Whispers From The Edge of Dark

Beauty and the Beast Book 14

Whispers, from the edge of dark,

Call our hearts to light.

Sound, not yet clear, stays our feet.

What movement comes?

Cautious, we move towards

a gentle selective wave.

Eagerly, we await its promise

perhaps a dream fulfilled?

Nestled in clouds, how dreams often seem.

What is imagined, more fiction than fact;

Evident or Cloudy, so hard to detect,

Never certain, what hearts can resolve.

Emotions interfere, cooler heads not there,

nor prevail,

Still echoes of quiet, do surely abound

and silence resounds the calm.

CF

Chapter 1

'What are you listening to?'

'Why are you asking? Usually, you don't care.'

The tone was sharper than usual but Jacob swallowed the urge to retort in kind. He took a deep breath instead. 'There is something about you right now, that seems different as if you're listening for a sound or waiting for a flow of energy.'

Cathy watched as her husband played with their daughter. He was on his belly, staring intently at some construction project that occupied Aislyn to the exclusion of all else. Her heart relented. Emotionally, Cathy had been up and down in recent weeks. She recognized a sadness within her being and knew that it had to do with the growth and independence of their daughter. On the horizon also lay the full return of her special skills.

'I'm sorry Jacob. You know when I am struggling with emotional issues I get snappy. I don't mean to be mean even when I am mean.'

'Is this a past, present or future issue?'

Cathy sat back and removed her earplugs. She focused on the movement and sound of her breathing. A roiling sensation stirred within her body. 'Even though it makes me feel uncomfortable, I have a powerful sensation of happiness. It doesn't belong to me directly. Now that I think about it and discover what it means, I am getting a vibe from my grandmother. It feels more like Mémé has found something…. which is making her completely happy.'

'Are you upset about that?'

'It is always the unknown source of the feeling which betrays my sensible brain. No, I think I just needed to sit and process it. She is happy. I wonder what she and Howard are up to?'

'You might not want to know.'

'Are you ever serious? I mean it's ok if she's happy but I don't really need to know exactly why.'

Despite her years of marriage and a previous life which few survive to find happiness, Cathy could still blush. It brought colour to her face and a rueful smile.

'Come and sit with us and see what our daughter has put together.'

Cathy joined them on the floor. She couldn't quite make sense of the construction but offered praise to her daughter.

'It looks like the wading pool below. Is that it?'

'No Pappy. vove.'

Cathy continued to marvel at the remarkable abilities of her daughter. Not yet a year and talking, walking, seeming to know, looking at the world with incredibly beautiful eyes. She definitely had an affinity with Jacob. When they were together, it was as if the two of them existed on a different level from the rest of the world. Cathy had no jealousy. All day long, she and Aislyn explored every part of the house and their immediate surroundings. They went out to LENA's place three times a week for play and company. On those days, it was clear that Aislyn was way ahead of her peers. Only Holly's son could match her skills.

Except for two hours a day when Vincent, Catherine or Sue took Aislyn, the pair were inseparable until Jacob came home. During those two hours, Cathy closeted herself in the little room on the third floor, abandoned for years before being turned into her own Sanctuary. There, amidst a few collected treasures representing her Diosa-self, Cathy could sit and contemplate the gifts of her ancestors, connect with her sister and husband at a different level, and invite knowledge into her mind and heart. Without her sibling and husband, she was but one part of the triangle of wisdom. Hers was the power of 'now'.

Within the confines of the somber decorations, she also kept a beautiful jar filled with the fluid containing gold flecks from her daughter's second amniotic sac. A trip to the ocean enhanced its effectiveness. Someday Aislyn would use it to realize her own potential, but not yet. This is how I want it to be. Mother, father, child sitting and playing with nothing more on the horizon but days of peace.

In her heart, Cathy knew it was not to be. The universe had other ideas but she was mindful not to waste singular moments, of unadulterated joy, in the everyday.

'So, are you going to tell me what you were listening to?'

Jacob was a lawyer. He could be persistent. 'I don't know why it matters so much tonight but it was a Whitney Houston Song: One Moment In Time.'

'There was a trail of coincidences moving across your face. I am happy with the idea that Meme is content. She deserves it.' Jacob smiled at his wife before continuing. 'I felt a need rise up out of your heart. I can't identify it without prying but I wonder if you know what it is?'

Aislyn got up on unsteady feet and made her way to a box filled with toys. Both parents watched her but the question which hung in the air began to swirl around Cathy.

'I think I am contemplating who we are. Past, present, and future seem like such a broad term for us. Sometimes I can't identify what it means to activate all my senses in this crazy world. You know where I am coming from. Does what I'm saying make sense to you?'

'Sure it does. We are modern kids living in today's real world while working with ancient entities and skills. We are programmed to sense rather than accept the noise all around us. Even I don't know what I am doing some days, but I do accept the responsibility because it's easy for me to see the past. The history of it all helps it to make sense. I hope you didn't think that Holly and I don't have doubts too?'

