The night was still, and there was an eerie cool in the darkness. The moon was but a sliver that night, sharing little of its luster, though the stars shone brightly in the clear sky. As the evening droned on, the crickets’ chirping was the only sound, save the quiet speech and shared laughter of the two young men sprawled in the back seat of a faded 1976 Chevy Impala convertible.
“Whoa, man, I swear that star just winked at me,” Gary said.
“Sure it did. Sure it did, man,” Jimmy responded. “And that cow over there just gave me the finger.”
“No really, I think it did! And cows don’t have fingers, dork. There it is again!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Jimmy said, chuckling. “Just pass that joint will ya?” Jimmy’s eyes lazily rolled over the pasture on the other side of the barbed-wire fence as he held out his hand for the rolled joint that never came. “Dude?”
But when he looked back over to Gary, the young man was up on the back of car looking intently at the sky. Jimmy followed his gaze, seeing nothing. “Come on, man. Just hand ov… Whoa! That star just winked at me!”
“I told ya!” Gary exclaimed.
The two young men stared up at the sky, their intrigue sobering them somewhat. The star they were watching winked again and shone with a faint tint of color.
“I think it’s moving man,” Gary observed.
“Man, stars don’t move.” But even as he said it, Jimmy could swear he saw it as well, and then he realized he was mistaken. “No, man, it’s just getting bigger!”
The star swelled before their eyes, impossibly growing brighter yet darker at the same time. It was as if its light shone more radiantly, but it was a darker light than the white glow of the stars around it. Soon, it had become a mini sun of broiling illumination. The night sky took on a dim amber glow as the star’s light was cast upon the world.
“Okay, now it’s moving,” Jimmy admitted. “I think it’s a meteor, man!”
The young men continued to follow the meteor’s fall as its momentum seemed to pick up, a shooting star that set the night ablaze in its luster. But it didn’t burn up as any other shooting star would. Instead it expanded until it seemed like a dark sun was falling to the Earth.
“Dude, get the keys!” Gary shouted. “We gotta follow it!”
The men scrambled into the front seat and fired up the car, tearing onto the dirt road in the direction of the meteor’s fall and kicking up a massive dust cloud in their wake. Dust that gleamed with the reflection of a now brilliant amber light.
The blazing amber sun struck the ground and exploded in a flash of light that ignited the sky for miles. The wave of energy rolled over the plains, seemingly reaching the horizon, but there was no physical impact. There was no aftershock and no crater left in its wake as it landed in the large, grassy field and the light slowly faded from the world.
Only a beautiful, naked woman.
Her eyes were closed as she steadied herself, and she felt the tremendous residual energy from the fall cascade over her skin and ebb away. Then it was gone, and she was there alone, and whole. She looked at her hands, judging their size and shape, and brushed her long, blonde hair from her face.
I did it! she realized to herself.
She had fallen to Earth from the Astral Plane and somehow avoided being placed in a woman’s womb and enduring another birth, another innocent childhood until her inevitable awakening. If what she had learned was true, the number of archons that could achieve such a feat throughout all of recorded history could be counted on one human hand. Had she failed, it would have set her back several years of having to wait for her consciousness to awaken and the memories of her former life to return to her.
“Hey, I think she’s naked, man,” she heard a faint voice in the darkness.
She raised her head and looked around. She was standing in a dark field in the middle of the night. A few cows ambled in the grass, on edge from the phenomenon they had just witnessed and failed to understand. In the distance, two young men watched her from a nearby car on the dirt road that ran along the edge of the field.
She smiled at them a moment before closing her eyes briefly and manipulating the light around her to form the illusion of clothing over her exposed skin. Then she walked up to them with a broad grin on her face.
“Hey boys, can you give me a ride?”
They stared at her in awe for several seconds before one of them, the bigger, taller one, recovered and asked her, “But, didn’t you see that meteor fall? Where the hell did you come from anyway?”
“And where did you get those clothes?” the other chimed in.
She placed her palm against the face of the bigger man and felt the light stubble along his jaw line. “Don’t worry about that now, sweetie. It’s cold out, and I’ve been left all alone out here. Can’t you guys get me to a nice, warm bed, tonight?”
“Sure thing, little lady,” the other said, coming up to her and taking her hand. He led her to the car and helped her into the back seat, climbing in beside her. Despite their awe of the fantastic light show they had just witnessed, the men couldn’t seem to take their eyes off the beautiful woman before them or shake the desire to please her.
