Each evening the girls, which they generally were in each other’s company of a night, would light a candle and have a cup of tea before bed. Catching up if they’d spent the day separately, or continuing on tangents partially developed if they’d been working. The light shifted things to a different feel, dappling and glow reflecting on glass jars full of herbs, bottles with tinctures or infusing oils, then there was that rather deadly dandelion beer that had been brewing in time with springs arrival.
“Should be ready and rather good slightly chilled pretty soon” Clarys eyes glinted with mischief, she was partial to a homemade brew...
“Edna makes a fine mead, largely consisting of fruits, including elderberry, and honey. Got a few bottles tucked away, easy on the tastebuds and warming to the soul...”she whispered. “Why are you whispering?” asked Sam, in a whisper. “Don’t want too many folks to find our secret stash, might charge us with moon shining again!” they both laughed...”Shall we open one?” “Yes, why not! We’ve done a decent days work.” “Above and beyond the call of duty!”
Clary disappeared and when she was visible again held the bottle and three glasses “and one for the wee folk” she replied to Sam’s questioning eyebrows...
“Clary have you ever seen a faerie?” she asked as the sacrament was poured, if anyone had, it’d be you she thought....
“Well, good question” she replied. “As a matter of fact that’s a hard word to place on something so flitting at the edges of our world. Language wants to define everything doesn’t it? I have certainly seen what I would consider plant spirits, heard whispers of song when no one else was around and much exists that words can’t catch” she riddled like a bard of olde. “The hemlock that’s bound to windows and doors is to protect from some such things, restless spirits and the like, whilst encouraging others, that may be called faeries. Working with plants slows one down to a pace to notice what others miss... “
They both sipped, and sighed in appreciation....mmmm...
“Hang on a minute,” Clary scanned the bookshelves with a finger and stopped at a thin paperback. She read from the cover....
“Blind folk see the fairies.
Oh better than we,
Who miss the shining of their wings
Because our eyes are filled with things
We do not wish to see.
Deaf folk hear the faeries
However soft their song;
‘Tis we who lose the honey sound
Amid the clamour all around
That beats the whole day long.
By Rose Fyleman, always loved that.”
“Beautiful, but you’re somewhat avoiding the subject Clary”
“No, no not avoiding it just coming to it in a roundabout way. This book, is a first person account of a childhood spent in the company of faeries, and in some ways I can relate. Like you I was an only child, amusing myself as I pleased. Spent a lot of time outside, of course, and I remember the first time I heard a plant speak. It was an evening primrose and she sighed gently in pleasure of simply being, a bit like you with that mead in your mouth, enticing sound then, as now. It got stronger as I moved closer. Yellow flowers dancing in the breeze became shifting light and seemed to loose from their stalks, taking off and flying independant of the mother plant. Elegant and playful in the air about me, so that I never could tell in remembering, exactly what I saw or imagined as it should be, but that it delighted me so that I wanted for companions no more. I had all the flowers in the fields and woods to meet! The primrose was a kind of wake up call to nature for me....”
“And the sounds?”
“Well, it was perfect for a plant said to cure sorrows, a kind of cheerful extended exhalation, and the colour in those wings... translucent yellow. It’s as if I can feel it now, and every time i see a primrose. If faeries bestow wishes, it wasn’t a bad gift at all. A welcome to potentials and possabilities... ”
Sam smiled, hearing the tale, combined with the mead, awoke a dreamy state in her as the candlelight bemused her senses as to light and shade, it was a suitably twilight feeling.
Having no domesticated animals meant that Clary and Sam were sensitised to the wildlife around them. Being spring, nests were being constructed and other animal domestics going on, it felt like the new moon, a time for blessing newness and growth. Planting seeds to manifest over the coming weeks.,,
A family of swallows had built a rather expansive mud nest under the eaves by the study window and small chirrups were beginning to emit from the vicinity. The parent birds served to keep the insect population down, although Clary was defensive of her spiders.
“ Grandmother Spiderwoman wove creation with her web.” She said...”We humans are always passing judgement on animals that we don’t understand. Take the snake, another creator spirit, The Rainbow Serpent who formed the land with the motion of her body, chasms, valleys, river courses. What a symbol of regeneration! I wouldn’t mind shedding my skin every once in a while. Not that they’re to be treated without a touch of awe, a venomous snake in spring can get as territorial near its nest, and with a bite taboot. Best admired from a distance, sacred or otherwise.....”
“Bit like some people” Sam added
“ I hope you’re not pointing the finger at moi?”
“I reckon if someone tried to knick the tome, you’d bite” Sam laughed,
“Well there you go! We all defend our babies! Boundaries are to be respected at times...god Id never thought about anyone stealing all our hard work...” she looked a little worried...
“Put your fangs away mother snake, who comes out here?”
“You have a point, but could those bloody regulators stop us? And don’t tell me it’s a free country!”
