James Does The Gardening

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Chapter 2

Susan got out with a practiced ease that James had yet to master, the doors opening forward and the seats swaying as you moved. He finally disentangled himself from the Citroen to see Susan hugging another woman; an old woman that looked just like the woman that should own the cottage.

“James, come on slow coach, come meet Maerre.” He did so and they entered the postcard. Inside the cottage was warm and inviting, a mix-match and everywhere something, a place of activity. Susan had introduced the lady at the gate, and now, as they drank a sweet herbal tea that James actually liked, he learnt that Maerre was not a professor, or lecturer or any such thing. He learnt that Maerre was a Druid. Maerre was a Fianna.

“The Fianna were warriors and typically adolescents and young-adults” Susan explained to James “similar to the Hindu “sadus” but more militant and luminal than religious in nature.” James looked at the old woman, standing five foot two wringing wet and had difficulty holding a smile away; Susan continued with an excitement that James found captivating.

“Still, there is a mystical dimension to the Fianna, for many of them were accomplished poets and seers, and Fenian myth abounds with hunting trips that wind up in the Otherworld; the Annwyw. Perhaps it is easier to slip into magical space when one lives on the border of civilization and savagery.”

Two days ago, any talk of magic would have left James smiling and wondering about the person telling the tale. Now, he just nodded, watching Susan as she spoke and accepted her words as he did the air he breathed.

“Of course, not all Fianna were fearsome warriors, James” Maerre rejoined as she sat opposite them in a large wing-backed chair. “In fact, a lot of the imagery surrounding the Druid myth is misinformation from the Romans. Their agenda was quite identifiable, to cause the Druids to appear less than acceptable to the then gentile society that was occupied Britain.”

“In fact Boudicca was perhaps the most knowledgeable of Fianna, with much magic and power at her disposal, she was an intelligent woman who rallied and prepared a great army and planned her things well. She was effective and caused the Romans much concern. Yet today, she is seen as a dirty rude chieftain of some band of rabble. Goodness it could not have been further from the truth.” Susan continued and finished with a resolve.

The discussion went on longer, as Maerre told James of the Druid world, explaining much as she did; none the least that the Druids existed and learnt and taught in the modern world. Her cottage was an example of the tangible aspects of it all. During Maerre’s discourse, Susan sat with James, her arms around his knees and her chin resting on her hands. He held his hand on her shoulder and had never felt such warmth as he felt now.

Maerre was a gentlewoman, wise and loving, of that he was sure. In his heightened state he could; taste it. Well taste was a strange sense to use, but; it would do. It was like new dimensions had opened. Susan told Maerre of the thing and produced the rubbing like some ancient tapestry. Maerre made room on the table and laid it out flat studying the messages locked into the symbols and letters that heretheto were less than identifiable.

The ladies started to talk in a language that was English albeit spiced with marvelous sounding words that must have been Gaelic or the like.

“It is not a point Susan, I am sure of that. This is a Dolmen, no doubt. But it is not a tomb. I have never, and I mean never, seen the likes of this. It is written in riddles and the symbols are arranged in an array.”

Maerre was hunched over the paper and they paid strict attention. The minutes passed and the intensity of the study and talk between the ladies caught James spellbound, so much so, it was dark the next time he thought to look out the window.

The lights were burning and he sat there dumbfounded when he realized no one had moved since. Maerre must have been aware of his thoughts and smiled at him. “Timers James, on the standard lamps, burglars you know.” He smiled and laughed out loud.

“Susan, much of this is Zoomorphic” she was pointing to a number of the symbols, and James could see they were like knots intertwined with animals, but, no, not animals. For the first time, he could see they were people and then, the realization was that they were in erotic poses. The intricate work had been lost on his less than appreciative eye.

“I think I must see this thing” Maerre stood and offered to prepare dinner for them. Much more was discussed over dinner and James was amazed at how readily he was accepting all the talk of magic, great Druid achievements, enlightenment and the like.

At one time Maerre turned to James and Susan and asked them how long they had known each other. They both became quite introverted at this and mumbled two days, adding about ten hours to the gross time together.

Maerre just nodded and smiled.

