Website And All Content Copyright © Leoma Retan 2013.

The Calling.
The Calling.
by Leoma Retan
5 September 2011

"Where am I?", thought the girl, confused as she looked down at her sore foot - sore because she'd just cut it on a sharp stone.

The last she remembered she'd been in bed, exhausted after all the chores her mother set her were finally complete.

"How did I get HERE?", she thought. For she was just beyond her own front garden.

"I was asleep", she mused. "But there was a lake, a beautiful peaceful lake with trees all around. And a voice that semed almost a song."

"What did it say?"

Try as she would, she could not remember.

"I'd better get in before anyone sees me or I'll be in for it."

This was not the first time she'd moved about in her sleep but she had never before left the house. As she turned to go back in...

"Cait! What in the name of all the gods are you doing out there?"

"You must need more chores to do that you have such energy for exploring the night. You're nearly a woman now. It's time to start behaving as one."

Cait's heart sank to her feet. Mum meant well but just didn't understand that this was not a thing she should control. And it was true - she would soon be expected to leave for a household of her own.

"I'm just not ready", she thought. But she said, "Yes, Mum. I'm coming now."

True to her word, her mother gave her an extra amount of chores the next day. Cait knew they shouldn't take as long or be as hard as they were but she just had no talent for weaving or sewing or any of the other activities considered appropriate for a girl.

Cait longed to walk among the trees and listen to the songs of the birds. It was the only place she truly felt at home. Her mother made sure there was no time for that now.

Her birthday was in only a few short months. When that came she would be expected to settle with someone and make her own home. There were one or two boys that seemed nice enough but she just couldn't envision being with them all the time.

Perhaps when the time came she would see the priestesses, see if they would have her. The priestesses seemed to have more freedom than most women though their manner was a bit scary.

The weeks passed, one day after another in a mind-numbing monotony. Cait didn't get any better at her tasks, which did nothing to improver her mother's mood. Most nights she slept soundly, too exhausted even for dreams.

Yet sometimes... sometimes she thought she saw again that beautiful lake, heard that singing voice. She still couldn't make out what it was saying.

As she sat over her sewing, making a rough job of the repair of the shirt as usual, she thought about the dream and the voice.

"Cait! Where have you gotten to girl!"

She woke with a start. "Fires of dark! I must have fallen asleep. Mum's going to be furious this isn't done", she whispered to nobody in particular.

"Let me see what you've done there". Cait looked down, fearing the blow sure to come for her failure and handed her work to her mother.

A minute passed, it seemed like an hour. No word, no blow. She looked up at last.

Her mother looked stunned and finally spoke. "This is beautiful! I don't know how you've suddenly learned it but you may make an adequate household yet."

"Unless you aren't really my daughter..."

"Are you a changeling then?"

Cait's mother pulled her closer, examined her carefully for any changes. Cait didn't know what to think. What her mother was saying was impossible.

After five or ten minutes of this Cait finally managed a look at the sewing in question. She looked again, not trusting her eyes.

For instead of her usual, poor efforts with their uneven stitches the shirt was not only perfectly repaired, it was embroidered with stitchery like she'd never seen. She couldn't have produced that... could she?

Now Cait understood her mother's reaction. She felt a bit afraid herself since she had no idea what had happened. She only had a vague recollection of drifting again into the dream.

The sewing must be like the night walking then... something she did while in the dream. But what was this dream that was so powerful it could affect her normal life?

Having decided she still had a daughter and not a changeling, Cait's mother was so pleased she let Cait out of most of her evening chores and even bragged a bit to her husband when he returned in the evening. A new experience for the young girl.

That night she had the dream again. This time the colors were a bit brighter, the images more focused. She could almost understand the words but they stayed frustratingly just out of reach.

The summer turned to fall and Cait was kept busy with the harvest and the preparing of food stores for the winter. She discovered a new talent in this time. She learned when she got really, really tired and couldn't seem to finish a task that if she could relax her mind and focus on that place from her dreams somehow the task would be done, and better than she could normally do it.

It was like that day with the sewing, Cait didn't know why this happened and was a bit nervous about what the source of the ability might be but it was mightily useful and saved her more than one beating she was sure.

Harvest time passed and the first of the snows came. The forests looked beautiful, all sparkling with white crystals. Cait knew better than to wander too far out in the woods, though.

As beautiful as they were she knew the cold was deadly and the animals dwelling there were hungry. She could hear the wolves howling at night and was glad to be safe in her bed.

Only a month now to her birthday. She would be counted fully a woman then, with the rights and responsibilities of an adult. Cait wasn't at all sure she was ready.

The Calling - Page 2/2