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Cover of Book 1 of the Prime series
For the first taster, we take up the story in chapter 14. Two of the main protagonists are reunited for the first time in a dozen lifetimes 

​Chapter I4

  

Earlswood Manor. 1996 AD

She knew this day would be the most momentous day of her life. Alice Llewellyn had the gift of foresight. It was hereditary and passed down the female line for thousands of years. An ancestor had foretold in the early sixteen hundreds that one day they would meet again. At last, after many lifetimes, she would now be reunited with her soul mate, the only man in all her lives she ever truly loved.  

It was a union connected by an ancient calling, a ‘Prime’ feeling that crossed the ages and locked them together. The most powerful emotion of all. ...love. A love that echoed through the generations, never to be denied or forgotten. 

Unknown to him, she had been calling him for years, lifetime after lifetime, century after century, as he had done for her.  

Saul was answering her enchantment and she could feel him getting closer. She now knew Jed was wrong, Paul Masters is Saul reborn and he is returning to Earlswood. She could sense he was getting closer by the second, and the wait would soon be over. 

Alice’s mind was filled with doubt and anxiety. Would he remember me? Can he sense me as I can feel him? Jed said he was blind to his ‘Prime’ heritage. A stray, as we call them now. What if he cannot remember who he is? Should I tell him? Is it just a matter of reawakening his memory? Jed said he did it with his mother, and she, too, was a stray. Only time will tell. Can I guide him to the light? He grew up living in a city and was exposed to its temptations.'She shuddered involuntarily and shook her head, clearing her thoughts. 

Alice had woken early. This was the day she had been waiting for all her life, this life, and a dozen others. Alice was always up early as manageress of this hotel, but it was well before dawn today. Alice could not sleep. She had showered and spent time putting on makeup and combing her long black hair that fell to her waist, she knew Saul loved her hair long. She put on her best working clothes and kept herself occupied. 

Paul Masters sat at the wheel of the Bentley convertible. He had parked the car on the hill overlooking the Earlswood estate, and it gave him a panoramic view of the manor house and its grounds. Far off to the right, he could see the lake and the woods. In the distance, the town of Glastonbury and the remains of the Abbey, and high on the Tor the Saint Michaels chapel that overlooked the surrounding area.  

He sat there deep in thought as he took in the surrounding views. He remembered his father and grandfather talking about the estate when he was young, and it was one of his few remaining memories of his father. He was familiar with this place, and he couldn’t determine why.  

Have I dreamt about it? He shook his head wordlessly. He could not remember seeing a photograph of the old family estate either. He chewed his lip thoughtfully and wondered why it looked so familiar. It had been his family’s ancestral home in the early twentieth century. Then again, maybe, it was one of his mother’s so-called inherited memories.  

Maybe I can get some answers, who knows? Like a salmon returning to the river of its birth to spawn, it was a calling, a message embedded in his DNA. He could feel something drawing him here, and he had no idea what it was, but he knew he needed to be here. A business opportunity arose, which he took, and now he was here at last. 

His grandfather had told Paul many tales of his youth. It was centered around the estate and growing up in the manor house, playing in the woods, and swimming in the lake. His great-grandfather had sold the manor in the nineteen twenties and had moved the family to America. Later it was converted into a hotel. Now the property was once again up for sale. 

A motorway to the south bypassed the property and took their customers and most of the profits. It was a downward spiral from then on. His family in America had heard that it was on the market - and Paul, who was still in his mid-twenties, was here to represent the family, a family whose fortune was built on the design and construction of golf resorts. As the sport took off in America, so did their finances. 

Paul’s task was to compile a report on the viability of transforming this estate from a run-down hotel to a premier golf resort. As he sat there, his thoughts turned to the conversations between his father and grandfather when he was young. The family was sitting around the dinner table, the topic, discussing the possibility of turning this estate into a golf course. 

Once again, Paul took in the views, the fields, the woods, and the lake and nodded his head approvingly. 'Well, there is certainly enough land, and the lake could be a feature. So far, it all looks promising. I think it is time to look at the manor house itself.'

