The Edge of the World

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Wenceslas 02 66%

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This must be a dream. How the hell did I get here? … wherever this is.

Woodland, Scots pine I think. The sky is lightening and, if I look to the east, there’s a faint pre-dawn glow over the hills.

I’m dressed in trainers, jeans and a denim shirt. No one goes into the wilderness like this – not if they want to live. What’s going on? I hug myself. Frosted leaves crackle under my shoes.

I’m cold. I’m hungry. This is not good. I have a penknife but nothing with which to make a fire. Cutting strips of bark, I chew the bittersweet sap layer and spit out the woody pulp when there’s no goodness left.

The vapour of my breath fogs my progress from one tree to another.

The sound of hooves in the soft, needle-strewn forest floor; they only whisper the weight of the horse. Blasts of vapour from behind a thicket. Through gaps I see the skin of a horse, the red of a velvet cloak and a glint of bronze.

The horse’s head and the tip of a spear come into view. The rider appears next, sees me, and stops.

I’ve seen that helmet before but where? I should remember; it’s classic.

The horse turns and paces towards me. The rider drops his spear point as he nears, like I’m a threat, but lifts it as he draws close.

I know you!’ he says. ‘But from where do you come? You are not of this land or this world.’ He slips from the saddle, buries the butt of the spear into the ground, tethers the horse to a branch and turns to me. ‘I know you like my own brother but I’ve never seen you before.’

I’m shivering and hugging myself.

He says, ‘You’re cold. I’ll light a fire. Do gather some wood. Not from the ground. Choose small twigs caught in the branches; they will be dry.’

The effort of collecting wood warms me a little and I follow his instructions. He flicks flint and steel over tinder from a pouch. Crackling twigs spit sparks.

I recognise the helmet at last. ‘Wenceslas?’

He pulls the helmet off and places it beside the fire. ‘That is my name. But who and what are you? I thought you a demon at first or fey and faerie.’ His dark, sharp eyes invade mine. ‘You look human and about my age: just a man. You wear the strangest clothes and they smell even stranger. I should be on my guard but you carry no threat that I can perceive. Who are you?’

I don’t know how to answer that – I’m a bit confused. I don’t know where I am either. I’ve seen that helmet before, photos of it. Are you really Wenceslas?’

I am he. I know not what you mean by photos but I know you come from my dreams. There is magic in this meeting. I would that it be good magic.’ He blows tinder and twigs, piles more into a cone and points to my handful of wood. ‘We need larger fuel if you are to stop shivering. Break dry sticks and bring them hither.’

I snap dead branches from the trees around, fortunately pines provide so many. Wenceslas, when was he around? Was that iron-age, the dark ages, or just legend? This feels neither like reality nor dreaming. What is going on?

He piles my sticks on the fire and goes to collect more. The sun rises, gilding the tops of trees. Sparks burst up from the fire. One of them singes my shirt; a puff of smoke and a tiny black hole.

From where do you come, mystical one?’ Wenceslas asks.

Glasgow. Er, Escotia… Hyperborea? I don’t know what you call it. The last memory I have is that of walking from my office to put the kettle on.’

Even your words are mystical. Now I know who you must be.’ He pokes the fire and smiles. ‘Your coming is not unexpected. Angels heralded your appearance and I will beg of you the favour they claimed was in your power to bestow.’

At last the fire warms me, though I’ll smell like a barbecue. ‘Wenceslas, somewhere in my life I’ve met you and our lives intertwined. What favour is it that you want?’

His leather trousers creak as he relaxes by the fire. He sits in silence, feeding the flames until the first rays of sun fall on his sharp bearded features. ‘Come, sit. I have meat and bread in my pouch. We shall break our fast and I will tell you everything.’

He opens a brushed-leather wallet and offers it to me. ‘Wait. I’ll get ale.’ He stands and goes to his horse, whispering to it, running strong hands along its flank.

He returns and offers hide flask, black pitch and shining wax. ‘Drink fast. My sister made this with love but little skill: it leaks.’

From the wallet he draws coarse brown bread and dried venison. With ale and the warmth of a fire too, all is well with my strange world.

Wenceslas sits again, hands linked, elbows on knees. ‘Near us, this realm is fraught with tension, fire and instability; I dare not leave. I would that someone visit the rest and see that all is well.’ He looks into the flames, yellow, orange, their shadows flickering across his prematurely care-worn features.

I wonder if there is more to this. ‘What is your realm?’

