Hassayampa, the return of Mastema
In the psychically charged vortices of Sedona, with its stunning red rock cliffs that appear to glow a brilliant orange and red in the setting sun, you will find the Hassyampa Crystal Shop. Maven manages the Hassyampa along with her grandfather, Vince, who is a member of the tribal Council of Elders. Maven thought of the shop as her child. She cared for the stones and rocks as if they were actually alive, and in many ways they were. These stones seem to speak to her and she loved them. The soft lighting was positioned in the correct orientation for their particular power. The wavy glass in the large windows made the stones reflection even more dreamlike.
The shop is more than quaint; it was charming, with its whitewashed walls, natural stone flooring, and rough cut shelving, along with dozens of stones and gems; tourmaline, tanzanite in shades from blue to purple, and of course new-agers choice; quartz. Her favorites are the large pipes of deep purple amethyst. Just holding a piece gave her a sense of comfort.
Then there were the angel stones. The common lore was that some tribal members witnessed a group of angels hovering over one of the psychic vortexes and the next day the stones were found on the ground. They were all over the shop, as a curiosity, for comfort, but mostly for protection.
"Gruel, milk, seeds… gruel, milk, seeds," Maven repeated over and over in a whisper.
"I’d rather have a cheeseburger if you’re taking orders," her grandfather laughed.
"Mmmm, cheeseburgers," she grinned, "with green chilies!"
"I’ll take a double… so what’s with the gruel mantra, Pumpkin?"
"It’s just stuck in my head and I don’t know why!" She said as she hugged her shi'nali tightly.
He stared at her intently with a soft smile. "How long has this been stuck in your head?"
"About a week now; it’s very annoying and… crap. It means something… and not like winning the lottery something, huh?"
The old man simply shrugged. "You will know when the time is right. You should talk to your stones; it can’t hurt."
"Tell me, how does the air feel to you?"
She closed her eyes and took stock of what she was feeling. "Interesting…"
"You must close off your aura and open only to the spirit world."
"Yes, grandfather," she whispered, "I will."
Maven spent the afternoon meditating and sensing her stones, while Mellow her Persian cat napped in the sun. She felt especially comforted by the garnets, malachite, and sapphires. She held many others stones in her hand, but kept coming back to the three. She put one small stone of each in a green velvet bag and hung it around her neck on a satin ribbon; it felt good. A garnet for protection in general, malachite to protect from psychic attack and a sapphire to protect from evil. She smiled as she stroked Mellow, when suddenly he jumped up, arched his back and hissed loudly.
"I know, I can feel it," she whispered as she checked to make sure his amethyst collar was secure.
With a crack of thunder out of a clear sky, the front door flew open, and Mastema stepped over the threshold.
Maven stared at him blankly and sighed deeply. "Should I applaud or gasp in terror? Which would you prefer?"
"I see you’re still in your dreary long skirts and bangles, and you’ve actually broken your damned amethyst pentagram. Was it because you didn’t think I’d ever come back, or was it because you sincerely want to face me one-on-one?"
"It’s your fantasy; you choose."
His eyes flashed as he lunged towards her. Mellow hissed and pulled back to attack when Maven put her hand up and stopped him. She made a shushing sound and scratched his head for reassurance.
Mas leaned forward, but stopped short with a growl. "What exactly is in that around our neck," he snarled.
"Oh, this; pretty isn’t it? I should make you one! It would look good with all your bleached blonde hair."
"It’s platinum, and I repeat; what’s in the bag?"
"Garnet, malachite and sapphire; why do you ask?" she grinned.
His eyes narrowed as he growled through clenched teeth. "Are you afraid to face me without all of your pentagrams and superstitions?"
"Ask me what you came to ask, Mastema; Tester of Humans, Master of the Dark, Destroyer of Light, and then leave!"
He worked his jaw back and forth feverishly… and in a flash of sulphur; he was gone.
Maven opened the front door for air as she and Mellow started coughing. She was laughing as her grandfather came in. Vince stared at her with a quizzical look.
"Is there anything interesting going on here, Pumpkin?" Vince said looked around for signs.
"Did you know he was coming, Shi'nali?"
"No, I didn’t know he was coming, but it sure smells like Mas! Tell me what happened."
"He started in with his ‘afraid to face him’ and when he stepped towards me, he stopped. My spirit bag seemed to put him off.
Her grandfather started to laugh; then stopped. "Let me guess… garnet, malachite and sapphire!"
"Yes, and I don’t even know why! I was meditating, and I kept going back to them!"
He smiled and shook his head. "Of course you do, Maven; gruel, milk and seeds."
She looked at him blankly.
