Alana opened her eyes to the sound of locust chirping and the cool dampness of dusk. She felt the warmth radiating from Sebastian who had curled around her head while she had slept. The night sky was just beginning to awaken. Each new star, like pin pricks through paper added light and beauty to the night.
Sebastian complained softly when Alana sat up and then stretched long; his tail twitching before he stood arching his back. His luminous green eyes piercing the darkness waited for Alan's next move. Meowing impatiently he pressed his head against the palm of Alan's hand that rested light on her right knee as she sat legs crossed before her.
The landscape of night filled with dark shapes and shadows revealed nothing. Alana felt alone with the exceptionof Sebastian, she sensed no other presence. No human or animal sound --
The night orchestra was all that indicated there was still life awake and active.
There was no moon to light the sky or to reveal any opening in the trees to a path that could take her home. She stood turning slowly to see if there was anything to hint which way she should go.
A warm breeze traveled through the open field; the grass bowing low and the leaves in the trees fluttering sounding like a distant ocean crashing upon uninhabited sandy shores.
As the breeze died down a low melancholy note rose up from the earth. It rang through the night. The continuous tone was joined by intermittent tinkling chimes. A melody began to form out of the sounds. Harp strings strummed and plucked by yinvisible hands. A voice utterd indistinguishable words - the message unclear to her mind was painfully acknowledged by her heart.
The music swept over her like a warm bath. Its urging drew her closer. The music continuing to speak to her. The stars burned more brightly and they danced to the rythmn of the song. Alana, entranced, made her way across the field. The music growing louder.
Alana moved swifly through the tall grass; Sebastian following in her wake. Alana didn't notice the thickening of the foliage as she pressed forward. Low lying shrubs grabbed and tugged at her skirt tearing and ripping the fine cloth. Branches snapped and popped in protest as she continued to follow the music.
Shrubs turned to trees that grew steadily taller and thicker. If she had not been so drawn to the music she would have grown frustrated with the denseness of the trees. Still pressing forward she could see fractures of light bursting between the massive trunks like light shining from the welcoming windows of a house at night.
Alana soon stepped out into a small clearing lit up by a bonfire so bright it was as if it was day.
The music was building low and deep from the earth rising high and bursting with chimes and harps ringing through the clear open night sky.
Alana slowly moved forward and around the blazing fire. There on the other side was a small personage singing and playing a harp. There was no distinguishable features. The face seemed to change from a young female child to an angry man and then change back to a youthful man child to a fairy like creature. Sometimes the skin was fair and smooth. Other times it was weathered and tan. The continuous changing faces was intreguing.
Alana sat down on a feather cushion that appeared to be for her. Once she was settled she looked uopn this beautiful creature who had finished its song. The image before her had submitted to an appearance pleasing to Alana.
Kind green eyes gazed back at Alana's. Alana imagined touching the smooth translucient skin. Beneth the surface colors seems to move freely like water flowing and rippling in a pond. The long flowing golden hair flickered like tiny flames.
Alana watched the crimpson lips of this creature as she began to speak.
"I am Time. I am Eternal." she began. "There is nothing in the past; the future or the present I do not see. I know each soul's path and purpose. I am the Keeper of Mysteries and Treasures. I am Life and Death. I am joy and sorrow. Iam pleasure and pain."
Alana gazed upon her companion as she continued, "I am Light. I am Darkness. I am Thirst and Hunger. I am Water and Earth."
Hesitating a little, "Why am I here?" Alana asked.
"What do you seek?" The creature returned.
"I seek nothing." Alana replied.
"What do you desire?"
"I want to go home."
"There is something more." The creature began to change. The color of her skin became more solid and fleshy. Her hair burned a brilliant red. "You would not have heard my call if you weren't ready."
"I do not know what you mean." Alana's voice began to quiver. "I fell asleep in the meadow and awoke at dusk. I could not see the path to go home when I heard your song."
"My song only calls those whose heart is ready." The creature's features softened; turned a pale shade of pink. Green eyes fixed on Alana's brilliant blue eyes - wide with wonder.
"I want to go home. I don't know how to get there. Can you tell me which way to go?"
"Your path is a long and trecherous one."
"It can not be. I just walked this way this morning."
"Your home is found after many journeys... This path is long and will be met with many trials."
"I don't understand!" Alana's frustration shown on her face. She sat staring into the fire. The creature continued to speak in riddles. The sing songy voice and the blazing fire was hypnotizing and she felt her body sink deep into the earth. She felt heavy and weighted down. She was trapped in this place but did not feel the urgency to leave.
The low meloncholy notes began deep below her; rising and swelling. Flutes and horns rang through the trees spiraling upward toward the stars. Harp strings resumed their previous melody and the words that dripped like molasses from the creature's lips pierced Alana's heart. The usually peaceful blue eyes turned yellow-green as salty tears streamed down her cheeks dropping and splattering on her skirt. If a heart could break she was certain that hers would break now.
Filled with sorrow and despair; Alana sobbed; her body trembling and shaking uncontrollably. She longed for comfort. The creature offered no strength or an arm to hold on to. Alana folded upon herslef falling to her side; sobbing until exhaustion. No strength to rise up. The stars gazed down on her broken body that finally slipped into unconsciousness.