This is now the 21st chapter of “Of Wind and Wings”. See the table of contents here.
Ed was looking down at Gossenmare Park from 200 feet up in the air. To his surprise, it was all new. Every building newly built, every stone new dressed and stood in place. Every bit of earthwork freshly completed.
But how could that be? Different structures were from different time periods.
But they were all there, sometimes superimposed on each other. Different eras mashed up together. And there were people from all of those eras. Dozens of them. Hundreds. Perhaps even thousands.
Some of the people were little more than shadows. Others were strong visually, but not really “all there”, like memories. Others were almost solid and, he was sure, were totally cognizant, like living people in the present, but not currently alive. These interacted with each other, even with different “ghosts” from different ages of the world.
But then they looked up. They looked towards him and covered their faces, as if afraid of what they saw.
A shadow descended across the land. The shadow was of great wings that stretched almost to the horizon. Ed slowly descended to the ground as the landscape darkened. Were the wings blotting out the sun his own? As he touched down everything was in ruins once again. The Park was as he had seen it with Liza.
Except for the tower. It was whole, looking out over the landscape.
A song came from the tower. It was a familiar voice. The voice of his dreams.
But she was not singing in that odd language he usually heard in his dreams. It was a different language, a Celtic language.
He walked towards the tower listening to the song. Images began to form in his mind. A single soul haunting the empty moor, nobody but the whistling wind for company. The man wandered for ages, but could not approach the living.
A guard stopped Ed before he could enter the tower. The guard had Liza’s face. The voice in the tower stopped singing. It started to call out, sounding younger with each word. At first she seemed to be calling for him, but that changed as well. “Ed! Edward!, Ed!”
Finally it was a small girl, no more than five, calling, “Nan! Nan! Nana!”
Ed opened his eyes.
The woman he had seen before, the one he knew was Liza’s mother, entered the room. Only she was changed.
She was old.
“Hush my sweet little bird. You will wake the others.”
The woman walk to the edge of the bed.
“You had that nasty dream of the tower again? But why do you say that you are angry with your mother?”
She waited, as if listening to the girl.
“Don’t worry. She won’t keep him out forever. Someday he will be there for you.”
She listened again.
“The reason you see things is that you are special. You have a great gift. Your mother has it as well, but she doesn’t see the ghosts quite the same as you. She sees other things.”
“Maybe someday she will tell you what she sees and why she keeps him for herself.”
“Your father? Does he also have the gift?” She smiled. “Perhaps someday she will tell you about him as well. It is not my place. I know, I am being mysterious. But perhaps someday you will understand. Now hush my baby bird and go to sleep.”
She began to sing. Ed remembered the song about the ancient prince rising out of the mist. But she stopped.
“Not that song? OK. I have a different one. A special one you have never heard. One just for you, just for tonight.”
She began to sing in an ancient Celtic language. It was a very familiar song. Ed didn’t understand the words, but he saw the meaning. Images formed in his mind. A single soul haunting the empty moor, nobody but the whistling wind for company. The man wandered for ages, but could not approach.
Ed fell asleep before the song ended.
Later, a new song, new but even more ancient, ran through his dreams. It was a song as simple and lovely as the best McCartney ballad, yet as complex as the most difficult Schoenberg. It was in Lauren’s voice.
He woke up with no memory of the second song. And yet, as he descended the stairs for one of Liza’s famous breakfasts, he whistled a song as lovely and simple as that of a spring bird, yet as complex and difficult as that of a spring bird.
This chapter was not based on one of Sue’s prompts.