Anya Petrichona, the guardian of an ancient amulet that permits entry to the supernatural realm, is pursued by a maniacal preacher. While seeking refuge in the New Mexico Mountains, she becomes snowbound with the enticing and gallant Luke Calico.
As Christmas Eve approaches, Anya's and Luke's ardor sizzles even as the preacher's malevolence henchmen encroach. Survival depends on Anya outwitting the preacher, bent on abusing her powers, and resistance to a seductive, demonic spirit.
“There’s just one thing.” She cut him off but gently. “Something you need to know. You might change your mind about marrying me once you do know.”
“I can’t imagine...”
Shaking her head to still his words, she took his hand in hers, looked at Bradford, and offered a hand to him as well. “You too.”
The men exchanged glances, but Bradford put the Bible to one side, accepting her hand. Closing her eyes, she let loose a lingering breath, then another. They stood like that for so long, Luke was about to question it when the room dissolved around them.
Misty fibers of surrealism surrounded. Colors exploded on the horizon. The sky swirled white within its blue backdrop. What could only be thought of as ancient dwellings floated on tufts of suspended green soil, root tendrils connected one locale to the next.
Winged creatures radiant in reds, greens and golds clustered in the distance, defined as individuals one moment then blurred as if out of focus the next.
Small pools of orange water seemed to reflect a sunset that didn't exist were filled with concentric circle ripples as the heads of serpents rose and sank, their scales iridescent, winking in and out of blinding brilliance. Apparently violently screaming, mouths wide, spittle propelled, yet no sound emerged.
What could be considered sirens, though in actuality demi-goddesses-in-waiting, sat upon the rocks of those small lakes. They swayed, moving in a semblance of dance, arms outstretched, elegant hands turned upwards, beseechingly. Faces flashed between banshee and saintly, as they exploded alternately into melodic prayer and enticing song. The conflicted nature of these seductresses was quickly apparent, knowing they would become the siren, the mermaid, the hag, the cherub or the angel.
If one watched closely, these iconic images moved in place and in each other, changing the vista constantly. Soft breezes touched upon flesh. There was a feel of sun-warmth but no sun could be seen, while pleasing scents waft about, nearly intoxicating. It was a place like none other, a place one could blend with and wish to stay, yet it was also a place of reverence and mystery. It made one not wish to linger long.
“Where?” Bradford choked out.
“Shhh, keep your voice low. We don’t wish to disturb the realm.”