Reads: 101


I am transfixed as the hot sun beats down on my face. My eyes adjust and I can see the wall of shrubs rising up beyond,

“Come on.” I hear Alex's excited voice. I turn and see him grinning just inside the doorway. I grin myself and step gladly towards him. The wall of shrubs now transforms into a towering covering of beauty. Desert plants that I have only ever heard of and never imagined in all my life fill me with excitement and amazement.

“Wow.” Alex uttered, echoing my thoughts. “Hang on.”

“What?” I stop just as he has.

“Listen,” I hear a faint wisp of wind, sand whispering quietly and the sound of my own breath.

“Listen to what?” I ask.

Alex pauses, “The water.”

I frown. But then there is something. A faint whooshing sound, “What?” I hear my own voice change tone.

“Yeah. I suspect it's their water supply, probably through pipes coming up from the oasis below, feeding the plants.” I just nod at Alex’s statement. I move my eyes to look around at the variety of desert shrubs.

“There.” I turn to see what Alex is looking at. Just rising above the shrubs I see it,

“It's just like what I saw on the train” Alex frowns at me, “I saw it rising above the shrubs as I boarded the train. It's alien.”

“It's not like anything I've seen before either.” Alex comments, “Come on.” He starts off and I follow him like a dog to their master. I frown at him as we make our way, weaving along the crystal clean path. As I turn the corners I notice cream coloured pillars standing between the shrubs. Some are falling apart, some are stumps but there are the odd ones that are fully intact, they have patterns flowing from the bottom to the top of them like vines climbing a tree. I look up as the path opens up into a courtyard and I stare as the alien building stretches before me.

The grand building rises up in a soft coloured cream stone, pillars stand between every window and door that run across the front, gothic styled towers sit upon the roof as they surround the golden dome that stands stretching out of the palace and into the sky. Standing before us are two huge wooden doors, each a semi-circle of dark coloured wood. Brass metal weaves naturally over the wood, swirling and turning as it goes from one door to the other seamlessly.

As we step towards the tall and unmoving doors I notice an owl carved into the stone standing above the entrance door with it's watchful eyes staring down at us.


The doors creek and jolt as Alex pushes them open. A faint layer of dust lies upon the floor, light flows in through the countless windows and below my feet I feel the cold touch of marble. I step forwards into the entrance hall. Patterns mark the ceiling and floor made of pure silver. All around me I see scenes painted into the walls; markets, construction and people. They flow round the walls flowing seamlessly from one to another. The vibrant colours now faded by age but still the magnificence of each scene lingers on. I start to recognise places,

“Albert's Street” I whisper.

“Where?” Alex joins me by one of the market scene.

“It's in the posh end of the town, it's full of wedding dress shops, fine wine shops and really expensive places.”

Alex points to a figure, “That I think is Emillè, the one with the gold embroidery” My attention then turns to the staircase that rises up at the far side of the entrance hall. I reach my hand out to the banister and follow the stairs to an upper gallery.

“You go on ahead, I'll look around down here.” I hear Alex call out to me. I walk around the upper gallery transfixed by the detail in the pictures.

Soon I come to a door tucked at the edge of the gallery by a window, I push it open to find a large room with portraits of men lying upon the walls. I walk to the middle of the room where I run my hand over the perfectly laid table, with enough places set for a small army. Fresh flowers stood between the places. I notice a small bell at the head of the table and a large jug sat in the centre.

Each table setting seemed to have about 9 sets of cutlery. Why would anyone need 4 forks? Alongside each setting was also a goblet and a napkin. In one of the walls I notice a hole by a shaft, a knife is sat on the edge of it. I run my fingers over the handle of the knife looking curiously at the curved blade.


I feel my left shoulder hit something and I spin, knife in hand. A blur of motion covers my vision and I feel my body yank to a stop. My head whips round to join it and as my vision clears a halted scream falls from my lips.


Half crouching down with her two hands gripping onto a vase was a girl staring at the floor with a knife resting on her neck.

Submitted: May 31, 2015

© Copyright 2022 SE Howie. All rights reserved.


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