I'm running, and I know there is no way I could be moving at this speed. I have a bad knee, and a heart complaint that will usually floor me well before this. The trees are whipping by me, they blur into shadows.
As I reach the edge of the deep wood, coming out on the scrub and younger growth, I leap. It is not simply that I jump, feet leaving the ground. There is a magnetic repulsion, a sense of a pull being broken, and turning to resistance. I fly.
I am rushing at great speed over the meadows, the little trailer houses below. Over vast lakes, until the world changes. The colors shift, and the air no longer stings my eyes. The world beneath me glows with a light I cannot locate. I see below me spirits, they stretch and writhe beneath the moonlight, anchored with their feet in the earth - Wort-devas. Others fill the sky with me, further and nearer. Some wear nothing, some fly on their own, some are animals or with animals. Some are astride instruments like brooms and distaffs (among them I am pleased to discover a Nimbus 2000). One rides a hobby-horse with coal-red eyes and dangling, articulated, legs.
I see a fire below, it whips with every color, and smells sweeter than any incense. In it I detect notes of Oak, of Pomegranate, and sweet gum. I smell blood, and meat, and spices. Nothing in the world of my birth has ever smelled this alluring, or sweet.
I settle to the ground, feeling the push become pull and the world accept my feet again. Here there are beasts dancing. Some are witches like myself, wearing masks or strange costumes, some are spirits who have never known flesh, clad in a manner that is designed to shock, and frighten. These people are my kenfolk (not KINfolk, KENfolk.). I join the music-making, slapping along to the rhythm on my knees. My body is my body, and is not my body. I'm neither sex, and yet both.
Someone passes a pot filled with incense. I feel it with my fingers, identifying it's contents. I know that if, when I return to my flesh, I burn this on a woodfire, I will cut a much simpler door. I won't have to fly so far, or run for so long. I will be able to stay longer, and dance more. I cast a handful into the fire, and it sparks brilliantly. A whooping cry goes up from the Host. I've made a contract, an agreement to return.
We dance, and run, and play games. I am offered wine and food which I decline. Here, I cannot eat, not that I don't want to. Everything smells so perfect, so delicious. I swear I've been offered curry - the bastards. What I eat here would disgust (if not anger) even the Kindly Host, who's appetites shock humans with ease.
Soon, off in to the West (WEST?! ... Yes, West) I see the sky begin to pale, the night is rewinding into day. So this is how we may remain here for years, and not age? Funny, I'd never noticed. This is the signal that we all need to depart. Some fall through the soil, some rise to the air on tools. Some take wing or paw. I run, run with wolves, deer, and hares. A firefly has hitched a ride on my head, flashing and laughing (clickityclick!). A howler-monkey swings from tree to tree. Our rag-tag pride enters the wood, we run until the field clears and one by one - pop -, we awaken, panting and laughing.
Who would not risk death by fire, for life by the fireside?