A causation of energy is taking place connecting the three orb crystals
an exquisite sapphire radiance appears.
Sea-blue halos enter each being, and as the light glistens, the human bodies disappear.
Chapter Thirteen
Consenting Players
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F
or Nelly immersed in Manor laundry — last night is something to think about.  Jimmy tugging at her, pulling her towards the roaring bonfire.  Saying how grand it all is.
Getting close to Jimmy.
Jimmy just stares into that bonfire.  He won’t move so she won’t move.  The flames leaping, the faggots stoked fire sparks spitting.  She has to keep brushing them from her clothes.
Jimmy don’t move until her uncle yells for them to get on his contraption where Aunt Clair and him sit up high.
They rush to get on but when things start wobbling, Jimmy grabs her and they both fall upon the grass laughing.
“Have some gingerbread, anyways!  Catch Jimmy!”  her aunt throws down star chunks of honey and ginger.
They munch on those until the fireworks start.
A dart of scarlet twinkles and flutters over Fennel’s and behind that specks of crimson and white skitter to the far side of the pub.  “It’s got the Dog!”  Jimmy laughs.
They’d gone walking out to Atherton in the afternoon, taking it slow and easy, Jimmy doing his imitations, one of the Squire, which was really good.
Getting back to Weatherby for the fireworks, Jimmy asked how she was getting home.  She’d have to wait for Fred, she said.  He suggested she ride home on Curly at the stables waiting.  He would walk and they would enjoy the night air together.
Tingles went up her spine when he said that.
Holding his arms about her, protecting her, squeezing her as the big rockets would shoot off, Jimmy’s face had been as near to hers as it could get.
“Like that, Nelly girl?”  His breathing she can feel now upon her cheeks.
“I think Nelly’s always had a soft spot for the lad,” says Augusta Minton to Charlotte.
Hearing her name being mentioned brings Nelly back to the ironing she’s doing in the part that divides the scullery and laundry room.
“It’s Jimmy’s father, worries me!”  Charlotte Appleton feeds a sheet from the blueing tub into the huge wooden rollers of the mangle.  “James Briggs will be looking for a farmer’s daughter. Not our Nelly.”
Making sure Charlotte’s hands are safe from the rollers, Mrs. Minton cranks the handle.  As she does, she glances across at Nelly, listening.  “Glad to see mangle’s working right.”
Charlotte looks across at the tubs still filled with wet washing.  “We’d be in poor do if t’wern’d.”
Something had gone wrong with the mangle on Monday and with Tuesday being a holiday they were all behind. “Man came out quick as a bunny when Woolly telephoned,” Mrs. Minton has a wonder in her voice. “Tempest’s shop just got telephone in.  Woolly said we needed help right away if they could manage, because of the wedding and all the guests.  Manager is a new fellow.”
The sheet taken from the mangle, the two women fold it ready to be put on the lines outside.
“It’s Wilf as well!”
“Wilf?”
“Wilf spoke on it?  Says Farmer Briggs ain’t ever go’n ‘t like our Nelly.”
Mrs. Minton ponders on that.  Wilf, a worker on James Briggs’ farm, is known to like his drink. Likes it too well.
Charlotte pulls another sheet from one of the dolly tubs, pushes it into the blueing, agitating linen with the dolly as much as she might be agitating James Briggs.  “Real worr’d ‘er is.  ‘What’l Farmer Briggs b’say’n.  That’s what I’d been a wonder’n,’ Wilf says.”
Mrs. Minton winks at the now anxious Nelly.  “What will be will be, Charlotte.  Marriage is up to the young ‘uns. James Briggs or no James Briggs, if Jimmy has made up his mind, can’t do much about what will be, can we.”
Charlotte shakes her head, glances at her daughter.  “Don say ‘more.  You’n know ‘er, Augusta Fay, you’n know how ‘er is.  ‘Er worries a lot.”
Mrs. Minton suggests they have enough in the loaded baskets to take to the washing lines.  Nelly’s face is a caution and they’ll be some blow-up between mother and daughter if she don’t do something.  She knows Nelly and she knows Charlotte Appleton.
