County Clare, Wednesday, 27th July 2022…
By the time we came across this fellow
it had started raining in good earnest.
‘A dark sorrowful place’
Perhaps the well hag
had taken against our pound coin?
Which reminds me,
before the two bulls were bulls
they were maggots…
…Before the maggots
were maggots they were eels…
…Before the eels were eels
they were ravens…
…Before the ravens were ravens
they were hogs…
…before the hogs were hogs
they were hog-guards,
both renowned men of power…
…And before the hog-guards
were sworn enemies
they were the very best of friends…
…Turned against each other
by the jealousy of their peers!
And that is just the first
of the numerous fore-tales.
A fatal end?
“Now slowly, gently, return to the Circle, carrying the vision of Light within. Return to your body… meld with it once more… Allow yourself to feel your chest, rising and falling as you breathe… your feet on the green earth.”
Warm, in Jaw-Dark’s hand, the crystal seed pulsed with life. “In the monstrous tyranny of process,” he said, “‘what is’ is next to ‘what was’, and ‘what is no longer’, while ‘what never was’ but ‘what could have been’ and, perhaps even, ‘what should have been’ is that much stronger…
“What seems complete,” said Kraas in the way of some sort of response, “may only be divisive, and ‘the half of it’ might in fact be whole.”
“Good,” said Weston. “Does anyone have anything else to add?”
“Ben’s out,” said Sams.
“Yes, I got that impression, too,” said Weston.
“I have one for Mark,” said Prufrock.
Jaw-Dark placed the crystal seed, still pulsing with life, flat to his heart centre.
“Long before the Pueblo Indians of Central Mexico learned to cultivate maize, they grew green kidney beans as a staple,” said Prufrock. ““Three beans magical,” said the witch doctor in the marketplace, circumspectly discarding those with a flawed casing. By sleight of hand he made many beans fall from those three.”
“It is going to rain heavily,” said Jaw-Dark, matter-of-factly.
“Looking at that black mass of cloud gathering over the horizon, I’d say you were right,” said Kraas.
“If it’s the storm from last night we wouldn’t want to be caught in an exposed location,” said Prufrock.
“An exposed location just like the one we’re in you mean,” said Sams…
Lands of Exile:
KITH ‘N’ KIN
Stuart France & Sue Vincent
The Beeley Stone, ‘liberated’ from the churchyard at Bakewell, stands proudly in the centre of its village green once more. While the locals enjoy the fruits of its restoration, Ben, who had led the daring raid against authority, still languishes in jail.
Don and Wen, arrested and released without explanation in Ireland, now plot an erratic course through the wild places of Wales, while Jaw-Dark and Kraas, seeking the legendary stone of Fergus Mac Roy, have been separated in the most uncanny of circumstances…
As the darkness closes around them, the Black Shade haunts the moors above Beeley and, in the shadowy rooms of the old tower, an ancient and even stranger story begins to unfold…
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