Chapter 10 - Laying Bones To Rest

Chapter 10 - Laying Bones To Rest

A Chapter by Tertia

In the growing light of dawn I lay the three lifeless bodies to rest in a wide ditch and covered them loosely with earth, giving each one a gravestone marker in the form of a good piece of rock. I said an Our Father as the sunlight glimpsed over the dark hills and putting down the shovel I walked towards them and the peace I knew I would find there. Along the winding upward path Solomon followed me as far as a style and then sat looking puzzled. As I stood on the bridge of the style I turned back to her and said. ‘No rain again, Solly, no rain,’ she gave no reply, but did respond showing she had some kind of understanding.

It was quiet and full of fresh air in the hills with only the sighing wind over the long grass and birdsong for any type of noise. As the light shifted it gave definition to fences, trees and the undulations of the land. I climbed the highest peak and looked down at the far northern coast to a misty thin line that was the Atlantic and to somewhere in-between where Liv might be. I tried not to think of her. To the west the levels reached across to a thick woodland and to the south was the farm. Heading towards the woods, I half-fell down a ridge, tumbling between the sides of two hills, before reaching the flat. Out in the open, I realised, stupidly I was unarmed and in a panic I thought about turning back, but after scanning the horizon and listening to the wind for a few seconds I took shelter in the woods instead.

It was warm and shaded in the woods. The tree trunks grew thick and close together, not giving room to walk. The undergrowth bustled with life and paid me no mind. Creatures watched me and then darted away. By roots and a muddy bank there was a small stream. It gurgled happily in it’s never ending flow and seemed inviting as my mouth was dry. I cupped my hands and drank the pure water, it was sweet, scented and intoxicating. The overhanging branches shimmered in a sudden chilly breeze and as I looked around startled I saw a stag looking at me with big brown eyes. He bowed his head, showing his antlers.


I got on the radio to Iain and told him what had happened, Ruth and Jan were on too and they were devastated to hear about Gordo. There were long silences and crying until eventually Iain took charge of the call again.

‘Listen, there’s a bigger problem. We, and by we I mean all the groups in the county. All of us, Coast, Ocean, the Endovs and the Devonian side face a new threat from the bridge (the North Sea land bridge). Raiders from Europe have come across and are re-settling, pushing out anyone in their way.

‘Why?’ I exclaimed, my voice high in its alarm.

‘Trouble abroad. I don’t know, Al. I’ve heard various things, it sounds chaotic over there. Anyway the pushing out has led to conflict and so we need to be ready,’ he paused. ‘At the moment we are a scattered bunch of individuals leading solitary lifestyles, trying to farm our lands, but we need to unite and act as one. We can’t afford anymore infighting either. It’s been agreed that we will come together and if we don’t we will be the ones who get pushed out,’

I knew Iain meant infighting between me and Grey and was worried about it happening again. ‘Agreed? agreed with who?’ Jan asked in a shrieky voice.

‘All three leaders, myself, Brodie from Coast (Coast was the area of Cornwall south of Central facing the English Channel, looking towards France) and Grey.’ Grey! Grey? the word hung in the air. Grey was going to be on our side when we had so much unsettled business. I couldn’t imagine us working together without another fight breaking out.

‘We must attack and not wait for them to arrive, while we have the advantage of surprise,’ I advised. I was following Gordo’s words from the days before the battle and knew it was only that attack that had seen us through. ‘If possible we must dictate the place of the final battle and lie in wait,’

‘What’s brought all this on, Al?’ Iain asked his tone more serious than ever.

‘These were Gordo’s words. What got us, well me, through. He knew how to attack and plan, he was a good strategist. It’s what he would’ve wanted,’ I said, telling them the truth as I felt it. There was a stony silence. ‘If we wait around we will get picked off, we will have no chance. There’s not enough of us for starters. We’ll get wiped out,’

‘I’ll relay this back. Our area, Central is the obvious choice as it is central and it will be easier for the others to come to us,’ Iain stated.

‘And who is the most central of us?’ Jan put in.

‘Al,’ they all repeated in unison.

‘Your place is already stockaded and you have seen battle there, so know it’s weak spots. It makes sense,’ Iain calmly delivered in an authoritative tone.

‘Yes,’ I said, finding myself only able to agree.

‘We can draw them down that way. As you said, choosing our own battleground,’

‘Yes, yes of course. I’ll get to work on repairs, but I don’t like the idea of fighting alongside Grey. I don’t trust him. He’s got an evil look in his eye for me,’

‘Well you’re going to have to,’ Iain said with venom. ‘We can’t let a lovers tiff get in the way when there are all our lives at stake,’

‘I will try my best, but I can’t guarantee what will go on,’

There was a long silence

‘I will sort it all out, Al. You’ll see,’ Iain said sounding like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders.

© 2021 Tertia

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Sometimes when a chapter opens with a descriptive passage that goes on for 3 long paragraphs, I would consider this a snooze fest. But your opening is so captivating, your descriptive rambling so dynamic, you have a style that's quite unique & it draws the reader in. I love that you've addressed many of the things I've said in earlier chapters, especially now that we get to see more of this "English Channel" situation . . . . something I've been eager to see develop, since I loved the idea in your opening chapters. Another thing I love is how you show prep for war as being people sharing what they're thinking & feeling. Most "conflict" stories focus on the violence, which is why I rarely read them. This is about the people, not the violence, & I really love that. (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 4 Weeks Ago

The opening descriptions were really well done. I felt the feelings of peace and serenity you get when looking out at a great view and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.

The plot is unfolding nicely. The tension is building at a really good pace. Each chapter makes me more worried about how things will turn out, but it's hopeful enough that I must continue to seek out what happens next. All the characters are very relateable.

Once again, great chapter!

Posted 1 Month Ago

This chapter is very emotional. Great job overall.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 Month Ago

Thanks, Kari - appreciated

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3 Reviews
Added on January 16, 2021
Last Updated on January 17, 2021
Tags: Scattered lands, scattered, lands, Doggerland



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