It had taken Silos Wynter 5 long years to find the place known as Witch Haven. Being the cynical ex soldier turned reporter he was, he had first blown off the tales he kept hearing about Witch Haven, and the woman who lived in it, as nothing more another urban legend. When he had asked the one woman who actually admitted having been there to take him to it, she had smiled at him and replied, "Witch Haven is a place you can enter by invitation only. And you must prove yourself worthy of such an invitation, for the witch who lives there does not like her haven visited by those who would disturb its tranquility."
He didn't know what he had done to make the witch deem him worthy of such an invitation, but one day he had opened a small envelope that contained a gilded edge card, which invited him to begin the journey that would bring him to Witch Haven. The card had warned him the journey would take 13 weeks, and be arduous at times. He had spent time with 13 of the most intriguing people he had ever met upon that journey. And at one point he had to climb a cliff with one of those people, then be picked up by a helicopter that was piloted by yet another fascinating fruitcake.
He had begun to realize halfway through the journey that each leg of it represented a test he must pass in order to continue it. He had also begun to realize by then that even should he fail any of those tests, the people he had met, along with the things he had done, would supply him with a wealth of tales to tell. There were a couple of times along the journey, like when he stood at the base of that cliff, when he wondered if it might be better to call a halt to the journey, and simply be thankful for the experience he had already gained upon it. But, the thought of meeting the woman who had devised such a journey drove him up the side of that cliff, and farther along the path he hoped would take him to her.
Now that he stood in front of what seemed no more than a common, if somewhat large log cabin, he felt a sense of let down for a moment. Then the door of the cabin was opened by the very woman who had once told him that he could only arrive here if invited. She smiled at him, and beckoned him into the cabin. He was shown to a spacious living room that was tastefully furnished with 2 plump couches and several comfortable easy chairs. He sat down on one of the chairs, and watched the electric flames dancing in the belly of a faux fireplace as he waited for the witch.
When she did enter the room, he was at first once more dissapointed by her rather ordinary looks. Not that she wasn't attractive. But, he had hardly expected the barefoot jean clad blonde standing before him. As he rose from the chair she smiled, then extended her hand to him. Her smile seemed to fill the room with a peaceful happiness he had never before experienced. The touch of her hand caused a strange energy to course through him that left him longing to embrace the source of that power. Her green eyes sparkled with more than a touch of mischief as she seated herself in the chair next to his.
"Tell me Silos," said the woman who he had gone through so much to meet, "did you enjoy your journey to Witch Haven?"
That's when Silos realized that despite the perils, and at times uncomfortableness of that journey, he had indeed enjoyed it. "Yes." He replied after a brief pause. "I have to admit, that I did enjoy it. And learned much about myself along the way."
She smiled that same soft smile again, and once more filled the room with peaceful happiness. After studying him again for a moment, she asked, "And do you consider yourself a better person now for having taken that journey?"
Silos basked in the warmth of that smile for a moment, then replied, "Yes. I hadn't thought about such a thing until just now. But, I am a better person for having taken the journey!"
The green eyed witch who already had him completely entranced, smiled again. "Then, Silos, you have learned the lessons well that the journey was meant to teach you."
As he gazed into those sparkling green eyes, and felt her power, he knew that everything he had been told about Witch Haven, and the woman who lived here, was the truth. There really was a woman whose smile could warm an entire room, and heal the heart and soul of anyone fortunate enough to have that smile bestowed upon them. And within the walls of this rather ordinary cabin, she had created a place where true magick existed
Silos had discovered many things at Witch Haven that had amazed him, as well as some things that puzzled him. The green eyed witch's penchant for electric fireplaces had been one of the things that puzzled him. So as they sat in front of the one in her living room, he asked her why it was she used those, instead of real fireplaces.
She smiled that soft little smile of hers, then replied, "Besides being cleaner, and much less hassle, the electric fireplaces are a good reminder for me of how much illusion, can sometimes resemble reality."
Silos gazed into the dancing electric flames, and pondered the witch's answer for a moment. "But surely a wise witch such as youself would need no such reminder."
The green eyed witch's lips curved into a wry smile, then she replied, "Sometimes, the heart of even the wisest witch can believe in foolish illusions, if she lets it."
Silos studied the witch as she spoke, and noted that dancing amongst the golden flecks that sparkled within the green depths of the windows to her soul, was a glint of cynicism when it came to matters of the heart. Silos could understand and relate to that touch of cynicism concerning matters of the heart. "Sometimes," he said, "I think love is nothing but an illusion of the heart."
"No." the green eyed witch replied. "Love itself is not an illusion of the heart. But, it is not as unconditional as many seem to think. Betrayal can destroy it. Especially if that betrayal repeats itself time and time again."
As they were apt to do around this green eyed witch, his lips moved before his brain could stop them, and he blurted out, "But, it wasn't repeated time and time again! And never would have happened again."
She looked at him with a certain amount of sympathy, and replied, "But, was it not a matter of her seeing a history she wanted no more part of, repeating itself?"
He sighed, and felt the indignation fading under her unwavering gaze. He bowed his head and quietly whispered, "Yes."
"And did you not know, at least in part, about that history?"
With head still bowed Silos once more quietly whispered, "Yes."
"Then in your heart," said the green eyed witch, "you know that although she did love you, her history had put a condition on love for her, that had to be met."
Silos raised his head, and under that unwavering gaze of the green eyed witch, finally took full responsibility for what he had done. "I knew how she had been treated in the past. Perhaps not all the details, but enough to know that betraying her in the manner I did, was the worst thing I could do to her. Yet, just to satisfy a moment of pure lust, I did that one worst thing."
