Silence filled the cabin as the last wind slowed. Jacob took Rachel's hand and led her to the fire that was once again burning hot. The flames danced around, like a ballerina performing for a huge audience, spinning and rising high in to the air, then falling quickly back in to the fireplace. Only once did the flames reach out and touch Rachel's face, the sting causing her to pull away from the heat that now branded her cheek. Jacob touched her cheek and she felt a cooling sensation exactly where her face had been burning seconds ago.
"We have no more time, Rachel. Eli knows you will get stronger with time. He can not wait or he risks losing the battle."
"Where did he go?"
Lizabeth spoke out. "He went to gather his witches to increase his powers. When he returns, the battle will be fierce."
"She is right, Rachel. We must perform the ritual now. You need to trust in us that we will not harm you. There may be pain for a short time but the pain will only make you stronger."
"Then let us get on with it. The sun will rise soon and my father will be visible. I only had the power to shield him while it was dark."
"You can cloak him fully when the rites are finished. Before your mother died, she left instructions on how to give you full strength. Make the fire hotter, witches and bring the green branches to push in to the flames. Do not do that until I tell you or Rachel could be harmed."
"I don't understand this. If I have a child, this Karen you called her, then don't we know that I win and go on to give birth? Why don't you and I just get together and make this happen?"
Jacob looked at her, his eyes filled with both love and fear. He kissed Rachel deep and purposefully. "My darling Rachel, how I wish with all of my heart that we could do just that. In order for us to be one, we must first defeat Eli. I am going to ask you to step in to the flames."
"What!!!!! Are you crazy? I am not stepping in to a fireplace that burns so hot I moved away from it's heat."
"Rachel, you will not die. This is the way we coat our body and soul in flames. Your body will absorb the flames and you will no longer be able to be hurt by flames. This is a rite of passage that only queens and princesses can do. Any one else would die a very slow, painful death. Please, Rachel, time is running out."
"Do not let me die, Jacob, I will come back to haunt you." Rachel stepped in to the raging fire, her feet burning as she pulled herself inside. Jacob and the witches watched as her body was completely sealed inside the flames. She cried out as the flames bit at her and coated her body with what felt like a hard shell. "It burns, damn you, it burns like the fires of hades, Jacob. I trusted you and now my whole body is engulfed in this fire."
"Rachel, think about it. You are smothered in flames yet you still talk and move. They flames are simply melding in to you so that you can use them for your battle. Please do not leave the fire or all will be lost to us. Think of your baby daughter, waiting to be born and be a Queen."
Suddenly, Jacob heard screams from the witches. He watched with unbelieving eyes at what he was witnessing. One by one, the flames struck out from the fire, grabbing each witch and pulling her in to the fire. He could see their body's melting, the skin from their faces, sliding away and falling to the flames below their feet. The rancid smell of burning hair made Jacob cover his nostrils. Rachel screamed out as she felt the witches burning flesh be absorbed through her feet. She could feel her body getting stronger with each witch.
A storm now raged outside the cabin. Lightning struck the ground and trees. The forest seemed to close in around the cabin, keeping the lightning from striking to near the cabin. Burning bark could be smelled and trees were a lit with fire as they sacrificed themselves to save their princess. The wind began to push against the cabin door, trying it seemed, to push it open again. Rachel held her hands out and flames went from her palm to the door, spreading over the door, holding it closed. Lightning lit the sky so fiercely and constantly that the cabin appeared to have flood lights inside. Jacob shielded his eyes from a strike that touched the cabin wall, causing a huge spark to ignite near the base of the cabin wall.
Rachel screamed out again, this time the sound was pure pain. Jacob tried to reach inside the fire but was pushed back against a wall. He fell to his knees as Rachel's pleading pierced his ears.
"You promised me, Jacob-b-b-b-b-b-b. You swore I would not die but I feel my body dieing now. I trusted you and you let me down."
Jacob searched his memory for something he might have missed from Rachel's mom. He could hear her voice talking to him, telling him how to save her daughter from death. Then... it all came back to him. He grabbed the green branches he had gathered from the trees. He began pushing them in to the flames, feeling the heat from the fire intensifying as the flames ate away at the branches. Like a starving animal, the fire tore at the branches engulfing them and leaving nothing but ashes in it's wake. As Jacob watched, his mouth opened wide and his eyes unsure what he was seeing, Rachel body melted in to the flames. He searched the flames and found... nothing. The flames had devoured her body. Jacob fell to the floor, tears pouring from his eyes.
"I did what you told me to do, damn you!!!!! What the hell did I do wrong????"
Jacob slowly stood and faced the fire. The flames had died down and the only light in the cabin was given by the lightning that ripped through the sky. Trees were leaned over so far by the winds that their branches touched the forest floor. The smoke from the chimney swirled high in to the air, twisting and turning until it formed a face. Jacob watched as the image of Rachel's mother appeared. Her form complete, she descended to the ground and floated more than walked towards the cabin. Jacob reached to open the door but Alexis, passing through the door, was inside before he could open it. He stared at her, wondering how se had found the power to return.
