THE LIGHT FANTASTIC
From here, several mountain tops are visible, and the way the early morning light catches the snow and ice on them seems to shift them into another dimension entirely. Though these mountains are real and solid rock, which I cannot argue with, I don’t feel confident enough to consider climbing them, even though I think I’d like to. Everything about the mountains seems slightly remote and untouchable at this hour. It’s right that I should be here at this time, in this country, I don’t have any doubt of that. The weak rays of the sun glance off the snow all around me, which makes the whole place seem fantastic, like another world completely, even though I know it’s not.
Turning away reluctantly, I begin to clamber down the side of the steep mountain. There are still patches of snow round about, and also areas which are covered in dense forest, where the trees seem to grow so densely that it makes me doubt that it would be possible for me to enter. So I passed by the forest and made my way on towards the cave in which I slept last night, for I’m beginning to feel a bit hungry now and am thinking about the piece of food I brought up here with me.
Although I’m wearing that horrible thick green sweater my mother knitted for me several years ago, for the first time I can feel the cold fingers groping their way through the wool to touch my skin and bones, even eating their way through to the marrow. Even though this sensation of ice is absolutely right for this place, it still comes as a surprise to me… I’m obviously not used to being up here in the alps, I’m just a city boy, after all. That’s what I’ve become now, after all these years – though I feel as if I’ve come back here, as if I was born to be in the mountains. Well, maybe I have.
I feel like I’m coming home when I reach my cave. Straight away I begin to make a fire to warm the place up a bit, though that’s not really possible to do. So I concentrate on my task, every muscle obeys me mechanically, without thought, for too much thought hurts me at the moment. I’m trying hard not to think, not to remember. I had to escape, I had to come here to the mountains, to be alone, I had to do that.
Hearing a sound from deep within the cave, I pause before entering it to feel for my flash light within my pocket, for it’s so dark in there, I feel quite nervous, I admit. When I find my flashlight and turn it on, it doesn’t work, so I throw it away angrily. It’s little things like this which cause my irrational feelings of violence, intense anger – absolutely unfounded, I know, and yet, what can I do but give way to these feelings and allow them to overtake me? I think about what’s just happened to me back in the city and I want to cry out to release some of the emotion that’s been suppressed for so long, so many years. I can feel my chest rising and falling rapidly and I try to steady myself before entering the cave any further. I don’t want to meet any intruder in this frame of mind – for who knows what it will lead to? So I wait, taking deep breaths and watching my fallen flashlight, lying miserably by the side of the cave.
Chapter one continues HERE
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