Memory Stones


The words themselves are just standing there in the desert. Describing nothing, they stand as monuments: separate, unconnected, devoid of meaning. I do not have the strength to dig them out of the wind-blown sand, to move them and make shapes out of them, shapes both pleasing and sensible.

I carve the shapes, the words, from the rocks I find as I wander the desert, leaving them where I find them. This desert – in the valley between the two hills – is now littered with the words I have carved, some almost buried by the wind-shifted sand. They stand like statues or monoliths, isolated from each other by the uneven rise and fall of the dunes at the valley sides.

Down there, on the plain, there are other carved stone words, left where I tried to arrange them, tried to find some meaning amongst them. I gave up on that a long time ago. The heat made it too hard to shift the heavy stones. The words lie where I last moved them, half-formed sentences and phrases – nothing more.

I used to want to form patterns, pleasing patterns, find meaning among these stones. But now, once they are carved, I leave them, feeling I have done enough.

The woman in white stands watching from the opposite hillside. Her dark hair and long flowing white dress fluttering like banners in the breeze. At her side, the black panther sits patiently, the pupils of its eyes slits against the bright sunlight.

I tried, once, to go to speak with the woman. As I climbed the hillside the panther stood and strained against its chain. I saw the woman’s hand tighten on the lead as she held up her other hand for me to stop. I knew she meant it, and I could hear the low purring growl of the panther as its pupils widened. I paused, then turned back. At the bottom of the hill, I turned again and looked back. The panther was sitting down once more, relaxed, and the woman was watching me carefully.

Twice every day another woman – totally hairless – and naked, except for a leather collar arrives. She carries a decanter of red wine and a glass on a silver tray to the woman in white. She waits, motionless, next to the black panther as the woman in white sips the wine. Only two glasses – always just two glasses. Then the hairless woman climbs sedately back over the brow of the hill and out of sight.

[Continues on Wattpad here]

Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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