At first the sound – sounds really – was a barely audible babble. But then it began to take on a fully audible level. And I could begin to recognize the nature of the sounds.
I heard the sound of men. It was the sound of men shouting in anger. No identifiable words were discernable, but the nature of what the words probably were sounded as if they were of the same sort that I had heard only hours before when I had passed to the other side of the door outside my apartment. They had that same Gaelic flavor. But those words had dripped with solemnity. These words were replete with intense anger.
I got up and went to the table.
Both pieces of flint were pulsing. Both were emanating sound.
I looked into the glow.
I was immediately drawn in, visually, to a full scale presentation of what was occurring. It was as if I had been sucked into the events occurring within the glowing flint.
It was the beach that I had seen twice before, once from being on it, once from the description of it in the journal.
It was the man that I had never actually seen but whom I felt as if I knew intimately. He was clad in skins. He had apparently just drawn up his dugout to the sandy shore and had just stepped upon the strand and had just begun walking in the opposite direction from that which he had come, leaving the dugout behind.
The noise was, obviously, coming from the boatman’s direction of travel. There was a crowd of men who were clad similarly to the boatman. They were running down the beach toward him. In the lead was one who was so familiar to me that a pang went through me. It was Gargantua of recent pigeon drop fame.
At this point I almost quit watching. I almost convinced myself that I was in another of the intense and bizarre dreams that had been dogging my existence for weeks; but I kept watching.
As the two contingents came together, the boatman from one direction and the crowd from the other, the boatman did an odd thing.
He stopped dead in his tracks. He raised his hand. That hand was holding something in its curved finger tips. I could not see what that something was.
One of the two pieces of flint on the table became brighter and brighter and brighter. It almost went to a blue white level of intensity. I was thankful that I wasn’t seeing smoke arise from the table. Apparently the intensity was of a nature that had no heat associated with it.
That was good.
I could not see the scene in that piece of flint any more.
The other one had a different scene, a familiar scene. It was what I had seen when I had entered the other door on my floor only hours before. Recent though that had been it now seemed now to be from and in another lifetime.
It was the same scene except that the woman and the dog were not there. There was only the circle of fires, and this time, there was a group of men in rustic robes of skin and fur. And at their head was again, Gargantua. The table was there but there was no one on it.
I turned away. I dropped my head into my hands and started crying, deep heaving sobs.
“You have only one chance left” came into my head.
The first flint, the one that had gone blue white and had ceased yielding images began to glimmer down.
As it reached amber, I could see a scene again. The boatman was still standing with his left hand raised, fingers arched, and something held aloft in that arch. And I could see the reddened squirrel skin of the tip of the middle finger.
Gargantua and the others were closing on him.
He didn’t move a muscle or an inch.
Gargantua had some kind of weapon. It looked as if it were a Club somewhat on the order of a very large baseball bat. Instead of being completely rounded it was flattened leaving it with two broad faces and two narrow edges. It was made of wood, probably oak. In the narrow leading and trailing edges were mounted – four on each edge – large spear points. They were probably flint. The tip was adorned with its own even larger spear point. The thing was a Club bristling with murderous penetrating and slashing devices. Gargantua raised it vertically in front of him as he ran, closing on the boatman. The others, running behind, raised their similar devices similarly.
But it was Gargantua who got there first. He swung the thing – the weapon – in such a manner that the large front mounted spear point crossed the boatman’s wrist and severed the hand. The hand fell to the sand. It looked as if some sort of death grip of that hand had retained whatever it was that had been held aloft. Nothing bounced forth upon the sand from its grip.
The crowd behind Gargantua finished the boatman.
He was chopped to bits and left for the carrion birds of morning.