THE TESTING




The wind is blowing again. It makes the water across the lake ruffle. I face the sun, my hair blown back. The moisture drying on my lips. I wait alone, stark landscape of sand and water with electric blue sky surrounding me. I wait.

The wind is dying, the water stills, to reflect the sky above, blue on blue. It blinds the eye. Walking to the edge, my feet sink deeply into the hot sand, as if to anchor me there. Looking into the water, I canít make anything out. I have no place in its reflection.

Kneeling down, I touch one finger to the stillness mirrored there and find that the water is harder than the sand Iíve knelt in. Slowly, I spread my hand out and slide it on the cool hardness. Soon, my other hand joins it and I shift my body to lie atop the mirror.

I lie still, forehead touching the coolness, eyes open, searching through reflections for what I've waited for. Deep in the darkness of the water, shadows move. They swirl and collect, gaining depth and definition. Closer and closer they come, never clear, but murky and distorted like the water itself.

Shadows reach me conforming to my shape and size. I am confused, having never heard of this happening before. I stare down harder to make it out, and suddenly see it looks like me. I gasp in shock and try to lift myself from the lake mirror, but the world tilts, and I cry out, as I find myself looking up into my eyes. The shadow picks herself up off the water, leaving me caught in its reflections.

The lake slowly resumes its currents and eddies and I find myself slowly spreading through it. I feel fear as I strain to hold myself together but canít and realize as everything fades that Iíve failed this last test of wizardry.

The lake is quiet. Clouds drift across the sky reflected in its stillness. A shift in the air sends a slight ripple across the water, distorting the mirror An old woman appears, slowly walking through the soft sand. She is dragging a writhing body with one hand. It seems to contort into different angles and odd shapes. Snorting and mumbling to herself, she spots the footsteps leading down to the lakeís edge. She follows them down to the shore, still grousing to herself.

Looking over the lake, her eyes miss nothing and she sighs. One hand lifts into the air to begin the spell of summoning . The other hand firmly holds the lost reflection of her apprentice who had over reached herself again.

The End

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