Hill [28]

Is this how the story ends?

Will the edges be tied together like a piece of cheesecloth containing three warm scones? Put gently into a woven basket and carried over the edge of the hill?

They never told her there was a cliff on the other side.

You don’t hurtle to your death, though. No. This isn’t that kind of story. Death and decay and spattered brains on relentless rocks do not soothe a soul.

When you walk over the edge of the hill, you don’t exist anymore in the world as we know it.

It was the calmest tempest. It swooped around her, lifting her hair, caressing her hem, plucking at her sleeves with a gentle roar. Its breath was warm, while the sleet fell around her. That is how she could tell the different between a storm and the Beast. It huddled over her, protected her from harsh elements. It whispered in her ear, and she knew which way to turn in a blizzard. Should she stray too far from the Lake, she would lose it. And that is what she was most afraid of.

‘You know,’ Tom said to Laura, one such day, when the tempest blew warmly around them as they stood on the edge of the Lake, ‘I always think that the Beast has you in its grip, and doesn’t want to let go.’

Laura smiled, but she didn’t look at him. It was as though… no. It couldn’t be.

‘You understand what it says,’ she told him instead, ‘you know the language it speaks.’

‘I do, and sometimes,’ he lowered his voice, ‘sometimes Laura I worry about the things it says.’

‘Tosh!’ she threw at him, tossing her head, and walking back up the path.

He stood at the edge of the lake as she vanished into the darkening woods behind him, and watched the sun set serenely over the waters.

There was no wind, save for the whirlwind that caressed his hair and blew kisses on his cheeks. He stood for the longest while, beyond the sunset. He stood until the stars glittered one by one into existence, revealing themselves in their shining glory when daylight removed its mask and became night. He stared up at them, and even as he did, a decision was forming itself in his mind.

If she goes, he said to the tempest, I will go with her.

A Furious Tempest

This morning, I became acquainted with Doris.

What a tempest of a woman she is. I was minding my own business, stripping my bed to wash the bedclothes, when a loud crash made me stop in my tracks. I was home alone, see, so who could it be?

Peering out the window, in the cloudy gloom that told me the sun was rising, I saw empty bottles whizzing across the road, and the trees were bent Northwards. Then I heard her wailing scream, as she furiously knocked over some wheelie bins and spun them relentlessly in the road. She spat furiously and her spittle was swept up by the wind, creating waves along the glistening pavements that whipped the drops with every gust of her angry tempest.

My, I thought, going back to my task, what a passionate storm she is.

Not a few moments after I thought that, I heard another crash. This time louder, and more ominous. I heard it in the very foundations of my house. I rushed downstairs. Everything was still, in the kitchen. So I ventured cautiously to the living room, where, though the french windows, I saw the fence that divided the neighbour’s garden from mine flattened against the grass, leaving their lawn naked.¬†Too naked, I thought,¬†where is their massive¬†trampoline that took up all the space in their yard?

Huh? I ran upstairs again and through my window, saw what Doris; mad, passionate Doris, had done. She had pummelled the trampoline into our fence, until it staggered and fell over into my garden. Then she had lifted the metal frame and hurled it right over my garden wall and into the road beyond!

I don’t know what irked her, folks. But I wouldn’t like to be the object of her wrath.

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The flattened fence.

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The trampoline flew over the garden, into the road, then was whipped into the wedge between my back garden the the house opposite.