He rubs his face, hands over his eyes – like he’s hiding, not wanting to answer. Parting his fingers and looking into the flames, he says, ‘You don’t know?’

No.’

He sighs. ‘I am a lord but what does that mean? Surely we all have only one realm over which we hold dominion – our soul.’

You want me to explore your soul?

Want you? I beseech you.’

Why?”

He throws his hands in the air. ‘Why? Because I am terrified; the soul is a big thing; there is brightness and dark in each of us. You could help me know myself more. I lead people and could harm them through ignorance.’

That’s the same for all of us. But if you let me into your soul, I may have terrible power over you.’

And yet you may face great danger there and must be courageous. I prayed for an angel to take this task upon himself.’

Or herself… But you got me. You poor man; I can’t even walk from my office to the kitchen without screwing up.’

I know not of what you say but you have been sent in answer to my prayers. Will you undertake this quest for me?’

Not if you have a good lawyer… Fine then, yes. Your generosity is legend and the subject of song. I’ll try not to mess up. How do I enter your soul?’

You do not know that you are already within it?’

Ah, you mean your world is your soul.’

How can it not be?’

I stand, grateful that the morning sun already offers a little warmth. Soft brown pine needles fall from my clothes, and drift, glowing, through the fire. ‘I am warm; the sun is up. I will leave now. Which way would you have me go?’

He stands too, walks round the fire and clasps my arm. ‘Whithersoever.’ Wenceslas releases me and strokes a calloused hand over the youthful hair of his beard. ‘You may unravel the mystery of who you are and how you came here; I would know the truth of that too.’

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Walking east so the dawn falls on my face, I plan to head into the sun all day. It will lead me in a circle to the south and then west. Maybe I’ll return here as it sets.

Thin grey November clouds render the sun a pale disk that throws little shadow among the stark shapes of a stone circle on a low hill. Breezes make waves among the fine grass. There are no people here; it is bleak and desolate. I push on into a frozen moor.

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Stone Circle 01 66%

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All is grey, black and white, a confusing pattern of grass, rocks, frost and snow. I’m surprised by the growl of a wolf ahead. Grey too, I could have walked right past without seeing it.

The wolf paces forward – now I see it framed in snow.

Its head goes to one side, eyes stare up. ‘You can see me?’ it asks.

Yes, wolf, I can.’

All of me? My paws and rump too?’

No, only your head and body, your tail and legs.’

Then you are not completely in my world but on the outside looking in. That is how it should be. Wenceslas would see all of me.’

You have a message for him?’

Only that all is well. Pass in peace, pilgrim.’

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Wolf 01 66%

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Don’t ask me how I entered this next land – I don’t know. I’m lying underwater looking up through the circled ripples made by dancing maiden flies.

Above the water, a ring of lintelled stones circles this pond. The sky above is a perfect ultramarine, flowing to cobalt then to cerulean at the horizon. Exactly at the centre of the circle, a curl of cirrus hangs in a spiral.

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Roof of the Arthouse 01

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Sitting up, I shed spangled droplets of glittering water and scatter the maiden flies. My clothes are saturated and heavy. My trainers squelch but this part of Wenceslas feels as if the season is high summer. The sun is much warmer. I’m alone and strip off to wring my clothes out. No midges here, even by the water. I think I must be far south, though I’m pretty sure I met Wenceslas in the north.

The standing stones sit on a wide grassy plain. I see no villages, smoke, roads or any evidence of the circle-builders. If this is Wenceslas then it is a symbolic aspect, ritual and quite beyond me to decipher. Well, nothing terrifying to report so far.

To the west, mountains soar. I abandon my plan, turn my back to the sun and jog towards the peaks.

The grass grows thicker here; daisies and dock give way to tormentil and bilberry. Ling and spicant sprout from cracks in exposed rock. Running for any time in jeans is not to be recommended and soon I’m wishing I was back in the cool water in the stone circle.

At last, people. Among the crags above, voices and echoes: shouting. A quick sprint brings me to a man and boy each carrying a spear and dressed only in loincloths. Bare feet hiss through the grass and slap on stone. The two hunters dodge from side to side, trying to cut off the escape of an ibex. An ibex in Britain? I’ve heard of them in cave art – so I suppose they must have lived here. Maybe I’ve gone several thousand years back in time. Thinking about it, am I even in Britain at the moment? Didn’t Wenceslas come from somewhere in eastern Europe?