He started the Bentley and glided down the tree-lined road. It was late morning when he arrived at the estate. There was a green wedge of grass down the center of the driveway, and he made a mental note. There is no room for two-way traffic on this lane, and we may need to widen this unless we can make it a one-way system.'

Alice was about to select a pen from a jar of pens when her head filled with the noise of a car driving over gravel. Although the car was a mile away, she could sense it with every fiber of her body and knew he had entered the estate.  

He’s here. He is finally here.'

The jar of pens fell to the floor and shattered into a thousand pieces. Alice tried to keep calm but found it difficult, she was accustomed to controlling her emotions and meditated regularly. It only took moments before she was again under control, and outwardly, she was calm, personified.  

He is here. My love is here.'

He would come to the rear of the house. She was sure of it. Quickly she made her way to the upstairs window, which overlooked the rear of the property. His car pulled into the courtyard in front of the back entrance. Her legs felt like jelly, just like when she saw him first.  

He’s here!

Paul parked the Bentley in what he assumed was the front of the manor house, where he sat for a while, taking time to look at the house and grounds, and was once again lost in thought. I can’t remember seeing a photo of the house either, but everything looks familiar. Déjà vu, I think they call it. Ok, what was it, my grandfather said. First impressions are crucial.'

Paul took out his Dictaphone and spoke into it. “Well, it’s old, probably older than America. The land. There is plenty of land, enough for even a large golf course. It would be a nice feature to encompass the lake. I’ll check it out later to see if it’s workable.” 

He switched off the Dictaphone and continued with his thoughts. The lake could be a feature. Yes, first impressions are good. The house, however, may be a different kettle of fish. Yes, it has character, and it looks grand, imposing even. Could we drag it screaming into the twenty-first century? That’s the question. Here we go. It’s time to have a look inside.

Alice watched from the upstairs window, and her heart was pounding. She watched as he got out of the car, paused and looked at the house. His eyes drifted, taking in the view of the surrounding countryside. He stood there for several minutes. From above, she could see his head turn towards the lake, and then towards the woods, the church, the Abby which now lay in ruins, and in the distance the bustling town of Glastonbury, and beyond that the Tor with St Michael’s tower on top 

Is he remembering? The town was a tiny village the last time he was here, the wood was a forest. Has it changed, Saul?  

Paul turned to the rear door. She heard the old heavy doorbell ring. It's the same bell? Can you remember the tone? Her excitement was palpable. He is here.

She could hear someone moving down the corridor. 

That would be Jed, coming to open the door. He would be wondering why someone had come around the back. It will take Jed a few moments, then he too will remember why.

She felt her heart racing, and Alice took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and used her training to bring it under control. At last, he is here, after nearly four hundred years, he is here – but will he remember me?'

As he pulled the old bell rope again, Paul heard bells ringing inside the manor house. Again, a feeling of familiarity overcame him. 

“All right, all right. Keep your hair on.” The muffled voice came from deep inside the building. The large oak door opened, revealing a man in his late forties, he was about six feet tall, well built, with thin receding hair. He spoke with a strong Welsh accent. “Yes, can I help you?” 

“I’m Paul Masters.” 

For a moment, the man looked confused. “Well?” he

 

said abruptly. 

Paul, was a little taken aback by the response and countered, “I have a room booked.” 

Jed managed a faint interrogative “Ah ...?” Then added. “So, you are a guest are you Sir? You have come to the wrong entrance. Guests usually go to the front of the property.” 

Paul’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Oh, sorry. Isn’t this the front?” 

The man laughed. “No, Sir. It was four hundred years ago, but not now. Not to worry, let me put a light on and you can come through this way.” If Paul could have seen his face, he would have seen his smile. Jed shook his head. He has changed since I last saw him. So, Alice has called him at last. O God I hope the world does not come to regret it.

Jed shuffled over in the dark to switch the lights on. Before Paul could step inside, a heavy gust of wind struck Paul and took his breath away. Seeing the heavy oak door about to slam him in the face, he leaped into the darkened room as the door slammed shut. Suddenly the room was in total darkness. A second later, it could have done him serious harm.  

