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The Red Queen and the Blood Stone

- The Red Queen and the Blood Stone -

   I had stopped in one of those stores that... although technically a drug store... it contained a little bit of this and that, with a pharmacy in the back for those who have need of one. I was there to purchase some cosmetics, since I was nearly out of a wine colored lipstick that was my favorite lipstick color to wear. In addition to that, I picked up some eye shadow and then decided to bring those things home before I decided whether or not there was anything needful to go out again for. A song came on the store radio, and it made me feel like crying since it was one of my songs for the girl who had been my first love, a girl whose death at the hands of her father had pushed me into some seriously dark places for so long a  time in life that I wondered if I was not perhaps even still emerging from those places. Honestly it likely should have felt almost a full lifetime ago... she had died when we were both only sixteen years old and it was now a good twenty two years later. I was thirty eight years old as of that year of which this story is concerned, a true story this is and not a work of fiction nor a fictionalized account of true events. The seemingly impossible things that happened during the events I am about to relate were so bizarre to tell of simply because they actually happened the way that I will presently explain. Once I brought home all the things I had purchased at that store, I put my makeup in the bag where I kept all my cosmetics in my bedroom and then I looked at the time, which was something I always dreaded doing since I dreaded in my heart the notion that I was wasting even  a single minute of my life. It was not even noon yet! I had been to bed early the night before, and I got up early that morning because of it. It was midsummer, in the month of July, and it was a clear enough day out... no rain, and not too hot at least for July. Not too shabby for New England weather! Since I still lived in New England at that time. My grandmother was asleep in the living room, where she had fallen asleep watching television as she did frequently in her old age. Not wishing to wake her up, I took a look in the mirror behind my bedroom door to make sure I looked my absolute best and then decided to head back out for a while to clear my thoughts. I planned to get on my computer and check things out on the internet later that afternoon. I had profiles on quite a few dating sites, none of which things were working out on to my satisfaction, but even so I kept at it in the hopes of finding someone to love and who could take care of me in life. I could not drive or work a normal job due to the psychological problems I suffered from, so I pretty much walked everywhere that I needed to go... which was quite an annoyance sometimes. One stipulation I had was that whoever was to get with me, they had to have a car as well as a job. Love was a wonderful goal, but I also had to be practical and mindful of my situation... I had to make certain that whoever I ended up eventually falling in love with, that they could be there for me in every way I needed them to be. Romantically, financially and practically as well. The big three things I always considered, whenever I checked out any profile on the dating sites I was frequenting back then. I had to find them attractive as well, of course. Needless to say, it was a tall order and it was something I worked tireless at trying to achieve... finding just the right and perfect person for me. But I could not tell them I had a childlike way about me, at least not until we were together, so as not to scare a potential match off. Once we fell in love, I could tell them everything and show them everything that there is to know and see about me. They would not believe certain of the things I would tell them, but I could always show them the proofs I had at my disposal for the more odd or unbelievable things that I had experienced in my life. And what those experiences had done to me as a person! Or whatever it was I had become, despite my human appearance. I checked my emails quickly and upon seeing only the usual messages and nothing that I was expecting... or not expecting either... it was a matter of turning off the computer and heading out the door. I did precisely that, and sighed as I began my second excursion for the day. I felt like I had been going for walks like these ever since I was a teenager, with very little respite in between. Sometimes, I felt like I had walked the length and breadth of the whole planet, and on days like that one I very much felt as if I had seen everything and done even more. It was not far off the mark, either! But, I always wondered if something further was awaiting me.

