Clouds hung gray just above the treetops, now and then descending in banks of fog that choked out the light of the sun. Beyond the clouds, the light of the sky had climbed to the height of midmorning, yet all around a twilit gloom settled across the land. The forest loomed dark, heavy, obtrusive. And among the trees there now and again appeared armed men searching for an unarmed girl.

A makeshift command tent had been set up in the ruins of an old sacred site. In the area marked by four ancient columns and a crescent-moon dais of stone…

“And how do you plan to get my daughter back to me?”

The Priestess winced. Agatha sat at her right side at the table, glancing now and then at the kitchen door and through the window, where a group of Temple bodyguards stood bored at their ease. A little girl peered in from the next room every few moments, listening into the grownups conversation with a child’s indifferent curiosity before disappearing to attend to her little brother.

Stricken Lydia sat on the far side of the round table, her arms wrapped around herself. Though she was not a small woman…

The Priestess awoke the next morning, trembling all over with her right hand curled into a fist as if around an invisible dagger. In the darkness of her chamber, the vapors of a fading dream drying up in her memory, she half-believed it was years ago.

“Sofia…?” she whispered into the black morning.

But there was no answer.

The weight of the night before crushed her thoughts and a hopeless lethargy spread through her limbs. Three dead last night — and how many more by now? …

This post is mostly going to be a bit of housekeeping, etc. So if you’re a regular you should probably stick around for this, but if you’re not I doubt you’ll find anything in here you’ll care about.

Since the end of the Cynthia story is coming into sight, I’m starting to think about my next project and what I want to do here on Medium. I’ve learned a lot in the course of The Stone by the Stream — but one of the things I’ve learned is that I don’t want to use this format when it comes to…

One of the more common methods atheists use to attack the Christian God is on moral grounds. They’ll point to the moral repugnance and barbarity of some of God’s actions as described in the Bible. To pick a few of the more salient examples:

· God demands that Abraham sacrifice his only son, Isaac, as a test of Abraham’s devotion to him. Then, once Abraham is on the point of performing the sacrifice, God calls the whole thing off.

· Having created the world with the full knowledge that human beings would fall into sin, God nonetheless becomes so enraged…

A true poem traces the outlines of the unspeakable, without releasing the tension in a banal attempt to express the truth outright. Eliot’s Prufrock never reveals the overwhelming question the reader is to be led to ask. The voice delineating Keats’ Grecian urn assures us that heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter. Rilke’s marble torso of Apollo stares all the more urgently for the fact that the passage of time has stolen its head — leaving only imagined eyes to demand: Du musst dein Leben ändern.

The greatest poems are the ones that erase the poet’s personality…

She sat on the stone bench, contemplating the darkness.

Darkness is never empty. At times it hangs close about the eyes, forcing itself on them with an energy and vigor that possesses the depth of the soul and disturbs its balance. Ghosts and phantoms populated the darkness in her imagination, filling the space with their indefinite threat and unsatisfied yearning.

And were they real?

She’d heard more than once, and sometimes believed, that anything arising in the dimness of the imagination possessed a reality equal to any spreading tree, indifferent stone, or grazing horse perceived in the daylight eye. …

The Priestess rushed down the path, flanked by Agatha the Acolyte and perhaps a dozen of the Temple bodyguards. Torn between her rush toward the stone and the urge to listen to the Priestess, Cynthia settled to a stop after a few more steps. Yet she still felt her foot aching to take the next step, even as she turned around to await the Priestess and her company.

“We thought we might be too late,” the Priestess said, breathless, once she reached Cynthia and placed her hands on the younger woman’s shoulders.

“Not quite, Priestess. But I think it’s time…

The whistling grew louder as the light around Cynthia pulsed brighter and brighter. Still drawn toward the stone, still trying to remind herself why she should hold back, Cynthia waited for the source of the clownish whistling to emerge. The deep thrumming from beneath the earth rolled onward, oscillating so deeply Cynthia wondered if it was an earthquake.

“Accept your destiny, Cynthia.”

She heard the voice before she saw its source. And she wasn’t surprised when the acolyte she called Sofia emerged from the line of trees, taking half-league strides with her broom slung over her shoulder like a knapsack.

The stone glowed before her in the dying evening light Before long the luminescent stone would become the brightest light around her. Pulsating through her body she felt the energy of the stone, the Goddess pervading Cynthia’s chest and arms, already making her struggle to remember herself. A sound — or was it a rumbling from the Earth? — penetrated her mind, so low in pitch that it was barely audible and so absolute in its presence that she could not deny it or think of anything else.

Thunder still rumbled in the distance, but seemed quaint by comparison.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store