The Witch's Want Ch. 04byTaLtos6©
Farah arrived at Padma's house hours early and they discussed the sort of henna tattoos that she wanted. "We don't have the time that you'd need to do a lot of what I feel like having done," she said a little sadly, "so could you maybe do a mix of complex and some more open things?"
Padma grinned, "Ok, what exactly is going on here? You look at my little portfolio and decide. If what you really want is beyond what I can do in one evening, I can always call my mother to come downstairs and between us, we can probably do a whole Hindu bridal body package for you. Are you getting married or something?"
Farah shook her head, "No. I'm not getting married, but what I have in mind is really something to celebrate a beginning. The man is worth it to me, believe me, and anyway, I've wanted to have some of your fine work ever since you first let me look at your portfolio. Now I have my excuse to go for it."
She sipped her tea and made some selections. Padma looked at Farah's body and asked about other areas. Farah answered her and after laughing between themselves, the next thing that Farah knew, Padma had her mother involved.
"I like these bridal ones very much," Farah explained to the two of them, "but it's not a wedding here." She tried to explain. "I see this man as more than what he is."
"Well, we all do that," Padma chuckled as she tossed her long raven hair back, "at first."
Farah laughed, but shook her head, "He is North American in his heritage, half from Europe and he is half Ojibwa. This doesn't matter. I can't really explain it, but let's just say that inside him, there is more of a Sumerian sort of background, well Sumerian and something else just as long-gone, but even less known."
Padma didn't really understand, but her mother got it right away. "If you see him in this way, what is it that you would want?" she asked, "If this were a game, Farah, how do you wish to play?"
"You mean like reincarnation?" Padma asked.
Farah grinned, "Not really, Padma, but let's use that as the idea. I see him as a king's son, a mighty warrior from a time long ago. Somebody like that would probably often receive tributes from other lands, either as well-wishing acknowledgments or as hopeful inducements of friendship. My people came from a place of warriors themselves where this was done ages ago. Where some of my ancestors came from tributes went back and forth to Egypt all the time. Sometimes the tributes were things like fine wood, or spices, or gold, or – "
"Women," the older woman smiled, with a knowing grin, "You wish to offer yourself as a tribute to this one."
Farah nodded, "Exactly. We already have something of a relationship, but it hasn't gone to the next step. I wish to let him know that from my side of it, we may go there."
"It changes a few things," the older woman said, "let me go upstairs to find my old books. I know that I have patterns like this, things from those regions. I have always wondered why they were included in the old books. I never saw a purpose other than the art. If you see something that you like, it would make me happy to have been able to use a few of the patterns at long last."
She laughed, "I don't know if what I have is Iranian or Iraqi, Mesopotamian, Syrian, who knows? I can't read the writing, and I assume that he can't either."
Farah shrugged, "I don't know that he can't. He's a very surprising man. I've seen that he knows more than he thinks he knows, if you can understand that."
Padma's mother grinned, "Then we may have trouble with the letters and symbols, and I think that I had better leave the writing out of any that you may choose for yourself. Some kinds of people would even do this to their cattle long ago. It wouldn't do at all if I spend a lot of time and we find out later that all that it says is 'please bless this cow' or 'most revered ass'."
That sent them into gales of laughter. "Damn," Farah chuckled, "well, I'll see if he can read anything like that. If he knows how to write the symbols, I'll have him write that one out for me. If this works, I think I'll want that one next time!"
"I meant 'donkey'," Padma's mother grinned.
"And I don't care," Farah laughed, "I'd want it."
"For some of what you want, " the older woman said, "we will need to shave you."
"Already done," Farah smiled.
Their friends arrived three hours later and stared as they were ushered in where Padma's mother worked. Padma brought them tea and explained as they sat down.
"I'm done with my parts for now and I needed to be ready for you guys," she said. "Farah's got a heavy date or something."
"I'll bet," Pam exclaimed as she looked at the patterns swirling from Farah's shoulders to her thighs, "Look at you. Holy, ..."