   I did not plan on being out past two in the afternoon, since beyond that there was no point in wasting the day on a pointless walk. And that was how these walks felt sometimes... pointless. When something did happen, it was always something I could not tell anyone about, because they would not believe me. But on most occasions it felt like a dull exercise in futility! I was far more likely to find the sort of love and the sort of person I was looking for online than by roaming here and there for hours on end. So, the smartest thing to do was to use the walks as a form of physical exercise but not to expect much to come from them other than my staying healthy and fit. A good thing to see to, in any case! I watched the cars as they went past on the roads through town, whilst I stuck to the sidewalks. The town I grew up in still looked exactly the same as it always had ever since I was five years old and my family first moved to it. That town is listed as a city today, and it had already been classified as such even at that time in which the events of this story took place. But it never stopped feeling like a town, to me. I saw the pond at the center of town as soon as I approached the north end of my street and turned the corner. The street that I lived on was called Winter Street, but during the summer it was as summery as you might expect. Next I went east along Lake Street, before proceeding in a more southerly direction down the long street that lay at the end of it. I passed the cemetery where my mother was buried at, and I also passed by the high school I had attended prior to quitting school when I turned sixteen. From tragic memories to unhappy ones for a different reason! To the east, rising above the whole town was Mount Tom, with the spires of the metal towers that everyone always called the Television Towers sitting atop it like a castle. I would be lying to say that I always felt like those towers were an eyesore and that the mountain would have, if truth were put to it, looked a great deal better without the towers to mar the summit of it. Clearly, I had not been the only one to think so, since a mural in town depicted the mountain bereft of those towers as if they had read my mind and portrayed artistically the very image I had envisioned as being preferable. The artistic aesthetics of that mural left much to be desired, but I did like that feature of it! At the end of the road I was walking along, was the road that ran past the local park. I used to joke that I could up and fall out of bed and I'd be there... but although that was an exaggeration, we still lived close to it indeed. It was summertime, and so there was no school for the children in town. Instead, quite a few youngsters and their parents or other family were at the playground that was at the front end of the park, with some teenagers busy playing basketball at the court across the way from the playground. Between both spots, a long road ran deep into the park before forming a huge circle that ran through the whole park before ending back at the end of that road again. Walking or riding along that road would take you all through the place, but I preferred to make use of the nature trails and paths that went here and there off the road and through more wild places. Across the road from the park was one of two sports fields that were set up there, and deep in the park there were at least a couple more such fields. The park also had not one, but two playgrounds, with the second being off a way from where the main road of the park changed to become that circle I mentioned before. Trails ran to various places such as the middle school that I had attended when I was growing up, and a part of town that everyone referred to as The Plains due to many of the farms and more rural areas that lay out that way. It was 2012 A.D. … in case the year is important to know. And I was walking along the main road into the park, thinking that it would be nice to walk a couple of those trails on a day like it was at the time with the sun shining and the sky being so blue with only a few wispy clouds to be seen upon its' azure canvas. I was dressed rather androgynous in a pair of black harem pants tied at the waist with drawstring, very baggy pants that had elastic at the ankles. And tucked into the pants was a loose fitting silk peasant style blouse with long puffy sleeves. A pair of blue ballet shoes adorned my feet, and I had on a black beaded bracelet as well as a pair of black gemstone stud earrings. I was wearing my favorite lipstick and my face and body were shaved hairless. I had no hair upon my head, and no eyebrows to speak of either. I knew I looked unusual to some, but I did not care... this was me, the real me as I saw it at the time, and if anyone did not like it they could just burn.

   I had left my purse at home, on the wing of an angel statue that sat atop a marble pedestal next to the closet door in my bedroom. Sometimes, I would look at that statue and think that I wished I could look that beautiful. Then, my thoughts would flip unto their head and I would think that I longed to be with someone who was angelic in their beauty. Though my personal definition of angelic was hardly in any way unreasonable! I was not searching for perfection in life, just... something more than what life had delivered unto me in the past. Something more like unto my first love, something to make me feel alive in ways that I had not felt in a very, very long time. But a part of me also wanted someone to desire me with just as much fervor as I desired them... and so I wanted to be beautiful for them. But sometimes, I felt as if my attempts to make myself appear beautiful resulted only in me taking on an almost “alien” sort of appearance. It was a bit far perhaps off the mark from what I had intended for myself in terms of my appearance but like it or not this was me and I had to simply accept that I was unusual. I realized, always, that the right person would find me beautiful no matter what. But I would not find them... here. Not in those woods, in those forests, wherein I had encountered so many strange things over the years... and more than a few terrible things also! But even so, it was a pleasant place to spend some time for a while, and the perfect place to feel as if I could slip into some other world where things were far better. As the sound of laughing, giggling, and sometimes screaming children faded away and gave way to the sounds of birdsong and small animals scampering in the bushes and underbrush of the forest floor just off the beaten trails and clear paths that I walked along... it felt very much as if one reality was melting away and giving way for another more primal and ancient one. This place was my cathedral, it was my church, my temple my sacred space. It was where I discovered the full extent of my spirituality, and it was where I discovered other things in addition to that! Things I dared not speak of to anyone. Once, it seemed a lifetime ago now, I had begun with the practices of the ancient Druids. But now, now I was in the acquaintance of dark powers and forces both eldritch and strange. I had practiced blood rituals of a