“Come here child and let me show you another way?”
I tentatively step forward and reach out for her hand. She looks young and beautiful, draped in strange clothes that shimmer. But I somehow know that she is old. I somehow know she that is ancient.
“Yes, there is another way. It lies alongside the starlight.”
She smiles and takes my hand. Her hands are icy cold, but strangely comforting like cool water on a hot day.
“Just like the Sun warms the day, the Moon looks over the night. And, under Her protection, we can walk in the shadows of this path lit up only by the starlight. Now, child, look up and tell me what you see?”
I look up and suddenly the cosmos opens up before me. Nothing has changed in the night sky. The stars are all there like they always were. But each and every one of them seems to twinkle and gleam just a little bit more. It is like they are all focussing on me and me alone. It suddenly feels like the stars are all looking down on me; thousands and thousands of celestial beings focussing on just me. And they are not randomly scattered across the sky. No, suddenly I realize that the constellations stretching out before me are all ancient markers along a celestial road towards a cosmic infinity.
“Yes, child, you see it now. You see the shadowed path beside starlight that She has given us,” she whispers into my ear. She then takes my face in her cold touch and turns me to look deep into her mysterious eyes, “Child, do you want to walk this path and do you choose to do so of your own free will?”
The starlight from the endless cosmos above me seems to radiate around us. Our beings are shimmering in soft silver light. My mind is swirling in a space much larger than it ever has done before. Thoughts of space and time, light and darkness, stars and suns, and boundless cosmic distances all converge with my human emotions of wonder and joy and peace and happiness and love.
“Yes…” I whisper, “Yes, I do.”
She smiles and a knife that I had not noticed before in her hand slips quickly and quietly between my ribs. Its metal is cold, like her touch, but fire erupts in my chest as it pierces my heart. The sharp pain makes me cry out. This quickly subsides as my warm, pumping lifeblood spills down my front and I begin to grow numb.
I begin to grow cold; cold like her touch.
As a heavy darkness begins to fall over my vision, the last thing I remember hearing is her whispering to the stars, “O Terrible Mistress, we send this willing child on the shadowed path beside starlight towards You and eternity…”
And then there are only the stars.