Under the stone.

©2022 Michael Raven

Soft glow the tunnel twist-turning underwards, diving below verdant surface emerald and standing stone. No light cast and I can begin to see as she leads, everso away. The ground gives way to rock and hard and the green-cast light grows stronger. The awe fills more than fear and the connections trace clear.

“You can see.”

No question there, but a grunted affirmation a prelude to her sigh.

“Imagining is easy, being is hard.”

I nod. “I always wondered if it was true. Will being grow stronger or will it always reflect darkly the shadows inside?”

A noncommittal sound. “Depends, these things.”

I look down at the ghost of her: crimson forest flame, ash black, and virgin snow. “Are you always thus?”

“Sometimes I am just white, as your thoughts apprehend. Sometimes I am fox.”

“That’s not wh–“

“That’s exactly as you meant it, but think yourself rude and change queries. And yes, I am also cryptic. Some secrets are best discovered in the seeking rather than in the telling.”

I can not see in the light, far too dim to read much aside from general shape and colour, but I feel the smirk.

Light opens into the womb, here the heart beat thrummed and filled the empty more than before. Cascades and island, a tree standing center. Perhaps it is oak, but I still am mostly blind in a fog of lens-cast myrk. My eyes have yet to open more than slits, except there are no slits, just partial seeing.

“Is she there?” I ask.

Sometimes Fox looks up, wry grin cut by teeth meant to rend, tear and shake to death her quarry. “You are, as always, impatient. She is there, but not there. And you won’t see her when she is mostly there.”

It makes little sense, but I nod as if it does and she casts that toothsome grin again, the one that says she knows I am lying. I shrug. What else am I to do?

“The Lady of Shadows waits for you across the water. She won’t tell you much more, but she will open your eyes. Unless she blinds you. She may do that if she decides it is the best way for you to see.”

I have been getting these threats for a while know. Everyone wants my eyes bound and hollow. I almost wish they would get on with it instead of casting threats. Even if I’m sure it might be a horrible thing, I want to finally see, as they promise me.

She hands me two coins: one cast in the Eye of Ra, the other of Horus. “Pay with the correct one when the time comes.” She fades into the gathering fingers of mist.

“Which is the correct one?” I ask after the evaporating shape.

Her voice fades with her shape. “Yes,” she says, turning my own jest back on me. I realize why people hate it so as the words, too, are consumed.

The island then…

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