A Rift In Thyme

A Rift in Thyme

The Clairvoyant closed her eyes dramatically for a few moments. I sat opposite looking unimpressed as I tried to figure out if she was a charlatan. She re-opened her eyes and gave me a peculiar smile.

“Did you know you have a Muse around you?” she asked.

“A-a w-what?” I spluttered, sounding like a complete ignoramus. Of course I knew what a Muse was – the question just caught me off guard.

The Clairvoyant chuckled at my obvious surprise.

“A Muse!” she confirmed.

“But why would a Muse be interested in me?” I puzzled. My brow furrowed and my lips pursed as I tried to figure it out.

“She is drawn to you because of your strength. She understands what a hard time you’ve been through and she’s amazed at how you keep bouncing back. She is with you to help with your writing, she is your inspiration,” she explained.

I sat there, unmoving, totally gobsmacked. My eyes were wide and my mouth opened so far my chin was only inches from my chest. I realised I probably looked totally gormless
and shut my mouth with a snap. Then my curiosity got the better of me.

“What does she look like?” I asked.

The Clairvoyant paused before responding.

“She has very long dark hair which hangs in ringlets to her knees; she has hazel eyes but pale lips. She wears a long jade green velvet dress typical of the kind worn in the 16th Century and an amulet of some kind around her neck…”

I was so enthralled I cut across her words.

“Yeah, and what else?” I asked impatiently, leaning forward in my chair.

She sat back, looking disgruntled, probably because I interrupted her.

“The lady will tell you the rest when she sees you. I have nothing more for you today” the Clairvoyant said snippily. She held her hand out and I placed two ten pound notes in her palm. She closed her fingers around them as I got up. I murmured a thank you and began crossing the floor to the door.

“By the way…” she called after me. I halted by the door and turned to face her. “Your Muse said for you to mix some Rosemary, Mint and Thyme in a bowl and add two teaspoons of lemon juice.”  And with that, she disappeared behind a curtain.

I hurried to my car and drove the ten miles home as quickly and safely as I could. I couldn’t explain it, but I had a strong compulsion to mix the herbs immediately. After dumping my bag in the hall, I scooted through the kitchen to my little herb garden out the back. I plucked equal quantities of the Rosemary, Mint and Thyme and returned to the kitchen. I grabbed my pestle and mortar from the cupboard and began to crush the herbs into a paste.

When it was finished, I opened the fridge and was disappointed to see I had neglected to buy fresh lemons. I stared at the bottle of lemon juice and, as I had no other alternative,  snatched it and turned back to my workings, carefully measuring the required amount and mixing it into the paste.

Abruptly, everything in the kitchen seemed to shimmer and disappear from sight as a mist swirled through the room. I stood, rooted to the spot as new shapes formed around me and somehow I knew I wasn’t alone.

As the mist cleared, I found myself in a plain room with just a fire for cooking and a large wooden plank on chunky tree stumps as a table. Before me, smiling was the woman the clairvoyant had described.


“A spell, my dear, that caused a magical rift in time, to bring you here,” she explained.

“Wow! But why did you want that?”

“You have been through so much and I wanted you here for some healing. Sit and allow me to explain,” she gestured towards some roughly carved wooden seats guiding me to
them, a goblet in her hand.

“I always performed magical workings with herbs, helping the sick and afflicted, until I was branded as a witch, ambushed and murdered. I will be around to aid you for many years to come and you can visit me when you need to, now drink this potion and I promise you will feel much better.”

I instinctively trusted her. Raising the goblet to my lips I drank the contents without pause. The honey-based liquid had a spicy flavour that I couldn’t place, and it fizzed on my tongue as it travelled. A strong breeze blew through the room and spun me around, faster and faster I whirled like an out-of-control spinning top and the next thing I knew, I was in my kitchen. All
my aches and pains had vanished; I was calm and much more positive about my future. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time I felt this good.

Was all this just a coincidence though? Did I dream it?

I smiled at the goblet in my hand.

Copyright: Carlie M A Cullen 2011


4 thoughts on “A Rift In Thyme

  1. Hi Carlie,

    While trying to catch up on some of my duties, I stopped just for a minute to read one of your pieces. An excellent defense for me to put off some boring stuff (which was likely to happen) because I needed writing inspiration more; coupled with, trying to improve on my writing. To justify my good judgement, for example, what I found was one of your pieces, “A Rift In Thyme.” Indeed, a very nice story, about what many of us have been curious of, and pretend not to be. For example, when the Clairvoyant ask the young woman, if she was aware of her “Muse”, she answered nervously, which I thought was cleverly and accurately conveyed. It made me feel what she was feeling. In fact, the whole dialogue was skillfully written. Also, another area that I was impressed with, is how you moved your story along. A craft that takes a lot of practice, to make it balance, as you have done. And finally, what was most impressive was the type of story. The kind that keeps a person in suspense, and wondering what will happen next. An ability you had no problem with carrying out. For this and other reasons, I look forward to more of your work.

    • Hi Phillip,

      Thank you so much for your kind words about this story. I really enjoyed writing it as it’s partly based on actual events, but with some ‘artistic licence’ thrown in. As well as the stories on this site, I probably have another twenty or so short stories waiting to be finished. When I finish writing the final book in the Heart Search trilogy, I really must find some time to finish and post them!

      In the archives there are lots of articles I’ve written with writing tips in which you may find useful. I hope you’ll keep dropping by!


  2. Thanks Carlie, Besides, reading, writing, rethinking and needing to rewrite most work I’ve posted on my site, I sometimes need refueling to get back on track, by reading good writing. My short story writing understanding has improved and so will my production of material, I expect. However, it is a very slow process for me at my level. But, at any rate, I will continue to plod along. And Thanks again, Carlie.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s