Alice, who was watching from above, smiled inwardly. She expected something like that and spoke verbally for her own benefit. “What a rude Witch you are. You really should learn to let bygones be bygones.”  

Jed raised his voice in the darkness. “Are you all right, Sir? Please stay there until I put the light on. Don’t move.” 

“What caused that?” Paul said indignantly. 

Jed shrugged his shoulders. “It’s just the wind, Sir. Wuthering, as they say around here, blows right through the house it does. The front door must be open, it could be a storm coming."

Paul pursed his lips and his brow creased. “You could have fooled me. I didn’t feel a breath of wind before.” 

Jed made light of it. “Must be the wind, Sir. Doors don’t shut by themselves, do they? If you follow me, we will go through to the main desk, and I’ll book you in.”  

Paul followed the man through the house and along narrow dark wood-lined corridors. Paul again had the feeling of déjà vu and felt the hair lifting on the back of his neck. After turning the last corner, Paul found himself in a well-lit foyer as Jed opened the register on the desk. 

Alice made her way down the stairs and watched him from a distance as Jed booked him in. He looks so young, but his eyes are the same, and he still has a straight back. His hair is a lighter color. No beard though. He has a forceful jaw, and his mouth is wide with plenty of teeth, typical American. Oh, and his lips are thicker. He pulls his mouth to one side when he smiles, just like he used to. He looks so different, but at last, after all this time, He’s here.

 

For the second taster, we take up the story when Alice realizes that Paul has lost his Prime inherited memory. She decides to take him back to the Isle of Avalon, known locally as the Glastonbury Tor, hoping to stimulate his mind. 

 

Paul waved his hand dismissively. “Slept like a log, and please drop the, Sir. My name is Paul.” 

He reached across and held out his hand, and Alice took it. As they shook hands, their eyes locked together. Alice felt a tingling sensation run up her arm. Had he felt it too?

As Paul held her hand, unknown images flashed through his mind, echoing someone lost in time. He studied her thoughtfully. Those eyes are the same. I am sure of it. She could be the woman in my dreams. He continued to hold the handshake longer than expected, but Alice did not mind. She was touching his flesh once again. 

Paul, for a while, fell silent, the echoes becoming clearer. He was having flashbacks. Scenes flashed through his mind, multiple scenes. Children playing in a stream, covered in mud. White-robed people were dancing within a circle of standing stones. He was lying on his back, a woman sitting astride him on a large flat rock, and, like him she was naked. Was she the woman he dreamt about last night whose dress ripped like tissue paper? He shook his head, clearing his thoughts.  

“What a strange sensation I am having. You seem so familiar, yet I am sure we have not met.” Alice ignored his question, released his handshake, and fired one of her own. 

“Are you here in England for business or pleasure, Mr. Masters?” She noted he was evasive with his reply, simply saying that he was 'in property' and wanted to trace his roots. Alice gave him some tips on tracing his family. She suggested he start at the church and that he should talk to the vicar, Steven Weston. He asked where she had parked his car, more small talk. But Alice had found out what she needed to know. The big surprise to Alice was that he wasn’t troubled by Ursula in the night. Any memories he may have had had not surfaced, she was sure of it. Finally, Alice made her excuse to leave and returned to Jed at the reception desk. 

“Well, Jed, he doesn’t remember much yet. He was evasive about his business, and all he would say was that he was, in “property.” 

“Do you think it is definitely him? You’re not letting your heart rule your head?”  

Alice’s face lit. “It’s him. We connected when we touched.” 

Jed could not hide the relief on his face. “I am so glad; you have waited so long.” After a long pause, he measured her reaction again, and his face belied his concern. “Alice, be careful, don’t be blinded by love, if you think he is leaning towards the dark, you must warn us.” 

She snapped. “Why! So you can kill him?” 

Jed closed his eyes in anguish. “let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but he could destro…”  

Alice cut him short, and she snapped. “Yes, I know he could destroy us all.” After an awkward silence, she dropped her voice to a whisper. “If it comes to it, I’ll do it, I’ll do the killing.” 

