Encounter With a Spring Goddess
Ghosts of the Past
Fantasia Divinity Publishing 02/11/2020
A collection of the best stories published by Fantasia Divinity in the year 2019. Featuring 20 stories, this multi-genre anthology is sure to have something for everyone!
Authors: Connor Sassmannshausen, Claire Davon, Sammi Cox, Susan McCauley, Eddie D. Moore, Rebecca Buchanan, Diane Arrelle, Clara M. O’Leary, Amber M. Simpson, Elle Turpitt, Kate Coleman, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Zoey Xolton, KA Masters, Emma-Rae Jensen, Fanni Suto, Chanelle Loftness, Cindar Harrell, Dan Rice, Stacey Jaine McIntosh and R.A. Goli.
The goddess summoned a gown made of fine silk and smelling of flowers. Her bower was resplendent with flowering vines and a carpet of moss underfoot as it had been ever since she first came to sentience countless centuries ago. The colors and variety of vegetation changed, but it was always ready upon her awakening.
In the distance she heard the rustle of creatures and the cheep of songbirds. She loved and appreciated all living things down to the smallest ant that made its way through the soil. She could feel them as pings of tiny consciousnesses on her awareness. She opened her arms and took in all of it, her mouth widening into a smile.
It was good to be awake.
She glanced at the basket overflowing with spring fruit even though their ripening was a few months off. Artio rose and went to it. She did not need sustenance, per se, but she enjoyed the flavor of food. Selecting a peach, she bit into it, savoring the flesh and juice of the fruit. Another filled the space where this one had been.
She regarded the peach pit. Within it held the promise of future life, just as winter was yielding to spring. Artio wondered where she would emerge in the world. In past seasons she had not come out in her former lands, now known as Germany and Switzerland, but others, like the wild steppes of Russia where spring was fleeting and the mountains in Chile where other gods reigned. Her cave was outside normal Earth, and her place in it not fixed.
A cardinal landed on her threshold, turning its head this way and that before hopping into her lair. She held out her hand and it went to her. She offered the fruit to the bird and the cardinal pecked at it. Then it cheeped “teeooo” and flew off. That was the first brave soul to venture inside now that she had wakened. There would be more.
Her hair was all shades of the rainbow, laying in heavy locks around her shoulders. The strands nearest her were the orange of the fruit and the purple of pansies.
Artio selected some other items from the basket and laid them on the hearth for the creatures that would gather there. Something compelled her to not linger and investigate. She could feel it pulsing; a pressure to head into the early spring air of her location and see what was out there. That there were bears there was no doubt, she could sense her familiar animals in the caves close by. There were always bears where she landed.
She picked up a cloak that lay nearby and slung it over her shoulder. This bear had given its hide to her when it died—she would never kill one of her beloved creatures for its skin. She did not need the warmth but it made her more comfortable. It also reminded any she encountered that bears were her familiars.
She stepped outside into a world that still had glints of snow on the ground. Artio stopped a moment and inhaled the rich scent of woods and soil, of the promise of plenty to come tingled with the tang of cold still sharp on the air. Something had awakened her before her time. She adjusted the basket while she tried to ascertain where she was. After a moment she decided she was in America, although it had had another name long ago. A name came to her: Wyoming.
The defiant roar of an angry female bear penetrated her senses. Artio realized that was what had woken her. Her bears would not be harmed. If a human dared…they would pay. With a frown marring a face that appeared young, but nonetheless held great wisdom, Artio turned to the distant sound and began making her way quickly toward it.