I could hear Anna yelling but I couldn’t respond.
My breathing echoed in my ears.
My heartbeats deafened me.
The sound of voices faded into the distance.
Silence grew around me.
A breath: am I dying?
A heart beat: mine?
Blackness turned to shades of gray. Light filtered in, colors grew from the murk.
Blue, now red, and orange.
Sound returned in a rush.
Tinkling glass and the crackling of flame loud after the silence.
The smell of flowers coming as a shock. I expected smoke.
My open eyes focused on the source of the light and noise.
The angel from my dream.
He stood with golden eyes looking into mine. One hand held as an offering the other brandishing a flaming sword.
Considering the proffered hand. It looked like glass. I wondered if it would be cool or would it be warm.
I could see through him. Would he shatter?
Slowly an awareness of laying in grass emerged out of the chaos. It had a vivid verdant quality that only comes after a rain.
Wetness touched my cheek. The moisture between my fingers cooling. Tactile sensations brought my disjointed thoughts into focus.
I ran my fingers across the damp blades.
The angel’s mouth moved.
Again my ears were assaulted the sound of breaking glass and a rushing noise.
He pushed his hand at me, urgency lined his features. He looked worried. I caught his words “I can’t reach you. You must come to me.” Hesitation caught me before I reached for him.
My hand moved to grasp his.
A blast of cold slammed me to the ground. I gasped, jerking up at the same time.
I started to curse but was racked with coughs.
I glared up at a beautiful mulatto girl in pink.
“Told ya I could wake her” she proclaimed without a hint of attrition.
I wallowed in a puddle of ice water on the slick tiles trying to find my feet.
Anna appeared with towels and a strong helping arm. Jeanie walked in with a tea pot and a cup.
Together they maneuvered me still gasping and shivering, despite the heat and humidity, onto an oversized recliner.
Jeanie pushed a warm cup into cold hands and I sipped the hot brew, the cinnamon and apple mixture reviving and fortifying me.
Anna dried my wet legs and arms and handed me the soft warm towel for my hair.
I placed the empty cup on the side table and the girl what was her name? replaced it with ice tea.
I noted; as my hands mechanically took over the task of drying and braiding hair, I didn’t feel weak or disoriented, only extremely hungry.
When she finally left the room I could hear the other two exhale.
“What happened?” “Are you Ok?” They spoke in unison.
“I was about to ask the same thing.” Came my confused response.
“I thought you had died.” Anna wailed and wrapped me in a hug.
The embrace lasted for a minute, then I pulled away “I had a vision. I think; of the angel”
They stared mouths agape.
Jeanie looked confused ,and Anna quickly explained the dream and all that had happened last night.
I followed by saying, “I think someone is trying to reach me but I don’t know how to listen or receive them.”
Jeanie licked her lips then,
“I think I might know what happened.” The words came slowly. “First let me tell you the little I know about what’s going on.”
The girl entered the room and announced that food was on the table. The smell of boudin and gumbo penetrating our shock and setting my stomach to growling.
Jeanie laughed and by tacit agreement we moved to the dining room.
Anna stayed close in case I had another attack.
The only thing on my mind at this point were the savory scents wafting around me. I was in eminent danger of starving to death. Coffee cake had become a distant memory to my rumbling stomach.
The table was laid out to full effect.
The room resided on the southeast corner of the house. And was lined with windows of red oak and light blue panes of glass; white sheers moved restlessly in front of the open windows. The table, a section of giant redwood polished by age, held the eye and drew the mind to prehistoric forests. The place settings looked to be red clay brushed with a dark blue glaze. The ice tea glasses and pitcher were the same red clay. Condensation ran down the sides. The altogether effect was oddly calming.
Each place was served with Boudin, spinach salad, and gumbo. We sat and ate quietly for a bit enjoying the spicy flavors and aromatic herbs that seasoned the food.
The sound of clinking silverware accompanied by the singing of birds drifting in the slightly open windows.
After our immediate hunger had been sated and we took up our cups.
Jeanie began to speak again.
“When I said my family has become keepers of a trust I meant that in more than one way”
At this juncture she leaned down and picked up the large canvas bag she had been carrying and placed it on the table.
“In this bag there is an important part of that trust and your passing out, on entering the house, has to do with another part. These are not the whole but they are a place to begin.” We looked quizzically at her. “I told you my family came with a sort of community and that was true they were various peoples, from various places, with a common bond. Each of them brought something from their world to the new world.
They made this place a refuge.
It will save us some time if I know that you checked out that website I gave you.”
She seemed to relax and let out a big sigh.
The girl, Mirabel was her name, came and cleared the table and sat out a new pitcher of tea.
When all the commotion died down. She spoke again.
“Each of these people came with knowledge and an ability. They were farmers and lore keepers. All descendants of the druidic following.
They brought with them the essence of their lands.” She paused.
“The spirit if you will.”
At this I started to protest but she held up a hand.
“Let me finish please, before you start telling me that you don’t believe. I don’t like repeating this and you should be intelligent enough to notice something outside of your box is happening”.
That silenced me.
“In short they brought with them the consciousness of the lands from which they came.”
Here she pulled a leather bound book out of the satchel it’s pages yellow with age. There were two spiral notebooks on top of it.
“This is what I have been translating for most of my life. The grammar and hand writing are horrible and the english is mixed with celtic. It is a compendium of all of their knowledge and lore. Their accounts of encounters with these entities are very similar to what you’ve been experiencing.” she handed us each a notebook.
” I translated it as best I could into modern english please glance over it and get a general idea of what I know, or think that I know.”
With that she sat back and waited for us to begin reading.
Anna and I looked at one another and down at the notebooks.
With a deep breath of resignation I opened mine.