Mini had absolutely no problem gaining his bearings once establishing the locality of his place of birth. The trip there after, although somewhat arduous, was uneventful as far as the term can be applied to one of the newly born into a place that “is as was, was as is, is as will always be, and will be as always was. Simple see Coque?!”.
Road’s and tracks, again in varied state of construction and erosion where geographically sound, therefore easy enough to follow once the locality had been correctly established, and the initial visual confusion had abated. There too were either greater or lesser levels of traffic on highways and byways that did not restrict themselves to foot, horse, motorcycle/car, some interesting bicycles, at one stage a caravan of Saracens on both magnificent long limbed horses, and decidedly evil thought filled camels lurked by past with an established air of grim smugness. “Ferret” the following ferret tagging along all the while. Nipping and biting as it saw fit, attacking the odd camel and pamphlet distributor as a matter of principle.
An interesting bare chested, turban wearing, youth bounce along on an ostrich. Some odd floating vehicles resembling Charles de Gaulles’ Citron DS zapped past at roughly 10 metres overhead leaving Mini gauping, John cursing, and a rain of dirt and other assorted airborne detritus to fall at a stuttering rate, covering all that were beneath its path.
Mini gauped in a cliché tourist manner, whilst old John trotted along beside him oblivious to the spectacle around him, rambling on about nothing in particular, and, Mini suspected, just happy to be around one with an ear.
Souks and bazaars stole whatever ground didn’t have something pinned through it. Mutlimillion Euro chrome and mirrored beasts of architecture loomed to their very best. Medieval hovels hovelled, tents tented, the odd 1950’s suburban area filled a space, apartment buildings apartmented, shops with 3000 years of age variation displayed wares from today, tomorrow, last week, last year, last century. Things from a lump of rock with a crude hand print on partially cured animal hide as advertisement; skinned cats hung by skinned tails; the latest in Windows and Mac technology; shops with signs skilfully place in windows stating that “the Witch are Inn” complete with a picture of a pint glass and an arrow pointing to the pub next door; crumbling book stores with only “Est.” above their door. It was everything from Pratchett to de Balzac to Chapman to Dickens to Mickey to Hesiod to Gaiman to rock hard clay tablets covered in Sanskrit to stolen tomb walls to odd floating balls projecting the words of a novel to a conveniently hung sheet in a plethora of adapting languages to suit your origins.
Beggars begged, petty thieves committed petty thefts, corporate pirates committed corporate piracy, Nun’s nunned, Druids druided, dogs yapped, and life and society just “they just get on with it like Coque.”
Lurking like the evil pre-mentioned camels in the back of Mini’s mind was the further confusion of space vs. time vs. living and buried archaeology vs. building practice vs. density of populace. There seemed to him at least that as much as all available space was taken and most area’s so far were maybe a bit cozy, yet nowhere had seemed oppressively abundant with buildings and their inhabitants. His closest comparison to calm his already struggling head was to compare it to a reverse sort of “TARDIS”, and with further thought gave him a moments relief casting a smile across his face. There is nothing like a good bit of Dr. Who to give life perspective, or so Mini believed. Except “Weeping Angels”, who battles statues you could take to with a sledge hammer? Really who? “Who” ay………..the bad joke lifts lip from position “smile” to position “low grade chortle”, for a slither of a second, then back to “position do not look at me”.
Shadows move and sway with the movement of the sun, and begin as practiced every day prior as far as the glowing orb can remember. With shadows the absence of light prevails, ruling supreme over nook and cranny and street and person and those that hide within its folds.
“Right now Coque, how far off are when now? I’ve had a gutful of beatin’ orf shaggy Briard dogs confusin’ me with a stick of that jerky stuff and something to piddle on. ‘could use a bloody good hair cut scruffy bloody thing.”
Halting quickly and causing a shaggy dog swatting John to run into him, concertina like causing Ferret to run into John. Mini had found where he wanted to be, well geographically at least. The hiccup came at the point of “when”. Not the “Brown Acid”, please no.
