Updated: Mar 19
A Mountain of Trouble
“Turn Left in 3.5 Miles, and don’t forget to drive with your head held high, knowing you are worthy…” The GPS voice, some female actor or singer, directed into the silence… the only other sounds in the car, coming from the windshield wipers clearing the steady pounding rain from the front window of the sleek red A3 hatchback. I don’t know why I chose this app as my driving assistance… maybe it was because it was better than the male actor cursing with each command. Words had power, and I didn’t need any mortal throwing curses around me any more than I had. Call me superstitious, but I’d rather be showered with sugary sweet fake confidence than become someone’s ‘fucking mother.’ Or was it, I’ll fuck someone’s mother? I keep forgetting which word came first.
“It’s ok Nona… really. We will figure out what’s happened or is happening.” Nikki ended my weird reverie with her calm voice. She was sitting in the passenger seat staring out the window, watching highway 78’s now gloomy scenery pass by. She sat up a little straighter as she said, “Not to sound apathetic, but sunshine would be better if we’re going to be walking the distance to the Gateway. I didn’t bring an umbrella for you, you realize.”
“What makes you think this is me?” I ask innocently.
“It was clear skies and sunny an hour ago, Dea. As it was supposed to be all week.” She deadpanned. “Think you could muster up some good feelings?”
“Right.” I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Help cheer me up then, huh? Tell me that when we get to the Mountain, we will find the Gateway still locked up tight and nothing wrong in the area… tell me you could have easily mistaken what you saw, and it was all just a misinterpretation.”
“Sorry, not a chance… I really did see the signs. But maybe it or them being here doesn’t have anything to do with us?” She offered up.
“Possibly. But you saw signs of fairies around the mountain and you don’t think that has anything to do with us?” I asked incredulously, as I slowly merged into the left lane. “Are there any other beings here that could be attracting them? They generally don’t like this dull non-magical realm or the people here, Nikki.”
Now it was her turn to take a deep breath, “I know this. But what could they want from us? You don’t even have your full powers, emphasized by the fact that we are driving a car to the mountain. I hate being inside these things by the way, they make me feel like I’m in a metal cage again… bad enough we use one for the farmer’s market.”
“You’re not even the one driving… I am, how are you still cranky. And I don’t like it either, people are always blowing their horns at me and it just takes too long.” I complain, pulling my bottom lip into an exaggerated pout. “But we’ve been driving, for what, 60 years? You’d think you’d be used to it by now. Plus, I told you I’d meet you there… you didn’t have to drive with me.” I shot her a look.
“I don’t like change, no matter how long it’s been. Despite that, I didn’t want to leave you alone… I don’t know what’s happening lately, and neither do you.” She stated.
“This I know.” I said flatly. “And to answer your question, I don’t know what they could want from us and since we are the only ones around, we’ll have to go ask them. Hopefully they are in a chatty helpful mood, I’d hate to have to deal with them the hard way.”
“They would make for some fine magical fertilizer; it would be an interesting experiment to test out.” She stated as plainly as if she was talking about mushroom compost. I snickered at the idea of having Gnome or Troll compost for sale at the market this summer. She didn’t have any more words for me after that, deciding to just stare out the window in silence again.
On a bright note, the rain had stopped just as abruptly as it started, and the sun started to peek from behind a dark cloud… ah look, she cheered me up after all!
Stone Mountain wasn’t the biggest mountain in Georgia, but it was probably the most known… the ginormous rock was situated within a 3,200-acre gated park that held quite a few attractions, the kind that brought both locals and tourists to its location. As well as civil rights activist groups… those seeking to make changes to the mountain’s stone carving and surrounding street names. The massive stone mural imbedded in the side of the mountain took 50 years and many sticks of dynamite to finish… impressive, too bad it was in poor taste. I had been around for the events in those days… events that those alive today only read about. I had a different vessel back then, when the monument was first commissioned, but I understood, even then, that this image was the wrong thing to immortalize. This land had a mountain of blood in its roots, like so many other places throughout time, it permeated the land and trees… and it was the main reason why Nikki was more serious than the rest of her kind. She was borne of this very land; this was her home… and she held the weight of its pain on her shoulders. Pain only centuries of time could wash away if she allowed it to.
