tagRomanceTurning Seasons

Turning Seasons

byMagicaPractica©

Sarah leaned forward and looked down into the foaming water. Just a little farther and she could topple so easily into the water, let it pull her under. Just... let go. Far below, the waves crashed so loud it was like constant thunder.

Nobody to miss me. If I died out here, someone would eventually come looking, not because I mattered to them but because I'd stopped doing my job.

Sarah sat down and pulled her standard issue Park Ranger jacket tighter around her, sinking her chin into the neck opening and pulling her hat brim low to block the setting sun. The cold of the rock quickly penetrated the seat of her pants but she needed to sit, if only for a few minutes. Just long enough to breathe in the marine salt.

The sun heated her dark jacket but it didn't warm her much. She was tired; tired of being alone but, more than that, tired of being lonely. That was the way it had been most of her life, in one way or another. As a true witch, the need to hide her powers had always kept friends at arms length. She'd gotten too good at hiding. Life went on around her, with or without her. She observed like a shadow; ignored, sometimes even stepped on. She could make people pay attention but it wasn't the same as having people that cared about you.

She stood slowly, balancing precariously for a moment on the boulder's edge, then turned and made her way back over the rocks and grass to the gravel parking area where her four wheel drive sat, emblazoned with the National Park system logo on the doors. She fired the truck up and headed back to her cabin, through the hills and into the mountains. It was October thirty-first and the sun was starting to set. Time to get ready for the Sabbat.

Campers had dribbled to a stop. She might get a few here and there. Technically the park was open year round but the visitor center was officially closed for the winter and she could relax a bit, turn her mind to other pursuits. She wouldn't be seeing nearly as many people come through. It was a bit too cold and rough out there for most.

Sarah was torn by the setting in of winter solitude. The people were fun to watch in the summer time sometimes, little kids running around, laughing and playing, couples walking hand in hand. At other times it just reminded her of what she didn't have in her life and she wanted to crawl into a hole. She was always the outsider, alone even in a crowd.

Now they were gone. It was just her and the animals again. My cat and my little cabin, she thought as she pulled into the clearing and stepped out onto the soft carpet of pine needles. Her eyes swept the area. There was the cabin. Where was the cat?

"Sam! Sam! Here kitty, kitty, kitty..." She turned and headed for the cabin. She was starting to get worried. He'd been gone for three days. He wasn't usually gone for more than one and never more than two.

"Probably took off, just like every other male in my life. Hell, even my imaginary friend took off on me." Of course, that had been when she was about eight. Sometimes she thought she remembered something about him but then it would dissolve into a shadow. The only thing she remembered for certain was his name, George. She'd fantasized him into complete romanticism during her adolescent years. She still couldn't let go of him completely. Sometimes she found herself imagining what he'd be like as an adult, as if he were a real person. She chuckled dryly. How pathetic was that?

"Come on Sam. Where the heck are you?" A huge Maine Coon cat in cream, brown and black stripes flashed past her into the cabin as Sarah opened the door.

'There you are, you naughty kitty." He stopped and rubbed up against a table leg just inside, looking up at her with wide eyes as if to say, "were you looking for... moi?"

Sarah flicked a couple light switches on. She could have simply told the lights to turn on but it was best not to get into bad habits when she was alone.

For a time, she'd tried to deny the power that coursed through her. That had not gone well. Men had been drawn to her dark Irish looks; black hair, fair skin and blue eyes. They soon left when they began to sense the strangeness underneath, something they couldn't quite fathom. I must have some kind of freak flag. She tossed her hat and coat onto the loveseat near the door.

In the kitchen area, she took out the cat food bag and filled Sam's bowl then opened a can of wet cat food and dumped it onto a plate. He didn't seem interested in either. Instead, he rubbed against her knee then stretched up her leg, his paws high on her thigh, a precursor to starting to climb her. That could be quite painful so she picked him up like a child. "You big bruiser," she grunted. "You've probably been out hunting or fishing and ate all you wanted anyway."

Sam, short for Samhain, purred loudly and butted her chin, snuggling in close. Sarah knocked a chair out from the kitchen table and sat down, turning Sam on his back over her lap and supporting him with an arm. She rubbed his chest for a few minutes and his tail lashed in pleasure.

