idea of spending the night in a supermarket.

Angie glanced around again. She was standing in the produce department near a display of cantaloupes. She thought idly that she really liked cantaloupe, but she couldn’t eat a whole one—not by herself.

“It’s a shame, isn’t it?” said a voice by her side.

Angie looked up.

A young man with red hair was standing next to her.

“When you’re single,” he said, “you’re really better off with half a cantaloupe.”

Angie stared at him.

The young man colored. “Not that I’m saying you’re single. I am. But that doesn’t mean you are. I’m just looking for half a cantaloupe—that’s all I’m really saying. But I don’t see any, do you?”

Angie looked around. “No, I don’t. But I do know what you mean.”

The young man brightened. “You do? I live around here. Do you live around here?”

Angie frowned. “I’m not actually sure.”

She stopped and looked down at her clothes. She was still wearing the clothes she’d worn to bed on Saturday night—she must look as if she had just run out of the house to grab a few things from the store.

The young man nodded. “That’s cool. I understand if you don’t want to tell me where you live. I’m Brian, by the way. Maybe I’ll see you around.”

“Nice to meet you, Brian,” Angie said. She looked at him. He seemed like a nice person—and under ordinary circumstances she might have liked to stop and chat with him a little.

But right now she had something she had to do.

“I’ve got to go,” Angie said. “Have a good night.”

She moved off quickly.

Angie walked up and down the aisles without really finding anything. How was she supposed to combine fire and water—put tabasco sauce with cereal and milk? Nothing in the store seemed like it could be any help.

Angie continued to wander and eventually she found herself near the cashiers and the automatic doors that led out of the store.

She stopped and watched people entering and exiting with shopping carts and baskets. Getting out looked so easy—surely the automatic doors wouldn’t refuse her.

She waited until a family was heading out together, and then Angie hurried forward and walked out along with them.

She sighed in relief as the doors opened with a soft shush to allow them all out and then closed behind them with an equally soft sound.

Angie stood out in the night air and looked around gratefully. She hadn’t fulfilled the second task, but she wasn’t trapped. As she continued to look around, she realized that the front of the store looked familiar—she was actually in her own neighborhood.

Angie felt another surge of relief—she wouldn’t have to spend the night in the store, and she could now go home and get ready for work as if this were a normal Sunday night.

Angie began to walk the few blocks to her house.

The night passed as many Sunday nights had, and as Angie climbed into bed at the end of it, she began to wonder if she would receive a visit from Maia. But no starlit visitor showed up to scold her for not fulfilling her task, and eventually, Angie fell asleep.

She went to work as usual on Monday and then came home. Once again, Maia did not appear, and Angie slept peacefully that night without any interruption.

Tuesday passed the same way, and Angie began to wonder if she had imagined the whole thing. But she had mysteriously shown up in her parents’ house on Saturday night in her nightclothes without a car—something her mother had remarked on quite a few times. So something had happened that night, and Angie was unable to explain it all away.

As the week wore on, Angie found herself going back to the supermarket where she had magically appeared on Sunday night. She would wander the aisles, looking for something to jump out at her, but she saw nothing that could reasonably be construed as the combination of fire and water. But Maia—if she did exist—had wanted her to find something in this particular place.

What could it be?

Angie didn’t know.

She kept going back to the supermarket, and she began to remember how much she used to love to cook. Angie remembered how she used to have all her friends over, and she would cook something simple—like a big pot of pasta. And then they would all talk and laugh and have a great time. And then sometimes, when a friend was going through a difficult time, she would make her special soup, and they would talk it out.

Angie began to wonder—should she try to contact her old friends? Maybe make her special soup? She had friends now, of course, but they were mostly friends she’d met through work. She liked her new friends, but she missed her old ones—the ones she’d had before Jason.

Maybe she could try to invite them over—maybe see if they might come back into her life.

The more Angie thought about it, the more she liked the idea.

Another week went by, and then Angie decided she would do it. She found old email addresses for three of her best friends and sent them an invite—she didn’t even know if the addresses were still good. Then she went to the supermarket and bought ingredients for her special soup. Angie decided she would make it even if no one wanted to come.

A few days went by, and then an answer came in. Her friend Nina said she would be happy to come. Angie was overjoyed. Then another day went by, and two more replies came in. Both Joy and Eva said they would come too.

Angie spent Friday night cleaning her house. Then Saturday morning she got up early and began to prepare her soup—it needed time for the flavors to meld properly. She began chopping herbs and vegetables. Then Angie turned the dial on her gas stove and got one of the burners clicking. A moment later, a flame sprang to life. Angie placed a pot full of water on the flame and waited for it to boil. Then she began adding ingredients and let the whole thing simmer.