The guard at the gate gave us a bright smile, even though he look drenched from the sudden rain, and waved us through after a brief glance at our parking pass on the windshield. We drove slowly through the winding tree lined main street that wrapped around the base of the mountain. I hadn’t been to the Gateway in a few years, but I remembered the way easily enough. I had no idea if we’d find anything amiss once we got there, but you never know. I always got a little uneasy when I got close to the portal… what if I got pushed in, with no way to return? Would I still be me? Would my sisters come looking for me? Of course, they would… But could I survive without them for any period of time? Or would this vessel crumble into nothingness, bringing my siblings down with me… just to end up back where we started. Creating new vessels that would last another couple decades, maybe centuries depending on the state of humanity at the time. I shook myself free of that thought, I really didn’t feel like starting over just yet… I really liked this current me. I felt the hairs on my arms stand up… either from the craziness of my thoughts, or from the energy of the Gateway being so close. Maybe both. Even after all this time, there was so much about the Gateway no one knew… and I really didn’t like not knowing something.
I pulled into the parking lot that sat in front of a child’s playground and we both immediately got out the car, hopping over a giant rain puddle I had parked us in. I did want to get this over with so I could get back to my garden and solitude… I don’t know why being away from my space made me anxious but I didn’t like it. File that under everything else I haven’t liked lately.
An image of jet black hair leaning into my personal space materialized in my mind, as I felt the warm soft breath of a male voice whispering, “Little girl” close to my ear. My goosebumps began spreading to my whole body now, causing me to tremble a little… ok, maybe I didn’t dislike everything.
I gave Nikki a quick look from over the roof of the hatchback, making sure my thoughts weren’t visible or influencing her, and began walking towards a small hidden pathway to the right of the playground. Unmarked and partially hidden, I don’t know if the many people who visit here knew about its existence. It kind of just blended into the natural scenery around it. We took to the path, Nikki in lead… we both knew the way but being that I was in her house now, I allowed her to guide the way.
The path was walkable but rough… the uneven, heavily rooted dirt trail, and wild brush just waiting to trip you up or rip at your clothes. But even in sandals and a dress I was agile, managing to keep up with Nikki’s brisk pace… my clothes and shoes never seeming to get dirty dispite the muddy trek. We ate up the two mile distance in hardly any time and before I knew it, we were there. You could tell we had arrived by the change in scenery… there were totem posts here and there, featuring animals and illustrations from various decades. Offering and prayer alters sporadically placed along the path, as well as large rock pile formations deeper in the woods- either for symbolism or tombstones, you didn’t know. The closer you got to the gate, the more there were. It was in some way creepy and beautiful at the same time.
The Gateway was invisible to the naked eye but the energy it gave off was intense enough that it was felt even by the mortals. They had labeled this area as a minor ‘vortex,’ so spiritual people from all around the world came to visit, soaking up the energy, and paying their respects. It used to be hidden from all but the locals, until the invention of the GPS apps… any and everybody who was told of its existence could find it now, if you knew what you were looking for.
That didn’t bother me too much because no one could actually access the Gateway from this end, unless you possessed the power of the Gods. Now… from the other end was a different story. Coming from either of the other two worlds that made up our Tri-Realm, any one with enough magic could open the Gateway and step through. Luckily that happened rarely… sure, the ‘Other Realm’ spit out it’s garbage every so often, but that garbage created little mess. Like, the last time the gate was open was what, fifteen or twenty something years ago? That mess having very little or no magic, barely made a peep… I know because I kept track of all the garbage that came into this realm.
But the Fae were different, they came from the third world, the “Sacris Realm” … where the fairy folk could keep some of their magic when they crossed over to this land, and that magic caused for some serious concern. Granting wishes and changing people’s fates messed with the natural order here… and it messed with me. Never mind that these weren’t the little sparkly flying people you’d think of when thinking of a fairy. No, these beings were a bit darker and varied in species, like a box of twisted chocolates- you never knew what you were going to get. In this world, hidden forgotten myths rule the land from behind the façade of normal everyday appearances, but over there- storybook creatures ruled the streets.
