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As promised, here is the first part of my new novel St James' Rooster the second of The Camino Chronicles. I shall be serialising this over the next couple of weeks or so so if you like it you might want to order a copy from Amazon or the publishers. If you don't, well at least I have saved you some money.
But you will like it ...trust me, I'm a hypnotist...
Prologue: The First
“From this moment you will hear nothing outside of yourself except the sound of my voice.”
I hear him and yet not. There is no more present, only the glow of the past which draws me like a lover’s smile. I am drowning in it, pleasantly. It pulls me down, deeper, and deeper down. .I am at peace as he says. I am at home. I have returned…I am both myself, and not myself
“What are you wearing?”
“I’m not sure. It’s soft: cotton perhaps. Linen? No, soft wool. My feet? They’re bare.
I am with my people. The lights flicker and toss, caught up with human movement: they are pressing on me in the dance of shadows and fire; it’s all around me. Yes, my feet are bare on packed earth. I feel raised up to the sky: no. Not the sky. I don’t know… there seem to be arms above me…
“Arms? Human arms?”
“No, no. Although they are there too. Trees! They’re the branches of trees. They’re so close above and yet no, not so close beside me. There are others around me…they are chanting, wait, no, they’re singing. Oh, what a song! What singers! What voices from heaven could sing so sweetly and yet so sadly? The angels must be weeping in envy. Wait a minute. Wait… I know this…I know this!
Wait, wait…yes. Yes! Of course… “I am your door, Lord. Open me and let me come home. ”
Of course I know this! It is the song of Priscillian.
Dear Lord of our longing
Let me remove and let me be removed
Let me save and let me be saved
I want to sing; sing with me
I want to cry; cry with me
Adorn me, I crave you
I am a lamp for you,
You who have eyes to see me
I am a door for you, who brings his spirit home…
We are few now, his followers, where once we were thousands. These singers and dancers around my outstretched arms, they are my brothers, my sisters. The lovers of Priscillian who lies buried in our midst. And I feel the supporting souls of those long gone, their bodies arranged around this hill, this copse, this house of the granite of dear Galicia, this tomb of marble from Alexandria, hidden from unfriendly and uncomprehending eyes.
The ceremony is over now. I cradle the Sacred Book in its leather wrappings. I place it back in its box in the stone from whence I have taken it, this time, and before, following in the ritual of those who have done so since the day our Master was brought to this place by Galla, his daughter and his faithful followers who lie sleeping beside him here too. The night of loving prayer is drawing to a close, the torches extinguished; the songs too are packed away in secret. We would not dare to sing them openly now.
Wait…. What is this disturbance? I know this girl, the daughter of Hilderic. They are bringing her to me. Their faces are drawn with anxiety. They are gesturing outside the wood with frantic hands and eyes. She is speaking too fast.
“She has passed the hut of Pelayo the shepherd, close by to here, not moments ago.”
“Pelayo? The hermit? He will not harm us; he is too afraid of the ghosts. He keeps away.”
The girl is speaking, her breath almost spent for running. “The riders! Bishop’s or King’s men. I know not which. Two of them perhaps three. He brings them. They are coming! Quickly! You must all fly! There is no time to waste. Our secret is a secret no longer...”