That night, the doorbell rang, and Angie jumped up to answer it. Nina, Joy, and Eva had all arrived together, and when they saw Angie, the three of them wrapped her in a big hug.

Angie found that there were tears in her eyes.

Angie and her friends sat around her kitchen table and ate her special soup just like they had in the old days. They laughed a lot and cried a little, and Angie found that it seemed like no time at all had passed—they were all still friends. At the end of the night, Nina made them promise that they would all come to her house next Friday for a movie night.

Angie watched her friends depart with a warmth in her heart that she hadn’t felt in a long time. The night was dark but studded with stars, and Angie watched her friends’ car until the red taillights disappeared.

Then she went back inside.

As Angie closed the door, she found a woman in a dress made of stars with starlight hair standing right in front of her—it was Maia.

Maia stepped forward and hugged Angie.

“You did it!” she said. “You completed Task Two!”

“I—” Angie said.

“You combined fire and water,” Maia said. “You made your special soup!”

“I guess I did,” Angie said. “I didn’t even think of it that way.”

Maia beamed. “My job here is done. You’ve completed both your tasks, and now your unspoken wish is fulfilled. You’ve gotten yourself back.”

Angie frowned. “Both my tasks? You said I had two and a half.”

Maia winked. “You really only had two to fulfill your wish. The half is just for you—if you want it.”

Maia began to float toward the ceiling. “Goodbye, dear Angie. I don’t believe I will see you again, but it was lovely to meet you.”

“Wait!” Angie said. “What do you mean, the half is just for me?”

But Maia was already gone.

Angie went back to the kitchen to put away her soup.

In the morning, Angie got up early to take some photos with her phone—she didn’t have a new camera yet. As she returned to the house, she realized she’d neglected to buy anything for breakfast.

She hurried to the supermarket.

Angie picked up some cereal and milk, considered eggs briefly, and then drifted over to the produce aisle—she figured she could use some fruit.

The strawberries and blueberries looked good, but then Angie spied it—a half cantaloupe wrapped in plastic.

She hurried over to it.

Just as she reached it, she saw another shopper heading toward the cantaloupe.

Angie stopped and looked up at him—the tall, red-haired figure looked familiar.

After a moment, the name came to her—it was Brian.

Brian smiled when he saw her. “I was hoping I’d see you again.”

“Hi, Brian,” Angie said.

He gestured to the plastic-wrapped fruit. “I see we’re both after the same thing—the legendary half cantaloupe.”

Angie glanced at the fruit. A half cantaloupe. The half is just for you, Maia had said.

She glanced up at Brian. He seemed like a nice person—it couldn’t hurt to get to know him a little better.

Angie held out her hand. “My name’s Angie, by the way.”

Brian took it. “Nice to meet you, Angie.”

He looked over at the cantaloupe. “I’d be happy to relinquish my claim on this particular piece of fruit. It’s all for you.”

Angie smiled. “Thanks. The next one we see will be for you.”

Brian glanced at her basket. “Looks like you’ve got a few perishable items in there, so you probably want to get home. But would you like to meet for coffee some time?”

Angie looked at Brian. His smile seemed genuine, and she felt stirrings in her heart that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

“I’d like that,” she said.

******************

Thanks very much for reading!

You can check out my books on AmazonBarnes&NobleKobo, and Apple.

And stop by some time and hi on Facebook. 🙂

Starlight, Part 2 — New Short Story

girlwithstars

Here is part two of Starlight. If you haven’t read part one, you can find it here.

Starlight, Part 2

“Find the letter ‘J’?” Angie said.

“Yes,” Maia replied. “Now let’s go.”

She held out her hand, and Angie took it.

In the next moment, Angie found herself floating in the air. She and Maia floated right through the wall and out into the night air.

Suddenly, they flew off into the night.

Angie could see the ground streaking by below her and the stars streaking by above her. She should have been terrified by the height and the speed, but somehow, all she felt was a great calm.

Maia and Angie flew on, and before long, they were flying up to a house and then through another wall.

They floated gently to the ground in a dark room. Even in the dim light, Angie could tell the room looked familiar.

“This is my old room in my parents’ house,” she said.

“Yes,” Maia replied. “What you need is in here.”

“The letter ‘J’?” Angie said.

“Yes.”

“But I don’t have any idea—” Angie turned to see Maia walking casually through a wall.

