THE DAY THE MOUNTAIN ARRIVED in the hills, the Awen of Ireland skipped her usual hostel chores and checked the floor, the wall, and the rock.
Satisfied that all was in order and everything was still where it was supposed to be hidden, Aisling left the rock and started back toward the hostel. The morning mists swirled around her in the soft light, and she felt the dampness in the curls of her hair, red as Australia’s Uluru and curly as the bends in a Himalayan road. West and in front of her, the small town of Clifden, Ireland, nestled in the hills. Aisling breathed in the air, salty from the sea and peaty from the bog where she was walking, and she listened to what it told her. The air and the earth told her the same thing, and so did the ocean on the breeze and the mists drizzling from the clouds.
They’re coming. They’re coming.
Once she had walked far enough, Aisling turned around, putting Clifden to her back. She stared east at the Twelve Bens, the dozen hills that sold the postcards at her front desk and filled the beds of her hostel. Curious travelers would drink cheap wine in the front room and read from their Guru Deep Ireland Through the Third Eye guidebooks, and they would talk about the Bens. Full of a mystical power, it was said. Something otherworldly. Something beyond imagination.
Or so the legends say, Aisling thought with a grin, but at least I know the truth.
She heard it again: They’re coming. They’re coming.
Not that she needed to, but she counted. The Twelve Bens themselves were as unchanged as ever, but a thirteenth hill now stood behind them. The shock still buzzed through her though, as sharp as when she had first gotten out of bed and looked out her window at the hills like she always did.
This is a lot to take in before a cuppa tea.
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