Now it was Sam’s turn to look worried, “surely not?” The plant she felt closest to in that moment was a cactus. Sharpened barbs protecting her softer parts, all their time and effort.”
“You know Sam there’s something I didn’t tell you about, from Edna’s bust up. I’m not sure if it’s anything, but there was a man there, not the head honcho....”
Sam was nervous thinking of all Clary’s recent bombshells about her family...”and ?”
“Well there was something eerie about him. Didn’t do any of the physical lugging away of jars and bottles, but he had a vibe of tightly reined in control. The kind who wouldn’t get directly involved in case there was any trouble, but could turn nasty if required. Someone said he was a research pharmacist, not local, a ring in. The kind with money and secret alliances, like a freemason gone terribly wrong.”
“Well, Edna said an article appeared in the local paper about the dangers of herbal medicine, usual line about unpredictability of doses of active ingredients, potential for harm etc etc very rigid and linear. Not to trust the quality of ‘home made’ medicines, only buy from large suppliers without contamination bla bla. It had his name to it. But the really odd thing was, when they were ‘interviewing’ us he asked the most detailed questions, botanical names, where they grew, how we’d got information about them. If i was being suspicious Id reckon he was after plants to ‘research’. Talk about a witch trial!”
“We’ll just have to make sure we publish a book that’s affordable Clary, so ordinary everyday people get the information. Mr Spooky can’t stop us publishing, but it’s the like of him that may try to discredit us.” Suddenly a rather creepy sensation took over “Did you forget to pay your bills while you were away?” Sam asked with shivers, thinking of the man she’d sprung out back while Clary was still missing....
“I always pay my way Sam, in advance....why?”
“I think we may have had a visit from your friend, or someone like him, except that he wasn’t expecting to find anyone else here while you were gone...” Sam was getting more like a cactus like as she spoke, a cactus that shot barbs as darts and chased pseudo gas company men. Being her self, Sam had never paid the bill, but they were still cooking with gas, literally....
The two women were both looking a blend of nervous and ready to swallow someone whole.
“Shit Clary, your lifes work has been the plants and their medicine, its a researchers dream, lots of credit and cudos to him, off the back of your, and Ednas, life experience...”
“Were your notes in order when you left for Edna’s?”
“Of course not love!” Their anxiety suddenly busted open in peals of laughter, “Just thought I’d double check” Sam guffawed. “By goddess Clary you have the best security system possible, complete chaos! Ha!”
“And you Sam” Clary spoke seriously again...
“If it’s taking us this long to translate your notes and pull them together, hell, they may as well just wait for the book and buy a copy! Infact, they’ll have to!”
“Edna, Clary, is she safe?”
“Oh yes, has a rather burly fella who she’s been treating for some years, who’s been keeping an eye out for her since the bust up. Kind, gentle giant but wouldn’t want him to catch you slighting Edna. God Sam I was so naive, what if something had happened to you, I’d never have forgiven myself.”
“Well it didn’t, and I don’t reckon a search warrant would be of use to them.”
“I don’t know love, but we’ve got to start being more careful. We need to organise our work so far and get it to the publishers, there’s less chance of sabotage if it’s halfway to print.”
They spent the day gathering their work together, it was only a quarter of the way there.
“This is ridiculous Clary, we can’t live under threat like this. She thought of the troutman then, ”there’s danger and you know it. That’s why your here innit, before they come, to save the ol ways from em.” Sam had been thinking metaphorically but this was real as. She recited his words for her.
“We’re safe.” Clary said almost cutting Sam short with certainty, “How can you know that?” Sam asked, wanting her too. “There’s more to this place than bricks and mortar precious one and it sounds to me like there’s a few others batting on our side. Mr Spooky” she got the giggles again, “doesn’t know the half of it. That hemlock can come down pretty soon too I’d be thinking. Your fishy friend has been seen by others before you.” She reached for the bookshelves and pulled out a raggedy old volume, cook book like with splashes and staining on it. “This my dear is the grimoire I found under the floorboards when i first came here, didn’t want to tell you about it, thought it might frighten you a bit, but..” she leafed through and came to an illustration “That’s him Clary!”. Goosebumps popped up on her arms......
“Well, he was a messenger to the woman who lived here a good hundred years ago. I have a feeling the author of this book will be watching our plight, from whatever realms she’s in. You see people were after her book too... similar reasons different times. Dangerous times...”
“Oh my god Clary, it all starts to fit.”
“Yep. Synchronicitous eh? Mr spooky doesn’t know the half of it.”
“Lets get our volume as is photographed and off to the publishers. I have a feeling if no one’s busted our gig up so far, it’s not likely they will. I tell you what, the dottery ol woman character can be milked for all its worth if it ever comes to search warrants, and i’d play it to the max.”
“You are a wicked woman Clary, but a wise one too.”
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