Aphelion Issue 265, Volume 25
September 2021
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Dragons Guard The Moon

by Theresa C. Gaynord

There’s an old wives tale about a writer who buried his life story in the garden behind his southern home trusting that someday it would be unearthed and understood by a gentle soul, a chosen soul, a soul that knew about the power of incantation and the ramifications of a world without balance, a soul that would leave red footprints of fire wherever she walked.


The scent of flowers wafted through the winds of Hartselle, Alabama and the whole town seemed to have a sleepy abandonment to it. I felt as if I was in the beautiful surreal world of traditional America but at the same time I also sensed its watchfulness. There was an uneasy feeling to the land, a sensation of unfinished business and effigies to the dead. I don't know why I felt the sudden urge to pray but I did. Maybe I wanted to penetrate Heaven, to reach in and bring him back to me. This place was his home, it was where he lived and died, where he spent hours telling me that he loved me, so my spirit would remember when he was gone. And now his words are circling around me in his absence. Was it his destiny to die when he did, like he did? Is it my destiny to spend the rest of my life grieving for him? I think maybe it was/is. Perhaps the lesson resides in our souls, in reaching what breaks us so that we can grow into stronger, more compassionate beings. Heaven has a way of pulling itself away from the decaying Earth, yet I still cannot help but believe that with the decay comes renewal.

Renewal for me came at the closing of each day, when the sky turned a deep blue, and the air was sweet with the scent of flowers. The night always added a little side-step to the routine of daily life. I sat on the front porch swing of our home watching the lizards skittering through the front yard, lifting their heads to the silvery rays of the full moon. The open road held a white mist that rose and fell against the blinking lights of the fireflies. I remembered how he and I would amuse ourselves on nights like this, sharing gossip about the neighbors and recalling the time we made love by a magnolia tree. But country roads always have blind curves, and the day he died was when I encountered them. It's always been surprising to me how you could be walking down a certain path and get yanked back to the point where you're left dragging through the underbelly of life. Alone and without direction.

"Turn the page and get over it!"

I listened to the rhythms of the house and felt his presence, heard his voice, saw him standing there holding his pet tarantula Gwennie as she caressed his face with one of her appendages.

"Fuck you!" I say. "You promised to never leave me and you did."

The orphans of the night are wailing but I can't seem to hold them when they cry.

There's a name somewhere, on the tip of my tongue, estranged. My body adjusts and stretches out as my head hits the pillow of soft silk. I miss you, (I think to myself) miss you, as I rock back and forth slowly suspended.

When I awoke the next morning the sun was just starting to rise over the rim of the house. My stomach was rumbling. Sometimes I can forget to eat for days. It was raining heavily and as I got up from the porch swing, a lizard darted out from the base of the steps and crossed the pathway in front of me.

"I love thunderstorms!"

"I know sweetheart, I know," I said to myself and went out back to the garden. The altar to Brigid held food and gifts that were soaked with the downpour. I took the straw image of the pagan goddess of fire in my hands and walked through the wet red earth back to the path that led to the house. Sepia tones seemed to blanket the area. I trampled through the stairs weary from gravity leaving footprints in my wake as Azaleas and Roses bloomed from a very special diary. His diary.

2020 Theresa C. Gaynord

Theresa likes to write about matters of self-inflection and personal experiences. She likes to write about matters of an out-of body, out-of-mind state, as well as subjects of an idyllic, pagan nature and the occult. Theresa writes horror, as well as concrete gritty and realistic dramas. Theresa is said to be witch and a poet. (within the horror writing community).

Find more by Theresa C. Gaynord in the Author Index.

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