I have been nominated by Nowathome to participate in the 5 Day Black and White Challenge and by Lrod to participate in the 5 Photos – 5 Stories Challenge. This post is my day 5 response to both. It took me a while to edit it down, but today’s story is right on my target – 500 words exactly. I hope you enjoy it.
The Mystery of the Stones
Sarah sighed happily as she gazed over the Castlerigg stone circle, the majestic backdrop of the Cumbrian peaks adding to the scenic romance. She’d been looking forward to this trip for a long time.
“They say they’re impossible to count,” she told her husband. “Everyone gets a different number.”
“Load of bollocks,” George replied. “They’re just a bunch of bloody great rocks in a field.”
“They were a place of magic and ritual for centuries.”
“And now they’re a tourist trap. You’ve seen your rocks – can we go?”
Sarah ignored his moaning. “I think we ought to count them.” After spending most of the day in an over-hot warehouse full of ‘classic’ cars she would not let him dampen her enjoyment. He knew these places were her passion. “I’ll go this way, you go that. When we get back here we’ll compare totals.”
With George grumbling under his breath, they divided to walk the circle.
“How many did you get?”
“I counted 42!”
“Wow,” George deadpanned. “Must be magic. Now can we go?”
“One more time around. Let’s have another count.”
“Will you quit complaining,” Sarah finally snapped. “We’ve been here fifteen minutes. We were at your flippin’ car museum for hours! You’ll count those stones again or you’ll be sleeping on the floor tonight!”
Sarah was halfway around when she realised George was gone.
She stormed back to the car, ready to scold him for his selfishness. He wasn’t there. It was then she began to panic. Where was he? Surely he hadn’t just walked off and left her? Maybe he’d fallen somewhere and was lying in a ditch. He could be dead!
“George,” she shouted.
It was then she saw the second circle. She blinked, shaking her head. There was no second circle at Castlerigg! But there it was, larger even than the first.
And walking its circumference was George.
Do you want him back? a strange voice whispered on the wind.
She tried to approach her husband but something held her back. Fear grew.
Do you want him back? It was louder this time.
“Of course I do!”
Do you want him back? It was a shout this time. Sarah covered her ears and forced herself to consider her answer.
Did she? Really? Grumpy, opinionated and rude, he was a hard man to live with – but he had his moments… He’d drop everything to help her. He always supported her, even if he didn’t agree. He’d shared her life for nearly twenty years, putting up with her foibles as much as she did his.
She couldn’t imagine life without him at her side.
“I do,” she called. “I want him back!”
The force released her and the second circle faded from sight.
“Are you ready to go now?” George asked, oblivious to events.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too. What brought this on?”
“Just the romance of the place.” With a last glance at the stones, Sarah climbed into the car.
Today’s photo was taken last year at Castelrigg stone circle in the Lake District. The circle was built in approximately 3000BC, in the late Neolithic – making it one of the oldest stone circles in Britain, possibly in the whole of Europe. Tradition does indeed state that it is impossible to count the exact number of stone, though this is now thought to be because some people count smaller ‘packing’ or ‘support’ stones that have ‘appeared’ beside the larger ones.
The second circle appears in only one description of the site – the very first mention of Castlerigg was by William Stukely who visited it in 1725. He said that ‘There seemed to be another larger circle in the next pasture toward the town.’ (Stukeley 1969 Vol. II, 48). There was never any other mention of this circle and no archaeological evidence of it has ever been found.
The rules of the 5 day black and white challenge are:
1) post a black & white photo daily for 5 days
2) Invite someone different to participate each day.
The rules of the 5 Photos-5 Stories challenge are:
1) To post a photo every day for 5 days
2) To write a story to accompany your photo for 5 days (this can be fiction or non-fiction, a page, a paragraph or a poem)
3) To nominate a different person each day
My nomination for day 5 is Francesca Smith.
There is no obligation to accept the challenge but if you wish to do so you can choose to do the 5 Day Black and White Challenge, the 5 Photos – 5 Stories Challenge or a combination of the two as I have done. Enjoy. 🙂