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A voice of a woman, so soft, so subtle, called onto him as he dreamt. It whispered to him, as if the hush of wind when the night was tender. He did not see her face, yet he could from memory. Her face fell in a lush of soft waves, resting upon fragile shoulders as it framed a heart-shaped face. Her eyes were a deep, lake green, the knowledge in them confounding him. Her nose was angled upwards, almost aristocratic, but its slight crook tipped it off. Her mouth was soft and full, sensual as they parted to whisper. Her skin was ethereal against the moonlight, holding the power to make any man crave to touch it, feed on it. It was a face he hadn’t seen, but often dreamt about. It was a face, he thought, that he knew by heart.
Her eyes were still drooping from sleep as he pushed himself up. Her voice called to him, like a siren might to a man. With swaying gaits he pushed open the door and went out, marveling at the moon that beamed full and bright high above, at the clustering stars that freckled across the canvass of sky. The wind was gentle as it brushed against his face, as it slowly swept the fallen leaves toward the river. The night whispered to him, as if to usher him to his woman. Then he was off running.
He climbed the hill that sloped upwards to meet the rocky cliff. The effort it took did not cost him, for he could only hear the woman’s silent whispers.
Come. She said quietly. I have been waiting,
As he reached the top and stumbled by a rock, the mood of nature grew hungry. The moon hid behind a herd of heavy clouds, as if to take comfort from them. The stars were now pale ghosts across the sky, invisible as the sky bulged with darkness. There were shadows that immediately fell upon the lands, but it was torn again and again as lightning shot from the heavens and rushed to stab the horizon. The river gushed with its stormy waters, unforgiving as it strangled the fallen trees. Oblivious of all these was the man, as he followed the woman’s voice to where it came from.
The pointed rocks cut his feet and made blood ooze from them, but the pain did not register as he hurried across the field to where the cliff ended. Frantic now, he pushed himself forward as the whisper became more urgent, then stopped when he saw, a few feet away, a figure of a lone woman standing on the edge of the cliff.
The wind battered against her face, so that her hair flew back in a tangle of fire. Her eyes were closed, as if to feel the rage of the storm, then opened when he walked closer. In them he saw sadness, knowledge, and longing. Without questioning he moved to her, wrapped his arms around her slender body to feel. She was warm and soft and real, and like every man’s dream, willing. She was a woman of strength, he knew, because her eyes had told him so, yet he knew that he could make her surrender. Just like that, with unspoken words that didn’t really seem to be important at the moment. The woman buried her heart-shaped face on his shoulder, then began to nuzzle as if to check if he was real. Without smiling, he lifted her face so that he could see her eyes.
“Who are you?” He heard himself ask.
The smile was slow, almost reluctant, as it spread on her face. “I’m your dream.”
“Impossible.” He said, though he didn’t believe it. “I don’t know you. I don’t even know your name yet . . . yet it feels like I’ve known you. And for a very long time.”
“Fate has its own way of bringing two people together.” She murmured as she gave his throat a lingering kiss. When he shuddered in desire, she felt both power and weakness. “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time. Why have you come only now?”
“You called me.” He closed his eyes for a minute, and tried to reason. Nothing about this made sense, yet in every way, in every possible way his heart could lay out for him, this was right. “In my dreams, when I sleep, I can hear you whisper my name. You long for me, and I am here because I feel the same desire, the same love. How is this even possible?”
Humor danced in her eyes as she smiled. “Look at me. Look at you. And look at us. Now tell me this is not possible, when your arms are wrapped against my waist, when I feel your body pressed hard against mine. When I feel your heart race against mine, tell me this is not possible.”
“You leave mo no choice.” He murmured, and indulged himself with the scent of her hair. Burying his face there, he trailed kisses along her temples, down to her cheek, to the line that was her jaw. She sighed, went pliant, and caused his stomach to churn with a burn of desire. With quiet skill he nibbled on her bottom lip, was only delighted when she gave a quick shudder of need. Her eyes were dark with passion, heavy with need she couldn’t explain. “This is no dream, yet I’m compelled to believe that it is one. Tell me, how have we come to each other?”
“Through Fate.” She said simply. “Through love. Take me,” she added when he seemed to hesitate.
With a sigh, he closed his hands on her face and brushed on it gently. “I don’t understand any of these. I know there has to be some reason, some explanation as to why I’m here with you-- yet somehow the mystery itself seems to be the perfect logic, the magic itself. I don’t even know your name.”
