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from Aradia's Diaspora by Susan Woerner

Copyright © 2018–2020 Susan Woerner

Scene 16

The fire roared as if someone had poured gasoline on it, but no one was adding branches or logs, yet it was burning hotter and higher in the night sky. Above it flew owls circling above the flames, catching hot updrafts. They dove, pivoted, spiraled around each other.

The drums became the consuming sound, drowning out even the fire. The drummers did not shapeshift and I ran over to one of them asking how the fire was burning so much hotter when no one was adding fuel. I had to put my mouth basically in her ear in order for her to hear me; she the same, when she answered.

“It is Isobeau and Ruis,” she said, “They are calling up the fire through their sex making.”

I turned back toward the fire. Shielding my eyes from the intensity of the light and heat, I could see beyond it to the woods. Emerging is two’s and three’s were wild animals I’d never imagined would come forward given all the human activity and the fire.

What am I saying? They’re shapeshifters, not afraid of the fire but drawn to it.

For a moment, I thought I was watching a nature documentary on the BBC - not only did these wild ones move into the light of the fire, but they b...

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