As the sun rose, so did my spirits. The men before me were all aged and seemingly wise.
You could just tell that all three of them had been born in this valley, and had all lived and
worked there ever since.
If any, or all, of them genuinely believed in a heaven, then it wouldn't be an,
other-worldly place delighted by harp-twanging angels.
It would be here; right here in this valley.
They didn't know anything other than this valley and for eternity they would remain
under its spell and at the mercy of its bewitching wrath... long after their merely
mortal bodies had died and decayed.
I thought sticks and stones might break my bones, but words will never scare me.
Yet their words didn't scare me as I assumed they would. In fact, they hoped that I might
be able to help them, so I listened intently as they explained a strange situation that
had been puzzling the entire Langtang community for the past few weeks, ever since a
beautiful young girl from the village had mysteriously disappeared. Quite literally, into thin air.
At first, in my pessimistically paranoid state, I feared that I was personally being
accused of some unspeakable evil. I was quick to point out that I had only recently
arrived at the village, having never before visited the vicinity.
Each of the men, in their own little worlds, aired a slight chuckle or two before the
collectively set-in-stone faces resumed their altogether more grave expressions.
They knew that I wasn't guilty of anything, but they ruefully suggested that
I might be able to help in their continuing search for the girl.
A girl, who had coincidentally celebrated her 18th birthday on the damned day of
disappearance, as though such a hard fact might in some way, be significant.
As if I might just know a little more than I was letting on when I said that I hadn't
realised anybody from the village had gone missing before these men had effectively
abducted me and stole me from sweet dreams.
The raging river that punctuated the serene nature of the valley seemed to be barely a
harmless trickle from the height at which we were stationed, overlooking the
tightly clustered village below, casually coming and going about its humble daily business.
And there I was thinking that the so-called simple lives that these mountain people lived
were perpetually hunky dory, unaffected by all of the problems that plague the money and the
lust-driven Western world at large.
I found it almost impossible to comprehend that any form of evil deeds could take place
up here, near to the border with Tibet.
And yet, moral injustice had always sowed its seeds out here in the East as well as in
the West, as the Dalai Lama would testify when he was forced to leave his beloved Potala Palace refuge.
The majestic scenery might, to some naïve minds, appear all sweet and innocent in its stark beauty.
But for it to be breathtaking implies that it might just kill you when you least expect it.
It just depends on which way you look at things, and if indeed you are willing to lend a
hand when it's most required.
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 7 (1886: Hull, Yorkshire) By Frank Beill
The answer to my question came much sooner than expected and from an unexpected source. Before suppertime there was a surprise visitor to the orphanage.
Mr John Thorne provided most of the money to set up the Hull Sailors' Children's Orphanage.
He was a shipbroker, although I didn't have a clue as to what shipbroker was or did.
Fiction - Welcome To Hellville - Part 4 By Rich Mills
Addict vaccine, social behaviour training, helicopter strafes overhead, government propaganda
drenched lo-fi media docu-slice-of-life info-mercial broadcast, fed straight to your hole.(Written on a Planet Coffee branded paper napkin.)
The napkin referred to above was
Fiction - Fishheads By Michelle Dee
Monstrous silver and blue -green severed fish heads emerged at the forefront of her mind.
Open, close, open, close the gaping mouths. She fancied there were others behind it.
Each time the razor sharp teeth were bared she looked into the blacker than
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter Seven By Steve Rudd
Time spent away from the daily grind forces you to assess where, in life, you have been - and
where you would like to go.
Back in England, perversely, I had always wanted to return here to Nepal, but now I was back here,
Fiction - Welcome To Hellville - Part 3 By Rich Mills
Boring! It's far too wet and miserable to venture outside for a good few days now. Six months and that's it - I'm out of here. Eight at the very most!
All depends on how fast I can save to get myself over to the Southern Hemisphere.
Fiction - Firm but Fair By Mark Pollard
Cry-Baby Jim Breaks. He pioneered it, they say.
And the hushed, almost ecclesiastical tones of Ken Walton had heralded it's
entry into Saturday afternoon folklore: the bright lights of
Blackpool and Great Yarmouth, down to the lesser reputes of Ilfracombe and
Skegness had all borne witness
Fiction - Puzzles By Denis Price
I've got a really nice room, when the door's closed I feel ever so safe and warm. It's quiet as well,
just the swish of the wind in the trees outside. I like the trees; they hide the big tall fence.
My watchers say the fence is there to keep me safe, and that's their job too, they're always there
Fiction - COLD WAR TALES- THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS By Denis Price
The piercing insistent wail of the siren woke him. `For Christ`s sake now what!` Over the tannoy the
smooth expensive voice intoned languidly that this was only a drill and that all personnel
should continue with their normal duties.
He groaned and thought, this is my normal
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter One By Steve Rudd
Above all else it was ignorance and arrogance that helped me pack my bags.
The ignorance and arrogance of myself, that was, and everyone else.
I was only interested in people and past-times that furthered humanity. And what was wrong with that?
Fiction - Scrawls Of The Unexpected By Mark Pollard
Professor Colin Pillinger, lead scientist on the Beagle II programme, was calm but well pissed off
inside. He had been clinging to the idea that his £35 million Mars Probe was stuck in a crater,
waiting for some narrow rays of sunlight to banish the shade for a few precious hours each day
in order that
Fiction - A Short Story - The Beaver Stalker By The J.E.M. Cult
I stepped out into the cold frosty air.
I pulled my muffler tighter round my hands and crunched across the frozen grass. Today was the first day of the beaver season- and by golly, I was sure gonna get me one.
I love beavers. I can't help it. There's just something about stroking that damp fur that sends me
Fiction - The Art Of Being Alone In A Crowded Bar By Rich Mills
What music are you into, man? The American exchange student who had earlier introduced himself, without any regard for Jean-Paul's need to be alone, suddenly threw a curve-ball of a question in his direction.
Well I listen to... What followed was a definitive list of bands from Jean-Paul's wide ranging rare vinyl
Fiction - Old Tired & Completely Rucked By Martin Dale
Of course, I used to be big league me. Right up there with the bigwigs I was. Every game I'd be out there, working my socks off for the club.
I'd be at the bottom of every ruck, in the thick of every maul, I'd cover more of the pitch than anyone else on the team.
Pretty good really, now that I come to think about it,