Category Archives: loyalties

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff – Part IV

(Continuing with the story of  “The Garbage Man”.  The title has changed as you can see, likely to change again and my two main characters have changed their names again, as you will also see later.  I find that it’s becoming an intriguing story, and whoever is actually moving the writing is quite a bit of a romantic.  I don’t mind it, actually, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the main story… whatever that’s going to be!!!  Enjoy.)


“Let me go. I will put my sword away.”

Lotharic released her and she slowly, reluctantly, put away her sword. Then she faced him.

“You manipulated my thoughts, twisted my mind, made me act in unnatural ways I would not normally?”

“Incorrect. I did not force you to do anything against your own innate nature. I just gave that nature its freedom to act as it wanted, uninhibited by any social or other mores. I set you free to be yourself, giving you full freedom of choice. You still had the choice to refuse but you never questioned your nature nor my command to inflict the maximum possible pain upon another. I wanted you to experience that, to know yourself, not as what you think you are or what your upbringing and experiences made you, but as what you really are, deep in your human self.”

“I am evil…”

“Yes.

“Do you have any idea how much it hurts that you did that to me; that you made me look there?”

“Again, I only allowed your own innate self to override imposed restrictions and yes, I do know how much it hurts to find these things out. In my case it came in reverse. When I came here so long ago by earth time, I was a pure Allay *(pronounced Ally) without any evil within me. All of us soon realized we could not communicate our selves to your selves. You were evil, we were not. You could not see us as equals but wanted to worship us as angels or divinities. Or you wanted to own us, as your own private source of divine power to draw upon; to empower you in your manifold evil deeds. You could not come to us, we had to go to you. So we accepted your evil natures within ourselves, thinking that we would easily control their effects on our thoughts and deeds. It turned into a terrible, endless contest which two of us lost completely. The “surface” evil of this world, empowered and driven by its intelligent life, overwhelmed us, weakened us, separated us and overcame us.

“Understand our plight. We could not return “home” with this disease inside our minds and risk infecting our own worlds. So we pledged to cleanse ourselves of Earth evil. Two of our number chose to lie about it, pretending to follow through while actually strengthening themselves in that evil. Too late, we discovered the lie. I saved my life by using your world’s twisted murderous ways to escape. I fought like a madman to escape. I became more human than Allay in those days and suffered deeply for it in my heart. I thought I too had fallen until I discovered I could still operate with compassion; that I could control the human darkness within me. I became a desperate wanderer; desperate to survive and desperate to overcome the evil that ceaselessly battered at my mind to give in and poisoned me as it has poisoned all of you.”

“Do you see now? Understand what it means for you to become more powerful than a full-fledged Allaya?”

“Mentally, yes, I’m not stupid. But the means of blending my human nature with that of an Allaya to become something more, that I cannot fathom.”

“Neither can I. I trust in the process, in spiritual evolution, in creativity and ultimately in your own feminine wisdom. I shall do all in my power to assist you in your upcoming difficult choices but you will find me weak and ignorant in many aspects relating to your changes. The operative word for both of us is, this is all new. There is no template available for us to go by. Be prepared to make a great deal of serious mistakes, of backsliding, of inviting despair and hopelessness. You will often hate and despise yourself until you realize you did whatever you did because the situation gave you no other choice. First, we must survive; second, we must find a way to redirect whatever intelligent life we encounter. Finally, we are entering a time when all and sundry will turn against us and the only moments of pleasure we find will be in each other. Therefore it would be good if we committed to each other and bound ourselves to exist as one. Not today, but soon, when you are certain that is also what you desire.”

“How would you describe this binding?”

“Husband and wife; lovers; partners, mind sharers, inseparable regardless of circumstances. The safety of the “other” overrides all, even to violating the highest rules of the Allay. For as of the moment we create this union we will be walking between worlds, neither human nor Allay. Perhaps in time we will find a label that fits us but in the meantime there will be but you and I, us.”

“It seems logical and inevitable, plus you already know I love you in a very physical sense. I’ve wanted you and felt ignored by you for some time now. That has to change if we are to be together. I want to be intimate with you. I will walk away if all you want from me is a student or a fighting partner.”

“I’ve sensed that change in you since yesterday – was it only yesterday? I am ready for it also. Tonight then, let’s come together and bind, physically, mentally and spiritually.”

“Thank you, Lotharic. By the way, I don’t like that name. Would you mind very much if we returned to being Bea and Edgar? That was comfortable.”

“Not at all. I’ve had so many names! Lotharic is a very old name which no longer carries its meaning well. Edgar I am then. What else do you need?”

“A gold ring? … I’m only joking Edgar, what would I need a ring for?”

“Oh but you will need one, and so will I. These tokens are recognized easily and often respected. We must not only be married, but look married, newly married, of course, but still, married. A ring will give you more freedom in market places and streets and certainly among the guard if we find ourselves forced to join up. Have you ever been in the guard?”

“I was forced in once and complied long enough to find a way of escape. I was a guard for about six hours. You?”

“Many times. It was often the only way to travel safely from one city or town to another, or to board a ship to the mainland. Often I served on cruisers searching the coast for pirates.”

