Wood and Stone

(Dedicated to Moxy, Dyisi and Gwen, who did a bunch of rebuilding after I took the pictures in previous posts. I love you all anyway)

I know the construction industry. Or at least, I used to know the construction industry, as it was practiced in the 19th century. How could I not? My father was a Master Builder, and I make no apologies for the capital letters, because they are entirely appropriate. Many homes in Chatham and the surrounding area, two schools, Fort Luton and several other buildings are testament to that. Or, perhaps were testament to his skill. Without going and visiting the Chatham of the 21st century, I have no way of telling if those buildings are still standing. Unless, of course, I can look them up on this Internet thing. I shall have to persuade Wren to visit and show me how. I’m sure Gwyn could do so too, but it would be a good excuse to see my daughter again.

I find myself thinking of Father because I paid another visit to White Owl Island. It has changed since I last visited couple of weeks ago. Whole buildings have gone and been replaced by others. And yet, the buildings look as though they have always been there, and there is no sign, other than the obvious, that any work had taken place. The roads, such as they are, and the gardens seem undisturbed. I should, perhaps, not be surprised. Building technology advances all the time. Even in Father’s lifetime, the use of cast iron and steel revolutionised architecture, especially in commercial buildings. It would make sense, therefore, that there have been similar advances in the 125 odd years since I left that world. Maybe modern builders roll up with a couple of steamer trunks on the back of the cart and unpack a whole house from them. Gwyn showed me her eye-pad once, a shiny thing no bigger than a slim book, and told me that the libraries of the world could be found in it. With that level of miniaturisation, maybe the same is possible with buildings. It’s a satisfying idea, but, I suspect, unlikely. So far as I could tell, these buildings seemed to be of traditional construction, in wood and brick and stone. I occurs to me that the same could be said of the entire village of Mysthaven and that did appear from nowhere, out of the mists. Is it possible that another such thing occurred? It seems unlikely, but who knows?

There is another possible explanation. It is entirely possible I miscalculated and much more time has passed on the island than I experienced in Mysthaven. This is always a risk living so close to faerie. I am not convinced though. It still looked to be springtime and the shrubs and trees looked much the same as last time. Maybe there is no explanation. Maybe all of this fantastic life has all been an extended hallucination, a fever dream from an exotic malady caught on my travels and at any moment, I could wake up and find Mother mopping my brow. That would be a cruel twist indeed, if all my adventures, the friends I have had, and my loves, were naught but the product of an overheated brain. My only consolation would be if I could recall enough to write a book. Perhaps I should anyway. Wren told me once that books about vampires and such like were popular. Nobody will know it was real. Or was it?

Wood and Stone


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