personal sort, and giving my very blood to things that must never have their true names spoken aloud... and necromancy too I had engaged it, to gain knowledge not meant for human beings to learn. But, as I was no longer human anymore, there was nothing keeping me from learning those forbidden things! As well, the mores and conventions of polite society no longer applied to me, I felt and continue to feel. In truth, perhaps I was searching for a way to escape this world entirely! I would not find that, but what I did end up finding was something that would stay with me unto this present hour in which I write this. Some said that I was evil, that I was on a dark path... and yet, it felt right all that I did and all that I did come to know and experience. I was a practitioner of the blackest of arts, and an adherent of a path that no one had walked since the most ancient of times, since the days of the Sumerians and Babylonians. It was a far cry from the way of the Druid that I had abandoned long since. But it felt right to me, all of it, even the most twisted of things that had become appealing to my mind. I gave in to the darkness, and in it I found the answer to a thousand questions. But despite that, I hungered and thirsted for more! In such a mindset and spirit, I allowed my mind to wander a bit and my spirit to become one with the forest in which I did walk. In the black birds that haunted the branches of the trees, and in the hawks that did far off soar upon the lofty heights of the great mountain itself. In the elements of the world, all around me and all about me, whether it be the fire of the sun or the water of the pond, or the earth beneath my feet or the very air that I breathe. The spirit within me was the fifth of those elements, the quintessence that contains the energy of all those other elements, and far more than can be related. The summer breeze I felt caressing my cheek during this reverie, it was my breath as well! I was one with it, one with all and with everything. This, to me, was God! This force that I was tapping into wherein all of this flows like so many rivers together towards a single source. Flowing forth from that source, into infinity. Nothing even remotely like it can be found in places where humans traditionally worship... but I found it there, in that wild and beautiful place a distance away from the roads down which humans travel all in haste.

   And so it was that my mind was occupied by loftier things, when I passed through the dark section of the woods that lies just beyond the sacred tree where I used to perform a great many magically oriented rituals back in the early days of my spiritual path. In that dark place, that was where the forbidden arts of necromancy first revealed their power unto me, when I tapped into them unknowingly. This was the place in those woods wherein one was most likely to encounter the spirits of the dead, and darker things than that, things fell and infernal. It was a place sacred to darkness, and in some way that I was not fully conscious of... I had been drawn there once again. There was a pile of rocks and stones erected there by someone in passing, and I had never seen it in that place before. Kneeling on the ground next to it was a little girl about eight years of age. She was stacking more rocks unto the pile, forming a small structure not dissimilar from a cairn in terms of how it looked. She wore a sleeveless pale green summer dress of a very soft, light material that had a floral peacock feather-like pattern upon it. She was barefoot, but by her feet were a pair of brown leather sandals that were very clearly hers. She was slender, and healthy in how her body's proportions looked for a child her age. She had dusky skin, with a round face and lovely hazel colored eyes. She had wavy dark red hair that was down to about the middle of her back, strands of which fell loosely about her shoulders. She looked to be of Hispanic blood, and was wearing a small golden locket upon a silver chain around her neck. She was, I noticed, wearing some rather elaborately styled makeup, which was unusual for a girl that young to be doing. Some blush upon her cheeks, thick black eye shadow, and liquid eyeliner in a cat eye style as it is called. A bit of red eye shadow sat above the black, between her eyes and her perfectly shaped eyebrows. She had dark blood red lipstick on, the same color as my own lipstick's shade... wine... and the little girl's lips were full and a bit pouting as she pretended not to notice that I was present. She was alone, and there was no one else around either to be seen or heard. A large raven perched on a low branch of a nearby tree, only to fly off moments later as I approached. A more prudish, ignorant, or narrowly minded person might call the child's makeup style “whore makeup” but myself I rather liked how she looked... and I told her so as I drew near. It was like a dancer's makeup, applied with care and artistry as a means of self-expression. This could have been a girl after my own heart, since when it came to cosmetics I always took a similarly dancer inspired style and equally artistic approach in creating my makeup's various looks. I was actually asked once if I was myself a dancer because of this, and it was something I took as a nice compliment. The little girl smiled at me sweetly as she turned around to look at me, putting the rocks she was working with down for the time being. Then she said: “Thanks! Now, should I call you mister or miss? You kind of look like a boy but you also kind of look like a girl. Which are you?” I then knelt down so I was more on her level and I said to her in answer to her question: “In a way, I happen to be both.” Then I asked her: “So, with that said... which would you prefer me to be for you?” Her reply to that, was: “A boy! I have a lot of sisters at home, but no brothers... so hanging out with a boy might be fun.” I asked her what she was building out of the rocks and stones, and she told me: “It's called a cairn, and a long, long time ago people built them for dead people. But being a grownup, you probably knew that and was just testing me!” I told her that I did, but did not think that a little girl would be interested in such things. She then told me: “Look, I may look little but I'm a big girl! Got it? And I'm really, really smart for my age too. I know stuff other girls my age don't, and I can do stuff they can't.” I asked her what kind of stuff, and she admitted: “Just the kind of stuff kids don't normally do, or don't normally know how to do. Want me to show you some of what I'm talking about?” I replied to her as follows, in answer to her question: “Why not! Actually, I would very much enjoy seeing anything you wish to show me.” She then winked at me, smiled rather a bit on the mischievous side, and said mysteriously: “Oh, I know you would! Maybe later, then. But not right now, not yet. There's stuff we can do first, if you don't mind.” I told her I did not mind in the least, and I clapped my hands together excitedly as I asked: “So, what are we going to do first?” and she told me her name, that her name was Rory, and then she asked me mine. I gave my name as J, and only that.