“Oh? And?”

“Despite terrible training and poor quality arms we did manage to sink one pirate ship and capture another.”

“And the pirates?”

“They were all hanged, except for the captains who were chained and brought back to the nearest port and publicly burned alive on very slow braziers. They probably regretted the men they had killed and the women they had raped, then killed, and the children they had sold into slavery in those reflexive moments. Anyway, it’s high time we moved on.”

“I was thinking we should drive the sheep back over the tracks they made until we find what remnants there be of the shepherds or any search party should there be one.”

Even without dogs the sheep proved docile and easily driven. They probably sensed they were returning home and were eager to get there. That night, Beanna and Edgar took turns watching over the animals. There were wolves and wild dogs in those lands, Beanna well knew. While she watched over the sheep, her bow remained within an arm’s reach, with her usual count of three arrows loose upon the ground. With her skills and sense of smell she could probably kill or maim an attacker even in the dark. Earlier in the evening the endless cloud cover had finally cleared and the stars shone and twinkled in the clear winter night. There would be moving shadows even from the starlight and she watched for them. She heard the sheep move, getting restless. The sign of a nearby predator. She stood up, bow ready, arrow notched, seeking the telltale shadows. She saw one slowly moving towards a nervous ewe on the outside of the small herd.

Beanna could move like a shadow herself. The breeze brought her the scent of the predator: a wild dog, so there would be others and they would not fear her. She felt for her sword. Satisfied she continued forward, gauging the shadow’s movement, then suddenly, silently, letting the arrow find its target which it inerrantly did. A short, sharp yelp, then more movement from some low shrubs. The rest of the pack. She fired two more arrows in the pack, then with sword drawn, charged, letting out her practised cry of the berserker which always has a damping effect on any attacker. The pack turned towards her and charged also but were no match for the deadly sword. By the time Edgar, awakened by Beanna’s cry, became aware of the attack and joined her with his trusty staff, only a couple of wounded and whining dogs remained alive from a pack of eight. These were swiftly dispatched and the sheep rounded up again and calmed down. As if they knew the danger was past, they settled down to sleep or chew their cud once more.

“You’re making this look too easy, Bea. I guess it’s my turn now. Slip into my sleeping roll, it’s nice and warm. Wish I could join you in it. Maybe tomorrow night?” There was wistfulness in that question and Bea didn’t miss it. She smiled to herself.

“Tomorrow night then, husband.” It thrilled her to say it. Finally there was someone, a man, for her, just for her. However bleak the times, despite the horror of the previous day, this was all her heart could take of happiness at the moment. ‘There’s a time to kill and a time to give life.’ She would find the way for herself to give life. It seemed to her at that moment that someone was whispering in her mind. “Yes” is what she heard and with that, fell into a dreamless sleep.

Much too soon it seemed to Beanna, Edgar woke her up. She smelled wood smoke and heard a crackling fire. It made her feel warm and cosy, but was no help to get her out of her sleeping roll.

“Is all clear then?” She asked sleepily.

“Yes, all seems clear. The sheep are beginning to stir and look to foraging. I lit a fire for warmth before we head up into the hills. Are you getting up?”

“I don’t know. It’s so cosy in here, could you not join me, maybe for an hour? With the fire we can undress without freezing. I need you, Edgar. I need your closeness to tell me I’m not making a terrible mistake in this new direction my life is being pushed in. Give me, give us, one hour? My love for you is hurting me. I’ve never felt this before. I need a resolve.”

Edgar, standing a few feet away, was observing her as he leaned on his staff. He was faced with several responsibilities and he could not satisfy them all. Which was the most important? He realized the question was moot. Beanna’s desires and needs overrode the others. If the sheep wandered off some, they could be rounded up again, and really they weren’t entirely their responsibility. He carefully surveyed the land again to make sure they would not be surprised in their folly, then satisfied, he undressed himself. Beanna jumped out of the roll and running to the fire, did the same. Naked, throbbing with desire, they slipped into the sleeping roll and indulged themselves with complete abandon. Beanna cried loudly, once, then settled into Edgar’s muscular, light-skinned body. They smelled of road dust, sweat and sheep but neither minded. Their thoughts were completely taken by their mutual amazement at the pleasure they could give one-another. Thus truly began Beanna’s new life. As she lay against Edgar’s chest listening to his heartbeat, and as he gently fondled her breasts and twisted her nipples she knew this wasn’t just a moment of lust that needed sating. This was the coming together of two individuals into a powerful oneness. She understood in a form of thought unfamiliar to her that she had voluntarily entered into an eternal bonding. And, it felt totally right.

They made love once more, slower this time, more deliberately, taking time to feel each other. Then they got up to resume their wandering life, now as a real couple.

They ate a spare breakfast, careful of their food reserves not knowing what came next. The fire extinguished and the burned twigs scattered, they got the sheep moving again and walked behind them since they knew the way and were still eager to return home.

Beanna wandered over to Edgar and took his large hand in her tiny one. She leaned happily into him and let his strength hold her as they walked. She wanted to talk, to say a millions things, scattered and milling thoughts in her head like a swarm of black flies, but realized to her surprise that she felt suddenly shy. She walked along wondering about that strange feeling; she was not one to every feel shy about anything being a normally ebullient extrovert. She heard herself say, to no one in particular,

“I belong. I belong! I, Beanna, am needed, wanted and desired! I exist for another.”

