Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bewitched: Dakini

In the alley by the third to last shadow of the mid-day stood the door to the Dakini, a house of idle chatter, conspiracy, and oh, magic of the most secret kind, the secrets of children who play in the mortal world while yet protected by that most ancient spell called innocence. Light shielded by shadow, in a room shaped by incantation, hidden among the busyness of the mortals, two girls played as little witches will, making up forever evers from recitations of dreams, practiced sighs and wrinkled noses.

Twin proprietors of the pleasures of the patrons of the Dakini, they practiced feminine arts of wit, and guile, satisfying their indulgent desires so sweet, no mortal man could resist them nor tell the dark from the light haired. Nor cared any to take one when with the other, or ever knew that both were satisfied. Even as the girls competed for the most high and delicious adventures of their immortal imaginations, they remained without question, cousins, devoted to each other’s hearts, each other’s needs, and each other’s failings. Neither would ever fall to sorcery or treachery in the mortal world while the other remained with her.

Mortals believe that magic is spells. Spells are a mask that bends the surface of an illusion inscribed by light on the magical eye. The face that names the names is hidden behind the veil of appearances summoned from the heart as signs tumbling in clusters of sparkling light. Calling these names, she can fly fearlessly among the dark stars that consume beings such as she. Their dark penetrating hums become the land marks by which a witches craft is discovered. Each act of magic inscribes a map of the light devouring spaces.

“He is waiting”, said the light-haired witch laconically with a resigned sigh as she counted the coins in the box for her turn. To the young man seated behind them, they were serving maids preparing for evening work. To each other, they were luminous goddesses preparing for an evening of amusement.

“Then let him”, her dark hair cousin coyly said, drawling in her deliberateness. “See how he taps his fingers on the case he carries. If he is the tiniest bit impatient to ask his question, let the answer be even less forthcoming.” Her face drew into the small curve, narrow at both ends but with fully pouted purple lips. “Anyway, he isn’t here to see me, now is he?”

Her laconic cousin saw the hint of jealousy betraying her disregard when a tiny spark escaped as if launched from the arched curve of her dark mascara. “Signs of attachments, or do the signs hold no currency for you, Samantha?”

“If signs were currency, Serena, you would be wealthier than your Mother,” the other replied with uplifted eyes smiling.

Bending over her as Samantha counted, she retorted “If your Mother’s currency were better clothed, you would be my Sister, Cousin.” the dark haired girl laughed with a pitched giggle.

“He is still waiting” she reminded.

The light haired serving girl glanced at her unmade face in the mirror hung on the wall behind the lid of the counting box as she closed it. Identical to her Cousin, her unadorned dress and face distinguished her as she moved among her customers. Polite and unassuming, she minded her magic with care and did not tease the men. They saw in her plainness any woman they desired but did not see the true face of Endora’s daughter.

Her eyes fixed on the boy sitting there. “Is magic enough?” she asked herself nervously moving her lip.

Serena’s dress clung like blood to every curve of her body, spread thickly in a few places, but thinly to the edges of these. Sam wore the plain robes of a servant girl hiding all that would cause a man’s eyes to linger, using her magic to keep their eyes fixed on her bewitching smile, crinkling nose and luminous green eyes, as if in her plainness, her intimate secret would be safe.

The young witch did not wish to be unattractive; she wished to attract only one. Like the boy drumming his fingers, she could count time until the moment of attraction, but until that one moment, she could play safely, instructing the willing and letting her Cousin steal the will of the others as she pleased. She knew that once she loved, she would always love. Her Cousin was perspicacious. That currency was her immortal heart.

Her fear silent, her heart needy, she asked his desire of the Dakini.

He raised his eyes and looked upon her true face.

A door opened and closed letting him see the immortal behind it for just a single thought. The light dissolved into a million suns plummeting toward him, blinding him, scattering him then swallowing the shards. He died wordlessly, his eyes still reflecting the luminous face he had seen. He vanished from the little girl’s magic.

As her Cousin laughed cruelly but without malice, she heard her Mother’s sad words whispered in her ear,

“To truly love a mortal is to lose one’s magic forever and ever again.”

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