   “Know what Rory means, J?” she asked me, and I told her that I did not. She explained: “It means, in Irish, Red King. But I'm a girl, not a boy so in my case that would be Red Queen. Pretty cool, huh?” I told her that I thought it was very cool, and she smiled happily. Her elbows and arms had dirt from the forest floor on them, and she was brushing it off as we talked. She pushed aside the rocks and stones as she had been working with, being careful to not mess up the cairn she was building. Then, she picked up a small dark green stone flecked with spots of red upon its' surface from the ground next to the cairn and she pointed to it and told me: “This is called a blood stone. Of course the red spots aren't really all blood, it's just how the stone looks. Want to hold it?” and I nodded in the affirmative. She placed it in my left hand and told me to clasp my right hand over it, which I immediately did. As soon as I did that, I felt a sudden wave of dizziness and vertigo come upon me as if I was standing next to a great height. “Oh wow, I got really dizzy just now!” I told Rory, and she said to me about that: “That's because of the blood stone, J. Nothing to worry about! Happens to me whenever I hold it like that too. It has power in it, and I've decided I'm going to give it to you. The stone and it's power, I mean. I have others at home... so I don't really need this one. Keep it! Actually, take it with you when you go since it looks like those pants of yours don't have any pockets to put it in. Just set it down here with the others until you're ready to go.” And she motioned to the cairn, so I sat the stone right next to it. She put the ones she had been building with all around it, and explained: “Just so we don't accidentally kick it or push it and get it lost or something once we start playing.” It was the only blood stone in this group of otherwise plain gray, unremarkable rocks and stones. Clearly, it was something special to Rory, and something magical also. “What are we going to be playing?” I asked the child, and she produced a small pocket knife from the ground on the other side of the cairn. It was buried there, and she unearthed it and with a quick motion she sliced one of her fingers which began to bleed. “Here, take a taste!” she bade me, and I sucked on her finger and could taste the coppery taste of her blood in my mouth. “Delicious, isn't it!” she said as her eyes rolled a bit into her head whilst her facial expression was a slightly rapturous one. I then let go of her finger, and she said unto me: “Yeah, you don't want to drink too much! Not of my blood anyway. It's really, really potent and I wouldn't want you to get sick or anything.” Then, she fetched her purse... which was laying nearby... and she put the knife in it and took out a sharp looking sewing needle. After doing so, she gave it to me and told me: “I want you, to prick your fingers with it.. the middle three of first your left hand and then your right hand. And do it hard enough to draw your blood! Then, after you do that, I want you to drink the blood that comes out and do that for every single finger but the very last one. That one... that's going to be for me to enjoy. You don't have to stick them all first though! You can always just stick one, drink from it, and then move on to the next until we're down tot he last one. Since otherwise, the blood will probably stop flowing by the time you get to the last fingers. And the blood is really, really important to this game we're playing! So... let's get started with it.” She passed the needle into my right hand, and cheerfully proclaimed after that: “Ready! Set! One... two... three... go!” and as soon as she said go, I began by stabbing the needle as hard as I could into my left hand's index finger. A rather good bit of blood flowed forth, and I immediately thrust that finger into my mouth to partake of the blood. Each finger that Rory had thus requested I do this to, I did the same thing unto... switching to holding the needle in my left hand when it came time to prick the middle three fingers of my right hand. The last finger remaining, the one that was for the little girl alone to partake of, was the index finger of my right hand, which she bade me insert into her mouth. She sucked upon it, savoring the taste of my blood and doing the sucking so erotically that I found it quite arousing to experience. “You liked that, I can tell!” she said in a sing song way, after which she asked me: “Would you like to kiss me, J? Not in a daddy kind of way, but more like how daddy would kiss mommy when no kids are around.” I nodded in agreement... fascinated more and more by this amazing child. She puckered her lips, and our lips met as my tongue entered her mouth to find hers entwining along with mine whilst we kissed as lovers will do.

