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FICTION — First Blood

Her finger traced over my cheek, that’s the way I recall it, her touch, soft as a feather. Her eyes gleamed silver in the moonlight, and, her lips slowly parted to reveal sharp white teeth.

Not pointed, or misshapen, I remember that clearly, thinking, why, she doesn’t have fangs at all.

And then she laughed, a cold silvery sound, and I felt embarrassed for even thinking such things. Foolish. For she was my new friend, and we would be together for such a long time.

It is time, she said, or whispered, her voice echoing in my head. A sound of bells, metallic striking together and ringing melodiously. It is time, she continued, when the moon is high, and full, and the surges of sea and earth move together as one, and blood covers the land –

“But what of the others?” I asked. My words sounded flat, like dull footfalls. Perhaps the change was already taking effect, I thought. If only I could be like her –

The others? She laughed, this time aloud, the ringing of bells filled the frosty night. The others will not matter, young one. In time, you’ll see.

“You are certain?”

Certain as in all things, for this is a definite truth; as the leaves fall, and snow blows, the sun and rains cover the land. The time is here – first blood beneath the full moon, the tides are high – you belong with me.

“But leaving them all behind –” I broke off, now unsure.

Ah, sweet innocent, you stand before me in blood-stained youth; enchanting naiveté becomes you, she smiled, and reaching out, traced her finger over my cheek again. You will see them, differently, perhaps, only in the times of quiet reflection, but you will see them still.

I stood, now thinking of the others, laughter and voices grumbling together in a comfortable warmth. Smoke from the cottages rising into the night, and wrapped around the smells of meals cooking.

You will miss them, and hold them with fondness, I am sure, she smiled. But this is the path for you.

Slowly, as though through a mist, I saw the smoke from the cottages fade into whiteness, the voices and laughter now muted. I was alone, she was my only companion. I looked up at her, and her eyes met mine, promising many things, and eternity, or more.

Standing in the edge of the forest, an open field stretched before us; in the distance as an owl called, a soft white form floated over the plow furrows, then abruptly dove to the earth. A sharp cry and the sight of the owl lumbering back into the sky, now straining under the weight of it’s prey confirmed my suspicion.

Ah, see, you are ready, she smiled again, her teeth gleaming in the moonlight. I will teach you powers you’ve never dreamed of – birth, and death, now forever intertwined.

I nodded, watching the owl tracking across the field and disappear into the darkness beyond.

Come, join me. She held out her hand. Her skim gleamed marble, as darkness and light rippled across her flesh. Come, she smiled. Join me. For this is where you belong, it is time now, of your first blood.

Placing my hand in hers, we launched into a flight, hands intertwined and bound in an ancient pact; and heavy bodies dissolved into the shadows of the night, both of us together swept past the full moon.

The moon hung low, a pale orb in the velvet sky; and as I regarded it in passing, its pure white light was stained with blood.



Merida Bartley is a practicing Wiccan who celebrates the celestial in daily life. She lives on a ranch in Oregon with her partner and rescued cats. Her work appears in many places, including the Rattler, Crazy Horse, and Belladonna.

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