Today on my blog I am hosting an extract for the book ‘THE ABDICATION ‘ by JUSTIN NEWLAND .
The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.
Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!
The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.
11. The Lights of the Future
… Above her, the moon hung amidst the canopy of stars – thrown like glittering jewels into the great sea of the Milky Way. The panorama was as eternal as it was ephemeral.
Her heart stopped racing and she took in the night-time view. Below lay the town of Topeth and beyond it to the west, the copper workings, full of dark scars across the landscape. To the south, the gate at the Topeth end of the bridge was lit by a flaming torch in a cradle on the flagstones.
Unity appeared quite different at night. The silhouettes of its buildings were hazy in the subtle light of the moon. They seemed to shimmer as if they were lit from within, just as the human is lit from within by the charisma of the spirit.
Her eyes rested on the Cathedral’s twin spires. It had an energy field that stood out from it by a foot or so, vibrant colours with pastel shades – light blues and pinks, yellows and pale greens – like sequins flashing from one side of the building to the other, quivering with lithe astral power. As abruptly as the vision had come, the astral colours disappeared and she was back to seeing the physical colours, flat and bland.
The place tugged at her soul like a lost love. Unity was where she could and would grow and refine. It was akin to her home. Unity was where she belonged and where she would stay forever. She felt a yearning to get there.
Once again, she felt close to the city of angels, yet so far away.
Over by one end of the roof was a stone shed with a wooden latch door. It was slightly ajar, inviting her to look inside. The shed was lit by the dim light of the waxing moon, but it was enough for her to make out a wooden chest engraved with lightning rods.
She was about to shut the door when her inner voice whispered:
“Open the chest.”
But it’s not mine. I don’t like to pry.
There might be some disgruntled jinn inside.
“Trust me, there isn’t!”
She relented, lifted the lid and moved her hand around the inside of the chest. There was a short, curved dagger, a slingshot with a broken elastic strap and an old pistol with the handle missing. Amongst other debris, she found a collection of discarded children’s toys. It was both poignant and unusual, in that all the toys wore the sheen of newness, none were broken, and, without scratches or blemishes, appeared as though they had never been handled or even enjoyed.
She was about to head back to her room when her inner voice whispered:
She delved inside the chest. There, shoved to one side in a cotton cloth, was a box.She ripped off the cloth. It was the box. The one from the bridge. The note was still tucked inside.
Handling the box drew her nearer to the angelic presences of Unity. She rubbed the note between her fingers, certain there was a hidden message in it, waiting for someone to unlock. She stepped outside the shed and into the moonlit night.
Recalling what Vitus had done with her travel pass, she pressed the note to her cheek. Then she touched it to her other cheek. At first, nothing happened.
Her inner voice whispered:
“As usual, you’re trying too hard.”
She breathed deeply and relaxed.
Her mind was filled with natural sounds – the gentle lapping of the waves on the seashore, the awesome power of lightning, the music of the spheres – and images – the gatherings of people living in harmony, the talk of great enterprises and universal plans. This was Unity. This was a glimpse of the town before the exodus.
She put the note back and was about to shut the black lid when, out of the corner of her eye, there came a glimmer of light. That could not have come from a wooden box, so she stared at the lid again. Nothing.
Again, she turned her head to one side and out of the corner of her eye, caught sight of a flash of colour – a peerless incandescent orange, a livid red – a cone of living fire.
That time, she had seen it. She had to peer into the black mirror out of the corner of her eyes. That was the secret. That was the way to see the reflection in the black mirror.
This time, keeping her gaze steady, she looked again until the full image resolveditself in the mirror.
What it revealed took her breath away.
There, hovering above Unity, was a glory of angels. Towering entities of light suffused the dark, tenebrous night with a milky glow. Shaped like a large cockle shell, they were taller than the tallest tree and glided above the gentle township of Unity. Some still had their thinner lower part in the earth and their upper heart-shaped part above the ground. Like lithe, ethereal beings, they arose out of the mountain. One by one, they lifted themselves out of the crags and rocks of the hill and floated effortlessly up into the chill night air.
Her mouth dropped open as she gazed at this ethereal procession until the last one emerged from the hill, shifted itself above the twin Cathedral peaks and slowly drifted off into the heavens above.
When no more came and the air was silent and the night thick with possibility, she put the box back and returned to her room filled with wonder. Where was ‘home’ for an angel? Perhaps they didn’t have a home or need a sanctuary in the same way that humans did. Their birthplace was probably in the depths of the Milky Way, or close to the primaeval origins of the universe, or perhaps in the outer reaches of the most distant galaxies as they expanded into the void. For the moment, they, or at least some of them, lived in Unity. If they were born, could they ‘die’? Was ‘death’ for an angel caused by abuse or misuse or neglect? She imagined that the angels were always unified and always would be, and it was humanity thatwas perpetually short-sighted and bloody-minded. Such was their beauty, the glory of theangels’ natural form, the reflections on the black lid and its mysterious mirror had entranced her.
The note made sense now. The box was a gift from the angels, to enable humans to witness them. It was a facilitation, a HELP.
How a gift was received told a story about the receiver, revealing their attitude andstate of mind. Topeth folk shoved that help, that divine assistance, into a gloomy place hidden from the light, from where it could no longer be seen or found.
Such were the lights of the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.