Eyes in the dark, who watch me so,
Gift me flames to quench my woe.
Fight for love and love for blood,
Lest dearest sibling`s soul forgot.
Translated Gaelic chant, circa 1269
“Fi, are you trying to break a leg?”
The question rung out louder than I`d meant across the forest. The trees had an unnerving way of distorting sound. My sister Fiona turned around on the log after regaining her balance.
“Don`t be so grumpy, Liam,” she replied with that unbearable smile, which had been plastered on her face since leaving the hotel. “Aren`t you excited to see dad again?”
I groaned inwardly, but drew in a deep breath and tried to exhale my frustration.
“You know that`s not how it works, right?”
“Of course it is, dummy.” She rolled her eyes as I stepped up next to her, “I`m a lot stronger than last year, and even then I could already feel his presence. This year I just know I can do it.”
A sad, little smile tugged at my lips. Those last words were so like Fi. Even years after our father`s passing, she`d never lost that spark of hope and optimism. Of course she`d grieved, but where others would`ve accepted that their loved one was gone, Fiona was positive she could find a way to reunite us again.
So here we were… Hiking in the ancient woods of Ireland, on the final day of October, trying to reach out to a lost soul.
“Tell me again how this is supposed to work, sis, `cause I still don`t think I get it.”
“Gosh, you`re dense sometimes,” she said, mirth tinting her voice.
She collected her thoughts, making me wait for the explanation, while we continued to make our way through the forest, guided only by an old compass Fiona claimed would guide us.
“So, Samhain, the pagan festival, better known as All Hallows Eve or Halloween, is the time of the year where the veil between the mortal world and the spirit world is… flexible, right?”
She took a few quick breaths, checking our heading with the compass.
“In order to contact and interact with the spirit world you need a priest or priestess…,” she waved her hand in an encompassing gesture, indicating herself, “…to perform a ritual summoning and draw the attention of the Sidhe.”
“And who is this ‘she’ again?”
“It`s not a ‘she’, it`s the Sidhe, spelled s-i-d-h-e.” She explained impatiently.
“Aha… And what, exactly, does that have to do with dad?” I asked skeptically.
“Well,” Fiona drawled, “the Sidhe are renowned for making deals, and since dad was Irish and souls are kind of theirs after death…”
She rolled a hand to indicate that I should finish the thought.
“Which means we can make a deal for, what, his ghost?” My eyebrow drew up in an expression of doubt as I put a mocking emphasis on the last word.
Fiona sighed, fluttering the front of her hoodie in an attempt to cool herself. A hint of exasperation or doubt entered her voice. “I don`t know, Li… something, at least.”
We trudged along in silence, following an old, haggard trail for a while.
Despite it being autumn, the forest hadn`t given up on summer. Seeming to cling onto its warmth as if to a lover`s arms. Desperately trying to hold on, knowing full well the embrace would end. For us that meant that because we`d dressed for colder weather, the trek had left us sweaty and sticky.
The heavy packs we carried didn`t make the hike any easier, as we`d seen fit to pack for a night of camping.
We stopped walking for a moment, looking at each other and trying to ignore our quickened breathing. The fresh scent of pine trees filled my lungs.
I saw the determination in my her eyes, then. The same resolve that had convinced me to take a few days off work, book us a flight to Northern Ireland and arrange a room in a countryside hotel.
Fiona wasn`t going to back down.
Her lips curled up in a grin, “yeah?”
I couldn`t resist her stupid, infectious optimism, so I let out a sigh of defeat and smiled back.
“Well, get a move on, then.” She slapped my ass playfully.
We walked for another half hour as the sun slowly set behind the horizon. The dense forest filtered out the remaining light to a few thin rays.
“How much farther, Fi? This place is starting to give me the creeps.”
My younger sister`s eyes glance down to the compass. “Shouldn`t be long now.”
“The fact that you`re not using a map kind of worries me.” I said. “How do you even know that we`re going in the right direction?”
She started to speak, but stopped as we rounded a crowded stand of trees. In front of us lay a large clearing. The purple sky overhead was dotted with faintly visible stars, as I took in the sight of a massive rock formation in the middle of the glade.
“Because the compass started spinning,” Fiona finished in a whisper, her eyes fixed on the stone pile.