“Just remember whose car is getting you there,” the first one said, “and who’s driving.”
“Hi, I’m Gary,” said the one next to her, “and that’s my bud, Jimmy. What’s your name?”
“Mhm,” she simply said. “Let’s go, boys.”
The driver pulled the car out onto the dirt road and began heading toward the neighboring town. It was clear he was going a bit too fast, hoping to get to town before his buddy had the chance to put all the moves on the hot chick in his back seat. But his friend was already moving in.
“Hey babe, so what were you doing out in that field then?” the man beside her said and started to crowd her.
“Just be quiet and let me think,” she told him firmly.
At first, he seemed a little shocked how she had spoken to him, but then he furrowed his brow and set his jaw. He didn’t miss his friend’s grin, either. “Hey, that’s no way to talk to the guys who are bringing you out of the cold, babe.”
Taylor Calvin’s eyes darkened, and her hand clenched. She had to resist the urged to throttle the fool, but she took a deep breath and calmed herself instead. Her sojourn to the Astral Plane had been an enlightening experience for her. For so long, she had been ruled by her hate, the dark side of her soul. She wouldn’t succumb to it again. Not after having restored the light within her and finding a measure of peace. But she had to remind herself that the crimson hate was still within her, still a part of her and always ready to take over.
She put a gentle hand on his leg. “Easy, sweetie. Soon enough,” she promised.
Despite wanting to continue hitting on the striking woman next to him, the young man couldn’t bring himself to disobey her. So he just settled into the seat next to her. “Hey, aren’t you going a little too fast, Jimmy? Slow down, man.”
He didn’t see Taylor’s hand rest against the side panel of car, but he surely noticed when it sped up and raced down the road at well over a hundred miles per hour. It didn’t stop accelerating even when it topped out the speedometer.
“Hey, Jimmy, what the hell?”
“It ain’t me! I don’t even have my foot on the pedal! I can’t steer either! The wheel’s locked up!”
The two young men continued to argue with each other, but Taylor blocked them out. She just reclined her head back and closed her eyes, deep in thought.
She thought of all she had discovered during her stay in the archon realm, communing with other archons, including the spirit of her mother, and how she had grown over the last few years before. Such a terror she had been in her youth, and all the people she had hurt. For she had been born with half a soul, the dark side, and it was filled with utter rage toward all things. The good, light side had been stolen from her before her birth. When she finally managed to awaken the embers from the light side of her soul within herself, she tried to make restitution to those she had previously wronged in her hateful manner, but it felt like she still had so much more to do. She thought of the other amber archon that had come to her in the Astral Plane, the one still so full of turmoil and confusion. Just as she had been years ago. She knew where she would start.
“Where are we boys?” she asked suddenly, though she didn’t raise her head or open her eyes. She briefly realized that they had stopped arguing and accepted that they were just along for the ride.
“Just outside of Springfield. It’s the next town over,” the one next to her said. “Where are we going?” His tone was just slightly suggestive, but also kind of nervous.
She smiled. It really didn’t matter to her. She didn’t really need to know where she had landed. “I need to get to a bank tomorrow, and then I’m going to Boston.”
“Boston!? That’s almost two thousand miles from here,” said the same man. Gary perhaps?
“Ya know, this boat’s got a big tank,” the driver called out. “We can get pretty far on a leg!”
“Sounds like a fun road trip,” she said, laughing, “but first, you promised me that warm bed.”
The boys smiled at that as the car sped down the dirt road toward Springfield, USA.
When they got close to the edge of the town, the car slowed down, and the man in the driver’s seat found that he could turn the wheel again. “Uh, thanks, I guess,” he said.
He drove through the dark, rural town until they finally pulled up to a small house in a quiet neighborhood. It was old, and the siding needed to be repainted, but it would do for the night.
“This is my place,” the driver said to the woman, “you can crash here tonight, and then I’ll take you downtown to the bank tomorrow.”
She just smiled at him and let him lead her into the house as Gary pulled up the rear, admiring the view. Once they were inside, the one called Jimmy turned on the lights and went to get a few beers from the fridge. When he got back, he suddenly found that the woman was completely naked with no sign of her clothes in sight while Gary gawked at her.
Taylor looked over at him and curled her finger, demanding him to come, to which he gladly complied, dropping the beers on a chair as he did. She kissed Jimmy and then Gary while stroking their faces with her hands. Every touch of her fingertips and lips was like a tiny electric thrill that excited them beyond reason.