I slot into line with the man and boy so they don’t have to zig-zag so hard. Other hunters join us and we move forward. I get smiles and quick glances from everyone. I think they appreciate my help. Shouts from children and the clatter of thrown rocks drive the beast into of a cleft in the cliff above but the animal turns and surges down scree towards us.

“…you may face great danger and must be courageous”.

Too right. I’m faint with fear, weak and trembling. This animal is huge, all muscle and terrifying ferocity. I join the hunters in yelling and waving arms. The beast turns again, confused. A spear, thrown by someone hidden behind an outcrop of rock, pierces the ibex’s white flank. It charges towards the hunter and a young woman leaps into view, scrambling with light confident movements up a sheer crag and out of harm’s way.

The man and boy run to a low cliff, and climb. I follow. I presume the ibex is mortally wounded and there’s no need for anyone to stay in danger.

Courageous…” right. I stop shaking a little and follow them.

The two hunters settle on a shelf, and chatter, excited words and laughter. I sit beside the boy. These two seem unsurprised to see me and I wonder why. I’m very different to them. I can’t understand a word they say but it doesn’t stop them talking to me. More people appear above and clamber down to joins us. My clothes, hair, everything is inspected minutely and the din of happy voices overwhelms me. These people smell sharp, peppery with an overlay of wood smoke.

A tall hunter, flanked by two others, stands about five metres from the stricken ibex, which struggles to rise. The hunter’s left hand outstretched, the spear lying on it, his right hand cups the spear’s end and aims the tip at the ibex’s heart. The spear flies true and a few moments later the eyes of the prey glaze over. My crowded shelf is empty within seconds. About twenty people of all ages emerge from their safe places. Bags opened, they pull out stone knives and set about butchering their kill. I stand and turn away. Despite being high on a crag I think I caught a whiff of the sea a moment ago. I’m off to look for it. I’ll tell Wenceslas that all is well in these hills.

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Hunters 01

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It’s difficult to tell what time of day it is here by the sea. The light changes from moment to moment. The waves can be hissing phosphorescence in darkness one second and glittering in the sun the next. Not that I have a problem with this – it’s beautiful. Nor am I complaining about the graceful and beautiful red-haired woman speaking to me as we walk side-by-side. The fact that she’s wearing nothing is an added bonus as far as I’m concerned.

What surprises me most is that she leaves only the faintest footprints on the dunes, whereas mine are deep: churned sand. I suppose she’s some sort of spirit or symbol, rather than real. Her words seem to be made of random sounds though they are full of meaning, conveying her mood, her reaction to me or to our surroundings as they change.

We’ve been walking north for hours. In that time I’ve learned she’s a relaxed, confident and warm person. Her hand is so gentle as she stops me, points to gulls squabbling for space on a rock, and laughs. She has a slow lazy smile and tips her head a little to one side every time we look at each other.

Maybe she’s magic and casting a spell on me and the world around. I’ve never felt so calm and content. She puts a hand on my shoulder, brushes away hair a gust has flicked across her eyes, and points north. After a smile and soft words she’s walking away; back to the south. With her goes the strange changes of light.

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A perfect Day 01

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I’m standing in a blue dusk. Small waves hiss over rocks. About two hundred metres from the sea, up a gentle, rocky and heather-strewn rise, stands a curious house.

As I approach, I’m confused by one part which looks like a conservatory but without roof or windows, merely a frame. Elegant and delicate it looks as if someone meant it to be little more than decoration. Thick glass panels stand around a patio. A path, also lined with low slabs of glass, leads me to an arch through which I pass.

This part of the house is made of finely-hewn stone and the floor is paved with blue coverings.

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Catherine 01

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A girl races down a staircase and leaps for the central diamond pattern on a rug. It’s quite a leap. For a moment she’s silhouetted against a tall stained-glass window. A white ribbon drops from her hand. Fluttering to the ground its twists mimic the pattern in the window.

The hem of her knee-length dress bounces as she lands and skips in delight, clapping her hands.

She turns to me. ‘I did it again! Hello, I’m Catherine and I’m eight years old. Who are you?’

I know Catherine; she’s my daughter. ‘Hello, Catherine, I’ve been sent by  Wenceslas to look over this realm.’

Wenceslas? Like in the carol?’

The very man.’

She claps her hands again. ‘Now I hear your voice, I know who you are.’ She runs to me, grabs my hand and pulls me to the rug she landed on. Pointing through an arch she says, ‘There you are.’

It’s the strange, glassless conservatory she points into. A boy, about five years old, kneels on the carpet and plays with a boat.