"Alright bud, that's all I've got time for tonight. Time to get ready." She rolled him over and dropped him to the floor then started opening cupboards and pulled out the ingredients for a pan of cornbread. It was soon in the oven with the timer set.

The second bedroom where Sarah kept her altar set up with a circle for casting. Nobody ever came around anyway. She checked to make sure she had all the various items she would need that night for her ceremony.

If she were in town, she would have readied this earlier in the day then spent a good bit of time preparing for trick-or-treaters. Little kids were so cute in their costumes, little ghosts and goblins. In college, she and her roommates had made elaborate preparations at the house they shared in the city. They'd all dressed up and set up tricks to scare the pants off the kids that came to the door. She'd always done a few little enchantments that wouldn't be speculated on but added to the fun of the holiday.

When she was a child herself, Sarah had trick-or-treated then gone home to help her grandmother with the Sabbat ritual. That had been until she was fourteen. That year she had refused. It was a regret she still carried with her. It had hurt her grandmother but she had let Sarah walk her own path. Sarah had just wanted to be normal, to feel a part of everything. Of course, she'd quickly found out that denying her magic had not made her any more popular with the other girls. That freak flag again.

Her grandmother had died when Sarah was nineteen, away at college. She'd truly been alone then. Now, she was thirty-six. Tonight, she would offer one last plea to the universe before she would accept that this was just the way her life would be, solitary. As it had been, was now, and ever would be.

Sarah finished preparing the room just as the timer went off on the oven. She set her besom broom aside and went to take the cornbread out. She headed into the bedroom. She quickly stripped down, tossed her clothes into a laundry basket and headed for the bathroom, pulling the elastic from her hair where it was bound into a tail at the nape of her neck. She put the plug in the old claw-foot tub and turned the hot tap on full blast. She'd be lucky to get a lukewarm bath. She reached for a bottle of bath oil that smelled of cinnamon and ginger, spices she associated with fall. The spices would carry over nicely into her ritual that night, both for the Sabbat and what she had in mind afterwards.

As the tub filled with water, Sarah took her hairbrush and bent over, careful not to let her hair touch the ground. She ran the brush through it, bringing it together to tie it high on her head so it wouldn't fall into the bath water. She didn't want to have wet hair when she was naked for the ritual. It was too cold for that. Ready, she checked the temperature of the water with a finger. Hmmm Not quite optimal. Pretty dang cold in fact! Guess it wouldn't hurt to give it a little zap. She reached in and spread her fingers, picturing the water beginning to steam just a tiny bit until she could see the wisps actually rise from the water's surface. She pulled out her hand and stuck a toe in. Ahhh, much better.

Sarah grabbed her little inflatable pillow and settled back against the tub. She let her mind wander as she relaxed. Tonight was a time for remembering loved ones who had gone on. It was also the changing of the year. Perhaps this would turn out to be a particularly auspicious time to ask for a man in her life.

The tip of her tongue against the back of her teeth, she inhaled deeply through her nose for a count of four, held her breath for a count of seven then slowly exhaled through her mouth and around her tongue. She did this three times then tried to just let her mind float. It didn't take long before she felt ready.

She pulled the plug on the tub. Climbing out, she dried off with a big fluffy towel, slipping into her midnight blue terry robe and belting it around her waist. She let her hair down and gave it a cursory swipe with the brush. In the kitchen, she cut a few slices of the honey-sweetened cornbread, set them on a plate and took a bottle of hard cider from the refrigerator, opened it, and poured it into a goblet. She took both items with her into the second bedroom, Sam at her heels. He jumped onto the bare mattress pressed against the wall and curled up to watch.

