July 1st, 2021
Moonstone: a Colliding World Series
The summary of Moonstone and a snippet of the first chapter, "A Huntress is Born".
Psychoanalyst, Dr. Naia McBain, is confronted by a patient who has reminded her of a long-forgotten, dark past. What began as a psychological endeavor has now become a metaphysical quest to not only save herself, but also the whole of Western Civilization. She must pass over into a land, where thoughts and ideas are the very real, mythological creatures that live and rule as history's great philosophies, religions, and political ideologies, in search of the solution: the legendary Moonstone.
CHAPTER I: A HUNTRESS IS BORN
The Summer Sun broke through the Summer leaves – little orbs of light danced a ghostly ball upon the forest floor. The wind drew in a gentle breath and blew through its nostrils, sending the evening cicadas along in their mating chorus into the deep of twilight. Tree frogs chirped in harmony, and the whole forest resounded with the innocence of the long retiring noontide – atmospheric pressure and temperature at a healthy medium.
How often these trees hide away my thoughts behind a curtain: here the soil beats ancient drums and its fruit whistles with far away war horns. Time is always ready, and yet time is without need of any readiness. Here in the hills of the Southeast, I like to think through humidity’s intoxicating cloud, even if it is thick with the laboring of insects and the hidden burrows of serpents. This is the place where my meta-analyses propagate and flood into every vessel perceived by my six senses: thus do my ancestral, primitive spirits inhabit the world around me. I walk into a dead forest to restore its meaning, and so it comes alive into conceptual Being.
Light in my eyes, I squint at the western horizon to my right. But to my left, the wood darkens and the trees begin to grow into their shadows . . . Straight above my head I take my gaze up, and the clouds’ ebb and flow roll into a thunderous council. The wind picks up on the arrival of a divine congress and hastens its formulation.
Hair blowing in my eyes, my vision broken, my heart seized with panic and I hear a screech and the foreboding body of a thought-form that could only rise from the surreal field of imagination. The mind is an eagle-creature that sits atop a mountain gazing strongly into the Sun with its proud chest out, but underneath a dark fire writhes and coils closer and closer and yet still closer to a talon lying lazily over the edge. One bite sends the eagle aflight in a frenzy of feathers . . .
And a flurry of grey feathers snows in front of my eyes. I look up to see the bird, only to find the face of the Great Horned Owl gazing back into mine. For an instant I see that the trees are perhaps not mine to have, and the distortion of the darkness fills in the gaps of what fear has inhabited my heaven. I knew this place was old and forbidden, but I came here to find solace for my aching loneliness. Indeed, I have found it in this verdant abode, a sacred grove where the Earth opens and the Sky cracks with a whip of lightning tearing a weathered seam . . . Behind the stormcloud, I hear the Moon’s silver sliver waxing and sharpening into a deathly sickle, though about her head is a slight glimmer of the rarely seen eternal promise of a moonbow. But her radiance gladdened me, and a sweet aroma of clover dressed in gossamer gown quelled my alarm, and I darted off easily and quietly through the brush of elder saplings as a rabbit who flees back to its bedroom burrow out of the villainous wilderness and into the ordinary mindscape of civilization.
Alas! the Fates would not have it that way: an approaching fae march of foot soldiers and war banners came rising hazily up out of the Sun in the dewy distance. As I wove between the trees and dotted the forest floor with increasing, rapid footsteps, a tight restlessness clenched my neural reins and fired them at once. I flew from woody path to woody path, spiraling in dizzying madness in desperate search for the road that leads back into town, back into normalcy. None was to be found, and my heart sank in pity, the most aggravating, loathsome of pity that will defend its fortress when its survival is threatened. Such pity I speak is called desperation, and what I endured was the most unnerving, for even the darkened forest that enrobed me had a mocking atmosphere that foamed and poured through a rabid dog’s teeth.
And that’s when my heart stopped, and I heard the deep, ominous snarls and growls of the hell-hounds whose bark aggressively climbed up every tree and roared with vicious insanity, echoing and snaking higher and higher into my ears – bursting nauseatingly through my drums! I surrendered and fell to the ground to allow what dreadful fate my Lunar Shadow had cast for me, for whatever it was would at least put an end to the monstrous distress from these sirens of Hell.
A silent ringing filled my ears, and I could see nothing. I could remember nothing, and I thought I had died. Slowly, a misty glitch of a shadow form entered my sight, just enough to contrast the duller void it stood in. Its image held a two-dimensional feature, making incredible, digital-like sprints back and forth: left to right, right to left. When I peered further beyond its side view, I saw the figure was in fact circling around something, orbiting at a rate I could not comprehend. Within its dimensions the leaves of the forest floor lit up in a faint, rancid pale glow, and my spirit anticipated what was to disturb the sullen stillness at the eye of this noiseless storm. I wanted to turn away, but this grave grew an invisible snakehead that would not let me go, and a paralysis fixed my attention to its eyes . . . I gazed far into those leaves and witnessed the dark, insane memories of an ancient, laughing fire that burned an unforgivable scar into my soul. Great leathery wings widened from this place: an undying heat ripped open a call to me from “...THE BLADE!”. And a low, guttural Church hymn blackened out my consciousness, leaving only traces of a row of thirteen sunflowers straight across. To this day, I still cannot begin to describe the pain and suffering I beheld within this glimpse of raw, untamed, primal power . . . but its ghost consumed my curiosity then on out, and I wanted to devour its roots.
. . .
Trickles of water bled down my forehead, and I rose into the air. A lab coat arm reached out around my shoulder and patiently brought me out of my hypnogogic crisis. “Dr. McBain, it’s time to dry off now.”
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The audio above is from the soundtrack of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee.