by Talia Sunsong
“I hope he comes. He has to come,” said Truling. She sat outside the temple of the Spirit pool. Today was the day of the pairing. Truling had seen a vision. This year she would be paired.
Every year, the singles gathered in the temple, around the spirit pool. One by one, the pool signaled the pairing. A rounded beam of blue light would shoot out of the pool, one end would touch a man’s heart, and the other end would touch a woman’s heart. They would be a pair. They would take hands, and look into each other’s eyes, and know it was true. The couple would bind to each other for life, as a perfectly matched pair.
Truling’s parents had been matched that way, and had lived happily together for years. Truling’s friends had one by one over the years been matched this way.
Not all singles that went to the spirit pool were matched. Some had to come back year after year. All were matched within five years, that is, all except Truling.
Truling had come back, year after year, for ten years, and had never been matched.
“This is my year,” said Truling, trying to put confidence in her voice. She had a dream last night, that a man came to her, at the pool. It must have been a good omen, hadn’t it?
The gold painted doors of the temple swung open, pushed by a priestess and priest. Each wore a cream colored robe with aqua symbols on them. They gestured for the singles to surround the pool.
The Spirit pool was carved straight from the rock of the island. The rock was veined with gold streaks that shone with a strange light. No one know how long the Spirit pool had been there. Even ancient peoples had come to it.
After all the singles were assembled around the pool, the priestess sang a soft chant, and the priest poured oil over the surface of the spirit pool.
A mist formed over the surface of the blue green pool. The mist and water swirled gently. An aqua ball rose up. Two points of light shone from it, and pierced the hearts of two of the singles. There was a sigh of happiness, and the couple moved to each other to embrace.
Again and again, the blue ball rose from the surface of the spirit pool. Truling watched the crowd dwindle as two by two, the singles paired off, and left the temple. Finally, only Truling remained.
The priestess looked at Truling with empathy. This was the eleventh year she had seen Truling leave, alone. Shoulders slumped, Truling turned slowly, and moved to leave the temple.
“Wait!” cried the priest. Truling turned around. A ball rose above the surface of the Spirit pool.
“But there is no single man left,” said the priestess.
The aqua ball shot out a ray of light, that pierced Truling’s heart, then another ray shot down into the pool.
Truling leaned over the pool and looked within. The pool was now smooth, like a looking glass. The mist moved to the side, and an image of a man, looking into a fountain appeared.
“The pool has become a scrying glass,” said the priestess. “We can see into other realms.”
“It’s a man. A handsome man! Where is he?” Truling asked.
“Nowhere near here. Look at his clothes. Look at the buildings behind him. I’ve never seen such things.”
The man’s eyes opened wide. He stared at Truling, and leaned in closer.
“He can see me! How can I get to him?”
The man moved his mouth. He was speaking, but they couldn’t hear the words.
Truling reached into the pool, but the surface was like a hard mirror. Her hand could not pass through.
The man touched the surface on his side of the pool. His hand flattened against an invisible barrier. He frowned, pulled his arm back, and punched the barrier. His hand broke through the surface of the spirit pool.
Truling grabbed his hand, and helped him slide through the opening in the barrier. Dripping wet, he looked into Truling eyes.
Truling’s eyes locked with his. He stepped out of the pool, and they left the temple, smiling and holding hands.
The Sacrificial Cookie
There was soooo much bribing … uhm … sacrifical offerings to be done!
Fidget, Dinkie extra-ordinaire (there’s no ego in her family, she has it ALL!), sniffed at the cookie, wee maw salivating at the wonderous bacony-chocolate scent.
Looking up at the mer-spirit she scuffed her right hind paw through the sand, absently tracing an almost-not-exactly-quite tear shape in the rippling granules. The water around them made the shape alter and disappear quickly.
Heaving another dinkie sigh, she proffered the chocolate-dipped, heart shaped morsel to the winged-fae-tailed-one.
What could a spirit possibly want with a cookie? the Dinkie thought to herself.
Mourning the loss of such a tasty tid-bit, Fidget nearly missed the gesture of the mer-one before it vanished from her vision.
Clamboring onto the round blue marker atop the alter, Fidget test tapped the circular thing with her paw then jumped up and down on it trying to make it activate.
“Pffft!” was the sputter that came out of her mouth, whiskers wafting askew and akimbo in the water willynilly. “Why can’t it evurrrrrr be easy?”
It was easier to herd Tinies than it was to get this dag-nabbit blue oval to be co-operative!
Jumping up and down a few more times had no effect.
“Well, there’s no getting around it, I’m going to have to make a trip to Opal Flight and ask The Amazing Flying Fish to come take a look.”
(Image provided by author)