Raindrop Caresses An old mambo slowly circles the bonfire. The air is thick with pine smoke.

Her feet follow the drumming and her body sways with the chanting. The voodoo spins round and round. She scans the faithful, her eyes now glowing. The song and rhythm hush as she begins her tale with a raspy voice. “This that I am about to tell ye be the story of the voodoo what causes summer showers.” She looks over the wide eyes of her followers and begins. *** On a sultry evening Ajuoga tossed in her bed. The open windows admitted little coolness from the tropical air. However plenty of night sounds entered, familiar voices of buzzing insects and peeping toads, all calling . . . calling to the darkness in search of mates. The sheet lay tangled at the foot of the bed and her nightgown bunched at her waist to allow any current from the ceiling fan to reach her hot skin. The sticky heat and calls of lovers made her restless. From far away Ajuoga's lover floated in and out of her dreams. In delirium, lost between fantasy and reality, her hands became his, caressing and exploring her own warm curves. Her fire ignited with the heat of the night air and its passions. She sighed wistfully, longing for him so distant. The full moon rose and its light shone into the room. Under its glow lovers' calls grew urgent. It called to those under its dark spell to awaken. Succumbing to pleasures of passion, heat, and magic, Ajuoga rose. She stripped off her night clothes, standing under the patch of moonlight streaming in through a window and lifted the blind. The moon's powers raised the hairs all across her naked flesh. The young witch could not resist the temptations of this night. “Your Highness, may I call upon you?” “Yes, you may approach,” the dark lord boomed from his position high in the sky. “Master, I'd like to request favor of your assistance to send presents for my lover's enjoyment.” “You have served me well and have always been my favorite dark angel. Of course I would be pleased to assist you. However, I must remind you this magic must include the gift of your heart.”

“That's fine. I'd give my heart freely,” she said. “You are quick to decide this matter of great import. He is but a mortal and should not receive such a treasure as yourself.” “Thank you, but I'm certain.”

In the next moments Ajuoga sent her presents rising upward on his moonbeams. Through the moon's powers, she felt her magic rain down in a gentle shower upon her lover, outside in the early evening of a distant tropical locale. They wetted his forehead and nose. She dampened his eyelashes, tips of his ears, contours of cheekbone and jawline, until she could fully visualize the blissful expressions of his face. The softness of her touch made him smile with a warmth that melted her heart. Her desire for him raged into a downpour, running into creases of his nose and lips. His lips were silky soft. She parted them and tried her best to flow within and stream around his tongue. Many times she dreamed of kissing him, wondering how it might feel. Although magic allowed her to perceive, she burned with longing to taste his impassioned kiss upon her mouth. He licked playfully at her gentle raindrops, hungry for more. In frenzied passion she screamed, “Please, Master, please permit me to actually feel my lover upon me!' “No,” Lord Moon said with firm resolution. “I beg you, please!” Her face reddened with rage. Moon's pitted face grimaced. “No. You may not. You should never long for the touch of a mortal! I have dutifully complied.” He sighed. “I now bid you goodnight.” “Wait! Please. When can I feel his touch? I beseech you, please.” “No! Do not beg me for the caress of a mortal; it is beneath you!” “My desires don't belong to you!” Her anger seethed. “I'll curse you then! By powers of Nature and forces of Darkness I declare that you will . . .”

Moon chuckled. “My beauty, do not waste your powers. You cannot harm me; I am your master.” “Only in your fullness do you command me!” Disgusted and having nothing further to say, Ajuoga turned away and pulled her nightgown over my head. “Alright!” he cried out. “I hate for you to be mad with me. Just before I set in the morn, I will gather raindrop caresses from your lover. Then I will pass the heavy cloud over to you here, bringing his magical touch like you just bestowed upon him. However, I cannot provide a true union. That's beyond my power.” “Oh! Thank you, Highness! I'm so grateful.” “You're welcome. I always prefer to see you smile, my little witch.” *** Ajuoga awoke at first dawn, eager for the moon's promise. She looked out of the window to see bright sunshine. What could be wrong? Jumping into her clothes, she ran outside to scan the bright blue horizon, broken only with a few scattered, white clouds. “Good morning, my loveliest dark angel.” “Where's the rain shower you promised?” “Alas, your lover would not comply. He no longer wanted to share your love. I am so sorry, dear one.” Shocked, she couldn't utter a reply. Why had my lover refused? Had I wanted too much? I thought I had been so sure of his heart. “Moon, are you certain? I loved him.” “I'm afraid it is so.” “How?” Tears welled in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks, akin to the fabulous shower she had given her love. But there were no caresses, only feelings of loss and emptiness. She lowered herself to the ground, and wept for what must have been hours as Moon patiently watched from the sky above.