Jed’s face brightened trying to ease the situation and quipped. “Do you think Paul intends to move back here?” 

“We will see. It’s early days yet, and he may just be responding to my enchantment, my calling. He said he was going to the church to trace his family tree and wanted to know where his car was parked.” 

Jed was looking at the register hiding the fact they were talking about him. “He keeps looking at you. Alice. He’s doing it right now.”  

“Good, keep looking, Saul.” Just remember me. Holy Mother, please help.'

Jed coughed and looked down at the register once again. “He’s coming over.” 

Alice turned to face him. “Can I help you, Mr. Masters?” 

“May I have my car keys, and please call me Paul. Which is the best way to the church?” 

Alice again gave him one of her well-practiced smiles and pointed in the direction he should go. “Through the gate, you came in at the rear of the house, up to the T junction, and turn right. Or if you would like a pleasant walk, you can go along the left-hand side of the lake and then head for the spire on the church. It’s about four miles.” 

“Thanks, but I’ll take the car.” 

Alice smiled openly, again it was her Mia smile. “In that case, I will see you tomorrow. It’s my half-day today. Bye, for now, Mr. Masters.”

As Alice left the room, she was sure his eyes followed her. 

Paul Masters could not get her out of his mind. She is just the most stunningly beautiful woman I have ever seen, and yet she seems so familiar it’s untrue. I’m sure it’s her.'

After collecting the Bentley, Paul pressed a button on the dashboard and lowered the electric roof. He started the car and drove down the gravel drive toward the gates. The sun was shining and the countryside glided by. He took a deep breath and filled his lungs with clean West Country air, taking in the different scents, the damp grass, and the trees. Scents that were alien to a city boy. He let his breath out slowly, he was finally here, and it was time to relax. He could hear the birds singing. After growing up in city after city, life felt good for Paul Masters. 

On exiting the estate gate, which was wide enough for one vehicle only, the car came to an abrupt halt. The engine had died entirely! He checked the fuel gauge and found it had plenty of fuel. The electrics seemed to be working. He pressed the start button again and again. Nothing, the car simply would not start. I don’t believe this! It’s a Bentley for goodness sake. He tried thumping the steering wheel several times and gave up. He left the car where it was and returned to the manor on foot. 

Back at the reception, he walked over to Jed at the desk. “Houston, we have a problem.” 

Jed looked up and smiled. “Mr. Masters, back so soon. What is the problem?” 

“The car. It’s broken down, and I’m afraid that’s not all. It has stopped in the middle of the main gate, and I can’t start it or move it.” 

Jed shook his head in disbelief. “The Bentley? We will need to get it shifted quickly. Is it your car, Sir? 

“No, Jed, it’s a hire car.” 

“If you can give me the details of the hiring company, I’ll get it sorted.” 

“Thanks, Jed.” He pulled out his wallet and gave Jed the number. Paul let out a sigh. “Damn, I don’t fancy walking all that way to the church, though. I really wanted to go there today.” 

“You’re not into walking then, Mr. Masters?” 

He shook his head again dismissively. “Not today. Got too much to do. Could you book me a taxi?” 

Jed picked up the phone, and then a thought hit him and the slightest of smiles creased his lips. “I’ll tell you what, Sir, it’s Alice’s half-day today. I’ll ask her if she can take you down in the horse and trap if you like.” 

“Do you think she would do that?” 

“It won’t hurt to ask. Alice normally takes one of the horses out for exercise on her afternoon off, I can give her a ring if you like.” 

Jed picked up the phone and rang her number. “Alice, it’s Jed here. We have a bit of a problem. Mr. Masters's car has broken down. You said you would take one of the horses out this afternoon. Why not take the horse and trap and show him the estate and then run him down to the church at the same time? Then maybe give him a heads up with his family tree.” Putting the phone down, Jed turned to Paul. “She said, give her thirty minutes.” 

Paul smiled. His day was going to turn out ok after all. “That’s very kind of her, Jed?” 

