This is the latest installment in a story that I’ve been writing over the course of the year. There is a prologue which was used to shape the story, which starts here, but which you can easily miss out. The story proper starts here.
“A map?” Owain exploded. “We don’t need a map. I know these hills like their the back of my hand, isn’t it.”
“Is it?” Meredith asked, confused by the idiom.
“Definitely,” Esther chipped in. “Owain’s been back and forth over the Brecon’s on foot, by bike, and in the Landy. Llyn-y-Fan Fach’s a favourite place to visit.”
“OK…but we need to keep off the main road, whilst getting there as quickly as possible.”
“Easy – and you can keep your map!”
Owain guided the 4×4 along narrow country lanes, back on to the main roads, more side roads, cut through fields across rivers. Inexorably they closed in on Meredith’s target. As he drove, the alien told them why they were heading to an obscure, beautiful lake in the Welsh countryside.
“Up there, out there amongst the stars, there are uncountable numbers of alien species. Some you would call civilizations. Some are not. Some are as chimpanzees are to you. Some are just different, and they wouldn’t give a squirld for what you call civilization. I guess that doesn’t really matter. I guess the key thing is that no-one has really noticed that you’re here, and there’s nothing important enough in this part of space to attract people to come and look at you…except…”
“Except what?” Esther asked, eyes sparkling with excitement and interest.
“Except that something got lost. It happens more often than you’d think. Wars can start sometimes – or end. Sometimes no one notices, and sometimes it doesn’t matter either way. In this instance…well… Thousands of years ago, a piece of alien technology got mislaid and no-one noticed. No one even really knows how it went missing. No one noticed it had gone missing for quite some time. And then they did realise, and then they went looking. It took them a while, because somehow it ended up in this cul-de-sac of the galaxy, where nothing interesting happens, and so know had bothered to look before now. They picked up on some of the signals that you’ve been throwing out into space and discerned that against all probability you guys were here after all.
“I’m not sure, how I feel about that,” Esther said, frowning slightly. “It doesn’t paint us in a very flattering light does it?”
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Anyway, the aliens hired me to retrieve their tech for them. They can’t come down to the surface of a planet like this. It was supposed to be…covert…but someone seems to know that I’m coming. I’m not sure what that’s about. But I need to start making some preparations.”
“OK…but do you know anything about where we’re heading?”
“This Llyn y fan fach place? No, nothing. Well, not beyond what I’ve been able to glean from your Internet.”
“Huh. Well there is a legend that three brothers lived around there. They were famous herbalists, and physicians, and they were supposed to be born of woman who lived in the lake and rose from the water.”
“Well, well, well…that’s interesting. But that’s not the whole story is it?”
“Well some say it’s a version of the story of the Lady of the Lake from the tales of Arthur, but the one we know dates back around a thousand years, and was first written down in one of the most ancient books of Wales. Supposedly there was a farmer who spotted this beautiful woman down by the lake. He proposed marriage and she agreed, but said that if he struck her three times, she would leave and go back to the water. They had a happy life for several years and had three sons. But over that time there were three occasions where she became hysterical. The story says he tapped her, whatever that means, and on the third time she ran back to the lake.
“And there’s the lake now, look you” said Owain. “We’re here!”.
© David Jesson, 2019
During 2019, I’m undertaking a writing experiment, as described here.
The shape of the story was formed through a four-part prologue: the first part of prologue is here, if you want to start right at the beginning.
Part 10. Part 10! Nearly all the way through. Slightly shorter one this month, and no poll, because I know what I want to fit into those two episodes. However, if you’ve got any special requests do make sure to let me know!
See you next month!