Anyway in the meantime, by way of compensation, I've put a new short story on the blog 'The Dead Don't Talk'. This was my entry to this year's British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition a while back. It didn't make the final which means I'm now free to share it with you. It touches on the themes of war crimes and remembrance. The original draft had some linking paragraphs of third person narration. Which on reflection were a bit like the voice-over in the original theatrical release of 'Blade Runner'. I think it works better without them and leaves the reader free to draw their own conclusions. This is the form is which it was submitted to the competition.
The reason for the delay to the release of revised edition of Rebels is two-fold. Firstly I have a lot going on in my day job at moment. Although that's not something I generally blog about. Secondly, with the night's drawing in, I'm trying to cram as many walks in as I can to satisfy my passion for hill walking before British Summer Time ends. Ticking a few unvisited mountains and hills off my bucket list along the way. And that's something I'm happy to blog about.
There were no less than five other people on the summit when I finally found it in the thick clag (cloud) that had descend. I only saw ten other people all day. A welcome contrast to Snowdon itself, the world's busiest mountain (with over a quarter of million visitors each year). Where the queues for the summit can resemble the January sales. I'm told by locals it was a busy day by Aran Fawddwy's standards. Which has seen a 'surge' in visitors since it was featured in a two of the UK's leading walking magazines
For me one of the joys of walking is researching the loyal history, myths, legends and folklore of places I visit. Snowdon for example is steeped in Arthurian folklore and the lake of Glaslyn (reached via the miners track) supposedly the resting place of Excalibur. While Bala, like many lakes in Wales, has its own version of the Loch Ness Monster. Meanwhile Doxey pool on top of the Roaches, in the Peak district, is home to the evil green haired water sprite Jenny Greenteeth. In one form or another Jenny, like Nessy, is a recurring theme associated with many bodies of water across Europe.
These are a throwback to a dimly remembered pagan past. Cultural memes that have reverberated through time to the present day. Jenny's hair is no doubt the blanket weed found in many pools that could ensnare the unwary potentially resulting in their drowning. It's not hard to see how our prehistoric ancestors would rationalise this by ascribing it to evil spirits and to keep children away from the water. How the distorted howling of a wild dog or wolf in mist shrouded mountains would become a supersized, supernatural hound come to claim the spirit of those unfortunate enough to hear it.
But these myths are not static they evolve over-time. Early Christian missionaries transformed the hounds of Annwn into the hounds of hell come to carry heathens off to the under-world. One can only wonder what new meanings these stories will have a thousand years from now.
That for me then is one of the joys of taking the path less travelled (even if it does occasionally mean falling into a peat bog or otherwise getting into trouble), it's a life enriching experience. A chance to escape from the narrow conformity and demands of modern life. In the last few years I've trod paths that the vast majority of people will never walk, seen things they will never see and experienced things they will never experience and my live is the more unique and richer for it. So, so long as I'm fit enough, healthy enough and wealthy enough (petrol isn't cheap after all) I will continue to take the road less travelled and occasionally the well trod one as well. And, my kids will hate me for this, insist when the times comes on having my ashes scattered on top of a bloody big mountain somewhere...