They awake. They are on a plush teal corner sofa, the soft, warm upholstery brushing against their skin. Pandora lies back against rose covered cushions. She wants to rest. Daria is up, alert. She looks around the room. A maid is quietly setting an open fire before slipping out. A bouquet of flowers dominates a mahogany coffee table. The carpet, a deep rose quartz, looks like an inviting pool of lightness.
They are in a Victorian house, quiet and calm, with an air of serenity. A fuzzy black kitten sidles along the mantlepiece. Somehow, Daria knows it is called Scamp. She wraps Pandora’s shoulders in a soft, grey cashmere blanket, before kneeling and pushing Pandora’s feet into the new walking boots that have also arrived, along with them. She notices that the laces are the same colour as the carpet. Pandora stirs and looks around too. She instantly feels at home, and yet also cannot believe she is there. She turns to Daria who is changing into a knitted black dress that was lying over the back of the sofa.
“Shouldn’t your wear something that’s a bit more practical?” she asks.
“That’s your apartment, darling.” Daria nods at the walking boots. “And don’t deceive yourself that you bought those. That was my doing. If it was up to you they would still be in the shopping basket.”
Daria continues, outlining her lips in a scarlet lipstick she spots lying next to the flowers. The lipstick is expensive. Chanel. She would pocket it but the black dress has no pockets.
Pandora opens her mouth to reply, but at that moment a winged white horse bounds into the room from the far corner. Running in slow motion, is it luminous and majestic. The two women fall on their knees before it.
“Up,” the horse nods at them and snorts. “I am Sirocco, one of your guides. Like the wind from the west, I am hot and fast. I will create things in your life you can only imagine. I will blow you out of stagnation, and past fear. I will open new paths, and close down old ones that no longer serve. One day, not yet, I may let you touch me, ride me, but you can never tame me. You have another guide, White Wolf, and she will join us soon. I have to ask, are you ready?”
Sirocco turns to Pandora. She nods pensively, half-worrying about whether she should be getting back to her to-do list.
“And you?” he asks Daria?
“How long before we can ride you?” she laughs.
“When you are quite ready,” Sirocco replies. He doesn’t laugh at her brashness, but he likes to see it.