   I felt her reaching for my crotch with one of her hands as we kissed, and she went: “Mm!” as she felt my hardening manhood between my legs. Our kiss deepened, then ended as she bade me to get off my knees and sit back more comfortably, with my back against a nearby tree. “In order to give you all that power that my blood stone has in it, I need to first give you pleasure so that you are in the very throes of ecstasy when at last you claim it. All stuff my daddy taught me! Stuff little girls are just never supposed to know how to do... but I know how to do all kinds of stuff little girls shouldn't.” She had a lovely bit of an accent to her voice, and hearing her speak was very enticing with the depraved promise behind all that she had just said unto me. She then came over to where I sat, and she undid the drawstring of my pants, after which she put her hand down them and felt my cock through my underwear. “Very nice, oh so nice!” she hissed, her voice a bit impatient as she asked me to take my pants and underwear down. I did as she asked me to, and she drew in close to begin stroking the shaft of my manhood rhythmically with her hand. Slowly at first, then more vigorously after a bit. During the course of that, she bent down and slid her lips over my cock... taking it into her mouth where her tongue played with it as she sucked upon it in ways only the most expert of lovers or whores know how to do. She brought me all the way to orgasm doing this, and I felt my cock ejaculating into her mouth. She swallowed it all as she thence withdrew from our sport and wiped her mouth with her left hand. “Delicious!” she exclaimed. After so doing, she bade me to do whatsoever I liked with her, and to keep doing it until I was aroused enough to experience pleasure a second time. She laid on her back seductively, but with her legs crossed, and said to me: “Come on, J! You know you want to. I'm exactly your type, after all.” I then leapt upon her as I pushed her legs apart, pushing my crotch into her own. That was when I noticed she had male genitalia between her legs. I pulled up her dress, pulling it up all the way to her waist, and I grabbed her between her legs... my hands feeling a little boy's penis when I did so. I smiled, and Rory said to me: “There's a whole, whole lot of ways... so many ways... that I'm not like other girls. That's one of them!” I rubbed it and caressed it, and put my hand down her soft silky panties in order to do so even better, skin on skin. I rained kisses upon her face as I molested her in this way... and I never once saw her as anything but a girl no matter what was between the child's legs. I proclaimed my love for her a thousand and one times over practically, as I rubbed my cock against her ever flaccid penis whilst my hands caressed, felt and fondled every inch of her body... for all intents and purposes. I was becoming aroused again during the course of this, as I was kissing the girl's neck with my hands caressing the tresses of her hair. I pushed the little girl unto her belly, yanked her panties down and off of her... pushed her legs apart and without any further thought I shoved my cock into her buttocks as the shaft of my manhood found the hole of her ass and began to insert itself into it. She cried out, naturally, since this was very much being done unto her without any sort of lubrication save the wet stuff that was already coming out from my penis as I began to violate her in this fashion. Fearing someone might hear us, I covered her mouth with one of my hands as I thrust into and out of her ass with enough feral intensity that I did shoot this... my second orgasm in a short span of time... into it once I reached my full climax. After that, I uncovered her mouth whilst she moaned in a mixture of pain and a certain undisguised degree of pleasure. I stood up, dressed myself decently once again, and so sat back down with my back against the tree. It was a bit before the little child stood up. She had a bit of blood coming from her rear end... and I had a bit of it on my cock when I had withdrawn it out of her buttocks. She produced some hand cloths from her purse, and used them to wipe all the blood from her body. Once she was certain the bleeding had ceased, which it did swiftly enough, she put her panties back on and arranged her dress upon her person neatly. She sighed, panting and breathing quite heavily as she sat down next to me and leaned her head upon my chest. Not a single word passed between us, until she said unto me: “You know, technically that was rape! But not in my book, since despite it being rougher than I expected from you... I was plenty willing. My daddy... he would approve! You're a lot like him, you know. Only, he never did me like that. You were the first!”

   She then pointed over to the cairn and instructed me: “Take the cairn apart, J... it's okay, I want you to dismantle the whole thing and see what I've buried underneath it. Don't be afraid! Just do it.” I walked back over to the pile of the rocks and stones, so artfully placed atop one another so as to form the rather unique structure that they did. Then, I took it all apart and tossed the rocks and stones all about, being careful as I did so not to lose track of where the blood stone was upon the ground nearby. There was a bit of a shallow grave of sorts, only too small to be for a person, underneath the cairn. “Go on, J, dig up what's buried there... nothing to be afraid of, I swear!” I dug with my hands after rolling up my sleeves, and soon unearthed a moderately sized pouch that contained a small box made of rose colored wood. It had a gold lock upon it, but the lock was undone so that the box could be opened with ease. My hands were trembling nervously as I sat back down next to the little girl named Rory. I was holding the box on my lap, clutching it in my hands, as I inquired of her: “What is inside this box?” And she told me only: “Something I have tried to bury lots and lots of times before, but for some reason it keeps coming back to me no matter how many times I try to get rid of it. Go on, take a peek!” I lifted the lid of the box and cast it back, and inside the container was a child's heart. Fresh blood covered it, and it looked much as if it had only just been torn from someone's breast. I wanted to scream but was too shocked to do so as my eyes fell upon this grisly, gruesome sight before me. “Who does this belong to?” I asked Rory, and she told me: “It's mine, of course! I thought I would never fall in love, so I cut my own heart out and I buried it many times over the years. But every time I would bury it... it would come back to me, and so I would put it back inside of me and the whole cycle would begin all over again. But this time, I think I have fallen in love... with you... so I wanted you to be the one to dig up my heart this time around. And maybe if you are the one to give it back to me... it will stay for good since your love for me will keep it firmly in my chest where it belongs. That is... if you do love me, J.” My mind was a blank as I tried to process the weirdness and insanity of this entire situation. I did feel love for this little child, and part of me never wanted to be aware from her ever again. I told her so, and she said unto me in answer to that: “Well, it looks like you've earned that blood stone! Keep it, J... and whenever you feel lonely I want you to hold it in your hands just like you did earlier, chant my name, and think of me. No matter where I am in all the multiverse we live in, a part of my spirit will be with you in that instant.” After she said that... she told me to hand her the box and I did as she requested. She then fetched her pocket knife from her purse and after stripping completely naked she used the knife... which was as sharp as any scalpel... to perform upon herself the bloody operation of cutting herself open in order to return her heart to where the vacant place was wherein it once beat. The knife was made of some unnatural material, for it could cut through skin and bone alike as a kitchen blade might slice through butter, and Rory explained to me that it possessed this property to it whilst she set about the horrific work she did unto herself using it. As soon as her heart was once more in place, her body healed itself so rapidly that it was almost instant. Then, whole once more, she got dressed again and smiled serenely whilst she saw the horrified look on my face, and the shock evident in my eyes. “I am the Red Queen, J! I can do whatever I like, and it will not do me any lasting harm. I cannot die the way mortals do, not even the way you could die... and so it should not be all that surprising to witness the sort of thing your eyes have just beheld.” She no longer in any way attempted to speak like a child, that is to say with the words a child might use... though her voice was still very much a child's as she spoke thus unto me. I asked her, my lips quivering a bit as I spoke... my hands trembling in terror: “What are you, Rory?” She sat back down next to me and said in a pleasant and innocent tone of voice: “I am the Red Queen, and nothing more nor less than that. If any more there is to it, I don't know a thing about it.” She was coming down from the imperious being she was trying to come off as being, and once more attempting to choose words and phrasings more proper for someone as young as she appeared to be. I held her in my arms, and she seemed happy to be held by me... whatever she was, I loved her. Though by certain things she had said, I knew she had to leave me.

   We both stood up and she cleaned out the box, and placed inside of it the blood stone. She closed the lid and handed me the box containing the powerful magic stone. “Just as you gave me my heart back, I give you a portion of my spirit... which is what is contained within that blood stone. If ever anything at all should happen to it, then that portion of my spirit will depart from the stone and come to dwell after that within you, merging with your own spirit. In this way... we shall never be separated! No matter the distance between the realm I call home and this one wherein you exist.” And, for years, I kept both that box and the blood stone that I continued to keep securely within it, along with other things I considered treasures. I lost both the box and the stone in a car accident, ultimately, and after doing so the portion of Rory's spirit that had been inside of that stone did come to dwell within me so that it proved impossible to tell where one of us actually began and the other ended. But at that time, back when she first handed me the box and the blood stone within it, I was not concerned with the future... only with the present in which these events were happening. And during that time, my mind was still reeling and my sanity was still recovering from the impossible things I had witnessed. We kissed one final time before she told me it was time for us both to be getting upon our way and going forth from that dark place in the woods of that park. She then ran over to me and wrapped her arms around me in a warm embrace, and each of us returned the other's affections. “Why do we need to part, Rory?” I asked her, and she told me: “I'd never said we were ever going to be apart! Who said anything about anything like that? If anything, it's going to be quite the opposite of that from now on.” And she turned towards where the cairn had been but was no longer, and the earth opened up to form a passageway leading beneath the ground. She descended on  down into it, and the earth covered itself over again so that there was no trace that anything had been in that particular spot at all. Had I not been carrying the box in my own two hands, which when I checked still had the blood stone within it, before walking away from that place... I would have thought that all of what I had just experienced was either a dream, a vision, or a hallucination. But I held the