Being Inspired, maybe - 77
A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like. For instance:
And, then, the words:
I had just attended a spirited discussion about portals to other realms, and how these portals were considered to be found in rocky outcrops, even more so if it was man-made and dating back to the dawn of time.
Normally, it would not be my first preference of an evening out, but I was literally dragged along by what I was now beginning to believe to be my girlfriend after several months' long whirlwind friendship.
She was if anything, crazy in a good way, but impulsive, kind-hearted, and hard to read. It was why I had spent most of my time with her guessing as to what her feelings towards me were.
I still didn't know for sure.
We were heading towards the hotel we were staying in, staying in the same room for the first time, and the relative silence was a first for her.
Until she said, "Do you think it's true?" She was referring to a set of stones recently found, and the subject of a lot of the speaker’s lecture.
I had to admit that the speaker, a notable historian who was well respected in his field, had made a compelling case, referring to a set of stones found in the middle of the Amazonian Jungle, recently uncovered in the rush to clear it.
Since then there had been several mysterious events including workers disappearing after they reputedly had been examining their find. Clearing had stopped, and probably would not continue until more information could be gathered.
"They're just stones in the jungle."
The photos we'd seen did not have the appearance of being man-made, more like a rocky outcrop.
The problem was, it was not part of a larger area with more stone, it was simply a dozen or so tall thin rocks standing on end in no particular formation.
The speaker, however, had told his enthralled audience that he had received a commission to be part of a group of scientists and historians to examine the find.
"Seriously. After everything he said, you still think they're just rocks."
She knew I was sceptical from the start but perhaps had been hoping I'd chafe my mind after hearing his arguments. Unfortunately to me, they were still just stones.
"I think he painted a colourful picture of what is the mainstay of a lot of writers, where people can travel from one time to another. I guess that's better than calling it a landing site for alien spaceships."
It had been a topic raised during questions after the main speaker's address and had been quashed very quickly.
"I had no idea you were such a sceptic."
"It's not so much being a sceptic as it is looking at the evidence in a practical manner. Do you honestly believe such events are possible when there's been no recorded evidence of such travels."
"Perhaps no one came back to tell anyone, because they did not want to come back or they couldn't."
A valid if not unsupportable point. I had to wonder why she was so interested, but at that moment, she didn't seem inclined to elaborate, so I left well alone. Her expression, though, being somewhat whimsical, suggested there might be a surprise or two in the offing.
She showed no interest in going up to the room, and I didn't push it, not for what might seem obvious reasons, but it had been a long day at the office, and a longer evening.
Instead we propped up the bar and cornered an unusually chatty bartender who seemed very knowledgeable about many subjects.
Fortunately, portals were not one of them.
Three glasses of champagne later, she was moving from whimsical to a version of her I'd not seen before, and I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.
Not until she said, out of left field, "We should go."
I thought it was to the room. She’d finished the champagne and looked ready to go. I had slid off my stool, half in a state of semi intoxication, half weariness setting in.
When she didn't move, I found myself asking, "Where?"
"South America. The stones."
There was a dash of excitement in her tone and I could tell this was no just a name and of teasing me.
"How? I mean, didn't Murton say that it was by invitation only."
He was at great pains to emphasise this point because of the kudos it gave him as one of the few.
"You do realise I am an archaeologist?"
She had professed a keen interest in archaeology and had gone on a dig somewhere, I remembered her telling me, or maybe it was someone else at a recent party.
"I thought you said you were interested in archaeology, and your father funded a few field trips’"
"He did, but I am fully qualified, with a degree and all that, just never considered there's be an opportunity to find any new stuff. Now, with these stones, that could all change."
Intoxication of a different sort and tiredness aside, she was considering it. Had she thought through the practical side of it, like getting an invitation?
She was three sentences and a dozen questions ahead of me.
"One phone call from daddy, some money to oil the wheels, and we'll be on the next plane. I'm assuming you'll want to come with me?"
I hope I didn't look as gobsmacked as I felt. There was work, meetings, obligations, stuff I couldn't possibly get out of. It must have shown.
"It's only a week, two at the most." She put her arms around my neck and kissed me in a manner that could wilt the hardest of men's resistance.
I shrugged. What harm could it do? I had a few weeks’ vacation coming up, and there wasn't anything that important that someone else couldn't do it. "I'll have to make a call,"
"Great." Enthusiasm was bubbling over.
I was wondering what I was getting myself in for. South America was quite the safest place to go to, and particularly for young women.
Then in a flash that seemed to transport me to another place, another world, it seemed that real, I could see a jungle setting, the stone's, but in an odd different setting, one that looked ancient, and nearby, the was s smoking volcano, and the ask and smoke from it was making it prematurely dark
I could feel my eyes watering from the funny smelling air, and the ash settling on my jacket, and it was hot, very, very hot. And I was alone.
I heard myself gasp, and suddenly, opening my eyes I was back in the room.
"What happened. You looked ill there for a second or two."
Should I tell her? I decided not to. It was probably a fantasy created from the subject matter we'd covered during the discussion. Me overthinking what might happen.
The problem was, it was all too real.
"Nothing. Been a long day and too much excitement. Perhaps we should get some sleep, it might be a long few days coming up."
I don't think it was quite what she had in mind but left me to my phone call.
I closed my eyes again, and that image was still there, on the rim of my consciousness, and it scared me. This field trip was not going to end well.
© Charles Heath 2019