“Susan, it is to be my love. If this thing is what I think it is I can tell you both that you are doomed to be.”

She just smiled and it was the smile of someone who may be able to understand the power of their, Christ, what was it that it was; relationship; no, too soon for that; their predicament, nope, no way, not predicament. “God” James thought “their; magic” was all he could think in light of the course and discourse this day had taken.

“Do you have an opinion Maerre?” Susan asked.

“Oh yes I do” she smiled “tell me more of the man in the dreams.”

They did that then Susan added a little about the woman. At this James sat up straight “Woman?” he had seen no woman. Susan spoke of the lady trying to get to the man, held away by something and trying to fight against it to reach him.

Maerre nodded and smiled. “Be warned sweet child” James never thought of Susan as a child but he now realized that her thirty to his pending forty-four was a gap for sure. This had never entered his thoughts.

“You two are doomed to be. Is it good?” God, James was amazed to hear the lady ask the question and was about to say something when Susan smiled and rejoined.

“Maerre it is like James touches my heart. When he makes love to me I soar like nothing I have ever felt prior, I can’t explain it, it is like flying and swimming and being caught and free all at the same time. His touch centers on me and I am lost, I have never been so. Maerre I love him with all my heart.”

James was just not used to such candor but he keened two things quickly. These women were very special and more than acquaintances and that he liked the way it sounded to have a Goddess of such wonderful things telling someone he was what she said.

Maerre smiled. “My angel, I am so glad for you.” She turned to James and smiled that smile of a maiden aunt that had been given the care of a niece and was about to allow her to the care of her lover.

“James, you are a special man, you don’t know it, but you are. Susan has power beyond her understanding and I have feared she may not realize it due to the lack of a suitable lover.”

“Power?” James asked.

“Oh yes, Susan is capable of great things, she is my apprentice in such, but I suppose you may have realized some of this although I am sure that she would never have told you without my grace. She has it now.”

Susan held James’ hand tightly and he felt his emotions swell with such love it was not real; oh damn it, it was real all right, everything else prior to Susan was not.

“She will be a great Fianna and you her chief; if you want to be.”

Maerre smiled at James lovingly “Susan has described the “flight”. When you make love, this is the taping of the power. It is documented in so many places, the Taoists make a religion of it, the Hindi talk of the Godhead, and so it goes. At all times the womb is the centre.”

She took a mouth full of soup and continued.

“If you help her fly, you are the one James. I am amazed at the magic that has brought you together. It is wildly exciting to me. This thing is powerful and it serves a purpose. I will tell you both more when we have inspected it.”

They ate on in silence but with warmth that further held the maiden aunt/suitor relationship James and Maerre were forming. It was good.

* * * * * *

Susan was radiant in the evening light. Maerre had lit candles and the only incandescent light was a small globe over the back door. The room swelled with their fellowship and Susan’s eyes shown and sparkled in the ricochet of the candlelight.

As the meal came to an end Maerre turned to James. “Do you feel the same love Susan does, or is it just lust? Oh, and don’t concern your self if it is lust now James, it will become love, I am just wondering the level of attainment at this early stage.”

“Maerre, I love Susan like I have loved her forever” he stared at the lady, never taking his eyes of her “like I have always done” the words left his lips and he was not even aware of them.

“By the Gods you are two marvelous people. James, Susan” both looked at this lady now as students would any revered scholar, James amazed at his preparedness to do so “be aware that this is all beyond understanding for this world. It would defy description or explanation to any others. You are best to not bother. As to you both, you will be and are to be from now. James, I want to test you later, I believe I have found in you a sleeper. Susan would never have been attracted to you if were not so. I need to keen its origin.”

James agreed and over coffee they discussed more. James learnt of a little of the legends of the Celts and how the Druids worked and fitted into the scheme of things. Maerre was a loving host and a loving person.

Later, she asked James to sit in the wing backed chair and in an exercise akin to hypnosis she regressed him to find out what ever it was she was concerned to find.

As she did, James felt himself floating and then lifting. Initially the start caused him to break the hold she had as he felt himself falling back.

“Relax James, you will find you are flying of sorts.”

