I flailed my arms as the ground quickly approached me. My stomach sank with every inch I drew closer to my death. Instinctively, I shielded my face with my forearms as I awaited impact…
Impact that never came.
Instead, I sliced through the surface of frigid water. My elaborate Solstice shawl cocooned itself around me, weighing me further towards the bottom. The freezing temperature shocked my body into a temporary standstill. I struggled under the pressure of waters so deep, begging my limbs to allow me to swim. I fought my way to the surface, ignoring the numbness running from my fingertips to the rest of my body. I kicked; I flailed; I swam with all my might. Just as I felt I had no breath left in my lungs, my head broke the surface of the waters.
I gasped, grateful for the air entering my lungs. I coughed violently as the water pushed its way out of me. I was so cold and so afraid, all the while confused at my improbable survival. My legs grew weary as they struggled fought the weight of my dress. As I struggled to stay afloat, I saw an edge to the waters just off to my right. Water poured in from aqueducts, creating rushing tides in the massive pool. The last bit of strength my body had pushed me towards the stone edge. My breath was ragged, and my vision was only slightly better than before. I laid my cheek on the cool granite, hugging it closely to my chest as if I would fall of the surface of the earth if I let go. As I looked up, I saw a massive statue of Mother Earth. She was naked and powerful in all of her glory, bent at the waist and weeping as she reached towards the water. I’d fallen into a sacred basin and tainted Her waters with my blood. If the Mother wasn’t watching over me before, she certainly wouldn’t be now.
I found the feeling in my arms again and pulled myself out of the basin, finally realizing that I had never left the cathedral. The prayers and scriptures were finely etched into the stone walls of the sacred room. The orbs illuminated every corner in their soft yellow light, creating a reverence in the tomb. I didn’t know much about religion, but I’d heard the stories of how the world supposedly had come to be. The Mother mourned as she had lost her only son and cried for seven days , creating an ocean. She rose above her pain and took the salt from her tears to craft a world of new beings she could call her children. Her vulnerability poured from her eyes, flooding the basin in deep waters. Most would find comfort in an all powerful being. But there was no comfort here.
My attackers wouldn’t be far behind me, and I had to make an escape. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get far in my condition; I was running out of options. My immediate reaction was to run in any direction as fast as I could. I dragged my lead body to the grand double doors of the prayer room.
As I touched my fingertips to the cool wood, I realized that I didn’t have the strength to open them; I didn’t have the strength to do anything. The fog in my head was thickening, and I could feel my limbs weighing me down. For the first time tonight, I felt I might actually die. My hands shook as I fought my body to respond. I was desperate to find strength where there was none to get me through this night. I leaned my back against the stone wall as my legs began to give out from under me. I tilted my head towards the Mother. I had never spoken to her, mostly because I didn’t quite believe she listened, but I was willing to try anything for a miracle.
A pound at the door made me flinch. Sheer panic washed over me. There was nowhere to run. Another brute thud came from the double doors. I let my fingertips stroke the carved prayers along the stone wall, bracing myself for what was to come. I felt the hum of my magic flicker, and with it came my last bit of strength to fight for my life. I couldn’t be sure how much longer I could hold out, but I had to try. I mustered my last bit of energy and burst into smoke. I could feel the grain of the stone scrape between my cells as I disappeared into the wall. I could only hope I could hide better than I could run.