When overwhelmed with grief and could take no more, Ajuoga appealed to the dark lord. “Please help me.” “You look so sad. Tears are a poor substitutes for raindrops, I know.” “Moon, I wish I could sit in the comfort of your glow now. My heart hurts so much. I gave it away to him.” Choking on her tears she asked, “Can you fix it?” “Regretfully, there is no magic that can repair the damage.” His craggy face wrinkled in deep thought. “Although there is one way . . .” “What? Anything!” Moon's grin widened. “If . . . if you will marry me you can be spared the pain of loving a mortal. Promise me that you will become my bride tonight and live beside me in the dark sky. I will love you for all of eternity, my dear. Will you promise?” She hesitated, weighing the choices.“You've been my friend for so long, but my heart is with him.” “Let me remind you, that heartache will plague you forever. Joining me will bring you peace.” She gulped, “Forever?” And then gave a heavy sigh. “I see there's no other choice. I will agree.” “Magnificent! We will be so happy, little one. I must rest now, but eagerly look forward to tonight.” He puckered his lips and blew her a kiss before drawing away toward the horizon. He called back, “Remember, you have given your word and are held to that promise with your life. See you at twilight, my love.”

His words echoed in her mind. Why had I made that promise? But, I couldn't bear this pain. Ajuoga sat alone, trying to consider her fate as the bride of the moon. Instead, her true love and heartache overtook her thoughts. Still longing for her lover, she couldn't understand what went so wrong. While deep in thought she didn't notice Sun gliding over her.

“Good day, dark angel. I see you are melancholy. Not even my rays seem to bring you cheer.” “Yes. I'm sad and confused,” she said squinting up at him. “I found something addressed to you lying trapped behind the far side of a mountain top. Maybe it will cheer you.” Looking up, she saw Sun pulling a small, black cloud. Her heart raced. Was this from my lover? Would it show me his love or his rejection? Why had Moon gathered the raindrops and then chosen to hide the cloud. Was he saving me from further hurt? Or was he jealous? As the cloud passed overhead, it released its gift. A downpour rained over Ajuoga, covering every inch of her body. A lover's embrace. No hint of rejection, only love and passion washing away all heartache. She lifted her face up and his flowing touch hungrily tasted her lips, while impatiently wetting her clothing to reach beneath. She stripped off the wet layers. Her last chance to enjoy her lover's caresses, she cared not who saw her strip naked. So wrong of me to doubt his love. She collapsed onto the soggy ground, smiling and contented as his caresses slowed to gentle raindrops. Now freed from blinding heartache, Ajuoga realized Moon lied and tricked her. Her destiny to marry him shook her soul. She looked skyward and shook her fist. “I curse you, Lord Moon. I vow to never be your bride!” No sooner did she utter those words, than she felt the sensation of a knife renting her heart. A sharp, icy-hot spasm ran under her breastbone and ribs. She gasped to her lover's cloud, “I will always love you,” with her last breath and tasted one last soft raindrop, his kiss goodbye. *** The old mambo opens her eyes wide and searches the circle, reading expressions on

faces around the fire. She smiles a wide, gaping grin with several missing teeth. “You now be told the story of rain showers. When you be wetted by one, remember Ajuoga's voodoo she rains down with every gentle drop, giving her heart to her lover and not Lord Moon. Now be gone all of ye into the night.” Marsha A. Moore www.marshaamoore.com www.marshaamoore.blogspot.com

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