This time he did and he soared with wings invisible to the eye. The same wonderful visions of his dreams and the same place he visited. The highland fog heavy on the heath, this time he felt at home. In the distance the man stood and lifted his arm in greeting. It was a greeting of friendship and knowing.

James replied with the same but felt himself returning and next was back in the room.

“Goodness James, you are not even aware of anything about yourself are you?” Maerre smiled as she patted his hand. Susan was standing behind the old lady, a smile from ear to ear and at the same time a look of incredulous delight on her face.

“It is early days James; I will help you learn if you wish to. Suffice to say, the pair of you are doomed” she smiled as she said this “so I say, learn to love each other completely. James, please Susan, each orgasm releases power you can drink, and for Susan, each time you bring her so, she soars and gets closer to the sun.”

Maerre looked at them both, shrugged “I spent my life looking for my chief James” she smiled more, leaned forward and kissed his lips, not like a maiden aunt “If it were that you were thirty years older”

That broke the spell, Susan laughed and Maerre joined in. James was learning to be less dumbfounded by these two and he just smiled. Maerre suggested that they should not stay with her that evening. With a wink to Susan her reason was that she needed her sleep and that the walls were paper-thin.

She went on to ask James whether it was possible for them to go to his home, to be as close to the thing as was possible. James agreed and had to admit to himself that he wanted Susan in his bed. They left with the plan to meet with Maerre the next morning. At the door, Maerre stopped them both, kissed them and handed them both a red velvet pouch each.

“Here, take these, you will know when the time is right to use them.”

* * * * * *

Susan was driving the way Susan drove and James just sat and accepted this new world of vehicular transportation. James was sure that Susan had never been told that the makers of this little car did not build it with an accelerator that needed to be held flat to the floor to make the thing go.

They arrived at his home. It was immaculately clean, cold and empty. He rang his wife who gave a perfunctory warning about any mess and was gone as quickly as the call had begun.

Susan stood behind James has he held the receiver at arms length the busy tone sounding. She put her arms around his chest. He stood six foot three and she a little over five foot so the embrace was gentle and soft and she seemed to fit into his shape as if they were cast in some master forger’s sandbox.

Her hands linked and he felt her moving gently against him, sparking warmth that ran through him like lava down the sides of Vesuvius. Yes Vesuvius is the one; they say it would travel at two hundred miles per hour and have a temperature of two thousand degrees. That is what it felt like.

“I am so sorry, James” she said and he knew she was.

“No, stuff it, Sue” he had started to use the diminutive “stuff it absolutely”. He turned and she returned to her embrace, this time against his chest.

“I love you, Sue” he said and he felt her sigh against him, her knees buckled and he felt her droop in his arms. She looked up, her eyes as gentle as silk against white bed sheets.

“Oh, James, I just have to hear you tell me that, it is wonderful. I can not understand how I feel for you but I need you to my very soul.”

They made love and slept arms and legs tangled. In the garden, a ray of moonlight, like it was focused from a torch, fell on the thing. The symbols had change further, the lid, now about five inches lifted, and given the unknown width, perhaps close to opening.

The crickets sang and in the distance a Loon sounded. They slept and dreamed.

* * * * * *

The smoke was from a hut and it was behind a hillock. The black man was standing at the door, beckoning James. As James approached he seemed to get nowhere although he was sure the man was smiling. The smile of a friend for sure, James was sure this was no nightmare. No Steven King twist, no rabid dog about to pounce and after ripping the black man’s throat out, running after and showing James that throat ripping is soft art compared to what he had in store for him.

No, this was a gentle place and James was sure it was good.

* * * * * *

The morning promised a dull breezy day. They lay together in the bed, Susan spooning into James’ side, her hand lazily across his chest, breasts pressing lightly against his ribs, her leg over his allowing his hip to set against her, a soft pressure that underlined their sexual feelings for each other.

Their talk had covered the insatiable need for sex they were both feeling and they agreed it needed no reason. Their talk other times was wonderful, both extremely intelligent, James realized now that his mind had just been sleeping for twenty years. Susan kissed his chest, brushing her lip over him.

“James, do you know the story of Fand?”

James said no, and Susan moved to be on her belly, her arms on his chest and her face on her hands looking at him. Doing so, her breasts pressed against his stomach and he could feel the tickle of her pubic hair against the top of his thigh, he loved how this princess made him feel.