The laundry cart, its two filled laundry baskets pulled in silence outside, them hanging the pile of sheets, Nelly is put to hear more. Placing the iron back on the stove to heat, she stands just inside the back laundry door.
“Hear what ‘appen’d at Estate two days past, Augusta,” her mother’s voice from behind the line of sheets.  “Our Wilfred back ‘fer ‘Dog and Gun’ says stableman hav’n right time ‘w tale.  Seems Ethel Harvey, head housemaid, caught the young footman ‘Freckles ‘n girl named Ruby who works as maid.  Both ‘n closet an both nayn jus’a kissing.
“Ethel Harvey took broom ‘t lad, chas’n ‘er down back stairs and roun’d kitchn.  ‘Ad ‘ard time keep’n trousers up, lad did, so Wilf said.”
Mrs. Minton laughs.  “Closets and young ‘uns.”   Nelly scampers from the door, picks up the iron cloth folds it around the handle of the iron heating on the stove.
At the bosom-board she resumes ironing the shirt:
Heat of late afternoon they are out by the stream at Atherton. First time she’s walked that far with Jimmy, him talking and laughing, doing his imitations.  Jimmy still dressed in his riding breeches, his cloth cap shading his auburn eyes, Nelly cannot help but keep glancing at him.
He stopped by a small private opening in the trees.  “You ever been kissed, Nelly girl.”  She watches him rubbing his hand across his mouth.  “As a man kisses a woman? Just kissing for a long time?”  She can smell his leather, his broadcloth, his man-scent.
“Don’t know I have kissed much,” she replies.
“Shall we?”  His eyes look to hers.  She can see his shyness.
“Why?”  and she’d felt so stupid after she said it.
“Because that will make us a proper couple, won’t it!”   He takes her hands.  “Shall we, Nelly?” Leaning, Jimmy’s lips touch her cheek.
And sliding from her cheek, his open lips join her lips.
. . .
Lawrence slackens the rein of his horse.  She will be here soon.  A loud screeching from above issues forth as if to acknowledge his thought.  Sun in his eyes, Lawrence tugs at the rein, half circles.
He could stop this, but he will not.  If she comes, she comes without coercion.
“For ‘The Kingdom!’  ‘The Kingdom!’”  the voices around him chant.  Lawrence scans the sky.  The winged thing flying above dips.  ‘Listen to me,’ it says, ‘We will enjoy her.  She is near.’
His member extends fully as the power takes hold.
He will slip into the trees until she passes.
. . .
“Emily!  Off alone today!”  George at the entrance to the stable courtyard raises his cane as a salute.
“Milly and I will spend the afternoon on the moors.    Some stones I have been seeking.  Annabell and Edward have marriage business.”
Stopped, the pony puts her nose out towards George. “Mr Bexfield, are you familiar with a path off to the left where there used to be a house?”
The question unnerving him, George fondles Milly’s ears. “I haven’t been out to the moors since I returned.”
Leaning on his cane, George forces the words.  “The house was burned down.  The tradesman’s path is the only path from Oath directly to the house.  I never travelled on it, always considered it a private path to the house.”
Emily laughs in her youthful exuberance.  “I have been searching for the stones for so long.”
“The stones of which the house was built?”
“That is what I am told!”
The pain in George’s face, though unnoticed by Emily, doesn’t go away.  “You must tell me more this evening.”
“Yes!”  Emily taps the side of Milly with her legs.
“Well!  I wish you a pleasant time.”
“See you at dinner, Mr. Bexfield,” Emily waves as the pony moves past him.
George watches the girl, who is not unlike Caroline.  As the pony trots away, a vision floods over him.  Their last moment together. They always met at the base of a hillock where the stream meandered past.  He remembers mention of a circle of stone, a druid ceremonial formation upon this small hill.  Caroline ran from him after they kissed.  As she always did she ran into the trees through which she would pass to take her home.  This time she never turned at the trees to wave.  It was the last time he would see her.
