Chapter 5

Written by: MatClarke

The apparition stayed illuminated and connected to a long whisper of light; the human form waved us further on, beckoning we follow. Florence ran, her arms waving about as a child would to a favorite aunt, blindly following in some sort of dream state, a peculiar smile on her lips. I grudgingly took my first few steps, the wet ground splattering in dull treble. Further I followed and faster Florence ran, then I ran as well.

The ground blurred and shimmered and my head filled with dizzying bright lights. I blinked and wiped at my eyes then slowed and found that we had reached another opening. Sunlight shone down in sharp edged clarity from the stone exit. The apparition faded and steered left down a second corridor becoming more whole in the darkness, until it disappeared from view. Florence followed dutifully behind.

“No. Florence, we can’t. I’m going back.”

However, she had already turned the corner. I raced around the bend and hit something solid. My head rang. Lights blazed. Then all went dark.

                                                                                     ***

I opened my eyes, although one partially as if glued half closed. I wiped at it and found a sticky drying mess that trailed up to my scalp and across a large swollen lump on my hairline. It stung at my lightest touch and the world faded out again; black spots trembled in the shadows at the edge of my vision. I thought of Florence. I needed to find and save her. That gave me strength to sit up straighter, although the dizzy spinning came back in challenge, wanting me to lie down once more.

I stayed sitting, waiting until my shaking arms would support me, and then lifted from the ground to a crouch. My legs took me the rest of the way, my hands climbing the wall for support. I turned full about and searched the darkness for any sign of Florence, but found only damp walls and musty dirt.

I walked to the shaft of faint blue moonlight, now replacing the sun, which had lit the area only minutes before—or maybe it had been hours. I had after all hit my head hard enough that it felt like it shattered.

My unsteady legs took me out of the tunnel and away from Florence and the disappearing apparition through what must have been another sliding doorway. I exited from a mound enclosed by a stone arch to stand under millions of blinking lights across the blue-black sky.

Florence must have been right; the mist from the water had led us here, not some ghost, fairy or sidhe. Yet, in some way, we had traveled almost 200 kilometers in just half an hour from my father’s farm.

Impossible, of course, yet here I stood in Lough Gur in County Limerick. The last place Florence had taken us for a field trip.

Mat Clarke

(Australia)

 

Comments

And so on the serial goes. What a really good chapter, full of all the creative tools in the writers toolbox. Mat has done a great job in creating a piece that explores tension and emotion within one character within a few minutes - yet the story still moves forward at pace. I think this is a well crafted chapter.
I agree with Raymond. I really enjoyed the mood and the description and loved the surprise ending. Your use of language also matched the mood...a sort of suspended timelessness. Very good indeed.
What an intriguing chapter the way time and space is altered. They follow a passage that somehow compressed the 200 kilometers into a few hundred. I love this kind of thing. I am confused about one thing, however. It seemed unclear whether he exited alone or with Florence. In one place, it says “… I exited from the mound…” in an other, “… we had traveled…” Then it says, “…I stood in Lough Gur in County Limerick…” Is Florence still with him, or is he alone?
Ah well now, da ya see, in folklore and stories of the fairies' there always be magic in the air so there be. Tis in the hands of those who know best and the little people, so it is. Let's hope that the next writer takes the Guinness first to wet the whistle and the imagination before continuing the journey.