Catherine says, ‘I don’t go in there very much. His imagination is too big and when he’s playing boats my feet get wet.’

Indeed, the carpet is awash with tiny waves that carry the boat and hiss against shores around plant pots.

I love this house. I come here lots to play,’ says Catherine. She points to a headland across the sea. ‘I went there once, a long long time ago. It was very scary. When I looked back at the house it was so small, like I’d never be able to get in it any more. But it grew big again as I got close. I think it must be magic.’

I look at the boy. ‘That’s me?’

Don’t you remember?’

Sort of but it was a long time ago. I made that boat when I was about ten or eleven. He looks a lot younger and I didn’t play with it here.’

She laughs, ‘Like you’d have noticed? He’s away in fantasyland and only sees pirates and sea monsters.’

I suppose you’re right – and very astute. Tell me, have you any message for Wenceslas?’

Tell him to come with his fiddlers three.’

That was Old King Cole.’

Oh yes.’ She darts to her ribbon and snatches it from the paving. ‘I love the way the patterns keep turning up. All the same but a little bit different.’ She stops and stares at a wall. ‘This place is a part of me, isn’t it?’

A part of your childhood.’

I must go and play. I won’t be eight for ever. Bye!’ She scampers up the stairs, the ribbon fluttering behind.

Wait! Catherine,’ I call after her. ‘You will always be eight when you come here.’

I turn and leave the house. Catherine has made things clearer. I think I know where I am now – on the very edge of everything real. I wonder if Wenceslas sent me on this quest so that I would learn what my soul is and where the border lies between me and everything else – and why there’s a border at all. So much is familiar here and that gives me two problems. The first is that, if I’m right, I may not make it through the next land – I think I know what’s coming. If I survive it, and those that follow, what the hell am I going to tell Wenceslas?

Night falls as I walk towards towering woodland. It’s about to get bloody cold. Snatching up sheaves of dried grass, I stuff them into a thick layer between my jeans and my skin. My shirt gets the same treatment and my head a thick cap of moss.

Deep in a curve of the glen, I make a scarf of moss too. Fists pushed into moss-stuffed pockets, I wait for Winter.

I’m dying to see her, and that’s the problem here: dying is all too easy.

She’s tall, almost as tall as the trees, and strides with all the grace of the woman at the shore. I think she may be part of the same person.

It’s hard to see her. She has no body as such; only a form that distorts the world around her. As she moves, any part of her can seem to be made of rock, tree or air. In a moment she may stop and talk to me. But first … there it is … an orange flash low by the horizon. It disappears and returns with greater intensity, grows and sweeps through the sky in curtains of blues and greens. I must be north again to see the aurora this clearly.

Ice crystals grow from the edge of every leaf, creep up the bark of nearby trees as the woman nears them. The cold burns my face, squeezing tears from my eyes: ice on my eyelashes. It’s hard to breathe.

I won’t stay long. I never do.’ The woman’s voice sounds far away and broken, as if having to crack its way through brittle air. Bark twists and falls in flakes as the cold distorts it.

She waves an arm to the horizon and up across the sky. ‘You like my beautiful fire?’ Shimmering curtains in the sky tease my eyes; how can something so vivid, so huge, be silent?

It’s hard not to let my shivering turn to spasms of shaking. My teeth chatter and a thick mist forms every time I exhale. ‘Winter…’

Call me what you will. People fear me but gasp at my beauty. Some call me peace. I make total silence; no one else can do this. You need not attempt to imagine silence and stillness so perfect it destroys time and creates the eternal moment of beauty and truth, because it will be my gift to you. Some call me death and I kiss them from the filters of their cigarettes. Some think I’m far away but I’m always close.’

I can hardly speak – my lips are like nerveless rubber. ‘Please go. I have stopped shivering and that’s a bad sign. I have never felt so cold.’

Yes you have. I blackened your toes once when you ran in freezing rain. I was close then too. It took months for your feet to recover. Do you remember?’

I do.’

Farewell, pilgrim. You are not ready for my sweet kiss. Go to the shore; the fishwife has a fire to warm you. Tell Wenceslas that death is always a moment away.’

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Winter 01

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She strides deep into the wood and I struggle to move. It would be so easy to lie down here, to sleep just for a few minutes but never to wake. Yes, I have met Winter before but at least that time I was running and able to get somewhere warm. When I reached my house, only running muscles still worked. I could hardly stand and walking was impossible. I couldn’t tell how hot the shower was when I crawled in and tried to warm myself up – the nerves in my skin had stopped working. I could have burned or frozen myself without knowing. So I wrapped myself in towels and lay on the floor, too weak and numb to take my frozen shoes off.