Jed gave him a broad smile. “We aim to please, Mr. Masters. Would you like a beer while You’re waiting?” 

Paul nodded his approval. “Yes, good idea, now I’m not driving. A small one, if you please, Jed.” 

He positioned himself in what was becoming his favored spot by the window. Paul waited, taking in the views. His mind drifted back, imagining what it was like in years gone by. It does seem familiar, the whole place, the house, the lake, even the woods, like a dream that you can’t quite remember.

After a while, a female voice called out from behind him and disturbed his reverie. “Mr. Masters.” 

Paul turned to see Alice dressed casually in tight denim jeans and a white blouse. Her hair was loose and fell to her waist. She was wearing white trainers, and in her hand, she was holding a horse crop. Paul stared, open-mouthed. God, she’s beautiful. Jed was right.

“Ready to go, Sir?” 

After a pause, he collected himself. “Yes, thank you, this is very kind of you.”  

“Well, Mr. Masters, we aim to please as they say.” She whipped her thigh lightly with the horse crop, turned, and walked to the door. 

He followed her to the horse and trap and studied every curve of her body, the white top which was almost transparent, and the jeans that looked like they had been sprayed on, and again, he was taken by her cat-like grace. “If you don’t mind me saying Alice, you dress down well.”  

“Well, thank you, Mr. Masters.” She then paused before adding, “I think … Climb aboard.” 

“Please call me Paul.” 

“Mr. Masters, we are not allowed to call guests by their first name.”  

“You can make an exception for me, surely.” 

Again, she smiled. “Very well. Yes, out here, but it will have to be surnames only in the manor.” 

“That’s fine by me.”  

“So, Paul, here we go.” With a gentle brush of the horsewhip, the horse moved away. “We will go down alongside the lake. Tell me, Paul, what sort of business are you in?” 

“My family buy and sell property.” 

“Are you looking at something in the area?” 

He shook his head dismissively. “I’d rather not say because it usually affects the price if people know you’re interested in a property. If a deal gets done, I’ll tell you then. Let’s not talk about work. Tell me about you, Alice.” 

Alice looked across at him, her face full of surprise. “Mr. Masters, why on earth would you want to know about me?” 

“Just humor me.” 

“Let’s see,” she said thoughtfully. “There’s nothing much to tell. I was born about a mile away. I went to the local primary school. Then I went to the local high school. Then I went to the local college, and I’ve only ever worked at the Manor. I started as a waitress, and I now run the place, end of. It has not been an exciting life.”  

A voice unbidden echoed to the forefront of her mind, one of the thousands which are part of the collective conscience of Alice Llewellyn. *Don’t be a stupid child. Why would he ask if he is not already interested? You must revive his memories quickly while there is still time. Take him to the tower.*

“University?” 

“No, I’ve never even left the county.” 

“You have never even left the county?” Paul could not hide the astonishment in his voice. “Have you never wanted to travel?” 

She shook her head. “I belong here.” She paused for a while as if deep in thought, then continued. “I feel comfortable here. Have you not felt you belong somewhere, somewhere special?” 

Paul shook his head dismissively. “No, we didn’t stay in the same town or city for more than two years. I do like this place, though. I can understand why you like it so much; I could belong here.” 

They sat in silence as Paul took in the scenery. Alice, for a time, was lost in thought. Yes, you belong here, Paul, and you will realize it soon. Just please remember us.

As he looked across the lake, he could see a lady on the far side wearing a long white dress or nightgown.  

“Alice, the lady in white on the far side of the lake, who is she?” 

Without looking, Alice seemed dismissive. “No one you need to worry about.”  

“It’s only, she seemed very near the edge?”  

'So, Paul, she is making herself visible to you is she? I need to distract him from her. Paul, why don’t you tell me about America?” 

Paul’s face lit, and Alice could see his pride and love for his country written across his face. “America? Well, America is big and bold as brass. It’s a country where dreams are made, and everyone is busy making them happen, in the cities, especially!” 

Alice pursed her lips, and a frown formed on her forehead. “I don’t think I would like it. I’ve seen your cities on the television, everyone running around like ants. People are too busy making a living to stop and see the world around them.” 

