I sit in the Garden at Barn Swallows’ Dance — a sacred place that exists nowhere but in my imagination. Dappled sunshine flashes as a breeze stirs the twinned apple trees that sit atop a mound. It could be spring or winter, because in the Garden time makes no difference; the Garden remains protected by an unseen force.
A petite woman with curly golden locks walks into the Garden. “I’m sorry — ” she says and makes a motion to leave.
“No, it’s okay,” I tell her. “I already know your secrets.”
“Oh.” She drops down next to me as if deflated. “How do you know my secrets?”
“It’s okay. I’m the writer.”
Laurel takes a deep breath, and her demeanor changes. The timid shell evaporates and she holds herself with purpose. “You know who I am, then.”
“An Archetype. An immortal.” I pause, gathering my words so I don’t give away more than she’s ready to hear. “A holder of human patterns, of cultural memory. Our cultural DNA.”
“Yes. I can feel it — I’m a part of something bigger than me.” In her voice I hear a shadow of millennia, of great personal power, of weariness. “But I don’t know what that is. I’m told that I’m six thousand years old, but I remember nothing except the past twelve years.” Laurel gave a wry smile. “Twelve years of living underground without an identity, hiding the freakish parts of me that I’ve just learned are my legacy.”
“I promise that you will get your memories back. You will know who you are.” Again, I pause, because I know her future, with all its strife, and its unbelievable burden.
“I think Adam knows, but he’s not telling,” Laurel sighed. “Adam can be pretty annoying at times.”
“But you like him,” I prompt.
“I’m afraid so.” Laurel smiles sardonically; dimples show in her cheeks. “He’s endearing, even when he’s being arrogant.” Her smile fades. “But he knows who I was. Who I am. He’s hiding something, and I don’t know what he’s hiding. And — “
“I’m afraid to find out.”