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by Cornelia 

Posted: 15 April 2011
Word Count: 542
Summary: A story about time inspired by Greenwich, for Neeze's challenge about waking and sleeping

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ĎTell me about the Ley lines, granddadí, she'd say, even when it was only a week or two since weíd been up here. Thereís only so much a six year old can understand, though, even one as sharp as Alice.

Iím feeling a bit drowsy now, Tommy. Is it me, or is it getting warmer?

It seems like only yesterday her mother said she was old enough to cross the heath to the point, and we stood here together. ĎItís not a point at all, granddad- itís flat.í I told her it may be flat, just a grassy field, but it has the finest view in London.

Look carefully, Tommy and you can follow the line of the prime meridian running from the Observatory, through the Queenís House, the Dome and across to the Isle of Dogs. See where the light reflects in a long white line? Thatís the river, winding off to St Paulís. She'd say it was like a silver ribbon.

Donít worry about me, Tommy. Iíll soon be swapping yarns with the men who built them, not just St. Paul's but Stonehenge, too. The bible called them magi, the wise men who span the ages. Theyíll tell me how they built the Pyramids. Weíll have a laugh about the top of the Canary Wharf Tower, and that group that wanted to turn it into a Temple of Isis. They said it must be the true Omphalus, because itís protected by water on three sides Ė that and the cobbled steps up to the ancient circle. Alice liked that story, Tommy, almost as much as the ones about the ghosts.

They knew all about it, Tommy, - the lines of energy crossing the world, the alignment of sacred sites in triangles. They know that Greenwich is the same as Giza was to the ancient Egyptians Ė our Omphalus, spiritual centre of the world. Such concentration of energy in these intersections, Tommy Ė portals they called them, and now it looks as if Iím about to go through one at last.

I donít think Iíll be coming back, though, Tommy, so donít look for me. I wonít be like poor Christopher Marlowe, murdered in a tavern brawl, or the wandering souls in the Queenís house Ė the hooded monk at the foot of the Tulip staircase and the maid who passes through walls. They say theyíre stories made up for the tourists, but you and I know better than that, Tommy. Alice knew it, too. Like you and me, she felt it.

Measuring time and space, Tommy. Aliceíll go further than I did, with her degree in Astronomy. Iíve measured my length. I canít move. She was right about that, too: running round the way you do, youíd trip me up one day.

Sit here beside me, lad. I canít see the trees anymore. But whatís that crowd coming across the grass? The lightís shining in my eyes and I canít see who they are. Can you see their arms raised up? I think they want me to join them, Tommy. No,no, not you; they donít take in dogs, and even if they did, itís not your time. You stay here and wait for Alice. Sheíll know where to find us.

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Comments by other Members

Kali at 10:36 on 15 April 2011  Report this post
This is so lovely. Very touching, haunting.

Tears welling up by this point: "I think they want me to join them, Tommy. No,no, not you; they donít take in dogs, and even if they did, itís not your time. You stay here and wait for Alice."



Cornelia at 10:56 on 15 April 2011  Report this post
Thank you for reading and commenting, Steph. I'm glad you found it moving - this is a most unusual style for me.


tusker at 16:01 on 15 April 2011  Report this post
This is indeed a tear jerker.

Not slushy sentimental but it's brought a lump to my throat especially as Tommy, her pal, is a lovely dog.


Desormais at 16:04 on 15 April 2011  Report this post
I liked this Sheila. I think this will do well. As Jennifer says, it's not slushy but it is moving. Well done.

Cornelia at 20:02 on 15 April 2011  Report this post
Thanks, Tusker and Sandra. I must say I think this is a good way for the old man to go and I needed someone for him to talk to so I brought in the dog. In the original version you knew he was a dog at the start, but I thought the end reveal would add a bit of drama to an otherwise static piece. I think he's a terrier, like Greyfriars Bobby's statue in Edinburgh. So he'll stay by his master until he's found.


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