'That's it! Should I be doing something or just wait?'

'We wait. We don't need to solve problems which aren't presented to us. We just wait. When it is time to act we know what to do. Trust yourself.'

Cathy sat and pondered Jacob's words. There were many times in the past when she had done things instinctively born out of a knowledge that lay hidden beneath the surface of her being.

'You know I feel afraid don't you?'

'Show me one person who isn't,' Jacob rejoined.

Aislyn returned to her parents. In her hand she had a mini microphone. 'Mama sing!'

'How does she know that singing makes me feel better?'

'Everyone feels better when you sing.'

Cathy hooked up her cell phone to the speakers, found a karaoke version of the song and played it through once. The second time around, when she began to sing, her voice was soft and tentative. By the end it had risen with power and energy. Pulsating waves mesmerized husband and daughter. Aislyn got up and hugged her mother. Tears fill her eyes. Cathy cuddled her close and kissed the soft forehead.

'It's ok baby girl. Did mommy scare you?'

'No Mama. I love you.'

'And I do too!' Jacob leaned forward to offer his own kiss.

'Thank you for asking me to do something I didn't really want to do but needed to. While I was singing, the words, 'racing with destiny' kind of stuck out. That's what I feel I am doing. Maybe I should just stop?'

'Maybe you should. On the spiritual plane, we aren't in a race. We are observers.'

Cathy thought about Jacob's words for a long time. They temporarily ended the discussion to put Aislyn to bed but much later, alone in their own bed, they continued to talk.

'What I understand Jacob is that the tense terminology doesn't fit with what I and sensing. All three of us have a mind. Your energy feels more like the soul's purpose because you carry the knowledge of the past forward. Holly's energy feels like the core of us all. She feels like the heart of the three of us. I feel like the body, an entity in the here and now but more solid in meaning than the words present tense. In those terms, I can understand my role better.'

'Soul, body, and heart with a shared mind. Sounds good to me. We can meet at that crossroads of the mind but we are always intertwined at some level. As usual, my sweet wife you have made sense of it all. That's why I love you. Fire, earth and water, all accessing air to move mountains.'

'Can you move this mountain with a little fire and air?

'What?'

Cathy remained silent. She knew that it would take a few minutes for her husband to switch gears from energy broker to lover but he moved quickly on her signals, pulling her body close to his before she succumbed to the desire which always followed those awakenings.

...

Most Sundays Cathy and Jacob went below. Sometimes Aislyn joined them and sometimes not. Her grandparents would often spend that time watching and playing with their granddaughter. Since Father's death, Vincent spent more and more of his daytime hours below, navigating the myriad of issues which required a person of balance. Conflict resolution became a full-time job. He was acknowledged as the new 'Father' but quickly made it clear that there would only be one person known by that title.

The council was to remain the final arbiter in larger unresolved issues. Newcomers were welcomed and expected to abide by a few simple rules. Fewer and fewer long-term residents inhabited the halls but abandoned children and babies still filled the nursery.

Generally, this was where Cathy and Jacob directed their attention. She provided cuddles and extra breast milk for some of the sicker babies. Jacob made rounds to ensure that any new or acute illness received full attention. As a fully certified ND, he treated his little patients with all the kindness of his grandfather and namesake. His bedroom had been turned into an apothecary's office where concoctions were made and stored. Combined with their positive energies improvements were swift. For Jacob, it was a great balance to his work in the PD's office.

After a busy morning, they said their goodbye's and prepared to go above. Jacob hesitated before turning left instead of right.

'Can we stop by the pool before we go up? Aislyn's little project last night wasn't without some significance. I want to see if I feel anything or hear any message.'

'Maybe there is a message for her since she was born there.'

Along the way, the words from the song the previous night came back to haunt her. Cathy hummed softly wondering what they would find.

The pool was drier than normal. The summer had been hot, with little rain. As they sat on the ledge, observing the odd slightly greenish colour caused by a buildup of algae, Jacob placed his arm around Cathy. They stared into the flowing and swirling waters, listening beyond the sound for something unusual.

'Does anything ring a bell for you, KitCat?'

'There are a couple of things. I am connecting to my dream about Veneranda and Theodoric. Remember they had a magical pool, where they hid, swam, made love and healed. How about you?'

'Yeah, that was a good dream. But somehow, I keep coming back to the practicalities of your song. It was written for the Olympics in 1988. I think that was held in Seoul, South Korea. Does that click with you?'

'Not really. I was thinking about the Olympics too but more local, Los Angeles, Atlanta or… maybe Lake Placid?' Cathy drew in a sudden deep breath but took twice as long to exhale. 'Wrong song for there but when I said Lake Placid I got a big whoop in my solar plexus.'

Jacob took Cathy's hand and held it firmly, listening to his own internal messengers and waiting.

'We should go!'