Angie went to follow her. Instead, she bumped face-first into the wall. She went to the door and found that it was locked.

Angie pounded on the door. “Maia! Let me out. This door must be stuck or something.”

“The door will open when you have found what are looking for,” Maia said from the other side of the door. “And not a moment before.”

Angie pounded on the door again. “Maia?”

There was no reply.

Angie turned to her old room and switched on the light.

Her bed and desk and trophies were still there, so the room still looked familiar, but now a lot of the floor space was taken up with boxes—her parents were using the room for storage.

Angie tried the door one last time but found that it still wouldn’t open.

She turned back to the boxes—she supposed she’d better start looking.

She began opening the boxes. Many of them belonged to her parents. But some of them were hers.

Angie decided to focus on those. They seemed the likeliest place where she would find the letter “J.”

She opened up more boxes.

Some of them held childhood items—toys and books and clothes. And some of them were from later years—college and her first job.

Angie began to sift through all her old things.

She found things that made her smile, a few things that made her cry, and even a thing or two that made her laugh out loud.

And then she found a box with her old camera and several long envelopes full of photographs.

She had not forgotten that she used to take photographs, but somehow she had pushed that fact to the back of her mind.

The first envelope contained Angie’s earliest photographs—the very first she ever developed herself. There were photos of her parents, her house, her friends, and one beautiful photo of jasmine.

Angie paused as she took that one out—it had always been one of her favorites. The photo was of the jasmine bush that grew at the back of the house. The white flowers and their dark leaves looked lovely in the black-and-white photo. Even though it was one of the earliest photos she had ever taken, Angie had always felt there was something special about this one. There was power and mystery in it.

She paused. Could this be the “J” she was looking for?

She wasn’t sure.

Angie continued to look through the other photographs. She found many more pictures of friends and family, trips and vacations, and quite a few more studies of flowers. But nothing really stood out to her.

And then she found the picture of Jason.

It felt like ages since she had seen him—had it really been that long? In reality it had only been two years. But a lot had happened in that time.

She set everything else aside and took a long look at the photograph.

Jason was smiling, looking away from the camera, and even though the photo was black and white, Angie could see with her mind’s eye just how blue his eyes were.

She’d loved his sense of humor. She’d loved his ready wit. She’d loved him.

Could he be the “J” she was looking for?

Angie continued to look at the photo of Jason. She really had loved everything about him—but he certainly couldn’t have said the same about her.

Jason had always said that he loved her, but he hadn’t liked her friends—they had been the first to go. Then he didn’t like her hair or her perfume—he had gotten her to change those too. And even though he’d consented to the photo Angie held in her hand, he hadn’t liked her interest in photography either. He’d told her that she was no good—she had no eye for a picture—and that photography was frivolous anyway. He’d told her she should be focusing on a serious career instead.

So Angie had given up on photography—let it disappear from her life. And eventually Jason had disappeared too.

As she looked down at his smile, Angie realized there was no way he could be the letter “J.” She didn’t know what the letter “J” was or what it was supposed to represent in her life, but she knew it wasn’t him.

Angie sifted through her photographs until she found the picture of the jasmine again. She held it up, and she was amazed once again by the power in this simple photograph—somehow she had captured something special in this moment.

Angie felt something stirring in her that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

If anything was the letter “J,” it was this jasmine photo. It was the best work she had ever done.

At that moment, the door opened, and her mother entered the room. The hall behind her was dark, and she blinked blearily in the light of the bedroom.

“Angie?” her mother said. “Honey, what are you doing here?”

“I—was just looking through some old things,” Angie said.

Her mother frowned. “How did you get in the house?”

“I—uh—” Angie thought back to Maia—she could hardly tell her mother that a starlit woman had flown her through the sky.

“You must still have that old key,” her mother said. “It’s good to see you even if this is a little unusual. Sun’s coming up. Come with me, and I’ll get you some breakfast.”

(Part 3 is in the next blog post. Click here to read it.)

******************

Thanks very much for reading!

You can check out my books on AmazonBarnes&NobleKobo, and Apple.

Sign up for my newsletter, and get news about giveaways, new releases, and other fun stuff: http://eepurl.com/cXS5_z 🙂

 

Starlight, Part 1 — New Short Story

bed-celestial-cool-girl-stars-Favim.com-143605

Starlight

by Catherine Mesick

“Star light, star bright,” Angie murmured to herself.

She looked at the single star in the sky—the first star of the evening—but she couldn’t bring herself to make a wish.

There were no more wishes left in her.

