The first in a planned trilogy set in the 14th century, The Touching of Stones tells the tale of a stone mason's family and will span across two countries and a continent. This excerpt tells of the bloodiness of war.
Flicking opened his eyes in panic, he studied the distorted shape coming towards him; a horse that appeared to be galloping in slow motion, clods of earth spinning from huge feathered hooves, a rider leaning forward in earnest.
He struggled to move, but was unable to, he tried to speak but his tongue lay fat and rough against the roof of his mouth. The rider knelt beside him with sorrow in his eyes; his friend was not long for this world. He supported his head while trying to give him a drink, but it just dribbled from the corners of his mouth. He tried to speak again, but only a gargling, guttural sound could be heard as blood dribbled down his chin. He tried, desperately, broken lips drawn back over his teeth, to draw a breath. He looked wide-eyed at his friend in despair, his blue eyes turned black and sightless, as his pupils dilated to their fullest as he passed from this world to the next. His last exhaled breath hissed and frothed from his mouth. His head lolled to the left, his jaw hung askew; and there he lay with the stench of his piss and excrement fusing with the filth of battle. His war was over.
They looked down at themselves lying in the filth, with soldiers laughing and thumping each other on their backs congratulating themselves for their courage in battle. One kicked at a body, another stamped on its head, splitting it wide and unrecognisable,merging the white matter with coagulating blood which gradually seeped into the noisome muck. The other they slashed and hacked to pieces in a frenzy, kicking each part from the other. The brutality of war turned men into beasts with a blood lust that was as virulent as the bubonic plague. Laughing and congratulating each other on their work, they mounted their horses and in an instant they re-joined the battle.
The friends looked at each other; the glow of their battle was extinguished. They drifted slowly above the mêlée, gradually dissolving into the heavens.
|Louise E Rule|
Louise is the author of Future confronted