Note – this story fit’s in with my on-line novel, Of Wind and Wings. I’m not sure where it fits, but it will find a place ;)
Ed hesitated at the doorway. He had been told that he had free reign of the house, yet he still felt a little uncomfortable, as if he were intruding on Liza’s privacy. No matter how often she had protested that he was welcome to make himself totally at home, he had confined himself mostly to the kitchen and his bedroom.
Elisa was sitting in a comfortable chair with her back to the door. She hadn’t stirred and Ed wasn’t sure if she were aware that he was standing there. He fanned himself briefly with the photo in his hand as he watched her in his indecision. He stopped and frowned at the photo. It was as if that old bit of paper were trying to make its presence known, to remind Ed why he was there.
That did it.
Ed straightened his back and walked into the room and stopped, looking down at his hostess.
Liza put her book to the side and smiled up at him.
“I was wondering if you knew where this was taken.” He held up the photo. “It was mixed in with my great-uncle’s papers and I just found it as I was reading through the notes.”
Liza jumped back as soon as she took the photo. She blanched and her eyes grew wide.
“Ah, so you do know it,” Ed said, trying to make light of her reaction.
Liza took a moment to regain composure, and then handed the faded photograph back to Ed with a smile.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “but I can’t help you.”
Ed studied the photo for a moment. A row of standing stones lined a path through a field full of wild flowers. It would seem to be a noteworthy location.
“Oh well, I guess I’ll just take it in and have Mr. Brown look at it. I’m sure he’d recognize it…”
“What? Who?” Liza seemed to be even more distressed than before.
“You know, the historian…”
“Of course I know who Mr. Brown is, I’m just asking why you mentioned that man, is all.”
“He does know the local geography as well as the history. Or perhaps The Grubb could help.”
“Yeah, ask the Grubb.”
Liza picked up her book and began to read. Obviously the conversation was over.
Back in his room Ed continued to study the photo, trying to take in every detail. There was something there, just at the edge of his perception. He felt stupid for not being able to see it.
Perhaps not something, but someone.
Ed closed his eyes, still seeing the path and stones, but now in full color and stretching to the edges of his peripheral vision and beyond.
He could feel their presence before he saw them.
The couple had passed this way thousands of years before.
No, it was a different couple, hundreds of years before, ancestors that Ed had read about in his great-uncles papers.
No, that wasn’t right. He could see them now. It was his great-uncle and Liza’s mother. They were walking hand and hand, smiling at each other.
No, no that wasn’t right either.
It was Liza and Mr. Brown, only they were young, perhaps in their teens or early twenties.
But no, it wasn’t them, it was Ed himself.
Who was he with?
The woman was shadowy, yet he could feel her presence, as he had in his dreams and visions.
He opened his eyes.
Was this his imagination running wild on his great-uncle’s words combined with Liza’s reactions, or was he seeing images of the past. He shivered. And the future.
He looked down at the photo again.
No. It was just an old keepsake, something his great-uncle had taken in one of his many trips to England. As far as Ed knew, it wasn’t even in the area but could be on the other side of the country.
He soon went to bed and fell into a deep sleep. He didn’t dream about the photo or the stones, as far as he could tell, and yet through the entire night he felt the presence of those other people he had imagined.
This was written for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge. The photo prompt is at the top of the post and this week’s key word is “Presence“.
The story this week is based on my on-line novel, Of Wind and Wings