This short piece, for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt, is based on one of my (not yet published) novels.
Una stood with her back to the house, the low, familiar house that was just a cluster of deeper shadows in the night. Before her lay the path to the village, silver pale in the light of the new moon, and it was empty. If Agnarr’s cow had had a heifer, her father would no doubt be feasting with his cousin. She would not be able to bar the door until he returned.
Westward, where the village lay, the path wound out of sight beyond the oak copse that clustered darkly, silent except for the faint whoosh of the wings of hunting owls. To the east, it petered out among the dunes of the estuary. Una shivered and clutched her shawl tighter. The ocean heaved restlessly and she listened awhile to the insistent crash and hiss of the waves. Movement at the edge of her limited vision made her turn her head sharply. Her one eye saw only shifting shadows, but the eye that wasn’t there, in the empty socket behind the eye band, saw sea beasts crawl up the strand and lie, their bulk dull and dark even beneath the moon, waiting.
She held her breath, felt the tingling in the lost eye, and the tide drew back, hissing through millions and millions of pebbles, foaming through shells, swirling about rocks, receding, shrinking until the rocks became crags, and she saw that they were not crags at all.
Look, Una. The voice from her dreams, the Valdur general from so long ago, whispered urgently. Look at what was lost.
As she watched, the rocky columns straightened, smooth as marble, veined with fire. Palaces and gardens took shape in the pools left by the tide, fountains and cloisters. Una stared, and the eye throbbed. She did not even have names for such things.
This is what you must help restore, Una. Bring back what the Guardians destroyed.
“No,” she murmured, shaking her head and putting a hand over the empty eye, “this cannot be. This is heresy.”
Not heresy. This is your world. The lost world of Ys.