The night is short and not quite dark. I beat the drum and watch the girls dance around the bonfire, wreaths in their hair, skirts raised hight above their knees. I drum and watch the spirits hovering on the edge of light, kept at bay by the laughter and music.

I drum, drum harder, sweat pours down my chest and my blood boils. The air is full of smells, herbs crushed beneath our feet, juniper branches crackling in the fire.

Then hands circle around my waist, a breath caresses my cheek. She whispers and I follow her into the night. No love is forbidden on the festival of midsummer.

As we sink to the ground, I see a shadow stir among the shadows. We kiss, and a chill ripples through the hot air. She sighs and I know a spirit has slipped past our vigil, in from the otherworld.


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