"Love," said the green eyed witch, "is a very valuable thing. And like all valuable things, it always comes with some price or another. The question is, are you willing to pay that price? Or is love so meaningless to you, so lacking in value, that any price is too much to pay for it? Was the price, the value of her love, really so hard to pay?"
Silos shook his head and replied, "No, fidelity was a small price to pay for all that she gave to me. I was totally stupid to have thrown away so much, for so little."
The green eyed witch sighed, then quietly said, "Sadly, I have come to realize that people have a tendency to throw love away, for the silliest things."
As he gazed into the dancing electric flames Silos pondered the words that had just passed between them. After a moment he sighed, then said, "It was my heart that was filled with of illusions of love. For had I really loved her the way she deserved to be loved, I would have never taken a woman who meant nothing to me into my bed."
"You have lost a great deal, Silos. But, you have also gained a wisdom now that hopefully, will stand you in good stead should you be fortunate enough to find love again. Just always remember, that as with Witch Haven, there are some things you can never return to once you have left them." Before Silos could reply, the witch raised her hand in a stopping motion, then continued, "No, Silos, you were really the one that left her. The second you gave into that meaningless moment of lust, you broke the bond of love and trust she had given you, and in essence, turned your back on it, and the woman who loved you. When she in turn walked away from you, she was simply completing what you had begun."
Silos held the gaze of the green eyed witch for a moment, then bowed his head in acceptance and whispered, "Is love really so fragile?"
"Yes, Silos. Despite its many strengths, love can also be the most fragile thing in the world. Learn to respect its strengths, but also learn to understand its fragility. Only by doing that, can you truly hold onto it."
The green eyed witch rose from her chair and left Silos to ponder the dancing electric flames, and the lessons concerning illusions of the heart that he had just learned. She had already learned her lesson well concerning illusions of the heart. And those well-learned lessons had put a condition on love for her that she knew no man could ever meet. Witch Haven was built upon the foundation of that condition, and it was why except for her guardians, one visit was all it allowed anyone.
"Why can't I come back? What would stop me from returning?" Silos asked the green eyed witch.
"To answer your first question," said the green eyed witch. "because Witch Haven was built on certain foundations that allow only myself, and those who act as guardians to return to it. And even I have to obey certain rules in order to be able to return when I leave it. I built it upon those foundations in order to protect the Magick that created it, and now resides within its walls and outside boundaries. What will stop you from returning is the fact that once you leave here, any mental notes you make concerning the whereabouts of Witch Haven will quickly fade, then vanish completely. By the time you reach a town where you could buy supplies that would allow you jot down written notes and directions, or call someone with those, memories of the signs and landmarks you saw before arriving at the town will be gone. And should you ask anyone in the town about Witch Haven, they will tell you no such place exists, because to them, it doesn't." The green eyed witch smiled mischievously, then said, "Why even the final fork in the road you took that led you to here, will to all intents and purposes, vanish behind you once pass that fork upon your journey back to the outside world."
Before his visit to Witch Haven, Silos would have scoffed at such a thing being possible. But his visit to Witch Haven had taught him that many things he once thought impossible, happened here. As he gazed into those sometimes mischief filled green eyes of hers Silos gave a soft sigh and said, "A part of me never wants to leave here, and have that road vanish behind me."
The green eyed witch nodded her head once in understanding, then softly replied, "All who come here feel that to some degree. But, you are very much of that outside world Silos. You would not be completely happy here for very long."
Silos knew the green eyed witch was right. Yet a part of him still longed to forever stay within the peaceful boundaries of Witch Haven. Just as another part of him longed to know what it would be like to become entangled in the sweet embrace of the green eyed witch. His mind imagined many things about the green eyed witch, but his heart knew that she would never embrace any man whose allegiance was to the outside world. He understood instinctively that her own heart, as well as the rules of Witch Haven itself forbade that ever happening.
Later, as he looked in the rear view mirror, and saw that final road to Witch Haven shimmer for a moment, then vanish behind him, he knew he would never forget the lesson of love he had learned here. Nor would he ever forget the woman who had helped teach him that lesson. As he drove down the highway, he did not fight the Magick that caused him to start forgetting road signs and landmarks the moment he passed them. He embraced that Magick even though he knew doing so would mean he would never be able to return to the place that had taught him so much about love, and many other things. Witch Haven belonged to the green eyed enchantress whose sanctuary it was, and to the Magick she had used to create that sanctuary.
Silos had begun his journey to Witch Haven a hardcore cynic whose only purpose was to debunk what he considered nothing more than an urban legend. He had ended his journey watching the final road that had taken him to the place where some legends become reality, vanish behind him. He would never again be able to return that wondrous place, but he knew that in some strange way, he would never quite leave it completely because a part of the Magick that was Witch Haven would always be within his heart and soul. For some, the memories of Witch Haven, and the lessons learned there might fade away as completely as the memories of how they got there did. But for Silos, the memories and lessons he had learned there would remain crystal clear the rest of his life.
Even when he was an old man ravaged so badly by the effects of Alzheimer's he could not remember his own name, nor that of the woman he had faithfully loved for 30 years, he would be able to close his cataract covered eyes, and clearly see the green eyed witch sitting in front of the electric fireplace. He would hear her voice as she taught him the lesson of love that would insure his faithfulness to another woman. Then, just for a magick moment in time and space he would be able to open his eyes, and once more see the face of his beloved wife as the beautiful young woman she always remained to him. He would take her hand and softly speak her name, then once more tell her that thanks to a visit he once made to place you could never go back to, his love for her had always kept his heart and body as faithful to her, as she had had been to him. The woman would never know for sure if that place her husband spoke of really existed, but she did know his belief in it and in the green eyed witch had helped make Silos the wonderful husband he was.