“Oh. Gawd. I’m soaked.” Kara wriggles in her skinny jeans. “Can you even see the path?”
“Yes, just a bit further.” Jan plods on, up ahead.
“Maybe it’s hidden for a reason.”
Light sparkles through the rain drenched trees; Silver Birch, Beech and the occasional raddled looking Scots Pine.
“Outlier, outlier, outlier …” It has become a mantra for Jan.
“Jan, we don’t even know if there IS an outlier. That bloke from the pub looked like a real wind-up merchant.”
Exhausting the tourist infested sacred-sites they had sought other places. Ordinance Survey Maps, books and locals, all held plenty of clues for those who looked.
Finding the main circle easily enough, they had gone looking for the outlier stone.
“Out-lier, out-lier, out-lier.
Jan stops suddenly, Kara barges into her back. Then she sees it. The stone is set right in the middle of the path.
“Oh my gawd, it’s like a giant cock!”
Silence. Cold drops of rain sprinkle down on the girls.
“OUT LIAR!! OUT, LIAR….” Jan rounds on Kara, “LIAR!”
“Jan. What do you mean?” a shiver shakes Kara.
“You KNOW what I mean. How COULD you?”
Kara focuses on the outlier stone. It rears at an angle up into the trees, double the height of a tall man. She shakes her head.
“You LIAR.” Jan walks away, circling the stone. It is covered with moss and lichen. She cannot bring herself to touch it.
“We didn’t mean to.”
“Liars.” Jan whispers seeming to sink in on herself.
Jan’s not listening, she stumbles past Kara, back along the path.
Kara stands. Stunned, looking at the stone. Afraid to follow.
After a long while the cold hits her. She walks round the stone, notices writing near the base, looks closer. ‘We do not speak of our magic’
Realising she has no-one to tell about her discovery she begins to sob.
The car is gone when she reaches the trail-head. It is a long walk to the village.
When finally, she pushes into the bright pub, a voice cackles, “Found the truth stone did ye lass?”
by F. E. Clark, 2015
My response to Luminous Creatures contest 8 - which asked that we used the above photo prompt and included the words 'do not speak of our magic'. This story took 1st place in the week 8 contest, and along with 4 other writers I also was awarded an overall award for the most wins of this 8 week summer contest - especially delighted as I had only discovered the contest halfway through.