I was falling so fast I couldn’t find my voice; I couldn’t move any of my limbs. I was frozen in fear of where I was headed and whether I was going to smash into something hard when my descent finally stopped. I wasn’t dreading the impending collision, I found myself welcoming it. I just wanted to stop endlessly falling. I kept hoping I was just in a dream and I would wake up any minute.
The colors twisted and churned, coalescing until all that was left was a pure shade of black; the kind where you can’t even see your hand an inch in front of your nose. I still felt as though I was falling, but I couldn’t see anything within the darkness that surrounded me. I hoped this is when I would wake up from this nightmare. The bottom of this ceaseless pit had to be close; this hole had to end.
I’m not sure how long I continued to fall. Not having a point of reference made it impossible to tell. As moments ticked away, my fear lessened. It was as if my mind and body were becoming comfortable with forever falling. I was only afraid of losing myself in the endless nothing that surrounded me.
Is this what heaven is really like? I thought. It made me more depressed than I expected it to; death and heaven is just an eternity of nothing surrounded by darkness? I never thought that life after death would be so empty.
My thoughts drifted in and out. I thought about all the accomplishments I had planned for myself that I had yet to accomplish and wondered how my family would react once they found out I had died. Then I started thinking about what could have killed me in the first place and whether my friends were freaking out or had even noticed.
In all my ponderings I didn’t even notice that I had stopped falling. Rather, I was laying down on my back on a surface that felt and smelled like a freshly mowed lawn. How could this have happened? I didn’t hit the ground.
I was really freaking out now. I rapidly moved my arms to my sides, reaching and grabbing at the grass around me. It took me a few moments to realize why everything was still so dark. I opened my eyes and saw grey floating about like dirty clouds in a sunless sky. I sat up quickly, all of my senses on high-alert. I was not very good when it came to the unknown.
My hands are planted firmly on the ground, clutching the blades of grass – I really didn’t feel like falling again. I was sitting in a clearing of what looked like a densely wooded forest that had fog clouding my view. I could see everything within the clearing but once the line of trees began it was as if the grey was a fence keeping me within the boundary. I was confined to this meager glen. I could even hear the faint sounds of a water fall trickling its contents into a body of water not too far off. It sounded somewhere in front of me, off to the right. The flow of a stream falling and being distributed into a pond reminded me of my journey here, making me slightly nauseous. I gripped the grass tighter making sure the ground wasn’t going to move out from underneath me.
Thankfully the faint cracking of twigs underfoot distracted me enough so I could keep myself from vomiting – the falling sensation was turning into a spinning. Once I could focus again, I looked straight ahead where the footsteps closed in on me. Fear ran through my veins again like the water flowed down the stream. I wanted to stand and run away but I couldn’t allow myself to let go of the grip I had on the grass yet. As the crunching approached the edge of the forest line I heard it slow and stop before it entered the clearing. I looked frantically, squinting, trying to see what was waiting just between the trees but to no avail. The grey fog kept the identity of my watcher secret.
“Hello, Izzy,” a female voice whispered, loud enough so that only I could hear. I wasn’t sure if there was anyone else in this place with us, but if there was they wouldn’t be able to understand what she was saying to me. There was a silky quality to the tone of her voice that allowed it to float in the air to me. It was so smooth that it was as if every word she spoke was part of an ongoing song that lulled me into contentment. I wasn’t sure if I should be scared that this stranger had the ability to change how I felt, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t have the capability to feel otherwise.
“Hi?” was the only clever statement I could muster. My head was grey like everything about this place so it was really difficult for me to think clearly. I could feel this woman trying to poke around in my head like I was an open book. I didn’t know how to counter it or whether I was just imagining that feeling. Just in case, I pictured my head to be a dark, endless abyss; similar to what I thought the hole was as I fell to this place.
“It is okay, Izzy,” she comforted. Her voice continued to drift to me on the wind, like a long-forgotten lullaby. She had the hint of an accent in her voice but I wasn’t sure what it was; more of a softening of the r’s as she spoke than anything. I couldn’t tell if my visualization was working or not. “You are not dead. You have been brought here to me through a spell that has been placed on the second page of my Book of Shadows. My name is Moirae and we are in the Otherworld.”
I wanted to respond and ask questions but I couldn’t seem to find the words. They were lost in the scattered thoughts bouncing around inside my head. It didn’t help that my voice was stuck in my throat so instead I just listened. I hung on every single word that this woman said to me as I tried not to get lost in her song.
The name Moirae was familiar, though; like a past too soon forgotten. The memory was on the tip of my tongue but I couldn’t grasp it. I couldn’t quite figure out where I had heard that name before, no matter how hard I wanted to. The only coherent, discernible thought I could manage at the moment was…I’m alive?
“The spell on the page is one of witchcraft – magic, my dear child.” Her voice remained calm and unaffected by my wary expression. She didn’t seem concerned by my silence, and continued to speak as if she knew what I was thinking and how I would react before I did. “It was cast by your ancestors several centuries ago during a time when the bloodline was fading and it looked like darkness would flood the earth. They feared the book would fall into the enemy’s hands so it was hidden. The spell was meant to keep all creatures – dark and light – from obtaining the book and harnessing the secrets within. It also cost them dearly to save the book. All power within their lineage, both current and future, would lay dormant until the book was recovered by a woman with only goodness in her heart and the power in her blood could reclaim it.”
She paused, but she wasn’t waiting for a response. She knew that there was no way I would able to take in all this new information at once. No, she was giving me time to process everything. I wanted to deny what she was saying to me, but deep down I knew she was right. It was as if pieces of my life were being put back together like a puzzle. I just hoped my life wasn’t a game she was playing with to entertain herself. I wanted my life to mean more than being a pawn in someone else’s game.
Either way, I knew that what she was saying was the truth. It was a feeling of clarity and peace that washed over me with each word she uttered. In my heart I knew it had nothing to do with the calming effect she had on my emotions. All that was left was acceptance, and I felt it ease the shock that enveloped my mind.