“Where’s the bedroom, guys?” she asked, but truly it was her leading them along as they crossed the small house and found Jimmy’s bed.
She laid them down and had them out of their clothes in moments. Through the night, she took her own pleasure from them, but gave them back so much more. She was a generous lover to the two young men and fulfilled their every desire several times over. Her energy pulsed into them, sending them to unreal heights of ecstasy with every touch, every kiss. The giving, sensual light of her yellow mana filled them until they were taxed beyond their limits and lay sprawled on the bed before her.
She smiled down at them sleeping peacefully and in utter contentment after having the best sex of their lives. It was something they would remember for a long time, and she truly felt rewarded at being able to give bliss to these men after leading a life filled with such hate and hurt. It was only sex, but it was a beginning for her.
Taylor looked down at the one called Gary. She had noticed something within him during their tender touches. An infection was growing in him that would cause him pain and sickness in the coming years and could even threaten to cut his life short if it wasn’t treated in time. She laid a gentle hand on his side, soothingly. From that moment, it would never bother him for the rest of his natural, healthy life.
She smiled again to herself and left them there. She retreated back into the house’s main room and settled onto the couch. She realized that since her return from the Astral Plane, even with her copious expenditure of mana and exuberant sexual encounter, she would never need to sleep again, but there would be more to gain during sleep that night than mere rest. And so she closed her eyes and willed her consciousness to fade from the awaking world. She took her true archonic form again – Teijurzi.
And she waited.
It didn’t take long. As she floated in the nether of her dreams, it came for her again. In the distance she saw the small point of light growing steadily larger as it neared, its amber luster shining with expectation, wanting and craving her wisdom. Though she had little knowledge to share compared to some sager archons with far older memories, for some reason this one sought her particularly.
Taylor awakened early the next morning despite getting little sleep, that she didn’t need anyway. When the other archon began to fade from their rendezvous – and it seemed to do so unwillingly – Taylor had no need to maintain her own reverie. She waited for the boys to wake on their own, but grew impatient when their sleep stretched on into mid-morning. She summoned another illusion of clothing around herself and walked into the bedroom to find them still sprawled on the bed as she had left them.
Likely, they were still exhausted from the heightened sensations she had exerted upon them only several hours ago. She laid her hand on Gary’s head lightly, drawing him from sleep and invigorating him with her touch. Despite his earlier fatigue and inadequate sleep, he woke quickly and full of energy. She smiled down at him affectionately and caressed his face. Then she repeated the process for Jimmy.
“Come on, boys. Time to get moving. Get dressed.”
It wasn’t long after that they made it to the local bank, and within minutes Taylor was walking out with a small bag of cash and a new check card thanks to a wire transfer from her bank back home. At first the banker insisted on a form of ID from her, but she touched his hand gently, and he immediately agreed to help her despite any documentation. He even expedited the process for her.
“Are we really just setting off on a road trip for the East Coast now, then?” Gary asked.
“Damn, I’d love to, but Jesse’ll kick my ass if I just take off from the shop for a few days right now.” Jimmy lamented.
“I’ll compensate you, and you can pay back your boss if you need to,” Taylor offered.
“What do you mean?” he asked her.
“Look, I can get to Boston in a matter of hours by flying, but this trip could be fun for all of us,” she winked at them suggestively, “and there’s ten thousand in it for each of you when you get me there.”
“Holy shit!” “Really?” they exclaimed.
“But first you are taking me shopping. I need some real clothes, a new phone, and some girl stuff.” She climbed into the car and waited for them, knowing they wouldn’t refuse her.
They made good time on the first leg of their trip and managed to make Columbus, Ohio by the time the sun was setting. After getting set up in a hotel first, they decided to grab some food from a local pizza place. Then Taylor informed them that they would be taking her dancing that evening.
They strolled into one of the city’s hottest clubs sporting some new gear, courtesy of Taylor, and proceeded to order up drinks. But Taylor didn’t waste much time getting them on the dance floor.
Not bad for a bunch of country boys, she thought, though they had a bit to learn to keep up with her. She was no stranger to clubbing in her youth, and it felt good to act like a normal young woman again, despite her true nature. She glided easily along the floor pulling to two young men along with her and enjoying their infatuation with her.
Unfortunately, the disparity among them didn’t go unnoticed by some of the resident crowd. A few suave and confident men cut their way into Taylor’s space and all but pushed the two younger men out of the way.
“Hey! What the hell?” Jimmy complained and pushed himself back in.
