I’ve fallen a bit behind and today’s story tries to bring together Whale, Clock and Guarded.
Maggie run up the hill as fast as she could. Breath heaving, lungs burning, legs aching, she kept pushing and pushing. It was the highest hill in the village, the perfect location for their strongest protective spell to be housed, allowing it to extend its powers over the whole of the valley and beyond, into the sea that embraced it.
Every evening, at the hour when daylight becomes dusk, there was the risk that the pod could fall through the space-in-between and tumble onto this plane, stranding them on land. Thus one of the guardians was required to be in attendance and use their powers to strengthen the shield until the night came. Only that Maggie was late.
She could hear the clock in the church’s tower sounding the hour as she kept running. Suddenly a sharp pain shot up her leg, as her foot found a hole and her ankle twisted. She fell hard, hitting her left knee, her left hand trying to break the fall, grazing the skin off the palm. She looked up as the stars were becoming more visible and the light was changing. She could feel her powers becoming greater, a sign that dusk was upon them, and if only she had not fallen she new she would have made it in time. But she was still too far to be able to extend her powers to the pod.
“No, I am not going to fail. I need to…” She closed her eyes and allowed her power to take over all her senses. First the wind died away. Then the sounds of the village became blurred. The pain that had been flaring up from her ankle was muted and her lungs could breathe calmly again. All her awareness was focused on the pod, just some odd fifty meters away from her. She started to smell the sea in the air, the taste of salty water in her mouth. She could hear them calling.
She opened her eyes and there, in front of her, a young whale floated in the wind, her big inquisitive eye focused on her. Its constant grin seemed wider, more open, almost amused. Maggie smiled back: “Hello, mother. I am sorry I am late. I could do with some help?”
The whale swam around and got Maggie to ride on her back. Her mum had not been a whale for long – in fact for less then a year. She’d transmuted the previous summer, when a strong storm surge had broken her boat in half – and she was still pretty clumsy at controlling the winds’ currents. Maggie could feel her body sliding off her slick skin, and her left leg was almost touching the ground, her good hand trying to find some purchase. Nonetheless the distance was short and Maggie was now close enough that she could use her powers to ensure the pod was well guarded.
She held her breath, closed her eyes and let go of her mum’s back, her body floating as if she was a feather caught in the wind, gently reaching the ground. She was now within the pod’s realm and a sense of piece engulfed her. The urgency from before was gone and she could feel magic healing her ankle, resting her sore muscles, taking power from her but giving it back tenfold in love and care, welcoming her in their womb.
Opening her eyes Maggie could see the pod swimming in the air above her, her mum still quite close by, Nan high up in the air, chasing a shooting star. All sizes and shapes, from youngsters, like her mum, to the elder, so many generations old that no one knew their names any longer.
The night was now almost fully upon them and soon she would be thrown back on to her world. She savoured those last few seconds, feeling her power extend all over the sky and for those few minutes she was swimming among the stars.
Image by Victoria Borodinova