Where was I exactly? Had I not just been in the house? I peered down at the object
and saw it was covered in short hairs and now lay still. Had Grandad gotten a dog
without telling anyone? After a moment, when my mind caught up with the reality of
what my eyes were seeing, I saw in fact that it not an animal but a man who, for
whatever reason, was dressed in a dog costume of some sort. Now that he was
lying down, I could clearly see his form underneath the costume. He seemed to
have stopped cold. To his right, I just then noticed, there was a large stick on fire
implanted into the ground.
What was going on? The whole thing must, I thought, be part of a stage play that
the man was acting in. The costumes and flaming stick all looked like they came
from one of Shakespeare’s plays, King Lear or one of them, that we had read in
school over the years. I stepped around the man, more out of curiosity than for
any sane reason, and saw that he had a gash of blood on his forehead. A very
realistic bright berry red, I had to admit. There was a boulder protruding from the
ground and it almost appeared as if he had fallen and hit his head on that. How,
though, had I gone from Grandad’s office into a play and, moreover, one that was
set outdoors? Had I fallen out one of the windows into the garden? I needed to find
out where I was first.
I looked up from the man to see a wooden house with its roof on fire, grey smoke
drifting up into a pale blue sky, a short distance away. The house was standing in
the middle of a large clearing surrounded by woodland. Perhaps it was not a play
after all. Was I on a movie set instead? A girl appeared in front of me. Where had
she come from? Had she been hiding in the grass? She was about my age with
raven-colored hair cut short and stood up to my shoulder. She was also wearing a
strange animal costume. She shouted something I did not understand. She must
not speak English, I thought, so maybe she was from abroad. She was very pretty,
I noticed. Again, the girl said something, quieter this time, and pointed away from
me over my shoulder. I turned around and found another older woman standing
“Hello,” I said.
Then, behind the older woman, where the ground sloped slightly downward, I saw
what the girl was probably really pointing to. A line of men, five or six, likewise
dressed in dog costumes, were slowly coming up the incline toward us. I watched
them for a few moments. Was it just me or did they seem to be spreading out as
they got nearer, as if, almost ridiculously I thought, they were attempting to circle
around us. Who were these men?
Everything seemed wrong here. The girl said something once more and reached
out to grab my hand to pull me toward her. I stumbled a foot or so in her direction
but then remained there in a stunned sort of way trying to figure out what was
going on. I just could not understand what she wanted, but I could see she was
genuinely scared. She shook her head at me and, releasing me to take the hand
of the older woman, they both ran toward the burning house. I watched them as
they reached the house and veered off to one side to head for the tree line behind.
Why were they fleeing a movie set? I looked about me again and saw, other than
the men who were still getting closer all the while, there was now no one else near
me. The only other structure I saw was a timber fence about twenty feet away with
two shaggy brown cows who stared at the burning house with detached bovine
curiosity. I had been on a movie set once. My friend Pauline from school had a
friend who got a small part in some low-key television movie and invited us on a
day tour as a treat. That movie set had been a busy place. There had been lots of
people, cameras, monitors, food stalls, long rows of wires, and equipment
everywhere. There was nothing here but a burning house, two cows, and some
men. Were they actors? I gazed at them for longer this time and saw that each
man was holding a type of stick or something in their hands.
This was just plain odd, but one thing I knew from growing up in the city was that if
you thought it was trouble, it probably was trouble. I decided, movie set or no
movie set, to run. I broke into a jog and, for want of a better direction, set off after
the girl and woman. As I went by the house, and felt the heat coming from the
crackling thatch, I saw a man lying prone on the ground. There was a rod with
feathers at the end sticking out of his chest. This was no movie set.
The arrowhead was the key to everything.
Wild Flower watched, unable to do anything, as the lone archer
let loose and the flint arrow flashed in the sunlight as it bore down
on her father.
Some 6,000 years later, Henry was suffering from slightly less
pressing problems. Dragged out to visit his Granddad yet again,
he decides to break open the case glass containing the old
archaeological finds. He reaches out to touch a pure white flint
arrowhead with a black lightning strike running down its heart. In a
heartbeat, their realms collide as he finds himself sent back to
Wild Flower’s world. He checks his phone but there is no signal
Together, and without even speaking each other’s language,
Henry and Wild Flower must then learn to trust each other as they
travel through a land of forest, tombs, wild threats and an enemy,
with the power of the Wolf, who seems unstoppable. She must
protect her family while he wants to get home. Along the way, they
might just surprise themselves and everyone else for that matter.
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|The Arrow Journey