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* The Library - Fiction for the Heart *

The Gathering
Ch. 12 - Desire Breaks Free

The next morning Magda found them still nestled together. Mabel's head rested on Girda's chest, and it looked as if she had grown in the night. Or maybe the giantess had shrunk. Or maybe it was a combination of both. Magda looked closer, drawn by a small movement near Mabel's head, and was amazed to see, half hidden beneath Girda's tunic and tangled in Mabel's hair, a small, perfectly formed, glowing pink, woman child. She was curled on her side, a sweet sleepy smile on her tiny face. As Magda watched, the tiny figure turned and stretched and yawned, and from behind her unfurled two impossibly delicate pale pink wings.

Just then Mabel awoke. She saw the pink fairy child and gasped. Clutching her chest, she started to wail. "Nooooo, noooo, noooo!!"

Girda, startled out of her deep sleep, bolted upright, fumbling for her sword and tossing the little fairy to the ground. Mabel darted after the tiny figure, trying to recapture her, wailing all the while, but Mara, now awake and aware what had happened, began to chase Mabel, grabbing arms and legs and hair and anything she could snag. The poor little fairy, alarmed and having no idea what was happening, ran willy nilly between their legs, until Mabel made a great lunge for her and fear finally gave the little fairy flight. She fluttered, surprised at herself, and came to perch on Magda's shoulder. Mabel was still darting and lunging; Mara was blocking and holding; Girda, still half asleep, was batting at everyone and trying to find her sword.

Magda finally gave a great bellow, "STOP!!" and they all came to a halt. Mabel collapsed on the ground, clutching her chest and gasping. Mara was bouncing on the balls of her feet, fairly thrumming with excitement and beaming at the little fairy. Girda, towering over them, rubbed her eyes and scowled at them all equally. The little fairy tried to hide herself in Magda's hair.

Taking a deep breath, Magda gestured for them all to sit in the circle. Slowly and reluctantly they all came and sat around the cold fire.

"Ok," she expelled the word on a long relieved sigh. She gently coaxed the little fairy out of her hair and placed her on Mara's shoulder. Mara beamed as the tiny creature nestled behind her ear.

Magda said to her, "What is your name, little one?"

The little fairy frowned and shrugged.

"May we call you Desiree?" Magda asked.

The fairy smiled and nodded.

"Welcome then, Desiree. We're very glad to have you with us."

Mabel burst into tears and buried her face in her hands.

Madga moved around the circle and put her arm around Mabel's shoulder. "The burning was real," she said softly. "The poison hatred was, and IS real. We honor your fears, Mabel. But we're safe here. In this valley we can heal. Around this fire, in this circle we can tell our stories, remember our past, feel our pain. We are protected here."

She knelt in front of Mabel and took both her hands. Looking deeply into her eyes, she said, "I know you're afraid Desiree will endanger us. But we need her to be with us. She is one of us. And she must have been able to come out because you feel safer here."

Mabel took a deep breath and clutched her chest. Mara came and sat next to her and said, "Everyone has the right to live and be and feel whatever they feel."

Mabel burst into tears and Magda gathered her into her arms and held her. Girda started to speak, but sat back quietly and waited. Mabel's body shook and trembled and the sounds of of her terror brought tears to all their eyes. When finally she calmed, Magda dried her tears and then coaxed the little fairy down to Mara's hand.

"She lives free now," Magda said to Mabel. "And we need her to be with us. We need to figure out how to stay safe while we heal. Until we know it's safe, perhaps we can ask her not to cast her desire out beyond this valley."

Mabel looked up, hope in her eyes, and they both looked at the fairy. The little winged woman-child scowled, then shook her head, and then began to shake her fists at Mabel. She obviously didn't like this request. She began to jump up and down, her wings fluttering and quivering.

Magda sighed and felt a great sadness overwhelm her. "We have to find a way," she said to them. "There must be some way to find a balance between us. If we can't..." her voice trailed off, choked with tears.

"The enemy is real, little one," Girda said to the fairy, with unexpected gentleness. "Mabel's fears aren't silly or frivolous. And she has kept you alive and safe all this while."

The little fairy fluttered her wings and raised her clasped hands to the sky in a beseeching motion, then looked around at them.

Mara said softly, "What is it? Tell us what you feel, little one. This is our sharing circle. Tell us."

The little fairy closed her eyes and held her hands over her heart. Tears squeezed out her eyes and down her cheeks. She opened her eyes and reached her hands out to them, pleading. Then she flew to each one in turn and touched them gently over their hearts. They all felt it, the moment of her touch, like an electric shock, spreading warmth into their hearts with a soft pink glowing. And they all felt what she was feeling...

Longing... Emptiness
A vision, a dream - a warm light, a glowing handsome lover.
  He comes to her, noble prince.
    They dance and swirl and make love.
  Love sprinkles the air with music and stars and fire.

Burning desire ... Desire ... DESIRE
Growing, flame to fire
Filling to bursting

  longing to love
  hoping to love
  waiting for love...

They returned from the vision with a deep sigh. The little fairy collapsed in Mara's lap, her cheeks still wet with tears. Mara sat, stricken, tears streaming down her face.

"I remember," Mara said, looking down at Desiree. "I remember love and innocence. I remember the beauty of us. We were so... full of hope and trust. Ah, so full of trust, and it was shattered and soiled and ruined, and we'll never be clean again." She sobbed and groaned and moaned and clawed at her chest and arms. She shook her fists at the sky. "You ruined me!" she screamed. "Look at me, look what you've done to me! Blackened and burnt and broken and half-dead with fear. Look what you've done to us!!"

She collapsed on the ground, sobbing and moaning. The little fairy hovered, now and then perching on Mara's heaving shoulder, or touching her cheek with delicate fingers.

The depth of Mara's grief and rage touched a chord in them all. They had all felt a stab of envy for the little fairy's innocence, a longing for their own lost hope, although none of them could really remember feeling such hope or trust. They all felt permanently damaged in one way or another by an enemy none of them could clearly remember. They each had a piece of the puzzle, but it wasn't a complete picture yet.

Magda wondered if it would ever be possible to heal that much? To be as they were before the many separations, before the Long Road, before the great burning, before the many lives of pain and aloneness and horrible death? Was it possible to re-learn how to trust? She didn't know, but looking at them all and seeing how much they had already changed, somewhere deep inside flickered a tiny flame of hope. She would nurture that hope in secret and wait to see if it would grow. But until they had all the pieces, how could they be truly whole?

She had a brief flash of a vision - as if she were looking at a long forgotten scene, a series of events… but as she watched from a place of wholeness, feeling all the others gathered behind and around her, the picture changed. The scene altered.

Was it possible that they could change the picture through their healing?

At any rate, for the present, she knew they needed to remain hidden and safe. The dark thing that had pursued her so relentlessly was still out there. Convincing the little fairy not to call out for love and heart's desire would be the hardest, and the saddest thing they would probably ever do. And do it they must. If she cast her desire out into the world, Magda feared it would be a brightly shining beacon for the dark thing to follow, and not even the Voice could keep them safe. The enemy would find them and kill them all.

But she feared also, that keeping desire down might kill the little fairy. There didn't seem to be any solution, and Magda was filled with sadness.

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