November 24, 2015 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

Abruptly, the song comes to an end. The flowers cover the forest floor like an ocean of blood. Petals of rubies, garnets, and red beryl glint like flames beneath the sun. When did the sun rise? Last MeaZea looked, it was still night. But, no, the stars are gone and the sun is shining, burning, raging across the ground. The poppies grow so thick together that their emerald stems are hidden from sight.

WooFZee growls. The hair along his spine stands on end. His eyes narrow into slits. “Careful,” he warns. “There’s something bad in this place.”

It’s a feeling that runs bone deep. Unshakeable and undeniable instinct. WooFZee growls again, just to make sure that MeaZea knows he’s being serious.

And oh, she knows, she knows, she knows in a way that should never be possible. MeaZea, she’s just a mermaid. She’s no witch, she’s no fae, she’s no beast of a magical birth. Her terrain, that’s the ocean. Her strength, it lays within the water. But in this clearing, magic is so thick in the air that even she can sense it, even she can feel it.

“What happened to the voice?” MeaZea finds herself sorely tempted to pick one of the poppies. Instead, she curls her fingers into the thick fur around WooFZee’s neck. She doesn’t like this place. She doesn’t like it at all.

WooFZee doesn’t answer. He’s too busy staring at the sky. It’s night time. Shooting stars are streaking through the air, leaving a burning blaze behind them. “Time isn’t working right.”

MeaZea bites her lower lip. She wonders, is this just another strange part of the island? Or is this a spell that’s been cast?

She hopes that it’s the island. It takes a powerful sorcerer to alter the flow of time. And this, it isn’t like the odd time stream’s that they’ve passed through in other parts of the land. There’s no constant, no pattern. Between one breath and the next, the sky changes. Stars; full moon; noon day; total eclipse of the sun; dusk; planets that are far too close.

It’s frightening in a way that few things are. MeaZea has to force her gaze back onto the poppies. When the sun is above them, they burn like a wild fire. When the moon is out, they seem to give off their own glow. She asks her companion, “do you think this is a good idea?”

WooFZee answers by stepping into the poppy field. The flowers don’t bend beneath his paws. They phase through his paws. And isn’t that a strange sight! Flowers, growing out of his feet! He can’t help but give an unhappy whine.
   The song starts up again. It’s stronger than ever before.

Summers and winters, through snowy Decembers

Sat by the waters, minding the embers

Missing the lives that they held once before

Planting the seeds and dreaming once more

Of poppies in spring

And three bells that ring

And a forest that lets them go…

The words are coming from straight ahead, though there’s nothing there but flowers. With a deep breath to steady themselves, the duo starts forward, into the poppy field.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author