"Gruel, milk and seeds… garnet, malachite and sapphire! Little one, you know your spirit guide does not send emails; your message comes more as a whisper on the wind!"
"Of course," she laughed. "I didn’t realize… but I got it right anyway!"
"Yes, your instincts are stronger than any I’ve ever seen. Here", he said as he handed her two stones. "Put one of these in your spirit bag."
"And the other stone?" Maven said as she studied it with a smile.
Her grandfather ignored the question. "So, you think Mas is gone for good," the old man said.
"No, not at all, but he knows he can’t get to me, or you… or Mellow," she smiled, but…"
Her grandfather said nothing, but waited.
"Oh," she smiled. "I will talk to Yuma tonight, and give him the other stone, so do not worry!" Yuma was Maven’s boyfriend; he was tall and thin with long black hair. His black eyes reached into her soul, and she loved him deeply. He was a teacher and guide through Sedona’s red-rock temples and psychic vortexes, but more than that, he shared the love of nature and all living things with Maven.
Vince walked up on top of Cathedral Rock where the magic was strong; and waited. Soon he tired of the game and called out.
"Mastema; I know you are here. Come out so we can talk!"
"Why Vince… how are you?"
"I heard what happened today. Are you not convinced that Maven has and will continue to pass your test? In fact it looks like she’s ahead of you. Why don’t you just concede and move on?" Vince asked with a slight smile.
"I don’t think so. She is strong and knowledgeable beyond knowledge… but there’s something, and I have to find out what that is," said the man with the platinum hair.
"Possibly you’ve never come up against someone with such a strong connection to spirit guides. She has and doesn’t even know it," Vince shook his head. "She is a natural."
"Just another few days and I should know. You’ve walked a long way to get up here; can I drop you some place?"
"Thank you, but no. I do my best thinking when I’m walking," the old man said as Mas nodded and disappeared in a flash.
Yuma and Anubis, his German Shepard stopped in a clearing so his vortex- excursion group could take a short break. Josh started giggling and asked about the Sweat Lodge experience.
"I heard that you have to be totally naked to do it. I guess I really could do that if I had to," he laughed nervously.
"There is no nudity in the sweat lodges here; we all wear modesty wraps. There are lodges that allow stripping off, and some don’t; you have to find one that’s right for you."
"The ones that make you strip off; do we touch each other’s private parts?"
"No, because this is not a sexual encounter; it’s spiritual," Yuma said firmly.
"Okay, so we get in and talk about our problems, and…"
"No, it’s not a therapy group." Yuma said trying to fight off his frustration.
"Please, everyone pick a rock and sit. This will only take a few minutes, but I feel this is important."
"The Sweat Lodge came before Columbus or Cortez. Consider a sweat lodge a church and behave with the same reverence," Yuma said.
"But it’s not a building, I saw a picture."
"The Lodge, or more accurately, the Hogan, is a giant bee hive shaped structure. You enter by crawling through a flap on the side into blackness except for glowing rocks. You sit quietly and the radiant rocks bake your skin in darkness."
"Then what do we do?"
"We don’t do anything; the Shaman chants and summons the Water, Earth and Air spirits.
"I don’t get it!"
"And you probably never will. It is a spiritual journey; calling upon the spirits for guidance, protection and strength."
"Oh," Josh said giving in, and everyone fought the urge to laugh.
"So, about vortexes…" but he was cut short by the site of a silver wolf, standing and staring at him. Everyone fell silent. Then a silver owl landed close by and didn’t move. When a silver squirrel jumped up on a large rock next to Yuma, and chills ran down his spine.
"I’m guessing this doesn’t happen often," an elderly woman said in a whisper, and Yuma nodded. Suddenly all three animals turned and left. He knew it was a warning, but shook it off and continued.
"Spiritual vortexes are points where the earth’s energy fields intersect; called ley lines. These lines are hot spot of energy, producing spiritual and psychic enhancement. Then there is the whole UFOs mythology; that they travel along ley lines, vortexes, and portals into other dimensions. But rather than getting caught up in all of that, let’s continue our hike in silence. They were all disappointed, but agreed. Yuma smiled.
When Yuma entered the crystal shop with Anubis; Mellow jumped in his arms and purred.
"I’ve missed you, too!" He laughed.
"Shouldn’t you and Anubis be answering questions about UFO’s and abductions?" She asked gesturing towards the red rocks.
"Yes, I should be, but I needed to see you more. Tell me what going on."
"What makes you think…" she began.
He tilted his head and stared at her.
Maven laughed and shook her head. "Okay, so Mastema dropped by with thunder and sulphur; his usual routine."
"I see," he mumbled. Anubis started patrolling and growling softly.
