Saturday 27 February 2016


by Lyra Reyes

Mist. She can't see through the mist. She was walking alone through an unfamiliar woodlands when the mists came and upped the creep factor of the already creepy walk along the woods. 

Where am I anyway? 

She turned when a twig snapped somewhere behind her. Okay. relax. Just the woods sounding all...woodsy. She  turned back to walk again when she heard the growl.

That is not woodsy.

Turning back, she saw shadows shifting. She watched in horror as something huge formed into shape. She first saw the eyes. Glowing red eyes. Then the glistening sharp fangs.

The wolf growled louder as it stalked toward her. She was paralyzed with fear. But she was mesmerized. I should run, she thought. But, as the wolf growled menacingly, she reached out her hand to the silver mark on its head.

The wolf lunged. Her body slammed painfully on the ground. Still, even as the wolf attacked her, she reached out and touched its head.

A bolt of fire came out of nowhere. The wolf howled in pain and burst into mist. As she started to lose consciousness, she heard a voice.

Your sisters need you. Come home.


"A triquetra."

Anna blinked, "A tri-what?"

"Triquetra. You mentioned the wolf had a mark on it's head that looked like a knotted three-edged leaf with a circle in the center, right?"

"Yeah, I guess. What does it mean?"

"I was so afraid of this."

"Of what?"

"Your sisters need you. You have to go home."

Anna stared at Aurora. She has been the steadiest force in Anna's life and it alarmed her to see the small, bubbly woman visibly shaken. "Mom. What sisters? What home?"

Aurora closed her eyes. My baby. Why my baby? So many generations have already passed, why now when it's Anna?

"Mom?" Anna whispered, watching her mother.

Aurora opened her eyes. "There's something I need to show you, Anna. Come with me."


Anna let out an irritated huff as the fire fizzled.


 The fire rose. Then fizzled.

"Try harder."


Aurora smiled. "I'm sorry, baby."

"Fire is not my element, I think we've already established that."

"Well, it is very useful. Why don't you go take a break?"

"Okay." Anna gave Aurora a hug before heading out to the garden. She had always thought her mother's garden a fairytale; a jumble of different flowers seemingly haphazardly thrown together. At the very center, where a wooden bench rested under a foxglove tree, is where she spent her afternoons as a child.

Sitting there now, surrounded by what her mother and the earth has created, Anna closed her eyes and remembered that morning a fortnight ago, when her mother insisted she come up to the attic.

The attic has always been a puzzle for Anna. From the outside, it looked large enough for a room. Inside, though, it it was only large enough to hold several boxes of old clothes and knick-knacks. 

Or so she thought before Aurora dragged her up there after she told her about her dream.

Standing in front of the closet door, careful not to fall off the narrow floor separating the door from the stairs, Anna looked at the boxes and wondered why Aurora was looking at her with a mixture of excitement and worry.

"Uhm, mom?" Anna had said. "What are we doing here?"

Aurora looked around, rolled her eyes. "Sorry, baby. Here." Then, with a wave of her hand, changed Anna's life forever.

The door, the wall, the boxes all faded away and a large room gradually appeared in front of Anna's startled eyes. Row upon row of books hugged two walls.  A large mirror took up half of one wall, the other half of which is covered by a display case filled with jars of leaves and crystals of varying sizes and colors. Near the door stood a table groaning under the weight of more ancient books, a large bowl, a sickle, and a scythe.

But Anna was drawn to the center of the room where a large triquetra is burned on the wooden floor. Directly above it was a round skylight and the slanted ceiling was nothing more than clear glass.

"It's to make sure that the moon always lights the rituals." Aurora said.

"You practice Wicca?"

Aurora smiled, "of course, I do."

"Why is there an 'of course.' How is there an 'of course' when I asked you if you're practicing Wicca?" Anna asked.

"Well, because I'm a witch." Aurora said. "And so are you, baby."