“Yes you do, yes you are.” Edgar wrapped her in his arms, stopping for a few moments to enjoy her clinging. “I love you, Bea. I know I will always love you.”

She held on to him even tighter, looked up in his grey eyes and knew it was the same for her. Nothing, of earth, of the astral, of the universe, could ever separate them. She knew this though they had nothing to give each other but their naked selves. Naked bodies, naked minds, naked spirit.

The seriousness of the moment tugged at her heart. She felt unworthy, had a need to express, expose something of herself she feared.

“Yesterday, Edgar. You saw the real me. How can I reconcile that to what you’ve given me here and now?”

“Yesterday was no more than a lesson. It wasn’t the real you, Bea, just a part of you that lurks deeply hidden in the mind-heart of your species; a latent poison that comes forth through your adrenalin in times of sudden and disruptive crisis. Once it reaches into the emotions it stays awake and out of reach of your logical mind to control it and subdue it.

“Let me explain to you what really happened yesterday. It was a non-event. There were no bandits in that field, by that pool of water. The sheep had been scattered by the wild dog pack and this small herd had wandered by, smelled the water and stopped to drink and browse on whatever they could find. Lacking shepherds they could not decide what to do next, so they waited. What you experienced were your thoughts made visible. You acted within an illusion. You did not kill or torture anybody, but you certainly imagined quite a scenario and you did it to please and impress me. Your “obedience” to my request was in part to impress me, in part to seduce me. You desperately needed to be needed, and trusted to do, for me, whatever I asked of you.”

“But the blood, the screams, the bodies we buried, surely I didn’t imagine that?”

“From here on, you must make yourself aware of, and open to, the powers of the Allay and Allaya. Yes, what you saw and believed you did, was imagination made alive for you. I can do such things, and so will you, given time and training. You will learn, and I think very fast now because of your love for me. Your pride and impulsiveness will work in your favour during this learning time which will be much too short for my liking. You will develop your new powers and greater awareness quite rapidly.

“Sadly for both of us our honeymoon will be over too soon also. This world, Beanna, fears and hates us, but we cannot respond in kind, nor can we leave it. We carry a deadly poison that needs cleansing before we can separate ourselves from this world. I daresay it will be more difficult for you than for me. We will need to play more games I fear, to expose your deepest thoughts and imaginings, to bring out your insecurity, your longings, your fears and hates, in short, your humanity. We must do this quickly too. Soon the games will no longer work as your Allaya nature will be wise to all of them and sweep them aside. There will be great pain but our mutual darkness must be completely eradicated.

“You have begun: rejoice in that. We have our love, let us both rejoice in that. The rest, well, it will happen as it happens. We will face it event by event as wizards always must.”

So the day went, with brief interludes to drink and refill the water skins when water was made available; to nibble sparingly on some bread and cheese and to hug and kiss. It seemed to Beanna that she would never get enough of the feelings engendered by the kissing.

“How many girls have you had throughout your very long life, Edgar?”

“One. One of the Allaya was my wife and lover. When she died, there was no other woman in the world for me until I met you. So different, so unexpected and in looks, almost a reincarnation of Nah-La.”

“Your Allaya wife had Nipponese features also?”

“Yes, but she wasn’t from what you call the land of the rising sun. All twelve of us designed our bodies to fit the major races of this world hoping to make our presence less obtrusive and more acceptable. I chose a body of the white northern races.”

“Could you not change your designs at will?”

“No, not easily. I learned to make myself look younger or older but I couldn’t change my initially chosen gender, nor my racial profile. We play with shadows; with imaginings, but the physical reality is quite solid while it lasts. It’s like carvings in stone or wood. Once carved you can’t do much else with them without ruining them.”

“Hundreds of thousands of years, one wife, til death dost thee part… I love you Edgar. Crazy love you, is that good for you?”

“It is good for me. Maybe too good. I too feel I do not deserve this happiness, this deep joy your bring me. You will forgive me if at times I call you Nah-La?”

“You can call me Nah-La all the time and forever, Edgar even though “Bea” is easier.”

“We made it easy enough. She called me “Lo”(Low) and I called her “Nal”(Nawl). Lo and Nal, so simple.”

“I brought you sadness by my stupid question, I can sense it. I’m so, so sorry.”

“Do not be sorry. Our oneness must be explored, every nook and cranny of hidden thought, knowledge, awareness, imaginings, these we must expose to one another… Nal.”

Have you ever had those rare moments when you were sure your heart was going to explode from pure ecstasy? This was Beanna’s moment. She wanted to hear being called “Nal” over and over. She wanted it to be her name. That’s when she uncovered another small aspect of Allaya power: Nal was her name, it really was. And Edgar wasn’t Edgar, he was “Lo” – her husband Lo.

“Are you happy then, with your new name, and new choices, Nal?”

She couldn’t answer; she just burst into tears and loud sobbing. So much goodness in so short a time and for once she did not block it; did not insist that it was just another trick. For once she fully accepted it and through blinding tears, revelled in her joy.