As she watched, the sky grew darker, and more stars came out. Angie sat in the grass and watched the night sky fill up as if with diamonds. At one point, she saw a shooting star streak across the sky and fall toward the earth.

Once upon a time, Angie would have made a wish. But that time was long past.

She watched until the falling star disappeared from her sight. Then she went inside.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, Angie was aware of a light in her room.

She sat up, and she saw a woman standing in front of her. The woman’s hair and dress seemed to be made of tiny lights—they looked like little stars.

Angie stared at the woman for a moment, and then in the next instant, the woman was gone.

Angie looked around in her dark room—the only light that was visible now was the red numbers on her alarm clock.

She went back to sleep.

In the morning, Angie was tempted to text her best friend about the dream she’d had about a starlit visitor, but in the end she decided against it. It was really too fleeting a dream to be worth mentioning.

Angie went on with her Saturday. She went to her usual places, did her usual things, but somehow something was missing—a light had gone out in her.

When friends invited Angie to dinner that night, she turned them down.

She sat instead on her porch that evening and watched the sun setting. Then she went inside, and eventually, she went to sleep.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, Angie woke up again. Standing in front of her once more was the woman dressed and crowned in stars.

This time the woman didn’t disappear.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello,” Angie replied.

“My name is Maia,” the woman said. “I’m here to be your guide.”

“My guide?” Angie asked.

“I heard your wish yesterday. I’m here to help you fulfill it.”

Angie shook her head. “I didn’t make any wish.”

“You most certainly did,” Maia said.

“No,” Angie replied. “I didn’t have a single thought in my head that could remotely be called a wish.”

“You didn’t wish with your mind. You wished with your heart.”

“I didn’t—”

“Never mind the protests,” Maia said. “Your wish was received, and I’m here now.”

“This is a very strange dream, I’m having,” Angie said.

“Not a dream,” Maia said. “Now get up. We—or rather you—have a lot to do.”

Against her better judgment, Angie got out of bed and stood next to the starlit woman.

“Now then,” Maia said. “I have two-and-a-half tasks for you to complete.”

“Two and a half?” Angie said.

“Yes. And you mustn’t neglect that half. It’s just as important as the two full tasks.”

Maia fixed her with a piercing stare.

“Task One. Find the letter ‘J.’”

(Part 2 is in the next blog post. Click here to read.)

******************

Thanks very much for reading!

You can check out my books on AmazonBarnes&Noble, Kobo, and Apple.

And stop by some time and hi on Facebook. 🙂

Enchanted Wine, Part 2 — New Short Story

Checkoutanewseries

Here is part two of Enchanted Wine. If you haven’t read part one, you can find it here.

Enchanted Wine, Part 2

He spent the rest of the day wandering the town. At dusk, he turned his steps toward home.

Then he stopped. He walked instead to the ridge where he had seen his brother walking. He sat down at the top of the ridge and watched the sun set.

Then he fell asleep.

He awoke just before dawn and watched the sun’s rays peek over the horizon. He sat and watched the sun climb into the sky. Then he got up and walked to his house.

As he approached the front gate, a servant, Mateus, came running out to meet him.

“Master Eduard,” Mateus said, “where have you been?”

“Who is in the house?” Eduard said abruptly. “Is Adelina in the house? What about my brother?”

“Miss Adelina is in the house, yes,” Mateus replied. “She came over to comfort your mother, who was greatly distressed. When you didn’t come home last night—”

Eduard interrupted. “And my brother?”

“He is asleep.”

“Asleep?” Eduard said. “But the morning is well on its way.”

“He has slept many mornings away these past two weeks,” Mateus said. “Lately, he stays up very late in his room.”

“Thank you, Mateus,” Eduard said curtly. He was disappointed—he would have liked to have dealt with his brother first. Instead, he would go see Adelina.

He turned away from Mateus and went into the house.

He found Adelina sitting alone in the front parlor.

She jumped up when she saw him and ran to hug him.

“Eduard! We were so worried about you!”

He stepped back from her. He’d expected to be angry when he saw her, but now that she was in front of him, he felt all his anger melting away.

“But what is it? What’s wrong?” Adelina said.

Eduard glanced around. “Where is my mother?”

“She had to lie down,” Adelina said. “The worry was too much for her. When you didn’t come home last night, she couldn’t help thinking about the accident—”

“Yes, my accident.” Eduard sighed heavily. “Can we talk for a moment?”

“Of course, my love,” Adelina said. She sat on a sofa.

He winced at the endearment but sat down beside her.