“Come on.” She took my hand and together we stepped out beyond the tree line, mamak escort walking straight to the structure while taking in our surroundings.
“Isn`t it beautiful, Liam?”
Her hushed words perfectly matched the haunting atmosphere. Everything was quiet, almost making the clearing feel like a holy place. Which I supposed it was… once upon a time.
We reached the strange rocks in the center of the glade after four dozen strides.
Upon closer inspection of the hewn slabs I noticed runes running along the length and sides, the top covered with a thick layer of moss. It was easily four yards in diameter as we walked around it. The stone formation seemed like a vast, raised…
“A table,” Fiona said.
“An altar” I corrected.
We stood there, momentarily perplexed by having actually found the ritualistic remnants of an ancient festival.
It seemed so… surreal.
Fiona broke the reverent silence first. “Let`s get to work, Li. We don`t have long before the sun sets completely.”
I looked up at the stars and indeed noticed the blanket of dark blue replacing the violet shades of twilight.
“Okay, what do you want me to do?”
“Gather some wood to make a fire. We need enough to light four big ones.”
Setting my pack down against the rocks I turned to go, as she grinned mischievously.
“And try not to wake the dead, Liam.” She oscillated her voice, making it sound like she was telling an old timey ghost story.
I didn`t dignify that with a response, instead giving her the finger and a smirk, before making my way to the trees, hand axe at the ready.
It might have been my imagination, but as I cut down the last bundle of dry branches, Fiona`s words seemed to get to me.
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up several times, when I turned my back to the dim forest.
Axe raised, I spun around, peering into the trees. The headband mounted flashlight pierced through the falling darkness.
Try not to wake the dead, my ass, I thought frantically.
Now, in the light of day a forest might be dense, but it always holds a certain atmosphere of calmness and serenity. Once the sun fades, though, and the shadows plunge the woods in darkness, that atmosphere gets a lot less comforting. Don`t believe me? Go into the deep woods one night and turn off your lights. You`ll see what I mean.
The adrenaline rushing through my veins made it hard to hear anything over the sound of my racing heart. I tried to discover the source of the noise without trembling.
The sooner Fi does her little magic trick, the sooner we can get out of here.
But I knew there was no getting out of here. We were deep inside nearly forgotten woods and I knew it was pure stupidity to walk through the night. Besides slowing travel to a crawl it was a surefire way to injure yourself.
Never taking my eyes of the surrounding thickets and bushes, I gripped my bundle of firewood and took slow, deliberate steps backwards.
It was probably nothing, right? Just an animal, foraging, probably.
Oh shit, does Ireland have wolves? Or bears? Fuuuck…
I heard crackling behind me and froze. A cold chill racing up my spine.
Shit, shit, shit! They`ve surrounded me!
Then I spotted them…
Twin points of amber, hovering in front of me, reflected from the flashlight, ten feet from where I stood.
I felt tears of fear stinging in my eyes as the unhuman gaze fixed me in place.
A small twig behind me betrayed another creature.
My entire body felt cold as my heart tried to pound out of my chest.
Fuck this! I`m not going down without a fight!
Mustering every last shred of courage I still held I readied myself to strike.
A hand fell of my shoulder
I whirled, shrieking like a teakettle, illuminating the face of my attacker.
“…You`re an idiot” Fiona said dryly, shading her eyes with her hand. Her brows were knitted together in annoyance, but her twitching lips betrayed her amusement. I could have passed out right then and there, from either shock or embarrassment.
My nostrils flared wildly as ragged breaths tore through my lungs.
“You- you- you-.”
“I,” she said calmly, “need some light to see by, and since you`re carrying the only flashlight, I thought I`d better come help my big, strong, fearless brother.”
Shakingly, I nodded my head, rapidly blinking my eyes. “Y-yeah, okay. I just- I thought I saw a bear…or something.”
“Oh my God,” Fiona said with a chuckle, turning back to the clearing, “Ireland doesn`t have any bears, Rambo, you`re safe. Now c`mon.”
Feeling like a complete jackass, I quickly scanned the bushes behind us, grabbed the bundle of branches and followed her back to the clearing.
The feeling of being watched persisted for the mamak escort bayan next hour, while I set up our tent and helped Fiona construct and light four, large campfires, which encircled the stone altar.