I tell myself, Keep moving! Oh gods, this is so hard.

I think I can see a fire ahead but it may just be the crimson alizarin of the northern lights as they touch the horizon. I can hear the sea.

Warm rain from the ocean has fallen on frozen sand and formed a crust of ice that creaks and snaps under my feet. I’ve started shivering again – good; I’m on the road to recovery. There’s the fire, the nets and the woman – another person sculpted from the elements around her. But with this figure the elements express mood. While the sea around is calm, the waves in her are restless, the horizon stormy and clouded. I know why: she’s worried. She always worries when her man is out to sea. Not frantic, not panicking but, like all fishwives, she knows men sometimes don’t come home.

Hello, you,’ she says as I kneel beside the fire. She wraps a blanket around me. I can’t speak even to say thank you.

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Fishwife 01

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You’ve come through through Winter’s bitter fire? You must have seen Catherine too. How is she? She owns this picture, doesn’t she?’ the woman asks. ‘Look at you, you’re blue.’ The sea breeze flicks and snaps the shawl round her shoulders. She kneels beside me. ‘Here, I have warmed soup for you. I knew you’d arrive with the dawn, and here you are, Mister Cold Man.’ She rolls her eyes. ‘I’m going to have to feed you like a baby. Ah well, all good practice for me. In my belly is a new life. Strange, when you give someone life you know they must die too. I condemn my child to death just as surely as my mother condemned me to it.’

She lifts an earthenware lid from a pot and stirs the contents with a spoon. Holding it to her mouth, she blows and the tip of her tongue flicks into the broth. A quick smile and glance at me, she says, ‘Herring and barley. You’ll soon be warm.’

My eyelids grow heavier with every mouthful. The shivering subsides and I curl up beside the fire.

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Fishwife B 01

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I’m awake. The sky is darkening, the fire banked up to embers with fresh wood close to hand. The fishwife sits on rocks not far away. Wavelets wash over her feet. She’s tossing things, bits of fish I think, into the air while gulls dart above her and catch them.

Rising, I fold her blanket and walk towards the rock.

Hello, Mister,’ she calls and points out to sea. ‘There’s his sail. Will he always come back?’

Yes but you will always worry. That’s the way of things. Thank you for all you’ve done.’

She laughs. ‘Tell Catherine to take care of me.’

Catherine … picture … now I’m beginning to understand this whole adventure. ‘Oh, she treasures you. But yes, she will care for you and love you more with every passing year – especially after I die.’ I wave. ‘Farewell.’

Nice to have met you. You take care of yourself.’

I turn and walk towards a path. The sand gives way to concrete steps bordered by a low stone wall. A ginger cat turns and blinks in the hot bright sun – day, night and seasons follow unusual laws in Wenceslas’ realm.

Hello, cat.’ I stroke it. Hot fur and purrs. ‘You died so long ago.’ The cat doesn’t seem to be aware of this and rubs its chin against my fingers.

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Socrates 01 66% 02

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I walk on. I’m looking forward to spring, to playing with the girls. Long dark hair and tanned skin from an outdoor life. They’ll both smile a lot and pluck shoots to feed each other, dance in front of cliffs covered in paintings of horses, deer and ponies. Something like that.

One of the girls will jump out at me…

Tig!’ she shouts, poking me. A flash of dark eyes and she darts away. I chase and try not to spend too long looking at her loincloth, that reveals so much of her bum.

I lunge. ‘Tig!’ and dodge her counter-attack. The other girl, maybe a twin of the first, joins in until I’m panting and exhausted. Sweat – so welcome after Winter and the northern lights.

Where are you going?’ the first girl asks.

To see Wenceslas. Do you want to come too?’

No but we’ll walk with you as far as the shelter.’

Life is good. The sun is warm; wood anemones grow between the exotic spikes of butterbur and I have a girl on either side of me. They each hold one of my hands and compete to push hawthorn and hazel leaves into my mouth. We leave the trees and enter a bare rocky place. Beside it branches support a turf shelter. Thin spirals of smoke rise from a damped fire.

Look at our paintings!’ The girls dance away from me and their shadows flit across the ochre and charcoal animals. ‘Must you really go?’

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Girls 01

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I must but I will return and watch you. I do it so often.’ I get a hug from both as I leave.

But my heart is heavy all too soon. I’m not sure if I’m going to cope very well with what comes next. I’m near the troubled realm of Wenceslas.

