“Evocative”

Re-sharing because a certain award winning fantasy writer told me after reading it “wow; you are such an evocative writer” and I’m still taking that in. Also because I didn’t really push or even read it for a long time after publication because a lot was going on at the time. But I do want you to read it and I do appreciate being invited to write in the Caribbean Sky Islands universe because at the time the commission came I was struggling to write again and this lit a fire under me (in part because I like experimenting with genre and this world had a whole fantasy Bible and lots of creative potential). I also appreciate Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters publishing it – they are a great platform with high standards and quality and entertaining output. Re-sharing also because tonight the moon is giving me Ixie and Izzy and I feel like.

It was at Rain Falls, so-called because it only spouted after rainfall. Hard to get to. Ixie herself might not have attempted it if it wasn’t for Gray, as sure-footed a steed as had ever lived, as fond of solitude as she was. They could be quiet with each other for hours.

It was hot. So hot even young lovers might have climbed the risky path of narrow banks, slippery after the recent rainfall, equally slippery rocks for hopping, nothing to grab hold of if you slipped except stray roots and that one sandbox tree that would stab you if you grabbed at its bark without asking. Worth it if they made it for the sweet relief of plunging in to the pool at Rain Falls. The plural was generous; the rock face gave up a trickle, if that, most of the year – but heavy rains increased the flow.

The evergreen forests and body ponds on Antigua had recovered over time as Caribbeaners fought to pull the planet from the brink of extinction forever ago, but the island’s character was still generally on the dry side, making Rain Falls – if one could get to it – a rare treat. Most stuck to the beaches.

Not Ixie, not during peak hours. Too many people and she had always been shy of too many people.

The moon was far enough away that night that she was nothing more than a shadow inside of a shadow as she slipped naked in to the pool at Rain Falls. She felt her way across, keeping to the edge, and climbed up the rock face just a bit. She seated herself right in the water’s path, and when she lay back, it covered her, the cold water a sheet muffling the world and giving her something warm to wrap herself in. She didn’t even need to hold her breath if she angled her chin downwards. And so she could lay there for a while.

After a time, she climbed down and felt, more than swam her way across to a flat slab of rock she spied on the other side of the pool. She lay on it, skin against cool rock, and instinctively began counting stars as she had as a child. Some people said it wasn’t possible to count them all but, who says.

She lay there long enough to see the moon shift and the light change, and for the sparse clouds crawling across the sky to take some kind of ghostly shape. She didn’t think she had slept but knew that at some point she had lost count of the stars. Another night.

She dunked her whole head and stayed under in the silence, eyes open though there was nothing to see but grey-ish blackness lightening by degrees. When she came up and climbed out, she plucked and broke an aloe leaf, the plant just beyond the bank, dribbling the slime into her hand and rubbing it in to her locs, twisting with her fingers, resealing frayed strands. When her whole head was done, she started rubbing her hands against her skin, at her thighs where her hands hung. First to wipe it off, but then, liking the silky feel of the aloe juice, proceeded to rub it in to the soles of her feet, her ankles, up her legs, her backside, her arms, her shoulders, her breasts, down to her stomach, so lost in the self-caress, she did not hear Grey’s warning.

… The horse had waited patiently through the night. Now, she snuffed and fidgeted, as she rarely did, and when that didn’t get Ixie’s attention, she neighed. Ixie looked over to see a man standing, watching.

He was naked too and she instinctively looked down then quickly up which caused his naturally laughing eyes to crinkle. She had a thing for eyes like his. You could keep your bedroom eyes and your soulful eyes, eyes that danced were like music all the time; looking in them you could almost tap out a rhythm. Compelling as his eyes were, Ixie found hers drawn down again. She looked, then looked away.

And he laughed outright at this.

And this sparked some spirit in her. “Laugh pon me.”

“No,” he answered promptly, his eyes sweeping her fully, unashamed. “Not at all.”

And that was how Ixie met Izzy.

“Ixie and Izzy Meet-cute” in Long Love Song published as Ixie and Izzy in
Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters

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