Novel quote; the Fields of Foolish Fires

As we turned right by the dark junction where one path became two, we discovered a second lantern further down ahead. It skipped joyfully at the path’s side. There were no other sensible opportunities to pursue—bar the one where Kingsbury pulled my arm to propose a dash straight into the fields—and so we followed the lantern. It very clearly wanted to lead us somewhere and bounced away at once when we came near. It then whistled with a disturbing discord, however one that was camouflaged and unnoticeable in an otherwise harmonious flurry of tones.

“What do you think?” I asked Alma. “Maybe this light’s also good.”

But she wouldn’t easily be convinced and neither would Kingsbury.

“Good or bad, the other one was different,” Veldar agreed.

“You’re the one who said for us to take this way,” I pointed out.

“And you’re the one who said to trust me.”

Fair enough.

Croplands of unknown farmers spread on our left and wild-grown fields of grass and nightly flowers on our right. There’d been a ditch on each side a short while ago, but it was gone now, and so were the many nuances of the countryside: the crickets, the birdsong and the sound of wind stroking the trees.

The nearest cropland was of barley and oat, and the sharp straws of grass on our right were tall and thick. In fact, they were probably a little bit too tall and thick. The sides of the path pressed on our arms, growing closer and denser at an alarming rate until claustrophobia eventually caught Walter in its claws. Each moment exerted pressure on his weakened mind, attempting to lure him over to the realm of madness where Kingsbury already waited. He shivered uncontrollably but we helped him stand straight and insisted he remained that way.

We eventually found ourselves in an alley of towering grass where each straw reached the height of ancient oaks and arched in over the path as an enclosing carapace. The foolish fire danced exotically before our spellbound eyes and was soon joined by its likes in a long row of beguiling lanterns. They all whistled the same melody; if you could call it one. It had changed and wasn’t much of a melody anymore. It had become a tragedy of sour noise.

And then, when we’d been dragged to the edge of wonder and hypnosis, a trollish face of enormous proportions materialised in the air. The slow sap of a rubber tree ran down the monumental potato it had for a nose, and when it spoke, the foolish fires trembled.

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