Plate and goblet placed on the altar, she untied the sash around her waist and removed her robe. The cool air on her bare flesh after her warm bath caused her to shiver, but she would soon be warm. She laid her robe across the end of the bed and returned to the circle. Her necklace of jet, amber and moonstone, representing the triple Goddess, lay on the altar. She picked it up and placed it around her neck so that the amulet nestled between her breasts. Then she picked up the garnet ring. It was a large, square cut stone, set in gold. It had been her father's, her grandmother said. She thought of the picture she had of him and recalled the stories of what a kind man he was though she'd never had the chance to meet him. She pictured her mother, who looked so much like her. Finally, she imagined her grandmother in the pose she'd taken so often, sitting at the kitchen table, a teacup raised to her face, inhaling. I love you all.

Sarah looked over the items filling her small altar. There were rosy red apples, a small orange pumpkin and marigolds in deep red and yellow. Four candles stood on the altar, a white candle for the Goddess, a gold candle for the God, a black candle for the southern point and a pink candle for the spell she would work. The censer was already filled with spice incense. She lit it now, along with the black candle and the candle in the clay pot. The white handled knife and silver pentacle lay ready to hand, as well as her dull athame blade.

Her hands face up on the altar and her eyes closed, she drew the power in the room to her. Then, picking up a small bowl of Earth, she moved around the circle clockwise and stooped to place it at the most northern point. She did the same with the censer, candle and chalice, leaving them at the east, south and west points respectively. Back at the altar, she again meditated, drawing energy in. She pictured a bubble of pure white light in the center of her chest expanding outward until it filled her circle.

"Spirits of Earth and Fire,
Help me in need most dire,
Spirits of Water and Air,
Show me the path most fair."



Lighting the white candle of the Goddess she called out.

"Goddess, Maiden, Mother, Crone,
Join me now in this home,
Help me find the path I seek,
With your wisdom at its peak."



She turned to light the gold candle of the God.

"God most merciful soon to be reborn,
your staff take up and bless this home,
Father... brother... son,
Stay and guide me until I'm done."



Then she picked up a quill, dipped it into the ink and wrote on a small slip of paper, loneliness. Her life would improve if she could only remove that wasting feeling from her heart. Alone or not, loneliness could eat at her either way. Ridding herself of that feeling and becoming content with where she was would make her of better service to all in this lifetime. She also needed to remember that she was never truly alone. She folded the paper in half and dipped it into the flame kindled in the clay pot and let it blaze up before dropping it in to burn.

"Goddess... Mother... Maiden... Crone,
Remind me that with you I am never alone."



Choosing a small green apple, Sarah took up her white handled knife and sliced the apple. She placed the slices on another dish then selected her athame.

"Oh God of the Sun, on this Samhain night, I mark your passing and await your rebirth. Mother Goddess, may your sleep as you return to the land be peaceful and restful. The Wheel has turned, the year is reborn. Blessed be."

Sarah chose a piece of the apple and bit into it, savoring the bitter and the sweet contained in one. She wiped her hands on a cloth.

Her eyes focused on the pink candle. Taking a deep breath, she picked it up. With her athame, she inscribed a heart into it. She set down the athame and held the candle in both hands, picturing the energy of her desires flowing through her hands into it. She reached out with her right hand and dipped her fingers into a small bowl filled with the same oils she used in her bath and rubbed the oils into the incised markings on the candle. Finally, she set it on the altar and picked up the white candle of the Goddess and the gold candle of the God and held their wicks to the wick of the red candle.

"Mother Goddess, aid me in my quest
that I may know the joy
of motherhood as you know best.
Father God, aid me in my quest
that I may know the man
chosen for me as I rest.
True love is what I ask.
To open for it I release my past.
Send me a man chosen just for me,
Of kindness and love let him be.
Laughter in his soul abide.
Bring him to my side.
Fair to look on let me see,
As I will, so mote it be. "



Sarah set the candle on a holder in the center of the altar and lifted her hands, once again face up. She closed her eyes to better feel the energy that infused the circle. She pictured it flowing into her palms, up her arms and down through her body to be released into the ground. It warmed her as it passed through. When she felt the flow subside to a normal level, she opened her eyes and took up the cornbread. She bit into it and savored the revitalizing sweet taste, washing it down with sips of ale.

At last she moved around the circle counter clockwise, retrieving each item and thanking the fire, earth, water and air. Then she extinguished the God and Goddess candles with thanks, leaving the red candle burning in its holder where it would be safe until it burned down.