“I am called Katarina.” She said simply, and with a smile, lifted her head to face him. “And you are Joseph.”
He blew a breath. How did she know his name? “You know my name.”
“By heart.” She answered. “You have been inside my dreams for long-- maybe for too long. I have waited for this moment, longer than what you might think,” with a laugh, she looked up at the darkened sky, shook her head when rain began to needle down the lands. “They’re angry.”
“Who are?” He followed her eyes, frowned when he only saw dark clouds.
“The Observers. They seethe with anger as I have now found the key to their lock.”
Baffled, he gripped her arms so her face tilted to mine. “I don’t understand.”
She closed her eyes for a minute, seemed to feel pain, and sighed. “For six centuries I have been held captive by the Observers. I committed a grave sin, you see, one that made me a ghost who roamed time.” She looked down at the sea that thrashed against the rocks beneath the cliff. The fury of it was beauty, but the violence was bold. “I was a rich countess, a famous one whom held riches by the palm of her hand. I had been a virgin when the man of my dreams came.” Her eyes turned hard, her lips thinned. “Even now I remember his beauty, so rare that I was blinded only by the physical, and did not see the cold, heartless soul inside. I had given him all his desires, his wishes, his boons-- I gave them all to him without a single trace of doubt, for my heart lay with him. Then that dark night came, when I came home unexpectedly soon, when I saw him with my own sister, on the bed we had made love ourselves. Fury had blinded me, you see, that I took my arrow and struck them. After the rage had passed, and the grief had come, did I realize the atrocity I had committed. Then they came,” it was only a whisper now. “They came and turned me into a ghost, encapsulated me inside the prison of immortality-- and misery. Scorn them as I did, my fate had been dictated-- to repent, to atone, to live in the past as I had done so for centuries. Until you, Joseph. You saved me.”
“But I didn’t do anything.”
“You did.” She said with a thick voice. As she turned away, I heard the tears in her voice. “You trusted me. You came and answered my call.”
“Love, it must be.” She said now as she turned to face me, as a single tear began to streak down her cheek. “When I saw you . . . when I saw you, I knew. I knew that you are the key. Kiss me now, Joseph. Undo the lock that has shackled me.”
A series of thunders rolled across the sky, seemed to shake the world as it roared in its own fury. Lightning tore the sky, shredding clouds as it dipped to the hill. The moon seemed to have vanished, as the wind howled in despair. From faraway came a wolf’s hoot, echoing through the lands as the river rammed against land, as trees fell and were snagged by the current.
Joseph walked through the curtain of rain toward her. The world seemed to have shut off. There was only Katarina, the woman who stood on the cliff, with the wild sea thrashing behind her, with the glorious lightning framing her with harsh light.
Then that marriage of lips happened. At first, there was the humming fire, then the violent flame as he brought it deeper, as she answered his demand with equal demand. There was no time to think, no time to analyze, only the need to feel, to go with the primal instinct. Their bodies burned as they clashed in the heat of passion, as hers danced beneath him, soaking in heat, as his pressed tautly against hers. His lips sought the line of her throat, his hands giving driving her crazy. She dug her hands through the mane of his hair, and then tauntingly slid them down to his waist, where she urged him to take the speed, to take them both to delirium.
He hadn’t known such passion like this. It was wild, almost violent, and entirely basic. His teeth grazed over her skin, so that she quivered in weakness. Beneath him she was trapped, yet the taste of freedom in her tongue urged her to take more, to give more. He took more than what she could give, never settled for enough, because on his lips her scent clung, her heat vibrated. There was a buzz in his ears, and a hunger that turned him greedy, so he sped up the tempo, taking her to a world of peak, where there was only speed and power, triumph and pleasure.
A moan gurgled in her throat, and snapped the last of his control. Instantly he surrendered to that need, and cast aside all thoughts and control, until he was ravaging her, feeding on her, until she was wanton in passion and tender and soft. When he felt her go pliant, a sound of triumph escaped his mouth.
Then Joseph slipped inside her, felt that heat surround him, until no more could he think of anything, until the last of energy was spent and they both reached that point of climax.
Together, beneath the darkened sky, under the petulant rain, they smiled at what they have both discovered.
“I’m free.” The smile on Katarina’s lips as she turned to face him took his breath away. “I’m free, Joseph.”
Soaked with love, fired with desire, they both dipped into that pool of forever.