Approach the ritual in the right frame of mind or not at all. I was warned. I probably should have listened.
Candles set the atmosphere, along with interesting art on the walls and beads hanging everywhere. Once inside, it seemed as if I had been transported somewhere very different from my mundane world. The altar with a fetish and mask may have been a clue about what was to come, but I had no idea. Then she stepped into the room.
Long hair in dreads, more beads than ought to be possible, layers of clothing that moved almost as if they had a mind of their own. There was no mistaking that this was her domain. Even if the motifs of the altar and art weren’t repeated in both her clothing and her tattoos, it would be clear. She asked me no questions, and I offered no information. Perhaps in a different world I would have and things would be different. She gestured to the pile of pillows and bade me be comfortable. I did.
From that point, things get a little hazy.
At first, literally hazy from the incense set alight around the room, then from the smoke of the herbs set alight in a bowl. Even if I hadn’t held the bowl up and inhaled deeply, I would have been affected. Should I have asked what was in the bowl?
In the moment, that seemed a rude thing to do, and I refrained. But then, if I had been the least bit prudent, I wouldn’t have been seeking out practitioners of the mystical arts, and letting them practice upon me unquestioned. No, prudence was far from my mind that night.
And that was about the last thing my conscious mind can recall.
My next memory begins a few moments ago, when I opened my eyes to find myself miles above the landscape, watching the twinkling lights as if they were constellations that are approaching. Approaching while the wind picks up, whistling past my body in a way that makes no sense at all if I am laying in a field watching the stars go by. Because I’m not, after all. I’m falling, constantly falling, towards a landscape of twinkling stars, but never reaching the ground, the wind buoying me up as it whistles over my wings, tickling each feather individually, caressing me as it carries me away.
What have I done?