proof of it in my hands, just as I had held Rory in my arms not long previous... and the memory of what happened within that dark place in the woods would remain with me for the rest of my life. Eventually, the trails and paths through the forest led me out to the sports field that bordered on The Plains, and from there it was easy enough to get to the circling road which would eventually lead me well upon my way home. I wanted to get home swiftly, since I wished to put the box containing the blood stone in a special place underneath the shrine to my patron gods and goddesses that I had set up in my bedroom. I kept there all of my most important relics, treasures, and objects of importance to my spirituality. Along with several personal items as well. Next to it were two wands that I had carved and decorated by hand years before, and the entire room practically resonated with mystical energies and arcane power. I do not know why, but I for some reason chose to take the long route around the circle before proceeding back to the main straight road out of the park once again. I passed a fishing landing and decided to sit down by the edge of the waters it overlooked. It had to be late in the afternoon, because there was that golden sunlight all about as the shafts of that sunlight shone down through the trees like the radiance of some great deity of warmth and illumination. I looked out across the water at the other part of town across the way, and by chance I gazed down at the water itself... to notice that my reflection did not show me. It showed Rory, it showed her face and form instead of my own! I stifled the urge to scream, and felt my face and head to see that I was still myself... whatever the reflection in the water showed. The box in my hands felt a great deal warmer all of a sudden, and I looked away from the water to glance up at the sky. Then, I did set the box upon my lap and I rubbed my eyes as one does when awakening from a dream. When I then did look back at my reflection, it was myself once more and there was no trace of Rory to be seen. That was when I realized that it was indeed time to get well upon my way, and to linger in this place not too much longer. Every so often, as I walked along the road I could hear a child's footsteps echoing behind me, but when I looked back there was no one there. The park, was rather empty... everyone gone home.

   In the distance, I could hear the sound of the teenagers playing basketball, and I remembered that they often liked to play in the basketball court until fairly late... leaving once dusk was official at hand. But, aside from that the place was fairly desolate at the moment. I yawned, feeling a bit tired from not just so much walking but from all of my passionate and pleasurable exertions with Rory. It was not a question, to me, of who the little girl truly was... it was more a question of what she was in my mind. Something not human, certainly, and possibly something that only looked like a child but which was in reality not a child at all. Despite all of the supernatural and paranormal experiences I had over the years, I had up to that moment never encountered anything quite like Rory before. As I thought about that, I noticed that the circular road had taken me around to where the straight route out of the park began. Nearby was the park's second playground, and across from it was the central sports field at the heart of the park itself. A couple of picnic pavilions were nearby off the road a ways, and one could see the mountain looming so far but so near over everything beneath it. For a moment, I thought I spotted Rory playing on the swings in the playground, and I walked over to talk to her but when I did... she was gone. Though her giggling laughter filled the air, leaving me to wonder if I was perhaps losing my mind far worse than ever I had before. “You are not mad, whatever you might think!” she said, as she appeared right behind me. I did turn around to see her standing there, but she was covered head to toe in blood. Her eyes were red with no whites in them, and her mouth was filled with fangs instead of normal teeth. I exclaimed: “Oh, good gods!” and stifled a scream of terror, and she smiled as she said unto me: “The gods have nothing to do with me, my sweet. I do not dwell among their number, whether in their celestial abodes or here in this world. My domain is a more hidden and distant place, and yet it is closer than anyone might imagine.” I asked of her: “Are you not a goddess, then?” She then giggled, before stating: “I was... once. It got real boring, real fast for me! I like what I am now, so much better. But you can still worship me, if you want to, my sweet. And I can hear your prayers, if you do pray to me. Just like I can hear your thoughts, and I know what is in your heart as well as your mind. We are more alike than you could ever imagine, J! All you need to do, is recognize it and accept it.” I then reminded the inhuman little girl: “But, how is it you are still here? I thought you had to leave, and I saw the earth swallow you up.” She then explained unto me: “Ah yes, the portal to my distant home that I made from the earthen elements in order to bear me to my chaotic little slice of... whatever, that dimension or plane is called! There are so many languages, all throughout this crazy multiverse of ours, and so many tongues and ways of speaking in them. No sense, in putting a name to something that can have countless names. But you saw true! You saw true. Since it was a fact that at least that physical manifestation of me went home. What you're looking at now, is not a physical manifestation... and, spiritual energy has no limits imposed upon it. Like this, I can be pretty much anywhere I choose to be! I can even be... right here.” and she pointed to my heart. Then, she did point to my head as she stated: “And I can be... here. Get the picture, J?” I understood her meaning, so I told her in answer: “I get what you mean, Rory. What do you want right now?” She then pointed over to a picnic pavilion a ways off, and I saw gathering there as the afternoon sunlight was waning, and as the hours of dusk approached, whilst night was not as long a wait away as it had been when first I arrived at the park on that particular day... a group of spectral entities, that were as purely ebony black as shadows and which had no features that my eyes were able to discern. They appeared cloaked and hooded, but as insubstantial as ghosts. Like smoke they were, in that way, but they did not drift upon the wind. Rather, they flitted and floated and drifted about that pavilion and then drifted into the woods beyond it where I saw them scattering among the trees. “Night approaches not far off, my sweet! And on nights such as is about to descend, you do not wish to linger in these woods. There are things here that are far from what humanity and even divine beings would want to get caught by... things that will drain your energy and a few things even that will drain more than just that from you. Get on home, J! Once you're clear of these woods, it will be a lot better for you. For us!” After telling me that, she suddenly vanished into thin air.