We came to what seemed like a dead end to the trail, nothing before us but thick forest and brush. Nikki swung around to face me as she backed up just a little to give me some room. After smacking my arm to rid it of one of the many mosquitoes trying to grab a supernatural snack, I closed my eyes and spread my arms out wide. One would think the high energy in the area would kill all the little blood suckers in the vicinity, or at least chase them away… did nothing bother these insects?
Trying to focus; I used some of that goosebump energy from earlier, feeling it flow out from the middle of my back, down my arms and expand out into the area. To my left, a large shimmery oval energy field appeared between two ancient looking giant red cedar trees.
The Gateway, once completely revealed, was truly mesmerizing to look at even after seeing it many times. Translucent like, it seemed like it was made from the spirit of a million crushed opals… you just wanted to reach your hand out and touch it. But, if you did, it would suck you in with a force you couldn’t control and you’d find yourself in another land. Kind of like Dorothy in the wizard of Oz. Or Alice in Wonderland, depending on the realm you landed in. You probably didn’t want to be dropped into either, unless you knew what you were in for. This Gateway was why I chose to live in this area… I wished to be close by to keep an eye on it. Just to make sure nothing or no one crossed through without me or my sisters knowing.
After the energy stabilized, I wrapped my arms around myself and began rubbing my arms vigorously… the energy it took to summon the portal always made me cold and itchy all over. I don’t know why I never remember to bring a blanket or something. I’m no whereas cold tolerant like my oldest sister… living in Alaska, she preferred the icy temperatures. She was what you’d call a winter baby… I couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped my blue lips at the thought of her as a baby.
“I’m glad you are still finding humor in all this…” Nikki said as she turned towards the portal and took a tiny step forward… making sure not to get too close, like I’d push her in by accident or something… I guess I wasn’t the only one jumpy around the gate. “Remind me to laugh later.”
“You definitely won’t laugh later.”
“Whatever…” Is all the comeback I got.
We both started inspecting the portal like a doctor might inspect a patient, looking at it from this way, and that way. Checking all around it to see if anything looked out of place... testing for extra energy that wasn't there before. No tears in the field, no smoke or signals of it being used recently. There was older energy still mixed in from when it was used a few decades ago but nothing newer. I bent in closer…
Wait, there it is! Someone tried to hide their personal energy signature by changing its essence to match the portal, but I see it now… slightly mis-matched from the Gateway’s own energy. Barely noticeable but once seen, it started to stand out even more. “Do you see it, Nikki? Someone tried to cover their tracks...”
“I do, looks like someone’s trying to pull one over on us. Tricky, tricky…” She tisked, “But from who… from us, or someone on their side?”
“That is a good question. Maybe they knew you would want to make them into fertilizer?” I asked but didn’t expect an answer. I stood straight and looked around... surveying the area with renewed interest. Now that the portal entry had been personally confirmed, I could now focus on the other signs… like the trees above having tiny flower buds on their branches. Our trees didn’t grow flowers, especially glowing ones. And the air around us smelled of honey and jasmine flowers, a very nice scent but again, not natural for these woods. I closed my eyes and felt the surrounding area with my energy… it was hard to sense anything reliably because the portal itself was so strong that it blocked all other energy out.
“Whatever came through that portal didn’t want its presence known… but I guess they didn’t realize they couldn’t exactly blend in. Just them being here gives off warning signals.” I said… “Let’s cover some area and see if they give themselves away enough for us to find them.” I commanded.
And so, the search began… but after many miles of exploring, we realized we’d have no luck today. We found a few more clues, like rare flowers growing from the edge of a tiny river stream and more wafts of honey, but that was it. Whoever came through that door was being quite shy right now. Pity, this mystery wasn’t getting solved this evening.
“I’m going home.” I announce after what seemed like endless hours of searching, “The sun is setting. It looks like we’ll have to wait until the ghost fairy decides to show itself.”
Nikki nodded solemnly. “This is going to be interesting. I can’t wait to see what this creature, whatever it is, gets into.”
I nodded in agreement. Not knowing the situation fully will still pester me, but patience will have to remedy that. Sooner or later, this ghost fairy- whatever it is… will show.