Exhausted, she motioned to Sam and he followed her into their bedroom. She fell into bed and was quickly asleep.

*****



Sarah could hear banging on the outer door as she groggily woke the next morning. A grey pre-dawn light filtered through the windows. Shit. What time was it? A quick glance at her clock on the mantel showed seven am. Who the heck would be here this early?

She hurriedly slipped out of bed, grabbed her uniform pants from the laundry basket and pulled them on, grabbing her shirt and buttoning it as she headed to the door. She wrenched open the door, expecting to find some camper with an emergency and instead found another ranger on her doorstep.

Her eyes focused on his, so dark they were almost black, then expanded to take in the tan of his face and the very dark brown hair that he ruffled up with one hand when he took his hat off. She put a hand up self-consciously to tuck her black hair behind her ear.

"Sarah Young?" She nodded and he continued. "I'm Ranger Keegan. I've been assigned to this outpost with you."

Sarah just looked at him in dazed confusion for a minute with her mouth hanging open. "But, they would have sent me a letter, wouldn't they?"

He pulled a letter from his jacket pocket and handed it to her. "Didn't you get a copy of this?"

Sarah opened the letter and started to read. It was on letterhead from the main office and showed that it should have been copied to her. It was an order for him to report here.

"Mind if I come in?" He took a step up and Sarah automatically stepped back, letting him into the room as she read.

"Is this my room?" he asked, heading toward the shut door of the second bedroom.

Sarah looked up from the paper and her eyes went wide. "Yes, but..."

He was already opening the door before she could come up with some reason to keep him out.

Oh shit! How am I going to explain this?

She shoved the front door closed and quickly crossed the room to stand at the bedroom door. He walked in and looked around the room, his eyes gliding over the circle and altar. He simply walked over to the bed and laid down on it, wriggling a little.

"Yup, this'll do nicely."

Did he not notice the pentacles? Sarah looked at him askance for a minute then crossed to her altar and started gathering things up. "I'll just get this extra junk out of here." She headed towards the door with her armload.

"Oh, I don't mind, especially if you cast naked." Sarah stopped in her tracks and he was suddenly right behind her whispering in her ear in a sing-song voice.

"Sarah..."

Where had she heard that voice before? Though different, and someone else that could move like that... and teased her like that. She turned slowly around, noting the merriment in very dark eyes.

"What did you say your name was?"

"Ranger Keegan. Here, let me put that stuff back for you." He took the items from her unresisting hands and went back to the altar.

"What's your first name?" she asked, following him to the altar.

He set the items down and looked back at her with a half smile. "Can't you guess Sarah?"

Her eyes narrowed. "Uh-uh, no guessing games. I want to hear you say it."

He walked back toward her until he was just inches from her. Warily she stood her ground. "George Keegan."

He smiled again at her little intake of breath and something flared in his eyes. One hand came up to slide through her long black tresses then he lifted the hair he held to his face and inhaled deeply. He spoke softly. "It looks like I got you out of bed. I think I should take you back there."

His head dipped and his lips touched hers ever so gently. Sarah felt a tornado rip through the room. When she opened her eyes again, her back was pressed up against the wall, his mouth was on her neck and her own hands clutched at his back, her right leg wrapped around his. She gasped as his big rough hands slid under her shirt to cup her bare breasts. She couldn't think, only feel and react.

Her hands went to his hair and she rubbed her head against his like a cat, desperate to feel more. She tugged at his shirt, working the buttons loose. She wanted to feel his skin on hers. Obliging, his hands slid up her breasts, forcing her arms up and lifting her shirt over her head, flinging it to the side.

She pressed herself against his bare chest, her teeth grazing his skin, her tongue snaking out to taste him. Her nipples sent a shiver through the rest of her body at the feel of his chest. His hands curved under her soft ass and pulled her tighter against his growing erection. He growled and pulled her other leg up around his waist. She gripped his body tightly with her legs. His mouth came back to hers, his tongue pushing past her teeth and slowly circling her mouth. She sucked at his tongue.

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byMagicaPractica© 28 comments/ 23542 views/ 19 favorites

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