Salamander

“Fulfill your divine potential. Connect with your higher self and spirit guides. Manifest the life you want,” read the brochure.

It sounded like a good idea at the time, but sitting there, in a circle of misfits, Jess regretted going along and wondered how she could politely excuse herself.

A woman with long white hair rang a little bell to announce the meditation was about to begin. People hushed their soft chatter. They nestled on their cushions, getting comfortable.

“Okay. Let’s begin. My name is Isadora. I will be leading the guided meditation with you tonight.”

Isadora glanced around the room, smiling warmly. She wore long flowing clothes in shades of pink and white. Her neck and fingers were adorned with gemstones. Jess hated her immediately.

“Let’s close our eyes. Begin by taking a deep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth. And another deep breath in…and out. Allow all the thoughts and worries of the day to slip away. Become fully aware of your body. We’re going to count backwards from ten and you will gradually feel more and more relaxed. Ten…”

Reluctantly Jess closed her eyes. She would just have to sit through this and leave as soon as she could. She peeped through squinted eyes at the others in the room. They were a random group from all walks of life: a well groomed business man fresh out of the office, a twenty something Goth girl, a middle aged woman in gym gear, a plump woman in a brightly printed kaftan and matching head scarf.

Without dropping her smile Isadora gave Jess a stern look. Jess quickly squeezed her eyes shut.

“You are standing in a beautiful forest; a lush, green, beautiful forest. It is a warm sunny day. You are walking through the forest and soon you reach a clearing. Standing in the middle of the clearing is someone waiting for you. It is your spirit guide. Feel the rays of love coming from your guide, they are so happy to meet you.”

Jess was standing in a beautiful forest. A lush, green, beautiful forest. A short way ahead there was a clearing. She walked towards the clearing as she was instructed. There was something there. It was so bright that her eyes began to sting; she couldn’t look at it directly. Jess didn’t feel joy, she felt a heavy sinking dread – an immobilizing terror. The being was menacing. It appeared to be made of flames, flickering and lashing. Jess looked around, frightened. The lush, green, beautiful forest had become dense and dark, stretching upwards, closing in on her. She couldn’t escape this imagined landscape; there was no way back.

“When you feel ready you may approach your guide. You may hug them if you wish, do what feels right for you. Ask them if they have a name.”

Isadora’s calm steady voice continued to drone on in her head, but Jess could no longer focus on the words.

The temperature was rising quickly, the atmosphere had become a blistering haze. Jess was sweating; she felt faint. The strange being approached her. It came close, dancing and twirling in front of her. The waves of heat were scalding; she could smell her hair smouldering. Tiny shooting sparks flicked at her, each one inflicting a painful burn. Jess opened her mouth to scream and the being leapt in. It slid down her throat and zapped around furiously in her belly. Her stomach began to sizzle. The sensation of being burned from the inside out was excruciating. She dropped to the ground screaming. She rolled around clutching her stomach, but the fire was within her and she couldn’t extinguish it. The looming dark forest exploded in flames.

“…And when you are ready, open your eyes. You are now fully back in your body and safely grounded.”

Isadora’s voice cut through her vision and Jess found herself sitting on the cushion again.

Around her, the others had begun to stretch and move. A few people were shedding quiet tears of happiness and awe. The kaftan wearing woman was chanting ‘Om’. Isadora rang her tiny bell again to bring attention back to the circle.

“Okay. I hope you all enjoyed that visualization. Would anyone like to share their experience?”

“My guide was a Native American warrior,” blurted the businessman. “He gave me a large white feather.”

“A white feather!” said Isadora, impressed. “Wonderful. Very powerful.”

A lively discussion began as people exchanged details of their spirit guide experiences, comparing mysterious details and imagery.

Jess sat quietly, feeling very shaken. Her experience had seemed so real, so awful. She remembered the smell of her hair burning and the sensation of burning up inside. She hoped no one would ask her about it. She looked around the room, growing more anxious. It was starting to get so hot and stuffy. Thick smoke streamed from an incense burner, forming a mist in the room. The sweet scent was nauseating. Candles burned around the circle. Jessica watched the flames rise and flash brightly. She wriggled uncomfortably as panic began to set in. She must be imagining things, she thought, she had to get out.

“Are you okay, dear? Do you want to share your experience? Sometimes our guides challenge us because they know we are ready to grow.”

Isadora was speaking to her. She was still smiling that infuriating smile, that feigned wisdom and compassion.

The others in the circle turned to stare at Jess. Jess felt a strange force stir within her and she struggled to speak.

“My guide…my guide is…my guide is fire!”

The smile on Isadora’s face didn’t falter, she stared at Jess, not understanding.

Jess began to shake, a blind rage rose within her, building momentum. A deafening screech erupted from her as she lunged at Isadora, bowling her over. Her hands gripped her neck and squeezed. Jess watched in shock and delight as flesh melted and oozed in her hands. Muscle dripped away from jawbone, revealing rows of long teeth; the tongue was sizzling sludge. Isadora’s eyeballs blistered then popped. Foul grey smoke streamed out of ears and nostrils as her brain boiled. Soon, all that remained of Isadora’s head was a charred skull with a mocking smile.

The room had erupted into screams. Jess stood and faced the others, her eyes glowed like burning coals. Candles flashed, alighting curtains and furnishings as people tried to escape. The sacred circle was now a ring of flame.

 ~ Magenta Nero

© Copyright 2015 Magenta Nero. All Rights Reserved.

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About Veronica Magenta Nero

Veronica M. Nero writes dark and weird fiction. She hails from Italy and currently resides in the Northern Rivers, Australia.

19 responses to “Salamander”

  1. jonolsonauthor says :

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    SALAMANDER by Pen of the Damned’s Magenta Nero

    Like

  2. blazemcrob says :

    Great story, Magenta! I never did trust those full of love and goodness gurus. Jess is my hero. 😀

    Blaze

    Like

  3. Joseph Pinto says :

    Love, love, love, Magenta! 🙂 I try to visual all the time…but here, you’ve taken it to another level! I think Jess is going to get along with her guide just fine… 😉

    Like

  4. adeleulnais says :

    Beware the pitfalls of guided mediations. Loved it. Perhaps we have all met or known a woman like Isadora, I know Ive met quite a few. Loved the story as always. Have you written a novel?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thomas Brown says :

    Reblogged this on THOMAS BROWN and commented:

    From the talented Magenta Nero:

    Like

  6. Thomas Brown says :

    Wonderful, Magenta! Your stories always mesmerise me. Loved the transition from sacred circle to ring of fire, and the guided journey to get there.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hunter Shea says :

    Love it! In all my years of meditation, I never was able to melt someone with my touch. I have to go back to the drawing board! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    A great tale, Magenta! I love the corrupt meditation. So much for the Zen zone. Salamander is a terrific twist on the typical new-age version of ‘finding oneself’ – I’d say Jess found more than she was bargaining for! Loved it, lovely one! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tyr Kieran says :

    That self righteous bitch got what was coming to her. Jess kicks ass! Captivating tale, Magenta, I love the spirit animal of fire concept and it’s beautifully written. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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