Yeah, mom. Thanks for telling me that way, Anna thought now. She thought now of how she had chuckled at her mother's animated explanations of birthrights and legacies. Of how she conveniently forgot the sudden appearance of the attic and all it contained. Of how she reasoned to her mother that witches are stuff for fiction and that Wicca is a hoax.

Then she thought of her shock when Aurora, impatient at her disbelief, held out her palm and conjured a floating ball of water on her palm.

"Are you okay, darling?"

Anna shook out of her musings as she watched her mother walking toward her. Aurora was carrying one of the books from the attic. She scooted over and, when Aurora sat beside her on the bench, laid her head on her mother's shoulder.

"Yeah. Just thinking."

They sat quietly for a moment. Then Anna asked what she had wanted to ask since it all began. "Why didn't you tell me? Why did you keep it hidden?"

Aurora sighed. "You do the oddest things to protect those you love, more so if those people come from you." She brushed Anna's hair back. "I never told you the story about the Four Sisters of the Blood Moon, right?"

"That sounds downright creepy, mom."

"I know," Aurora chuckled. "It is, a bit, which is why I never told you about it. But I'm going to tell you about it now. Which is why I brought this book. Everything is all here."

"You're going to read all that out loud?" Anna chuckled as she watched her petite mother struggling to balance the large book.

"Not all of it, smartass." Aurora flipped the book open. "Just this one part that would make a couple of things clear. The rest, you must read on your own."

Aurora settled in her seat and started to read. As her mother talked, Anna could easily picture it in her mind.


She stood on the edge of the cliff, unmindful of waves crashing and breaking on the rocks below. Heart filled with grief, she clutched the journal to her chest.

Preserve the legacy. Protect what comes after.

That was her duty. She'd known since she was a little girl. But, by the goddess, it hurts. She hadn't known just how much until she watched her sisters fall one by one. Until she had to recount how each of her sisters tried to vanquish the evil that threatened their island.

All that is left is her. Her sister's vision told her that if she succeeds, she will still be all that's left of the four women born when the same blood moon rode the sky. But the island and everything on it will be saved. If she fails, the island is lost.

She does not know which she fears more.

Preserve the legacy. Protect what comes after.

Forgive me, sisters. 


Looking back, she watched her daughter walk toward her. Lovely, fiery Kaiea with her long black hair and glistening tanned skin. She patted the ground beside her and waited until her daughter had settled.

"Kaiea, do you trust me?"

"Of course, I do."

"Then take this." She handed the journal to her daughter. "And leave."

Startled, Kaiea dropped the journal back in her mother's hands. "Leave?"

"I have talked to Etera. Before the sun sets today, you must go with him. He know where to take you. Bring this journal," she took her daughter's hands and closed them tightly on the book, "and provisions you need for a day."


"If tomorrow the islands still stands, come back. If it doesn't - " she choked. Cleared her throat. "If there is no island to come back to, then you must live your life elsewhere."

"Mother, what..."

"Kaiea, listen, please," she pleaded. "We do not have enough time."

Taking a deep breath, she took her daughter's face in her hands. Her beautiful daughter. "There is something that I must do. Pray that I succeed. But whether I succeed or fail, this is the last time we will be together, my daughter."

"You are going after it."


"I will stay and help."

"No, Kaiea. Preserve the legacy. Protect what comes after. That is my duty - a duty that I now pass on to you." She dropped one of her hands on top of the book. "This journal will tell you everything you need to know. Study it. Pass it on." 

"Is there no other way?"

"I am not as strong as my sisters. I fear I cannot vanquish it. But I can hold it."

"Hold it?"

"Bind it to me. To the earth. If I fail, the burden of vanquishing it would fall on you. If I succeed, then the burden of arming what comes after would fall on you. Whatever happens, Kaiea, all I leave you are burdens. Forgive me, daughter."

