‘Crowley was obviously very familiar with The5,’ continued the Rock Star, ‘and wanted a way of facilitating their transit into this world. He saw Baird’s machinery as the answer.’
Mac didn’t speak as the enormity of this revelation fell hard on him like the heaviest rain.
‘Don’t worry,’ said the Rock Star, ‘for many various reasons Crowley and Baird fell out before the transit arrangements could be completed.’ He paused. ‘Guided by the First of The5, Crowley Baird Inc. has been set up to complete these arrangements once and for all.’
‘What do you think will happen when I blow the horn?’ asked the Rock Star.
Inteachán didn’t reply.
‘The Summoning will begin,’ continued The Rock Star. ‘And once the Summoning has begun then there will be no stopping events.’ He smiled. ‘But you know all this, don’t you, because Mac has explained everything to you, hasn’t he?’
‘He has, replied Inteachán, ‘and I am now more convinced than ever that he was right.’
The Rock Star frowned.
‘I’m not going to argue with you, Inteachán,’ he replied. ‘I’m going to tell you the truth about what is really happening and then,’ he paused dramatically, ‘I am going to have to have you killed.’
‘You cannot begin to imagine what I have seen and heard,’ boasted the Rock Star. ‘Your tiny little mind would simply shatter.’
He stood up and walked to a desk. He opened a drawer and took out an ornate box. The Rock Star placed the box on the floor between Inteachán and his chair.
Inteachán eyes lit up.
‘This is what that geriatric dodderer sent you to fetch,’ said the Rock Star pointing at the box. ‘This box contains the Horn of Donn Cuailnge.’
The box was made from an ancient wood and was carved with figures that Inteachán couldn’t quite make out. Though the room was dim the box glowed bright from within.
‘Past-Change is what has been. History? You could say that but nothing is ever that simple.
We understand Present-Change in terms of what is. The here? The now? The immediate?
Future-Change is best understood in terms of what will be. What lies ahead? The shape of things to come? The minute after the minute it takes to read this sentence.’
As a race we humans either dwell in the past, refusing to let go of what has gone before. Or we live for the moment, happy to acknowledge the ever-changing nature of our existence. Failing either of these two, we look forward to things, projecting our thoughts and desires to a time that has yet to occur.’
A dark and filthy night. Black as black. A howling wind. A small mound in the distance. A lonely tree bent double on top. Nothing is abroad.
No one walks on a night like this.
A small figure stands next to the tree. Gently lifting a large flat stone. Carefully tying a rope. Lowering the other end into a small black hole. Leering like a baleful eye in the frightening night.
Inteachán tests the knot.
Inteachán is twelve years old. She climbs down holes. Retrieving relics. Important things.
Tombs. Graves. Cairns.
As I lay beneath this ragged tarpaulin after a hard day’s destruction I struggle to find the strength to keep writing this account but someone has to do something and though I know that they will shoot me when they catch me I have to keep writing so that maybe someone one day will find it and read about the time that the world still had hope.
Because all the while that I can write then all is not lost.
And all the while that all is not lost then the whole world can still wait and hope and pray (if that is your thing) for that time when it may well be that all this waiting and hoping (and praying) will bring about an upturn in this planet’s fortunes.
End of Book I
Amidst the chaos and the screaming and the suffering and the hatred and the horror and the hopelessness and the gunfire and the pleading and the taunting and the sheer futility of it all a small child works alone in Front Square. A small child with a broken nose who works all day, using a household hammer to smash bricks until her arm burns and she cannot lift it any more. Spent and close to collapse, this small child then falls asleep near where I am laying. No one pays her any mind.
And yet existence can live alongside the very destruction of the same and though the notion of life here is clearly finite in its duration it is the same life that resolves to sing as the firing squad takes aim or signal eternal defiance with a shout from the scaffold and until there is no-one left to hear the song or hear the shout then there is always the hope that even songs and shouting might actually signal something more than simple silent resignation. And even in the darkest darkness ever to have descended from way beyond on-high there are still voices to be heard. They may be single. They may be strangled. They may be shortened. But they are voices all the same.