Falling into light, p.1
Falling Into Light, p.1Blair MacKinnon
Falling Into Light
Copyright 2016 Blair MacKinnon
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Sunlight dancing – off windows, in hair. Conversation and laughter mingle with the song of a modern troubadour sitting at the Market Cross. Savoury aromas and incense tickle my nose. A perfect summer’s day in Glastonbury Market, a delicious 100 Monkeys lunch inside me and yet ….. and yet, I am restless, unquiet.
I gaze at my reflection, troubled. The young man in the tie-die T-shirt and jeans reflected in the bookshop window looks like me - tall, tousled sandy hair over blue eyes inset in a friendly, freckly face - but he seems lost, lacking depth, hollow. And there it is again, pricking at the back of my mind, that feeling that there is something I should be doing, some purpose I should be following. I hear Taylor Swift singing as a car passes by and I shake off my unsettled mood, dismiss the pricking thought. Life is good just drifting with the flow, seeing what there is to see, experiencing what there is to experience. I am a leaf on life’s wind and perfectly content with that. My smile reasserts itself and I resume my stroll down the High Street.
A sparkling flash of rainbows comes towards me, abruptly interrupting my sunny mood. I catch it reflexively. A small clear quartz crystal sheds shards of rainbow light in my hand.
“Well caught young sir.”
I turn to see an old woman, silver-grey hair over a smiling face that holds the weight of ages in its wrinkles. Crystals sparkle in the sun from her ears and around her neck. Her dress is a work of art, an iridescent teal blue embroidered with fantastical creatures. I see unicorns, griffins and a phoenix rising from the flames. She looks small and frail, barely coming up to my shoulders in her worn leather sandals. Her eyes though, her eyes are deep green pools that touch my soul. I find myself unable to move.
“I believe I have some words that you need to hear, Garyth” she continues in her soft voice. There is a trace of an accent – Italian? Spanish? Something else? And how did she know my name?
There is an air of stillness about her so profound it seems she is a still point around which I and the rest of the universe are revolving. She smiles, showing perfect white teeth, as she dips into her brightly coloured shoulder bag and pulls out an amethyst pendant. She holds out her hand to me, palm up. The pendant swings in a slow circle, its silver chain wrapped around her fingers. I notice her nails are opalescent swirls of colour. Her voice is gentle as she says:
“My name is Iridis, please take my hand.”
I do so and fall into darkness.
There are no words, only sensations – sight, sound, touch, smell and ….. understanding. Hot sun on my shoulders, I smell grass and dust, I feel the grass under my feet, I hear them pounding on the ground. I, no we, we are running. A woman runs beside me, dark-skinned, curly black hair, clutching a child to her – our child. She is Sun – her smile is like the rising sun in the morning. Our child is Sky – the sky lives in her eyes. We run on a grassy plain that stretches either side of us. Our breathing is becoming ragged, we are tiring but that which pursues us is deadly and will not give up the chase. We must keep going. Ahead of us a rocky cliff-face rises skyward. Safety beckons if we can find a way to climb it. I glance behind. Yes, the beast still follows us. We must find a way, we must.
The ground is stony now, sharp rocks everywhere, and we slow our pace – a fall here would be death. We reach the cliff-face, feel the sun’s heat reflected from it. It rises sheer above us, featureless, smooth – there is no escape here. Frantic, I search for anything I can use as a weapon but there are only rocks and they will not be enough. I have only my knife, my spear was lost when the beast attacked us. I hear a cry. I look up and Sun is beckoning me to come to her, she has found something. There has been a land-slip where she stands, a boulder strewn slope leads to the cliff-top. It will not stop the beast but it offers hope. Stones scatter under our feet and clatter down the slope as we scramble upwards. Gasping for breath we reach the top. We are very tired, we may have to stand and face the beast before exhaustion takes us. I look downwards and the beast is at the bottom of the slope, carefully picking its way upward. A large boulder rests precariously at the top of the slope. Sun and I look at each other, sharing the same thought, surely it will not take much to push it down the slope onto the beast. She places our child carefully on the ground and we move to the boulder. One glance between us and we push with all that we have left. It rocks back and forth, back and forth. Stones crunch, it is going, it is going, it’s gone. Slowly at first the boulder rolls down the slope. Gaining speed it crashes into another boulder and one becomes two, then three, four. Crashing and roaring the rockslide engulfs the beast. A howling, snarling cry echoes as a dust cloud rises and obscures everything from view.
In the silence, I can only hear our breathing and the soft cries of our child. We hurry over and Sun picks her up and comforts her. She has been so brave, our Sky, so brave. The click of stone tumbling over stone freezes me in dread. The sound comes again and again. I look down the slope and see the head of the beast emerging from the dust cloud. Slowly the rest of its body appears. It is hurt, limping on one of its hind legs, blood flowing from numerous cuts but still it comes. I look into its eyes and shiver – I’ve seen that dead-eyed stare before, only death will stop the beast now. We help each other up, turn and stumble across the stony plateau, getting as far away as we can. It is the only thing we can do now. A great chasm halts us, stretching as far as I can see on either side of us. We hold onto to each other desperately, it is the only thing keeping us upright. A low snarl, we turn and see the beast has reached the top of the slope. A tug on my arm, I don’t move, transfixed by the sight of the beast. And another, more insistent – I look to my left and see a rock bridge that crosses the chasm at its narrowest point. We stagger over to it. It is some ten strides wide but narrows to a single stride halfway across. And it is crumbling, I see chunks of rock falling off it into the void. There is no choice, we must risk this, the beast is already halfway across the plateau. I step onto the bridge, a strong dry wind whips hair about my face. The bridge is shuddering under my feet, I look at my love and we shrug, what else can we do but go on? We make our way past piles of rock strewn across the bridge and reach the point where it abruptly narrows. The shuddering is stronger here. Carefully, I step forward. One step, two. There is a loud crack and the ground falls away under my feet - I’m falling. Strong arms grab hold of me and haul me back to more solid ground. We hold onto each other, shivering uncontrollably. A coughing roar forces us to break and turn around – the beast has reached the bridge and our last hope of escape is gone.
So we stand on the remains of the bridge as the wind howls around us - man, woman, child, beast. Sheer precipices surround us on three sides, there is nowhere to run to, no escape from the beast. I turn to Sun and my daughter – there is no fear in their eyes, only love. The beast growls, deep, throaty, hungry. I turn to face her, this close I can see she is a female – tall as me, colour of dark sand, pink tongue licking incisors. She is relaxed now, sure of her prey, already tasting our flesh in
Falling Into Light by Blair MacKinnon / Fantasy have rating 3.5 out of 5 / Based on35 votes