Sunday, 16 March 2008


The wind drives the rain in sheets against David's body. He winces as the cold stings his face. His legs feels tired with as his trousers quickly soak through to his skin. The path is muddy and slightly treacherous. He pauses frequently to assess the best way forwards. Calculated jumps take him over larger pools of mud and water. Occasionally he detours around them, through heather that catches at his feet. Ahead clouds skim the folding slopes and hide the horizon. His world becomes only what is immediately around him. His grandmother will be furious with him for being out here, especially in this weather, but his fear has faded. His pace quickens.
The path is now lighter, made of sand and rock as it quickly ascends and leaves the mud behind. The damp does not bother him so much. The exertion brings him to relish the feel of the rain. He reaches the peak and the land flattens off. Ahead, he knows, is a plateau that stretches for miles. The level ground is filled with the warp and weft of streams, bracken and heather. Startled, a moor hen suddenly cries out ahead of him and flees deeper into the stunted bushes. He keeps on. He is not far now.
The clouds lift slightly and his view suddenly extends over the whole of the valley. On the peak of a small lip of land the blackened stones stand out against the sky. He runs up to the first of the three and kneels beside it. He pays no attention to the damp cold seeping into his trousers. His hands run over the rough surface of the stone looking for the faint cups and spirals that remain after centuries of weathering. He feels the vibrations pass through his fingers and leans closer to listen. On the edge of his hearing he finds it, the ringing beats of the rain against the rock. A thin membrane between worlds is being shaken by the sound and sings out with an alien song. Beneath the hard surface of the stone another world is bubbling up against ours.

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