Kaiea took the book in one hand and her mother's hand in the other. "Not burdens, mother. But duty of my birthright. You have always told me that certain duties are required of our birthright. I will do as you ask, mother. Not only because you ask, but because I am a daughter of a sister of the blood moon and it is now my duty."


"She failed." Anna said.

"No, she succeeded." Aurora replied. "The island still stands. Kaiea returned and did as her mother asked. Thirty generations separate the sisters of the blood moon from you. She has been able bind it for that long and Kaiea has done as she promised."

"Preserved the legacy."

"And so have I." Aurora said. "I was hoping that is all you have to do, too. Which is why I have not armed you as what is expected of me."

Aurora sighed. "I was hoping that I could pass on my duty to preserve the legacy when you turn twenty-five. But it seems, my darling, that you are now called to protect what comes after."

"And how, exactly, can I do that?"

"Go home. Your sisters need you."

(This is the second part of the Daughters of the Blood Moon series)

Monday 1 February 2016

No Real Defence

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

‘In addition, he acted as teacher at another establishment, and received payment for his work there; and, when he had received the fees for this extra work, he would hasten off and purchase more books.’ Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Poor Folk

Samuel Grant Elvson had always vaguely expected to discover real magick, one of his most earnest hopes, and had always searched for it in second-hand bookshops, and sometimes in Sydney’s few publicly available archives. His reading was thus very wide, from handwritten WWI diary entries to Finnegans Wake. This last he has so far read three times. He likes its intimate code, a romp between only him and Joyce whilst reading the great work.

     The Dickens he was currently considering, though, in Bradley’s, a select second-hand bookstore in Newtown, Sydney, was also a very unique book; a white CD in a clear sleeve had just fallen from out of its pages. He picked it up. Completely blank, devoid of anything identifying it. Ah well, thought Samuel, I’ll check it out at home.

     And it was indeed a good thing that he did open the disc at home (after a virus check), because, and we all blush to say this, it was a love letter, with an alluring photo, brazenly stating that the first man to find the CD was destined to be her One True Love. The writer gave her name as Arabelle Alison-Jane Stead, along with her mobile number and home address.

     Samuel was gobsmacked. Literally. Arabelle’s declaration had been cast so well that he naturally thought the Fates were guiding him into the arms of that someone he’d been longing for, and had always apparently been longing for him. He would be a fool not to reply.

     He rang the mobile number given.

     Their easy conversation assured him that the Fates must indeed be guiding him. Both of them were very open, talking with someone that was very near and yet very far. Strangers, but strangers who had just caught up again. It was no wonder then that about half an hour into their chat that Samuel asked her out. Naturally, Arabelle agreed.

     ‘But we have to go to a real ritzy restaurant. It may be our thing,’ suggested Arabelle.

     ‘Too much ritzy is sickening. But a little bit is good, so how about in a week at some real swell place?’

     ‘Ok, but it has to be in the city.’

     ‘Where else?’

     Accordingly they agreed to meet in the city, in exactly a week, Saturday, in December, 2015, when the Christmas ads began earlier than usual, and to have each searched the Net for some suitable sophisticated restaurant by the time they caught up. Samuel spent the intervening time in being very happy and very sad. Surely this wasn’t a symptom of being in love? But he did fall in love so easily. He was very happy at having come to know Arabelle but was very sad at feeling that he could not possibly live up to both of their hopes. He was just lazy, drifting by through life on interest from a large inheritance (he always thanked his departed Grandma for that before nodding off each night. Well, most nights.) and hoping that everything will continue to fall into his lap. As it was apparently doing.

     This bittersweet melancholy suddenly ended, exactly one week later, when Arabelle texted him to say that she had to cancel. She had just twisted her ankle and was now laid up in bed. Samuel, naturally concerned, rang her.

     ‘Hello, Sam.’

     ‘Hi, Arabelle. So you’ve twisted your ankle? That’s such bad luck.’