“Do you love me?” Eduard said.

“Yes, of course,” Adelina said—but her smile seemed forced.

Eduard sighed again. “It has come to my attention recently that my brother is in love with you. And I think maybe you love him too. Is it true?”

Adelina hesitated. “I agreed to marry you. And I am happy to do so.”

“That sounds like you do love him. I need to know—just tell me how you really feel.”

“I agreed and—”

“Adelina, please. Just tell me.”

She was silent for a moment.

“Yes,” she said at last. “I love your brother.”

After another pause, she went on in a rush.

“We didn’t plan it—Cayo and I—we just fell in love. I really was happy to marry you. When this was arranged, and I first met you, I thought you were so wonderfully handsome. I was happy planning the wedding we were going to have. And then I met your brother, and I just knew. I knew right away that I loved him.”

Eduard nodded his head. Then he stood.

“Thank you for telling me. You are free now, if you wish. You don’t have to marry me if you love someone else.”

He left the room.

He went upstairs to his own room and stood for a time looking out the window.

Then he went to his brother’s room and opened the door.

He found Cayo lying on his bed, sleeping soundly—he didn’t wake up when Eduard walked into the room.

Sunlight was streaming into the room, and still Cayo slept on.

Eduard stepped closer to his brother.

Cayo’s face showed plainly that he was deeply asleep—his mind was far away in the realms of the subconscious.

He slept, but he didn’t seem happy. Something in his face seemed deeply troubled.

Eduard wondered bitterly if Cayo were unhappy because he had failed to crush him with that boulder. But somehow, that didn’t seem to be it.

Eduard turned away and left the room.

He met Mateus in the hallway.

“Your mother would like to see you, Master Eduard,” Mateus said.

“A little later,” Eduard said irritably. He was sure she would make a scene—just as she had on the morning of his accident.

Eduard brushed past Mateus and walked toward the stairs.

Then he turned back.

“You say my brother has slept many mornings away lately?” Eduard said to Mateus.

“Yes, sir,” Mateus replied.

“What about the morning of my accident?” Eduard said quickly. “Was he sleeping then?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You’re sure about that?”

“Yes.”

“You’re certain he didn’t go out first?” Eduard said. “And then come home and go to sleep?”

“No, sir,” Mateus replied. “Master Cayo went to bed around midnight the night before. I remember because we were all so relieved that he went to sleep at a reasonable hour. Then he didn’t stir until there was all that commotion over your accident.”

“He didn’t leave his room until after I came home?”

“That is correct, sir.”

“He didn’t go out walking along the high ridge near the hills?” Eduard said.

“No,” Mateus replied. “That had been Master Cayo’s habit until recently. He stopped it when he started sleeping at odd hours. I believe it coincided with Miss Adelina’s presence in the house every day—when she began coming here to plan the wedding.”

Eduard winced at the sound of her name.

“Tell my mother I’m going out. I’ll be back every soon.”

He went down the stairs.

Eduard left the house and hurried to the shop of the woman with the wine.

He burst into the shop, and she looked up. She didn’t seem surprised to see him.

He was relieved to see that the shop was empty aside from her.

“I need to ask you a few questions,” Eduard said.

“I thought as much,” she said. “Pray have a seat.”

Eduard sat opposite her as he had the day before.

“Can you see what your customers see when they drink the wine?” he asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

“All of it?”

“I see what you see. I feel what you feel.”

“I need to ask about the timing,” Eduard said. “Were the visions in order? Did my brother go walking along the ridge, then fall in love with my fiancée, then start sleeping?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Was he asleep on the morning of my accident?”

“That I couldn’t say,” she said. “But we didn’t see him pushing the boulder. The vision didn’t show anyone. That tends to indicate it was an accident.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that?” Eduard said.

“I don’t know it,” she replied. “That is how I would interpret it, but I don’t know anything your relationship with your family.”

“That is how you would interpret it,” Eduard said softly. His heart felt a little freer. “That is how I interpret it now too.”

He sat for a moment in silence.

“So my brother didn’t try to kill me,” he said at last. “But I have lost my fiancée.”

She looked up sharply. “What do you mean?”

“If he loves her, and she loves him, I can’t stand in their way.”

She looked at Eduard, and he noticed that there was a touch of green in her dark eyes.

“There aren’t many who would say that,” she said.

“It must be tough for you,” he replied. “Seeing so many difficult and troubling things.”

“It is sometimes,” she said. “There aren’t many who would say that either.”

“May I ask your name?” Eduard said.

