Thirty minutes of striding across the fields towards Tittesworth Reservoir brings a flush to Megan’s cheeks. Her pace is brisk, her thoughts dominated by surrounding Jack with light.
Blowing away the cobwebs of worry and stress, the September wind is both warm and fresh. Exercise endorphins flood her veins, heightening her sense of determination and purpose.
“Light of life, I summon thee, bid you well my spell.”
Falling to her waist, her golden-brown hair bounces like butterfly wings. Her white felt Panama hat pulled tight against her head, keeps her hair from flying into her face.
“Empower me with magic deep. My words to you do bind and keep.”
Walking boots crunch the earth, the squelch and knock of steady pace mingles with eventide bird call, and the rustle of wind through heavy laden gold-rich trees.
Climbing the dry-stone wall, Megan drops onto the marshland that surrounds the reservoir. It is 5 p.m. With the fading light and the absence of street lamps, the stars appear early glittering brightly. Heading west along the shoreline, away from the Waterview restaurant and the chance of seeing someone, she slows her pace. There’s time yet. Beautiful autumnal colors warm her soul ushering in tranquility, as fragrance from fern and heather pierce her senses.
A small cove tucked into the arm of a Fir coppice is the perfect place to stop. Megan pulls her backpack off and drops to the sand. Pulling out the precious hoard, she arranges them before her with surgeon’s precision. A silver silk scarf placed over a broad flat rock becomes a sacred space for her wares.
After lighting a compact camping stove, Megan pours water into a miniature kettle.
“Light. Peace. Love.” Sitting on the sand, Megan crosses her legs and places her turned up hands on each knee. “Light. Peace. Love. I summon thee, surround me. With me become one.” As the water heats up, Megan calms her soul and connects with Earth’s magic. Prickles run over her skin, she’s never felt so alive, vibrant, at one with nature.
Whistling confirms the water has boiled. Shaking her shoulders, she rolls her head in circles, causing her bones to creak. A tug of war between the breeze and her Bohemian style, part crocheted blue and cream blouse, causes the blouse to escape, lift and flap in the wind. A fear of getting burnt makes her tuck it into her tight-fitting jeans.
Jingles from her numerous bangles mingle with the gentle lapping of water against shore edge. She pours water into a tin cup, placing it in the center of the transient shrine.
“I call on Bay leaf to protect and uncross.” Picking up a twig with three leaves on it, she waves it over the makeshift altar then drops it into the cup.
“I call upon Rose, for the return of happier days.” Her hand clasp a bunch of delicate pink petals, picked from the garden before heading here. She waves her hand over the table and then drops the petals into the cup.
“I call upon Lemon, for the purifying of soul and spirit.” Megan circles the cup three times, squeezing the juice out of the half lemon into the cup after each wave of her arm.
“Light of the world I summon thee. Bind these offerings together, weave your magic power into the life of the water.” After carefully placing the cup back down on the scarf, Megan sits on the sand again. Closing her eyes she begins chanting. Every spell of healing she’s read is recited, mixed with her own words of love and hope for her best friend Jack.
With the disappearing light, coolness descends over the Peak District moorland. Water-rich air particles swarm the shore dampening all they touch, covering Megan in their fractious claws. Time to go.
Constant walking has made Megan’s body lithe and supple, allowing her to stand without using her hands to steady herself. She rises off the ground deliberately, uncurling with Panther agility, like a Python’s slow, seductive ascent from its basket. Energy pulsates through her veins. She has never felt so powerful. Her fingertips throb with magic. With a quick tug she pulls her blouse out of her jeans, she wants the intimate feel of the wind touching her skin beneath her clothes.
The air is thick, like treacle, as she picks up the cup and closes her eyes.
“Thank you. To all the powers that be, thank you. To the Light, thank you.” Unnatural speed commands the liquid as she empties the cup from her outstretched arm. The water trickles out of the slightly tipped cup and drips to the earth with determined intent. Megan observes every molecule. Attuned to magic, each drop hits the ground with the deafening thud of a slow-beat drum.
It is done. A laugh is building in her chest. She takes a moment to slowly spin in circles. Arms raised high towards the sky. Dizzy, excited, full of anticipation. Placing the items back in her bag, her hands tremble. This needs to work. Assurance makes her giddy. She can’t wait to get back. After joining a few witch societies on-line, and visiting several practicing witches that lived throughout the Peak District, she’s spent the last eleven months studying in every spare moment.
All for Jack, the love of her life, the cheeky boy next-door who had grown-up to win her heart, only to break it over and over again. Not that he knew how she felt. He’d probably be mortified if he knew how much she loved him. He loved her too, of course, as a brother loves a sister. Many times he’d told her she was the one true love of his life, that no one knew him like she did. No one cared for him the way she did. No one put up with his nonsense the way she did. He didn’t lean on her because he was a bad person. She represented a pillar of strength that never wobbled, that’s all.
With her backpack on, she sucks in as much air as she can, and then exhales with control, trying to calm her butterflies. She is sure it has worked this time, she can feel it.
A short distance away, on the barren branch of a lightning tree, sits a Short-Eared Owl. Hypnotizing, black and yellow haunting eyes are transfixed on Megan. He ducks his head under his wings, making it appear like he’s shrugging his shoulders. His gold and brown feathers rustle as he readies for flight.
A wise person would have walked along the shore to the road, but a devilment of excitement makes every part of Megan’s body pulsate, she wants to be home as soon as possible. She springs over the wall and starts running through the fields. The owl leans forward. Dropping from the branch his wings spread wide and high above his head as he drops into silent, grace-filled flight.
Not used as arable land anymore, the soil is full of pot-holes, and lumps of earth have turned so hard they’ve become like stones. With hardly any light, using nothing but her sixth-sense, she sprints without looking at the ground. Magic makes her sure-footed. Never tripping or stumbling, instead flying as one ‘light as a fairy’ over the uneven fields. Overhead gliding silent as a ghost the owl keeps pace.
Standing outside the backdoor of Jack’s traditional farmhouse, her heartbeat quickens dangerously fast. Abiding by the laws of magic, she would never cast a spell to make Jack love her. Her spells are for his protection and healing. If they work, his heart will heal, and his body will no longer crave alcohol. Perhaps then, he might notice that she’s gone and grown up and at twenty-six she isn’t his little friend from next-door anymore.
Molten lava twilight reflects off the deep red berries, hanging in bunches from three gigantic Rowan trees at the side of his house. The beauty of it causes her to pause and smile before turning to the door. Her knock is overshadowed by the hooting cry of an owl.