They both chimed in at the same time. Laughing at the unusual synchronicity of their thoughts, Jacob and Cathy started talking, their excitement growing with each word. Both were too well versed in their sensibilities to not realize that the words, thoughts and music of the past 24 hours had triggered a need to initiate a specific action. It felt strange to consider going to a place that had little meaning for either of them but their trusted guides knew better. Perhaps a short trip was warranted. They had done it before, to Albany and to California and to Montreal. The end of each journey found them wiser and stronger as a couple. Knowledge beckoned at every corner of their lives. Maybe there would be nothing more to be gained than a few days rest from the busyness of New York's bustling lifestyle.

'Just you and me Jacob?'

'Aislyn is you and me and yet I feel that we should do this alone. Would you mind being without her as much as I would?'

'That's a lovely thing to say. She is you and me but mostly you some days.'

'Mama said that to me once when I was going through the turmoil of getting used to having a mother. She said 'you are the manifestation of the love I feel for your father'. That is what Aislyn means to me. I do know however that she will be well looked after. Let's ask her. I think she will give us an answer.'

'I think she already did. If Lake Placid looks like the pool of water she constructed last night her message was clear. We, just needed to figure it out.'

'So much of our lives is tinged with messages from unknown sources. I wonder sometimes if the burden is too much to bear. Soon Holly will be a mothering again and as a trio we will be weakened. Perhaps we have to make this trip to shore up our resources. Whatever it is, I think it will make sense soon enough.'

The burden of their lives did not weigh heavily on them as they made their way above. They chose not to go back through the community but walked, the longer route, along the ledge to the river. In days gone by, a small boat rested at the water's edge but it had long since broken apart. Jacob was not dismayed. He gathered Cathy in his arms and took one mighty leap, landing easily on the other side.

'My hero. You sure know how to treat a girl. Talk about being swept off your feet!'

Jacob turned Cathy around and held her firmly in his arms. He stared at her face feeling her heartbeat mingling with his own. 'If there is ever a moment when you feel that I am not your hero, will you tell me?'

'You know I will.'

No matter how hard Cathy tried to add a saucy fierceness to her tone, she had no fight or flight in her, just the delicious knowledge of their lovemaking with more on the horizon judging by the look in Jacob's eyes and the firmness of his body.

Playing hooky at the riverside for a few extra minutes was a treat long denied. They were just getting back into the swing of intimacy, following months of undivided attention to their daughter. As they approached the area once refashioned to accommodate homeless women and their children Jacob and Cathy thought about how far they had come. The new Sanctuary was now located above. It was a bustling factory and residence in an old warehouse which once belong to Holly's father.

Beneath the city, not far from the tunnel community, Jacob had reclaimed the living space of his biological grandfather, John Pater. There he was able to dispel the negative energy to first create a working sanctuary for Cathy to fulfill her desire to help troubled women then, for him to build skill and knowledge as a Naturopathic Doctor. The secrets of his family's past lay behind a closed door, unknown to all but his father and their trusted friends, Jason and Diana. Below the rooms where Pater once created destruction, lay the body of his father's mother, preserved forever. That a man so evil could find love too late, destroy it, then preserve the evidence of his destruction set up an enduring love-hate relationship with Jacob and Vincent.

Mindful of the numerous symbols of their past and present, Jacob and Cathy lay down and gave into a passion neither could explain nor deny. Their ragged breaths filled the room with power before Cathy's final scream echoed off the walls endlessly. Neither spoke, but lay still, filled with a certain kind of spell, as if they had breached another dimension. Their unexpected coupling was not the first time that passion had overtaken common sense. There was a power shared between them as if one or both needed to open themselves to another dimension. When Cathy could regain her senses, she was dismayed by sounds echoing endlessly in her ears and around her head. She couldn't decipher the source. Cathy turned to her husband, dismayed that relinquishing her body to the wild coupling could bring out such animus.

She wanted to speak but Jacob placed a finger on her trembling lips begging for words to remain unsaid. Instead they listened, hearing distorted evidence of their unexpected coupling.

'My God, Jacob, is that me?'

'No my love, it is a whisper from the edge of darkness, as if the Diosa is returning from her long slumber. She is now ready to reawaken her soul to the world.'

'The Diosa in me?'

'Yes, Amatrice is back. You will feel her full strength soon enough.'

Cathy sighed, expelling air from her lungs with a power that surprised her. 'The edge of darkness sounds ominous. Is that the echo of something evil?'

'No, nothing bad can ever come from you, my love. As long as we stay in the light, dark cannot overcome who we are.'

As they made their way home, well beyond the expected time Cathy mused on the fervent ending to their trip. Jacob's voice continued to be reassuring.

'Do you remember how many times we have made love like that? Each time it meant the beginning of something new. Finding your Diosa spirit, getting pregnant, and now, who knows. Part of our trio is soon to be diminished in strength. You and I must hold fast together and protect those we love even while we are vigilant.'

Jacob's voice was not that of the father and husband nor the lover of the previous night. It was the man filled with the spirit of the ancient Lion Clan, laying down his resolve and warning any entities, seen or unseen, who may rise to challenge him again.