Friday, 7 November 2008
A dread autumn (part 5)
The world looked grey from the church roof. Grey and cold and getting colder.
A bird’s eye view gives little more than an overview of the world. From here, nothing is certain, all you can see is stark contrasting colours and the earth seems garish, twisted and impossible to fathom.
A rook was perched there upon the pointed spire of St Alfonso’s. ‘Twas a crow looked down upon Lord Winstanley and Father Seddon that cold November day when they were taken.
The green children spoke then as they pulled and clawed at Winstanley’s coat. “We ready ourselves for winter’s depths. Come, join us in sleep. Soon we will hunger and we will quake.”
Leanlo clawed at Winstanley’s face, drawing blood and saying: “Provide our sustenance. You know we will hunger all winter long.”
And poor Winstanley climbed down there, climbed into that hole of his own accord. The crow saw this, took it all in; the priest and Lord Winstanley, at the bottom of a deep grave with three green children for company. The rook flapped its wings and pecked at its feathers as lice would often get in there and cause such an itch. It watched the people in the grave with an impassive eye and cawed for company.
Soon there were five crows atop the church, and they peered down to see the grave where two poor men were howling as green children clawed at them.
Soon the green ones began taking clods of earth and scraping them in upon themselves. Green grass and brown soil, sullen sods of earth, hurled down upon the grave and the poor howling creatures below were soon buried beneath.
Leanlo stood atop the grave and filled the last of it and patted it smooth before glancing at the dying world about her. With a last gasp of autumnal air, she dug her way down through the centre of the loose soil, replacing it as she went, journeying down, down into the black grave, there to join her brothers in hibernation.
And soon the crows would fly. Fly on, far from that place.
And soon the ground would freeze. And soon a new priest would be found and the church would be opened anew. And soon the people of the parish would visit once more, to hear mass, and to break bread with Christ.
And all the while, the green witches slept beneath their feet, awaiting the end of the frosts, the end of winter’s death kiss. They longed to stir and rise again.
O come spring. Come summer, soon.
This story is a continuation of ideas from earlier tales, including:
Winter Quakes, Spring Awakens, and The summer meadow.