Friday, November 12, 2010

Oracle Prologue, Part 3

For a moment, all thought of the pain from her injuries was eclipsed by surprise. Pink, mica-flecked quartz swarmed together to form a rough oval. Two large cabochons of labradorite crawled in toward the center and Jalena was struck with the impression of eyes. Carnelian lips added to the impression and shadows made by the shifting tiles completed the image of a face. Azurite hair streamed back from the head, twitching as if blown by a breeze.

Jalena shook her head. Was she still in a dream? The lapis lazuli eyes met hers. Stone lips curled up in a welcoming smile. Using her good hand, Jalena pushed herself to her feet. This time she did not slip. More tiles cascaded across the wall, this time coalescing into a hand. It gestured for Jalena to approach.

After a moment's hesitation, she did as the mosaic bade. If this was really happening, as the pain of her injuries testified, it could be no less than a miracle. If she was dreaming this, and the pain with it, then she had no reason not to. She looked down at the stream in the floor. Everything she believed told her that to cross the stream was sacrilegious. Decades of respecting the goddess' sacred space were difficult to overcome.

On the wall, the mosaic beckoned again. Jalena closed her right hand into a fist. The cut burned, spurring her to raise her foot and jump across the gap. She landed roughly on the other side, heart speeding at the thrill of being somewhere she was not supposed to be.

Jalena walked slowly toward the wall. She closed the distance with just a few steps and stood almost nose to nose with the face. She stood mesmerized, holding the goddess' gaze. Tiles scraped against each other as the mosaic hand raised with the palm facing Jalena. She raised her right hand. Blood dripped off it to splatter on the floor. Acting on instinct, Jalena pressed her own palm against the wall. Despite the chill of the morning, the stone felt warm. A jolt like electricity ran through her. Carnelian lips parted. The goddess spoke.

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