Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Rounding the curve in the dusty, deserted road the abandoned quarry lunged out at her from the hillside, forcing her to brake sharply.
A harsh scar on the landscape it was filled with jagged, tumbled slabs of black slate and appeared to almost leap onto the road, a sudden blight on the surrounding gentle green hills.
The warm Spring day turned overcast and chill, shivering the niggling headache that she'd been able to ignore for the last 70 kms came rushing back with a vengence as she stared in horror at this gouged rock in front of her.
Feeling ill, she scrambled from the car and made it to the ditch in the long grass on the other side of the track. Pausing to get her breath back she noticed the stillness of the scene; no wind, no breeze, no far-off traffic noise, not even birdsong.
It was akin to a vacuum, the deafening silence growing on her ears with each heartbeat as they strained for a sound, any sound, to break the building pressure.
Straightening slowly, she brushed off the dry grass from her hands which had been resting on the cool earth.
Looking closer the woman noticed that the soil was more sand than earth, no nutrients left to bind the basic ingredients together, little more than powdered stone from the quarry was all that was left.
She turned reluctantly to face the quarry.
Why the hesitation she could not say except that it instantly brought to mind the horrific casualties of war; the beaten, bloodied bodies of the fallen strewn across the battlefield only to be preserved in the unknown photographers art for future generations to gawp at in morbid fascination.
This quarry was almost a century old but the screams were still echoing down the years with the cold, silent stones standing guard on a memory that still had the power to shock and frighten.