"You look awesome, Farah!" Sarah exclaimed. "I'm going to sound stupid here, but is this a cultural thing?"
"Yes and no, "Farah smiled, "It doesn't have to be, it's just not done here very much, but on the other side of the world, women have been doing this forever. Some people do it in France, but I'm going back to my own roots here. This is done in Iran, and also it's common all over Africa, India, everywhere.
My heritage is from the Sudan and Iraq. The women of both of those places have done this for thousands of years for weddings, festivals, celebrations, or just because they want to feel prettier. It's an ancient art and you don't need any reason to do it other than for fun."
She grinned, "Though I'm a little disappointed that we couldn't find one that says something like 'Bless this most revered ass' in ancient Egyptian or something."
They laughed and Padma's mother smirked as she worked near Farah's labia, "Too late now, Farah. I could have done it in Hindu, but I have used up all the space."
"You're very beautiful," Pam said.
"I'm getting a lot of help here," Farah replied genuinely. "Padma's family have done this for generations."
"How long does it last?"
Padma shrugged, "Weeks. It will last a long time on our friend here. I made it strong because of her skin tone and it's been 'resting' all day to get strong for this. On you, it doesn't need to be so strong to get good lines, and it will last a few weeks. You can't really see it here very well, because it's mostly orange now and we've covered what we've done with a sugar and lemon paste to keep the henna paste there against her skin. Even after the paste is removed, it will darken over the next three days. I really want to add some to her lovely face, but Farah won't let me." She made an exaggerated frown.
Farah shrugged, "If we weren't here, I'd love to have it on my face, Padma, but I get enough noise as it is. By far, most of the people here are nice, but there are always some who take it as their duty to want to enforce their narrow views, and the religion of the place doesn't matter. Look what happened where my parents came from. It is the same here, only the religion is different. Some old fool will look at me and howl that I wear the devil's marks or some garbage like that. Everything that I do has some of their devil's sign to them. I wouldn't mind so much if they had a clue, but..."
"Well I have a clue," Padma laughed, "I think that I might even have met the man! He came into the store and asked about the little sign that I have in the window. He will be here for an appointment for a few things that he wishes done."
Farah stared for a second, but she recovered quickly. "Tell me, Padma, what are his eyes like, this man?"
"Very light blue," she said, "I've never seen eyes like his, he has dark brown hair, and he is – " She made a fist and reached her other hand toward her bicep.
"That's him," Farah laughed, "Very polite?"
"Yes!" Padma smiled, "Extremely polite."
"I almost want to ask what he is having done," Farah grinned a bit shyly.
Padma shook her head, laughing, "If you told him nothing about all of this," she pointed to what Farah now had adorning her body, "I don't think it is my place to ruin what he has in mind, but I can tell you two things, Farah; it will be nothing as much as this, and, "she smiled, "I think that you are a lucky girl if he has the same idea as you do for this."
"Perhaps he wishes to offer himself as a tribute to you," Padma's mother grinned as she worked, "I think it will be a happy time then."
The thought caused Farah to wonder for a moment. Padma picked up on it. "Farah, why can't that happen as well? If the man that I met is your guy, well I think that it's pretty romantic. Where we are here, it's almost all women who think of doing this. I've only done henna patterns for two men since I started here. If you've found a guy who has this notion for you, to me it means that he has the background somehow as you say and that he thinks very highly of you."
"I would just like to see it at the moment when the tributes are made," her mother said, "I saw him too, for just a moment. It is a very old way to offer one's love. I hope that it works for you both," she smiled.
"He has some old tattoos," Farah said, fishing just a little, "very old and faded. Maybe he wants them brought out a little."
Padma shook her head, "I will say nothing here of what was said, so it is no good guessing."
Pam and Sarah hung on every word, but Pam couldn't hold her curiosity. "Who's the guy. Farah? Come on, this sounds really delicious, and will these tattoos here stand up when you, ... you know."
"Of course they will, "Padma grinned.
"I won't tell you if it doesn't happen, "Farah smiled, "but if everything works out, you can try me in four days. Hey, do you know if there's a hairdresser in town who can do a good cornrow? If I'm going this far, I might as well go all the way."