"Jacob, you did nothing wrong." Her touched was a strange mix of icy cold and warmth. She brushed his cheek and smiled at him. "Wait for a moment and you will see."
"I don't know if we have a moment, Alexis. Eli will not grace us with time. He wants Rachel dead before Karen can be born."
"I have seen Eli and he is still trying to gather his people. You must now do your part, Jacob."
"What is my part? I thought that I had done all you asked of me."
"You must now enter the fire yourself. Rachel waits for you inside. You need to go to her and create."
"Create???? You think that I can simply go inside the fire and Rachel will open her arms to me as if we had been together forever?"
"Rachel has matured and changed inside. She knows what she must do to bring Karen to life. My grand-daughter will one day fight for what is rightfully hers. What you do today will give to you one more forever though your daughter."
"I am not coming back, am I Alexis?"
"Jacob, you knew when you went to her in the forest that it was a one way trip. You can step away if you want and no one will ever know the difference. Time will..."
"Yes, I know, time will go on ad all will be as it is except that Karen will never be born and the dark witches will win. I cannot allow that to happen, can I?"
Jacob turned away from Alexis as the fire suddenly burst into huge, powerful flames, flames that reached out and began to pull Jacob into thier heated embrace. Jacob could see Rachel standing inside the flames, her arms open, waiting for his touch. Her auburn hair looked like the fire itself and her emerald eyes sparkled with new life. He could see the strength within her and knew that what he was about to share would be more than perfect compensation for his life. He stopped just before entering the flames and looked back at Alexis.
"Does she know???"
"No, Jacob, She thinks this is the start of she and you sharing forever. She must'nt know."
Jacob turned back to the fire and walked inside the flames. Rachel stood before him, her body as he had seen it in the brook, perfect in every way. He took her in his arms and laid her down. Kissing her lips, Jacob felt the fullness of her being.
"I prayed you would come to me. As soon as I was consumed in the fire, I knew you would come to me. We will make our daughter today and she will be a Queen one day. This is for our life-time, Jacob. Make love to me so that we can be one."
"I do not need a life-time, Rachel, I just need one more forever. Today, I will have that."
Jacob slowly covered her body with kisses. He tasted the sweetness of her skin and felt her moving beneath him. Her hands urged him down until reached the very essence of her loving. From streams somewhere in their private world to mountain peaks, Rachel climbed higher and higher until she could take no more. Her sounds pushed Jacob to places he had never before been too with any one. Her fingertips were like fire and ice, burning his skin before cooling it and then cooling it again, like ice being poured over hot embers. Together, the found their own heaven on earth. The blood she drew from his back took Jacob to the very top of pleasures. He moved his body until he was looking into her eyes. His weight fully against her, he pressed his face to her ear. As he felt her body tense, he felt as if he were drunk from her touch. Fully intoxicated by her letting go, Jacob to melded one with her. Moving her beautiful hair from her ear, he whispered... "I love you, my Rachel, and I shall love you even after I am gone away. Such completeness I have never known. I will be watching you from the forest and will be only a call away."
Quietly, against Jacob's shoulder, Rachel cried. She realized what Jacob was saying to her. She clung tightly to his body, holding him with her legs. "Please, tell me there is another way. Tell me we can find a way for you stay with me, Jacob. I need you and I love you. Please, please, do not leave me alone. I am begging you."
Kissing her tenderly, brushing her cheek with his fingertips, he leaned forward and gently kissed her eyes. "I am not leaving you alone, my love. You will have a daughter now and she will be at your side. In her, you shall have me and through her... I have one more forever. I love you, Rachel, now and forever."
Rachel felt the weight of his body suddenly leave her body. She watched as Jacob faded out of sight. She reached out to try and hold him once more. Her hand passed through him and she sobbed. A voice echoed in the fire, a voice she knew brought with it death. She stood and placed her hand on he stomach.
"I will not let him harm you, my precious gift. We will destroy the evil abomination and then, you my little baby girl, will be a queen."
"Where is she, witch. I intend to kill her and all of her kin!!!"
Eli's hand,tight around Alexis' throat, she smiled at Eli. "You, my son, will be the one to die here. Rachel is already gathering her strength. It is more than enough to kill the likes of you."
"Oh Mother, how can you wish for something so horrible for your own son."
"You are Not my son. I only gave birth to you. I will see you die before you harm my daughter or my grand-daughter."
"Not from where I send you, Mother."
The flames flared in the fireplace. The heat was so intense, the hair on Eli's arms were seared off. Out of the fire, Rachel appeared. Her body glowed and the heat that was the fires, was now hers to command.
"Hello, Brother... did you come to leave threats or die? I am prepared to end your miserable existence today."
"Then let us not delay, dear Sister."
Both their bodies began to glow brighter. Fire-balls filled both of their palms. The cabin was engulfed in flames, forcing them to go out into the raging storm. Lightning lit the morning sky as the fire-balls flew from their hands towards each other.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012