   I hurried down the straight road leading out of the park... having to pass too close at one point to that pavilion for my own comfort. I could hear things in the woods nearby, where the shadows of the hours of late afternoon were thickest, and those sounds were frightening and unearthly in the extreme. Shrieks and cries of the sort no bird could make, did echo through the trees of the forest. So loudly, that I did in truth wonder how the branches of the tall pines did not shake and tremble from it! Just up the road that a good portion of was still ahead of me to walk... I could hear the teenagers yelling and leaving in a bit of a haste. They had to have heard those frightful, dreadful sounds just like I had! But though I walked in haste, I did not run. I realized that if I showed fear to the things that made those noises, then surely I would be at their mercy. I had to remain fearless, I had to continue moving forward quickly but not in a run... they could catch me easily if I ran, if my footsteps were louder from running. Better to do as I did, and to think of Rory and imagine her protecting me. Odd, I know, that a child could grant a person that kind of protection, but she was no common child! She was as old in spirit as I was, if not older perhaps. Older than the universe we live in, and the multiverse that universe exists within. Just like me. I tried my best to remain calm the whole way, though my heart was beating wildly by the time I saw both the basketball court and the front playground across from it. There was the road that runs past the park, and the houses along the first half of that road! I saw the two sports fields past that, and I knew at that point that I was safe. I was out of the park momentarily, and walking back towards the direction of home. On past the high school and the cemetery, until soon I was within sight of the pond. I saw Lake Street from there, and turned down it past the gazebo in the small park area that ran along that equally small street. Night was descending when I finally reached my front porch after making my way up Winter Street, as late to arrive as it always is during the summer season. I had, originally, planned to be home by two in the afternoon, but time ran strangely in those woods and it was now quite late indeed. I was late! But it was better to be late, than to be caught by the horrors that called that forest their home. For just as sure as there was beauty and peace to be found in that park... there was danger and terror within it also, of a sort most people might never encounter or imagine. Sometimes, the biggest dangers are the most subtle ones of all! Though there was nothing subtle about those noises that even drove those teenagers off. It was always like that in those woods when nightfall came and darkness descended. My grandmother had cooked some spaghetti and meatballs for supper that evening, and I could actually smell the tasty home cooking as soon as I did climb the steps up the side porch and approach the side door of the house. She asked me where I got the box I was holding, and I told her I bought it at the store in town. She said that it looked like a nice jewelry box... since it was about that size... and I was happy that she was in one of her better moods since when she got angry it was hellish to try to deal with. I hurried off to my room as I was in a hurry to place the box in the location below my shrine that I had in mind for it. I checked, to make certain that the blood stone was still inside of it, and sure enough it was. I took it out to hold it in my hands, and I could feel the power and energy within it. It did not make me feel dizzy this time... but instead, it felt warm and comforting. I placed it back in the box and put the box in its' proper place that seemed not only just right for it, but as if it had been set aside by some higher power to receive it. Then, I went into the kitchen to eat supper. I told my grandmother that I had been in town all day, and that just prior to that I had been walking through the park for a while. She believed the lies I by necessity had to tell her, and I knew better than to try and explain what actually had happened and what I had truly been doing for all that time. After supper, I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash up. Then... it was time to go into my room, turn on the computer, and check out what was new on the internet. As I sat down on the chair in front of the desk on which sat my computer's keyboard, mouse, and monitor, I felt a presence behind me. The door was closed, and the lighting in my bedroom was always rather on the dim side... so there were always shadows in the room at night compared to during the day. I turned around to see Rory sitting upon my bed, a finger to her mouth urging me to be silent. I said not a word.
Written by Kou_Indigo (Kara L. Pythiana-Ashton)
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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