End of Part IV –

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Desperate Times

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

It is said that desperate times call for desperate measures. Undoubtedly another of those truisms bandied about but not really well understood. That’s not exactly a surprise, that, is it.

The problem for mankind caught in the clash of civilizations, such as, for example, the onslaught of the European empires upon Africa, the Americas and the Far East, and even for many European nations, is the inability to recognize the coming of desperate times thus remaining wide open to any better armed or more hypocritical predator. By the time the people realize they’ve been conquered, it’s too late for any “desperate measures” short of committing tribal suicide in bloody battles that have no hope of succeeding.

But desperate times do not come only in times of war. They can arise in times of economic oppression conveniently labelled “depression” as if it was somehow a natural event. If the oppressor is able to hide his intent by fomenting hate, fear or greed (the basic formula for any conquest), those being economically conquered will be so busy hating, fearing and exploiting one another they will only realize their real plight when it’s too late to do anything about it; when “desperate measures” will no longer work because they can no longer be enacted.

It is my contention that both, the USA (and satellite or militarily dependent nations) and the European Union have now reached this “desperate times” condition. Predatory capitalism has firmly established itself over these lands and their benighted occupants. These occupants are now boxed in; incapable of coming up with any viable way out of their occupancy. In a very real, para-military way, all those nations reeling under unimaginable debt loads and sucking off the hind tit of international banksters are in fact occupied nations.

They are more firmly controlled and being systematically plundered than were conquered nations under the Third Reich. Banksterism is far more deadly than Nazism yet very few actually recognize this danger. That’s why the growing hype about resurgent Nazism: keep the hate and fear going, hide the plundering.

Banksterism is the traditional snake that ensnares with its eyes before it strikes. The victim is incapable of movement, unable to realize the death blow is coming. “You know this is being done for your own good now,” say the snake eyes. The victim remains hopeful until after the death strike.

It’s not that there was no warning. The “Desperate Times Ahead, Use Extreme Caution” signs have been posted planet-wide for generations, if not ages. It’s not as if there never were mass victims of desperate times which should be a warning for those heedlessly plunging ahead thinking only of the next pay check, the next purchase, the next “fuck” if you will.

The problem is, who is it that’s going to get royally “fucked” this time around? Will it be the “dirty Indians” or the “soul-less blacks of darkest Africa”? Will it be the “godless Arabs” sitting on veritable gold mines of black gold? Will it be the last tribes of the Amazon or the Malayan jungles?

Well no. Civilization has run out of those. Massacred, enslaved, bought out into hopeless poverty and refugee status, they no longer matter. They can no longer feed the banksters of predatory capitalism. Since the System can only feed itself on living flesh that produces, reproduces and reduces, the new victims are Americans and Europeans, and following that, those of China and India. All those who now depend entirely on the World Bank; the IMF; the Fed, (or any other similar agency, regardless of the name it uses) for everything, even in increasing instances for the very air they breathe.

Few ever saw the warning signs of long ago (it’s called history, for those who think studying history is so very boring), fewer yet can sense the perilous condition they’ve willingly let themselves be ensnared into. There are no desperate measures being talked about or even considered, just same old, same old, (replace the Conservatives with the Liberals, the Republicans with the Democrats, the “This” with the “That.” Add a touch of icing on the cake, like alternative energy sources and such, pathetic and pitiful handouts to the clamouring who suspect something’s about to seriously go south… to shut them up, to keep them believing and voting and consuming, even when they know they are believing in a pathocratic deity, voting for a deadly enemy and consuming each other.

Sure, fine, have your “climate change” meetings. Have your Tesla technology and pretty (or ugly) electric cars. Have your windmills of your mind. Feel better? That’s what was intended, that you feel something is being done, by somebody, about something important so you’ll remain compliant. Suck on that nipple. We don’t mind you fussing when less and less milk squirts from it, just suck harder.  It’s that trickle down thing.  It works for us, make it work for you.  Read those self help books we keep grinding out to keep you believing.  Pray to the Universe: it’s just one great big wish granting machine  eager to satisfy your every whim.  Buy the book.  If it works (guffaw!), it’s just more taxes in our pockets.)

 

I’m not a Broker of Emotions

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ a poem]

For a while we felt good together, didn’t we?
After I had agreed you could hold me.
You could also kiss me, and freely fondle:
I knew how much that made you feel good
and I’m all about that, you know,
making you feel good. As a woman
that validates me; gives me purpose.
And you know what else I like?
I like sleeping with you. You smell good,
you have such a warm, hard body.
Why would I not want to be with you?

So we spent time together and it was,
should I repeat it? Good, real good.
The more I gave you, the more I got
as you searched me for more pleasure:
I didn’t mind, believe me, I didn’t.
You were like a baby seeking a nipple,
I felt your desire and your hunger
and me anticipating your solace
finding your pleasure and satisfaction
in me, from me, me feeding, you suckling.
We had it all, I thought, oh, so wonderful
Until you looked down and felt your fear.

