In the time that it took him to get to the hill, the sun had crossed the rest of the sky and was starting to set. As promised, he was greeted by a
circle of stones, planted into the ground like a giant fairy ring. The sun was now a warm red-orange ball, slowly descending towards the horizon, the
fiery glow slotting in between two of the stones, which seemed to be squeezing the light from it.
“Well we’re here,” he said, feeling breathless from his ascent. “It’s very exposed. Isn’t it too open to set up camp here?”
“Go and stand in the middle of the ring. And take everything with you,” the machine instructed.
He entered the ring, passing between the large stones. They towered over him like a stone gateway, some were four or five meters high and already
looked very old. He wondered how long they had been here and how long they would continue to be in the future. A soft uneven crater, like one where a
puddle has dried up, was where he judged the middle to be. He went and stood in the hollow wondering what was going to happen next.
“You need to keep very still,” the machine told him.
He felt a flush of worry. “Why?” he asked trying not to let his anxiety bloom into something much bigger like fear.
“Just stand still and count to ten. Try not to move.” And being told not to move only made him feel more fidgety than ever.
Without a sound, flashing lights surrounded him. He initially thought this was the sun, but it was too bright and too white to be the sun, which was
red-orange and now only just balancing on the horizon. The hill suddenly started to shake and sink and the stones loomed up over him, pale shadows
against the darkening sky. The flashes continued lighting up the stones and turning them white as a cyclone of air swirled and rushed and all the
while he tried not to move.
The stones were stretching out into the sky now, bleeding out from their smooth shapes until they had many arms making inkblots of white against the
evening sky which had darkened. It was then that the shrieking started, making him want to cover his ears but the machine had told him not to move.
The wind had turned cold too, having a freezing touch that reminded him of the ice jacket in the testing room and he passed out through fear.
Well, at least he had thought he had passed out. It had gone very dark and his eyes had certainly closed as he now had to make an effort to open them
again. When he did, he saw he was standing in a small grove of trees.
He gasped. “Where did the hill and the stones go?”
“They haven’t, we have,” the machine piped up from his clutched hand.
“It is us that moved, not the stones and hill. They are still where we left them.”
He shook his head, feeling despair. “But I don’t understand…”
“We have moved through time and space. We are in a different time and in a different place.” The machine explained to him patiently.
“But how? That’s impossible.”
“By following the lines.”
He wasn’t sure what the machine meant by the lines. All that he could think of was telephone lines that hung from post to post and that was silly
because he was far too big to fit through those.
“There were no lines, only stones,” he said knowing that he shouldn’t argue, but thinking how much easier things would be once he understood
what was going on.
“Go pick an apple and I will explain.” The machine suggested.
edit on 29/11/2014 by YarlanZey because: (no reason given)