Walking through the violent wind towards where the trees thickened, she pulled her coat tightly around her. She had ignored it for too long. Not acknowledging the flecks of light at the corners of her eye, or the glaring messages put in front of her every day.
Changing direction, the wind whipped up the scent of jasmine. She clenched her jaw tightly. It was angry with her. She did not need reminding of jasmine’s affiliation with tonight, less still of its ability to induce prophetic dreams. Her dreams were insistent enough, repetitive and demanding.
The sound of the wind drowned out everything else, audibly, but she could feel the sounds vibrate through the ground, up through her legs. They knew she was coming.
The air thickened, rich with vegetation spores. She breathed more deeply, trying to fill her lungs through the smothering, unfulfilling air. She hadn’t noticed the wind had disappeared. She was now deep into the trees, light fading, her pace steady now it wasn’t pushing against the angry wind. The ground was wet, giving under her boots, groaning as moss spilled water onto surrounding leaves and organic litter. In her wake, tiny multi-legged creatures stirring. Woken by her step, it was true then, she was coming to help. Ariadola’s rage building, she knew they had evoked this, they needed it. Her hair curling further as she walked, refusing to be obedient now she had finally immersed herself. She knew better than to ignore the little messages given to her, her Grandmother had taught her that much. A hateful woman with too much judgement for others and declarations of ‘should’ thrust upon anyone within earshot. But yet she was intuitive in ways no one else could articulate to her Granddaughter. Helping her to see the things she had dismissed as unlikely, coincidence and fanciful; were in fact going to make themselves evident in more obvious, spiteful and dramatic ways.
Ignoring even the things you don’t want to face, don’t want to be part of was never advisable.
Arriving in front of Yggdrasil she steadied her breathing. A colossal tree which is believed to support the Heavens. Thereby connecting the heavens through it’s roots, to the underworld. Its enormous weight heaving above her, arms stretched further than she could see towards the sky. Blocking out the small amount of remaining light, beautiful and terrifying in its stature. She reached down to take off her boots, taking in everything around her, every sound and movement. Ariadola hated the feel of sodden earth around her feet, even after all this time. Placing her naked feet onto the ground, she shifted them, burying them into leaf matter. Her toes squeezing cold, thick earth between them. Instantly she could feel the change, see the movement around her. Eyes glistening from behind foliage, low guttural sounds in between the creaking of Yggdrasil. Her breathing shallow, she could feel it moving into her feet, she imagined it forcing its way through the pores in her feet. Joining her blood in delicate capillaries, spilling in like ink in water. Adriadola could feel its heat gripping her, as she tries to relax and allow Yggdrasil to whisper to her through her own body. Crouching on the ground, feet still planted in the soil, she starts to dig. Her fingers clawing into the muddy paste, punctuated with leaves, twigs, seeds, and the smallest of creatures. Focused, she digs rhythmically, unaware her timing is in sync with the animalistic baying around her.
Muttering under her breath, Ariadola’s head tilts back. Swooping down from Yggdrasil’s arms, quick black wings, papery and glistening in the dusk. In a swift movement the three moths enter Ariadola’s open mouth. Still, and silent, she drops her chin back towards her chest. Opening her eyes, now an iridescent grey. No colour, no pupil evident. She continues digging, her pace quicker. Spiders emerging from splits in the wood, millipedes and beetles from the soil under her hands. The great tree reaching its spidery roots towards her, Yggdrasil finds her fingertips. Tendrils sent plunging through the sodden earth towards her hands, they emerge, clasping around her fingers. Winding up her wrists, tightening their grip. Through her toes, the wiry roots emerge, snaking her ankles. Bound to the earth, Ariadola’s muttering has stopped, she gasps, looking up at the great tree.
She hears the loud chattering above her before she sees them. Black feathers that look lacquered, greedy, beaded eyes and pure white. The feathers on their black wings looking like they’d been dipped in petrol, their ultramarine sheen clear to see, even from the floor of the clearing.
The Magpies hopped down next to her, ‘talking’ to her as they approached. Their inquisitive eyes deciding where to start. Behind the grey eyes, Ariadola knows she must give, she isn’t sure what. Ambling forward on springy feet, the Magpies disappear out of sight by her side. Unable to turn her head, with her limbs tethered, she breathes deeply, listening to Yggdrasil’s whispers. Razor sharp beaks pierce through her flesh neatly, deliberately, through to the fat sitting between her lean ribs. Methodically they work, piercing through skin, flesh and muscle, their beaks tearing away fat. Swallowing it down.The tendrils tighten as Ariadola flinches, pulling her fingers further into the soil. Elbow deep, she tries to suppress the rising panic in her throat as her hands move deeper into the soil, the Magpies still picking at her ribs.
Through the soaking soil, her fingers suddenly clasp around something. The tendrils loosen slightly, allowing her numb fingers to fill with blood and sense what she has in her hands. Moving around the cold creature, she could feel fur, short fur, and hooves. It was small, and didn’t seem to be moving. The Magpies had stopped. With bruised ribs, Ariadola pulled her arms back from the earth, the hooved shape along with them. The tendrils unwinding back into the depths. At the surface Ariadola’s creature was caked in mud. Using her coat to clean him, she rubbed, its cold limbs unresponsive and still. Massaging its lifeless body, she leant forward, lightly pressing her mouth against the animals muzzle. The three black moths happily escaping from her throat into the creatures.
Eyes clear, she took in its static form. Reaching over, she snatched one of the Magpies. Quickly unfastening her coat pin, she plunged the silver length into the bird‘s chest. Its scarlet blood seeping into the white feathers on its breast. Ariadola holds the bird over the fawn’s mouth, squeezing, feeling the bird’s ribcage cracking under her grip. Its scarlet fluid filling the cold fawn. Rubbing her hands over him for warmth, the creature stirred, opening its scarlet eyes to meet hers. It was done.