See previous: Lake side view
The lake was seemingly alive with breath. Mist dripped over its surface though the sun still shone through the trees. Nightfall was slowly approaching and Jacob was checking his watch for the fifth time. The cuffs were on his person, not around her wrists. That would have caused a spectacle. Deep within the park, not even a lone smoker could be seen. No young couples edged over this way. Jacob looked behind him, he could see the moon starting to edge up as the sun slowly said its goodbyes.
“Now what?” he wished he had brought a thicker jacket with him.
“We find the right tree. From memory it was one of these” she pointed to a Hawthorn tree brooding around the edge of the water. There were several around it. Jacob stepped in front of her. They didn’t look too special. He’s seen plenty before. His fingers found the edge of his mouth again. He put them down, frustrated.
“And then what? I think you’re wasting my time lady and/”
“Shh!” he found his throat closed off. He put his hands to it, he felt breath return but his voice was silenced. He went to his belt, his phone but soon his hands stopped. He felt rigid, his heart racing under his tight skin. His eyes darted around, trying to find a way out.
“Sorry officer, but you can be so impatient” she gently touched his cheek, and smoothly turned him around to face the trees. Her long legs stepped over the stones towards the trees of old. The leaves whispered gently to one another and the water joined them. Lapping gently.
Jacob slowly felt movement returning, piece by piece but it wasn’t coming easily. She turned around to see a brief shudder.
“Patience officer. We’re almost done. Hopefully” She turned back and turned her full attention to one particular tree. The wrinkles, curves and sharpness in its skin created shapes that fuelled the imagination. The brown skin slipped gently around the spine and towards the sky. The moon’s light was slowly peeping through the trees, the darkness taking a gentle tug at the light. “Sweetheart, can you hear me?” she gently brushed the tree with her hand. Feeling around lumps and lines, the bark and the skin working together.
Jacob saw the light slowly creep from the tree’s prison. A lull of green and white speckling through. The woman gently sung in a language he couldn’t place. Possibly welsh, but it had an ancient tongue that drew into the earth. He could move his head gently, trying to see if anyone was nearby, if anything was watching. He wished he took that young officer with him. Though he was an arrogant prick. He took a breath in and felt a tickle in his throat. He tried to refuse, tried to keep it in. The cough splattered out, shaking the lungs and splurging spots of blood onto the ground below. It wasn’t the first time. Though his wife knew naught of it.
“Ma’am, please. I’ll leave you be, but I really need to go”
“Soon” Jacob frowned at her response. This was above his pay grade.
He wriggled the toes in his shoes. It felt like everything was slowly melting back into a form that could move.
“No, no, Vivien!” a voice as old as the dragon croaked from the tree. It rattled the core of Jacob’s being. He knew for that split second, it was real. He looked for the source. The tree was shining brighter than before, and in between the light was the face of a man. Old as the land, and just as earthy. The woman turned to him.
“Take my hand! Now!” Jacob’s limbs were not his to control. He felt his limbs moving rigidly through the now muddy shore, the water higher than he remembered. The mist wrapping around his skin, holding him tight. His fingers reached out, and in all his defiance he tried to hold a fist. To fight off this woman, but one by one his fingers uncurled and her fingers rolled fiercely into his. The light flickered into a lightning bolt bursting through her right hand. It swerved through elbow, up into her shoulder and for a brief moment visited her eyes. A rumble turned it back but all her strength turned it towards her left side. Pushing it through her limbs it touched Jacobs palm and in one almighty burst, it pushed him back into the ground.
She sat over him. Gently stroking his cheek. Watching the grey hairs gently brush his forehead as the breeze picked it up. Vivien. That’s her name. Vivien. He gently got up, using his elbows to slowly bring his chest off the ground. Her long hair slowly brushed his face as she gently went in for a kiss. To feel a warmth so long forgotten. He gave her that moment, that brief blissful kiss before wrapping his fingers around her throat. He gently stood her up as he himself rose to his feet. She followed upwards obediently. Jacob pushed all his strength and slammed his head into her nose, breaking it giving her an almighty headache that rattled her brain in and out. She was bent over, feeling the blood slowly dribble from the open wound.
“Merlin…” she looked up, her eyes searching for the light that was hidden inside the tree. Jacob let go, knowing full well the man’s power.
“Sometimes” She sat down gently on the roots of a tree and looked up. The brown coat wrapping around his chest, the skin still of the officers…but…no his eyes were there. “He still has life in him. He deserves to live it out” he gently crouched by her. Using a handkerchief he went to tend to the wound but the man inside growled. He put it back.
“Well it’s a bit too late” he noticed the light pouring gently from her fingers and down her face as she held her nose in place.
“After all these years, my dear you are still as foolish as ever” he gently went to pick her up, Jacob fighting every moment. Merlin took a breath and went inside his mind to where Jacob resided.
“She will no longer be a threat as long as I put her into the lake. If I don’t, neither one of us will know why she has done this, nor if there is a way to reverse it. Surely you understand this?” Jacobs shoulders dropped, his fists still curled in crossed arms, but it all softly dropped. He tipped his head to the side. Merlin resumed control of the body. Feeling the smoke’s damage and noted it for later.
Gently the man lifted the woman, she willing going, and allowing him to wade into the icy water, dropping her into its misty depts. Light slowly poured from her limbs and the water filled the spaces. Making her matter into something long forgotten. It had been a long time since she had fully taken her title up once more. She disappeared below, hoping to fully emerge at a later time in a healed form.
“Vivien?” Jacobs’s voice gently nudged forward, ignoring Merlins patience and reluctance to talk.
“I’m sorry, but you need to find the path. I’m sorry for…well I’m sure you’ve had time to forgive. Find him. He stirs and I don’t know why. I can’t find why” her voice slowly merging with the sound of the waters.
“No! No, come back, I need to be alone again, please!” his voice croaked as he went deeper into the water. Merlin slowly lifted his arms around the two of them.
“Please. We need rest. If there is a way I can find it. But after a few centuries of living in the earth, this is almost too much” they both felt the knees gently buckles. The weight, the energy shifting. Two men using all but one body drained its sources. “You lead” Jacob felt the image of a safe place, of shelter. He understood. He needed sleep. This man inside his head was making this easier, but he was still frustrated. This woman. Vivien! Merlin gently nudged his thoughts. Lady of the Lake. Jacob opened his mouth gently, feeling the thoughts fall into place.
Home. Home first. Then thoughts of Albion.
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