"Sally's place," Pam and Sarah said together.
"Thanks," Farah said, "I have a ton of old lowry shells that I want to use instead of beads to match the ones on my mother's necklace."
Padma welcomed him in and guided Bart to the part of the unit that pertained to her henna work. She felt a little odd because of the conversations with Farah the evening before. With him seated, she offered him some tea, but Bart smiled and held up a large paper cup of take-out coffee, "I'm covered for now uh, Padma. Maybe later, if that's alright?"
"Of course," the diminutive woman smiled, "Now what do you think that you'd like, now that you've had the time to decide?"
"Two things – I think," he smiled, "I think that I'd like something to adorn me SOMEplace, you know, to try to make somebody like me actually look good, and I'm not really sure about this part, but I have some very old tattoos. I'm wondering if there's any way to bring them back temporarily."
Padma smiled, and shrugged, "In the first place, Bart, it might be a little bad for my business, but I don't think that you need anything to look good. I can do whatever you'd like, but don't look at it from that aspect. The old tattoos, my answer is yes, probably, but I'd need to see them."
She sat down next to him, "Tell me, Is there some occasion that I ought to be working toward, or is this just something that you might want on yourself? Either answer suits me fine, but if I can help, well, I'd certainly like to, in terms of guiding your decision. With an answer in mind for you, we can get to work faster."
He nodded, a little shyly, "Ok, I guess it's not exactly fair to just tell you to make me look wonderful without some end in mind that you could work toward." He looked and saw that Padma was nodding vigorously. So he took a breath, and then just began.
"The short version is that I've met a woman who I think a lot of, and I know that she's got a background where henna drawings are fairly commonplace. We have a date for the evening after next. I don't know where it's all headed, but I just thought that I'd want to do something along these lines. I guess that maybe I'd like to show her that I'd embrace the culture of it, I think."
Padma grinned, "There. Certainly all the reason that you 'd need, Bart."
Between them, they chose a few patterns that were attractive and not outlandish. It was the old tattoos that would cause Bart some trouble. He'd tried with some success to be able to bring out the old designs on his skin, but it took a fair amount of concentration in order to prevent the welts and the scars from making an appearance. He managed it though, but there was a bit of awkwardness when Padma asked him to remove his shirt.
She stared for a moment before she recovered, and then she just got to work.
"This woman, Bart, "she said as she began, "Dairydale is not a large place. I'm wondering if I might know her. I'd like to ask, but I have no wish to offend you by prying."
"Farah, LaMontagne," he smiled, "She runs the little bookstore down at the other end of Main Street."
"Ah," she laughed a little, "Farah is a friend of mine, but don't worry. You didn't say whether this was going to be a surprise, but I will assume that it might very well be, so your secret is safe, Bart. I will say nothing. I do think that she is a lucky girl for you to do something like this. It's a little out of the ordinary for many men, even those from cultures where this is done often. I get almost no men for this in this town. For someone like you, with no background in common for this, well, I admire that."
Bart wasn't going to elaborate any farther, so the conversation went to more mundane things such as the weather and the local sports scene, since Padma had become something of a baseball fan recently. Bart didn't know anything about the local team, but he did help Padma out with a few of her questions about the game.
"I'm a little surprised that you've got such an interest," Bart remarked, "but then, look at me here getting henna work. Can't be a bad thing, can it?"
"I'm from India," Padma said, "Over there, cricket is huge, as it is in many former British colonies. But other than the internet, there's really no way for me to maintain my connection to the scene. Baseball is only vaguely similar, though not really. I guess it's becoming close enough for me, though, so I'm becoming a displaced fan, I guess."
When she was done, and Bart was carefully doing up his shirt, Padma brought her mother in to meet Bart. After exchanging polite pleasantries, Bart was on his way, wondering a little vaguely why the two women smiled at him so much.
Three nights after getting her henna work, Farah was worn out. She'd been shopping, cooking and baking forever, it seemed. She'd consulted all of her mother's old cookbooks and driven herself nuts figuring out substitutions for the things that just weren't available to her in this town.