George stepping from the stable court watches the pony make its turn along the manor driveway out towards the highway.  The young woman also does not glance back.
. . .
Emily is not sure this is the tradesman’s lane.  But it is a path.  The pony pushing forward, spring growth foliage either side, sweet myrtle drifts over her, the scent bringing memory of Aunt Keren and Aunt Mary back home in their kitchen preparing myrtle oil.
Aunt Keren often spoke of the benefits of myrtle:
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle.

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She will find myrtle in her salad.  Given as a sweet-cake if her head hurt.  A touch of stomach-ill, wine with its flavour.
Emily laughs, a sweet laugh.  A warbler invisible in the thicket accompanies her.  She listens gaily to its laughing.
Travelling down the lane, not aware her mind is moving to a higher state, hues of the varied plants enrapture her eyes.
When she returns to her aunts after the wedding they have promised to present all knowledge both have of how to prepare herbs.
Once Annabell is married, Emily brushes away the need she has to push that thought from her, then she will have more freedom.
She will not lose Annie, she knows in her heart.  But the marriage with Edward will bring change.  The rings Annie purchased are waiting.  Just as Edward and Annie will be joined, they also, Annie and she will be joined.
Returning to Aunt Emily, to Aunt Karen, her assisting at Lentwiss school, she’ll have time to learn of the herbs.  All will be explained of the magic Fairy-worlds, all that her aunt’s mother and her mother before, and all the mothers before have learnt and stored inside them.  She has been promised the High Secrets will be given her.  She here in this world will receive the secrets of her soul family.
The narrow lane widens.  In the distance a mass of pink heather. “Emily you are the generation upcoming,” Aunt Karen has said to her so many times.  “The present and the future. You will be the keeper of our knowledge for your time.”
Approaching the fallen stones she jumps off the pony. “Thank you my love for the ride.”   Walking Milly across to the wading stream she pats her. “Time for you to have rest and a drink.  I hear children laughing.  I am going to them.”
Already she knows.  The fallen rain-washed stones are the stone circle from so many years past.  Sitting upon one, closing her eyes, she sees children playing.  A young women weaves between them dancing.  Emily watches this woman.
Upon the red, the green, the purplish-brown softness of the moss that has grown upon the stone, she slides her body so that her head rests upon this cushion made by nature.
Her dream becomes twenty people all in a circle seated. Some chat, some laugh, some bowing their head, holding bead strings in their fingers, praying.
An older woman appears now in her mind.  She knows it is she in her soul memory.  The woman in a gown, white shimmering, walks to a stone table that has seashells.
One shell has inside tiny white rock glistening in the sun, this she knows is salt.  Another has earth, dry and brown. Another has clear liquid taken from the stream.  Around the shells, three large orb crystals sparkle.
The woman picks up a metal bell from the table, clangs once, twice, thrice.  A wand begins to float upwards from where it has lain, the wand caught by the woman who holds it upright in her hand.
A dart of light begins to appear from the tip of the wand, this light flashing from some inner ether.  A causation of energy is taking place connecting the three orb crystals.
Between the crystals and the wand an exquisite sapphire radiance appears.  The woman holding the wand towards all those seated, this radiance becoming a shower of halos. As Emily watches, the sea-blue halos enter each being, and as the light glistens, the human bodies disappear.
Emily sits upright.  Not a rabbit or snake, not the grass, not the bell heather, not even the fern moves.  A reed bunting nesting out in the long grass answers to some sense of desolation that has descended — twk, twk, tit tit wee.
Then the rush of lust sweeps her body.
She stands.
“Oh!  Mr. Morton.”  Emily shades her eyes from the sunlight.
“Just arrived, Emily.”  Across the back of the cigarette case a match is struck.  Drawing deeply the young man asks, “Do you like these ruins, Emily?”
“The ruins, sir.”
“You know of them?”
“Yes!  From a former time.  Is that why we are here?”   Lawrence, who no longer is Lawrence, points to the hillock filled with pink heather off in the distance.  “That is where the stones were when you sacrificed my child.”
