niles reddick

yellow wood

     When our plane landed in Manchester, New Hampshire, the airport seemed empty.  We picked up the keys to our rental Jeep at the kiosk and headed to the garage with our pull luggage. Our first stop was “Mystery Hill” or “America’s Stonehenge” just a few miles from Robert Frost’s farm. We were the only visitors, and there were two stone paths in the yellow wood, and while we took the one to the left, we vowed we’d also take the other one at some point, leaving no path untraveled.

     We heard birds squawking, calling, and singing, and we watched the sun’s rays through the trees and leaves and noted the mist rising from warming temperatures. We didn’t quite understand why the stones had been placed the way they had been and wondered how different it must have looked four thousand years ago when the Celts constructed the site in perfect alignment with solar and lunar events. We couldn’t imagine how they used ancient tools to hack their way through rock to leave their ancient language as a marker and placed the stones perfectly on ley lines to capture and harness the earth’s magnetic energies in the crystal embedded rocks. Native Americans left the oral tradition that the structures were already there when they moved here, just like the Native Americans had said to early European visitors about the giant stone compass left on top of Stone Mountain outside Atlanta, Georgia. 

     Maggie opted not to lay across the rock because it was purported to have been used in sacrifices, but I didn’t mind. If the giant, flat rock had historically helped shelter town paupers underneath, had helped hide escaped slaves to go North to Canada, and had been used in some religious ceremonies by Celts like the brochure said, then I felt pretty good absorbing some of that history might be a good thing.

     Maggie explored while I laid there, closed my eyes, and let images come. I’m not sure how long I rested on the rock, but when I felt wetness on my lip and chin, I sat up, wiping blood. I allowed the blood to land on the stone rather than get it on my shirt, held my head back, and called for Maggie. She stepped around some boulders and said, “I’m sorry. Did you call my name? I was talking to that older gentleman.”

     “Who?”

     “The caretaker.” She pointed toward one of the underground shelters where he’d gone, but I didn’t see anyone.

 

     “Nosebleed,” I said. “We should get going if we are going to visit Frost’s farm and the Salem witch trial site before heading over to Plymouth.  

 

     “Okay,” she said.

 

     As we made our way down the hill by the other stone path, I asked, “So, what did the caretaker have to say?”

 

     “Funny, I don’t recall, really. He turned, pointed, and spoke in a muffled tone.”

 

     “What was he pointing at?”

 

     “The lights.”

 

     “What lights?”

 

     “Well, there were these round lights off in the distance. I don’t recall much more. I was captivated by his long, red hair. I couldn’t see it fully because of his robe. His costume really adds to the ambiance of his role as caretaker.”

When Mike and Maggie returned to their Jeep, they realized they’d been at the site for six hours when it had only seemed like twenty minutes. They felt rushed and didn’t say much on the drive to Frost’s farm. Mike didn’t have any other nosebleeds, but he did have a slight headache. Later that night at their hotel in Plymouth, they both had dreams of lights and medical procedures, and woke up in a panic at the same time. 

 

     “You won’t believe my dream,” Mike said.

 

     “Oh yeah I would,” Maggie said. “I was there with you.”

24 February, 2021

Niles Reddick is author of the novel, two collections, and a novella. His work has been featured in fourteen anthologies, twenty-one countries, and in over three hundred publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, New Reader Magazine, Forth Magazine, The Boston Literary Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Citron Review, and Storgy.