Mortals go missing every day. Check the internet. Last year’s statistics suggest that over 600,000 people disappear each year in the United States. More men than women abscond from their immediate circle, with the average age being 34 years old. These missing people either wander off and get lost, leave voluntarily, or vanish against their will. Many are located, others are gone without a trace. Most go unnoticed, adding to the elusive nature of human existence.

Highlighting the tops of the hills, the sun put an end to the night. Snuggled into my armchair with a steaming cup of coffee, I felt very pleased with the way the dust settled around us.

“My goodness, Panacea, this coffee tastes exceptionally good this morning. I trust our guests had a restful evening. I must excuse myself, though. I have a few things to attend to before they wake up. I want their first day with us to be pleasant in every way possible!”

Return to the form that you once were,

Whether that be scale, feather or fur.

Human energy, I relinquish thee,

And as my word, so shall it be.

“Thank you, guys, again for helping us out last night! As for the mess out here.”

Return to the form that you once were,

I expel all chaos that has occurred.

Restoring order, I set you free,

And as my word, so shall it be.

Feeling settled and ready to relax, I walked back to the sunroom.

“Good morning, Suzanne!” I said cheerfully.

“Good morning! I cannot get over how beautiful it is here. And this view! Is this something you had built or?” Suzanne let her question trail off.

“Yes, and no. My dear friend Panacea left this place to me. I don’t know about you, but I like adding that personal touch. This wall of windows is something that says, Circe. I am a sun worshipper from dawn until dusk, which is why the roof is glass as well. Where’s Brady?”

“My best guesstimate is he’s still asleep. His ass was dragging by the time we got here. I totally get it. I was super tired, too, but I LOVE the sun myself. So here I am. I’ve always considered myself to be a sun goddess.”

“You’re a goddess?” I asked with a tip of my head.

“Are you kidding me? I am brimming with divine femininity. Can’t you tell? I know you’re a goddess! Heck, I believe all, well, not all, but most women are goddesses,” Suzanne explained cheerfully.

 “You think I’m a goddess? Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not. Would you care to join me for a cup of tea or coffee?” I asked, interested in her ideas.

“Boy, you’re an in-between kind of girl, aren’t ya? Anyway, coffee is good for me. How about you, Brady? Good morning!”

“Huh? Oh, yes, please. Coffee. Good morning,” Brady said, a bit blearily.

“Talk about timing. Did you plan this late entrance?” Suzanne asked.

“Actually no, Suzanne, I didn’t. I’m still shaking off last night,” Brady said.

“What about it? Us goddesses were just wondering about your ass!”

Pointing to his backside. “This is fine. It’s my head I’m wondering about. Was that a night or a ridiculously wild dream?” He asked, part joking and part serious in his question.

Not knowing where to go with this question, I asked, “What’s wrong with your head? Are you injured?”

“No. I’m not hurt. I just can’t seem to remember how or why I’m here! I know you somehow. I know her, and I know my name, but after that, my memory is gone. Except …”

“Except what, Brady?”

Brady walked across the room. “Except for this stick. I seem to remember seeing this thing before.” He reached for it. “Why? What is it?”

I had no choice. Jumping up, I threw up my hands and shouted, “LARE!” Even my coffee found some hang time as I put a pause on everything in that moment. I needed to redirect the conversation and prevent Brady from touching my wand.

I was so eager to be free from that place I didn’t even stop to think about anything but getting out of there. Introducing Suzanne and Brady into my world did not even cross my mind.

Exhausted by all the excitement, a little time in the garden seemed like the best remedy. It may have only been a couple of days since I was at home, but it felt like an eternity.

Be focused in thought first. Then take focused action.

I had no idea who said that. Looking around, I saw the blue jay challenging me from across the patio. He just stood there with his wings cocked back as if he was ready to wrestle.

“Makes sense,” I replied with a nod in his direction.

You’ve been through a lot, and you have big plans. Ground yourself, Circe. Do not allow recent events to obscure your mind, he advised.

I knew what I wanted. A day of rest and relaxation for all of us was the answer. First things first. A pot of freshly brewed tea was in order. After that, it was a snap getting Suzanne and Brady back to their rooms. Then, with a little conjuring, I altered their memories and reversed the spell.

“What happened there?” Suzanne asked.

“Oh, hey, Suzanne. I was clumsy and dropped the tray of coffee.”

Helping me get things cleaned up, Suzanne and I chatted about some things we might like to do for the day. I suggested beginning with a cup of tea since we were getting such a late start to the day when Brady walked in.

“Good morning, ladies.”

In stereo we greeted him, “Good Morning!”

“Did you guys sleep ok?” I asked, making sure my guests were comfortable. 

Stretching his arms and back, Brady groaned, “How could you not?”

Living on my own for a few years, I couldn’t help but notice his maleness. “Hmmm, hmmm…”

“I know!” said Suzanne.

I was pretty sure she heard me until she continued with, “This place is incredible! Just look at this sunroom!”

“I’m glad. There’s nothing more pleasing to me than your comfort. The view certainly makes it much more enjoyable. How do you feel about kicking back and having a slow and easy day getting to know one another?”

“That sounds great to me, but I should probably call my girlfriend to let her know I made it safely,” Brady said.

Feeling a bit triggered, I probed, “You have a girlfriend, Brady?”

Suzanne didn’t hesitate to ask why he didn’t call her last night.

“I’m not sure, to be honest with you,” he said, his brow furrowed with confusion. 

“No worries, you guys. Your emergency contacts have been notified of your arrival. One of the conditions for this program is no outside communication while you’re here.”

“That seems a bit odd,” he said.

“I understand, Brady, and you signed up for a healing retreat, which means no distractions.”

“How can a guy not be distracted with two beautiful women walking the halls?” Brady said with a grin.

A little puzzled by this remark, Suzanne questioned him, “I thought you said you had a girlfriend?”

Clearly, the fun had begun. I decided to burn a smidge of datura as we drank tea and chatted throughout the day. The blue jay showed up again outside the window to say, You are a bold, noble visionary. It just took the right trigger to unleash these qualities. Or was it the mind-expanding herbs we were enjoying?

It doesn’t matter. The point is its true. I forgot who I was and stumbled a bit since arriving to this new realm. Neither Brady nor Suzanne remembers the jailbreak. Turning them into horses as the walls crumbled, blocked a lot of that from their minds. I did have to do a bit more to rewrite their memories, so that Suzanne didn’t remember her crimes, and Brady couldn’t recall being a cop. That’ll change when they leave. If they leave. No one knows they’re here. No one knows I’m home. People on the outside can no longer see this place. I had made it so we vanished without a trace.

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