During all of it, she'd laughed to herself many times even so. It had been fun, and she'd decided that where she could, and if the cost wasn't prohibitive, she'd make a small sort of return to this style of cuisine where she could.
Finally, she'd prepared herself, thinking back to what had happened to her the evening before.
Looking back, the only thing that looked as though it was going to be uncooperative was the weather. All of the forecasts for the area told of heavy weather during the next two days, and sure enough, as the evening shadows grew long, they disappeared entirely as the sun was covered over by towering cumulonimbus cloud formations.
Farah sighed as the first of the rain began to hiss against the roof, it was looking as though there would likely be no outside observances when they met again. She thought about that and still smiled.
So what? Her home had two fireplaces, one was a regular sort of hearth and the other was a "modern" open style unit that sat in the "family" room in the basement. It was clean and she'd only used it once. The more she thought about it, the more she liked her idea. So with a day to go, Farah had lit the open style stove, just for fun.
And she'd been frightened nearly out of her wits.
As the wood in the pit-style fireplace really caught and the flames settled in to crackling merrily under the overhanging hood, Farah sat and gazed into them. She wasn't thinking about much, really, only that she was about ready for what felt to her to be something that needed to happen for her and Ur-Nammu. It was unconventional as anything – and even Farah would have agreed, and yet it only seemed like the way to go.
She tried to remain objective and tried to see if there might be something that she might have forgotten or overlooked while there was still the cushion of one more night to go before what looked like something so very promising. They'd just seemed to fit in some very strange ways. But then, Farah had never really thought of herself as a conventional kind of woman. If she were speaking her thoughts to herself out loud, she'd have just shrugged at that point.
And if she had been speaking aloud, she'd likely have missed the soft and very quiet sound that came to her ears. Even so, she was sensitive enough to know that something had changed in the atmosphere of the room.
She looked up from the roaring flames and saw nothing at first, but after a second or so, her eyes were drawn to a place directly across the fire. There was someone or something there, but she couldn't see well enough through the flames and the roiling, heated air. Farah was terror-stricken and she froze. In the same instant, she was aware that whoever was in the room with her was directly in the path of the only way out. Neither of them moved for more than a minute.
At any rate, Farah's ears still worked, even if the muscles of her body now refused her mind's commands to at least try to get to her feet and try to run. She thought that she heard a whisper. The other person seemed to be having some difficulty forming a word. A moment later and Farah knew that the word was her name. The eyes there across the flames seemed to hold no emotion, other than some sort of earnest desire to be able to communicate with her, and Farah knew then that this was some sort of specter.
The apparition held up one hand, and Farah felt completely calm and absolutely immobilized, as she watched the thing get to its feet and walk around the fireplace to come nearer to her cautiously. Farah found herself looking at a woman, badly cut, torn and half-shredded. She felt the hair at the back of her neck stiffen.
Farah had seen ghosts before, but never like this. Any that she'd noticed had always been hazy and without much substance, but her visitor seemed to be gaining that very attribute by the moment. The figure stopped and looked at herself before looking at Farah with perhaps a little embarrassment as she shook her head, and with a thought, the horrors that she wore disappeared and a very beautiful woman of very near to her own age sat down slowly next to her, still holding up one palm to her.
"For, ... forget," she said, still struggling, "I for-got... sorry."
Farah stared as the woman sat looking down at the edge of the flames in silence for perhaps five minutes. Farah's sensitivity told her that there was one hell of a lot of magical power emanating from the woman as she sat so still. She seemed to be remembering something. In that time, Farah gained some certainty that, unless her visitor was going to turn back into something horrible again, she thought that she could at least maintain some control over her bladder for the moment. The woman was really lovely, she noted, and very naked.
"I think that I can speak to you now, Farah," she said with slow caution, choosing her words, but gaining a little speed near to the end, "please forgive me for how I looked to you."
She sighed, "It was the way that I looked as I died. I did not think before. I only thought it would be better to be seen as a human by you."