That’s when you deliberately spoiled it.
You wanted it to be more than I could give:
you wanted it to be love, you insisted
it had to be love though I had warned you
before the eyes, the hugging, the kissing,
The fondling and finally the naked fucking…
I don’t do love, OK? It is my prerogative
and why would I pretend to such a thing?
I’m not a deal maker or broker of emotions.
Yet you insisted; you insist: must be love.
I’m sorry, truly I am, but I don’t do love.
I can however, help you pack if you want.

 

Lisa and Tom, a short story

by   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara

The healer’s hut appeared at the edge of the woods where it had stood since she built it when still a young woman. She had walked steadfast with her guides, despite seeing her mother beaten, dragged away in chains, condemned to burn at the stake by the vicar and the entire congregation. She had never forgotten both, the terror and horror of those times when a new priest had been appointed, a “witch hunter” who declared open warfare on all the women whom he fancied were opposing him whenever they performed any kind of healing on a member of his congregation. Lisa spent much time then in the wooden jail that had no heat, one small hole to look out of, a slot under a door that was always nailed shut, to pass sustenance if and when those in charge of the “house” remembered, or cared. Thanks to superstition, Lisa was never molested by the men who periodically broke down the door of the dungeon and dragged her out for more “questioning” and serious threats. Thinking that her life was forfeit in any case, Lisa did not respond to the questioning, the intimidation and the whippings. All they heard were moans and sometimes cries.

Then, it all changed. There was a King again and the rebels were defeated and mostly slaughtered. The vicar was publicly hanged when it was discovered he did not hold a proper license. All the healers were set free to fend for themselves at that time. So Lisa went back where she had been raised. Her mother’s house had been ransacked, then burned down. With the help of a neighbour who limped badly from a war injury and needed her services, she built herself a comfortable hut. When it was done to her satisfaction, just before she moved anything in from the near-by tent the neighbour had loaned her, she knelt reverently and remembered her mother’s love an dedication in a long prayer of thanksgiving. Then, in the presence of her guides and the friendly neighbour as her sole human witness, she vowed to give her life to service of the village, yes, the same people who ten years earlier had tortured her mother to death and kept her in a dungeon for close to ten years.

Lisa’s method to deal with the past was to plant lavender around the hut and the path leading to the meadow.

Old Cruickshanks, the friendly neighbour was long dead now. The old white-haired man walking so steadily and deliberately towards Lisa’s hut was none other than his eldest son, Tom. Tom had always “had a feeling” for Lisa, not surprisingly for in her youth she was a lovely girl, something that aroused even more jealousy among the females of the village. But of course, Tom’s love was not just for her beauty; he loved her. He knew, of course, of her vow, and had talked much about it at the beginning of her new life at the edge of the woods. Many a time he’d had opportunity after he drove her via the farm’s surrey, into the village, now more of a town, so she could minister in whatever capacity.

Youth is callous, and demanding. Tom did not want to be, but he had needs. Lisa was well acquainted with those needs even though she remained steadfastly a virgin.

“We could be married, Lisa, there is nothing in God’s law or the King’s law that prevails against it, only your choice. Is that not so?”

She would pull away from him a bit then, bringing her hands demurely to her lap, picking at a button on her light blue coat. “I’m sorry to hurt you Tom. You are a kind, decent, caring man which any woman would be honoured to have, but you see, marriage is not for me. I am truly sorry, but I cannot, ever, break my vow. My gift is dependent upon the vow of chastity, you must understand. I’m not being difficult, and I am very aware that I owe you so much for all that you have done for me over the years, but I can only reciprocate with as much care and kindness as I know how. I have no such love for you, Tom as you have for me. When I made my vow, lo those many years past, the desire for connubial bliss and a family of my own was taken from me. When you look upon me as a woman, you are looking at nothing more than a shell. Do not be distracted by this…” and she pointed to herself as they trotted along. Tom hid his tears as best he could, not wanting to add more injury to a pain-filled episode.

So it went through the years. Tom stopped importuning Lisa and made a vow of his own: he too would never marry. The farm would go to his nephew with a legal stipulation that his brother and his wife could live out their days on the farm, if they so chose. Tom was surprised how his choice gradually made his heart so much lighter. The years passed by fast then. He and Lisa grew older and white haired, and anyone not familiar with their story would have naturally assumed they were brother and sister, so much alike they were in being soft spoken and kind to all.

“I am getting older, Tom, and my young days were not easy. This body is hampered greatly by what was done to it. Then there’s the dampness too. But mostly, mostly, my friend, I am very tired these days. There is a powerful pull in my heart, whether from God or some other beings whom I once called my guides, but I am being called home, Tom. I needed to tell you so you would not be devastated when it happens.”

She had stopped talking that day and had turned to look over the small meadow to the north. Then she had turned her face to the cloudy skies and he saw there the deep grey distant look in her eyes. He knew she was seeing something he could never see. Something that was hers alone. Then she had started crying. That was such a rare event in Lisa’s life he was taken completely unawares, not knowing what to do. He did not want to violate any boundary between them by touching her or holding her, but he wanted her to know he was trying to share her sorrow. Then suddenly he just knew. “I understand” was all he said, or needed to say, and the tears stopped as suddenly as they had come. Lisa smiled.

