The black wolf trots up the mud path, tail swaying slowly. Nose up, eyes an amber, the wolf travels the familiar route.
“You’re late,” a voice comes from a straggly casuarina tree. This far into the year, the casuarina grove is dry, parched for rain. The pine-like needles whisper in the slight breeze. The black wolf stops and sits on her haunches. Her nose breathes in the salt-laced air. Conifers, says another voice deeper in her mind. Convergence evolution.
“Never late,” the wolf replies and becomes a human female, dark of hair, pale of skin. She brushes the sand off her bare skin.
“Oh bah,” the voice from the tree resolves into another female form with short cropped hair and fey features. The women embrace tightly.
“Come, they wait for us,” the fey woman leads the woman formerly a black wolf up the path. “Beltane starts early and we don’t want to waste the fire.”
“You built a fire?”
“Beltane needs fire. Don’t worry. We’ll dowse it and clean up. Responsible pagans we’re!”
Above them, a Boeing 737 prepares to land, its wheels visible. A low roar fills the air, like a waking dragon.
“Yes, Beltane,” the woman itches for her black wolf form, itching to run run run.
“Let’s go. Can’t keep them waiting. We brought curry and a lot of mantou*.”
Together, they walk up the path.
* a kind of Chinese bun.