“It’s Lia,” she replied.

“Lia,” Eduard said. “You said if I had any questions, I could come back. Did you know I would return?”

“Yes.”

“How?”

“I saw it in a cup of wine,” she said.

******************

Thanks very much for reading!

You can check out my books on AmazonBarnes&NobleKobo, and Apple.

And stop by some time and hi on Facebook🙂

Enchanted Wine, Part 1 — New Short Story

EwerVandACollection

 

Enchanted Wine

“Are you sure you want to do this?” she said.

“I’m sure,” he replied.

“There’s no going back after this,” she said. “Once you know the truth, you know it. You can’t undo it.”

He looked at her in the dim light. Her face was partially obscured by a gauzy veil, and a cloth covered her hair completely. He wasn’t sure he would recognize her if he saw her again.

“I don’t know your name,” he said.

“You don’t need to know it.”

“It would make me feel more comfortable,” he said. “My name is—”

She held up a hand quickly. “No. No names. The less we know about each other, the better this will work.”

He fell silent.

She was silent also, and after a moment, he hazarded to speak.

“So how does this work?”

She waved a hand. “You see three cups before you. Into them I will pour three wines—very rare vintages. You will ask a question over the wine. Then you will drink. Each drink will give you a piece of the truth you seek.”

She paused. “You have to decide if you really want to know. Maybe it’s better not to.”

“I need to know,” he said. “I’m ready. Pour out the wine.”

She gazed at him for a moment. Then she nodded. She stood and turned to three gold ewers that rested nearby. They were small and likely only held one serving of wine.

She poured each one into a cup, and he could see that they were different colors. The first was very pale, the second was a deep red, and the third one was so dark that it was almost black.

She sat back down. “Ask your question and drink.”

“There was an accident,” he said uncertainly to the wine. “A boulder came crashing down from above. It very nearly hit me. As it was, my right arm was badly scratched by a chunk of the boulder that stuck out. I had thought—as I said—that it was an accident. But then a friend told me he had seen my brother up on the ridge that the boulder came from. My question is—did my brother push that boulder over?”

She looked at him. “Now you may drink.”

He drank the pale wine, and immediately the scene in front of him disappeared. He saw instead a bright, sunny day and a high ridge of white rock. He saw his brother walking along the ridge and looking down to the dirt path far below. The scene shifted, and he saw his brother walking along the ridge again—apparently on a different day. The scene shifted several more times, and on each occasion it showed his brother walking along the ridge at different times of the day and in different weather. The last time it showed his brother looking down at a figure that he recognized as himself. His brother was looking at him sadly.

“That’s me,” he whispered.

The vision faded, and he could see the three cups again.

“Interesting,” she said. “You may drink the next.”

He lifted the cup of deep red wine and found it to be sweet and very spicy.

The room faded away, and he saw into a different room.

He saw his fiancée standing by a window. Her dark hair was pulled back in a loose knot, and there was something pensive in her expression. She appeared to be waiting for someone.

In the next moment, his brother rushed into the room, and he hurried over to the fiancée.

He took her in his arms.

It looked as though the brother might kiss the fiancée, but she shook her head and stepped back. Instead, the two of them stood side by side and looked out the window.

The vision faded, and he felt his blood boiling.

He looked over at her, and he thought he could see sympathy in her eyes.

“You may drink the last,” she said.

He lifted the cup of dark wine and drank it. He’d expected it to be bitter, but instead it was mild and pleasant.

The scene in front of him changed, and he could see a dimly lit room. A lone figure slept on a bed. Time passed, but the figure didn’t move. Eventually, the figure rolled over, and he could see the face. It was his brother.

The vision faded.

“So that’s it,” he seethed. “My brother tries to do away with me because he wants my fiancée, and then afterwards, he sleeps like a baby. He feels no remorse for pushing a boulder down and nearly crushing me.”

“I don’t know that that’s what it is,” she said.

“I do,” he said. He stood up abruptly. “Thank you for showing me the truth.”

She looked up at him, and he was arrested by the sight of her dark eyes. There was something in them he couldn’t quite name. Sympathy—yes—but something else too. He had a sense that she understood exactly what he was going through.

“I can’t counsel you on what to do next,” she said. “But if you have any questions about what you have seen, you may come back and see me.”

He nodded once and left the room.

(Part 2 is in the next blog post. Click here to read.)

******************

Thanks very much for reading!

You can check out my books on AmazonBarnes&Noble, Kobo, and Apple.

And stop by some time and hi on Facebook. 🙂