Peregrinations

The Spiral Stone

Ghosts of the Heart, Ch. 20:

Late summer flowers bloomed around a stepped pool where the water trickled down a series of stone bowls. At her feet stood a round stone carved with a Celtic spiral design, like the fossil of a gigantic snail. She wanted nothing more than to sit by the pool and bathe in the serenity that permeated the space. But George had been specific. The immediate area surrounding the Well itself. If her mother and Max had come here, that’s where they would be. That’s where they would be safe.

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Camelot

Ghosts of the Heart, Chapter 17

“Where are you off to tomorrow?”
“Glastonbury. Dad and I often talked of visiting there and climbing the Tor.”
“Straight into the very heart of Story.” There was a smile in his voice. “Be certain to visit the Abbey. Arthur and Guinevere are buried there.”
“King Arthur? He was real?” Tired as she was, Sophie would have pried her eyes open with toothpicks to hear that story from this man’s lips.

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The Henge

They were about a quarter of the way around the circle. Her audio guide had already informed her about the Aubrey Holes behind them and the origins of the various stones before them. Now it was telling about the Avenue and pointing out the processional way that once ran between the River Avon and Stonehenge. Sophie’s imagination picked it out as it ran across the Salisbury Plain and disappeared over a rise. Shadows danced here and there along the way, as if confirming her vision.

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On the Itchen

The River Itchen ran under the bridge and disappeared on one side through a pair of culverts under a building built over the river. On the other, it burbled past the back gardens of pink brick houses that rose beyond its green banks, gardens full of shades of August yellow, and wound on around the Cathedral Close. Swans floated nearby, their numbers doubled in rippling reflection. Sophie wondered if swans were resident on all English rivers, paid perhaps by the Tourist Authority.

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Battle

Ghosts of the Heart, Chapter 8

Once through the Battle Abbey gatehouse, the path led along a crest from which the land sloped down to green fields. Almost a thousand years ago, Sophie read on the signs posted along the way, the invading army had come from over the low hills on the horizon into these English fields – probably more sere in mid-October. Today the tops of the grasses were just beginning to dry in the August heat. Here, where she was walking, the Saxon army had stood to repel the Normans. Here, on the high ground.

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Net Sheds

Sophie stopped dead still. Not twenty-five feet away a rowboat was pulled up onto the shingle. A bushy, burly man covered from shoulders to ankles in a ragged oilskin cloak was heaving wooden casks from boat to shore. A tattered boy of eight or nine ran barefoot across the shingle as if it were a dance floor, picked up a cask almost half as big as he was, and staggered back with it the way he had come. The tall black shadows of the net sheds swallowed him whole.
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Seaside Castle

The track stretched away toward the castle, the sheep nibbled at the green, and the dry tops of meadow grass stood still in the summer sun. Looking around, Sophie could see nothing of the 21st Century. She took a deep breath laced with a salty hint of the sea, living for a moment with the reality of Max and his world. Then she turned back towards her own.

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