“She was a faery queen, once married to Manannan Mac Lir. After he left her she was preyed upon by three Fomorian warriors in a battle for control of the Irish Sea. Her only hope in winning the battle was to send for Cu Chulainn who would only agree to come, if she would marry him. She reluctantly agreed, although when she met him, they both fell deeply in love.”

She smiled and continued.

“Manannan knew that the relationship between the human world and the faery world couldn’t continue without eventually destroying the faeries. He blanked the memory of one from the other by drawing his magical mantle between them.”

“Fand was a sea Goddess who lived both in the Otherworld and on the Isle of Man. Together with Liban, her sister; she was a twin Goddess of health and earthly pleasures.”

Susan smiled. “Do you believe in faeries James?”

He smiled back.

She continued “Some scholars believe she was a native Manx deity who was absorbed in the Irish mythology. There was talk of the mantle being locked away from man and faery alike; hidden in a box so none could take it and break its spell; the spell that keeps Fand and Cu Chulainn apart.”

James moved to watch the eyes of his love, seeing the same wonderment he had gazed last night as the candles had played with them, as she had spoken of the magic and wonder of the world he was such a new comer to. Strange, he knew he accepted it completely.

“Maerre believes this Dolman holds the cloak; the mantle. She believes that our dreams are of those Gods. That this is faery magic you have uncovered.”

James smiled a smile that Susan had come to love, that look of, not skeptic but more so, OK, if it is, show me.

“Don’t think faeries are small things at the bottom of the garden” she smiled at the obvious pun “everything is capricious about them, even their size. They seem to take what size or shape pleases them.”

She smiled “Their chief occupations are feasting, fighting, and making love, and playing the most beautiful music. They have only one industrious person among them, the leprechaun; the shoemaker.”

Now she laughed “Perhaps they wear their shoes out with dancing. Near the village of Ballisodare there was a little woman who lived among them seven years. When she came home she had no toes; she had danced them off.” She laughed.

“When they are gay they sing. Many a poor girl has heard them, and pined away and died, for love of that singing. Plenty of the old beautiful tunes of Ireland are only their music, caught up by eavesdroppers.”

She moved, making warm feelings where she pressed “No wise peasant would hum “The Pretty Girl Milking the Cow” near a fairy rath, for they are jealous, and do not like to hear their songs on clumsy mortal lips. Carolan, the last of the Irish bards, slept on a rath, and ever after the fairy tunes ran in his head, and made him the great man he was.”

“Maerre is convinced this is faery magic James; the symbolism of the writing, the seven rows of seven. She believes that we are, no, were effected by the thing, but thank God, it was meant to be that we are one.” She moved again, both of them feeling the warmth of sexual need flowing through them “The reason for such shenanigans is to keep mortals employed in carnal pursuits and tire them out so their folly is not to interfere with the thing.”

She looked down for a second. “I thank God I found you.” James kissed her and the spark was complete. The rest was as it would always be, forever. Love made and needed to be made, spirits soaring and lifting with each orgasm, each touch, each thrust. It was just as it had to be; for this Fianna and her man.

* * * * * *

In the garden the Dolman groaned another time, the lid lifted and for the first time there was a gap, it stayed floating above the body of the thing, the symbols all the same now. It moved slightly and twisted in the air, resting over the edges, a faint hiss as air rushed in and fine dust left and floated away.

All around the parish that day, strange things would happen, dogs would howl and people would look at each other, pensively talking of the events. Occasionally folk would see the fine golden dust, an old lady crossed herself and repeat the rhyme for faeries near.

The dust would disperse. The Dolman was open.

* * * * * *

Maerre arrived later that morning. Her old green Morris 1000 chugged into James’ drive and rocked to sleep with a pre-ignition that James knew could be fixed if the poor old car was ever given an opportunity to be tuned.

They made morning tea, both showered and dressed and glowing. James loved the way neither of these women seemed to mind that he made a mess when he prepared it.