“John, you said once you’ve been born, you take off pretty much where you wished you left off? Something about me putting my mind back to what I wished I had been doing in my trainer wheel part of preliving living?
You got it Coque! Now all ya got ta do is really give it a bloody good go at focusing on what that was, then just follow it through like. Not real ‘ard even for a sprat like you!! Just put your mind really to it, and it will happen. Honest an’ all like. Come on now boy, on with it like!”
Mini started exactly that, to then stop rapidly.
“No catches John?”
“Nah, none Coque. Oh, wait, not sure if it’s a catch or not, but ya only get one shot at it. So if ya sod it all up, well, ya lives ter regret it. Like I did. Anyway, on with it!!! I’m all a’quiver with anticipation!”
The dusty track they gazed across was a good twenty metre’s wide. It was rutted and worn. The signatures of eons worth of beasts had ground themselves into the dirt, adding a particular hint to the surrounding area. Ferret gave it a scratch and a bit of a sniff, then ran up the back of Johns dress to hide and snigger. An oak the size of the Israeli Defence budget was directly opposite them, stretching its massive branches in all directions. The shade it cast was quite obviously welcome to those languishing beneath its mighty limbs, escaping the rays of the slowly becoming late afternoon sun. Squirrels scurried beneath and throughout its grand bushy veneer. The massive oaks roots had lifted parts of the road, causing a delightful array of serpentine trip hazards for the unwary pedestrian and late night drunkard.
Beyond the tree was a paddock. Not a particularly interesting paddock, even so far that the local kids generally gave it a miss due to the lack of anything of interest. It was grassed. Knee high, green, and it covered a good two or three acres complete with weeds, refuse, and a dozen chronically interbred families of rabbits. Around “The Paddock”, as it was known to any claiming “local” status, a fence made up a various building materials not so much as “ran”, but rather struggled to “walk on hands and knees, then collapsed puffed two thirds of the way around”. Some more creative souls had had a shot at a stone wall, giving up half way through construction for no apparent reason. There were further additions of barbed wire and plain wire. Bits of roofing iron, now forming a permanent “C” shape from standing on their collective sides for far too long.
However, located in the middle was the one interesting feature “The Paddock” possessed. A poorly fenced off, uncovered well. For centuries the well had claimed the lives of nature’s true idiots, sheep, tumbling in search of water, and through lack of any intellect or logic. Dogs had fallen in, and so had fat kids without a decent grasp on the edge or their centre of gravity. The depth was unknown and it always had the same level of water in it, regardless of season, or the amount of fat kids it consumed. It was two seconds worth of fat child’s scream from the lip to the water. The well was stone walled, the slippery smooth stones stretched well below the level of the water, offering no purchase to any that enter it grasp. No one ever leaves this well. Dead or alive.
“and you are sure you are John? I concentrate on where I wished I had left off, and then I’m there?”
“Bugger me twice and call me sore old Coque!! Is there a flamin’ echo here? Are you soft in the nonce and need tellin’ twice? Saints preserv…………..not that they ever existed, what a rort them Cat’olics gave Gero! Popes, known a few too I ‘ave. Sorry, what was I saying?”
Head gently shaking in bewilderment “John, you were mid curse. You said ‘Saints’, and then went off on a tangent.”
“Right, right you are Coque, “Saints preserve us. Am I wastin’ my breath? Just stop jawin’, and give it a flamin’ go!” all exasperation and enjoyment at saving a good curse.
Mini looked, not really sure what he was looking for, but he knew it was there. He looked a bit harder, gently moving from the left to the right and back again, still focusing on the same spot.
John wandered over next to him, Ferret jumping out of its dress hiding place, both standing next to him attempting to focus on whatever it was he saw.
Without warning Mini strode across the track, dodging and weaving between whatever stood between him and the other side of the road, stopping just to the left of the huge oak.
He watched one spot with complete concentration, absorbed in the moment, not another thing living or dead, could distract him for that spot. Then the shadows changed.
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