Here is the next (and second last) part of Purnima (Book 7 of Waldmeer).
Dark and Deep
On the way home from Ajna Temple, on November Purnima, Merlyn suddenly knew what to do about Stone Ground. Since her return from Borderfirma, she had been staying at Malik’s house because, due to her long absence, the owners of her flat had given it to seasonal renters who were in abundance now that the weather was warmer.Instead of driving back to Malik’s cottage and falling into bed, she parked at the entrance of Twenty Mile Track.
The full moon didn’t have a chance with thick cloud cover and the tree canopy acting as a second light blocker. It was dark. In the country, it can be so dark that you can’t even see your hand. Merlyn slowly picked her way along the rocky track. She was careful to avoid the mossy rocks next to the riverbank. Eventually, she spotted the glow of Purnima Passage.
“Weak latte (no sugar). Hot chocolate,” yelled the Waldmeer barista.
Merlyn grabbed her coffee and headed for the door. They put sugar in my coffee, she thought as she sipped it. Hang on,that’s not sweet coffee. It’s hot chocolate. The orders have been muddled.Oh, well, it tastes delicious. She thenturned her thoughts to the recipient of her latte who would be missing their own order of hot chocolate. Looking around for a likely suspect, she easily spotted a woman, about her age, staring at her drink. Merlyn wondered what her reaction would be. The woman seemed to be weighing up the benefits of caffeine versus sugar and, like Merlyn, decided to go with the flow. Merlyn then realised that the mixed-drink-recipient was Esther, the psychologist.
It was Monday morning. As Ben walked through the glass doors of the State Ballet building, he came across one of the older professionals of the company, a friend of many years.
“Morning, Ben,” said the man. “How’s Store Creek going?”
“Morning,” said Ben. “Fine. I suppose.”
Truth be told, two weekends had passed since Ben had seen Merlyn. More, he hadn’t even spoken to her. Nor had he messaged. Every day, if not many times a day, he checked his messages to see if she had messaged him. She hadn’t.
Seeing the look on Ben’s face, his friend said tentatively, “Look, buddy, I thought you were back together but if things aren’t going quite to plan, I have a suggestion.” He waited to see Ben’s reaction. As there was no obvious displeasure from Ben about a suggestion, he continued, “The missus and I have had our ups and downs over the years. I think most people think that we have been very fortunate with our marriage and we have been but, the thing is, everyone has their problems. God knows, we’ve had many.”
A few months ago, when Edgars Lake had resigned itself to winter and the six cygnets had grown and flown, Merlyn had a lucid dream. It was as real as reality, at least, until normal life had a chance to claim the day.
In the dream, Merlyn lived in a female hermitage. The inhabitants wore long gowns, although clothes were neither here nor there because everyone was translucent and shining. Whatever needed communicating was done telepathically. Strange as it sounds, Merlyn spent nearly all her time in one room. Seven years passed in this way. One would assume that one would get very bored being stuck in a room with nothing to do for seven years. Yet, that was far from the case. It was exquisitely beautiful, but not in a way that can be explained in words. At the end of the dream, Merlyn was told that although there were no similar places on Earth, there were many watered-down versions taking numerous forms.
Although there were nicer shops a suburb or two closer to the city, Merlyn made a point of shopping at the Pittown ones. It seemed to her disloyal not to use them. Besides, she found the people interesting. Not infrequently, someone walked past her and turned their head to give her a second look. They looked like they thought they knew her, but then decided that they didn’t. Sometimes, they looked at her quizzically as if they were thinking that she didn’t belong in Pittown.
In the spirit world of a garden, in Waldmeer, on Earth:
The gardener walked into their lives bright and sharp. Her need was covered by a ready smile. She came from a house with walls that echoed loneliness. On the very first day, her eyes were drawn to the little flower in the corner of the garden. Its beauty was in its simplicity. The gardener’s jealousy was already born. She watched it every day. It moved to the breeze and reached for the sunshine. The flower did not complain about the dark, the wind or the cold. Its roots had strength unseen.