The fairies began to spread the blue bells soon after the last footstep had departed. In the center of their forest, they heaved the torn limbs of an ash into a pyramid. Gaia sighed relief as they gathered around the remains of the fallen and began to dance, calling in the salamanders to light the pyre.
Orange flames sang through the night as the salamanders caressed the broken branches. Sparks of light rose to taste the darkness, only to be caught on the tongues of the sylphs as they wove the invisible threads into a star.
Water arrived to collapse the flames, pouring down from the clouds to hydrate the hungry land. Undines rode the raindrops to the pyre, collapsing the flames. Out of the shadows, the columns of light appeared to take their places.
The lines of the hexagram glowed golden as the elements joined through dimensions, uniting the above to the below, and the ground began to rumble with life. The dragon was awake.
“Dear boy you are inside a crypt. Or, to be more precise, you are inside what once was a tomb. But, before it was that, it was something more.”
As Lupe’s eyes adjusted to the absence of sunlight, he realized the earth around him was glowing. He no longer felt fear, only awe. Tiny orbs of silvery gold speckled the ceiling and walls, and for a moment Lupe thought he was gazing up at the stars.
“They brought the above into the below, as you can see.”
“It’s so cool. But why? And what is it made of, a special paint?” Lupe reached out his fingers.
“Don’t touch it. Don’t touch anything unless I tell you to. You’re walking on sacred ground. Remember that. Those stars you see are made from pyrite and quartz. They’ve been there for thousands of yearsOn.”
Lupe let out a low whistle of air, “Geez, that’s kind of amazing.”
“Yes, it is, isn’t it? No other human now living, aside from you, knows about this place, as far as we know. They’ve found some of the others, but not this one.”
“What’s special about it? The dead bodies? You said this was a crypt, right?”
“Yes, and no, but you won’t see any bodies here. The tombs are still preserved. Untouched by man. We’d like to keep it that way.”
“Fine by me. I’d rather not trip over some dude’s femur if you know what I mean,” Lupe paused. “You said they are untouched by man. Do you men just men, or women too?” He wasn’t why he asked the question, but it suddenly seemed important.
“Ah, they did say you would be bright. I meant men. Women, you see, once held a place of honor. As the sacred bearers of life they were revered as holy beings. Only women touched the bones that lie here. We are inside a woman’s chamber built to symbolize her womb. It is a place where only women walked.”
“Oh, wow! I thought you had said tomb,” Lupe felt his body fill with the weight of the truth. “Are you sure we should be here now? I mean you’re a ghost, so I suppose you are okay. But I’m a dude.”
“It’s just an expression. You know, for a person. Anyway, why have you brought me here and not Aponi, Dell, or Sula? I mean, they’re, uh, women, or almost women.”
“Those must be the three females who have been chosen for other tasks. Your friends. Well, you see. There are rules that are now allowed to be broken. But, not just by anyone. You, alone, were chosen to come here, Lupe, because you have proven your love for Earth. Your roots are here, and it’s important that you are not female.”
Lupe felt the weight of these words sink into his mind. Have I really proven myself, though? he wondered.
“You have honored Her with your actions and the reverence you hold inside of your heart. You understand the need for balance, both of the inner and the outer, although you have not yet wholly discovered it. This is why you are allowed to enter this sacred place. There is no force striving to control within you. You do not seek to dominate, but to balance.”
“I see…” Lupe replied, even though he was not sure he did. He let his eyes wander back to the walls of the cave, “Why’d they paint the ceiling like this if it’s a graveyard. I mean, why go through all the work?”
“Ah, but it is not a graveyard, it is a place where life begins and moves on. Look closer at it, perhaps you will be able to figure out why.”
“Hey, is that the Milky Way?” Lupe pointed to a wavy band that held more densely packed crystals of light than its surroundings.”
“I believe that’s what you call it now.”
“Now? You mean it used to have another name?”
“Oh, it’s had several.”
“The River of Creation. The Great Mother. Plumed Serpent…Your ancestors believed that it was the gateway to where the light of the individual souls are formed, and to where they returned after death.”
“Oh, you mean like the rainbow bridge?”
“Some called it such.”
“Well is it?”
“Is it what?”
“The place where we all come from and where we return when we die?”
“That is not for me to reveal. You are here to observe and discover for yourself. You are here to walk the path of darkness back into the light. Just as your friends are doing.”
Lupe felt himself weighed down by his ancestor’s words. He let his body fall against the cave wall then lower to the ground. Instead of landing on the floor, though, Lupe came to a seat upon a bench he had failed to notice before. It was not large, and appeared to be part of the rock itself. Jutting out about half a foot, the stone seat looked like it was a part of the wall and could comfortably hold three people, side-by-side.
“I see you found the waiting place.”
“Yes. Where those who were chosen would wait to be called.”
“Called for what?”
“To do the work of the Great Mother.”
“But why would they wait here?”
“Because this is where they were tested. The initiates. Here, where the dead lie in wait to be reborn is where the chosen ones from the living come to birth their true selves. It is a place of power and of self-discovery. Some found they were called here only to return to what they were doing before they came. Others awakened to gifts that had been hidden inside of them. Many healers, prophets, and seers emerged from here. Many Earth Keepers like yourself.”
Lupe felt a rush of energy descend from the crown of his head. The heat flowing inside of him ignited each of Lupe’ cells with a knowing that felt like truth.
“You are not so very surprised, are you?”
“No. I guess I’m not. I mean, somehow I’ve always known I was here, in this life, to help protect Earth. This place,” Lupe paused, “in a weird sort-of way, feels like home.”
“Well, my boy, it should. Come. Let me show you the rest.”
“There’s always more.”
This is a chapter from my WIP, book two of the Warriors of Light series. When I saw Sue’s photo for this week’s writing prompt I immediately thought of my characters, some of whom find themselves in similar looking places to what we see here. Lupe is one of them, a young teen tasked with a mission to repair the lines of light inside Earth and save the life of his friend’s mother. To participate in Sue’s #writephoto challenge this week, click here.