As a final touch she placed a stumpy candle on the center of the stone table, lighting it with one of the last matches.
“There, that ought to do it.” She said, stepping back to admire her work.
I`d just placed our packs inside the tent and was relieved to see that, aided by the stars, the fires provided an unexpected amount of light.
The flashlight added to the illumination, of course, but I had the sudden sense that in this ancient stretch of wilderness, the meager will of human ingenuity had to give way to the primordial forces of bygone eras.
“What do we do now?” I whispered.
Fiona reached into the pouch of her hoodie and retrieved a small notebook. “Now we perform the summoning ritual and hope for the best.”
I beheld her doubtfully, as she took her small penknife from her pocket and cut off a lock of her hair.
“A summoning, you say…”
“Yep,” she replied, “now get your butt up here and help me.”
This has got to be the strangest way to spend Halloween… I mentally commented to myself. But you knew what you signed up for when you ordered those tickets, dumbass.
I strode onto the stone slab, standing opposite my sister, the lit candle between us. She handed me the knife. “I need some of your hair.”
My eyebrow lifted on its own accord, I swear.
“Oh, don`t give me that, Liam. Just do it, please.” She wiggled the handle of the penknife, prompting me to take it. I deftly sheared off a fingers width of hair and handed both it and the tiny knife back.
“Thank you,” she said, rubbing the hairs together with her own.
Then everything became… weird.
Fiona began mumbling, eyes closed, rubbing our combining hairs together inches from her lips. I couldn`t make out the words, but the cadence held something akin to a prayer. Three lines, following a strange rhythm, repeated over and over again.
It might have been a trick of the light, but I would swear that I saw the flames of the campfires ebbing and flowing in time to Fiona`s words.
A hush fell over the glade.
She started rocking, first back and forth, steadily transitioning into small circles. Going further into her trance-like invocation.
The sound of her voice echoed across the clearing, louder and louder, building to a crescendo of plea and need and appeal. I recognized the name of our father between the archaic sounds.
Abruptly, Fiona stopped moving, her eyes opened and she spoke the three lines one last time. She uttered them with such conviction and force of will they almost sounded like a command. Fiona held our hairs in the now surging candleflame, which consumed them in an unnatural gust of sparks.
The silence was deafening…
We sat stunned, the shimmering shower of glowing particles descending on us.
All around us, encircling the entire glade, we could see figures.
“Fi…” I breathed, unable to take my eyes of them.
“It worked.” She seemed dumbfounded.
The roiling mass of creatures remained carefully obscured in the shadows cast by the firelight. They danced with slow, unearthly grace back and forth, as if anticipating each slight flicker of flame that would betray their features.
A sea of reflective eyes, like a cosmos of amber stars, surrounded us. The uncomfortable feeling of dread gnawed at my stomach again.
“The Sidhe,” whispered Fiona.
“There must be hundreds of them.” I said, looking around the tree line, which seemed to sway with the throng of lithe bodies hidden within. “Now what?”
Fiona looked at a loss for words, “I- I- uhm I-“
Fortunately, that was when one of the figures separated from the horde of beings and strode towards us.
As the Sidhe neared the flames of the campfire I could make out more details about its appearance.
She was an elegant creature. Thin and slender, her skin the color of leaves and grass, delicately marbled to let her blend in with her natural surroundings.
Her long, pale hair flowed behind her like a brides dress, leaving her naked body exposed.
Long legs made it seem like she flowed, more than walked, towards my sister, who sat frozen in awe.
The female gently took Fiona`s face in one hand and whispered something in her ear, her pale lips a mere hairsbreadth from Fiona`s ear. Both their gazes became fixed on me as the female purred unintelligible words.
Fiona`s face betrayed her emotions as she listened carefully. Shock, relief, joy, apprehension, disgust and finally; acceptance.
The last thing the Sidhe female said had a slight raising of pitch on the last word; a question.
I looked at Fiona as her eyes darted from me to the female and back to me. She hesitated.
The creature`s pale lips escort mamak breathed the question again, followed by a statement that included our fathers name.
“Fi…” I began.
The cat-like eyes of the Sidhe bored into mine, silencing me as effectively as if she had slapped me. The message was clear, it was not my place to speak.