“Sacrificed your child, sir?”
“Up there Emily, where you killed my boy.  Do you remember killing my boy, Emily.”
“Not me, sir!”
“But you own it.  Is that not why we are here, EMILY!”
Audacious, disrespectful, impertinent, his harsh voice brings out all the ugliness.
“Are you going to kill me, sir?”
There is raucous laughter with that.
“Ah!  But that I might, Emily.  But that I might.  But then who would have my child!  The angel has informed you has he not?”
“Yes sir.  He has informed me that I may choose not to fulfil this contract if I wish.”
“Do you wish, Emily.”
“I will proceed as has been designed, sir.”
“Why, Emily?  For what reason.  What is this woman so long passed to you?”
“Because I have been asked, sir.”  As Emily speaks a tear is in her eye.
“Then we will proceed.”  The voice has darkened.  The cigarette thrown away.
Dread and horror passes through her as she sees this power peering from those eyes.
It watches as a young roe fawn might freeze.
It now begins to loosen the buttons of his trousers.
Emily, her throat choked, grasps for whatever might help her. Then the earring, shining red gems as eyes, come to her. ‘Azgar, my serpent.’ the young woman had spoken. ‘Azgar is a serpent of luck.’
He begins to laugh.
As she stands immobile, the hand begins to fondle her bosom. “You will show me all your rooms.  I am not the evil you think I am.”
In the touch, instinctively she pushes him away.
He watches as the fear seeps through her.  “My, I’ll be a duck’s arse, you know everything is for me to explore, don’t you Emily.” Then a hesitation comes upon him.  He withdraws his hand.
“What do you think of the old fireplace?”  he points to a flat stone upright that has kept intact its shape.  “I heard rumour this place they now call the devil’s cottage.”
“They say men and women, even young children would be tied to trees and flogged here.  For sacrifice you know. Some to be burned. Some hung.  The screams, Emily.  If you could hear the screams.  Those that were burned were the worst.  To waken and bring forth the evil one, Emily.  Can you picture we would do such?  Only humans, Emily.  Only humans!”
“Trees!”  Emily in her mind focuses upon the earring. It has taken her inside the largest tree.  She is one with its wisdom.  It is guarding her.
“Much evil, Emily,” the young man’s face closes upon her.  “You feel the Master touching you, Emily.”  His hands clutch at her now exposed breast.
“You should not have killed MY CHILD.”
Then he steps back.  In his mind a voice cries, ‘Treat her well. Treat her kindly.  You must not harm her.’
He smiles.  “Let yourself go, little one.  So delicate, so young, so pure you are.  I want you little one.  I do want you.  I want to explore your rooms.  I do not wish to hurt you.”
His eyes on fire, he tastes the salt moisture around her mouth.  Licks the drops as they have formed.  “Soon I will be inside, little one.  Soon you and I will be together. Then it will be over.”
His tongue moves down to her breasts, licks the red nipples.  “I do want you Emily.  It is not by accident in your fine splendour you have been created for my appeasement.”
But Emily is no longer with her body.  She has Azgar, the Serpent-God, and the young woman is smiling.  She does not see as he pulls at her skirt.  She does not feel as he touches.
Only her body shudders as he slides his hand into her most private area, as he holds her there
“Little one,” he murmurs, “Now I fill you.”
Her body upon the ground, as the young man’s member pushes, as slowly it moves inside her depths, it, the demon Ecnerwal, supplicant incubus within the energy of the High Being, ‘The Other,’ feels the warm, wrapping of her flesh.
Pushing, withdrawing, her body completely allowing, a vast ocean sea has opened for the incubus.  Then as mind, inner ether and outer body meet, the sudden fluid of sugar discharging from the prostate, semen rising from the testes, penis shooting, Lawrence’s seed swims upwards into that ocean.
Emily’s body shudders.  The mouth screams, silently screams.
And when the scream ceases, Emily opens her eyes.
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