Bright sunlight streamed lazily into her room, waking Rachel on what she could see promised to be a fine and warm summer Friday. She lay there looking at the illuminated dust column a few minutes thinking about the dream she'd had. Was there a hidden message in there? She wondered what sort of meanings she might find if she examined it thoroughly with her dream encyclopedia. She jotted down some of the key points of her dream in her little diary. She'd look at it later when she returned from the picnic they'd been planning.
Rachel dressed quickly in some comfy, but faded denim cut-off shorts and a well-worn, forest green tank top. It looked like it would be quite warm, and she didn't want to over-dress. She put on her favourite hiking sandals as well. They were beginning to wear out and Rachel noted that they would need to be replaced in the sales at the end of the summer.
“A great day for a long walk,” said Rachel as she came into the kitchen. Seeing Katja, she laughed merrily. “Looks like we have arrived at the same conclusion.”
Katja also appeared to be energized by the warm sunshine and scurried around making a lunch between bites of her muesli. She stopped a moment to look at Rachel and then at her own matching cut-offs and olive green tank top, then joined in the laughter. “Maybe that’s why everyone thinks we’re twins!”
“You mean the fact we look alike and think alike and live together, work together, play together... Even dress alike! Do you ever get sick of me?”
“Not really,” said Katja. “Well, there was the time when we were still trying to understand each other...”
“Your accent sometimes got in the way – plus those silly words you Americans use for things! Got a bit easier when we realized we’re so similar, eh?” added Rachel. “Heard from your parents?”
“No. I invited them to come and see us this summer, even offered to pay for their flights, but no reply. I have to wonder if they have already written me off so completely,” Katja answered, sounding slightly depressed.
“It is so silly. Here I am, I would give anything to have known my parents and you have parents who don’t seem interested in knowing you,” Rachel said mournfully.
“Yet another thing we have in common. We’re both orphans,” Katja said with another smile. “Let's not think of anything depressing today. Let's have a great day!”
Lunch prepared, they packed it up and stowed it in Rachel's trusty brown backpack. It had plenty of pockets to carry things such as lunches, water bottles and first-aid kits. Rachel insisted on having that just in case. She lugged it onto her back and they left the apartment.
Taking the lift to the ground level, they crossed the foyer to leave by the glass doors that were heating the room uncomfortably already.
“What I would give for decent AC in this country!” Katja complained.
“Anyone would have trouble believing you’re from California!” Rachel quipped.
“That’s dry heat… what you lot have in Britain is totally different! This mugginess – ugh! I’ve even had ladies from India tell me that British heat is harder to cope with,” Katja moaned. “Do you have your mobile on you?”
“Yes. Why, are you expecting a call from a guy?” Rachel asked sarcastically.
“Ha ha! As if! Good idea to have in case of an emergency. But maybe I’ll be lucky and Mom will decide to actually take me up on my offer of flying her and Dad out here.”
“Good luck with that one...”
“I guess that’s why I keep my phone on me. No one else calls me anyway!” Katja sighed.
“I call you,” Rachel replied.
“That’s not what I mean and you know it!” Katja retorted, flipping her auburn hair irritably. Then, she sighed and laughed at her friend. “We have it so bad!”
“Who knows? Maybe we’ll meet our Prince Charmings on our walk!”
“Who just happen to be taking the same walk as us today! Ridiculous!” Katja quipped with a loud laugh.
Katja’s ire calmed in the cooler air outside. They reached the canal quickly and wandered up the tow path towards the country park. “So beautiful along the canal!” Katja said.
“Yes, it is lovely,” Rachel replied.
“Good thing we both have the day off,” said Katja.
“Yeah. Couldn’t have done another day this week for anything!” Rachel agreed wholeheartedly.
“I know what you mean,” Katja sighed.
“I love the kids and everything...it’s just the adults! ‘Make sure she has her jacket on at playtime.’ “Rachel mimicked. “It’s nearly 30 C for heaven’s sake!”
“’My little precious angel could not have possibly hit another kid!’” Katja joined in, mimicking another parent’s complaint.
They both laughed and sighed at the all-too-recent memories.
“We must promise each other that we will be reasonable parents!” Rachel said to Katja.
“That's a good plan,” Katja agreed. “Except one thing...”
“I know,” Rachel sighed.
“Yeah, the major fact that this whole thing seems to be a very long ways off barring a stupidly simple event that seems to be eluding the pair of us!” Katja replied with a degree of sarcasm.
“Okay...,” Rachel sighed again. “Why is it that everything we talk about brings us back to the topic of men?!”
“Or their conspicuous absence in our lives!” Katja said with a sigh. They walked on, passing a few other people who had obviously reached the same conclusion as to how to pass the days of the current hot spell.