Fiona seemed to take in a deep, steadying breath and answered the females question in the same archaic language she had chanted in.
She`d agreed to something… a deal.
The slender creature, hummed and smiled, turning Fiona`s head to face her. She leaned in and pressed her mouth against my sister`s, forcing her tongue between her lips as their kiss deepened.
At first Fiona seemed repulsed, but as the Sidhe began to writhe against her, she melted into the embrace.
I could feel an uncomfortable tightness in my jeans as I stared, mesmerized by the sight. Didn`t every guy dream of watching two beautiful women making out with this kind of passion?
But dude, this is my little sister.
Yet, despite my mental rebuke, I was unable to move a muscle as the being tangled her long fingers into Fiona`s auburn hair and drew her in even closer.
Their movements became more erotic and I saw my sister`s hips shifting in small movements.
As suddenly as it began, it ended.
The Sidhe female withdrew smoothly and retreated back to the trees.
Fiona stood shakily, her hair tousled, her eyes dazed and half-lidded. Unfocussed, she licked her lips and moaned softly. Her hands trailed over her body. One resting between her thighs, the other rubbing her chest.
She seemed totally enraptured in the creature`s sensual embrace, wanting more. Needing more.
I couldn`t find my voice.
I stood there, dumbly, as Fiona eagerly pulled her hoodie over her head, obscuring her face behind a tangle of hair when the garment cleared her head.
Her boots, pants and underwear followed quickly, dropping to the grass in rapid succession.
Gasping and panting, Fiona`s fingers found her sex again. Her nipples hardened noticeably in the flickering fire, responding to her rolling touch, while the roiling mass of Sidhe cheered her on.
“Fi,” I said for the third time, causing her eyes to center on me.
She spoke my name like she was surprised to see me standing there.
Fiona walked shakily around the stone table, using her hands to steady herself. She stumbled just before reaching me and fell into my arms. I caught her.
God, sometimes I forgot how light she actually is.
“Liam,” she said, “I did it. I made a deal to see dad.”
I was hesitant. Fiona seemed… different. Her half-lidded eyes stared dreamily at me as I held her.
“What did you promise them?”
“Something trivial,” she murmured, nuzzling her nose against my cheek.
Yeah, she was definitely behaving unlike herself.
“What do you mean, ‘trivial’, Fi? What did you promise them?”
Fiona chuckled, as she twined her arms around my neck. “They`re bored, Liam. There hasn`t been a proper ritual performed here in centuries.”
“The people who used to live here contacted them each Samhain. It made them feel more… connected to this world,” she explained absently. “The humans got to see their loved ones and the Sidhe got a show.”
I was painfully aware of my bulging jeans and the way her hips rubbed against me. I`d been with enough girls to know where this was heading.
“Fi, you`re acting weird.” I tried to push her off me, but she held on to me with surprising force. In a surprising display of dominance she twisted me around, placing the back of my knees against the stone table and used the leverage of her arms around my neck to tip me backwards.
I tried to catch myself, before my head cracked against the cold, hard slab. Instead, I fell onto the soft bedding of moss covering the rock slab. It hurt about as much as falling back into a mattress.
The impact and Fiona`s slight mass landing on top of me knocked the wind out of my lungs, regardless.
“I`m acting precisely like I should.” she said.
She then sat up on her knees, straddling me, her nudity illuminated by the quartet of campfires that encircled the altar.
My breathing halted as I let my gaze roam over her naked body.
Her flat stomach fluttered as she traced her fingers up and down her sides. It was almost like she was intoxicated…
That female`s kiss, that has to be why she`s doing this.
Fiona`s perky breasts were tipped with delicate nipples that responded to the brisk air with mouthwatering hardness. Her areola`s slightly puffy from arousal.
Her hips rocked gently as her hands ran through her auburn hair, her belly gyrating slowly in rhythm with her breathing. It was, without a doubt, the most sensual pose I`d ever seen on a woman.
The crowd of Sidhe seemed to appreciate it as well. Letting out high-pitched howls that resounded melodiously across the clearing.
I might not have been able to understand them, but I recognized the sentiment. Soft, honeyed voices cheered Fiona on as she displayed herself for all present.
Her arms still upraised, her brown eyes found mine.
“Open your mouth, Li.”
Her words broke the captivating hold she had over me.