“Why don’t you boys let some real men show you how it’s done,” one of the newcomers said, laughing at him.
But Jimmy got up in the man’s face and got himself pushed away again. He came back heated, looking to stand up for himself, and would have walked straight into a heavy punch, but Taylor caught the local’s fist in her hand. He looked at her, shocked, for a moment before falling to his knees and crying out in searing pain as the fury of her red mana flooded him invisibly. To the onlookers, it seemed as if the tall, strong man was succumbing ridiculously to a much smaller woman’s squeeze on his fist, but in truth it felt like very bone in his body was being shattered. And that wasn’t far from the reality.
Two of the club’s bouncers came rushing up to pull the two apart, but Taylor lashed her arm out at the one attempting to grab her. He was sent hurling across the room and collided heavily into some tables, groaning in pain and slumping to the floor as he landed. Even when Jimmy tried to stop Taylor, she turned on him and gripped him by the throat, choking the life out of him. She barely saw him through the crimson haze in her vision.
“Taylor! Stop, please!”
She barely heard Gary’s words, but somehow she looked at Jimmy’s terror-stricken face and managed to pull her hand away and flood him with her healing yellow mana instead.
“I need to get out of here!” she gasped, horrified with herself.
And she raced from the club, stepping out onto the street. She put her hands to her head and ran her fingers through her hair, trying to think. It was just like ten years ago. She let her hate rule her in there and took out her rage on anyone that stood in her way, even the man who had found her alone in a field and opened his home to her the last night. She wandered down the street, utterly lost within herself when Jimmy and Gary came hustling up.
“Taylor!” Gary shouted at her. “Wait up! What happened in there? Are you okay?”
But she just looked at Jimmy. “I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I think so. But you scared the shit out of me!” he said.
“I understand if you boys just want to go home now,” she said, “but I have to go on. I’ll get you your money, and then you can go.” It was nothing new to her. She had lost countless friends due to her rage before.
But they looked at each other before Jimmy shrugged. “I guess we came this far together, and if you still want our help, we’re here for you, but… no more shit like that in there, right?” he finished rubbing his neck.
“No,” Taylor said, and nodded to herself. She had scared herself in the club as well, but it wasn’t a disaster. Ten years ago she would have rampaged through the place, leaving broken bodies behind her, and her dad would have to swoop in and pay people off, or use his magic, to keep it from becoming a media blitz. But she managed to stop herself in time. Despite her momentary lapse, she felt confident that she could keep her two companions safe from any further outbreaks. But it was time to accept the fact that she could no longer be a normal human woman. She was something else and must weigh that in all her judgments.
That night in the hotel was quiet, and they all turned in early. Taylor chose to sleep, but more so that she didn’t have to lie awake with her thoughts than for any other reason, and there was no amber light waiting for her in her dreams that night.
They had travelled for several hours the next day, the thoughts of the previous night still on their minds, but being on the road eventually brightened their mood, especially when Jimmy put on some classic rock – the only thing they could all agree on – and let the top down.
Gary broke the silence between them when he turned around to face Taylor in the back seat. “So are you like a witch or something?”
“No, dude, I think it was her that fell from the sky out in that field. She’s like an angel or a god maybe. Right?” he said and glanced at Taylor.
“My kind has been called all of those throughout the ages, but also demons and devils because of what you saw last night. But that’s not who I am anymore. You won’t see her again,” she said, more to herself than to them. “Enough of that,” she said with finality, and neither of the men would contest her. “Turn up the radio, Jimmy,” she said with a smile.
The rest of day passed with more levity as the three shared the road together, although it became clear when they saw the New York City skyline in the distance what was on their minds.
Would Taylor have another incident that night?
“So, what now?” Gary asked.
"We're going to have fun, tonight,” Taylor said confidently, “we’ll take it a bit easier, tonight, and I’ll be a kind goddess. Promise.” She chuckled as she spoke to ease their apprehension and keep their spirits up.
True to her word, they attended a local band concert at a bar in Hell’s Kitchen and passed the night without archonic incidents. That is, until they made it to their hotel room, and Taylor shared her supernatural love with the two men again. Although she didn’t make the experience as intense as the last time, it was more tender and fulfilling for them all.
The next day, they woke early and hit the road, heading for Boston at last. Taylor took control of the car again as they entered the city, prompting Jimmy to ask where she was taking them.
“We’re just going to take it easy for a bit until I can get settled,” Taylor affirmed. “You’ll stay with me for a few days until you go back home.”