I grit my teeth and pass rough woodland, a castle on fire. A red pillar-box comes into view. A blond girl wearing a bright yellow T-shirt ignores me.

A naked black girl stands in a desert of cracked and curled mud. She has her back to me and holds an AK47. I tell her there’s no need for the gun. She looks at me, disbelief and contempt in her expression, and turns back to her fearful vigil. God knows what she’s seen and done but that look in her eyes tells me that I’m not man enough to help her cope with what can’t be unseen and undone.

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AK 01 200%

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Fire, tank-tracks, a bomber drones overhead. I pass through a flattened and burned city. I shudder at footprints in the road. Someone ran across it even though the tar was melted and burning at the time. There are no streets as such, just mounds of rubble.

Two storm troopers haggle over a blanket. Both soldiers appear relaxed. Funny, when soldiers aren’t fighting, they’re just people.

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Storm Troopers 02

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Leaving them, I know I’ve come full circle. The air is cool again, chilling and tightening my skin. I hug myself and hope Wenceslas has a fire or a warm castle.

Neither. He’s waiting for me in the wood and approaches on horseback again. The vapour of his breath drifts like phantoms.

Well met. One year and a day,’ he says. ‘How long was it for you? You look older.’

Merely tired… Exhausted actually. Your realm is as it should be, your lands too, including this one. There is conflict, doubt and despair near here. That is where you are needed. There are warriors there; maybe you can stop the violence. One girl must break with her past and learn to cope. I don’t believe I can help her. I think she sees me as too naïve. She needs someone who has had similar experience and come through it.’

I’ll do what I can,’ he says. ‘You carry messages for me?’

Only good wishes, though Winter warns us that death may be but a moment away. She is death, silence and stillness; you are life and change. No wonder there’s conflict where you are; with change comes uncertainty, ignorance and fear. Winter may be in your soul but you hold no power over her: you are opposite forces.’

I am not human?’

I’ve seen several humans here – all different. Hunters who see change; the passing of the seasons, hunger at times, food at others, danger and safety. But these are changes they expect. Winter is human too. The fishwife and her husband know the stress of uncertainty: sudden death and despair. But you live in this land and choose to cope with the hardest changes of all – things you’ve never experienced and not prepared for. Wenceslas, you are ignorant, naïve and living in a world you do not understand: that makes you as human as it’s possible to be.’

He dismounts and rests his forehead against the flank of his horse. ‘You have taught me much.’ Turning to me, he asks, ‘Did you unravel the mystery of who you are?’

My heart freezes. This is the nub of the matter and I’m dizzy with the answer. It’s like standing on the edge of a crumbling cliff. Winter’s aurora surges through my mind. Cold fire, truth: deadly.

Oh… yes…’ I mutter, struggling not to recall things I wish I didn’t know. ‘I learned too much, things of which I cannot speak. It would only make more mysteries and they are a waste of time. Winter’s warning is enough. There’s only one thing we can be sure of: now – this passing moment. That’s all that exists. There is barely enough time to make the decision of how you are going to react to what is happening. Will we be brave, cowardly, generous, mean, loving or ignoring, or even cruel?’

Winter is wise. I thank you for your help and your having quested for me.’ He looks questioning, head tilted, lips pursed. ‘You are restless. You wish to leave?’

I must. Farewell, Wenceslas. I doubt you will fail in your task here, though all I know is legend.’

He clasps my arm as he did before. I turn and walk away, unsettled, back to my realm, my own little world. The truth tears me up inside.

To dream, imagine, to create … To have thought up and painted each of these pictures, hung them and walked through the exhibition. To have dreamed the thoughts and actions… given the people in each painting life and purpose, linked their lives within a story. Maybe I’ll write it down. Is creation the power of gods? If so, why is it in the hands of someone so confused and ignorant as me?

My head roars, infinity and impossibility crashing together. I’ve walked to the edge of my soul and seen the madness, the chaos, from which reality is made.

So that’s it. There’s no distinct boundary between reality and imagination. They weave together. Both are real and unreal. Our souls are as big as we’re prepared to let them grow into what felt like madness before.

Hopefully I can shut this vision down with the leaden cynicism and ignorance with which we ignore reality and stay sane – shrink our worlds until they’re small, simple and safe.

I thank my own creator for my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, the things that make me feel real and alive. I thank him or her for all that effort on my behalf.

And rejoice knowing Winter has yet to come for me: and that one day she will.

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©Gary Bonn, 2012

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