"I know sweetheart, he smells bad. So, long story short; my spirit bag repelled him and he left. It was a good thing, because Mellow was about to attack him. Yes, he’s such a good kitty," she smiled as she patted his head.
"Okay then, I will need Topaz and Sodalite for protection from negative emotions, and Malachite for protection from psychic attacks, to start with."
"Psychic attack… Are you expecting some kind of trouble?"
"Just a precaution; I had a spirit warning," he shrugged.
"Was it your wolf?" Maven asked.
"Well, let’s see… a silver wolf, silver owl and a silver squirrel… all at the same time. That’s a warning of mega proportions." Yuma called Anubis and calmed him.
"So your warning was about Mas, I take it?"
"Well, yeah!" he nodded. "Come on, one animal guide, okay, but three all at once? I’m taking this seriously."
"I’m so sorry," she said starting to tear up.
"We’re in this together, along with Vince, Mellow and Anubis," he smiled softly. "How do you figure he’ll come at me?"
"He’ll be looking for your weak spots, so your stones are perfect."
"I’m thinking he won’t come at me head on, so I’m preparing for a psychic attack."
"That makes sense. My grandfather will be close, but I have to face this alone."
"You are never alone," Yuma whispered as he held her close.
"I know," she sighed.
Yuma tossed and turned all night, dreaming of a tall, man with blonde hair. He came into the crystal shop, trying to sweep Maven off her feet. He was a rich cattle rancher, articulate and well educated. He had all the right words to make a woman fall in love with him. He offered her jewels, money, travel and all the riches of the world.
He awoke exhausted, got to his feet and yelled: "Is that it, Mastema? Is that week ass shit all you got?" He knew it was just a dream, but it felt so real. Anubis growled and patrolled the house… searching. Okay then, I’m sleeping with my spirit bag around my neck until this crap is over!
He was waiting for Maven when she arrived at the crystal shop, along with Anubis. She smiled broadly when she saw him, but it soon faded.
"Don’t make me guess," she said as she kissed him on the cheek.
"My spirit bag was next to my bed. Generally that’s close enough, but not for this. This dude is strong! I’m not taking it off… maybe ever." He smiled a stroked her cheek gently.
Suddenly the door swung opened and Mastema entered with a soft growl. Anubis prepared to lunge; Yuma signaled him to stay.
"You had a restful night’s sleep, I trust?"
"It will be better now that I know what I’m dealing with," Yuma said backing away from him.
"You fear me! Excellent, I did make an impact. Maven may not be the weak link, but it looks like you are!" Mas smirked and moved closer to Yuma. They were now in an open area in the center of the shop. Maven started rhythmically stepping from one foot to another joined by Yuma chanting softly, circling Mas and shaking their spirit bags. The chanting got louder and louder, while Mellow hissed and Anubis growled with a fixed stare.
Mas howled like a wounded animal. "Desist!" he cried.
"Not until you concede the test is over!" Maven shouted.
Mas shook shot sparks from his fingertips in an attempt to regain his power.
Maven nodded at Yuma and they chanted louder and continued to circle.
"Stop and listen!" he screeched.
They hesitated and locked eyes, ready to resume before he could pull anything.
"You are both very strong, but together… you are what you seem. I will bother you no longer, however, I have all the time in the world… and one of your children or ancestors may not be as strong!"
"You can come out now, Vince; you were right. I’m sure the council knows already, but let them know I will be back!"
With that, he disappeared in a great flash of light and sulphur.
Vince came out from behind the curtain to the back room and started to laugh and choke from the smell. "I do wish he’d stop that! You did it and he’s right; together you are invincible."
"Thank you for the angel stones, Vince. I should have thought of them sooner," Yuma nodded with a soft smile.
"Sometimes we forget, and we shouldn’t; they should be our first go-to stones. I will be glad to call you grandson, Yuma!"
Yuma and Maven sighed deeply, assured that they could protect their family, their tribe and their heritage, no matter what comes their way.
Cheryl Gray has two stories published in the Twilight Times E-zine:
She has written many sci-fi novels, psychological thrillers, all with paranormal elements. She's completed a sci-fi fantasy: "Retropan, a Space Oddity" and a murder mystery: "Fade to Black".
Check out her Facebook Writers Page: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.gray.927
When she's not writing fiction, she's writing her Facebook Blog: The Sabertooth Sisterhood, “When you've evolved past, and outgrown the cougar stage and boy-toys.” http://sabertoothsisterhood.blogspot.com
Cheryl Gray has a background in advertising and public relations, as well as a Masters Certification in Project management from George Washington University School of Business. However, it's writing what some call dark and quirky novels that walk the line between the paranormal and reality, that feeds her soul.
Read another story by Cheryl:
Published by permission of the author.