They crossed over a sturdy, but wobbly stile from the tow path and into the country park. There was an information board with a few trails marked out including which signs to look for marking each one as they walked.
“Which path?” Katja wondered aloud. “There's this one down into the meadow and to the lower part of the stream. Or there's this one which goes upstream.”
“Well,” said Rachel thoughtfully. “If we go upstream first, then we can always come downstream later. We won't want to go uphill once we're tired.”
“Good thinking,” Katja said.
So, they took the path going up the small river and headed to the starting point across the quiet lane.
“Here’s the kissing gate,” Rachel said pushing the gate until it hit the further part of the fence. She squeezed into the end, the pushed the gate against the first part of the fence to let her through.”
“Such a brilliant idea, the kissing gate!” Katja said. “Allows us to get in and out – and virtually impossible for the cattle to follow!”
“I’d hate to have to get a pushchair through there though!” Rachel said.
Now, they were in a grassy field with a freshly mown path crossing at one side. Katja watched for birds, Rachel looked at the flowers and other wild plants.
A tell-tale, clock-bird-like call came from a grassy knoll not too far away. “A cuckoo!” Katja said excitedly.
They both heard the tapping of a woodpecker. Katja edged near it, transfixed. She felt a zap on her arm. “Ow!” she exclaimed startling the bird she had been stalking. “Stinging nettle!”
“Here’s a dock leaf,” Rachel said, instantly at her friend’s side. She crumbled it and rubbed it between her hands to get a juice which she rubbed into the welt now forming on Katja’s exposed arm.
At first, Katja felt no difference, but gradually, the stinging eased. “Almost as good as if I’d remembered to bring my hydrocortisone cream! One of these days…!”
“Dock often grows along with stinging nettle,” Rachel told her. “The cure next to the cause!”
The young women continued on their journey.
“I wish we had two gorgeous men to come with us,” Rachel dreamed.
“Anyone who heard us would think us desperate,” said Katja.
“Aren’t we?” asked Rachel.
“Not enough to lower our standards.”
“But enough to use crystals and a love spell. Enough to desire actors as if they were their characters...wonderfully perfect at the end.”
“But we know they aren’t their characters,” Katja protested.
“In our minds we do, yes,” Rachel agreed. “But in my heart it’s not Tom Johnston I want, it’s the Kendo master.”
“And I’m in love with Captain Trent,” Katja admitted.
“Exactly! That’s desperate...desperately hopeless!”
Along the meandering stream, Katja and Rachel continued...dreaming about the men they had never met and didn’t really believe could actually exist.
“I’m hungry,” Katja said after awhile.
“Me too,” said Rachel as she slowed down. They found a rock near the stream. Katja sat while Rachel carefully lowered her pack off her back and opened it, revealing the yummy lunch which was quickly consumed so that they could continue exploring the trail.
Please catch up!
Birth of the Neví – 829 T.C.E. It is a tumultuous period of Terrenden history. As is all too common, there are those who wish to profit from the misfortune of others. Some of these come together in a new "charitable organization" and step on the toes of the notorious Uugli. Combine this with draconian new measures to combat pollution and Terrenden has a situation ripe for a power struggle.
Rebound of Power –
Meet Iyva, a homeless teenager in Irola with a strong connection with the leya. Totally untrained, her power rebounds catastrophically, leaving her close to death. A Nameless hero saves her life, but hides. Anyone would be proud to teach her, but will she choose the safe, trustworthy A’mara or the shady ones who teach her what she wants to learn? Can she trust her hero… the Nameless One?
This story actually wraps around four other stories: Friendship on Fire,Courage to Trust, Elect to Change and Ocean of Empathy. Currently, they're only available separately, but I do plan to republish the collection as a whole - I just haven't got there yet.
I’m still offering 1 Steem Basic Income share for any minnow who asks me a question which prompts an “Ask the Author” post! I’m thinking about putting these into a Dbooks ebook all its own, actually.
Brighid's Blood cover art based on:
- Mountain background shot (on the border of Slovakia and Poland) – PublicDomainPictures.
All three images were under the creative commons licensing, (no attribution required.)
- Shaze picture developed from PXhere
Shaze divider based on:
- Sword image from Wikipedia Commons
All maps/editing by myself on GIMP and Photoscape, both free programs.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Although the penalty of knowing me in real life is that you will influence the creation of my characters; any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Writing and artwork copyright myself 2005-2018 – all rights reserved.
If you are interested in helping me publish these works, please contact me on Facebook or Discord, viking-ventures#2883.
Lori Svensen – A'mara Books & Viking Visual
Banner by @shai-hulud