When they got to a ranch below Santo Christo Mountain, the golden chariot of Apollo was about to finish its daily race in the sky hippodrome, making a way for the staging of the nocturnal goddesses in Moon and Evening Star dresses. The earth was changing its mood from vivaciousness of a pretty young starlet to sensuousness of a beautiful mature actress with sultry duskiness of impending sunset. The wild plain looked as if it were waiting for the sensual pleasure that the goddesses would bring to the rough and tough arms of the ruggedly handsome wilderness for their nightly play of love when the celestial blanket of Uranos, the god of the sky, softly covered the body of Gaia, the goddess of the earth, to ravish her divine being all night long. As a constellation of stars was starting to appear in the heavenly vault, the tribe of adventure was also starting to call it a day’s journey and hurrying their horses to the gate of the ranch. They were all hungry and tired, but the spirits were still resisting saying good night to the world. What they really wanted at that time was a sumptuous repast, consisting of fresh fruits, hot meals, and warm bread with butter and jams. Soup and drinks were more the welcome, if the host would turn out to be a generous one. Raphael, who was the hungriest of all, knocked on the door and waited for a welcome response. A high hope for blissful heaven, indeed.
“I am coming!” answered the voice from the other side of the door with the playfulness of an adultescent grown man, which might sound impish to the quiet ears of those who fiercely protective of privacy. That’s how it sounded to Judy and her canine companion Nena who started barking as the footsteps from the other side were coming closer to the wandering tribe. Looking at Nena incredulously, Judy began to feel nervous about who would open the door because Judy had an acute sense of detecting any sign of supernatural and natural beings from this world and the world beyond; it was an uncanny ability that she inherited from her also unusual mother estranged from her own family for the unreasonable reason. For they had persecuted her for being a witch, condemned to eternal damnation, because it was against their Catholicism they believed in a medieval fashion, and even put her in a mental ward for being crazy. Yet Judy knew that her mother was from a long and mysterious line of ancient sibyls existent in all cultures even before the birth of Christ and believed that the reason she and her mother had been born into such scurrilous, Scythian family of hypocrites was a mysterious reason she had to figure out by herself. And she believed that this adventure with the offbeat trio was part of this mystery. What’s more, the irritably vivacious man’s voice from the inside must be a tessera that the Fates had intentionally put in an inscrutable puzzle that had challenged Judy to solve – all alone.
The wooden door was opened when Judy fell into the moments of mental vertigo, and there appeared a tall, good-looking man with blond hair and very pale blue eyes that sparkled even in darkness like the fluorescent lights on the deck of Flying Dutchman. Judy was properly aghast at the extraordinary sight of the beauty and instantly forgot all, including Rufus, Ben, and Raphael who were not as surprised as the lass by the sight the comely fella. But Nena was still barking at him more fiercely than before as if the man had been a malevolent spirit in a handsome actor’s hide. Nena was barking harder and longer as though to wake up Judy from a portent evil spell. The beautiful man, the mysterious owner of the ranch, looked at the scene in silence and smiled at them like a spectator of an amateur comedy on stage. The night was still very young.