     ‘Yeah, I know. But sorry, Sam, I can’t talk long, I’m in so much throbbing pain.’ And she sounded it, pausing between her words.

     ‘Okay, sorry things didn’t work out. Let me know once you’re better.’

     ‘I will.’ She hung up first.

     Arabelle was able to call him back a week later and arranged another get together for the ensuing Saturday. His acceptance provided a springboard for them to talk together for an hour, wandering through the sundry halls of their various joys and pains. Both felt reborn when they ended the call.

     It was when Arabelle cancelled again, on the morning of their second date, that Samuel became suspicious of her. She had food poisoning. She rescheduled for a week hence. But was she simply playing some sort of mindgame with him? This second cancellation, on any law of averages, was very unusual. He hardly knew her, even though she sounded very friendly and engaging; maybe he was paying the price for a former sour love of hers, an indiscriminate victim for her romantic vengeance? Did she perhaps spend her romantic time stringing men along, regularly stirring them in their frustrated juices, and juices so sweetly squeezed? Was she maybe even intent on murder, exquisitely torturing him first?

     Still, he had no proof of this. He was probably being overly sensitive. After all, she sounded like she had food poisoning. Life is full of error too, so no doubt she is being completely honest.

     Over the next morning’s breakfast he thought of her again, as he usually did now. Really, even he was shocked to realise, he didn’t know Arabelle. It was indeed quite likely that she is some type of loon, playing a dangerous mindgame that only she’s aware of. Yes, and why didn’t he think of it before, he should look her up on the Net.

      What he did find about her online, also confirming that he had the right Arabelle Alison-Jane Stead by the photo she had given him in the CD, was that she was a very nice person. Her social media entries were all polite and engaging and contained nothing even remotely offensive. She had even posted a few cute kitten pictures. Here, then, was a very stable woman, apparently in control of her life and not seeking the bruised, beating heart of a random stranger as vindication for a horrible wish that only she knew the roots of.

     One of her posts gave him pause though, a brief mention to two CDs: ‘2 CDs: nothing more.’ It was a post that appeared on its own, with no build up or preamble. She had just suddenly given something out there about two CDs, secretively.

     At the end of his few hours’ long research into this strange romance he concluded that he had to go back to the bookshop in which he had found her original CD. The mention of 2 such CDs was very enticing, a veritable call to action. He expected it was quite possible that there was indeed a second one, considering the strange post, a missing companion that would answer all his questions about the real Arabelle. It just remained to be found.

     But the shop was so big. Where to start? At the bottom, and spend several hours on finding her.

     His patience was rewarded just as he was about to give up looking for Arabelle’s other secret CD, gradually becoming accustomed to the fact that she was truly an honest, regular, and upright citizen, wanting only a love uniquely sought. His patience was rewarded with another blank, white CD in a clear sleeve that fell from a book, a Peter FitzSimmons, again with no identifying marks. It had to be from Arabelle, being exactly like the other.

     His surprise was, and still is, insurmountable when he opened the disc to find that it was a curse, a curse upon the bearer throughout all of time, for a lover that had fled, leaving her suddenly destitute. She is still living on friends’ couches, hoping to get a place in the tight renters’ market of Sydney, and hoping every day that some facile man will pick up the disc and feel her full ire, a ready sacrifice for the barbarian that had extinguished all her hopes of true love. She admitted to planting another CD, a call to love, and that its discovery also doubly damned the bearer.

     What could Samuel do? He was effectively cursed. Doubly cursed. He could ring Arabelle and tell her that he had discovered this second disc but, really, isn’t that what she wanted; isn’t that what she had planned for? And what was worse, he had no real defence. He was quite randomly cursed and just had to live with it.
     No, the best thing to do now was to just always be on the lookout. Somewhere, somehow, in howsoever an innocuous action, Arabelle was aching to further damn him if possible, aching to justify her violent wishes of indiscriminate vengeance. Samuel can only be on his guard, eternally.

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