“Alice, it’s not all like that, and it’s a slower way of life in the country - and we have some spectacular countryside.”  

She nodded her head in agreement. “Yes, I will give you that, but I don’t think I would feel safe there. No, I don’t think America is for me.” 

“Why do you say that Alice” 

Alice snorted. “Everyone has guns. You’re all gun-mad. You shoot anything that moves animals, and even people, and most of the time just for fun. You argue with someone, he pulls out a gun, and bang, you’re dead. Your kids even take them to school.”

His forehead creased in surprise, and she realized she had touched a nerve.  

“You think it’s as bad as that?” 

She shrugged her shoulders. “It might be the back of beyond here, we haven’t got mains gas, but we do have television, and it’s not even headlined news anymore.” 

Paul shook his head in disbelief. “It’s not that bad, Alice. I think you would love it.”  

Again, the voice within Alice’s head prompted her. *The tower. It might wake him up – take him up there.*

In the distance, Saint Michael’s Tower sat perched like a sentinel on top of the great hill surveying the landscape for miles. Paul’s eyes were drawn to it. 

“What’s that building on top of the hill?” 

Alice answered without looking up. “Saint Michael’s Tower.” 

Paul continued to stare. The tower dominates the landscape for miles around. The Tor is 518 feet high, and the building is situated at the very top. Its image is burned in the memory of everyone who has lived in the area 

Alice prompted. “You get amazing views from up there. I usually go to the top once a week or when I want to think about something that’s troubling me. You can see for miles and miles, it’s very comforting.”  

Paul was tempted, and silently he thought it would be a good idea to get an overall view of the Earlswood estate. It would certainly help in his feasibility study for a golf course. 

“I think I will climb to the top one day this week. Do you get a good view of this estate from up there?”  

The voices again prompted Alice. Today, Alice.

“I was going to go today. If you want, we could leave the horse and trap at the bottom of the Tor, and I can show you the quick way up.”  

Paul looked surprised. “Would you?” 

Again, her smile emphasized her beauty. “Of course, we still have all afternoon to go to the church. It will give you an excellent overview of the landscape and be helpful if you plan to buy property around here.” 

They quickly felt at ease with each other’s company and soon found themselves at the edge of the town. Alice parked the trap in a field at the base of the Tor and, without tethering it to a bush or shrub, jumped down cat-like and landed lightly on her feet. “The horse won’t go far,” she said as if reading Paul’s thoughts.”  

By the time Paul climbed down off the trap, she was already striding up the hill.  

“You need to keep up, it’s really good exercise.”  

Paul watched from behind as she strode off in front of him. She had a lithe feral grace unusual for one so tall and skipped lightly from rock to rock with athleticism and confidence. Finally. he caught up, panting. 

“You do this every week?” He said between breaths 

“Yes, and when I want to think - it’s quite magical up there.” 

The path got steeper and narrower, Paul fell behind and had a great view of her rear, the tightly fitted denim jeans showing every curve of her buttocks and the painted whirl of muscle and sinew in her legs. They were on all fours now as the hill got steeper still. The gravel rolled down the hill towards him. It was intentional, Alice never left anything to chance. Keep looking, Paul. My bum looks just as good as it did when I was Sarah. 

“How do you like the view?” she taunted.  

For a second, Paul thought Alice could read his mind. “What?” 

Alice pursed her lips, hiding her smile. “The view from up here - it’s amazing, don’t you think?” 

Paul was still staring at her rear. “It certainly is - the countryside is not bad either.” 

Alice laughed and continued to stride up the hill. Yes, keep looking, Paul Masters.'

Paul started gasping for breath. “It’s getting pretty steep - is this the way everyone comes?”  

“No, Paul, this way saves about fifteen minutes, it’s not much further.” 

Paul noted that she was not even out of breath. Finally, they reached the summit. 

The view from the tower on the top of the Tor is magnificent. Paul stood at the entrance to the roofless tower and looked out over the Somerset countryside, and an unbelievable feeling of déjà vu overcame him.  

