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The Ash tree

Despite the warmth of the Sun the chill of the Ash tree stayed with me and try as I might I could not rid my thoughts of the old man and his sorry plight. I sincerely hoped when my time came I fetched up in a slightly more salubrious spot than that. The call of crows made me look up and there high up in the grip of the thermals I saw three crows falling like pieces of burnt paper towards me. I shivered and the bag of marbles clunked in my coat pocket. Given the heat wearing the waterproof coat was by any measure extreme but carrying it would have been a far greater inconvenience so I persevered.

Trains, there gardens, and rooms, allergist rivers, beaches, cliffs, all flowing together, the aspect of movement and time between locations smudged and dislocated as in a dream. Try as I might I could not remember how the box had first come into my possession and now if that was not worry enough the added burden of Jesus Christ’s marbles. My promise to the old man was of cause sacrosanct I would find the man with the burning fire basket and deliver the marbles come what may.

I looked up again to reassure myself it was not angels tumbling on the wind but the raucous call reaffirmed that it was crows. I wondered how long the old man would survive in the gloom of the Ash tree, and hoped that he would be gone by dusk.

I shivered, blinked, and the whole world started to turn. It must be heat stroke I thought. I was caught up in a scenic précis, where the miles were truncated and the bends in the lane straightened out to accommodate my swift passage. I spun through a blur of coloured clippings, conscious of light and density changes but unable to discern any real form in the unfocused whirl. Bile rose in my throat, I gagged and was violently sick. The rush ceased, the giddiness subsided and I collapsed in a heap in the grass at the edge of the lane just by a wooden barred gate.

The Broken Diary Ian miller © 2012

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