As he neared the hut, now a bit more of a cottage, he smelled the crushed lavender. He stopped at the door, waited a couple of minutes, then turned around back to the farm for the wagon and a shovel.

I Lived and Died, Then

Remembrances of a young French woman

by Sha’Tara

The resurgence of Fascism, or Neo Nazism is not something I could easily ignore. This past life piece of an autobiography will explain why that is such an important issue for me. At least that’s what I mean to happen. I have to put heavy restraints on my feelings in order to get this written in some proper chronology. The following is difficult, and painful, to recall and to recount here, even now, at this time and in this life.

Let me take you back to those years of which so much history, so many stories and movies have been written and made, beginning in 1940, and for me, ending in 1943.

In 1940 I was living in eastern France, on the border with Belgium near Mont St. Martin. I was 23 years old, married to a heavy set, tall, abusive drunkard and had no children. My name was Helene Matthieu, nee DuPre. For me the draft had been a God-send as it had taken Henri away from me. What happened to him subsequent to his going to war against Germany I cannot say. I never saw him again, nor heard from him. It may sound callous but I never regretted his disappearance. But then as you will read, those were strange times.

Suddenly though not unexpectedly my small world was invaded by the Germans. I was out on the street of our town to watch the Panzers rolling through, as were just about everybody else in town. The pretty girls were noticed, as I was. Before I knew it I had made the acquaintance of some very handsome, gorgeous German soldiers. One thing to another and I was introduced to the general staff, and promised that I’d be in Paris within the month. I had nothing; there were refugees everywhere. The future looked bleak and Paris was a powerful attractant for someone like myself. I needed this event to disappear from Mont St. Martin. How could someone like me have any idea what living under the Wermacht-SS coalition was going to devolve into?

Subsequently, with my Wermacht contacts I did make my way to Paris after the cessation of overt hostilities. It was a breath of fresh air. Full of their superiority and success, the Germans were gallant to a fault though some were pushy – men are men, whatever they wear, whatever language they speak. I didn’t mind, none of the other girls did either or we would have found ways to return where we came from – though I would never call it home. Paris became my home.

My luck kept up with me. I knew how to drive, even recklessly, so I was trained and hired as a driver for the general staff, mostly to run errands, sometimes to deliver messages. Some of those drives took me to areas bordering the Channel – which we call “La Manche” as you probably know. Though the war raged across the Channel and I heard about it, the horror of what the English, especially in London, had to sustain didn’t come down to us. Our news were carefully filtered, you can imagine. Still for me, the rest of 1940 and to the Summer of 1941 were a good year.

Though I could not know it however, my own black clouds were gathering and these good years were to become the sort of good year you experience reading a romance novel, not in a real life.

Things, strange and troubling, were happening around me. My German friends remained friendly but my mood changed. I saw people taken out of their homes, beaten and taken prisoner. They were Jews and those who had harboured them. Then I saw ordinary French people, including women and children, rounded up and summarily shot. My fear and anger grew day by day though I did not show it. I was beginning to think of a way I could help some of these people being taken away. I had passes and access to Wermacht vehicles. And often enough I was sent to the coast where the great defenses against a sea invasion were being built. The vehicles I drove were large with lots of room inside where a couple of people could hide. My passes meant I’d never be searched.

It was late in 1941, early Winter, when a young man with a bicycle was standing near the entrance to the flat I shared with another woman. He watched me as I unlocked the door to enter, then rushed up, grabbed me, pushed me inside and closed the door – so quickly I had no time to even think of screaming. I fell to the floor, he on top of me. He held me in a stranglehold and had one hand on my mouth. “Shhh!” he said and made the throat cutting gesture. I went limp, waiting, petrified, sure he was going to kill me.

Je suis avec la Resistance” he said. That was enough. Already several women who “collaborated” with the Germans had disappeared. We had one chance to remain alive: join the Resistance and work to defeat the Reich. When he allowed me to speak I told him I had already decided to do that. He knew all about me and what I did so he was cautiously relieved. “Je ne voulais pas the couper la gorge, tu es trop belle.” (I didn’t want to slit your throat, you’re too pretty.)

And so began a terrible cat and mouse game. I was able to carry documents to the coast along with a few terrified Jews and Gypsies, mostly children. There were contact points and small boats came in the dead of night under fog to pick up escapees and survivors. I have to say, as memory serves here, that the English people who came thus to help were probably the bravest and most honourable people imaginable. What a contrast with my swaggering “hosts” in Paris. From today, from another life, once again: Thank you, English water folks.

Such serendipity cannot last. Predictably my clandestine operations were discovered. I was stopped, searched, arrested by the SS only three months (give or take) into my new life as a “Resistante.”

I will not, cannot, describe the sort of tortures they did to me. I’ll tell you the rest from a different viewpoint, from this life.

It is common for children to have terribly frightening nightmares. The most common is the kind where you try to run away from someone, or something terrible and you cannot get up to speed. Something always holds you back, forces you to just drag along. I had those, and another kind where I was walking in a gloomy landscape bathed in greenish light. All around me were those gaping round holes. I had to try to escape by walking around them or jumping a cross them over very narrow ledges. Each step threatened death. But as a child I had a third kind of recurring nightmare, one I could not share with anyone, it was just too hellish and I didn’t, couldn’t, understand why I could see such a thing.