Alice watched him as he gazed into the distance and studied his features. He is different from Saul. Saul had dark curly hair and a full beard, Saul was also more robust and muscular. Paul’s hair was blonde, not curly, but still wavy. She mused. The blonde mass of hair softens his face a little. He has a sharp nose, a forceful jaw, and a wide thick-lipped mouth.' She smiled to herself. He still pulls his mouth to one side when he smiles, He’s different but still handsome, and I am in love with him already.

“A penny for your thoughts.”  

He answered her, but his eyes were fixed in distance or time. Alice was unsure which.  

“It all seems so familiar, yet I know I have never even seen a photo of this place. I have an uncanny feeling of déjà vu. Grandpa used to come up here, and he has described it to me. I often pictured it when I was young, but it does seem so unbelievably familiar. Even so...” He fell silent for a while, and Alice watched, she could see the confusion written across his face. 

Alice prompted. “Even so?” 

“The hill I remember was in the middle of a lake, not surrounded by green fields and farmland.” 

Alice managed a faint interrogative, Ah. How silly of me last time we were up here was wintertime, sixteen twenty - I think – and yes, it was an island then.

“How old was your grandfather Paul?”  

Paul pulled his eyes away from the view and studied her. She patted the ground encouraging him to sit against the tower. He sat down next to her and rested his head against the wall. Alice’s heart lifted. Yes, touch the tower, listen to the stones. 

“What a strange thing to ask?” 

“Humor me.” 

“He was born in nineteen hundred and one. Why?” 

She glanced sideways at him and noticed his eyes were strikingly blue, enhanced by the sky, and her heart missed a beat. She mused once again. Yes, I could love those eyes. “I just thought your grandfather had seen it in the winter, it used to flood the levels below, but he is not old enough. They were all drained by the beginning of the twentieth century.” 

Paul shook his head. “Ah, no, it must be somewhere else, I’m sure it is a memory - not a description.” Alice studied his face as again he took in the views and thought it might be a good time to prompt him. 

“Have you ever heard of inherited memory, Paul?”  

Their eyes met once more, and for a while, neither spoke, Alice watched as his brow creased in thought. 

“Well, yes, my mother and grandfather both believe in it. Do you think that’s what this is?”  

Alice pulled her eyes away from his to aid her concentration. “Could be, you are from a local family. This tower has been here for hundreds of years, and before that, there was a Roman fort, and before that, the Celts had a whole community built around it only accessible by boat.”  

Paul watched as Alice stared into the distance, seemingly lost in thought. When he did not interrupt, she continued. “Have you ever heard of the fabled Isle of Avalon?” He looked at Alice and nodded. 

“Well, you are sitting at its highest point. We were safe here before the Romans came and slaughtered my people.”  

This time Paul did interrupt. “Your people?”  

Again, their eyes locked together, and Alice measured him, unsure how much to divulge.

“Our people Paul. Avalonia’s, Celts, Druids, or Pagans as they called us. You were from a local family - they were your ancestors too.” Their eyes held fast, and he didn’t argue, so she continued. “Celts were in Britain before the Romans and before the Anglo-Saxons ever set foot in Britain. This area was very inhospitable, always flooding. The Celts who had settled in the area further north of Somerset, in what is now the country of Wales, had a name for this area which they could see across the Bristol Channel. Their name was Gwlad yr Haf, which is Celtic for the “land of summer,” because they could see the vast area of green land where they could go once the winter floods had receded. You could have inherited that memory from one of your ancestors, but yes, this hill was an island every winter.” 

Paul did not laugh or dismiss the idea and again turned his eyes to the surrounding fields. When he did not comment further, she continued, her eyes still fixed on the past.  

“Paul, this is the place of our ancestors.” She emphasized the noun, and he turned and studied her face. “The cradle of our blood and bones, a holy place, a refuge from those that wished us harm. Safe within the bosom of the creator, for thousands of years we were safe here, then ...” 

Alice got to her feet abruptly. “Enough. Time to go, things to do and all that, let’s get you to the church.”  

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