Remembering the cloths in the bedroom, strewn on and left on the floor, the bathroom with two puddles of water and a promise to clean it later, more so the bed left with love intertwined in the blankets and able to be revisited. God, he had forgotten how wonderful it was to live a mess and then once every day or two clean it up. He had forgotten how much fun it was to clean up the mess made.

They spoke with Maerre who was relaxed and dressed in a dark red jacket. He remembered what Susan was saying about the faeries last night, that the trooping fairies wear green jackets, the solitary ones; red.

He felt a certainty that this jacket had significance but left it at that.

“There is no doubt children” Maerre said to them both, Susan had since explained that the term was that of Druid teacher to pupils. Well obviously there was an old speak word, but children was as close as was needed “that this is a faery site, perhaps a rath of past times. Something must have happened to have caused them to leave and it must have been immediate because they would never have left this thing otherwise.”

“Mind you” Maerre pointed for emphasis “it may be that the one left it in trust may have been a red jacket, perhaps something happened to him and it has been left here undisturbed for all this time.”

Susan nodded and poured more tea.

“Is it?” Susan started to ask

“I’m more than sure it holds the mantle, Susan” Maerre cut her off.

“We will have to be careful about what we do with this.”

James seemed incredulous “But we are talking of mythology many thousands of years old.” Maerre just smiled “James, time has no value in these matters, it is safe to say that the time it happened can be thousands of years ago, it could yet to happen, it may have just, and anything in between. Magic has no bounds that time can contain.”

With little further ado they went to the hole; to show Maerre the thing. The lid had turned so that it was about thirty degrees off plumb. It was open either side, dark inside.

“Christ, its open.” James said.

Susan stood beside James and grabbed his arm in surprise; Maerre beside them both nodding.

“I thought it would.”

James turned to her. “You knew it would open?”

“Yes, it was in the riddle. It seemed it was doomed to be closed until two with love bound souls were to touch it and take the task as their own.”

Maerre asked James to help her down into the hole, which he did. He was surprise at the sprightly gate of this octogenarian. Susan came down beside them and took James’ arm again. They stood back from the Dolmen, the lid appeared five inches thick; solid stone.

“So what is in it?” James asked, peering into the black void, seeing nothing but the way the place drank the day and gave nothing back.

“Magic James, it is hard to say. Perhaps nothing we can see. Perhaps whatever you believe you should see. It is not that important.” Maerre replied “Bottom line is that there is a lot of what ever it is, perhaps a lot of nothing.”

“One thing is for sure” the old lady said “it will be the answer to the troubles of the Lady Fand.”

“So what do we do now?” James asked.

Susan looked at Maerre and turned back to James saying “It is done James, now we wait and see.”

They went back to the house and sat and talked. Maerre told James and Susan both of the spell.

The box had been sealed and stored to keep the mantle intact. She explained that a lot of the words took on concrete terms but were not so. Of course there was no cloak you could touch. It was not so, but what it was was too hard to describe so mythology, using a word James had introduced with a smile, tended to take care of these anomalies by surrounding the concepts with concrete things.

“It was deemed that only lovers with a love as true as those cloaked would have the ability to open and break the spell.” She told them

“The box sensed you both and allowed you to fulfill the parameters. It was not too know that you were not at that stage but it could be argued that its presumption was a spark to your souls. I have no doubt your first time was because of the magic. Now your times are the magic. Each time you have made love it has lessened the lock on the thing.”

Maerre smiled for a moment. “You must be wonderful together to have had the effect you have had.”

“What about the thing?” James asked, feeling a need to change the course of the conversation; he was still not completely comfortable with the candor.

“I think you will find there is no thing James.” Maerre continued.

“It will be gone soon, leaving you a hole to fill.”

They laughed at that and the talk went on to other things.

“James?” Maerre said “what about you and Susan? What do you plan?”

James knew that this question would need to be answered. It was obvious it would have to be so. So he did.

“Maerre I want you to witness what I am about to say.” He turned to Susan, just the most beautiful lady he had ever seen, made more so now by the shining of her soul.

“I want to be with you forever Sue. We are and have always been. I am sure of that.”

Susan smiled and fell into his arms, Maerre clapped her hands together.

Maerre interrupted “James that is wonderful, I am so happy”.

The phone rang and the mood was broken.

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