A story break. I didn’t have time to do Sue Vincent’s photo prompt last week or was it the week before? But it’s a good picture, so I’ve had a go now.
Most people peered through the round hole and saw the fields at the other side of the rock, the grass rippling and the far trees swaying in the breeze. But some people saw something else. Some people are gifted with the sight, or perhaps cursed is the better word. A few recognize this gift from an early age and stay away from the places that show them the otherworld. Most only realize when it it is too late.
He had no idea that he was anything but a very ordinary man, living a very ordinary life. True, he loved walking and running and would often sleep out beneath the stars with only a sleeping bag and his dog for company. He was never happier than when he was up in the hills with only the sound of the larks and the wind in the trees. Often, his running took him up to Balor’s Eye, and he would climb to the top of the rock and look down on three counties at once.
If he had a foreboding, he ignored it. If he was drawn to Balor’s Eye at the summer solstice, he did nothing to fight it. As the sun sank to the rim of the hills on that longest day, as its long rays fell through the round hole that was called Balor’s eye, he peered through, as hundreds, perhaps thousands had done before him, and he saw a bloody battlefield.
There were no slanting golden rays, but an ocean of red blood and fire. There were no larks singing, but men screaming. He tried to back away, but a face in the anonymous heaving, bleeding crowd turned and a voice called his name. His name?
The voice called from two thousand years away, yet he heard it clear, and he knew it for his own. His knuckles clutched the rim of the eye, but something stronger than the familiarity and ordinariness of the peaceful fields gripped him. The otherworld was calling its own; and he had a part to play.
Lugh! Come quick!
He was an ordinary man with the heavy muscles of an athlete, and the walking stick in his hand was a long spear. With a gasp, that was both regret and excitement, he leapt through the round hole, the eye of the giant Balor that looked out onto the otherworld, and the red battle enveloped him in flames and blood.
Before the eye could find him, he span about and cast the spear, the long spear no other man could wield, and it passed through Balor’s eye. The rock, the giant, the mass of man and mountain roared one last curse, belched one last gout of flame, and fell dead. Lugh, the extraordinary man was carried, a hero from the red field. He cast a last, puzzled glance back at the tumble of smoking rock, but already the memory of the peaceful, lark-singing field was fading.