“This view is magnificent.” Irene watched lazy ribbons of lava migrate slowly down the mountain to the azure Pacific Ocean.
“Yes, I am very proud of it”
She looked over her shoulder at her companion. He was magnificent too. His hair and eyes were as black as obsidian. He wore only a small patch of bright native cloth wrapped at his waist, and a lei of red and orange blossoms around his neck showing off his rich golden brown skin that only Polynesians ever have.
“You’re not really here are you?” she asked.
“Of course I’m here, just not the way you see me. Your mind has created an image of me that you find comfortable. I don’t mind. Humans have always done that with my kind. In fact, yours is more flattering than most.” He laughed and she felt the laugh as a rumble under her feet.
Irene looked around her again, drinking in the beauty of the tiny island, the destination of a very expensive vacation. It had been a long time since she had been so at peace.
Two years ago, she had almost died in a car crash. To save her life, a small part of her damaged brain had to be removed.
“Nothing to really worry about” the doctors had assured her. “Your brain will “re-wire” itself in order to compensate for what has been destroyed. You may not even notice it.”
The doctor was right. It hadn’t taken her long to fully recover.
Unless you counted the voices, she started hearing. Terrified that she was going crazy, Irene had voluntarily entered a sanitarium. Treatments, medicines, counseling, none of it really did any good. She still heard the whispers. But, they didn’t scare her any longer and they weren’t saying anything awful so she left the hospital and decided to go on vacation and relax.
Here standing on the side of the active volcano the whispers were louder and she at last knew who was talking to her.
“You can call me an Elemental if you need a name for what I am.” he had told her as the walked the pristine beaches made of the soft black ash the volcano had spewed out as it created this paradise.
“We were here long before your kind was. There was a time when many humans could hear us. They were called shamans, magi, witch doctors, and priests. Now your brains are too full of logic to listen any more. So I and the others, the wind, the sea, the forests, are just whispers now.”
“They thought you were gods.”
“Not our fault, we never claimed to be. We know that all was created by One far greater than even we are.”
“They tossed virgin princesses into you. To keep you happy.” she teased him
“They gave what was cheap. Not a warrior or a proven breeder” The volcano shot magma into the air and it reflected in his laughing eyes. “And as for being a princess, most were really just poor maidens that were adopted by the chiefs, days or moments before they were tossed into my arms.”
“But they died to gain your favor.” she chided
“Nothing ever dies. The essence of what any living thing is goes on forever. I would have been happy to have had an interesting companion but their terror was too great to let them see what might have been. So I sent them on their way.”
“You get lonely?” Irene understood lonely. She understood wanting someone to share your very soul with.
He touched her cheek and she felt warmth that was primal and overwhelming.
“I don’t ever want to leave here.” she sighed.
The molten lava poured endlessly down the mountain, fed from a deep river of magma, part of the very fabric of the earth. The heat warmed her and she opened her mind to the full marvel of what he truly was. She was both terrified and awed by what it would be to join with that eternal force.
—§—Officer Kanoku took the report from the elderly couple that had witnessed the incident. He wasn’t sure how reliable they were. Both were still in shock. They insisted that the young American woman hadn’t slipped. That she had just stepped over the rim, arms wide open, and dropped into the volcano
“She never even screamed, not even as she burst into flames” the woman was crying, the awful vision seared into her mind.
Kanoku would have to send notice to her family. Perhaps not a surprise considering the psychiatric drugs they found in her luggage.
As the lava drops steaming into the ocean it hisses and sighs and if you really listen hard, you would almost swear it was a woman’s voice, laughing and content.