In this repetitive nightmare I saw a young woman chained to a cement wall, spreadeagled. She was naked and there was blood on her skin. Her hair was matted and she either screamed, or moaned. The wall was part of a small, squarish cement room and in the middle was a table. There were usually three men in the room. Two were soldiers in uniforms and oh yes, I did recognize those! The third man, quite older, sat at the table and spoke to the woman. If she answered, she was beaten by one of the other two. If she did not answer, she was beaten, sometimes savagely whipped with a sort of belt.

Years passed and I grew up. The usual nightmares stopped, but not this one. It only became more real, with more details as I could now reason why this woman was being tortured and what they were doing to her, including raping her time and again.

In the late eighties, while under the instructions of “The Teachers” as I call them, the one called “El Issa” – a small woman with a keen interest in all the things of earth – asked me about my nightmare. “Do you know yet what that is all about?” I said no, no idea, but it is very personal and poignant. What does it mean?

She said, I waited to tell you because I wanted you to understand the meaning of true forgiveness. Now I will tell you who the woman is and what happened to her. Her name is (not was) Helene Matthieu. You have been looking at a few scenes of your immediate past life, that’s why I say “is” – for you, all these events exist in real time. You are here, but you are there also. And in many other places, as you will now discover with your power to delve into past lives and perhaps if you are diligent, into future lives as well.

I will finish this story for you. The SS tortured you mercilessly because to them you were the ultimate traitor. They had taken you in and you betrayed the hand that fed you. So you had to pay a heavier price, you see? They raped you in that cell and you became pregnant. They watched as you grew, then they systematically beat you until you aborted. They made you watch that dead child. They burned it in front of you. There were more tortures. Eventually they didn’t even want your answers, they’d gotten all they’d get from you and got nowhere. You were and are, a very stubborn individual. They just continued to torture you until late in the Summer of 1943 you finally gave up fighting to stay alive and died. You were then twenty six years old and you joined millions of other young women who died in similar circumstances: the costs of war; collateral damage.

There is much more to this story; this past life remembrance that is so vivid it may as well be of this life. There is the whole aspect of forgiveness which the event was used by El Issa to stamp into my consciousness. I have written about this here and there, and probably will again. But it’s got to be for another time, this is already so long. And as always when I delve into that time, I feel extremely wiped, mind tired. Thank you for reading. I’m not asking that you accept the reality of other lives – that’s a personal awareness.  Sha’Tara, aka, ~burning woman~

FIRE SPIRIT

[a short story   by Sha’Tara]

A restless wind whispers softly in the spruce on the edge of a small lake. Brightly shining stars and distant, paling northern lights cast eerie shadows in the late summer night. A great horned owl calls, answered by the howl of a timber wolf echoed over the waters. A startled killdeer gives its plaintive cry, repeated several times, then silence again. Glowing softly, a small campfire throws its own little stars into the night, their flickering, sinewy path changing to the mood of the breeze. A young woman sits near the fire, staring, unmoving, her dark eyes reflecting its dancing light. The minutes pass slowly as the stars trace their endless circle around the tail of little bear.

At a  chosen moment the woman stands and throws some broken branches upon the fire, watching intently as the flames leap up, crackling, hungry. She begins a slow dance around the edge of the fire, her bare feet moving through the drying grass, her footsteps blending with the lapping of wavelets on the shore and the sighing of the wind in the branches. She hums in a low monotone, unintelligible words passing her lips. Gradually, the song becomes more forceful. Proudly throwing back her head, her black hair cascading down her back, she lifts her hands up and starts chanting. The song rises and falls, hauntingly moving, echoes of ancient voices seeking words to an as yet unformed hope.

Her dance takes on a rhythmic pattern, her knee-length dress swaying as she approaches the fire then steps back lightly into the darkness of the trees, to reappear from another direction. Her voice rises above the trees, flowing through the rolling hills…

From the midst of the flame, a form takes shape, graying head bowed, hands held in blessing. The form addresses the dancer: “Daughter, what are you doing? Why dance with danger tonight? Why seek death? You are the hope of the people. Would you tempt the white man again and be accused of witchcraft? Would you die in his fire too? You summoned me… now answer me!”

Swaying gently, without looking at the flame, the song dying on her lips, she answers the vision: “I am your daughter. I cannot be otherwise and I have your heart also. You died to save me, mother, though I never asked it of you. Now, you are Fire Spirit. You live in the heart of the volcano at the centre of creation and possess the gifts of life and healing in full measure: would you deny me my own birthright and refuse me my homecoming?

There is nothing left here, mother. The people are ashes, spirits without homes. Those who remain are slaves eating crumbs from the hand of their conqueror. Should I fear a moment of pain and I too become a slave?

No, mother! Do not try to dissuade me. Tonight, I dance with the spirits under the stars. Tomorrow, I will dance in the fire. Then I’ll come to you and together we will prepare the medicine for the wandering spirits. We will rise with the breath of the sun in our mouths, awakening the land, shaking the ashes of the people in the winds until all becomes one and life pulses freely in the land again. I’ll see you tomorrow, mother…”

The flames died down and the vision vanished. She took up her chant and her dance, delighting in a myriad of physical sensations heightened by the knowledge that this was her last night on earth. In the morning, her relentless pursuers would find her. The angry new god would have his victim and enjoy a short-lived victory over the past. From his fire she would rise to become Fire Spirit and wrest the future from his bloody hands.

Another Gift of the Magi (part 3)

Near the end of that year her body finally gave out and she remained bedridden.  Ariana spent as much time as she could spare comforting her and listening to some of her experiences in the world of high class prostitution.  Sometimes they could be heard bursting out in laughter, followed by Sylvia’s terrible coughing fits.  Surprisingly, and perhaps not so surprisingly, during that year some of Sylvia’s clients who had helplessly fallen in love with her, traced her to the hospice and she was permitted to receive them.  There were strange tearful reunions and many a new anonymous donation appeared in the “Hope Fund”.

The week before Christmas was the hardest.  Sylvia labored for breath and could not eat.  Fed intravenously, she was slipping fast.  Christmas Eve came and she couldn’t hold any longer.  Ariana came in and saw that the battle was over.  She reached down and held the frail, wasted body of her sister and said: 

“Remember our vow – no matter what the circumstances, we would always spend Christmas day together?  You have to hold on tonight.  You have to celebrate the birth of our Lord with me tomorrow.  You can’t break your vow.  You can’t!”

Sylvia understood.  She held on and passed away in the evening of December 25.  Ariana looked out the window into the city night.  Snow had fallen all day and everything was covered in white.  Street lights reflected their pale luster upon store fronts decorated with various aspects of the kind of commercial Christmas the world has come to accept as normal.  For a brief moment the city, attired in a virgin’s white hid her ugliness.  Ariana thought it fitting that it would make an effort and put on a white mantle for the passage of her sister’s soul.  Above the city, between high-rise escarpments, Ariana saw a couple of stars twinkling in the cold night.  Only then did she allow the floodgates of sorrow from her heart to open and she cried silently, for a long time.

A year went by.  Things returned to their normal madness in the hospice.  Sister Celeste drove herself even more now, but learned to ease up on the younger postulant nuns and things ran smoothly.  On Christmas Eve she found herself alone in her small office in the old house that served as rooming house for nuns and postulants, and office for the hospice next door.  She had done her final rounds to ensure that all was under control there under the night shift. 

The old house felt terribly empty as those not serving in the hospice had gone home to their families to celebrate Midnight Mass and Christmas day.  She pulled out her rosary, thought of Mother Teresa doing the same thing and smiled to herself as she looked out her office window into the night sky filled with grey clouds that presaged more snow on Christmas day.  

The beads of the rosary slipped silently through her fingers from years of practice.  She thought of Sylvia and tried to imagine the kind of life she was now having.  Pangs of sorrow, regret and emptiness hit her.  Had her foolish dream, however well it had turned out, been the cause of her sister’s death?  She shook her head as she prayed through the rosary.  “I cannot entertain such thoughts.  It is wrong. Sylvia and I were as one and she made a choice that I would have made had our positions been reversed.  She chose her life of sacrifice, not just for me, but for the people here, for the city, for the world.  We both did, and found what we wanted most.”

The front door buzzer brought her out of her meditation.  She checked the monitor.  Two men, unshaven, poorly dressed and obviously hungry and cold, stood at the door.  Compassion moved her heart as she looked at them and in violation of an unbreakable rule she had made, against all common sense, got up and went to open the door.  She invited the men inside and as she turned to lead them out a side door to to the hospice cafeteria, they grabbed her, threw her to the floor and raped her at knife point.  Then the one with the knife plunged it in her heart several times.

As Ariana lay dying, her blood-soaked hands holding her punctured chest, she whispered, “I forgive you…!”  Her final thought from this side of the veil was, “As promised, I’ll be with you for Christmas, sister.”

It is not given to us to see beyond this point.  Death guards his territory with terrible jealousy.  His reasoning, often tragic to us, remains impenetrable.  We cannot investigate further; we can but speculate on the fate of those who “cross the bar” and never return.  Some will think, heaven, and some will think, there is no more to the story.  That is how it should be but regardless of our belief choices, it is given to us to have the mental means to contemplate the lives of people such as these two sisters; their motivation and the results from such sacrificial offerings to us and our world. 

The story is fictitious, certainly, but how many real lives provide the flesh and blood background for stories such as this one?  My question, as always, is: can we take ourselves beyond just admiration and perhaps temporary sadness?  Is there some food here for us? Something to move us to better ourselves and take new steps, however hesitant, towards becoming compassionate beings? Surely, anyone who has read the story to the end must realize such are not given to us simply to entertain, or bring out a few temporary tears, as beneficial as such may be to our eyes strained by the harsh glare of consumerism. 

 I do not easily give Christmas wishes for to the degree that I understand the concept I strive to live without hypocrisy.  However, I will do this: on behalf of Sylvia and Ariana, cast out any darkness from your hearts during this time and do give yourselves, one and all, a merry Christmas!