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The Galloping Lantern Chapter 3

The Galloping Lantern Chapter 3

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Published by Rowan Visser
Alam's changed the rules and hunts in his own way - terrifying the local community.
Alam's changed the rules and hunts in his own way - terrifying the local community.

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Published by: Rowan Visser on Aug 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/17/2010

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The Galloping  Lantern
Chapter 3
The flute player¶s dream
Copyright belongs to Rowan Visser
 
T
he flute player¶s dream
µThy plaintive anthem fades Past the near meadows, over the stream,Up the hill-side; and now µtis buried deep In the next valley-glades:Was it a vision or a waking dream? Fled is that music: - Do I wake or sleep?¶  John Keans
A frosty wind stirred the leaves of the great oaks to the south of the town, imitatingthe sound of waves on a sandy shore. The last rays of sunlight had disappeared behind the hilltops and the valleys of Grim Forest had been cast in darkness. The glow of fires could beseen through the narrow windows of the stone cottages dotted along the hillside. After dark the streets of Grimspond were deserted. A few farmers and traders congregated in villagehall, swigging back mugs of ale, but on the whole most people preferred to be in the warmthof their cottages sipping on steaming bowls of broth.In one of these small cottages, not too far from the Northern Road crossing, in between the town and the Whitaker house, little Toby was laying by the fire getting ready togo to his straw-lined cot.He had spent that day, like most days, playing by the stream to the left of the cottage.The water was freezing cold this time of year and had turned his knuckles blue on a number of occasions. Laying on his stomach, head perched in the palms of his hands, he silentlywatched the flames dancing in front of him to the sound of the wind outside. The sound of thewind mystified him. He kept his ears pitched for the mystical creatures he imagined were outthere in the pitch blackness creeping over the valley. The dancing shadows on the wallsaround him fired his imagination as the dancing flames held his gaze.Toby sat up quite suddenly and turned his head slightly, listening carefully to an
 
unfamiliar noise drifting on the wind. At first it sounded like it was a wailing amongst thetrees, but not loud enough to be a wail. His dad always told him that his imagination was far too active for his own good and it must have been that, he decided.His heart sank as he heard it again. This time he was sure it was not the wind, it was asingle note, gently carried on the wind. Lonely it flouted and waned, riding the wind andtouching the tree tops before disappearing. Then it began, a soft tune being played far away.It was difficult to make out. He really had to strain to hear it.Toby pushed himself up on little arms and ran over to the only door in their humblecottage. Opening the door wide he stood, barefoot, in the doorway, listening intently, the coldfrom outside completely forgotten and irrelevant. There it was again, more clearly now anddefinitely a tune.µMummy, mummy!¶ he shouted.His mother had been outside tending to their four goats and came round the corner of the house to find her little boy standing barefoot in the doorway. µO, baby, go back inside,quickly. It¶s too cold for little boys out here.¶µBut, mummy, what is that noise mummy?¶ he pointed across the valley, to where hethought the music was coming from, as he looked up at her face. The sound of the solitaryflute was quite distinct. Riding on the back of the wind, rustling through the trees, as if chasing its own tail, climbing the walls as it rose and fell and flowed and lingered. Catching asingle note she turned her head to hear better.µIt sounds like« a flute playing in the forest. How very strange!¶ she replied surprisedat what she was hearing. It was a tune that she could almost place« there was a memory, or was there? It sounded ancient and beautiful, sad in its tones and captivating in its simplicity.µWho¶s playing it mummy?¶ his blue eyes big and serious.µI don¶t know child, shhh...¶ The sounds were so beautiful, so sad. She wasn¶t sure, but she thought that she had never heard anything quite like it, the way the sounds seemed to

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